Friday, August 30, 2013

Raising a Baby Squirrel-Week 5

Wow this little guy sure has changed! I woke up one morning and picked him up out of his little box and nothing seemed different. That is, until I turned him the other direction and saw that he had one eye open!


I have been waiting for this moment for quite some time. I haven't been afraid of this little creature knowing it couldn't see me, but I was apprehensive about what I thought would happen once he was able to see me and where I was.  It wasn't until 24 hours later that his second eye opened, so I at least got to ease into knowing this little creature could see me. From everything I have read their eye sight is not very good the first couple of days.

When I help him go to the bathroom he doesn't as readily go like he had been, so because of this I believe that to some extent he is now able to got to the bathroom on his own. I want to play it more safe than sorry though, so I at least try. Baby squirrels can die of uric acid poisoning if they don't go to the bathroom frequently enough.

By the end of week 5 I had the squirrel on the speaker cabinet (click for video) in my husband's office and he was able to get his fingers grasped around all the holes. I figured since he doesn't have a tree to climb, I wanted to offer him something to begin building his strength and climbing skills so he is more capable of living in the wild.


I have had this little guy escape his box that he has been living in twice. I am very careful to make sure the office he is in always has the door closed so the other animals of the house can not hurt him. There is nothing in the room that he could climb very high or get lost or stuck in or on. We just have to very carefully make sure that he is safe and sound. Luckily, squirrels make a lot of noise naturally (think an equivalent to a cat's purr)...this is how I noticed him out of his box the first time!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rewind Into Time

Do you ever feel like you are never able to keep up with the daily requirements your life has for you?! We feel the exact same way. There are some things in life that have a very high priority, and then there are other things that seem to always get moved to the 'I'll do that tomorrow...' list.


This post is a perfect example of shuffled priorities. If you are reading it, then you have discovered a retroactive post. Us Stepford Sisters make a valiant effort to write posts ahead of their live posting date. The concept of scheduling the post makes it easier to sit down and write anywhere from 1-7 posts at once. It also is very helpful if we know our upcoming week or month is going to have extra responsibilities that will make it difficult to write.

I suppose this post is going to turn into a mini list of helpful ideas for managing your time and keeping organized!

Here are some tips that are personally used my me (Stephanie Stepford) to try and keep organized and on time!


-Write lists...and include every last detail so it won't be forgotten
-Plan ahead with shopping for needed items
-Start early in the day, its amazing how much more can be done 3 hours in the a.m. as opposed to 3 hours in the p.m.
-Pick up after yourself as you go...it takes less committed time for cleaning and organizing this way
-Finish tasks and projects earlier than necessary to avoid unforeseen roadblocks and complications
The last, but not least tip for organization and timeliness (as shown by this very post) *Just because a deadline has arrived doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you are late doing! Some things are worth doing late, rather than never :-)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Preparing for a Road Trip-A Stepford Take Five

Nothing is more stressful than thinking about driving for a considerable distance and wanting to make sure you have crossed all of your t's and dotted all of your i's. I recently went on a several hundred mile road trip by myself and thought my experience and planning could be helpful to others who want to make sure they have done everything to ensure their successful and safe travels!



1. Make sure you have kept your car maintained
-brakes
-battery
-shocks and struts


I don't know that much about these things, but I do know that my brakes haven't been giving me a hard time or making any noise. My battery hasn't hesitated to start at all (it is summer so cold weather isn't a factor now). My car also handles fine on the highway, over bumps, and in curves.

2. Windshield Safety
-wiper blades that make full contact
- fill windshield wiper fluid
-clear windshield


A windshield being clean is my biggest concern when driving. Having dirt no only can obstruct your view, but it can also fatigue your eyes. I always make sure my windshield wipers are in good shape and have filled my wiper fluid before leaving. I use the squeegee at gas stations throughout my road trip as well to keep the windshield clean. If it would suddenly rain a dirty windshield can become muddy, streaky, or difficult to shed water off.

3. Tire Safety
-proper tread
-proper inflation
-alignment
-spare tire
-emergency tire changing tools


Before your trip make sure your tread is thick enough (if you can't cover part of the head Lincoln on a penny it is too thin). You should also make sure that you have all of your tires inflated properly. If they are under-inflated you will have decreased gas mileage.

