On Mourning

Jesus mourning with Mary and Martha. Photo from lds.org

Jesus mourning with Mary and Martha
Photo from lds.org

Since the election last week, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering, internalizing and processing. I’ve struggled with confusion, with fear, anxiety, anger pain and a lot of sadness. A lot of those feelings have come from witnessing the brutality and hatred directed toward so many people that I love and respect dearly. Normally, I prefer to remain silent about topics like politics and religion because joining those types of conversations causes me great anxiety. But this week I feel compelled to speak up, to share and publicly own what’s in my heart. Please understand that this is a vulnerable thing for me to do, but I share because of some compulsion outside of myself. I’ve tried to ignore it, but I know this is something I need to do. I hope that you’ll understand that what I say is more of a personal epiphany than anything else, so it’s not meant to point fingers. However, in a world where inaction has consequences, I’ve realized that I can’t sit back in the shadows anymore and listen to the war of words around me without taking action. I need to be an active participant, and although this is a small step, it’s how I’d like to start. So here goes.

When I was 8 years old, I made a commitment to God that I would mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. I made a commitment that I would do my best to bear the burdens of those around me. I have tried hard to keep this commitment, but I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always lived up to it as fully as I should. I know hundreds of others who have made the same commitment that I’ve made, and I’ve also seen many of them failing to live up to this commitment (I’m not pointing fingers, merely making an observation). The amount of “get over it already” comments, and “we had to deal with so and so” that I’ve heard in the past 6 days has given me great pause. I’ve seen a lot of it coming from people who I love and respect, and that has gotten me thinking- why is it hard to accept the validity of others’ pain? I have experienced a fair amount of discrimination in my short life, but I also recognize and know that my life has been one of immense privilege, especially in comparison to SO many others. I won’t pretend do understand what it feels like to be a minority right now. Or to be LGBTQ, or Muslim, or disabled, or a victim of sexual assault, or so much more. I have not personally experienced those struggles, but I love and care for many who have. I know that knowing people who have experienced those things doesn’t make me an expert, but what it does make me, is an ally. Or at least it should. Especially if I remember the commitment that I made as an 8-year-old. Although I have cause to mourn myself, I am in an important position to stand by those whose pain runs deep, because I promised I would.

Warning: I’m about to get a little more religious.

I’ve done my best in my life to model my actions after the person I believe is the greatest example of mourning with those who mourn- Jesus Christ. Here’s an example that I’ve been thinking about a lot this week, and I can’t get this one specific thought out of my head. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to Jesus on the road weeping. They were in despair, because their Lord who they believed and had faith could heal their brother, was too late to do so. On top of sadness, I imagine they also felt anger that Christ had taken so long to arrive. I’m pretty sure one of them even told him that if he’d been there sooner, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When he finally did arrive though, rather than scold them for their grief, he cried with them. He mourned with them and comforted them. He validated their need to FEEL, and to process their grief, even though he knew that Lazarus would be ok in the end. He was the ultimate example of bearing another’s burdens, regardless of the outcome. He could have easily told them to calm down, to get over it, because hey, He knows something they didn’t- He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead and to end their sorrow, and he was going to do it. But would saying that to them have really ended their sorrow? I don’t think so. The reality is, Lazarus died. That in and of itself was cause to mourn. The miracle Jesus performed didn’t negate the fact that a tragedy HAPPENED. Yes, Lazarus rose from the dead and continued on in this life, but it didn’t erase the grief and pain and heartache that came from his death. The grieving needed to happen, and Mary and Martha needed to be validated in their grief. They didn’t need Christ to tell them to get over it, they needed him to mourn with them, and mourn with them he did.

Now, I’m not comparing Lazarus’ death to what’s going on today, nor am I saying that some miracle is going to happen and we’re all going to be saved from the disasters and heartache that surround us every day. I don’t have any idea whether things are going to get better, or worse. What I do know, is that I am bringing a daughter into a world that have a lot of anxiety about, and I am terrified of the things that she will have to experience and endure in her lifetime. But I want her to learn from me, that love wins over hate. I want her to learn from me that it’s ok for others to hurt, and we don’t have to tell them to get over it just because we don’t understand it. I want her to learn from me to stand up for the people she cares about, and lend her voice to the voiceless. I want her to understand, if and when she decides to make the same commitment that I did at 8 years old, what it truly means to bear another’s burdens, because she’s watched me do it. I want her to know that it’s okay for her to feel angry, sad, afraid, frustrated, hurt and upset, and I want to help her learn how to work through those emotions so they don’t control her. I also want her to know that it’s okay to feel excited, happy, exuberant, triumphant, proud, joyful and powerful. I want her to be unapologetic about who she is, and accept others for being unapologetic about who they are. I want her to sit with the lonely child at lunch, and speak up to the bully who makes fun of her friend for wearing the wrong clothes, or having a different skin color or culture. I want her to be passionate about things that make her feel alive, and I want her to have integrity to do the right thing. I can’t expect her to do any of these things, if I don’t set the example though. I can’t trust that she will learn these traits from anyone else. 

