Hurricane Preparedness Guide



Hurricane season is officially here and the National Weather Service is going nuts trying to remind people via social media to have a plan and get prepared BEFORE there’s a storm on the horizon. Forecasts for this year call for an above-average season, so I thought it would be a good idea to share basic preparedness tips.

1.) Have important phone numbers and account numbers handy.

  • Electric company (+ account number)
  • Car insurance company (+ account number)
  • Home insurance company (+ account number)
  • Gas company (+ account number)
  • Non-emergency police
  • Doctor’s office
  • Important family & close friends (in case your phone is damaged)

You can store all of these numbers on a single sheet of paper in a zip-lock bag somewhere that’s easy to get to.

2.) Have important documents in a water-tight location.

I keep important documents with my list of phone numbers in a water-tight zip-lock bag.

  • Birth certificates
  • Insurance policies
  • Social Security cards

3.) Gather supplies

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food (include items you can heat and items that don’t need to be heated)
  • Sanitary items (hand sanitizer, feminine products, Clorox wipes)
  • Dishwashing supplies (plastic tub, dish detergent, sponge)
  • Paper supplies (paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic silverware)
  • First Aid kit (or at least some Neosporin and bandaids)
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Hurricane lamps and oil
  • Cash (if card readers go down, you’ll only be able to use cash to get gas or other necessities.)

If you plan right, these are all supplies that you can keep in your normal rotation and use year-round. I like to consult my supplies list as soon as I hear that a hurricane *might* come our way and re-stock or refresh as needed. Usually, all I have to do is grab a couple extra gallons of water and an extra box of bandaids. Because hurricanes don’t usually level homes where we live, I don’t worry about making my kit mobile, but I would if a big enough storm were expected or if I lived in a location like Florida that gets hit much harder.

4.) Have a plan

Since everyone is usually home from school or work when they’re predicting a hurricane, our plan doesn’t involve a meeting place, BUT we do have a plan for the 24 hours leading up to the hurricane.

  • Turn up the fridge and freezers – this way, if the power goes out, we won’t have to worry about food spoiling as quickly
  • Make extra ice – Any available space in the freezer gets filled with ice
  • Double check supplies & documents
  • Get cash if needed
  • Charge ALL electronics
  • Wash laundry and dishes – because if the power goes out, it might be a while until you can use your washing machine or dish washer.

That’s our basic hurricane guide. Is there anything I missed that you do to get ready for a storm?


Russians Hacked My iPhone

Okay, so it was my husband’s iPhone. Still.

When he got home from work, he grabbed his phone to check the weather and it appeared to be in lock mode. There was a message on the screen in faux Russian instructing him to email

Obviously, he didn’t do that. It was apparent from the get-go that it was one of those ransom scams. Instead, we hopped online to find out how to fix his phone and recover his data. Here’s what we found:

Step 1: Turn off Find My Phone:

Head over to iCloud and proceed like you would as if you forgot your Apple ID password. The hackers activated Find My Phone through your iCloud account and changed your Apple ID password in the process. Once logged in, you can turn off Find My Phone from your account.

Step 2: Backup Your Phone:

Now that your phone has been “found”, you still won’t be able to get in because there will be a passcode on the lock screen. While they can somehow install one of these remotely, you can’t get rid of it remotely. Connect your phone to your computer and backup your data.

Step 3: Clear Your Phone:

Once your phone is backed up, it’s time to clear it. Clearing your phone and restoring to factory settings gets rid of any passcodes stored in the device.

Step 4: Restore Your Phone

Restore your phone using the backup on your computer. Don’t worry – it won’t restore your passcode!

Step 5: Activate 2-Step Verification

Head back to iCloud and activate your 2-Step Verification. This basically makes it impossible for hackers to change your Apple ID without having your phone or one of your other trusted devices with them.

It looks like a lot of steps, but in reality it only took maybe an hour and a half to fix and we didn’t have to pay a ransom. Hopefully this helps someone else with a hacked iPhone.

Summer Break: Part 1 – Is This What Homeschooling is Like?

Summer break has changed since I was young. I remember riding my bike around the neighborhood, hanging out with my friends and doing anything that wasn’t school related. In high school we had to read a couple of books over the summer, maybe 2 or 3, but that was it. The rest of the time was for us. Some kids went on vacation over the summer, others stuck around the neighborhood. Nobody took lessons, almost nobody went to camp and the school sure as hell wasn’t sending around flyers regarding “enrichment programs”.

My oldest is currently in her first “summer break”. Fresh out of kindergarten, both she and I were in need of a break from the tedious routine of waking up, getting dressed, eating, making lunch, making sure all necessary homework, permissions slips or “extras” for school were packed in the backpack, catching the bus, waiting for the bus to come home, doing homework, etc.

