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So I mentioned a little while back that we’re driving from Louisiana to Utah in a few weeks.
I’ve been checking airfare since the beginning of the year, but the same flights we took last year would cost us 3-4 times as much this summer. So I’ve put together a binder of simple activities to keep my kids at least semi-aware of their surroundings. None of them are exactly earth-shattering (although one of my favorite and last memories of my mom is a rather epic round of the license plate game that took months before we finally tracked down Hawaii), but I’ve put them all in one place and used cute fonts. After the postcard passport, put several pieces of cardstock so kids can glue the postcards onto it.
My son will be 2 in August, when we will drive 2 days each way to visit my family… I’m already wondering what I was thinking! We took our first road trip last year, from VA to UT and back, with kids ages 11, 6, 3 and not quite 2.
I printed a map of the whole route (with every overnite stop and attraction labeled, etc.) big enough that it took 10 pieces of paper to print and tape together. I had a big tub full of activities that were new to them (thank you, Pinterest) and I spaced out the presentation of them. We drove from Massachusetts to Washington State when my oldest kids were almost five and 2, because we were moving. I’ve road-tripped alone with three kids before and we actually had a surprisingly good time! Stop at rest areas and use the playground, or find a small town park right off the highway so the kiddos can burn off some energy. Books – either the kind they can read themselves, or a book you can read to them (or have on tape) to pass the time. Outside the car games – like the license plate or I-spy or the alphabet game are great. My kids are obsessed with electronics though, and this last trip mommy and daddy were lazy, so we let them do video games and movies the whole way. When I was little, we lived in CA and would drive to UT to visit the grandparents every few months, so my mom had sewn up little covers that went over the back of the front seats, and on the back had a bunch of pockets (like those shoe things that hang over your door) and she would put crayons and books and stickers and such in those, so we could easily reach them from the back seats.
One road trip with our nephews we gave each child a roll of quarters at the beginning of the journey. We take lots of road trips and have played the license plate game with our kids (now 21 and 24 yo) every summer for the past 18 years! We’ve gone all over with my two kids – one summer we traveled over 2,000 miles so needless to say my kids are pretty good road trippers! Perfect post for me as we are traveling across the nation in a couple of weeks (31 hour drive with 2 kids and dog). 250 miles, 1000 miles, and 1200 miles to visit family – our kids spent a LOT of time sitting in a van growing up! Each child (we only have two) was allowed one toy bag: a knapsack filled with their own choices of what to bring. I forgot to mention that a grid page in a plastic sheet holder and an erasable marker will allow for games like dot-to-dot, battleship, and hang-man. At least once a year, we try to quickly go over the items that belong in every survival kit. Here’s our 2016 basic list, with some suggestions about how many of each item to get, where to get them and what they might cost. As always, if you click on the product links, you’ll go over to Amazon, where you can shop for just what you want and likely get the best possible price, too. If you’re just starting to put together your survival kits, consider doing the research and getting just 2 or 3 items a week. We have written before about the collection of different-sized flashlights described below.
In a widespread emergency the only communications you may be able to receive will be those being put out on official emergency channels. Our review of different emergency radios will give you a run-down of all the available features and prices. This category could include extra eyeglasses, medicines, small tools that you know how to use, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, sanitary items. Everyone needs a pouch for personal items (use baggies) and everyone’s pouch will be different! A fully packed survival kit or go-bag, with everything possible in it, probably weighs more than you can carry. The best thing is to assemble the supplies for each person, and THEN decide how big a carrier you need.
If you are interested in more details about any of these items, we probably have written at least one Advisory on it! Darkness, smoke, fog, rain = all mean lower visibility and even greater danger for pedestrians.
We see safety vests every day, worn by people working in construction, landscaping, traffic control and clean-up. Smart joggers and cyclists have taken to wearing reflective clothing as a safety precaution when they are out in the dark. Fluorescent materials actually emit light by converting invisible ultra-violet rays to visible light. Some popular high-visibility “vests” really look just like a pair of wide suspenders and belt. In my estimation these belts, even with wrist or ankle bands, may not provide enough coverage.  In fact, if you are moving in an emergency situation – crawling, running, bending, digging – the viewer may see movement but not be able to tell what it is he or she is actually seeing.
Adding a high visibility vest to your emergency kit is easy, and you will find that you pull your vest out more often than you might have thought.
I got my first Swiss Army knife when I was about 8 years old, a gift from a friend of my mother’s.
