Fresh Air

The exhilarating feeling of getting fresh air on a perfect fall-ish day is something I always forget how much I love until I get the opportunity to do it. Sometimes, I even have to be forced into it by what could be seen as an unfortunate turn of events…

Saturday, I decided to spend the majority of the day outside with the kids.  It was gorgeous.  We took a long walk/run throughout the neighborhood.  Levi asked, “Do you think Aiden (our neighbor who we’ve only seen once) wants to come out and play?”

Usually, I would say, “He’s probably busy, bud.”  But that day, the fresh air must have gone to my head.  “Let’s knock on his door and find out!”  After all, that’s how I made friends when I was a kid.

We knocked on the door and his grandma answered.  They already had plans and were about to head out for the day, but she encouraged us to try back tomorrow.  I promised we would.  Success, just delayed a bit.

On the walk back, we decided to take the long route, down the back gravel roads.  Levi asked lots of good questions about the trees, the holes that (hopefully) were bunny burrows, and imagined some rocks were dinosaur fossils from a T-Rex who used to roam in our area long ago.

When we arrived back home, off to the trampoline we went.

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Then, to the swing set.  Then, the kids got some ice pops and rode around in Levi’s little Jeep.

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Idyllic is certainly a word that comes to mind.  When I envisioned having kids, this was the dream.  A blue house on a cul-de-sac.  Riding bikes, taking walks, swinging and ice-pops.  Watching my studly husband fix things outdoors with his muscles shining in the sun.

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You know what I didn’t dream of?  Realizing I had lost my keys somewhere on that long, long walk and having to retrace my steps 2.5 miles to try to find them, only to come home and find them wedged under the sun-visor of the stroller.

Still, I had had such a good day that I managed to laugh at myself and carry on.  I think the universe knew I needed more fresh air and had to force me into it 😉 For dinner, we went out for pizza and got the kids some ice cream. After all, we burned a lot of calories with our accidental adventure!

Despite my absent-mindedness, Saturday was a blazing success, and a nice reminder to enjoy the weekend, and ignore the chores sometimes.  They can wait, and they won’t mind.  But my kids can’t, and they do. Three cheers for the power of fresh air! Go get yourself some!

What are your favorite fall fresh-air activities to do with the family? We want to hear all about it!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeupMargo is a financial advisor back in school again and a married mom of 2 in Maryland.

 

There’s wine in my soup

Those of you following us on Instagram may have seen this mouthwatering photo of our homemade Chianti Minestrone pop up on your feed for #winewednesday this week.

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We got a lot of interest about what’s cooking in our kitchen, and we were asked by a reader (and high school friend! what, what!) to post the recipe. So, without mincing words (see what I did there?) I’ll get straight to the point. Here’s how to make the magic happen.

Homemade Chianti Minestrone with Spicy Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 28 oz. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into half moons
  • 1 lb hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into half moons
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, chopped (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup good Chianti (optional)
  • 1/2 water (as needed)
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (for topping)

To Make:

  1. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot generously with olive oil. Add sausage, onion, and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through, and the garlic and onion are fragrant but not blackened. Crumble sausage as much as possible.
  2. Reduce to medium heat and add carrots, cook 3-5 minutes more or until slightly tender.
  3. Add zucchini and squash and saute until tender, another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or so.
  5. Add pasta, beans, spinach, and herbs and return to a boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes and reduce heat to low simmer.
  6. Finish by adding 1/2 cup of good Chianti, and salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I’ll add an extra 1/2c. of water or so too, depending on how much broth has reduced.

That’s it! You’re done. If you want to go crazy and make homemade bread too, this soup goes fantastically well with my homemade herbed bread, and you can find that recipe here. This makes a LOT of soup and typically feeds us for a couple of meals. I add a bit of water to thin the broth when I reheat it, but it keeps very well in the fridge for a number of days.

Bon Appetit and happy fall soup-ing! (And wining, if you’re so inclined.) Cheers!

