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Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Aftermath- Getting Back to Normal

6:26 AM 0 Comments


It has been a LONG week and still have days to go before the kids go back to school but things are slowly getting back to normal. It has been hard and we aren't dealing with much in comparison to so many. The pictures of the flooding and all the water is hard to see. The news dominates the airways 24/7 with rescues and where the water is still rising days after the rain has stopped. 

We woke on Wednesday morning to the sun rising and it was a wonderful sight here. Days of rain and flooding took a toll on everyone no matter how you were affected. It was a break after it honestly feeling like the days were running together here. My husband asked me Tuesday what day it was and was surprised when I said I was day 5 of all of this. 

Tuesday morning which feels like forever ago, we ventured out some to see our area. We tried our favorite place for breakfast which was closed. We thought we might try to get to our office but it ws flooded out.


We finally stopped at he donut shop to get some donut holes. Even the poor duck just wanted it to be done with it. 


On Wednesday, we heard that more was opening up so we headed out for breakfast, checked our office and heard of a place in need of volunteers so off we went helping out for an hour. So much can be done in just an hour of your time.

After that we had a late lunch and saw that the water hadn't fully receded on the feeder road. 


We also stopped at the grocery store for some stuff. It was stocked as much as they could with the situation. No bread in sight but tons of meat and milk which was good. Employees were doing an awesome job. 

After we got home, the kids decided to play outside to burn energy. Even the neighbor kiddo came out to get out. 

I found my trash can full of water which really shows how much water we had and how lucky we were that we didn't flood. 

My thoughts are with all the people who are dealing with tons of clean up. Some it took just a few hours to rid their homes while others are just starting months of repairs. The news said likely three months before all the flood waters are emptied out of here. 

I don't know who to credit for this but I love this artwork for Houston. 


I have many people ask me from a far how they can help and I have emails out to some people looking at needs that might be. The shelters are filled with supplies now and have started turning donations away because they just don't have the room. As soon as I have one more long term needs known, I will let you all know. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Becky










Monday, August 28, 2017

Tales of Hurricane Harvey and How You Can Help!

11:11 AM 0 Comments

The monster storm (cbs.com)


As I write this, we are hoping the worst is behind us and that the storm’s additional anticipated rain fall gets pushed east and rains on areas that can take rain. Houston and most of our area really can’t take much more because the retention ponds and drainage ditches are near or at capacity right now. Gas is limited as us getting our hands on additional supplies from the grocery store is becoming difficult today but likely will be resolved here in the next day or so.

To start off, we are okay. We had a ton of rain Friday and Saturday nights. The water just ran down our streets right into a few homes unfortunately that got flooded. Our house is fine and likely just has some wind and storm damage on the roof, so will be filing a claim here as many are also doing. We spent about 40 solid hours together as a family which is lately a rare commodity with our new start up plus the start of school.

We spent our time together, watching movies, working some, and of course crafted and cleaned. I was actually deep cleaning my master bedroom when I quick post on the subdivision Facebook page got my attention. The kids’ elementary school was open as a shelter and intake location. They needed blankets, so I pulled a few blankets from my stash and sent my husband over there to donate.

He said he walked in to a few people and zero supplies there. They needed medical supplies so he came home to grab our big medical kit and took it over. He soon discovered there was no food there and more people started pouring into the cafeteria. He texted me that they needed food, so we gathered what we could like snacks, drinks, and some stuff to make PB&Js. We all piled in the car and headed over.

I also put out some calls onto social media as well as the local Nextdoor app asking for supplies at the school. We got there to the kitchen already being open (heard the fire department broke the lock) so we set to work organizing the little we had and started making sandwiches.

Another Mom was there who asked what she could do to help and I said can you help make sandwiches. Before we knew it, tons of food, dry clothes, blankets and supplies started pouring in. People stepped up to start cooking noodles and hot dogs arrived. As it poured, both people needing a dry place to come and people bringing donations streamed in. We hit a point where we now needed to move the supplies over to the other locations where more stable long term locations were set up. That Mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon just manning the food. We both ache this morning (the perks of getting older).

All the supplies coming in. 

Sorting

Food donations

My drenched husband who worked his butt off!


So, we a call went out to bring trucks so the supplies could be moved and in a little over a hour, it was all moved to one of the two locations. We continued serving food and assisting people for hours. People who had been rescued were in shock and a warm meal helped. Before I knew it was 4 pm. Matt, my husband, helped with delivering supplies and had run into some friends who all caravanned with the supplies to the Red Cross shelter.

I finally headed home with two tired kids while Matt stayed for the last few waves of people coming in. A neighbor and he made some more hot dogs and just helped as needed. They finally closed the location down after everyone had been taken to the shelters.

Honestly, we did a little and many of us did just a little but because we all did that little amount, tons got done. It was amazing how people who were flooded out, stepped up to pitch in. Our EMS, Fire and Police were incredible. There was no single person in charge and actually no one was really in charge but so many stepped in to do what needed to get done now. It was a times overwhelming and it took all my might not to break down in tears but warmed my heart when a three-year-old boy who had been rescued was so excited for some cookies and had the biggest grin on his face as he ran up to tell his dad about his treasure.

It wasn’t my intend to help like I did. I just did without thinking about it one bit. It needed to get done, so we stepped up. Matt said it felt like his Navy days and he was through a few Typhoons when he was station in Guam. I really don’t think I did anything special but I do appreciate the countless thanks we were given. It was a team effort with every single person who stepped up to make the call.

There has been countless emails, calls, texts and Facebook messages asking how people can help. I have been trying to compile lists of information as I get them. For me social media as of late has been a tough pill to swallow so the positive nature of the last 30 hours is amazing.

Currently, our local supplies are limited with the lack of stores being open but many have plenty of water and food. The stores should be stocked fully again here soon because the water has receded a lot since yesterday. Once that infra structure is back in place, we all should be good there.

There are numerous shelters around the area that need additional supplies:

Bay Harbor Methodist Church is an official Red Cross location. They are in need of blankets, pillows, plates, forks, toys, cereal and sleeping bags. They can be reached at 281-334-1100 but it is unknown if anyone is answering the phone. You can also donate directly to the Red Cross .

Clear Creek High School is in need of prepared food and non perishable items. People are staying there and donations can be taken to the cafeteria.

Please though if you cannot safely leave your home, do not go out. While most of the rain has slowed and water has receded, it might not still be safe out there.

I have had so many ask how they can help so right now those are the immediate needs of our area. Donations are appreciated but there is going to be long term needs so donate to the Red Cross who help in these times. Please make sure your donations are going to a legit organization because in times like this, people will capitalize on the situations.

For anyone out there that may need assistance due to flooding here is some information I was able to find out on about FEMA and TWIA (If you are insured through them).


1800 FEMA employees have been deployed in the area. If you want to call the command center at the Coast Guard center the numbers are as follows:
  • 281-464-4851
  • 281-464-4852
  • 281-464-4853
  • 281-464-4854
  • 282-464-4855
If you need FEMA assistance, here is the direct link to that: https://www.disasterassistance.gov
Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is what most people have for their Windstorm Insurance. The information is here: https://www.twia.org and a claim can be started via the phone at 800-788-8247. I have heard that you should try and file prior to Friday if you can because insurance laws are changing but I don't know if this is true or not. If you don't have your policy through TWIA, contact your insurance provider as soon as you can. 

It's been a rough couple of days for Houston and it still will be for weeks. We are lucky and many our friends are as well. There are also tons of friends who flooded it out and are now picking through their stuff. If you need help, please reach out for it and if you can help, please do it. If we all do a little, a lot of stuff could get done. 

Also, I don't know if all the information is correct but is as accurate as I can find per the websites and information I received. You may need to verify.


Thanks for stopping by!

Becky









Friday, August 18, 2017

Back To School Tips

12:00 AM 0 Comments


Tips for going back to school

1. Plan your first week out so your kids know what to expect. Kids need to know where and when they are being dropped off. Ask them what questions they might have and have them work with you to get a feel about how it will go. 


2. Lunch Meal Plan for the week and execute it on Sunday. The kids are picking out the things they like and we are getting it ready on Sunday so during the week , they can just grab and go for their lunches.

3.  Backpack checklist. 
My seven year old needs this so I created this checklist for him to have on his backpack. He is pretty good about remembering the stuff he needs to bring home but in the morning we sometimes forget. 



