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Entries in camping (2)


When the power goes out on your birthday, the strong will survive... one crank at a tim

If you follow me on Twitter you've probably seen me complain about losing power. We lose power a LOT. Apparently our power company has received the worst rating for any power company in a major city.

I had to celebrate my birthday without power!

Recently I celebrate a major birthday milestone. MAJOR. This is not a birthday milestone to mess around with. This is one where you definitely want to be around friends (not isolated in your home) to manage the emotional ups and downs, and to celebrate (preferably with the lights on).

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Thank you Pepco.

5 Tips for Surviving you Birthday When the Power is Out

1. Breakfast in bed

I certainly was NOT expecting this when I woke up on my birthday to a house barely maintaining 50 degrees. But the smiles, hugs, and love that came delivered with this cold birthday breakfast were enough to warm even the coldest heart.


2. Coffee on a DIY camping stove

It is IMPERATIVE that I have coffee on my birthday. I don't think I can live without coffee and if I had to on my 40th birthday I would have been curled up in a ball in the corner and rocking myself until we were plowed and someone could go out and get some for me.

Here's how I made it:


Do-it-yourself camping stove materials


Glass loaf-size dish

Roasting or baking rack you don't mind scorching

Instant coffee


Note: The glass loaf pan was perfect for keeping the Sterno flame contained. The sides of a loaf pan are higher than other glass bakeware too so it provides a perfect distance between the flame and the bottom of your pan. If it's too close, the flame will go out. If it's too far, the pot will take longer to heat.

3. Crank it

Luckily I invested in two key items over the summer when we lost power. For the 17th time. In 2 years.

A Hand crank LED lantern is key for light and sanity. I was going nuts with the girls running all over the house with my flashlights that having a large lantern light up the kitchen was great.

The little Solar Hand Crank radio flashlight is really useful. The radio lets you listen to music or, what I like to do, listen to WTOP who tells you how many 100s of thousands of Pepco customers are without power and that the majority of them won't be restored for DAYS. But it can also charge a cell phone! Not easily, but at least to keep it charged for a few calls.

4. Respect the Generator

Not only did I invest in crank technology this summer, but I drove over 600 miles for a 25 year old generator. Hey, it was free! And boy did it come in handy.

Lucky for you they make the much smaller, more powerful, and truly portable:

It did cause a minor spat with The Mister over when to kick it into gear. We had a limited amount of gas for it the first night the power went out and he thought using it to watch Harry Potter was a good decidsion. I had a small fit because I had no idea how long it would take us to get plowed and I knew the house would be freezing by morning.

5. Love for the iPad 3G

One good thing that came out of that argument was that I used that time to charge my Apple iPad Wifi + 3G and cell phone. If you don't already have an iPad 3G and you live in an area where the power goes out frequently, get one.

Once charged, the batter lasted for nearly 2 days and even though the wi-fi was down, I could play on the internet using the Apple iPad Wifi + 3G connection! This came in handy as I complained about Pepco. They love me. I'm surprised my power hasn't been shut off just because I'm such a whiner.

Do you ever lose power? What are your favorite gadgets to help you get through?


Disclosure: some links are affliate links


Kate Gosselin is a thief! (and how she ruined backyard camping for me)

Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8 has her issues and so I won't dump on her too much but I have to say I am annoyed with her and that damn show, and not for the reasons YOU are, I'm sure.

You see, just about every good idea I've had (but not yet implemented) was stolen by Kate and then produced into a money making episode. So, just when I'm patting myself on the back with another unique idea to entertain my kids, there she is, stealing my thunder on TLC and my idea is no longer mine. Not only that, the Twofer will catch a commercial of an upcoming episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 and what little surprise I had left is gone. Forever. Thief!

Here are some examples:

Cooking Classes for Twins - yes, I too had the idea (FIRST, I had the idea first) of enrolling The Twofer in cooking classes since a) they LOVE helping me cook and b) I HATE it when I have to let them help me. Oh please, you do too...more to clean up, you have to make sure there are equal amount to help with....on and on.

Hershey's Chocolate World - We finally made it to Hershey Park last sumer with the girls but of course Chocolate World wasn't quite as exciting because we'd all seen the ride on Jon & Kate Plus 8! Still, the chocolate was goooood.

And the most recent, Backyard Camping.

Now I know putting a tent up in your backyard is not that original, but it was to MY girls. That is, until they saw Kate & the gang do it. We've been planning this all summer. My husband had everything ready to go a few weeks before THAT episode aired because he wanted the girls to stay up late outside to see the meteor shower. It was cloudy and rained that weekend {sigh}.

So last weekend, despite having Kate's tent struggles fresh in my mind, we did it. We camped in our backyard (like Kate). We made a fire in our fire pit (like Kate),


we toasted marshmallows and ate s'mores (like Kate),


and we slept in a borrowed tent (ours, it seems, is missing a vital piece...the poles) so even I had some tent troubles (LIKE KATE!).

Do you see why I'm annoyed? BUT, we did have fun too. AND, my husband was right there with me (until he went inside to watch TV and then sleep in our bed) and not off with my plastic surgeon's daughter making an ass of himself.

So there's that...