Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Popcorn Trees"

At church we have a fun little song "Popcorn Popping" from the Children's Songbook. My children love to see the "popcorn trees" in bloom in the spring.  For the most part, in our area, instead of apricot trees we have decorative pear trees and dogwood trees.  It's always fun to see the white blossoms popping out in early spring.

A few weeks ago, I was out walking with my preschoolers and we saw a couple of "popcorn trees".  Of course we had to stop and sing the song when we saw the white blossoms.  The night before we had a wind storm and there were plenty of sticks on the ground, inspiring us to make this fun craft. 

 Popcorn Tree Craft
Sticks--the more they branch out the more "tree-like" they'll be
Popcorn (popped)
Marbles or decorative stones
Glue gun

Fill the vases partway with marbles or stones.  Insert one or more sticks.  Glue popcorn all over the sticks using the glue gun.  My 3 year old handed the popcorn to me while I did the gluing.

Eat some popcorn as a snack while enjoying your new decoration.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tornado and 72 Hour Kit Weather!

As spring fast approaches and along with it storms, there are some routine precautions that are good to have in place since tornadoes seem to be everywhere these days.   
1)  If you have not done so, please sign up with CodeRed if your community offers it.  If they do not, put in a petition to your mayor or emergency management department at the county.  It is an emergency alert system that calls your phone directly.  If there is a bad storm, a tornado warning or an emergency notification--you immediately get a phone call.  No need to worry about hearing your weather radio going off in the middle of the night.  Even with Code RED  a weather radio is still a wonderful thing to have around.
2)  Update or create your 72 hour kit.  A list is available here http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=35169 at the FEMA website.  Another great resource is available from the Be Ready Iowa website http://www.beready.iowa.gov/default.html  On there you can find lots of great information.  Their 72 hour kit checklist is found here http://www.beready.iowa.gov/documents/other/PUB_SampleEmergencySupplyKit.pdf and includes items for you, your pet and your vehicle.
3) Make sure that you have a safe place in your home already prepared in case of a tornado warning.  Make sure it is a room without windows.  Now is the time to put in blankets, bottled water, a radio with batteries and earphones if you have little kids, something to take you and your families minds off of the storm--like UNO or Skip-Bo cards, and something fun and extra--like candy--to make it more of an adventure than a scary ordeal.  Also, have your 72 hour kits close at hand.
4)  If there is a Tornado WATCH (where conditions are favorable for a tornado to form)--this is the time to make sure that people have shoes on, or they have some in your safe place, to move purses, wallets, special blankets and stuffed animals, important documents, valuable pictures/items, your laptop, a phone and/or cell phone and a back up of computer files to your safe place and calmly secure things.  Then if the WATCH turns into a WARNING (where a tornado has been spotted), you can calmly, without panic, make your way to your safe place, until the tornado warning is lifted.  Remember if you have kids they will be cued in on you--so make it fun, say a prayer, sing some songs and DON'T FREAK!
5)  Meet with your insurance agent and review the coverage on your property in case of a storm or other types of damage.  Don't forget to ask about earthquake insurance.  If earthquakes are not common in your area, it is generally not offered outright, but consequently is available at very cheap rates.   Remember--during the last days (or better put--our days) there will be earthquakes in divers places--so if you have never had an earthquake it doesn't mean you won't have one.

Remember--If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear!