101 Uses for a Hoodie

Hooded sweatshirts - a great piece of gear
for urban & wilderness survival situations.
The teen crowd is onto something in their obsession with hooded sweatshirts. As the weather starts to turn cooler for most parts of the country, a zip-up, hooded sweatshirt with “hand-warmer” pockets for each member of your family is an extremely versatile, must-have item in your car (and at the office). Although every home/work/car emergency kit should include a blanket. A hooded sweatshirt is often a practical addition and/or substitution, especially if you are using mylar emergency blankets.  A sweatshirt is form-fitting, allowing movement and heat conservation. It may also become the most used piece of "emergency gear" in your car.

Here are a few of the 101 other reasons why you need a hoodie in your car:

It’s a little cooler than expected at the Friday night football game.
Cherry pie down a white sweater.
An ice-cold beverage spill that won’t dry in the cool weather.
You forgot a pillow for that car-ride nap.
Spilled soda on the very absorbent seat of the car.
Someone in the car refuses to turn on the heat.
That fall hayride is cold on unprotected ears.
Instant baby blanket.
Impromptu pine cone collecting basket.
No paper towels in the restroom.
The bench seat at the ballgame is hard and uncomfortable.
A stretchy knit will fit a range of people.
Or rolled up sleeves can make a “hoodie dress” on a little one.
Add a rain poncho for an insulated rain jacket.
Add chemical hand-warmers to the pockets in case you forget your gloves, too.
Giant first-aid bandage.

Can’t afford to outfit the entire family in name-brand, super performance-gear hoodies just to stash in the car? It’s ok, the less expensive it is, the more abuse you’ll be willing to give it, making it even more versatile.

Related Posts
The Emergency Twenty
Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.
Making Your Own Basic First Aid Kit

An ounce of prevention...

In this case, I'm using a plastic cup of prevention. We have a chest style deep-freeze in our basement full of meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, and some foods like trays of oven-ready lasagna or frozen tamales. We always store the freezer full, using PETE (#1) plastic bottles of water to make up the empty space. But I was occasionally worried that the power would go out while we were away or that one of the kids would leave the lid open without me knowing (It happened... my kids, my aunt's house, sore subject.) My concern is that it will all thaw and refreeze without me know about it - exposing my family to food-borne illness.

Fill cup.
Here's what I've done. I took an eight ounce plastic cup (I used a kid's cup from a local restaurant.) and filled it with water nearly to the top.  I placed the cup in the freezer until it was frozen solid.  Then I put it upside-down in the basket at the top of the freezer.  In the event of a power outage (or other freezer disaster) the ice will melt as the temperature in the freezer rises, at least the ice will fall out of the cup at worst the cup will be empty. Since the cup of ice is upside-down, I'll know the freezer has been affected even if everything has refrozen.
Freeze water.
During a power outage, keep your freezer closed.  Don't give in to the temptation to open the door even once.  If it lasts more than two hours, you should evaluate the contents of your freezer when the power returns.  You'll need a food thermometer.  Anything that has been at 40 degrees or higher for more than two hours should be thrown away.  If food in the freezer is colder that 40 degrees and has ice crystals, you can refreeze it.  If you are not sure about an item, throw it away.

Place upside-down in freezer.

Food safety is an important issue everyday.  Conveniences like refrigerators and freezers allow us to have little concern for food spoilage.  When our normal routines are altered, however, we need to put a bit of thought and planning into staying safe and healthy.  One resource available to you is the USDA website.  They offer tips on food storage, thawing frozen food, and using dry ice in your freezer.  
Thank God, I have never had a major power outage while I was not home to take care of things.  But I do still check that little cup almost every time I get something out of the freezer.

Functional Friday: Preparedness Project - Power Outage

Each Friday, Everyday Providence authors will be providing quick and easy ideas to get you ready to face a potential emergency.  From a sudden thunderstorm to that last-minute dinner guest, we strive to handle each situation with confidence and finesse.  We hope to challenge you each week to take a small step in preparing for the best outcome in these unexpected situations.

This week, I've been thinking about the weather.  One of our primary concerns anywhere in the nation is a storm-related power outage.  Although generally no more than a few minutes, an outage occasionally lasts hours or days.  Rest assured that with some planning and preparedness you may be able to coast through this emergency, and maybe have a little fun.  First decide where you can keep some emergency supplies; the location needs to be convenient but out of the way and secure, like a closet.

Here's a starter list of items you might need right away during a power outage:

  • Flashlights and batteries- Candles and matches are an inexpensive and long lasting solution, but they are also a potential fire hazard.  You should have some, but save those for more desperate situations.  Store your batteries with, but not in, your emergency flashlights.
  • Radio and batteries - A NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio will give you information about the storm itself; the regular stations will give you news and other information, as well as, keep you occupied.  Many are crank or solar powered, and some can charge a cell phone.
  • Shelter - If it's very cold, rainy, or windy, stay inside.  Close doors and windows, and keep them closed, especially to preserve heat.  Stay warm with a blanket or sweatshirt. 
  • Ready to Eat/Shelf-stable food - These are items that don't require cooking and do not need refrigerated.  Don't open your fridge or freezer!  Have some items in your pantry that you can open and eat.  Plan some items that you enjoy.  In our house we stock wheat crackers and cheese in a can, cheese flavored crackers, beef jerky, tuna pouches, and fruit and pudding cups.
  • Bottled water - You need a minimum of one case of bottled water (3 gallons) on hand for each person in the house.  If your area water supply is affect by a power outage, flooding, or other damage, you'll need water to drink and for cleaning and hygiene.
  • First Aid Kit - You don't want to be bumbling around in the dark looking for a bandage.  Make sure you know where your kit is, or buy one just for emergencies.
  • Special Items - medications, extra glasses, baby needs, extra car keys, toys and games
We will have lots of additional information about preparing for this and other emergencies, so keep reading.  Remember!  It's never too late or too early to start preparing for the best.

Week-end Preparedness Project
Pick one (or pick them all)

1 bee

2 bees (depending on what you have already)

 ☐  Check your emergency flashlight and radio with batteries
 ☐  Throw a blanket or sweatshirt in a designated emergency spot
 ☐  Collect some ready-to-eat/shelf-stable food
 ☐  Check for one case of bottled water for every member in your home
 ☐  Make (or buy) an emergency first aid kit
 ☐  Collect special items you will need at hand in a power outage
 ☐  Store items in a convenient but out of the way location

    Simple and Artful Beer Bread

    I was one of those bakers that bought beer bread mixes.  They were so easy and so delicious, and they cost $6!  After repeated chiding from Meredith, the economist, I decided to give it a go from scratch.  The first few recipes I found called for self rising flour.  Again my "frugal beer bread guide" insisted that I should make it from scratch. So I found a great recipe on Farmgirl Fare that includes many delicious variations.  

    When I was buying those $6 mixes, the package did mention that I could use anything from beer to soda, but I never experimented (not at $6 a shot).  Now that I'm making my own beer bread from scratch for pennies a loaf, I'm experimenting!  I generally keep four types of flour on hand: hard red whole wheat, hard white whole wheat, soft white whole wheat, and unbleached white flour.  (That probably deserves a future post.)  Today, I made the whole wheat recipe with hard white wheat flour.  But even better than that -- I used Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, made here in St. Louis.  I've made this bread plenty of times with what I call plain ole' beer, but the flavor really changes as I use different flavors and styles of beverage.  Craft beer, imported beer, draft, light, canned, bottled... I'm planning to try Kasteel Rouge and Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider this week-end; I hope their fruity flavors carry through.  Many stores also offer a mix and match six pack, perfect beer bread fodder!  I'll also be trying soda, as well. Lemon lime, peach, and root beer all sound delicious to me.

    (I also know someone who home-brews excellent and interesting beers.  I plan to take advantage of those brews soon!  This week, I also marinated stew meat 24 hours in just a bottle of beer.  The meat was very tender, and you could taste the subtle flavors imparted by the beer even when the stew was done. I can't wait to experiment with more beers as marinade.)

    Here's my favorite thing about beer bread.  The ingredients are shelf stable, quick, simple, and inexpensive!  This bread is a delicious item you can literally throw together and serve with a meal or as a meal with just honey, butter or jam.  And granted that you have an oven -- it's ready in an hour.  You can also use beer bread to make french toast for a special breakfast.  (Or breakfast for dinner!)  Chunk it up to make some delicious bread pudding.  Dice, season, and bake it for some extravagant croutons.  I'm certain I'll be trying to make it in a dutch oven this fall. (Maybe I'll try that this week-end, too.)  I'll also start working with my kids to make this bread.  They love cooking and baking.  Serving their own loaf of bread will certainly do wonders for their kitchen confidence.

    Maybe you could use a little kitchen confidence, as well.  Or perhaps you are quite experienced in the kitchen.  Either way, I challenge you to stretch out of your comfort zone and experiment with this quick and delicious recipe right away.  Then let me know what you think.