The Crazy Hat Box

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Countdown to Thanksgiving – 5 Days Left!

Continuing our Countdown to Thanksgiving, here’s a fun family activity to do the week of or day of Thanksgiving!

Our Thankfulness Tree

This month, to help our family focus on the things we’re thankful for, we’re doing a Thankfulness Tree.  Every night after dinner, we each put something we’re thankful for on a leaf and tape it to the tree.  If we have dinner guests, they participate, too!  I love to see our tree filling up with all the blessings God’s given us!

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My six-year-old helped me draw the tree, and we hung it on our living room wall.  The leaves were cut out on my Cricut, but you could also find a pattern online and cut it out with scissors.  The kids love putting the leaves on the tree, and I love that they are learning about gratefulness.


Want more ideas for Thanksgiving?  Check out our Pinterest Board, The Pilgrim’s Hat!

 

 

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The Kids in the Car go…

We took a family vacation to Florida over the summer.  This was the first long trip we’ve taken since our youngest was born, and I was a little worried about how to keep a six-year-old and a 3-year-old entertained in the car for two days.  I looked for all kinds of ideas on the internet, talked to people who had taken long car trips with their kids, and then packed everything I could think of that might help at some point along the long road.

Being on the other side of that trip, I can honestly say that I packed entirely too much (but I always overpack, so that’s not really any different than usual).  I can also say that the number one thing that made our trip better was something so simple, it seems a little too simple.

A plain cookie sheet.

That’s it. With a plain cookie sheet, you can do so many activities in the car!  First, cookie sheets are magnetic, so I bought some trays and pencil boxes at the Dollar Store and put magnets on them to create crayon and marker containers that aren’t easily dropped and that don’t slip around!  I also bought magnetic clips at the Dollar Store to help hold papers in place.  The Dollar Store also had magnetic dry erase boards, and I even bought a Lego board and put magnets on it so that my oldest could play Legos in the car!

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Just add coloring books, stickers, markers, crayons, and other craft supplies, and you’ve got everything you need!

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The cookie sheets fit perfectly across the arms of the kids’ car seats, but could also be held vertically on their laps.

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I even packed some play-doh, which worked great on the tray!

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If you’re planning a long trip with kids, I highly recommend investing in a cookie sheet; it might save your sanity… or at least part of it.  Happy traveling!

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Safety Saturdays

Welcome to our first Safety Saturday post! Safety Saturday posts are here to help you and your family keep all kinds of safety in mind. We will be sharing tips on how to prepare you for emergencies and general  safety tips.  If you have safety topic that you would like The Crazy Hat Box to research for you, please comment below.


 

Power Outages

We recently had a 12 hour power outage at our house! During that time I came to realize that with two little ones in the house now, I need to be even more prepared.  Since the power outage, I have started researching to make sure that our house is ready for the next time. I really hope that the next time isn’t for a long time! In my searching I found that the American Red Cross has a wonderful website full of tips to help you get your family prepared.  One of the first steps to having your family prepared is to have an emergency kit. Watch for a post on this in the future. Today we will just touch on things that will help you with a power outage. Here is a list of what I have gotten ready for our family for the next time that we are without power.

1.  Flashlights with working batteries. Check these often and try to have them in every room. Make sure that everyone knows where they are and how they work. We also have a few little flashlights that have magnets on the side of our fridge. Candles are not recommended due to the fire risk. This is especially important if you have small children or pets.

2.  Extra batteries! Having extra batteries in all sizes that go with your flashlights and other emergency supplies

3.  Food that is non-perishable and that can be eaten/ prepared without power.

4.  A battery powered weather radio. We have a NOAA weather radio that plugs in but has a battery back up. This is extremely important if the power outage is caused from severe weather. You need to stay informed if the weather is getting worse or if new warnings are issued in your area. If you don’t have power you can’t watch your favorite weather man. You also can’t count on hearing the tornado sirens. Tornado sirens are designed to give notice to people who are outside! I hear people all the time say that they didn’t hear the sirens in their house. Repeat after me “Tornado sirens are for outside warning, weather radios are for inside warning!”

