A Real Mom's Top Ten Guide to Preparing for Sandy

We live in Connecticut, so as Sandy approaches and everyone is wondering exactly how hard this "Frankenstorm" will actually affect us, I recall the two storms from last year that knocked our power out for 5-8 days each. We made it through relatively well, so I thought I would share some of the lessons I've learned about preparing for a storm - with kids!

There is a lot of sound advice out there about how to prepare for a storm - buying flashlights, filling your car with gas, having some extra cash on hand, and so on. I think that's all been covered plenty so let's go over some ideas that can help parents prepare for a long term storm and possible power outage with your little ones...

1. Laundry! Laundry! Laundry! - Get all of it done ahead of time, so if you lose power for several days you won't be searching through dirty laundry for jammies, or worrying about who will have to go commando first as clean clothes start to run out!

2. Bake. Today and tomorrow I'm going to make some pumpkin muffins, cinnamon rolls, and I even bought a frozen pie, so that I have those things on hand for breakfast and snacks. This is especially helpful if the kids are home from school for a few days - Cheezits and cereal get old real fast. 

3. Bath time! Seems a little obvious, but make sure baths and showers are taken care of right before the storm hits, in case you don't have hot water for a few days to come. 

4. Crafts. I like to plan a couple of crafts that I have handy for times when the kids are at the peak moments of going stir crazy. With the holidays coming up, there are lots of options to keep the kids engaged - pumpkin carving and making Christmas ornaments or Thanksgiving decorations are great options. I like to simply grab some paper from my printer, a few pairs of scissors, and let my kids cut out snowflakes the old fashioned way - hours of fun! 

5. Games. Have board games on hand, where you can find them easily. If you need to go rustling through closets or the basement it might be too daunting of a task if the power is out. 

6. Charge! Make sure phones, iPods, DS's, and any other electronics are fully charged ahead of time. 

7. Clean up. If the power is out for a few days you may end up regretting not running the vaccuum or dishwasher quickly before the storm hits. 

8. Mind the grill. Fill your propane tank, or a couple of them, so that you have a way to cook while the power is out. Buy food that's easy to grill - corn on the cob is fantastic on the grill!

9. Coffee fix. Buy instant coffee. If you're like me at all, you may need your coffee in the morning before you are really able to parent to your fullest ability. It's no Starbucks, but it will do in a pinch. You can even get those non-refridgerated creamers to make it more bearable.

10. Have fun!! I love watching storms with the kids, and we have our own traditions when a storm approaches to make it more fun to watch together. If the kids see that you're not terribly worried, and if you make it a fun event, then the kids will be a lot less likely to get overly stressed out themselves. 

Good luck and be prepared! (Our boy scout leader would be proud)  ;)