We all dread the idea of having a flat tire, but chances are you will very VERY glad you have a spare tire and the proper tools to deal with changing your tire when the event actually goes down. Make sure you have all the tools you will need just in case. Even if you aren't the one who physically changes the tire, at least you have what you need if a wonderful good Samaritan would offer to help.

4. Car Cleanliness
-limited clutter
-spare tire access
-limited accident projectiles


When traveling, it is nice to have an environment you can be relaxed in-and for me clutter free is the way to get there. It is also important because if you would need to get your spare tire you don't want to have to unpack more out of your car than necessary. Another consideration to keeping your car clean is that you will help eliminate unnecessary injury if you would have to stop suddenly or get into a car accident. The less you have around you, the less can hit you or break.

5. Full Tank of Gas


This is pretty self explanatory, but it is nice to start your trip off on the right foot. You will better gauge when you will need to fill-up again. You might end up driving for a period of time where there is no immediately available exits with gasoline.

Don't forget to learn the traffic laws where you are traveling and drive safely! Speed limits and bans on cell phone use and texting while driving are all there for a reason!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Quick Tip: Fruit Juice Can Cause Chemical Burns




The acid in fruit juices can cause chemical burns when exposed to the intense August sun and heat. Make sure if your little one spills or has a juice mustache to wipe it off before they go out to play!

It’s a skin condition called phytophotodermatitis, a reaction caused by the chemicals in some fruits and plants (most notably, limes, lemons, and celery) that make your skin hypersensitive to the sun.




Here is part of an article on the topic with additional information from Woman's Health Magazine:

The Scary Signs
Within a day or two of exposure, you’ll notice some redness and irritation, which may include blistering in more severe cases, says Green. But the most noticeable result is hyperpigmentation, or brown spots, which appear up to a week later and can last for several months. This reaction can show up on any spot on your body that was exposed to both the chemicals and the sun. “Usually the cue is linear streaks from where they poured or spilled lime juice,” says Green. “Or if they were squeezing lemon on their hair, they may see brown streaks on their faces.”

How to Deal
So what happens if you spot this reaction post-vacation? If you have a severe burn with blistering, you may want to see a doctor for a prescription-strength hydrocortisone cream, says Green. In some cases, your MD may also provide a bleaching agent for the hyperpigmentation, though it’ll eventually fade on its own. If you’re just sporting some sunspots, you can skip the doctor and use an OTC hydrocortisone cream for relief. But don’t panic—the reaction isn’t dangerous, and it goes away in time, says Green.

Prevention Tips
To avoid it from happening in the first place, take precautions when handling fruits outside (and note that these chemicals are also found in parsley, parsnips, dill, and various other fruits and plants). “Don’t mix drinks while in the sun, and wash hands immediately so there are no traces of chemicals on them,” says Green. You can even use gloves to be extra careful, and you should also make sure to clean up any spills to keep chemicals from finding their way to your arms or legs. And if you’re enjoying a cocktail at a cookout or pool party, consider skipping the lime wedge in your Corona and swapping that fresh margarita for a piƱa colada—your skin will thank you.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Raising A Squirrel-Week 4

For the end of week three and most of week 4 the squirrel didn't seem to change as much as he had in the last few weeks.




His Eyes:
He still hasn't opened his eyes, but the creases of the eyes are deepening.  When you look at him you can sometimes even see his eyes moving around under his eyelids!

His Eating:
At the beginning of the week he had increased his eating more than 3x (almost an entire syringe) of what he was eating the first week we had him. But by the end of the week he was eating slightly less (about 1/2 of the syringe). He still only has two little teeth on the bottom of his mouth. I haven't noticed any teeth on the top of his mouth yet.

His Hair:
The hair on his body is starting to become thicker and multi colored. He has the grey/brown hair from before, but other hairs are coming in slightly red.

His Tail:
His tail is starting to look like a lighter grey than the rest of his hair. The hairs are also starting to grow outward around the tail taking on the shape of a traditional bushy tail.

His Walking:
This is one of my favorite parts of the squirrel's development. He is not walking steadily, but he is starting to be able to walk further without rolling over and losing his balance. His feet, toes and tails are beginning to grow longer so that he has more surface area against the ground that he is walking on.

