The Crazy Hat Box

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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. (

  • 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 This a a wonderful website recommended to me by my lactation consultant. Here are the tips from

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: and for more information on stored breast milk safety check out here:


Stay safe!


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Essential Oils for the Non-Fanatic

I love using Essential Oils.  I think they are beneficial for a lot of things, but I’m not one of those people who thinks they are a panacea. I don’t think they’ll cure horrible diseases or that they should be used in place of medicine.  Also, double check that an oil is safe to use on your skin before doing so.  Some of them are really potent, and can cause a lot of pain when applied directly!

That said, I do love them.  Here’s how I use them.

Alleviate Cold Symptoms

At the beginning of winter, I stock up on Eucalyptus essential oil.  It smells like Vicks VapoRub, helping to alleviate coughing and congestion.  I put a few drops in the boys’ bath water and their humidifiers when they have colds.  Whey they are really having trouble with coughing, I start a steamy shower and fill up the sink with hot water and few drops of Eucalyptus oil, and we sit in the steamy bathroom for a while.  You can also add Rosemary and Peppermint essential oils to create a cold symptom-alleviating cocktail!


We all know that lavender is supposed to help soothe and calm you.  And, that’s how I use it.  Primarily, I will put a little dab on my face before bed to help relax me.  I’ve also heard that Lavender is beneficial for your skin and also helps to lessen the effects of allergies, so that can’t hurt, either!  And lavender is one of the mildest essential oils, so you don’t have to worry about using it on little ones!

Soothe Skin Irritations

Not only is lavender beneficial for your skin, it can also help with minor skin irritations.  It helps soothe razor burn, and can even help bug bites be less itchy and irritated.  The thing about it, though, is that the relief isn’t long-lasting.  You have to re-apply when the oil wears off.


I clean my kitchen with white vinegar, but I really don’t like the smell of it, so I always add essential oils to my bottle to help mask the smell.  My new favorite oil to add is cinnamon.  It not only smells good, but it’s also supposed to have antibacterial qualities, making it a great addition to my vinegar!  On a side note, cinnamon is very, very harsh.  Don’t get it on bare skin or you will regret it!  Trust me, I know.

I also mix a little essential oil with water in a spray bottle and use it as a linen spray.  Choose something like lavender or orange, or whatever makes you happy!  You could even try your own scent combinations!

Freshen the Air

To make your house smell amazing, try using your favorite essential oil in an essential oil diffuser.

For more information on essential oils and their use, check out the book Modern Essentials Usage Guide.


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Motion Sick Toddler Equals No Fun for Anyone

My poor daughter suffers from motion sickness which can get kind of tricky when your in-laws live on the other side of the state!

It was a bit of a slow process to figure out what was going on with our little girl. We were in the car and she started to get fussy. She wasn’t old enough to tell us that she was about to lose her breakfast. Being newer parents, what was about to happen didn’t cross our minds. I double checked her car seat straps to make sure they were not twisted or cutting into her arms (since I was sitting next to her in the back seat). I gave her a few different toys thinking maybe she wanted something different to play with. She had just eaten and had her diaper changed before we had left the house about 30 minutes before, so I didn’t think it could be either of those bothering her. Then it happened… I’ll be nice and spare you the details.

My husband pulled off at the first exit that we came to and stopped at the nearby fast food restaurant. He went inside and got some napkins and a few brown bags that the worker let him have. We were totally unprepared! We did our best trying to clean up the car seat and our poor daughter. At least we had some extra clothes for her since we were going to visit her grandparents. We had to put a reusable shopping bag in the bottom of her car seat so that she would have somewhere dry to sit.

The next time she got sick was in her Johnny jump up. Both times she had gotten sick she had eaten eggs, so we were starting to think that she had an egg intolerance. After a few more times getting sick in the car (and having not had eggs) we finally put together that she was having an issue with motion sickness.

So I went to Google and started searching and asked my friends on Facebook if any of them had had to deal with motion sickness. We talked to our daughter’s doctor who recommended that we try giving her Benadryl. I really didn’t want to have to give her medicine every time we were going to be in the car for a while. Luckily for most of our quicker local trips she is fine… not always, but at least most of the time.


I wanted to share with you what we have found that has worked the best for our family. Just a reminder that I am not a doctor and if you have a child that is having issues with motion sickness please check with your child’s doctor.


1. Try and travel when she is sleeping.


One of the first things that has helped has been timing when we are traveling to match either nap time or bedtime. If she is sleeping while we are traveling she doesn’t get sick as much.


2. Watch when she eats.


We watch what she eats and when she eats if we are going to be in the car. We try to give at least two hours after a meal before we have to be on the road. We also try to avoid the foods that have upset her tummy before in the car. The trick seems to be not to have her tummy be too empty or too full.


