Emergency Preparedness

Tagged as: organization

Living in CA where you hear talk about the ‘big one’, there’s always the nagging thought about earthquake preparedness. Every time KQED has their fundraising drive where they talk about their emergency preparedness kit as a thank you gift for subscribers, I get this guilty feeling that we haven’t really done anything for this. So this time around, we decided to do something. Huge props to my sister-in-law for her prodding on this issue.

We starting by compiling a list of things we might need. First things first: what kind of emergencies are we talking about?
i) Earthquake
ii) El Niño (CA has had a severe drought thanks to no rains for the past 4 years. And this year we are predicted to get a record rainfall)
Under these circumstances, we are talking about power loss, no running water, property damage etc.

So, based on that we started our research on things we might need in these cases. (I’ll list the resources at the bottom on this post as well). We decided on getting 2 sets ready: a 72 hour emergency kit that is FEMA recommended and a 24 hour one where everything fits inside a backpack.

72 hr emergency kit:
After a lot of research, we decided to just buy a pre-made 72 hour kit that we would add stuff into. This post does a very good job of listing out everything you’d need to build your own kit.

We chose the one Honey Bucket Survival Kit. One of the primary pros that tipped the scales in its favor was the fact that it functions as a port-a-potty. And also, much cheaper and hassle free way.

Honey Bucket Survival Kit | 1825steps

Here’s what it includes: Water pouches, water purification tablets, ponchos, blankets, water proof matches, duct tape, food kits, first aid kit (bandages, face mask, sterile towelettes), hand crank operated AM/FM radio & flashlight, whistle, utility knife, crowbar, gas and water shut off tool, toilet disinfectant.

Honey Bucket Survival Kit | 1825steps

Stuff that we added into it:
1) Datrex water pouches
2) Lifestraw
3) They include the Mylar thermal blankets, so we ended up buying 4 of the sturdier ones: 2 of each – Breathable and Non-breathable
4) Toddler specific stuff: PullUps, Toys, Food pouches. I made a play kit for our daughter which includes a bunch of crayons, stickers. I got this from the dollar bins at Target.
5) Extra clothes. I remember reading that you need to include pants (not jeans), and a lightweight full-sleeve jacket. So we have a pair of clothes for all of us. I also included my daughter’s fleece blanket.
6) After the Nepal earthquake, one of reports stated that the most injuries were due to glass shards etc where people hurt themselves by stuff that was on the floor. So officials recommended a pair of sturdy shoes.
7) Toilet rolls and kitchen towels
8) Wet wipes. I used the Pampers Sensitive one so that we use it for our daughter as well
9) Hand crank operated flashlight
10) Matches and candles

I didn’t get add super elaborate first aid supplies to the kit because I made a kit for our family based on recommendations from the Five Gallon Ideas article and this amazingly thorough post by Bowl full of lemons.

Backpack kit:
These backpacks will be stored in our cars. I didn’t buy a new backpack since we already had 2 lying around. They are pretty nondescript but sturdy enough.

Car emergency kit | 1825steps

1) Breathable blankets
2) Datrex water pouches
3) Food: Fruit bars (we love the Onebars), protein bars (partial to the Chewy oatmeal bars)
4) Waterproof jackets for all of us
5) Water bottle
6) Swiss utility knife (I’ve had this for 10+ years now. It’s a Victorinox. Has a few more tools than this one)
7) Play kit for our daughter, similar to one mentioned above
8) First aid kit includes bandages, hand sanitizer, pain relievers, EmergenC pouches

There’s a bunch of stuff that we could add to these kits. But for now we are going to add stuff as need arises. Like if on one of our day trips, we need some of these things. And some of the food items don’t have a long enough shelf life as the one in the 72 hr kit, so we’ll keep replenishing the stock.

1) FEMA recommendations
2) SV Toddler’s Emergency Preparedness post
3) Bowl of Lemons’s Emergency preparedness series
4) Build your own emergency kit by Five Gallon Ideas
5) B.O.B post by Branden Thompson
and many more…

A lot of the resources that I looked at are listed on my Pinterest Board: Preparedness

Disclaimer: *Affiliate links for products.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you guys have any more ideas.

On the internets this week v4

Tagged as: on the internets this week

Random stuff I stumbled upon:
This year our resolve was to travel. We went on what was our best trips till date, Costa Rica. And we loved it! This article on The Kitchn brought back so many memories from that trip.

While we are on the subject of travel, one man’s experience of traveling to 60 countries in a span of 3 years with a camera.

We (I’m using the term ‘we’ very loosely here. Mostly Z) cook everyday. And it’s more of a cultural thing. We grew up watching our moms cook every meal, every day. Takeout wasn’t common at all when we were growing up. So it doesn’t feel like a big deal. But there was a time when some days we weren’t so diligent. And now that I think about it, most of the reasons were the ones lined in this post.

A brilliant article on empathy: What Every Employee, Manager & Company Should Learn From Robin Williams

One woman’s experience with working at a startup while pregnant, twice. And for a change, it’s good.

Kitchn’s list of best $20 ever spent.

Things to do:
If you are a parent to a toddler in the South Bay (Bay area), Silicon Valley Toddler has a great Fall Planner on her site.

On the same note, if a visit to the Children’s Discovery Museum is on the cards, there’s a Groupon available for that.

If you are love cooking, and Ikea, this contest is for you!

Photo: Point Arena Lighthouse by Z

Heal the world…

Tagged as: love

With the ongoing migrant crisis getting worse by the minute, couldn’t help but think of this.