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3 children, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

 

 

The Hope Beyond Fad Diet Fallout

In my world of fitness, there is ALOT of talk about nutrition and food. Different diets produce different results for all different types of folks. It is so easy to get confused, or feel exhausted from experimenting with diets and seeing too many changes, or worse yet, none at all. Not to mention the mess of not knowing which one to choose.

In a recent bout of frustration about my own current weight management struggle, I made a toddler tantrum sized putting-my-foot-down decision that I would become vegan.

“I need to get this bloat off me, so I’ll eat nothing but veggie broth and water until I am thin again.” ( Don’t worry, my vegan loves, I do not think this is anything like what veganism entails, this is just what my brain told me in this moment…I digress)maxresdefault (1)

<Pause for self-judgement break> Yeah, because THAT mentality towards food always works, right? Give me a break!

So, in this new state of delusional determination, I opened all my food delivery apps to change dietary settings to vegetarian/ vegan options. Instead of the settings button, an article popped up on my screen. As a new feature in the app, I had not seen links or advertisements like this before. This is where the universe kicked in with a nudge in a better direction with this article:

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating  

Saying to my husband with intrigue, “Hey, I am intuitive. Maybe this is an answer to my weight struggles?” I read the article. I read it about six times.

I know most of us, if not all of us, can say we’ve said and heard the same old song and dance. “I’ve tried (insert whatever diet here), and it either didn’t work, or it worked for awhile until it didn’t anymore”

Loads of experts tell us that it is not in what diet we follow, it is about a whole LIFESTYLE change. But, honestly, how intimidating is that to hear?

Great, you’re telling me that I have to change the way I live my whole life?

Yes you do. We all do. And it sucks at first. I have tried pescatarianism, being almost fully paleo, taco-bellianism (JK, but I love you crunchwrap), and intermittent fasting, all with varying results. Whether it was lower cholesterol, higher body fat, more lean muscle mass, or better skin, each “diet” came with it’s positives and negatives. I adhered more to some and less to others. I performed better, looked better, and had more ego based outlooks about my body. In reflection, however, the only one true end product was always the same.

Food decisions were controlling my relationship to food itself.

So in this particular “diving head first into lifestyle change” moment, I was stopped abruptly by this concept. It occurred to me that I can change my thoughts about my body, and in a huge way. Not what, when or, how I eat, but how it FEELS to eat.  Not only will this help it change, but through mindfulness, I am also giving myself the power to heal my relationship to food. 

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Before I go further to explain the concepts, I want to point out that this “feeling” towards food is NOT EGO BASED. In other words, we are not eating just cookies because it “feels so good”. Honestly? Intuitive eating allows us to sit in stillness and ask ourselves, how will I really feel after I eat this food item? What will my body feel like? Will shame or guilt set in after the food is gone? Will my body feel nourished, alive, and taken care of?

In other words, we do not let the mind and addictions to sugar, chemical preservatives, and cravings take over. We sit with ourselves and look within, asking the mind and body to connect and be honest. If that seems impossible, please, give it a chance and let me sum up conceptually from the article referenced above to shed more light.

  1. Reject Diet Mentality: We covered this above. Lose the idea that you have to label yourself one thing in order to meet your weight goals.
  2. Honor Your Hunger: What did you just say to me? You mean to tell me that I should eat when I’m hungry and not fast and kickstart my metabolism with 17 protein shakes and a lemon water every five seconds? No dude. No. When your mind gives you the signal that you’re hungry. Just eat. Period.images (1).png
  3. Make Peace With Food: (this is a big one so I will quote it) “Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.” Bam….you’re free.
  4. Challenge the Food Police: Resist the urge to praise or judge yourself for the things you eat. Constantly feeling like “I ruined my good day with one chocolate cake bite” or “I was AWESOME today because I only had 1200 calories” is blocking you. It’s difficult, I know, to let this concept go as it is ingrained in our ego. So, if you won’t resist your self critic, then treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.
  5. Respect Your Fullness: Take five when your plate is half gone, and check in with your body. Do you feel as though it needs the rest? Are you going to clear your plate because of other reasons? My particular downfall is seeing the money wasted by wasting food. So I used to eat everything on my plate, leaving me uncomfortably full. There are ALWAYS leftovers, doggy bags, or in our family’s case, chickens to be fed.images (9)
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: What a gift! You mean to tell me that I can find pleasure and satisfaction with eating? Yes! When we are not pressuring ourselves with the obsession over a body type, food can become an exhilarating dance between palate and plate. Discover that eating what you want in a headspace that isn’t deprecating can satiate more than just your appetite!
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food: I do realize that this one can be a sensitive topic. Eating your feelings, however, 100% of the time fails to make you truly feel better. So, learn ways that work for you to honor and heal your states of mind and heart without involving food. This will lead to a healthier relationship to food, and avoid the numbing we tend to do with the big emotions we can feel.
  8. Respect Your Body: Going through some inspirational memes the other day, I found this one:11755248_929402183794248_4932479781640736249_nThis was a game changer for me mentally. This whole time, I have been treating my body like it doesn’t exist as an entity. Like it is a stranger to me. Being hypercritical, wanting this part to change, or that to grow, or this to shrink. Would you talk that way to your best friend? No, odds are, they are beautiful in your eyes. So, let your body be your best friend. Choose to honor it, trusting it will help you feel better about exactly who you are.
  9. Exercise–Feel the Difference: Reject the exercising to lose weight mentality. Just exercise to feel your body move. Counting calories or making sure you exercise to burn the most calories puts you right back into that place. If we can focus on the JOY of moving your body, and what your body may be asking for that particular day, then we can learn to feel the everyday needs of our body. In that, we become more mindful and more apt to want to exercise.
  10. Honor Your Health: In each day, ask yourself what foods makes you feel healthy? Be gentle with yourself if that choice in one day does not meet ridiculous “dietary standards”. The point of this step is that one snack, in one day, isn’t going to make or break the rest of your life. Take one day at a time, and honor the consistent progress of your work.

So what is the difference between “Fad Dieting” and Intuitive lifestyle changes? Well, in my opinion, it is all in how you FEEL. Fad Dieting will create quick fixes that may or may not have results. Those that do have results, find that they either fade away, or that they are unsustainable, leaving an individual with negative and discouraging feelings towards their work and their body image. Rinse with new diet, and repeat.

If you have found something, a food relationship, that helps you intuit your connectivity to yourself, both physically and emotionally, then you have your keeper. Some examples out there include the Whole30, which places emphasis on “resetting your health, habits, and relationship with food.”

The authors of the article that I reference, Intuitive Eating, have created a very easy way to dive into this level of mindful eating with this workbook.

I will leave you all today with this (pictured below). Keep it in mind, and practice it with an open heart and mind.

Bon Appétit

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IMG_6228.jpgKristy is a Professional Birth Doula, Certified Massage Therapist, energy worker and mom of 2 in Virginia.

A tribute to preschool wisdom

My family recently relocated with the military (more on that adventure here if you missed it) which means all of our young children went through the sometimes scary and always eventful process of beginning new schools and making new friends in a new place.

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Recently, while driving through our new town to my youngest son’s new preschool, I asked him to tell me a bit about his new friends in class. We discussed his peers in the true little-boy fashion I have come to know and love, which includes standard points like their names, what activities they do together, but also (and more importantly) what superheroes they like, what ninja moves they can do, and the fantastical tales they share about pirates, dinosaurs, outer space, and legos (all of which I’m certain I still don’t completely understand).IMG_6534

But what I found most interesting was his response when I asked him about one boy in particular that he mentioned playing with a lot, even garnering him with his “best buddy” status (which this kid doesn’t throw around lightly, believe. you. me.). Being the nosy mother I apparently am, I asked him what the little boy looked like. Not because it matters at all really, but because for some reason I wanted to see if I could find my son’s new “best buddy” in the class picture, or spot him on the story carpet at drop off. I don’t really know why, I think I was just excited that my little guy had a new friend more than anything else (and I tend to inherently want to know everything about everything our kids do. Sorry in advance to their girlfriends/boyfriends.)  So, I asked our son “what does your new best buddy look like?” and I really wasn’t ready for the preschool wisdom he was about to drop on me.