I am just printing up, laminating and attaching with a key ring on his backpack. My kids also know if they forget something on here, that I will not bring it up to them. You forget you lunch, well than you buy lunch. Homework is your responsibility to make sure it is done and put in your backpack. 

4. Have a evening checklist of things to do like getting backpacks semi ready, lunch kits ready to pack and of course clothes ready for the morning. This five minutes of stuff will help lower stress for the morning. 

5. Enjoy the time and try not to stress about it. The first week of school can be stressful for everyone so find ways to have fun with it and understand there re things you can and can't control; Buses run late don't  fret, car rider line is super long don't fret, and the tons of paper work work at tackling it in a logical means. 

The first week is all about setting a good routine and hopefully some of these tips will help you to get in. good groove. Also adjust as needed because things change. 

Thanks for stopping by!




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The H*LL of School Lunches

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Note: This post contains affiliate links. 


I hate school lunches and I am starting my 7th yes 7th year of packing them for my kids who hate everything we have packed. Packing school lunches sucks. My kids get burned out, I get burned out. They don't don't like to buy at school because it isn't great food (they keep changing the the rules for school lunches). You have to worry about allergies even if your kids don't have any. You have to do it every single darn stinking day. It is hard and painful. I actually might like to get a shot than have to pack lunches. Packing lunch day in and day out is the pure definition of insanity. 

So with that I need help and lots of it.  I need a way to make it easy on me, a variety of items for the kids to choose from and find a way we don't all burn out on it. Here is my great school lunch experiment that I m trying this school year. I need to make it easy one me and more in the kids hands when it comes to being responsible for the own lunches.

As you all know I am a planner for my meals and lunch should be no exception with this but it gets hard so very hard. Have you gotten how hard I think it is.

A plan has been put in place for school lunches this year and let's hope that this "experiment" can work and become part of our weekly routine and that the kids don't feel so burned out on PB &J's.


First and foremost, I scoured Pinterest for ideas for lunch planning and well let's say there are so many ideas and options. You can easily get overwhelmed with it so stick with what jumps out at you for your comfort level.

The one thing I found that I really liked was creating fridge lunch containers where I can stick a week's worth of lunch items in there for the kids to grab and go. I think this will help in having them decide what they want for the day.

Here are my bins and yes they are already labeled.


My kids have already started using them for the fruits and veggies. 

Every Sunday, I am "planning" on working on making 5 lunches per kid for the week. 

The ideas I have for the first two weeks are as follows:

School Lunch Menu
Week 1                                                                        Week 2

      Mini pizza                                                                   Crescent roll ups
PB & J                                                                          PB & J
                            Turkey roll ups                                                            Turkey Lunchables                                                     
Chicken Nuggets                                                         Nuggets
Corn Dog bites                                                            Turkey wrap

These are all things I know my kids will eat. I also switched it up with two hot items for the kids. They really wanted to have something hot a few times a week. I purchased a thermos like this:



So I put on a few things that can be heated up for school. My daughter did her test run of hot food for her camp last week and she said it worked well but of course she had a few adjustments. 

I have containers that I can build things like homemade lunchables and mini pizza kits. As much as I love the ease of prepackaged meals and yes they come in handy when I am super burned out, the effort of making one is really not much more. 

For the Turkey Lunchables:

Crackers
Cut Cheese
Cut Turkey

For the Mini Pizza

A deli round
shredded cheese
pepperoni slices
tomato sauce

The dollar store has tons of cute containers to store. I got the tiny ones for stuff like the cheese and tomato sauce so when the lunches are being tossed about things stay where they are suppose to. 

I also can use them for condiments like BBQ sauce and mustard. I think BBQ sauce actually runs through my kid's veins she eats so much of it. I should take stock in Sweet Baby Ray's because that is here favorite.

I also have a snack station that the kids can pick out from as well.  I figure that if the kids have choices in lunch and  have some say in what they want, that maybe just maybe that this might go easier for everyone. 



I have a chart for my fridge as well where the kids are suppose to pick one thing from each category so that they get a balanced diet and that they aren't packing all sweets (yes I have spot checked to find  a lunch of mostly desserts in the past).

I am really hoping that by...

1. Doing weekly planning.
2. Have the kids have some say in what we make. 
3. They are responsible for packing their lunch.

I will keep everyone updated on this experiment and let you all know how it is going. I really hope we have keep this up for the long haul!

Tanks for stopping by!