Dipping my toes into planner/organization world

Tagged as: organization

It started out with a almost-missed meeting. Then for a week I dressed my daughter in specific colored clothes as per her daycare ‘summer fun’ schedule. And on Thursday I realized I was looking at the next week, instead of the current. God forbid, I rescheduled her swim schedule. I would always dread forgetting her newly scheduled class. Finally, I accepted that I can no longer keep everything in my head. I just couldn’t keep track of it all. So, I turned to trusty Pinterest to see what other people do when it comes to organizing/planning needs. And I encountered a whole new world of planners!

And I realized this was one of those things that was different growing up in a different country. Apparently, it’s super common here in the US for students to start using planners when they start college, or earlier in some cases if they see their parents/older siblings use it. On the other hand, I never had any kind of solid success with my scribbled todo lists at crunch times like a day before exams. But over the past few years, I’ve tried a bunch of things and realized that I don’t have one silver bullet to address this issue. I’ve tried a bunch of apps on my phone, Any.do, Wunderlist, etc. And I was kind of shocked that they didn’t really work for me. Surprisingly when it came to digital solutions, for everyday task lists, Gmail’s Tasks, which is a digital version of pen-and-paper list, worked. But I couldn’t replicate the success for tasks spanning more than 2-3 days. And what about reminder appointments etc? What I was able to figure out though was that pen and paper with some kind of calendar solution works.

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve looked at multiple blogs, youtube videos to look at other people’s ‘systems’. And I fell through this amazing rabbithole that is the world of planners, filofaxes, travel notebooks et al. And color me impressed! There’s a bunch of options. And the best part about is that people have tweaked it to make it work for them. And it has taken them quite a few tries to get a single solution to work for all or at least most of their needs.

For my first foray into this world I’ve ordered the Webster Pages’s Color Crush planner. It’s not super expensive and it comes with the month and week on 2 pages view (don’t worry, this is terminology you just pick up along the way). It’s on preorder right now, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Apparently, Webster’s Pages doesn’t sell planners on their website anymore. You can get them from other sources though. Jennifer from My Purpley Life has a great post about where to find them.

One more product that I’m super excited about is the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN). They look just so clean. And the fact that you can customize it fit your needs exactly is great. This also seems to be the goto option for people who are into journaling. There are some excellent sources for how people have customized their Midoris:

And, then there’s the whole Filofax world! They offer tons of options in terms of size, colors, inserts. I wanted to try planners as a concept since filofaxes are quite pricey. A good resource for all things filofax is Philofaxy. Zulily has a great sale on Filofaxes right now http://www.zulily.com/e/filofax-139549.html?ref=search_carousel (note: if the link doesn’t work, the sale has probably ended).

Honorable mentions for planners: MAMBI’s Create 365 planner, Kikki-k planners (so pretty), Erin Condren Life Planners to name a few. I’ve created a new Pinterest board for all things planners.

Search for hashtags #planneraddict, filofax, #midoritravelersnotebook for more ideas and inspiration.

Update: I was going to publish this post along with pictures of my new Color Crush planner, but unfortunately, the seller said that it isn’t going to be here till sept/oct. I realized I couldn’t wait that long to start using a planner. So I cancelled my order. For now, I’m back to square one, better informed though.


Judging ourselves

Tagged as: lessons

Today on my way back from work, I was listening to what turned out to be a super interesting interview with Carly Rae Jepsen (of the Call me, maybe fame). She’s come up with a new album after her runaway hit 3 years ago. She was talking about how she loves pop music. The host asked her about how pop always seems to be a target of judgement. She mentioned how she always gets asked about what kind of music is her guilty pleasure. She said, ‘I always think that’s such a strange thing — because if it gives me pleasure, I’m never going to feel guilty for it.‘. And I thought that was brilliant! Seriously, how many times do we judge ourselves for liking something that doesn’t fall within the acceptable norms? She spoke about how she grew up listening to folk music, which she still loves. But something changed when she heard Spice Girls. I know I loved the Spice Girls. I grew up in that era. But, at the same time I cannot count how many times I’ve rolled my eyes everything the Backstreet Boys played (while humming the lyrics). How’s that for being hypocrite? So here’s to not judging ourselves and everyone around us for the choices in music, clothes or anything for that matter.

Story: It’s Fun To Get A Little Deeper’: Carly Rae Jepsen Walks The Pop-Star Tightrope

On the internets this week# Vol 3

Tagged as: on the internets this week

Intro: Instead of posting multiple things this week, I’m just going to post the following one. I’d actually come across Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls quite a long time back. But I stumbled over this again when someone in my network posted it on FB. I was struck, again, by how amazing this venture is. And how this is something that came very naturally to Sonia, but has had quite an effect on people who’ve come across it.

Dolls makeover:
I had three Barbie dolls growing up. I never really connected with them except for the one time when I along with my cousin and aunts made clothes for them. In different clothes, clothes that I would likely wear, they looked different. More approachable. So when I came across this story about Sonia Singh in Australia recycling old dolls by giving them a makeover, it really resonated.


Online deals this week – Vol#1

Tagged as: deals

Tegu Magnetic Blocks (Age: 1 – 99)

This past weekend I bought the Tegu magnetic blocks for a friend’s kid. And I was almost ready to buy another one for Innu. But since I was in a rush I didn’t. When I showed it to Z, he was excited about it as well. And lo & behold, they showed up on Steals.com today. For a whopping 38% off. Available in 4,6 & 8 piece sets in all the colors.

Lego Classic:

Who doesn’t love Lego? Grab the classic set from Walmart for $20.

Vera Bradley Changing pad:

How ridiculously cute is this!! And it isn’t super expensive either. I would have totally bought this if I’d known about it when Innu was born.