“I don’t know” he said.  “When I play with him, I look at him, but I just see a buddy. I don’t matter about the other stuff”

His simple, perfect answer hit me right in the chest and actually choked me up. Maybe it was because I was a little sleep deprived from being up with our 1.5-year-old the prior night, but mostly I think it was because he was so. right. on. And I… wasn’t. Because he was telling me, Mom, I don’t care about what he looks like in the way you are asking. All I see is my friend. And just like that, my little preschooler put me back in my place. Does it matter what his friend looks like? No, it doesn’t. Does it matter if I know what his friend looks like? No, it doesn’t. I don’t need to exert one ounce of my potential parental judgment into a classroom friendship that is making him happy.

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As adults, we tend to place so much emphasis on what we look like. In fact, I would even wager to say that we miss out on potential friendships because we can’t get past all of the things we “see” when we look at someone. Clothes, hair, color, shape, size, occupation… to name a few. Just think what we might see if we all looked at each other with a non-judgmental preschool heart. Past the physical qualities that so often define us to focus instead on our commonalities and shared experiences. Like being a mother or a father, a son or a daughter, a person looking for happiness, a person that likes dogs, sports, cooking, (or of course what ninja moves we can do, if only we could be as cool as our kids) or WHATEVER. What if we could “just see a buddy” in the people we meet? I for one, am going to try harder…

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So thank you, to my son for opening my eyes. And thank you, to his friend for playing with the new kid. May they enjoy many days of Batman, shark-hunting, and ninja-kicks together. And may we all bring a little preschool wisdom into our day.

 

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3 inspiringly resilient military children, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

 

It’s OK to Be Tired

Happy Monday, everyone!

While I write this in hopes that you had a super restful weekend with your family, I know the reality is likely that that wasn’t the case.  For most adults, especially those with children, the weekend is spent catching up on adult-y things like laundry, housework, yardwork, and even potentially work-work and school-work.

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Additionally, we all want to spend the time soaking in the wonderful little creatures who are our beloved children, because most of the time, whether you work outside of the home or not, the week is not full of cuddles and lovey time.  It’s full of errands, school, homework, cooking and transporting these little humans to various activities.

So, today I’d like to focus on an important topic – Sleep.  I have noticed lately that some of us wear this ridiculous mask, like a badge of honor.  The mask is: “I’m not tired.  I’ve got this totally under control.  I’m super happy and can handle it all.”

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The mask has virtually no purpose at all.  Saying these things and pretending they are true doesn’t make them true.  Most importantly, pretending we are well-rested doesn’t make us well-rested.

Sometimes, you need to give your to-do list a rest and TAKE. A. NAP.  I did this yesterday.  I spent the morning tidying up, after spending Saturday catching up on work and studying a bit with the kids in my lap.  Then, my dear husband spent some quality time with the kids while I snoozed on the sofa for a bit.

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And, I’m here to tell you I’m not ashamed!  I needed a nap.  I needed to recharge.  Yes, I had other things to do, but the world isn’t going to end because I took a little hour and a half break.

It doesn’t make me weak.  It makes me normal.  So, take that nap, my friends.  Recharge your body and your spirit.  Your to-do list can always wait another day.

I’m officially giving you the permission you should be giving yourself!!

Wishing you lots of good rest and snuggles,

Margo

15 Ways the Stock Market is like Online Dating

Back in my younger days, before I was lucky enough to start dating the man who is now my dear husband, I tried online dating for a short spell.  I went on a date with a guy who cried the entire time into his beer about his recent split from his (ex)girlfriend.  I went on another date with a guy who, after I told him I wasn’t interested, hid in the bushes outside of my apartment for a few days.  (Police said because he wasn’t threatening me and the bushes were on county property, they couldn’t do anything.  That’s a story for another day).  Here is a picture of Sean Spicer hiding in the bushes so you an experience how creeped out I was…

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I had a few other weird encounters as well.  So, suffice it to say, I know a little bit about the world of online dating (at least in the olden times circa 2009 pre-Tinder.  I’m old, I know).