I have witnessed and experienced so much pain and heartache this year- whether it’s because of the recent election, family tragedies, natural disasters, or a myriad of other tragic and devastating circumstances and events. The pain is real, the anguish is real. I feel it, and I know so many others feel it even more deeply than I. I don’t know how long it will take for me to fully comprehend recent events, and I can’t even begin to put a timeline on how long it should take for you. We may find that we’re ok next week. It might take 4 years. It may take forever. Or some of you may be over it already. And that’s ok. It’s all ok. Because we have a right to mourn, or not. We have a right to express our fear, anger, frustration and sadness in whatever way we need to, or to not express it at all. You see, it’s not my prerogative to decide how you, or anyone else, should process what’s happening in this world. We’re all different, and our experiences are all different. Circumstances are all different. Different isn’t bad. 

All different means, is that I don’t know what you’re going through, and you don’t know what I’m going through, so rather than condemning, judging and dismissing others because we don’t understand them, let’s mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. Let’s listen without condemning. Let’s really hear people. Let’s validate their pain, and tell them their stories are important. Let’s show them that we care by supporting their causes, their needs and their safety. Let’s get involved in local politics and issues. Let’s write letters to our legislators, and show up to PTA meetings. Let’s speak up when we see something wrong happening, whether it’s happening to someone we know or not. Let’s look out for one another, and let’s put our money where our mouth is (if and when we have the ability to do so). Let’s remember that this world isn’t black or white- it’s hundreds of thousands of shades of the rainbow, and sometimes my magenta looks a lot like your razzle-dazzle-rose. We don’t all see through the same lens, and that’s what makes the world beautiful. We need each other. We need to build each other up rather than tearing each other down. Let’s not use politics as an excuse to discriminate, violate or condemn our brothers and sisters. Instead, let’s use love to guide our actions.

So, for my daughter, who’s name reminds me to believe there is still good in the world, I am choosing to speak up. I don’t want to remain silent, I want to actively be a shoulder to lean on, someone to cry with. I’m not sure yet what that looks like, and I’d love ideas if you have them. Please tell me how I can comfort, and mourn with you. 

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P.S. If you’d like a refresher on the commitment I made as an 8-year-old, you can find it in Mosiah 18:8-9. Here’s the excerpt that I’ve been pondering this week:

 8 …And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death… 

Pattern Spotlight: The Jackie Dress

I recently got to sew the Jackie Dress as a pattern tester for a new clothing pattern company called Rad Patterns. My cousin Stephanie is the designer and she is totally legit (she has a degree in apparel design), so I was pretty excited to try out the Jackie Dress.

Pattern Spotlight- Rad Patterns -The Jackie Dress- {Home Sweet Homebodies} (1)

Here’s what I love about the Jackie Dress! First of all, the pattern is very user-friendly- it comes as a PDF with layers so you can select your size and print out exactly what you want- nothing extra. It has photos and illustrations to go along with the instructions, so if you need clarification, it’s right there. That said, this is probably an intermediate level project.

Second, I love how versatile this pattern is! I chose to make my dress knee length, with a sleeve cuff and V- back, but there are options for a longer skirt, boat neck back, no cuff, and a cute waist tab. I also chose to use different fabrics for the skirt and top of the dress- navy blue suiting for the skirt, and white peachskin for the top.  It totally works because of the invisible zipper in the back.  This dress can be dressed up or dressed down. I love wearing it with this cardigan.  I am thinking about making a more casual cotton version of this dress too.

Rad Patterns The Jackie Dress Pattern Spotlight {Home Sweet Homebodies}

If you make this dress with suiting material like I did, depending on the stiffness of the fabric, you might want to make the skirt a little narrower, but as long as your fabric has a good drape to it, the pattern is perfect as-is!