When I say without “one” I should really be saying “without several” since there are so many different models, each with some special feature, that you want to own one of each! I use these scissors a LOT, for cutting everything from paper to fingernails to packaging tape. In years past I have found the scissors spring at hardware or sporting goods stores, but for the last three years I’ve had no luck. Replacing the spring takes four things: a new spring (image 1 shows the package), some sort of round file or punch (image 2) , a pair of needle-nose pliers (3) and a little dexterity. Victorinox (and competitor, now partner Wenger) has produced many different models since the company started in the late 1800s. While it’s great to have different tools all in one, the largest Swiss Army Knife that I find practical is the Swiss Champ. And for everyday use, I carry the “Midnight MiniChamp” version with built-in ball point pen and flashlight . If you’re shopping for yourself or for a gift, take the time to review all the different models to get the exact knife you need.
When your house suddenly goes black because of a power outage, or you find yourself marooned in a rain storm, or you’re simply late getting out of a meeting and have a large dimly-lighted parking lot to cross in order to get to your car . The reflector around the bulb determines whether all the light is focused in one narrow beam, or whether it spreads out more like a flood light.
Batteries help determine the weight of the flashlight, its cost, and its overall convenience.
Rechargeable batteries last longer and are more convenient as long as you have recharge capability (from your computer, an electrical outlet or a solar panel, or a hand crank). We like to give small, inexpensive flashlights as gifts or as rewards (“Use this to start your emergency kit!”).
In our cars we carry large, heavy-weight flashlights that could be used to break a window as well as find a disconnected fuse or wire in the engine compartment. The largest FEIT flashlight light switches from 250 lumens low-beam up to 1000 lumens high-beam, and has an impressive, sliding zoom as well as strobe and SOS options.
The small flashlight (AAA batteries) switches from 78 lumens to 250 lumens and has the zoom feature, too. The one drawback common to these three flashlights – common to many – is that they are perfectly round. A couple of years ago we discovered this flashlight and have purchased several over the years. This model also has flat surfaces to keep the light from rolling when it’s placed on a flat surface.
Thanks to Google Analytics, we can track which articles are most often viewed on our site, too – and they reflect these same topics.
If there is one topic that stands out, this is it.  In fact, radios and radio communications are twice as popular as anything else we report on! Are you ready to buy an emergency radio for yourself or a family member?  Check out our Updated Reviews of Emergency Radios with comments about solar, hand-crank, etc. Interested in how to use radios effectively for your group, whether it’s your family or a neighborhood response team? If you are serious about building a neighborhood group, each of the books in our Survival Series has a complete discussion and a diagram showing one way to use radio communications, how to assign channels for your different divisions and specialty teams, etc. We know that some people simply don’t have time to actually build their own kit, so we start with a review of Popular Ready-Made Kits to be found on Amazon.  The purpose of the review is not to recommend any one kit in particular, but to highlight different things to look for as you shop.


Because every person and family is unique, we recommend strongly that you Build Your Own Basic Kit, and we have written a booklet to guide you through the various decisions that need to be made.  Once you have the basic kit, add items that fit your climate, your skill and your interest level.
We have also discovered that most people continue to improve their kit by adding specialty items. Much of the “prepper” literature deals with developing skills that allow you to survive by living off the land.
We probably spend more of our time on water than on anything else (even though, as reported above, website visitors seem to prefer reading about radios!). We know that the first people to be there to help in an emergency are the people already there – the neighbor at home next door, or the co-worker at the next desk or in the next room. With that being the case, we think that the more we all know, the better chance we’ll all have to survive, at least until professional help arrives. We also know that professional help – police and fire – will be overwhelmed in the aftermath of a widespread disaster, so it may be hours or even days before they do arrive. A strong neighborhood team, ready to take action, just seems to make great sense.
Our 15-year commitment to neighborhood emergency preparedness has been focused primarily on building a neighborhood response team.
Survival Series (One for Apartment Dwellers, one for Mobile Home Communities, and one for Single Family Neighborhoods. I hope you’ll find this list helpful, and a reminder of areas in your own planning that may not be as secure as you’d like. At our neighborhood CERT meeting yesterday, the question came up about the best emergency supplies kit. If you are forced to leave home (or work) in a big hurry, you’ll only have time to grab “the kit,” and hopefully a bottle of water.
Here in California nearly every trip I take is in my car, so I have several types of emergency stuff packed in the trunk.
