Hurricane Prep List

Hurricane season begins June 1st, and this month is the best time to stock up on emergency supplies. Once a storm is on the way, store shelves will empty fast. Remember to also review the expiration dates on your pantry items to see if any need replacements. When a warning is issued, follow the tips below.

Hurricane Prep

1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers to help keep food cool. You can also use empty water bottles instead of discarding them. Turn fridge to coldest setting ahead of storm.
2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages that you can drink cold or at room temperature. Fill plastic pitchers, thermos bottles, and other containers with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.
3. Have enough food in stock. Fruits that keep well are grapes, apples, bananas. Applesauce and other packaged fruits are good buys. Get bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can buy peanut butter in individual portions. Get snack packs with hard cheeses, crackers, dried fruits, apple slices, or grapes. Canned chicken, baked beans, and nuts are good sources of protein. Cans of tuna or salmon tend to smell more if there’s no garbage pickup so buy these in a pouch. Make a sandwich ahead of time so you have a grab-and-go lunch.
4. Cook and eat the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out.
5. Have a cooler handy. If you lose power, put a container of ice or a freezer pack inside along with the refrigerated foods you’re likely to eat first. This will save you from opening the refrigerator door too often.
6. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.
7. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another address with your most recent files. Back up to a flash drive that you can carry around. Store files in the Cloud.
8. Bring in all loose objects from outside.
9. Do the laundry.
10. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.
11. Fill gas tank in car. No power, no pumps. And motorists on the run will consume the fuel.
12. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATMs won’t work in a power failure.
13. Pay bills due or coming due.
14. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics. Get a portable charger.
15. Prepare a list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.
16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.
17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels. Also invest in duct tape and plastic sheeting to use if a window breaks.
18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.
19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room or in a central location. Keep extra batteries in stock. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark. Carry a flashlight with you wherever you go in the house in case the power blinks out. For any solar-powered devices, make sure they’re well exposed to light beforehand.
20. Put insurance papers and other important documents, including copies of recent utility bills, into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud. Put other important papers into a plastic container. Some folks suggest putting these papers into your dishwasher or washing machine, as they are waterproof, and closing it tight.
21. Buy an emergency hand-crank radio that also comes with a light and a cell phone charger. I like the Eton brand, which is sold on Amazon. Make sure you get one with a USB port for charging your devices.
22. Learn how to open your garage on manual in case the power goes out. Keep these instructions handy. Also learn how to turn off the low battery alert on your security system.
23. Get a Kindle or other e-reader with a backlight to use when the power goes out. Keep it fully charged.
24. If you think water might get into the house, put some clothes into a large plastic garbage bag and seal it.
25. Prepare your safe room for tornadoes. Put blankets on the floor unless it’s carpeted. Add a portable radio, lantern, e-reader, snacks, water bottles, and emergency papers in a plastic bag. Put your purse in there. Also have a go-bag with chargers and other emergency items.
26. Keep the air-conditioning temperature very low so when the power goes, it’ll stay cooler a little longer.
27. Add a first aid kit to your supplies.
28. Have a plan with family members on how to get in touch after the storm passes.
29. Take photos of your belongings. If you can, keep a spreadsheet with dates and place of purchase as well as cost. Store these in the Cloud or on a flash drive for insurance purposes.
30. Consider where you’ll go if power outages will last a while. Hotel or relatives? That’s assuming you can leave the area with downed trees and power lines.

Hurricane Prep List - Are You Ready for Storm Season? #hurricane #tropicalstorm Click To Tweet

Watch the weather reports at:
National Hurricane Center:  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
The Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/
Spectrum News Orlando: https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando
Broward County Hurricane Page: http://www.broward.org/hurricane/Pages/Default.aspx
Disasters: https://www.ready.gov/

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Epcot Experience

We had the opportunity as WDW Passholders to preview Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure ride at Disney World’s Epcot theme park. Getting there was a hike. The trams weren’t running in the parking lots, presumably due to Covid changes, and so we had to make a trek in the heat to the gate. The entire front part of this theme park is being renovated, leading to long detours to get to World Showcase at the rear. Wear your sturdiest walking shoes if you plan to come. Here I am geared up. Besides my sun hat, I have on a rechargeable portable fan around my neck to keep me cool in the heat and a water bottle holder purchased at the Animal Kingdom.

