Thursday, November 30, 2017

Teaching Kids the Importance of Keeping Track of Memories (For Disaster and Historical Purposes)

There are certain items we possess that have more than just monetary value, and sometimes it is difficult for children to realize this. It is important however, that we teach children the difference between items have a high financial value (electronics) and items that have long-term meaningful worth (achievement certificates). For example, a third grade report card may not be of much value to a teenager, but when that teen becomes of midlife age, that once insignificant document is now precious. As a middle-aged adult, I look at the "collectibles" of my young children and my diseased parents, and realize they are not just fun to look at, but a jewel to behold. Learning the true value of items we possess is one of the life skills taught in the 4-H Youth Development program, and should be a lesson taught to our own children.

Picture a scenario where a family finds out that severe weather is heading their direction, and notified to evacuate to a safe location. The family tells the children and decide they will depart in the morning, and can only take minimum supplies and valuables, because of constraints on space in the vehicle. What items will the adults pack, and what will the children’s choices be?

As adults, we know to take important documentation regarding our home, finances and medical needs. However, children on the other hand may have difficultly choosing, when they learn they can only take one suitcase. It is important that we begin to teach our children to begin to organize their things and separate what is important or not.

This document focuses on important papers and photographs; and how to store, organize, and prioritize them. We can support and teach our children to be prepared and give them tools to assist them.

Methods for Safe Keeping and Archiving Important Documents and Pictures

Items should:

  • Be stored in their original (paper) and digital format, but in some cases you may wish to digitize paper documents. 
  • Be prioritized into categories such as Mundane, Important and Critical. 
  • Be kept in a safe, water resistant and portable, designated spot for retrieval and evacuation. A plastic tote box works well for this, as well as zip-top bags within the tote to subcategorize. 
  • Consider the “shelf life” of a document. Birth certificates, mortgage papers and deeds should be kept for a lifetime, whereas monthly utility bill records may only need to be kept for a year. 
  • For families and individuals with more than one computer or electronic device, the Cloud can be useful as a repository. The Cloud is electronic off-site storage or an online web storage space, some of which are free and some are not. 
  • Purchase a portable back up hard drive to archive files on a regular basis. Computer hard drives, phone storage and thumb drives can be lost, stolen or damaged, causing the information to be lost forever or prompting expensive recovery services. Recording these data to a compact disc or DVD is also a good option. 
  • Consider storing critical copies with other family members or safe deposit box allowing for redundancy protection. 
Whether paper or digital, store documents and images sorted by the primary individual it concerns. In the short term, it is tempting and acceptable to sort the images by event, such as Family Reunion 2009, but ultimately as time goes on, individuals will want their own images or documents. Sorting single person images are easy. For example, a picture of Sally goes in a plastic tote or electronic file labeled with her name. Pictures of multiple individuals can be stored under the eldest family member in the photo. You may create your own organizing system for this purpose.
Purchase or set aside a section of files or tote box for grabbing and evacuating in hurry.

So if your papers, files and photos need organizing, remember – we never know when a disaster may come and we need to evacuate. Being organized and prepared will reduce stress levels, aid in recovery and preserve valuable items for long-term benefit. If we include our children in this process, they can assist with the task and start a healthy habit that they may carry into adulthood.

Sources:
Targeting Life Skills in 4-H, Marilyn N. Norman and Joy C. Jordan, UF/IFAS Extension Publication #4HS FS101.9, 2006.
Keeping a Household Inventory and Protecting Valuable Records, Michael T. Olexa and Lauren Grant, UF/IFAS Extension Publication #DH138, 2016.

From a Fact Sheet by:
G. Koerner, 4-H Program Assistant, A. Lazzari, 4-H Agent, G. Whitworth, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Florida / IFAS Brevard County Extension, November 21, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Really Good Chili

For today's Annual United Methodist Church Charge Conference and Pot Luck Dinner, I made a new chili recipe that came out really well!

About little bit about the conference: it is always a nice event when we get together with the other local United Methodist Churches and give an accountability report of what has and will transpire for the year.  Out little Saint Andrew United Methodist Church, and sister churches in the area are doing great things to show people the love of Christ.

The Chili I made from scratch, and not really following a recipe, so therefore I have to jot down how I did it so it can be done again.  It's like any good scientist would do in documenting an experiment with procedural notes, so as it can be repeated by someone else.

Really Really Good Three Day Chili

Hardware
I used a 5 quart Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, and a 10 inch cast iron skillet.

Software
Dry Red Kidney Beans, 1 pound.
10 cups of water
1 large white onion, peeled and cut in half
2 chopped cloves of garlic
5 Bay Leaves
1/2 teaspoon Chile Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons of Salt
1 pound cubed steak, finely chopped when partially frozen
2, 10 ounce cans of Original Ro-Tel Tomatoes with green chilies
Additional Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method
Thursday night, I cooked the Kidney Beans exactly according to Pati Jinich's recipe Beans: Frijoles de Olla or Beans from the Pot, then I put them in the fridge until the next evening after the dutch oven cooled a bit.

Friday night, the next day, I put the pot back on the stove on medium heat.

At the same time in a skillet I browned the chopped beef and added 1/2 of the onion and the garlic all chopped fine.  The beef was so lean, that I had to add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  When it was all nice and brown and the onions translucent, I deglazed the skillet with a little (1/2 cup) water and added it all to the bean pot.

Next into the bean pot I added the spices and Ro-Tel.  Then I let it simmer about 4 hours. It was time for bed again, so I let it cool and put it back in the fridge until the next day. This rest time for the chili lets all the flavors marry and deepen in flavor.

Saturday morning simmered it for 4 more hours prior to serving. I removed all the Bay Leaves, so the consumers of my chili wouldn't die with a Bay Leaf in their throat. The crowd seemed to enjoy it and I would absolutely make it again.

The total cost of the dish was about $13 and served about 15 people.
Beef - $6.00
Beans - $2.00
Ro-Tel - $2.00
Spices and Vegetables $3.00

I hope this recipe works out for you!  

- gus