Stephanie has another pattern in the final stages of testing and it will be released in the next week or two. Check out her Facebook Page- Rad Patterns to get access to new patterns as they are available. Or, check out her blog for sewing tips, free downloadable patterns, advice on teaching kids to sew, and pattern design progress.

The Jackie Dress downloadable pattern is available on Etsy.

Happy Sewing!

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Protein-packed stuffed bell peppers

Made these today and they turned out deliciously! After a few requests for the recipe, I’m posting it here!

 
Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used the red kind, but any kind will work!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can stewed diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheese for garnish (I used goat cheese, but you can use any kind!)

Directions:

  1. First, get the quinoa cooking. Combine the quinoa and water in a small pot and turn on to medium heat until it boils, then simmer until all the water is soaked up.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, brown the ground turkey. I like to rinse it in very hot water after I cook it to get rid of the remaining fat, but this step is optional, especially if you’re using lean ground turkey.
  3. While the turkey is cooking, begin on the rest of the filling. Combine the black beans, stewed tomatoes, olives, cumin, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Chop the cilantro and add that in too.
  4. Next, cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. (You can also just cut the tops off if you want a bigger cup to fill!) save a small piece of one pepper to chop and add into the filling mix.
  5. Once quinoa and turkey are cooked, combine them in the bowl with the rest of the filling mix.
  6. Next, line a baking sheet with foil and lay the pepper halves out. Spoon the mixture into the pepper halves and sprinkle the tops with cheese.
  7. Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes

Enjoy!!

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Glitter Rudolph Sign! {Giveaway Month}


This is week 4 of our handmade giveaway month! Our first week we partnered with Drill Bits and Oven Mitts and gave away a beautiful, vintage reclaimed wood holiday sign. The second week, we gave away a gorgeous cable crocheted headband, as well as 2 pdf patterns for headbands from our boutique. Last week, we gave away a luxurious, all natural, organic-themed goodie bag with seven fabulous, self- pampering items.

Glitter Reindeer Sign {Home Sweet Homebodies}

This week, we’re giving away a vintage-inspired, wooden Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sign, handmade by Cara! This sign would be an awesome way to add some farmhouse chic “bling” to your decorating this year, and it fits in easily with the decor you already have. Enter the giveaway below- be sure to read the rules at the bottom. (After you enter by submitting your email address to subscribe to blog posts, more entry options will be unlocked.) We would love it if you shared this Glitter Rudolph sign giveaway with your friends.

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Sign up for email updates and be entered to win this gorgeous, handmade sign. Earn additional entries for each of the following: "liking", sharing on Facebook, following and sharing on Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram. (Leave a comment to let us know you followed on Instagram). This giveaway is not affiliated with or sponsored by Facebook. All entries will be verified. Must like on Facebook to win. We will cover shipping costs to winners in the lower 48 states.  Winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Tuesday, December 8th.
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We will also be listing limited quantities of this darling Glitter Rudolph Sign in our Etsy shop in the next day or so, so if you’ve got to have it, check out the shop!
Glitter Rudolf sign giveaway

We have enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit this month with our “month of giveaways” and we hope you’ve enjoyed it too. As we enter the Christmas season, we want to remind each of you (and ourselves) of the true meaning of the season- that is, love. It is always better to give than to receive. There’s nothing like warming your heart by giving of yourself to someone else. We hope each of you will feel the joy of the season by giving this year- whether that means giving items, money, time, talents, an open heart, forgiveness, or a smile.

The Homebodies

Don’t forget: last minute Thanksgiving details

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If you’re living in the U.S., this week is a big week for many of us! Thanksgiving is only a couple days away, and because it is a time when many families and friends gather together to celebrate the things we’re grateful for,  we want things to be just right!  Hopefully  you’ve already got your turkey and the rest of your meal planned, but in case you’re still putting some of your Thanksgiving details together…

If you still need a great recipe for rolls, here is my family’s time- tested recipe for Crescent Rolls.

Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls

This veggie platter turkey is a pretty awesome way to keep grabby hands and growling tummies away from the rolls while finishing up dinner preparations!

Veggie Platter Turkey {Home Sweet Homebodies}

If you want to dress up your table a little more (but need something relatively simply), Here is a nifty napkin folding tutorial if you’re so inclined.

Napkin Folding- 2 ways {Home Sweet Homebodies}

Or, if you’re ready to take your tablescaping to a new level, get some inspiration from this simple, yet highly elegant layout.