At our meeting, several people stated flat out, “I can’t carry anything.” These were people who need a cane or a walker, who have back problems, or who are simply not very strong. When Joe and I decided to put together our Step-by-Step Custom 72-hour Survival Kit – the Book plus the Backpack – we looked for a backpack that was light, flexible and NOT TOO BIG. If you’re a hiker, you’ll be familiar with much larger and sturdier backpacks, with many more features. Because the backpack is quite compact, you have to be deliberate in selecting what needs to be in it.
Action Item: Build a basic kit for each person, and then add those individual items to customize the kit to its owner.
If you’re ramping up for some holiday shopping of your own, I’d like to suggest the following . By which I mean, gifts that are fun to receive and even to play with, but which have a much more lasting value because they become important items for a survival kit! Clicking the links will take you to Amazon, where you can compare and combine items for the best possible pricing plus free shipping. Easy, Step-by-Step Guide to Your Custom 72-hour Survival Kit, with A Backpack to Start Off With!
Do you have recommendations we can add to our list of “Favorite Survival Kit Goodies Under $25?”  Send them along! These best zombie survival games should satisfy your need for experiencing some frantic scenarios involving the undead.
The entire game can be played in co-op mode, and this time around, there’s a new character as well. The Walking Dead is less about frenzied action, and more about delivering an unforgettable experience about how a zombie apocalypse will actually feel like. This adventure game’s unique aspect lies in the fact that you are asked to take crucial decisions at various points, and the further story is woven based on those choices.
It’s a multiplayer open world survival horror experience taking place in a fictional country called Chernarus. A Wii U-exclusive, ZombiU is a first-person survival horror game set in an undead-infested London. A unique gameplay mechanic which has been infused into the title is that if you die due to a zombie bite, you start playing as another random survivor, whereas the earlier character turns into a zombie itself. The creatures from The Last of Us cannot be dubbed zombies, but they can certainly be branded as undead who’re hell-bent on making you one of them. Joel and Ellie must survive these creatures and hostile humans alike on their way to Salt Lake City where a possible cure for the epidemic could be made. Again, it isn’t zombies you’ll be fighting against in Resident Evil 5, but they’re similar creatures called Majini who’re equally dangerous and scary. While staying true to its legendary predecessor, Resident Evil 5 adds a number of new elements that make it a truly unique experience. Our next pick for this compilation is a comprehensive DLC pack which was released for Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. The Wild West setting and the original gameplay of the actual title coupled with a large number of distinct scenarios made possible by the addition of zombies, make Undead Nightmare a must have. Capcom’s Dead Rising 2 is pure open world madness, with its large scale zombie battles, custom weapons and much more.
The game tells the story of a former motocross champion named Chuck Greene, who’s forced by circumstances to venture out in the undead-infested city in order to gain a cure for his little daughter who could turn into a zombie if not treated.
Valve’s attempt at creating a cooperative first-person shooter hit bulls eye with 2008’s L4D. Available for the Xbox 360, Windows, Mac as well as Linux, L4D2 takes place in the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, and has you step into the shoes of four survivors, even as they look to fight against hordes of the zombie-like creatures.
A horror-themed third-person shooter, Dead Space 3 features mutated and reanimated corpses called Necromorphs who’re your main enemies. Released earlier this year, Dead Space 3 contains a ridiculously exciting atmosphere which is fraught with a lot of scary scenarios. The Art Gallery goes next, followed by several sheets of plain white paper, then the vacation journal followed by lined paper.
I bought cheap plastic serving trays at target and covered the bottom with glossy contact paper. Funny enough, I’m actually launching a packing checklist next week with a whole section just on getting ready for a road trip with your kids. You’ll notice that the list stays pretty much the same, although our top recommendations change as new products become available.
To get them, you need a radio – preferably one that operates with batteries, solar, and a hand crank. Dig through your closet or head to your local sports shop or big box store and get a pack that fits the person who’s going to be carrying it.
You can use the search box at the top of the page or skim the list in the Advisory Archives.
These workers’ vests are required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Agency) and, in fact, they must “reflect from all sides for 1,000 feet” in the dark. Be sure to consider what you might be wearing UNDER the vest to be sure you get the right size. All have a main blade plus various auxiliary tools – as many as 30 in various combinations!