My Care:
I am still leaving his heating pad turned on low because he loses body heat pretty quickly when he walks on the floor. Once he is able to take a short walk on the floor without feeling cold I will consider taking the heating pad away. I still make sure that I help the squirrel go to the bathroom when I have him out to feed him. Up to this point I do not think he was able to empty his bladder on his own, but I still stimulate him just in case he isn't on his own.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Atlas Shrugged-A Movie Review

I have in the past done parent movie and book reviews, but this time it is about a movie that I would recommend for intellectual adults! The movie in question is based on the book "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. 


This movie is a trilogy that only the first 2 of 3 parts have come out. The third part is set to be released the summer of 2014.

I first found this movie on Netflix while browsing through the available movies and shows I might enjoy. I have never read a book by Rand but knew that she has been regarded by some as a thinker and intellectual. I always like a challenge, so I decided to see how I enjoyed the movie.


I watched the first part of the trilogy about a year ago and just didn't get it. I kept asking my husband questions and needed explanations as the movie went on. We just discovered the other week that the second part of the movie had been released (for a little while now). I decided I should watch the first part again so I would remember what was going on. To my delighted surprise Netflix had included an hour and 20 minute long documentary discussing Rand and the Atlas Shrugged.



The smart thing for me was certainly to watch the documentery, followed by the first and second parts of the trilogy. Things clicked...they started to make much more sense.

Before watching the documentary, I had no idea the cloud of negativity around Rand and all of her works over the years. Nor did I realize that college level papers have been written by the thousands on her and her beliefs and books.

This review provides me the perfect time to say that my grandmother taught me something long ago that has been possibly the most important life information I would ever need to know. She has never discussed her political or religious beliefs with others and guess what?! She has never encountered a friendship that went estranged because of opposite beliefs. She does, however, certainly have an opinion and sticks to what she believes. But she also has always believed that what is right and best to her might not be for someone else, and they should feel free as she does to believe what they feel!

So, back to the review with that in mind...Rand went into writing her book from a very strong standpoint and her purpose was to get that across at the complete risk of others not liking what she had to say. She provides some very compelling ideas and if you allow yourself to consider what she is sharing can really get you to start thinking!

I still don't know exactly how I feel or think after seeing the movie, but I am certainly more curious about learning about how the world works and government inside of that world.

I have almost always enjoyed books better than the movie so I am going to give the 1,000+ page book a try and see if I am able to enjoy it as much or more than the movie!

Monday, August 19, 2013

There's nothing wrong with you-( Part 1)

I came across this article and it made me really mad. I take issue with a lot of faith based family advice because it is always advising the woman to settle and compromise herself to be a good wife. I know our name is the Stepford Sisters, but to tell you the truth, I can't imagine anything more horrible than being married to a stepford wife or husband. I need substance, I need passion, I need excitement. Someone who hollows themselves out to be what the other person wants is nothing. I don't want to waste my time with nothing and I certainly don't want to become nothing. Why would I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who prefers that? So I am going to rant about an article that I believe proposes just that.

The article is entitled: 15 Things Wives Should Stop Doing by Mary May Larmoyeux at Familylife.com

Well, I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but that is enough to set me off right there. It is pretty clear this article is not going to tell me to stay true to myself.


1. Stop thinking that your way is the “right” way. If he does something differently, it does not mean that it’s wrong. When a wife insists on having her own way, she is in essence saying, “I have to be in control.”

Okay, number one makes sense for the most part. There is more than one right way of doing something. There are reasons some ways are better than others though. If someone uses a towel to wipe up raw meat juice and then uses that same towel to dry dishes I think it is okay to point out to them that they should get a clean towel. You don't just sit back and thank them for "helping" and enjoy your next meal of e coli. So yes, there are times it is just a matter of preference, but not always, and if you are a mature adult you should be able to take a step back and realize the difference.


2. Don’t put others before your husband. God designed companionship in marriage so that a husband and wife can meet one another’s need for a close, intimate, human relationship. He even said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” So what happens when you put your mother, a friend, or even a child before your spouse? Actually, you take a step (often unintentional) toward isolation in your marriage. If you choose, for example, to spend an afternoon shopping with your mom when your husband asked you to watch a football game with him, you may leave hubby feeling that he has second place in your heart.

This one is ridiculous. Does hubby want to go shopping with you and your mom? I am assuming in this scenario the wife isn't a big football fan. If she was, she would never choose shopping over the game. Football fans don't do that. I am also assuming the husband doesn't like shopping with his wife and mother in law because no husband likes that. He probably doesn't like shopping with his wife period, so she is sparing him that torture by going with someone else...But because God says it isn't good for man to be alone, woman shouldn't have a life of her own and should just do what the husband wants? You are not his slave, you can have a life and having a life should make you more attractive to him, that is who he fell in love with, a woman with a life. Now, it is possible to reach a point where a couple does nothing together and one or both are cutting off intimacy with the other by keeping too busy outside the home, but the example listed above does not fit into that category.


3. Don’t expect your husband to be your girlfriend. Most men and women not only look different physically, but also have unique ways of processing life. One example of this is the need for conversation. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m guilty of wearing out my husband with countless conversational details that he doesn’t really care about. Now if he was a girlfriend, all of those details would definitely matter!

Wow. Your husband may not be a girl, but he sure as heck should be your friend. He might not care about everything that interests you, but the fact that you are interested in it should make him want to hear about it. I can understand if it is all negative getting burnt out on listening for too long, but even then he should still care. If it isn't negative and you are talking about something you are passionate or excited about, he should care about that too...the details of your life should matter. He doesn't get to treat you like your life isn't important just because he is a guy. I can have zero interest in a subject, but if someone I care about is passionate about it and sharing it with me, it becomes interesting because I am interested in them. Their joy becomes my joy. Their sorrow becomes my sorrow. If I don't care about their feelings then I don't care about them.


4. Don’t dishonor your husband. Suggestions included: Stop all nagging and don’t correct hubby in front of others. If you finish your husband’s sentences, you may be unintentionally communicating, “I don’t really care about what you have to say.”

That is mostly true. Sometimes finishing each other's sentences is sweet and romantic, but sometimes it makes the other person feel trampled over. I agree corrections should be done in private whenever possible, but stop nagging? I hate the word nagging. I don't know a single woman who nags. I know women who ask their husbands for help and when he agrees to do so expect him to follow through and remind him if he doesn't. That isn't nagging. Vocalizing your needs is not nagging. How is it any different when you tell him you would like help with the dishes than when he lets you know he is horny? I am not advocating withholding sex for chores, all I am saying is that it is never wrong to vocalize your needs to your spouse. It should never be viewed as something negative. It is an opportunity to become closer and if you hold in your wants and needs you are denying your spouse the opportunity to be intimate with you. Just because his need for sex is pleasurable for both of you (hopefully), doesn't make it more important than your need for help in the kitchen. It is more dishonoring to him to lie to him by pretending you don't have needs.


5. Stop expecting your husband to fail you as your dad failed your mom. “I spent many years waiting for my husband to give up and walk out on me, like my dad had years earlier,” said one friend. Her unfounded fears had robbed her marriage of much joy.

That is 100% true and good advice. Don't project someone else onto your spouse. They are not them.


 6. Don’t put your husband on the defensive. For example, if you are driving around a section of town looking for a restaurant and he’s obviously lost, does it really help for you to tell him that he’s been going around the same block for the fifth time? One wise wife said that she’s learned to be quiet in situations like this. Now, before she makes a comment, she weighs her words—asking herself: “Are my words needed? Would they be encouraging?” Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”

I'm sorry, it makes you wise to drive around in circles? You don't have to be a witch with a bee about it, but yeah I think it is a help to point out you are getting nowhere fast as long as you follow up with a suggestion on how to remedy the situation. If our GPS isn't working and we are lost I offer to go in somewhere and ask for directions. Gas isn't cheap and I don't think it is exactly good for his pride to be driving around looking like an idiot. If he thinks he can figure it out then cool , but if he is driving around the same block five times, he isn't figuring it out.


7. Never use sex to bargain with your husband. Some women intentionally or unintentionally say to their husbands, “When I get what I want, you get sex.” However, 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 reminds husbands and wives that their bodies are not their own. “Do not deprive one another …”

While I agree that is should never be a bargaining chip or a weapon, the scripture part at the end worries me a little. I do think either party has the right to say no and the other person should respect that. Now, maybe it is because I have a history of sexual abuse, but I am a strong believer that my body is my own and I decide who when and how it is touched. I would never say to my husband "if you don't wash the dishes I won't have sex with you" (can you tell we have a lot of dirty dishes?), but if he and I are fighting and he says something that hurts me, I might not be in the mood for sex and that is completely my right. No way no how should you ever just lay there and take it to please your husband, and that shouldn't please him anyway, he should want it to be enjoyable for both of you.

Look for the next eight suggestions and my opinions on them in a future post!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Quick Read: Fun Alphabet Word Game

My family went on vacation last week to Myrtle Beach. It was a long drive from Ohio and so we played some games in the car on the way to keep ourselves awake and sane. My favorite game is one that I made up. My mom used to sing kumbayah when I was young and we would take turns singing a verse with different verbs. We would go through the whole alphabet. As I got older I realized my singing voice was less than desirable and stopped torturing those around me with it, but still enjoyed going through the alphabet taking turns coming up with words. Verbs were a bit overplayed by now, and no longer necessary without the song, so I chose different categories. I have played using adverbs, names in the Bible, fruits and vegetables, diseases, cartoon characters, and all sorts of different subjects. The game is perfect for car trips since you don't need anything except your imagination. It keeps you alert without taking too much attention from the driver, and is an awful lot of fun! My 10 yr old brother and 6 year old sister love it too, it is great for expanding vocabulary!

How to play:

Choose a category and set parameters - for example: One game we decided to do words having to do with cooking, but no ingredients. Any words that were non food items could be used as long as we could use them in a sentence about cooking. We started off with "Aprons" and ended on "Zesty". Sometimes we had to get a little creative, and some answers we thought of were pretty funny, but we successfully made it though the whole alphabet.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Raising a Baby Squirrel-Week 3

We made it to week 3!




This little guy still hasn't opened his eyes and it is amazing how quickly he is changing. The amount that he eats at once (as well as the amount he bathrooms) is increasing seemingly day by day. The coloring on his body is starting to resemble a squirrel we would be familiar with from the wild.

While feeding him this morning I noticed that he has two tiny teeth on the bottom of his mouth. They appear cute now, but I just hope he doesn't use them to bite me eventually.

When I have him out of the cage to feed him I often give him the opportunity to try walking on a flat surface. He does not have good balance and hasn't figured out all the right places to put his front and back legs.

The fingers and foot have changed remarkably in the last week as well. The toes (nails included) have become longer, and the pads of the foot have become more distinct. While feeding, he is starting to curl his feet and toes around my fingers and the syringe to grip onto them.

Can't wait to free him once old enough (6 more weeks perhaps)!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Ever since I've begun spreading the word about my pregnancy, I've loathed enjoyed all of the unsolicited advice and comments I've been receiving from friends, family and strangers.  I've been keeping a written pregnancy journal in a notebook and have kept track of some of my favorites over the last 4 months. 


They range anywhere from rude to ignorant but all of them, I feel, are equally annoying.
  1. Your life is over now that you're having a baby and/or your life is over for the next 18 years, have fun!
    I would think the better thing to say would be, your life is just beginning.  I know things are going to be hard but I don't think of this as the end of my life.  I hope that doesn't happen for about 70-80 more years.
  2. You're never going to sleep again.
    Again, I know that the first year or two are going to be hard, but I do plan on doing a lot of reading about sleep training and how to get the baby onto a schedule. 
  3. You should probably sell your boat, fishing poles, husbands tools, classic car and anything else you enjoy as a hobby because you'll never get to enjoy it again.
    Sorry, but why would I sell a boat and a car that are paid off and will not go down in value over the few years just because I may not be able to use them?!  I think this one made me the most upset because my husband and I worked hard to get these things and I don't appreciate being told that I'll never use them again.  I am sure that a toddler would LOVE to be out on the boat for a few hours in the summer and when they get older will want to help daddy work on his car (or at least that's my hope). 
  4. You won't be able to get a baby in the backseat of your 4 door Honda Accord, better get a mini-van!
    Funny, there weren't mini-vans when our parents were kids and oddly enough my parents never owned one.  They managed to put us in the backseat of a two door Bronco!  I'm not getting rid of my car, that I love, is paid off and gets 32 mpg, just because I'm having a baby.
  5. Better you than me, I'm so glad I'm not having any more kids!
    Good for you!  Maybe if I would have gotten married 5-10 years ago I would be done having kids as well but I didn't so here we are!
  6. You're going back to work?  Do you know how expensive child care can be?
    I think the better question is, do you know about my finances?!  If you are anyone but my husband and parents/in-laws then the answer should be no.  Everyone has to make their own choices about staying home or not and to be frank, there is no way we can afford it!
  7. Next summer you'll be sitting at home with a crying baby while everyone else with grown children are out on vacations and having a good time.
    Well good for you and good for those people.  This is also one of the rude things I am so sick of hearing!
  8. Your kids will become your life and you won't get to do much of anything that you enjoy anymore. 
    I remember being a kid and having babysitters, so my parents could go out and enjoy an evening together without loosing their sanity.  I know there are some people who don't like to leave their children, and that's fine but I don't expect to never have any fun again because I have a child.  Won't watching them grow be fun?  Won't we do fun things as a family or, heaven forbid, without the child?!
I'm sure that most of the mothers reading this can agree that though pregnancy is such an exciting time, people just don't know what to say to you.  It probably doesn't help that your emotions are on such a roller-coaster that you're offended by nearly everything someone says, every look you receive and every awful piece of advice or comment.  If I had the guts, I would reply to these people with the answers I've written in this post, but for now I will just smile and remember how special this time should be and that mean people can go fly a kite!


Amanda is a 20-something blogger from the Central Ohio area who writes about marriage, life in the country, family, friends and pregnancy at her blog Welcome to My Life.   

Monday, August 12, 2013

Camping Tips from A Summer of Camping

My family has gone camping nearly half of the weekends of this year's summer. It was an amazing year to go because the temperatures stayed fairly low for the time of year. We went to several different camp grounds in Ohio and learned some helpful information along the way.


To preface: we go camping in our newly acquired pop-up camper that is about 15 years old. We do have a/c and a mini fridge that is usable as long as the campsite has an electrical hook-up!

We look for a camp site that provides some amount of shading (if not full), typically we prefer morning sun because at that point the camper doesn't get too hot by the time the sun is not directly on it anymore. The afternoon sun tends to make the camper hotter and it takes longer to cool before going in for the night.

It is great to have the fan for the a/c running if you are a light sleeper. I hear EVERYTHING so for me I would never sleep without it. One night the temperature dropped to the low 50's (in July!) and I turned it off so I wouldn't freeze. I heard all sorts of sounds and didn't sleep from 3-5 a.m. One of those sounds was surely a raccoon.

It probably looked like this:


But I imagine it  looked like this:


Getting back to sending you helpful tips for a fun and enjoyable camping experience...because that was the point of the post. However, it can be important to note the difference between cute wildlife and the scary kind!

Camping Tips 101

-Make sure you have enough fresh, clean water: some camps have non-drinkable water. This includes cooking and brushing your teeth.

-Pack extra clothing. Weather changes rapidly, chill can set in in summer, rain ruins everything you are wearing. Underwear and socks should be 3-4X what you expect to need. Long pants are a must.

-Reserve popular campsite spots in advance. The really nice campgrounds have no vacancies sometimes more than a month in advance for weekends during the summer.
-Find out if your state has a loyalty or rewards program. Ohio has a points program that lets you use points to pay for you campsite. It's about 14 nights of camping get one free...but that's something!

-Bring Clorox or other disinfecting wipes. You have no idea what could be on/have been on your stuff if you leave it out overnight (please see scary raccoon above)

-Cutter bug spray. I TRY very hard not to use harsh chemicals when it isn't really necessary. However, after a camping trip near a lake that had flooded a week before I went, I was eaten alive. I probably had 100 bites per leg they were that bad. Don't be a hero-some people get severe reactions to mosquito bites.

-Pack extra food. You just never know what might happen. Survival situation, munchies, spoilage, animal ransack.
-Campsite lighting (separate from flashlights). This is for safety in your site area. It helps you see if you need to go to the bathroom at night, helps others see if someone is around, and helps you identify if there is a wild animal near by. I personally love hanging some decorative stringed lights from my camper awning. It provides just enough soft lighting for the immediate area.

-Toilet Paper! Yes, even if your campsite has flush toilets you never know if they could run out, get wet, stolen, or another tragedy. (Perhaps a wild raccoon shredding it apart?!)
-Precook and cut food before you go just in case your roaring campfire is less than you expected! There is a huge difference between enough heat to warm your food versus cooking it properly. Plus, it is easier to use your kitchen space at home than it is to be away.

-Look for discounted summer items after the 4th of July. Many stores start to mark down outdoor items because there is less need for them after the 4th. I find tea pitchers, grilling utensils, hard plastic plates, bowls and cups, as well as string lights that make great campsite lighting!


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