Nancy J. Cohen at Epcot

On our way around World Showcase, we stopped at the Noodle Exchange to sample a bowl of Shrimp Coconut Curry Rice Noodles with Shitake Mushrooms and Thai Basil. Basically, we got three shrimps and a bowl of spicy broth with noodles. I didn’t care to fill up on a bowl of what was essentially chicken noodle soup, so I ate the shrimp and took a few spoonfuls of the broth. This satisfied my stomach until later, but by then it was too hot under the sun for me to have an appetite. I’ll come back to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival when it’s cooler out.

The Noodle Exchange Shrimp Noodle Bowl

Since it wasn’t time yet for the ride, we stopped into the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along, a new attraction in the France pavilion. In a quiet, air-conditioned auditorium, you sit and watch an abbreviated version of the animated film unfold for approximately fifteen minutes. Closed captions encourage you to sing along with the characters, or you can sit back and relax and enjoy the music. It’s definitely worth a stop to experience this happy, feel-good experience. Here is Belle outside posing for photos.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

At our appointment hour, we headed to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to check in. We still had to snake through a line for about twenty minutes to enter the building. We noted a new Crepe restaurant next door that was bustling with customers. Once inside the Ratatouille ride, we wound through darkened corridors with these scenes.

 

Then we were herded into mouse cars. A safety bar lowered, and we swerved away from the dock on our trackless vehicle. Here we donned 3-D glasses and became part of the film. It was awesome how the effects were done. You really felt you were inside this house and careening through the kitchen, even scooting under the ovens with a hot blast of air. Twice we got spritzed with water as part of the action. All too soon, the ride was over. It swirls around a bit but it’s not jerky. If you keep your eyes on the visuals, you’re fine. It’s really an amazing technology, and I hope we’ll see more experiences like this one.

As we strolled through the rest of World Showcase, several Disney heroines made their appearances. Besides Belle above, here are Snow White, Princess Jasmine, and Alice in Wonderland.

Snow White  Princess Jasmine  Alice in Wonderland

We heard a mariachi band by the American pavilion. Back in Future World, we ducked by the new Space 220 Restaurant, which is already booked out 60 days in advance. You don’t need a reservation for the Lounge but be prepared to wait in line for an indeterminate time if you plan to visit the space station restaurant.

Mariachi Band

Gold statues of various characters are spotted around the park to commemorate Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. A long trek back to our parked car ended the day. We were happy but tired. I’m hoping the trams are running again by our next visit.

Gold Statue of Figment

Animal Kingdom Safari

We took a break and went to the Animal Kingdom at Disney World to make use of our annual passes. Our parking space was within easy walking distance of the entrance so we were lucky in that regard. We walked along the shady paths toward Africa.

Animal Kingdom

After stopping at Starbucks for some snacks to refuel our energy, we headed onto the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. No wait in the line, which we also saw later at Expedition Everest. The park is so spread out that it didn’t seem terribly crowded. We got front row seats in our safari vehicle.

   

The animals were strolling about or lazing in the heat. We viewed quite a few as you can see from these photos.

           

We lunched in Dinoland at a fast food place where we could sit indoors and enjoy the air-conditioning. On our way out, we browsed in the shops and then headed home tired but happy.

   

 

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Cranes Roost Park

Cranes Roost Park

This past weekend, we went for a stroll around the lake at Cranes Roost Park located in Altamonte Springs, FL. This one-mile paved walkway is shaded by large trees while the boardwalks are mostly in the sun. Numerous benches provide seating to people watch or gaze at the lake. This 45-acre park also has an amphitheater and a plaza with a water fountain.

Cranes Roost Park     

We spotted turtles, ducks and birds as we meandered along. The azaleas were in bloom, adding bright splashes of color against the green landscape.

   

At Café Murano, we picked up a fresh baked pizza to go for lunch. It had a thin crispy crust just as we like it with garlic and mushrooms for our custom toppings. Inside, a live band played for Sunday brunch. This restaurant is definitely worth a repeat visit.

        

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Did you miss my guest posts? If so, check these out:

“Writing about Real Places”
Guest Post on Cozy Florida

Author Interview with Nancy J. Cohen
Guest post at Eat my News 

“How to Make an Audiobook”
Guest post at Hallard Press Gazette 

“True Life Experiences in Fiction”
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Lake Lily Farmer’s Market

Visit the farmer’s market held on Sundays from 9am to 2pm in Maitland around Lake Lily. This delightful five-acre park, located at 701 Lake Lily Dr in Maitland, FL, has a trail around the lake, a short boardwalk, abundant wildlife, a playground and gazebo, plus a historical house that you can tour.

             

After our stroll around the lake, we examined the booths with wares on display. I bought an almond croissant at a bakery stand and these vegetables at a great price by the produce booth.

I wrote about the Waterhouse Museum on a previous blog. Built in 1884 for carpenter William H. Waterhouse, the Waterhouse Residence Museum at 820 Lake Lily Drive in Maitland, FL is available to the public for a peek into the late Victorian era. It’s a fascinating place to tour.

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Comfort Food

Home cooking can get tiresome under forced isolation, but not with easy-to-make comfort foods. I’ve been rummaging in the kitchen of our new house trying to find where I’ve put things while preparing meals. Maybe you can find inspiration in some of these dishes that have been on our dinner table in the past week.

We had the kids over for brunch last weekend. I made this Zucchini Biscuit Bake with the recipe from my cookbook, although I added fresh mushrooms this time. I’d also served a Costco quiche, plus thin bagels with cream cheese. Dessert was peach cobbler.

Zucchini Biscuit Bake  Peach Cobbler

Because we’d cut up too many zucchini and onions, I put some aside and made this stir-fry dish for dinner. Sliced hot dogs became the go-to protein addition.

Zucchini Stir Fry

Once those leftovers were gone, the next order was to use the multitude of strawberries we picked before they spoiled. So I made my first strawberry bread using a recipe I found on Pinterest.

Strawberry Bread

Next dinner I made these Swedish meatballs with white rice for dinner, accompanied by a premade salad. If there’s any gravy left, I freeze it to use in Shepherd’s Pie. I’ll share this recipe with you.

Swedish Meatballs

 

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
tsp. garlic powder
1 cup finely chopped onions, divided
cup dry bread crumbs
12 oz. bottle chili sauce
18 oz. jar grape jelly
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine

Directions

Make meatballs: Mix ground beef with beaten egg, garlic powder, ½ cup chopped onions, and bread crumbs. Form into small balls. Set aside. (Or use frozen turkey meatballs instead of making them from scratch).

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, blend together chili sauce, grape jelly, and tomato sauce until jelly is melted. Toss in remaining onions and add wine. When mixture is bubbly, add meatballs to pot. Stir gently to coat with sauce.

Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Periodically lift lid, being careful of steam, and stir. Cook for 1 hour on low heat (or ½ hour if using frozen meatballs). Serve over cooked rice as an entrée or by itself as a party appetizer.

These recipes and more can be found in A Bad Hair Day Cookbook – Order Your Copy Now

What have you made in the kitchen lately? And no, “a mess” isn’t the right answer.

 

 

Oak Haven Farms

We took a break from isolation to visit Oak Haven Farms & Winery to pick our own strawberries and roast hot dogs over a fire. It was a fun excursion, about a forty-minute ride from our new house. We parked in the dirt field then poked our heads inside the gift shop, café and wine tasting room. A staff member told us to go out in the field and someone would give us a crate to fill with fresh picked berries.

Sorrento Florida    Oak Haven Farm

We stooped to pluck the strawberries off the stems. When tired of bending, we gave up and headed into the shop to have our bounty weighed so we could pay.

u-pick strawberries    Nancy in field    fresh-picked strawberries

Then we bought hot dogs that came with rolls and a forked tool. We wove the meats onto the tines and went outdoors to cook the hot dogs in an open fire. I loved the charred taste.

  roasting hot dogs    charred hot dog

Then we went back inside to order a strawberry shortcake with whipped cream for dessert. It was a treat and enough for two to split.

We skipped the wine tasting that cost extra as we are not fond of fruit wines or the Florida grape varietal. But if you’re interested, you can indulge.

   

If you wish to visit, check online to see their schedule first. Strawberry season is limited.
Oak Haven Farms, 32430 Avington Rd, Sorrento, FL 32776 or http://www.berriesandwines.com/

Excursion to Oak Haven Farms #Florida #strawberries Click To Tweet

I’m looking forward to warmer weather so we can get out more and explore the many sights of Central Florida. Suggestions are welcome!

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Orlando Explorer

Our most recent visit to Orlando had us visiting Epcot for the Festival of the Arts. I tasted the mushroom risotto at the Masterpiece Kitchen around World Showcase but held off eating more until we went to the Morocco café for a vegetarian platter with hummus and more.
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At Disney Springs another day, I indulged in a root beer float at Ghiradelli. We enjoyed the ambiance as we strolled through the marketplaces and past numerous restaurants. Our adventures continued at historic Winter Garden as we strolled downtown. The main street still has its old-time charm, while a brewery hall attracts a young crowd with several fast-food eating choices. Here’s a peek at the lobby of an earlier era Edgewater Hotel and an adjacent ice cream shop.
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We took walks at Disney’s Riverside and Boardwalk resorts, and gained a couple of extra pounds from dining out the entire weekend. Now we’re home, and we brought a cold along with us as a souvenir.
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Downton Abbey Exhibition

The Downton Abbey Exhibition is currently at City Place in West Palm Beach. We went last weekend to view the scenes and costumes from one of our favorite period piece shows. The exhibit is housed in a former Macy’s location. The restrooms are upstairs, and it’s sad to see how empty the cavernous halls were with even some original signage remaining.
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Back downstairs, we entered to view a short introductory film about the beloved series. The next room had profiles of each character, along with some of their detailed artifacts such as handwritten letters that made it all seem real. You could read about their duties and roles in society at the time, as well as many of the social and political issues dominating the scene.
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Murals along the walls were fun as they gave a larger than life sense of being there.
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I liked viewing the sets the best. It felt as though we were in a historic mansion getting a glimpse into the people’s lives there. Going into a hallway reminiscent of the TV show, we first entered rooms representing the downstairs sections. Imagine the hustle and bustle in the kitchen where the cook and other servants prepared several meals a day.
 
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We saw the servants’ hall where they took their meals and where the bell board was located.
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Then we viewed Lady Mary’s bedroom. Look at this old hairstyling guide. Marla, my hairstylist sleuth, would get a kick out of it. Mary’s dressing table is dimly lit.
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The library consists of projections on three walls surrounding a series of benches. As you sit there, various scenes come to life on screen. Again, you feel as though you’re in the story.
I love seeing costumes, and these were no exception. Which ones would you choose if you could pick from them?
 
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Accessories were included. Here’s a selection of hats, gloves, and jewelry that were necessary to complete your ensemble.
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There were a number of bridal ensembles, complete with beaded veils and embellishments that a real bride could have worn. The detail was amazing.
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Then we come to the dining room. I like to imagine myself sitting there and being served. Note the number of wine glasses and utensils. My mother used to have tiny salt cellars with silver spoons like here. It must have been a tediously long evening with so many courses and even more rules to follow.
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It took us about an hour total to go through each area, ending up in the gift shop, of course. Go to http://DowntonExhibition.com for more information. Use code SHARE5 during check-out for $5 off tickets. Offer valid through January 15, 2019. Or try code FRESH5 if that one doesn’t work. Senior discount available too. If driving the Hibiscus Garage is nearby. The exhibit is at 575 S. Rosemary Avenue in West Palm Beach. Rosemary is closed off due to construction so you have to go around. Take I-95 or the Turnpike to Okeechobee Blvd and head east. You’ll see City Place on the left.
Reviewing the scenes and characters will make you ready for Downton Abbey: The Movie!
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Other period favorites of mine on TV are Poldark and Outlander. How about you?
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Christmas Day in Disney Springs

On Christmas Day, we saw the Aquaman movie at Disney Springs, followed the Christmas Tree Trail, and ate dinner at the House of Blues. It was a magical day. Here are some photos:
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House of Blues
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We celebrated New Year’s Eve with dinner at Buca di Beppo in Davie.
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Our Florida weather continues to be mild, so we are enjoying the parks.
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Check out my personal goal-setting guidelines for this year and enter our Booklover’s Bench contest for a $25 Amazon/BN gift card while there: https://bookloversbench.com/lets-talk-with-nancy-j-cohen-29/