Now, as an investment advisor, I am always vigilantly watching and analyzing the stock market.  Recently, it dawned one me:  the market, in a lot of ways, is like online dating.

So, today I’d like to share with you the 15 ways that the stock market is like online dating, and how investments are like potential suitors:

  1. History usually repeats itself.  Markets are cyclical.  Just like potential suitors, you can count on them to revert back to their (previous/true) selves for a stretch every once in a while, no matter what kind of upswing they’ve been on for a while.  How long is the stretch though?  If I had a crystal ball and could you tell you that, I’d be a very rich woman.  The great news is that the stock market usually bounces back.  Significant others, though?  That remains to be seen, depending on the individual in question.Image result for not who I used to be gifYes, you usually are.
  2. Figuring out what you don’t want and avoiding it is a great strategy for long-term success.  What do I mean?  In investing, research shows that figuring out what the worst sectors (like technology or utilities, for example) are for long-term outlook (performance) and avoiding investing in them is a better strategy for performance of your portfolio than than strictly looking for the best investments based on positive markers alone.  The same goes with weeding through online dating options.  If you can, first, sift out the ones that have traits that you really dislike (dishonesty, bad grammar, smoking, cheating, lazy, etc.), you’ll have a much easier time picking the best ones from the group you have left.Image result for bad online dating profile gif
  3. Marketing doesn’t always match the facts.  What a company (or potential suitor) says about himself/herself may not be true once you get to know them a little bit better.  For example, analysts have found that some of the self-reporting on finances from certain non-U.S. countries hasn’t turned out to be 100% fact-based.  Comparatively, many of us who have experienced online dating know from personal experience that what someone says about themselves in their profile is also not 100% fact-based.  So, doing further research is always a good idea.  In finance, we call this due diligence.  The word due diligence also works for dating, since nowadays we can look up different social media accounts and learn a great deal about someone we don’t know personally.Image result for false advertising gif
  4. You can do all of the due diligence you want, but you really don’t know the potential suitor or investment until you are “in bed with them.” Potential love interests are on their best behavior in the beginning.  So you can do all of the research you want on them, but until you spend time with them getting to know them, you don’t really know them.  This is also true with a potential investment.  You can have completed all of the due diligence in the world, but nothing is guaranteed.  You won’t know the outcome of the investment until you put it in your investment portfolio.
  5. Sometimes the performance is a disappointment.  All signs may have pointed to him or her being great, but when the rubber meets the road, he/she tanks.  Same could be said for an investment you chose, unfortunately.Image result for lax bro online dating gif
  6. Reliability of an investment (or a potential suitor) and excitement don’t usually go hand in hand.  If you are looking for reliability and stability, jumping on to the new and exciting investment isn’t usually the way to go.  Have you ever heard the saying of, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket?”  Well, I’m here to tell you not to “put all of your eggs in the bad boy basket.”  Bad boys may seem exciting, but they are a big risk because they could turn out to be a total crash-and-burn, and they definitely aren’t easy to predict.  In the stock market, take Bitcoin (crypto-currency) as an example.  Crypto currency was exciting and new and “bad-ass” but look where things are now.  With big highs also comes big lows.  Image result for bad boy gif
  7. The strong ones have a long way to fall.  Take General Electric’s (GE) stock as an example. It used to be seen as a safe, stable investment, however, it tanked big time recently.  GE is like the frat boy born into a good family whose profile picture shows him with his lax bros in college.  You thought he would always just be stable: go to work, drink beer and watch football.  But one day he gets a DUI and then he’s jobless and in jail with a long road ahead of him to get back to his former glory.Related image
  8. All it takes is one insensitive political statement or unsolicited inappropriate picture to take down the whole man/company.  This one pretty much speaks for itself.  Both in your personal life and professional life, be careful what you do.  All it takes is one misspoken word, tweet or text to go from “highly regarded” to “bottom-of-the-barrell.”Image result for unsolicited naked picture gif
  9. If an investment or a potential suitor looks to good to be true, they usually are. Don’t fall for the “too good to be true” ones.  You’ll just get your heart and/or wallet broken!Image result for too good to be true gif
  10. What their friends say about them in the beginning is usually never true. In investments, when someone who will benefit financially from your purchase tells you it’s great, it’s always important to take their advice with a grain of salt.  The same can be said for the friends of your potential suitor.  Even though they don’t benefit (tangibly) in some way as a result of you dating their friend, they likely won’t tell you the whole truth about the potential suitor due to their loyalty.Image result for not who I used to be gif
  11. Everyone has an opinion and they are all different.  Lots of people have opinions about the stock market, online dating, potential suitors, and individual investments.  However, even the ones who claim to be “love experts” or “market experts” aren’t right all of the time.Image result for i am an expert gif
  12. Sometimes the undervalued ones are the greatest dark horses in the race. In finance, we spend a lot of time trying to find “undervalued stocks” to invest in, so we can take advantage of when they reach their full potential.  The same can be said for potential suitors.  My friend’s grandma used to always tell her, “Find a man with great potential.”  Sometimes, finding a potential suitor as they are still working to be their best selves can payoff in the greatest way, as you grow and become your best selves together.Image result for great potential gif
  13. Finding one with the best potential (undervalued) is a great strategy if you are willing to put in the time and the work.  In investments, some people believe in what is called the “Buy and Hold Strategy.”  This means that they believe that if you buy a basket of investments and hold them over a long period of time, the net result will be positive.  However, this strategy isn’t suited for the impatient investor, who feels compelled to get rid of an investment impulsively depending on the day.  The same can be said in your love life.  If you are an impatient person, investing your time and emotions into someone who has yet to reach their potential may not be the right strategy for you.  However, if you are willing to put in the time, you could end up with an amazing outcome in your love life!  Don’t be like this guy:Image result for undervalued man gif
  14. Having expectations can be a dangerous thing.  This is true both for your investments and your potential suitor.  Try to enter in with an open mind, after having done all of your due diligence, knowing that it’s never fully possible to predict the future 100%.  For both your money and your heart I suggest two important things:  1. Make the best choice possible based on your goals and dreams.  And 2. engage the help of professionals when you need it!
  15. Just when you least expect it, the stock market or the online dating community can surprise you in the best way.  Some days, you will wake up and be pleasantly surprised by the performance of the stock market, and thus, your investments.  The same can be said for the online dating world.  Some days, you will wake up to pleasant messages and wonderful potential suitors, and have very positive experiences that might change your life.Image result for happy surprise gif

