KN, p. 187 “On the Road – Get Ready for the Blizzard”



“Blizzard? What blizzard? It’s 70 degrees outside!” That’s Sheila talking as she looks over my shoulder.


I’ll have you know that there has been snow falling in the northwestern part of the USA already. In 2018, the northwest received over 400 inches of the white stuff, with the midwest getting pounded often enough that there were cars and trucks stuck on the roads for a while.

I never think about being prepared to get stuck for hours because I live in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. If traffic stops for any length of time, people have been known to get out of their cars, leave them on the highway and walk to the houses close by. That can cause a LOT of headaches when snow plows come through during the blizzards.


But, it’s not an option to leave the car in the middle of no place during a blizzard when you might be miles away from help. It’s usually warmer inside the car, plus it’s a shelter until help does arrive.


What do you do when you get caught traveling to a vacation spot or a storm moves in more quickly than the weatherman predicted? It is possible to die if help is a long time coming or your car gets buried in snow, so how do you avoid that?


To borrow a phrase from the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared.


If the weatherman isn’t sure about the path of the storm and you need to get somewhere a couple of hours away, follow these tips:


  1. Make sure you have a full gas tank.
  2. Let someone at your destination know your predicted arrival time.
  3. Charge your cell phone.
  4. Travel with snacks and several bottles of water for each passenger.
  5. Toss a couple of blankets in the car, just in case.
  6. Always travel with flashlights, but before the trip, check the battery power.
  7. Keep kitty litter in the trunk, in case you get stuck and need traction to get out of the slick spot.
  8. Buy a short shovel (available in auto supply stores) and leave it in the trunk. (thanks, Sue Harrison)


If the storm hits unexpectedly while you are on the road and you can no longer see to drive (or the roads are hazardous) stop the car and pull over if you can.


  1. Stay inside the car.
  2. Run the motor for ten minutes every hour.
  3. Open the windows just a crack to avoid carbon monoxide buildup inside the car.
  4. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked
  5. Tie a colorful scarf to the door. During a white-out, this will help the road crews find you more quickly.
  6. Make sure to stay hydrated.
  7. Exercise to keep warm – swing arms and legs as much as possible for a few minutes out of every 30.



Be smart about it and travel safely this winter. Better yet – stay off the roads until they are clear.


*Photo by Patti Phillips






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KN, p. 229 “The Twelve Days of Christmas”


Many years ago, mom ran behind on organizing our family Christmas preparations. Dad helped whenever he could after his seasonal twelve hour shifts and the kids pitched in when asked to fetch and carry and clean up, but somehow with evening meetings and community outreach volunteering, our own celebrations got away from us. At the last minute, shopping hadn’t been finished, wrapping was far from done, and about the only thing we had nailed down were the cookies, the tree, and the Christmas music in the background.


So Mom invented her own version of the twelve days of Christmas. Mom proposed that we stop going crazy and instead of exchanging all the gifts, big and little, on Christmas Day, we would spread them out over twelve days. After a little grumbling about the break from our normal routine, we kids got on board when we realized that 12 gifts were more than 2 or 3.


The rules: We all had to contribute the ideas and some of the presents. We had to be creative about the gifts, since we didn’t have any more cash than usual. We also had to decide as a group what the theme would be for each of the twelve days.


Mom and Dad and three children working in unison, with varying levels of skills and commitment, could have meant chaos, but Mom kept us on track with the word, “Twelve.” That’s all she had to say. Lolol So many secrets, so many mini-projects, such a busy house, but instead of crammed into three days beforehand, with everyone scattering to friends’ houses during the evenings after Christmas Day, we had a blast. Our friends joined us some nights. Dad’s hours slowed down to a normal 9 to 5 and Mom had the whole week off from her day job. Take a look at some of what we gave. Not always individual presents, and a few were gifts from one of us for the whole group.


  1. Cookie Day: A batch of cookies, split five ways – and hot chocolate came with the cookies.
  2. Book Day: A book for each person, already purchased by Mom – each of us read the first page to the family.
  3. Drawings Day: My brother created drawings for each person.
  4. Photo Day: I picked out a photo of each person and placed it on a handmade ornament for the tree.
  5. Poetry Day: Each of us had to write a poem and share it.
  6. Joke Day: We made up jokes – mostly knock-knock jokes – and shared. Silly fun.
  7. What I Like About You: One thing about each family member was shared by each of us.
  8. Favor Day: A bowl contained papers telling something we each needed help with (yard work, trading chores, etc) We chose from it to see what favor we would do.
  9. Game Day: Dad had this one covered beforehand and we played the games he had picked up for us.
  10. Performance Day: My brother told a scary ghost story, Sis and I sang an off-key duet, Mom played the piano, and dad played the kazoo.
  11. Present for Mom: We cleaned our rooms. Even the closets.
  12. Present for Dad: We helped him straighten up and sweep the garage.


If you’re keeping track, no, we didn’t receive twelve wrapped gifts, but that Christmas stands out in my memory bank. Could it be replicated in this day of internet and streaming technology? Maybe not all of it, but the basic concept still works.


Give the gifts of time and love for each other.  🙂


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!


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KN, p. 205 “Thanksgiving Is the BEST Holiday!”


What could be better than family and friends gathering together around a table heaped high with scrumptious, mouth-watering food? I can’t think of much. We’ve been more than fortunate over the years. We’ve been blessed.

We’ve got a roof over our heads, heat in the house, and always great chow, but we are well aware that not everyone is as fortunate. We came up with a list of what to do to make this Thanksgiving more comfortable for those living in challenging situations in our town.

  • Spend some time helping in the community during the Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Help at a soup kitchen this weekend or next.
  • Ask if the soup kitchen personnel would be willing to hand out a book along with the food (we provide the books).
  • Donate clean, warm jackets to a local shelter.
  • Visit an older friend or relative living in a Senior Center. Write a letter for them and/or read to them.
  • Arrange to have the church choir (or talented friends) sing to the residents at the local nursing home.
  • Donate books to a shelter.
  • Run an errand (or two) for a neighborhood shut-in.
  • Plan a visit to the hospital to see a sick friend, drop off a greeting card, call them.
  • Call a friend that lives alone and is unable to travel to see their family. 5 minutes of our time is all it takes to make someone smile.


Hug the family, be thankful for the blessings you enjoy, and have a great Thanksgiving!



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