In 2006 Guinness World Records recognized a knife (made by Wenger) that had 87 tools and 141 different functions and that cost upwards of $1,000! LED flashlights last longer, weigh less, don’t get hot, and are smaller and sturdier than the incandescent lights we grew up with. It can vary from as low as 19 lumens, for a simple all-purpose light to wear around your neck on a lanyard, to as high as 3,000 lumens for  so-called “tactical” flashlights. Having to replace batteries frequently can be a nuisance as well as expensive, but you can easily keep extras at hand. I also feel very comfortable carrying the light in the dark, knowing that the design of the rim, with cutouts and sharp surfaces, turns it into somewhat of a weapon. But get the flashlights you need – several for the house (We have one in every room.), one for each car and one for each emergency kit. Most of the radios we discuss are found on Amazon, where prices are as good as they get, and buyer comments are very helpful in selecting the best fit for your needs. For urban or suburban dwellers, particularly people living in apartments or condos, these survival skills need to be adjusted to the realities of the city. How to store water for an emergency, where to find more water when the emergency hits, and how to protect yourself from contaminated water – these are ongoing challenges that need to be overcome if we are to survive.
You can find many of these stories by heading to the site and simply typing “CERT” into the search box! Also, if you would like to see more on any aspect of emergency preparedness or disaster recovery, please just let me know!
But what if roads are impassible, or the car is disabled, or we are asked to evacuate ON FOOT?
Your 10-year-old child, though, probably needs a few different items (including snack food!).
You’ll only have minutes – but you’ll feel a lot more secure heading out if you have your survival kit in your hands. This 3-pack of magnesium lighters gives you the chance to compete – and learn an essential skill! But hard candies withstand all sorts of weather and when you need a pick-me-up in an emergency – or on the long drive home after the holidays!


Whether you get this simple, efficient one or a giant, every-tool-in-the-toolbox version, it will be a welcome gift.
Build Your Custom 3-Day Survival Kit; Follow Suggestions from Illustrated Workbook and Assemble Emergency Supplies You Know and Trust.
For games, movies and other forms of fiction, the zombie theme is something that’s constantly being re-explored by makers, especially because it’s such an intriguing topic. Released in the form of episodic seasons, this game revolves around the life of a survivor named Lee whose goal it is to find a little girl named Clementine her lost parents. You see, DayZ was released as a mod for 2009’s Arma 2 and its expansion, Operation Arrowhead. Battling the problem of limited supplies, weapons and medicine, you are required to either kill or stay away from zombies and some other survivors if you wish to stay alive in this incredibly scary and challenging mod.
It has some brilliant content packed in it, and playing it with the Wii U GamePad amplifies the fun a great deal.
The plot of this PS3-exclusive is based in a post-apocalyptic United States of 2033, and showcases the effects of an apocalypse which has been brought around by a deadly fungus growing on people’s brain. Developer Naughty Dog’s genius shines through each and every aspect of The Last Us, be it the deep writing, the cinematic beauty, the lively visuals and of course, the diverse gameplay. Resident Evil 5 was released for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in 2009, and had managed to gain widespread acclaim for its incredibly enjoyable gameplay.
It keeps the main game’s structure, but turns its normal population into zombies, in its bid to narrate a funny and engaging story.
Although a DLC, it’s now sold along with the game in the form of a GotY edition for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The following year then, the developer followed it up with Left 4 Dead 2 which expanded the original’s appeal, and delivered something even more praiseworthy.
In this final chapter from the Dead Space trilogy a co-op based approach with its gameplay, allowing you to team up with one more person to tackle your objectives.
Hope you’ve read all the descriptions of these best zombie survival games carefully, and decided upon your next purchase.
GoldieBlox and the Builder's Survival Kit is home to all of Goldie's notes, blueprints, ideas and sketches.
I came later in my parents’ lives, way after their cross-country road trip days, so we never really did road trips growing up. They used dry erase crayons to color on them and it gave them a hard surface for other activities.
If you are interested in having me send it to you, just shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’d be happy to get that to you! Take a look to see if you could distribute these flashlights so they would work for your family. You may not need one for every person, but certainly you need a couple of radios, stashed intelligently at home and at work.
So, keeping their weight and size in mind, consider the best container for each person and each kit. The roadway has buckled and cracked so vehicle headlights are jerking and flashing in all directions.
Reflective materials bounce a beam of light off their surface – thus they only work as long as a light is shining on them. Of course, for CERT trainings I wear my CERT vest, but it is bulky and no where near so comfortable (!). In our experience, the minimum you want for your survival kit is 200 lumens, and 500 or more is preferable. But we looked for a pack that the ordinary person could (1) afford and (2) be able to manage. Now, consider how handy a HEADLAMP will be when both arms are full of blankets, children, toys, or other supplies!
The undead have made their presence felt in a ton of video game titles out there, but there have been a few which have stood out glaringly. While its predecessor told the story of how its four protagonists managed to finally escape the undead-infested island of Banoi, this game, strangely enough, has all of them somehow land on another island which too is overrun by the dangerous creatures. Season 1 of The Walking Dead is available for the PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac, PS Vita as well as iOS.
This mod managed to reach such popularity that it actually boosted sales of the otherwise struggling host game. I had a cardboard file box filled with gallon bags of activities (we were gone for 6 weeks, although not all time was travel time).
For all-purpose use, we like this one, built right into a plastic bottle that can be refilled over and over again. Buy your family favorites and replace regularly — and after the bag gets raided by hungry kids. Typically, purchased kits (ranging from $10 to over $80) are really skimpy on bandages, first aid creams, bug spray, etc.
As you can imagine, the more power the more the flashlight costs – BUT IT’S NOT THE CASE OF A SIMPLE PROGRESSION. They may have two or more modes: a solid white beam, a blinking white beam (strobe) for signaling, a blinking red beam, or even a blink pattern that sends out an SOS in Morse code.
Here we’ve gathered them in the form a comprehensive list that you can scour through and decide which ones you can go for if you’re a fan of zombie games. Its makers are now busy creating a standalone game out of it, but in the meanwhile, you can still treat yourselves to this mod. Meet her family, friends and, of course, her loyal dog, Nacho and everyone's favorite grouchy cat, Benjamin Cranklin. Each bag had 2 of the same activity, note pads and stickers, color wonder books and markers, travel aquadoodles, giant pipe cleaners and foil for building blocks, play dough inside balloons.
In the summer toys section at target (by the bubbles) I got her some of those mini no spill bubble blowers she can do all herself. Once again, you’ll want multiple kits: one for the car, one for the office, one for the house.
Having some books they each like and my boys are Lego crazy so a small Lego tray with a few figures gets us a long way on trips these days.
The kids will sleep for the first 4-5 hours of traveling and then there’s a breakfast break after the first long stretch.
Their prices range from a low of $4 to well over $100, depending on power, different light features (pulse, zoom, etc.) and size.
Just 14% of engineers in the US are women, even though engineering and tech are two of the fastest growing fields when it comes to job creation. Plus, I know you’ve blogged about road trip snacks before and I totally agree that an un-hungry kid is a happy kid. Engineers are literally the builders and designers of our world; from the products we use, to the way we communicate, to the cities we inhabit. Some items were craft items that could keep them busy through the trip, sometimes it was a pack of gum or other treat or food or a little game of some kind. The great thing about Mylar space blankets is their price — typically, less than $1 apiece for the simple ones! Gender equality in these fields will provide the balance and innovation that we all need to thrive; the female perspective is indeed a valuable one.
When I road-trip by myself, I usually just plan on stopping real fast on the side of the road every 30-45 minutes to change out activities and snacks. We planned some stops ahead of time, but if we needed a car break, I would put in our location and it would bring up unusual points of interest in the area. Good luck on your long trip–you are building family memories that I hope you kids will remember for all the right reasons!
I can clean a window after all- better than I can deal with screaming for 27 hours – my five yr old loves these as well.
There are pictures of it in several places on our website, so if you need more about THAT item, click here. Research shows that the earlier kids get interested in math and science, the more likely they are to go into those fields as adults. But there was also really great stuff like a huge dungeons and dragons themed playground in Illinois. GoldieBlox is a series of interactive books + construction toys starring Goldie, a curious girl with a love of engineering.
Goldie's stories encourage girls to build, developing the spatial skills that are fundamental to engineering. As she goes on adventures with her friends, she comes across problems that she solves by building simple machines. GoldieBlox will empower a generation of girls who are more confident, courageous and tech-savvy.
As she writes stories about some of her favorite inventions, kids read along and learn to make Goldie's quirky creations - like Valentina's Drum Set, Nacho's New Dog House and a Tea Cup Ride that takes her friends for a whirling, twirling adventure!
With more than 190 pieces, GoldieBlox and the Builder's Survival Kit offers endless possibilities and hours of fun.



Queensland health disaster management plan
Center of emergency preparedness


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