Thanksgiving Tablescape {Home Sweet Homebodies}

Or this festive fall tablescape:

Festive Fall Tablescape

Here is a delicious wassail recipe that would be another great way to enjoy the flavors of fall.

The Best Homemade Wassail Recipe {Home Sweet Homebodies}

If your refrigerator is overflowing with leftover turkey on Friday, you might want to consider using it in this fabulous Turkey and Wild Rice Soup recipe.

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Or this to-die-for Turkey Avocado Citrus Salad!

Turkey Avocado Citrus Salad Recipe on Home Sweet Homebodies

If your pumpkin craving isn’t satisfied this weekend, I’m sure it will be if you whip up this classic, easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hope you can get those last- minute Thanksgiving details worked out!  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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PS: We’ll probably take a break for the next week or so, but feel free to follow along on Instagram as we post tablescapes and other Thanksgiving loveliness. Also, instead of posting our 4th giveaway in our month of giveaways series tomorrow, we’re going to spend the week with our families and hope you will too. The 4th giveaway will instead be live on Monday, November 30th. We will still be announcing this week’s giveaway on Tuesday afternoon- check our Facebook page to see who the winner is!

Handmade, Organic Goodie Bag {Giveaway Month}

Organic Themed Goodie Bag Giveaway {HomeSweetHomebodies}

This is week 3 of our handmade giveaway month! Our first week we partnered with Drill Bits and Oven Mitts and gave away a beautiful, vintage reclaimed wood holiday sign. Last week, we gave away a gorgeous cable crocheted headband, as well as 2 pdf patterns for headbands from our boutique. This week, I am excited to present a luxurious, all natural, organic-themed goodie bag for one lucky reader!

This week’s prize is all about wellness, and treating our bodies right! There are seven fabulous, self-pampering items in this giveaway- worth $60! Keep it for yourself, or give as a very special handmade gift.

Goodie Bag Giveaway items {Home Sweet Homebodies}

  1. Handmade goodie bag- This works fantastically for storing your cosmetics, nail polishes, etc., or as a wetbag- because the inside is lined with fused plastic bags, making it water resistant. This goodie bag is an interesting mix of old and new- the fabric is current, the zipper is vintage, and the fused plastic- well, you could call that “hipster recycling”. If you wanted to. 😉 ($14 value)
  2. Detox Bath Salts- We all pick up toxins from the environment we’re in, the things we eat, and chemicals that touch our skin. This packet of super luxurious bath salts will help pull those toxins out, while affording you a much- deserved soak in the tub. This blend of high quality bath salts includes epsom salts, sea salt, Redmond real salt, and magnesium flakes, and is scented with relaxing lavender essential oil and revitalizing peppermint. ($8 value)
  3. Trust Fund Beauty nail polish- this is the only non- handmade item of this giveaway, but I included it because it is a nail polish that is truly non- toxic and cruelty free. Win! ($15 value)
  4. Super smooth, organic lip balm. I shared a post yesterday on how to make these lovely lip balms. I will probably be listing them in our shop, though, for those who want a ready-made option. ($4 value)
  5. Hard Lotion Bar- another extremely nourishing, organic beauty item! If you haven’t used hard lotion bars before, they are fantastic. The warmth of your skin melts a tiny bit of the lotion, and you rub it in. It is long lasting, and it’s nice to let kids use too, because they can’t squirt it everywhere- they just get a bit. I use mine on my hands and on my lips sometimes too. These bars have organic coconut oil, beeswax, avocado oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter in them, and are lightly scented with essential oils. ($6 value)
  6. Measuring tape bracelet. Ok, this is just a fun, handmade statement piece. This bracelet is adjustable, and it has an attractive silver buckle to fasten it. Perfect for those who sew and/or design. ($9 value)
  7. Measuring tape key fob- another “just-for-fun” piece for the fashion- minded. Includes a key ring. ($4 value)

Fun stuff, right? :)

Hard Lotion Bars {Home Sweet Homebodies}

We’re going to run this giveaway a little differently. You can enter right here on this page by leaving a comment, or you can enter on our Facebook page. In either case, leave a comment explaining which entries you did. Here’s how to get entries (do as many or as few as you like, but we will verify entries for winners):

  • Share this blog post on Facebook using the round blue button at the bottom of this post.
  • Follow us on any of our social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+ (each follow gets it’s own entry)
  • Subscribe to our posts by email (remember to click the link in the subscription verification email you receive)
  • Leave a comment with your favorite item from the goodie bag.