I thought our summer break would consist of playing in the backyard, going to the park and maybe scheduling a play date or 2.


Summer break is more like homeschool these days. First, I got a letter in the mail – my daughter apparently was selected by her teacher as “needing help” with math, so they wanted her to attend an enrichment program. That means “camp” with math tutoring… for 3 weeks. For 5 days a week. No transportation. Camp is across town (about 30 minutes). Wonderful! There goes July.

Next up, I get a little packet from school. The literacy specialist wants all kindergarteners to read a minimum of 10 books of their choosing over the summer. We have to write the name and author and rate the books on a scale of 1-10. I have to initial this, as if my kindergartener (well, technically 1st grader now, right?) would know how to forge such a document. In addition, the school has created an account for each student using a particular literacy app. We need to download the app on the tablet of our choice and then log-in with the credentials supplied. There are individualized assignments for students based on their assessment levels. The app automatically tracks how much they do each day and what they’ve completed and have yet to complete.

I also got a little packet from the math specialist. There was a workbook with about 90 pages that each incoming first grader must do over the summer, plus 2 blank calendar pages. I have to practice math facts with my daughter every day or do some type of math activity for approximately 15 minutes (aside from the workbook) and initial each day of the calendar saying it was done. Weekends too.

We also got a packet from her first grade teacher. The packet contained 3 journal pages. She needs to write 3 short stories (1-2 paragraphs) about something she did this summer and draw a picture to correspond to the picture.

Am I the only one that thinks all of that is excessive for a child entering first grade?! What does your school do for summer homework for young children?

Try it Tuesday: 1 Tip to Be More Productive

I found a tip on Pinterest to increase productivity in just a couple of minutes each morning. The trick, according to the article, was to write a list of everything you want to get done that day. Then, go back and star 3 must-do items. Next, draw an arrow pointing to 3 things you would like to get done, but won’t be devastated over if you don’t finish.

The rest put off until tomorrow.

Next, choose the stared item that would take the least amount of time. Flip the paper over and write down the current time. Now go!

Continue the process until your 3 stared items are finished. Once done, give yourself a small reward and move on to the arrowed items, tackling them in the same manner. If you have any energy (or time) left, you can work on the rest of your list.

I tried this. I made my list – just a scant 6 items – and I went for it.

Failure about 5 minutes into the system. Now I’m sitting here with this intimidating list with 3 more items than would normally be on my list and I’m no further ahead than I’d normally be. Heck, even writing this blog post is a byproduct of my procrastination.

Maybe if I liked my job? Maybe if I had more interesting clients? Maybe if my kids were quieter? If I had more self-control? If I had designated work-time away from home?

There are a lot of maybes and variables. All I know is that a list of 6 items didn’t help me one bit.

What are your best productivity tips? Bonus points if you work from home with kids!

My Birth Control is Making Me Fat

I started a new birth control pill (thanks shitty mail order service that changed my brand to an “equivalent” pill) and I’m up 8 pounds.

I’m not eating differently and I’m as stressed out as ever. Literally the only thing different is this pill. I’m bloated and can tell that I’m storing water in my mom-gut and thighs like I’m expecting there to be a sudden worldwide drought. Seriously, I look like I’m pregnant — which I’m not — with the way my stomach is bloating out.

The muffin top is quite attractive too.

Now 8 pounds might not sound like a lot (or maybe it does), but it’s a TON of weight on someone who is only 5 feet tall. I’m like fat Snookie. It’s gross. I tried hopping on the 21 day fix bandwagon last month when this atrocious weight gain began and it didn’t do a damn thing. Not a single pound was shed.

I’m debating calling my OB, but she’ll probably say something super helpful like “come in for a pap smear” — because having shit scraped off my cervix is ALWAYS the answer… or, “Give it 3 months” — 3 x 8 = 24. That’s a lot of HELL NO. Seriously though – when I complained that another pill gave me headaches, she replied with, “Well, babies give people headaches too.” So helpful.

So, have any of you lovely ladies reading this drivel ever used Gisell? It’s the one that’s causing me to pack on the pounds. Then again, maybe that’s how it works – blow up like a tick so your husband stays away from you and you don’t get pregnant.

Ugh. Can’t they just have a mobile neuter wagon drive around suburbia and fix husbands for $90 like they do with cats? We’ve talked about him getting the snip, but that would require a trip to his regular doctor for a referral followed by a trip to a specialist for the procedure and then multiple follow-ups to erhm… get a sample… and make sure it worked. Plus co-pays and other things that will make him not do it.

So, suggestions? Experience? Am I totally alone in hating Gisell?