 

Wishing you all of the love and financial health in the world,

Margo

 

 

 

Disaster Preparedness, Baby & Child

As Hurricane Florence stares down the eastern seaboard and wildfires continue to rage in California, it would seem remiss to ignore that a natural disaster will likely touch all of us in some way at some point in our lifetime. Disaster preparedness is a major issue for everyone, but particularly for those of us with small children. Infants, pregnant/nursing mothers, and young children have particular needs that may not be covered by your standard emergency kit or checklist.

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To save a lot of googling, anxiety, and time (we know you already don’t have any…), we’ve compiled some of the best official disaster preparedness resources and thrown some emergency prep essentials from our own professional and parenting experience in the mix too. Some of these items are simply for comfort, while others could truly save lives.

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Basic Disaster Survival Kit

According to experts at the American Red Cross, a basic disaster supplies kit should include the following items:

  • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • A list of family physicians.
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

You can view and download the complete American Red Cross emergency preparedness checklist here.

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Extras for pregnant moms-to-be, infants and children:

While the Red Cross checklist is a great place to start, “special items for infants” doesn’t exactly help the stressed-mom-trying-to-pack-everything mode we all enter when trying to provide for the safety and welfare of our children in the face of disaster. Luckily, the March of Dimes created an emergency checklist specifically for pregnant moms and parents with small children. They suggest adding the following items to your family’s disaster preparedness supplies.

Pregnant Mothers:

If you’re expecting, your disaster preparedness kit should include basically what you plan to pack in your L&D hospital bag, along with some (admittedly rather scary-sounding) emergency birth supplies, as follows.