Rules, aka the fine print: No purchase necessary. 1 winner will be chosen at random and announced on Facebook page on Tuesday, November 24th. We will cover shipping to winners with shipping addresses in the lower 48 states. Winners outside of the lower 48 may need to cover the difference in their own shipping. Thanks for understanding. All entries will be verified. Winner will be contacted within 12 hours after close of Giveaway and has 48 hours to reply with shipping address.  We cannot be not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged shipments or entries with incorrect contact information. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

PS- Our next giveaway will be another Christmas decor item!

Glitter Rudolph

Happy Giveaway Month!

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All Natural Organic Lip Balm Recipe

All Natural Organic Lip Balm Recipe {Home Sweet Homebodies}

I looooove making my own personal care products because I know exactly what is in them, and I could pretty much eat anything I put in them (not that I’d want to… beeswax, Mmmm!). I have been making my own products for several years now, including homemade deodorant (yah, I know, sounds crazy, but it works and I have peace of mind), facial moisturizer, various creams and lotions, shower gel, bath products like foot scrub and detox bath salts, and lip balm. Just to name a few. :) Some of the recipes are still in the developing stages, others I adapted from recipes I found on other blogs, and some are perfected and ready to be enjoyed!  I love my lip balm recipe! It has gone through so many variations, but I am really happy with the final result! It’s super smooth, but not too soft. (Note- you can reduce the amount of beeswax if you like a softer lip balm.) I usually add some nourishing oils like Rosehip Seed Oil and Carrot Seed Oil, and then whatever essential oils sound good at the time.

*Only the Good Stuff*
All Natural, Organic Lip Balm Recipe
{Home Sweet Homebodies}

2 1/2 tsp. organic beeswax
1 tsp. organic coconut oil- I get mine from Costco
1 1/2 tsp. organic cocoa butter (I have used lanolin, but I like this better)- I get this from Mountain Rose Herbs
1 1/2 tsp. organic shea butter- also from Mountain Rose Herbs
1 tsp. organic vitamin E oil
Optionally, add ~20 drops of your choice of essential oils (some oils require less or more, depending on how strong they are)

In a double boiler, add the first 5 ingredients (I use a “homemade double boiler”- a glass pyrex liquid measuring cup in a saucepan with an inch or so of boiling water in it.) and stir until they are melted. Turn off the heat and add in your essential oils, stirring to combine. Carefully pour the hot oils (careful, it will burn if you get it on your skin at this point) into your lip balm tubes or tins.  It really helps to have a disposable plastic dropper or pipette to do this. The oils will harden very quickly, and the middles will sink as it cools, so you can add a few more drops to even the top out. Then, you can put them in the refrigerator to set them more quickly, or just let them continue to harden for a couple hours. This recipe fills about 8 lip balm tubes. This lip balm is so nourishing, and the oils are naturally antimicrobial, so it will last a long time. You’re gonna love it!

Organic Lip Balm Recipe {Home Sweet Homebodies}

P.S. Our next giveaway is going to be live on Tuesday morning, and one of these beautiful balms may be included, among other fabulous things! >hint, hint< Be sure to stop by!

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Fall Fashion Facts

IMG_20151114_142355-001Need a few Fall fashion tips?! Here are a some “fashion facts” to help you put your best foot forward this season!

  • Wear fall colors like maroon, olive-green, grey, navy blue, burnt orange etc.
    • Highrise Maroon Skinny Jean –  American Eagle Outfitters
  • Mix patterns and/or layer, but do it right. For example polka dots and stripes probably won’t go together very well, but floral and stripes complement each other nicely.
    • White Pinstriped collared shirt – Passport
    • Navy Blue Floral Scarf – Merona
  • Ankle boots can go with almost any outfit and complete your look. Plus, they are trending right now and are super easy to find in stores. Wear with a neutral sock or cuffed pants.
    • Grey Laced Ankle Boots – Steve Madden

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Crochet Headband Giveaway! {Giveaway Month}

Headband and Crochet Patterns Giveaway at www.Homesweethomebodies.net

Its time for our second round of giveaways! {In case you missed our first giveaway post, over the next month we are giving away 5 unique and beautiful prizes that you can keep for yourself, or give as a gift to someone special!  Each week we will announce the giveaway package and the requirements to enter.}

Did you know we have an Etsy shop? There are currently 6 crochet headband patterns in the shop, and each one is an instant PDF download (a.k.a. instant gratification!). These beautiful headbands make great gifts, and are easy to make over a weekend (or over the course of a movie, if you’re like me)!

For this week’s giveaway, not one, but TWO lucky readers will win a free headband pattern of their choice, and a THIRD reader will win a handmade Cable Crochet headband (valued at $20 and made by Marissa) in your choice of pink (pictured) or cream.

That’s THREE winners this week, you guys! Each person will have the opportunity to gain multiple entries – check out our Rafflecopter Widget below to see how to enter! Good luck!

(Here’s just a couple of my favorite crochet patterns – check out our shop to see more!)

Anna Crochet PDF PATTERN for Headband headwrap and flower   Cable Crochet PDF PATTERN for Headband headwrap earwarmer and flower

Be sure to check back for more giveaways (and more awesome blog posts too)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Visit our pages on Facebook and Etsy. Additional entries optional. 3 winners will be chosen at random and announced on  Facebook page on Tuesday, November 17th. We will cover shipping to winners with shipping addresses in the lower 48 states. Winners outside of the lower 48 may need to cover the difference in their own shipping. Thanks for understanding. All entries will be verified. Winners will be contacted within 12 hours after close of Giveaway and have 48 hours to reply with shipping addresses.  We cannot be not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged shipments or entries with incorrect contact information. 

The Homebodies

My Car Preparedness Essentials

Last month, I shared the contents of my personal EDC (every day carry) bag which I take everywhere with me. Today I am going to show you what I keep in my car to fill in some of my preparedness gaps- my car EDC, if you will. (This post contains affliliate links for products I actually own and use, and feel good recommending. Clicking & buying using an affiliate link gives me a small commission but doesn’t change the price for you. Not all links are affiliate links. Thanks!) 

Let’s start with the trunk, shall we?

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This is pretty much what the trunk of my car always looks like. As you can see, I have a few things there, but there is still plenty of room for other cargo. Here’s what you see: 1. Emergency Car Kit (I’ll share the contents below), 2. Water bottles- kept together in a graham cracker box. Yes, I know, it’s classy. 😉 That box is the perfect size, and it keeps the bottles from rolling all over the car. It works. 3. Snow scraper/ brush– an essential for me since I live in the mountain west. 4. Rope– so many applications, from survival, to camping, to lugging home your Christmas tree or that piece of furniture from IKEA that you were so sure would fit, but didn’t. Yeah- been there. 5. My car emergency kit family add-on items (I will show this in more detail as well), and 6. a small towel and a couple blankets- also important with our very cold winters, but super helpful even for picnics, kid’s potty training accidents etc. I will definitely add a couple more in there as the weather is getting cooler.

Bet you couldn’t wait to see the water bottles in the graham cracker box, right? Right? 😉

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Moving swiftly along… let’s take a closer look at that emergency car kit.

Car emergency kit

I purchased this emergency kit at Costco a few years ago, but you can find the same one on Amazon, here. It comes with a small air compressor, jumper cables, bungee cord, duct tape, cable ties, tire gauge, screw driver, utility knife, LED headlamp, extra batteries, window mount triangle, and a first aid kit. Not bad- it’s got the basics covered. However, I wanted to add some things in that I consider essential!

Emergency kit add ons 1

1. LifeStraw– I would suggest keeping at least one, but possibly more LifeStraws in your car. If you were stranded in a desolate area and you needed water, you could use this filtering straw to drink out of a puddle on the ground, and you’d be fine. Pretty cool, huh? 2. Miscellaneous items including tissue, pen, hair tie, cough drops, hand sanitizer, etc. 3. Shout wipes– I have kids, plus I’ve been known to drop my lunch in my lap, so, ’nuff said. 4. Tide packet- I don’t know that this is truly essential, but I have wanted to wash clothes out in a hotel sink when we were on the road, and this would make that possible. 5. Lighter, 6. tea light, 7. compressed towel (for hygiene), 8. tinder– these items are for light and warmth in a survival or camping situation. It’s pretty easy to store a lighter and start a fire with that, as opposed to matches, for many people. 9. Mylar blanket aka space blanket– again, for warmth in an emergency situation or health crisis. These blankets reflect your body heat back to you, and while not soft or comfortable, they can be used in combination with other blankets and they’re pretty effective. I often stock up on these at the dollar store. 10. poncho–  I also get these occasionally from the dollar store. 11. extra screwdriver– yes, we have used ours, and we were glad to have it. 12. Tire gauge- this was already included in the kit, I accidentally pictured it here. 13. A few commonly needed OTC meds like pain relievers and digestive aids, and 14. a kitchen- sized trash bag- so many uses, not the least of which is to be used during carsickness.