Here are some supplies that you need if you have small children in your home.

5.  Disposable diapers. Now this might seem like a no brainier but I did not have any of these in our house when we had our power outage. We use cloth diapers so I didn’t think that I needed any disposables but as the hours ticked by without the power coming back on I realized this was a mistake. I saw my stash of clean diapers getting smaller and smaller. Having no idea when I could wash them really added to the stress of the situation.

6. Activities to keep the kids busy. This is more for your sanity! Board games, cards, and coloring books are a great way to have some family fun.

7. Feeding supplies for babies. If you are a formula feeding mom do you have a way to prepare the formula without power? Are you a pumping mom? Do you have a battery pack adaptor for your pump? Or maybe a manual pump as a back up? This is one time it was really handy to be a breastfeeding mom. I didn’t have to worry about warming up a bottle.

8. Cash! If your whole area is with out power you will not be able to pay with a credit card.

9.  Know how to open your garage door without power so that you can get your car out.

10. Does your family have any special needs that you need to look at if you lost power? Medical issues? Pet issues?

11. Keep your cell phone charged! You will feel a lot less panicked if your cell phone will work and you have more than 5% battery life.

12. Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible to help keep the temperature at a level to keep your food safe.

13. If you use a generator make sure that you know how to safely use it! Never set the generator up in your house or garage!
After you have managed to stay sane though the power outage and your power has come back on you will need to start checking your food to make sure that it has stayed safe to eat. If your power outage was less than 4 hours you shouldn’t have to much to worry about. A fridge that has been unopened should keep food at a safe temp for 4 hours.  A freezer that is full will keep food at a frozen temperature for about 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full, but you have to keep the door closed. We moved our milk and cheeses to our freezer to help them keep the temp longer when we had our power outage. Here are the tips from the America Red Cross on how to check your food and know if it is safe. (http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage)

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.

If you have to throw out your food, you should check with your insurance company. Some homeowner policies have a refrigerator rider and will pay you some dollar amount to help cover the cost of your loss.

Being a breastfeeding, working mom I was really worried about my stash of breast milk. I was glad to know that the freezer would keep things frozen so long! I still wanted to make sure that my milk was safe for my little one so I went over and visited Kellymom.com. This a a wonderful website recommended to me by my lactation consultant. Here are the tips from Kellymom.com: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/milkstorage/frozen-milk-power-outage/

Some ways to keep your milk frozen:

  • If you have access to a generator, use it to operate your freezer during a power outage.
  • If a neighbor or a nearby store has power, ask if you can store your milk in their freezer until power is restored. Make sure your milk has contact information on it!
  • In your freezer (with no power): Open the freezer as little as possible. Food will stay frozen longer if the freezer is full: if you know ahead of time that you may lose power, fill empty spaces in your freezer with containers of water so that there is extra ice instead of empty space. Keep your expressed milk in the middle of the freezer, away from freezer walls. According to the USDA, “a full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.”
  • In a cooler: Pack the cooler as full as possible, to slow thawing. Crumpled newspaper is a good insulator if there is extra air space in the cooler. Covering the cooler with blankets will also help to keep it cold.
  • Extra air space in your freezer or cooler can be filled with dry ice, Techni Ice, “blue ice,” containers of water or ice, or snow.
  • Are you in an area with snow on the ground? You may be able to store your milk in a snow bank, out of the sun, or use snow/ice to keep your milk cool in your freezer or cooler.

I was making plans to move my freezer stash just to be safe when our power came back on.I was so happy that all my milk was still frozen and safe.

As a result of our power outage we did have to throw away a lot of the food that was in our refrigerator. Better safe than sorry. I also learned that I needed to be more prepared with my little ones. If you need more of more information I recomend checking out the American Red Cross website: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage and for more information on stored breast milk safety check out KellyMom.com here: http://kellymom.com

 

Stay safe!

 

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Traditions

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To celebrate the Fourth of July we would all gather at my grandparents house on the lake. We would barbecue and eat outside on their deck. We would take turns playing yard games in their large shady backyard. We would swim in the lake and float on rafts. Just enjoying the summer sun! When it would get darker out we would shoot off some fireworks. Smoke bombs, sparklers, and snakes were some of my favorites. All of us would watch amazed as one of my grandparent’s neighbors would hang this huge rope full of lady fingers up into the tree and light the bottom. The firecrackers would light off of each other and run up the rope igniting a a chain of booms and pops. When nighttime started to set in we would all get on my grandparents boat and ride it out to the perfect place to watch the professional fireworks. I loved watching the fire works from the boat!

The last three Fourth of July’s have been different since my grandpa passed away and my grandma sold their house. The Fourth of July is one of the days I miss my grandpa the most. We are building new family traditions. We watch the parade that our city puts on and get together with family and friends. We find somewhere to watch fireworks and of course we still have to shoot off some snakes! 

What traditions do you and your family have for America’s birthday?

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The Last-Minute Father’s Day

Did you know that Sunday is Father’s Day?  Yeah, me too.  But, I have a, um, friend who didn’t realize that since June 1 was on a Sunday, the third Sunday in June would fall on the 15th.  Really early.  Anyway, I my friend started looking for Father’s Day crafts on Pinterest (where else?) that the her kids could do for their awesome, amazing dad.  I She wanted to share the list with you, in case you, too, were a little caught off guard by Father’s Day.

Here’s my her Pinterest list of the top seven things you can do for last-minute Father’s Day gifts.  You can do most of these things with stuff you probably already have on hand.  Why only seven things?  Because who has the time to look for more?  It’s two days away, people!  The kids and I  She and her kids need to get crafting!

1.  A personalized coffee mug

2.  A Father’s Day Coupon Book

3.  Superhero Dad Book

4.  All About My Dad Page

5.  A Picture of your kids wearing dad’s clothes.  You could take the picture yourself and either print it at home or at a one-hour photo lab.  Or, if you’re really pressed for time, post it on his Facebook wall as a sort of e-card.

6.  A Jar of Candy With a Cute Saying

7.  A Printable Card Your Kids can Color.  It even has a cute, printable envelope to go with it!

 

You can also see these on our Father’s Day Crafts Pinterest board.  http://www.pinterest.com/thecrazyhatbox/

 

 

 

 

 

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A Few of My Favorite Things (about my Dad).

We decided to join forces for this one.  This will be the first in a series about some of our favorite things.  We thought this one would be appropriate for Father’s Day!  We hope you have great memories of your dad and have things that you love about him.

by Kendel

His Sense of Humor

One of my favorite memories about my dad is how much he made me laugh.  He’s funny.  He has a dry, smart sense of humor.  I married a really funny man and my dad made me appreciate that about him.  He also loved to hide and scare the living daylights out of me and I loved every second of it.

His Patriotism

My dad raised me to be proud of my country.  To vote (you can’t complain unless you do).  He was in the military.  He is a Vietnam vet.  He doesn’t talk about it much, but I’m proud that he served his country in the Army.

His Love of Baseball

I got that from him.  I love going to the game.  I love the whole experience.  Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, Hot Dogs and the 7th inning stretch.  He took the time to really teach me about the game.  I can’t go to a game without thinking about him.  We need to go to a game again soon Dad.

His Compassion

I always felt loved.  ALWAYS.  Even when he wasn’t very happy with what I did.  I never doubted for one minute that he loved me.  He told me often and he proved it always.

His Protection

I always felt safe.  He always did a thorough job of checking out any guy that wanted to date me.  At the time it was a little embarrassing, but I still love that he protected me.

I feel blessed indeed that this is the man God saw fit to raise me.  I love you dad!!

 

by Melissa

His Care and Concern for Others

My dad has a real caring heart for others. I am so glad that this is one of the things that I have learned from him. He never thinks twice about plowing an elderly neighbors driveway in the winter, most of the time he just does it and leaves without even letting them know who did it. He has been a police officer longer than I have been alive and has helped thousands of people in his time with the force. He has received several life saving awards for going above and beyond to save a life.

His Love of the Outdoors

I have so many fond memories from my childhood of camping and fishing with my dad and the rest of the family. We had all kinds of  crazy things happen, everything from a flooded tent to a                               squirrel chewing through our Tupperware and eating our bread! It never slowed us down or stopped us. I am looking forward to taking my kids along with their grandpa for more outdoor adventures!

Taking the Time to Teach me to Drive a Car with a Manual Transmission

I was a month away from graduating from college and really needed a new car. I bought a truck and it had a manual transmission. I had no idea how to drive it and one of my parents drove it home from the car lot for me. My dad then got the fun job of taking me out and teaching me how to drive it. It took more than one trip out for me to get the hang of it but my dad always stayed calm and patient with me the whole time. Knowing how to drive a manual transmission has come in handy several times and I’m glad it is a life skill that I have!

His Stories

My dad tells the best stories! The story could be about one of his police adventures or some crazy cooking idea that he had to try out.  The stories always get a good laugh or touch your heart. I could listen to my dad’s stories over and over again all day! Dad we really should write some of these stories down so that we will always have them. I love that you share so many things that have happen to you with all of us through your stories.

How Great of a Grandpa He is

It is amazing to see how much my dad loves my kids. He never thinks twice about taking my daughter out to the neighbors “park” ( this is a swing set next door to my parents house but my daughter calls it a park) or hold my new little son so that I can eat a hot dinner. I know that he did those things for me when I was growing up but being little myself I don’t think that I viewed them the same way. I love the way his eyes light up when my daughter runs to him yelling “PAPA!” or when my son grasps his finger.

 

by Ali

His Silliness

My dad has always been so silly!  From the shenanigans of chasing us around the house as the daddy monster to the terrible jokes he told our friends when we were teens (we were so embarrassed!), he’s always been able to show us that it’s okay to be silly!  It’s something my sisters and I have carried into our families with our kids and nieces and nephews. And, as a grandpa, his silliness continues, which the grand-kids find hilarious!

His Concern for Our Spiritual Welfare

My dad took the time to have Bible studies with us.  He took the time to pray with us.  He didn’t mind us listening in on his conversations with other adults about the Bible.  I learned so much.  He gave me a Spiritual background that not many get and that I often take for granted.  And I know that he prays for me, which means so much.

His Hard Work

My dad taught me the value of hard work.  He was always doing things around the house and fixing things himself to save our family money.  And, by watching him, I learned how to do a lot of those things myself!

Sunday Afternoons and Bedtime

Sunday afternoons were the best!  They were usually lazy times in between Sunday morning and Sunday evening church services.  Sometimes we’d watch the dust floating in the sunbeams from the window.  Sometimes, we’d lay outside on the grass and find shapes in the clouds, and sometimes we’d listen as dad told us stories about when he was little.  Bedtime, too, was so much fun with the “Everybody Game”.  Each person got a turn picking a motion that everyone had to do (“Everybody… wave their right hand”; “Everybody… pretend to sleep!”).  I don’t know why, but we so enjoyed that simple game!

His Love of Gardening

My dad, like his dad, has always had a garden.  It was something I was never interested in until I became an adult with my own house.  Now, I too love to plant seeds and watch them grow and eat the fruits (or vegetables) of my labor.

How Much He Loves His Grand-kids

My dad loves my kids as much as I do!  He loves spending time with them and playing games with them.  He lets them help with little tasks, which makes them feel important, and he’s always telling me how smart and strong and amazing my kids are, which every parent loves to hear!

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