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  • Emergency birth supplies (such as clean towels, sharp scissors, infant bulb syringe, medical gloves, two white shoelaces, sheets, and sanitary pads)
  • two blankets
  • closed-toe shoes
  • maternity and baby clothes
  • prenatal vitamins and other medications
  • nutritious foods, such as protein bars, nuts, dried fruit and granola
  • extra bottled water

baby sucking its thumb

For baby & child:

If you have an infant/toddler/small child, think about adding the following supplemental items to your emergency supplies to keep baby happy and healthy.

  • Baby food in pouches or jars and disposable feeding spoons
  • Extra baby blankets, clothes, and shoes
  • a thermometer
  • copies of vaccination records
  • antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer
  • dish soap
  • a portable crib
  • baby sling or carrier
  • diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • medications and infant pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • small disposable cups
  • ready-to-feed formula in single serving cans or bottles

For more information, you can access the full March of Dimes emergency preparedness checklist here.

brown bear plush toy on white bed comforter inside lighted bedroom

Additional Real As A M*ther Essentials

From our collective Real M*ther experience, the following items can also be invaluable for baby, child, and parent during extended power outages and temporary lodging situations that often accompany storms and natural disasters.

Anker cell phone charger

This rechargeable cell phone charger can provide you with extra hours of phone battery life when the power is out. Given all that we rely on our cellular devices for these days, it’s smart to have a way to access important information stored on your phone.

Nursing supplies for breastfeeding moms

Nursing pads, lanolin ointment/coconut oil, breast pump (with batteries and/or manual!) and bottling supplies, nursing pillow and extra blankets. Extra pacifiers.

crescent moon and cloud wind chimes

Battery powered lanterns

Candles are too dangerous, and flashlights become play-things in our house full of little ones. These waterproof Energizer lanterns are functional, bright, and provide hands-free illumination for a whole room. They also have a nightlight setting for which is great for kids’ rooms at night, and a 350 hour run time. We have three and use them almost constantly for one thing or another.

baby s green and purple highchair

Non-perishable kid’s protein sources

Getting your kids to eat is hard enough in perfect weather. When conditions may be challenging (OK, basically anything that involves the refrigerator not working is challenging with kids, but hangry kids won’t help) keep their bellies full with healthy, non-perishable protein sources. Some of our favorites are:

  • Earth’s Best baby yogurt pouches;
  • Nut butters like these Justin’s single-serve almond butter pouches (and don’t forget the Nutella!);
  • Larabars (natural ingredients, but soft enough for little ones to munch);
  • Horizon organic milk boxes (no refrigeration required); and
  • Snap Pea crisps (5g of pea protein per serving!)

Additional medicines for baby & child

Children’s Benadryl, Allergy/Asthma medications (as required), Simethicone drops or Gripe Water for little tummies. Band-aids, peroxide, and Neosporin for slips and falls and bumps.

Battery operated fans

In the hot summer months of hurricane season, the air circulation provided by even a small fan can go a long way to help kids and adults sleep comfortably during power outages. These O2Cool portable fans can be battery operated, no cords required.

man person cute young

Battery powered sound machine

A little sleep goes a long way for everyone. A comforting song or white noise is a great way to help little ones (and adults for that matter) sleep in cramped, loud, or new environments, and when the electricity is out these battery powered machines can be a big help keeping little ones asleep without draining your phone.

brown bear plush toy

Comfort Objects and distractions

Stuffed teddy, puzzles, favorite books. Whatever makes your kids feel comfortable, along with a few activities to keep their minds active and away from potential disaster-related anxieties.

Birth Certificates

If you are concerned about damage to your home or potential evacuation, you can avoid a lot of potential hassle by bringing your child’s birth certificate along. Many times, we forget that children need ID in several situations too!

four person taking selfie while wearing blue volunteer t shirt

Your Village

Remember that no matter what your circumstances, no one experiences a natural disaster alone.  Reach out to neighbors, school groups, church groups, and shelters. Get out of your comfort zone and connect. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help, and how many you can likely help as well. At the end of the day, we are all the village.

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Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone recovering from, and preparing for a natural disaster. Be safe y’all.

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography