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Monday, July 6, 2015

Five Steps to Save the Day During a Power Outage

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We've all been there. It's one in the afternoon.
You're scrambling to feed the kids & get caught up on the housework.
You think you might actually make some headway, but then - power outage.

Summer is a prime-time for brownouts in some neighborhoods, especially in areas where air conditioners are running full-blast all day long. Losing your electricity (regardless of the cause) can seem like the worst possible thing to happen; and a badly-timed power outage can definitely make you feel like you've lost the ability to get anything done. It doesn't have to be that way though!

Check out our suggestions to make your next power outage nothing more than a minor inconvenience:

Be Prepared

Sometimes the worst part of a power outage is simply not knowing when the power will be back up. It is crucial to call your power company to report the outage. Most companies will be able to give you a rough estimate of when the power will return within a half hour of the initial report.

Make sure you call even if you think that someone else has already reported the outage - many times people assume someone else will report the outage, which causes the power to be out for even longer. Print out the picture below, fill in the details, and keep it in a place that would be easy to find during a power outage so that you can quickly call to make a report.

And of course it never hurts to keep battery-operated lanterns on-hand. (Just make sure your kids aren't stealing the batteries out to use in their toys or you'll be left in the dark looking for them. Ha, you get it? Left in the dark?)

Take Care of Hunger

People tend to get grumpy when the power goes out, and kids who are grumpy and hungry are a handful to deal with. Making something to eat can be a challenge when nothing is working (especially because you don't want to open the fridge too often!), but with minimal planning you can always have a quick lunch on hand.

Peanut butter sandwiches are always a good idea, but someone always inevitably wants jelly (leading to the dreaded opening of the fridge door). When the power's out, I like to make sandwiches with thinly sliced fresh fruit and chocolate hazelnut spread instead. None of the ingredients need to be refrigerated, and the chocolate-fruit combo can make children feel that they are receiving a treat. (And that will make the situation seem more like a fun adventure and less like a reason to be upset.)

I recently received a brand of chocolate-hazelnut spread called Nocciolata to try in exchange for my opinion. Apparently I'm getting quite the reputation as a blogger who loves organic foods, because this spread is certified organic. (Yay!)
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As always, I especially adore when products are GMO-free, and this spread is not only free of GMO's, but it is also free of colors, preservatives, additives, and artificial sweeteners! I'm thrilled whenever I find a product like this because I can check the label and identify all of the ingredients!

I've always thought that organic products taste better than their name-brand counterparts, and the Nocciolata (pronounced no-cho-lata) was no exception. A big bonus was that they use environmentally-responsible sunflower oil instead of palm oil, and (although I couldn't tell based on taste!) this chocolate hazelnut spread contains a lot less sugar than other brands.

My kids ate it up fast, and my daughter is pretty convinced that it's just chocolate syrup. (It actually DOES makes a pretty darn great ice cream topping... not that I downed a whole pint of Nocciolata-topped vanilla or anything... *innocent whistling*)

But I digress...

Get those kids entertained!

If you give a mouse a cookie... I mean, after you've fed those kids... they're going to want something to do. It's just the way things are. It is so so easy to come up with a million bajillion ideas of what to do when the power is out while the power is ON. But when you're suddenly thrown into that situation, it can be like your brain shuts off and you're reduced to a mind that's outputting at the caveman level. (Which is appropriate, since you're living cave-style now.)

Get a plastic bin, cubby, box, whatever you can get your hands on, and prepare a "Lights Out" box. We have one in our house and it's a huge relief whenever the power decides to take a vacation. Not only will you save yourself the trouble of searching endlessly through the house (in the dark) for something the kids can do without electricity, but you'll be able to hand the box over and (hopefully) enjoy a few whine-free minutes.

Here are some ideas for what to put in the box:
battery-operated lantern (just in case the lights stay out longer than expected!)
crayons & coloring books
sidewalk chalk
books to read
board games
string and cat's cradle book
origami paper & instruction book

Tackle a Task!

When the lights go out, I feel like I've had time personally stolen from me. That's time I need for important chores - like washing a load of laundry or writing an article! One time the power went out was on a heart-poundingly busy day, and I nearly had a panic attack when I heard that we would be without electric for 6 hours!

Eventually I found ways to keep myself busy, and I realized that the power outage presented the perfect opportunity to force me into doing some of the things I'd been putting off for a while.

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Here's a list of suggestions to get you started:
put away the stuff in your junk drawer (you know, where it REALLY goes)
hand-wash everything you've been meaning to
get your minor mending done
dust everything (even under things, it's not like you have anything better to do!)
weed the garden
pick up the WHOLE house
reorganize your closet

Enjoy Some Quiet Time

Quiet time?! What's that? As a mom, I sometimes have to force myself to relax or I won't be at my best when my family needs me. Having the power go out can be a huge blessing if you've been stressing and need a break. I like to get at least one constructive thing done, then spend some time enjoying the peacefulness of a world without electronics.

Here's a short list of fun things that make the time fly-by without using any electricity:
read a good book
spend some quiet time doing devotionals or writing in a journal
write a letter to a friend
do a needle-point craft
crochet or knit something
paint something
play an instrument (you still remember your 5th grade piano lessons, right?)
snuggle with your kids
give yourself a mini-makeover
take a walk outside
stretch or do some yoga (it feels so good!)

And if none of those ideas tickles your fancy, you can always find your spouse and lock the bedroom door.
(Magazine articles are always telling you to "unplug" for the benefit of your love-life anyhow, right?!)

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Want to try some Nocciolata for yourself? You can visit www.nocciolatausa.com to see more info and find out what stores near you carry their products! (Make sure to give a shout-out to the parent-company, Rigoni di Asiago, at www.rigonidiasiago-usa.com, they have some awesome goodies!) And don't forget to connect with Nocciolata via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to find great deals, recipe ideas & more!

What do you do when the lights go out? Does your family have a power-outage plan?
Chat with me in the comments below, I love hearing from my readers!

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summer playtime, outdoors in the summer, what to do, what is there to do outside, I'm bored, my kids take forever to get ready, tips for outdoors


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