3. Ginger Ale!


This discovery has been amazing! It was suggested by one of my Facebook friends. I’m not sure what it is about ginger that helps settle a stomach but this has really worked for us. We normally just let her have milk and water, so the ginger ale is a special road trip treat. She doesn’t need a lot of it for it to help keep her tummy settled. We found a certain type that we like from the store that is all natural so I feel better about giving it to her. My husband and I try to make sure that we always have a few cans on hand and that we take enough on our trip for any smaller trips that she might need it for and for the return trip home.


4. Be careful of what activities are done while in the car.


I have to make sure that my daughter doesn’t watch any movies or read any books while in the car. It is better for her if she looks out the windows.


4. Be prepared.


This is the best tip that I can give you because sometimes the motion sickness just happens even with our best efforts to help control it. I have made a car-sick kit that I carry in my purse all the time.


photo 1                         photo 2


This kit includes a travel size bottle of our favorite cleaner, wipes, and lots of plastic bags. I also keep in the car a waterproof seat pad that can be placed in to the bottom of the car seat so that my little one doesn’t have to sit in the wet seat. I only use this if the seat is really bad since the car seat safety recommendation is that you don’t add any products to the car seat that didn’t come with the seat.  I also carry a change of clothes for her at all times in my bag.

photo 4

For longer road trips I pack a full cleaning bucket. In this bucket I include a bottle of cleaner, lots of rags, and a wet bag for soiled clothes. I also pack lots of extra outfits in my daughter’s suitcase. I hope that as she gets older she will know what is happening and be able to tell me in time to get the bucket to her so that she can use it and we will have less to clean up.


photo 5                             photo 3
Hopefully as our little girl grows, the motion sickness will affect her less.  It is still something that I deal with as an adult so I don’t know that she will outgrow it completely. Being prepared has helped make our travels much better even if we have some messes to clean up along the way.

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What Your Dental Hygienist Wishes You Knew

This is the first in a new series titled “I Wish You Knew”.  We plan to cover many subjects and would love some suggestions from those of you that read this blog.  This is also our first post from a guest blogger!  My friend Andrea wrote this and it’s something that should affect everyone.  We may write a couple of these posts, but most will be from guest bloggers.  It’s funny and insightful.  Enjoy….

Hey there, my name is Andrea. I’m a wife to a studly man named Dustin and a mother to the 2 most beautiful, unique children in the world (totally not biased). I also have the privilege to call myself a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).
My job is both difficult and fulfilling, interesting and entertaining; and you either love or hate coming to see me.
However, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets to make your future hygiene appointments a better experience for both you and your hygienist with these 5 simple things your hygienist wishes you knew!
1) PLEASE be on time to your appointments! I know your hygienist might be running behind and you may not ALWAYS get brought back right on the money. Trust me, it’s probably because her first patient of the day was late and it messed up her whole days schedule! (Grrrr)We adore our patients who are on time!
2)Please don’t cry and wine during x-rays. I know they aren’t comfortable and you think we’re radiating you enough to make you grow a tail or a 3rd arm, but ya know what? We have to get them too and we know they aren’t the most enjoyable part of your day. They are a NECESSARY EVIL! (Gag reflex gets a free pass)
3)”My gums never bleed until you poke them!” Look, rule number 1 of oral health (pay attention) HEALTHY TISSUE DOESN’T BLEED. Ever had a hang nail that bleeds after you’ve pulled it off then you accidentally scrape it and it bleeds again? This is basically what is going on under your poor gum tissue when we measure your pockets. Believe it or not, your RDH doesn’t get a high on making gums bleed. (Floss more)
4) Please do not try to tell me your life story at our first appointment. I know your ex husband is a womanizing pig or your wife eats chocolate bon bons and watches soaps all day while you work your hiney off. We can cover all of this at some point, but if you want me to clean your teeth, then that requires my hands in your mouth to which I prefer your teeth not be moving! I LOVE chatting with my patients. That’s how I develop a relationship with you, but I still need to do my job in a timely fashion so my next patient isn’t pacing in the lobby while I get the latest gossip about your mother’s uncle’s sister’s friend’s cat. I want to get to know you, but we have to do it in puzzle pieces. Mmmkay?
5)I LOVE my job! When a patient comes back to see me and their oral health has improved because they took my recommendations into action at home I get the BIGGEST feeling of satisfaction! Patient compliancy goes a loooong way! When my super anxious patient who is terrified of the dentist comes to me after a few appointments and says she actually enjoys coming back, I have accomplished something! Listen to your hygienist, work at home to improve your oral health. Your appointments will be easier on both you and your RDH thus giving you more time to chat and get to know each other! Or your appointments won’t take as long and you can get the heck out of there and go back to your exciting life, job, nap. ..whatever!
I hope you’ll find these to be helpful, insightful and enlightening. If not, then I hope you at least read this in it’s entirety and it motivates you to schedule a cleaning with your hygienist so you can show off your mad flossing skills.


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