Car emergency kit add ons

In addition to what’s in the car emergency kit, I carry a small plastic bin that’s more of a family clothing emergency kit. 😉 I use this stuff somewhat frequently.  I suggest carrying some kind of small container like this that meets the needs of individual family members. Since I have small kids, this reflects the needs of my family- i.e. potty training, carsickness, etc. If you have older kids, babies, elderly family members, or if there are specific health problems, you should tailor this kit to meet those specific needs. In my kit, you will see 1. Lots of easy, nutrient dense snacks like granola and protein bars, fruit leather, and jerky, 2. Extra straws, forks, napkins, hand wipes, etc., 3. extra shirt (child sized), 4. Extra underpants (again, child sized), 5. zip top bag (so many uses), 6. Extra training pants, 7. Spare baby clothing including a hat, 8. blanket, and onesie, 9. Socks.

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Moving toward the front of the car- here’s the back seat. The reason I show this is not because it’s pretty or fancy- these are just basic booster seats for my elementary school aged kids- but I really like the seat protector pads. These pads have saved me tons of work cleaning (have I mentioned that I must have the most carsick prone kids ever? I have seriously cleaned up so much vomit out of my cars- yuck.) and these pads just wipe right off. They also have storage pockets that hang down, and are useful for road trips and such, but really, I just have them because it makes cleaning up their seats so much easier.

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In the middle seat, I keep a 1. seat organizer stocked with 2. Flannel burp rags (my baby doesn’t need them any more, but they are awesome for cleaning spills, and are also big enough that clean ones can be used as a mini- blanket for the baby, or rolled for a neck pillow), 3. Diapers and wipes (I would carry wipes even if I didn’t have kids. So useful.) 4. Emergency snacks (I am realizing how much importance my family puts on snacks. Haha.), 5. an umbrella, and 6. a road atlas book, which is important to have in case you ever couldn’t use your GPS or smartphone to navigate.

Car EDC Baby Car Seat

My baby is in a rear- facing car seat, so we love having a mirror that we can see each other in. And since the foot space is available, we stow a diaper bag that is full of baby essentials, and always stays in the car, and a diaper clutch, which for me is much more portable and practical when I’m on- the- go.

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We keep the diaper bag stocked  at all times with diapers and wipes, 1. snacks, 2. hand sanitizer, 3. extra blankets and clothing, 4. an ergobaby or moby- type wrap for carrying the baby (I have multiple wraps, this one always stays in the car), and 5. when I was breastfeeding, I kept extra nursing pads and lanolin cream.

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This lined diaper clutch was really simple to make and it fits 4-5 diapers and a small case of wipes. I do not carry a diaper bag everywhere with me. It just does not fit my lifestyle, and my baby is old enough that it just isn’t necessary. I can fit everything we need in this clutch and my personal EDC bag.

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Underneath the diaper bag, we have access to 1. a full size box of kleenex, 2. a box of trash bags (bought on a road trip, long story, but it was useful enough that we just left them in the car.), 3. an auto fire extinguisher, and a winshield sunshade (not labeled).

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Last, but not least, in the front seat. I keep 1. extra medications, 2. chapstick and eyedrops, 3. a power converter for our phone chargers, 4. extra phone charging cables, 5. a pocket sized set of scriptures, 6. flashlights (link is for different flashlights than pictured, but we have a set and we like them), 7. yah, more snacks, 8. another power converter that can be used with a standard plug (we’ve used this with our mattress pump when we go car camping), 9. this knife (use your best judgement on this and don’t leave in a place super- accessible to small children.), 10. a CPR mask with valve, 11. Extra AA batteries, and 12. more hand sanitizer.

Here is my recommendation for preparing, whether it is for your car, your home, or your purse- think about what is most important to you, and your family on a typical day and go from there. In an emergency situation, you will have physical needs of warmth, safety, shelter, food, and health. You may have emotional and spiritual needs arising from stress and grief. Think about the things that give your family comfort in all of those ways, and make sure you address those needs in your preparations.

Be happy, prepared, and safe!

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