20 Holiday Tradition Ideas to Bring Families Together

holiday-traditions-graphicYear to year your kids may forget what gifts they have given and received, but they will always remember the traditions you do together as a family.Try adding one of these activities to your annual holiday traditions.

Family traditions are beliefs and customs that are passed down to our children to be carried on by future generations. Traditions foster closeness between family members, provide family stability and create feelings of belonging. Our values and beliefs are often reinforced through family traditions. Family traditions do not have to be elaborate or expensive. The significance of a tradition is for families to have time to relate and communicate with one another. Spending quality time together helps affirm values, faith and life experiences while celebrating the season.

  1. Watch Christmas shows together with hot chocolate and popcorn.
  2. Make your own Christmas cards to send to family and friends.
  3. Donate clothes or toys to a local shelter.
  4. Make decorating the Christmas tree a family event.
  5. Bake and decorate cookies to take to a neighbor.
  6. Go caroling.
  7. Take a special drive at night to enjoy Christmas lights.
  8. Collect pine cones and use them to make ornaments.
  9. Read one Christmas story each night before bed, or have your children write and act out a Christmas play.
  10. Go sledding, and then enjoy hot cider or hot chocolate at home.
  11. Have a campout night using sleeping bags under your lighted Christmas tree.
  12. Make paper snowflakes to decorate your windows.
  13. Light up your walkway or driveway with handmade luminaries.
  14. Learn how different cultures celebrate Christmas.
  15. Create a calendar so your children can count down the days until Christmas.
  16. Have a Christmas past, present and future evening. Look through old photo albums/scrapbooks to celebrate Christmas past. Discuss what makes Christmas special for each family member to celebrate Christmas present and talk about hopes and dreams for the coming years to celebrate Christmas future.
  17. Make gingerbread people out of brown grocery sacks. These make great gift tags for presents. Glue on googly eyes and candy canes to add dimension to your gingerbread people.  
  18. Make snow globes with old food jars.
  19. Have your children help you prepare a special family recipe that has been passed down through generations.
  20. Have a gift wrapping party.

Family traditions will create lasting memories, so whatever your traditions may be, remember to have fun and enjoy the time you are spending with family.  

This article was written by Shannon Cromwell, M.A., Extension Assistant Professor, Family & Consumer Sciences, Utah State University Extension, Sanpete County, 435-283-3472, shannon.cromwell@usu.edu

Preparing Your Home for Winter


It’s time to start preparing for the winter months. Preparation now will help prevent damage to your home later and will save energy and money. You can spread these home projects out over several weeks to make it easier.


  1. Check seals around doors and windows: You may be surprised by the little cracks and spaces that heat can escape through during the winter.  Look around window frames for any cracks on the outside and apply caulk.  Check on air leakage around electrical outlets and switch plates. You can install insulation or outlet gaskets very easily.
  2. Inspect furnace and filters: Have the furnace checked for efficiency and clean or replace filters. If a furnace has a dirty filter, it will not function as efficiently.  Air vents also fall into this category; be sure to vacuum them and check for possible leaks that decrease efficiency in the home.
  3. Reverse ceiling fan blades. Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse the direction of the blades. The clockwise rotation forces warm air down where people can enjoy it rather than allowing it to escape to the ceiling area.
  4. Clean chimneys: Since ash and creosote can build up in a chimney, it is important to have a professional clean it at least every other year, or more if you use it frequently. You can use a flashlight to check for bird nests or other items that may be blocking any part of the chimney.
  5. Drain outdoor hoses and faucets: Water expands when it freezes and can ruin faucets and hoses if they aren’t properly taken care of. After draining pipes, store hoses indoors. Cover outdoor faucets with insulated frost-free hose bib covers.
  6. Wrap indoor pipes: Pipes may be exposed to the cold in the basement, inside cabinets or in the attic.  To avoid them bursting from freezing, wrap them in heat tape or tubular pipe insulation sleeves.
  7. Winterize evaporative cooler: Turn off the power and water to the cooler. Turn off water pump and fan, remove them and store indoors. Drain water out of lines and out of the swamp cooler pan. Disconnect the water supply line to the cooler and drain or blow it out to keep any residual water from being trapped in lines and freezing. Place cover or tarp over the cooler and tie it down securely. To prevent warm air from escaping through the ceiling inside the home, close the air diffuser vents and place a diffuser cover over the vent or place an evaporative cooler pillow plug inside the diffuser.
  8. Make necessary repairs on roof: Take a look at your roof and look for any possible places for leaking, missing shingles or weak corners, especially on older homes.
  9. Clean out rain gutters and make repairs: This is especially important for preventing unnecessary damage.  After all the leaves have fallen, you can clean out your gutter and check for possible broken parts.  This helps prevent gutter damming, which happens when draining water gets backed up and leaks into the home.
  10. Mow leaves into the lawn: This will act as mulch and help nourish your lawn during the winter. There is a helpful tutorial at USU Extension’s Live Well Utah blog here.
  11. Prepare the lawn mower for rest: Use all the gas in the lawn mower or add stabilizer to keep it from decomposing over the winter and causing problems when it’s time to use it again.
  12. Pull out the snow removal equipment: Gather snow blower, fuel, snow shovels and chemical ice melt, and place in a readily accessible location.
  13. Check or replace emergency supplies: Inspect fire extinguishers, batteries, candles, flashlights and propane lanterns or heaters.
  14. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Make sure they are working properly.  Carbon monoxide is a dangerous, odorless gas produced by gas furnaces and ranges.
  15. Replace light bulbs in exterior light fixtures: This will provide safety in lighting up walkways and steps during the dark winter nights.


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, USU Extension Intern, Salt Lake County and Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County


energy.gov   Cozy Up to Colder Weather: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter (parts 1 and 2)

Style at Home How to Prepare Your Home for Winter.

https://extension.usu.edu/htm/news-multimedia/articleID=2129  Ask a specialist: Do you have tips for winterizing my home?  Richard Beard, Utah State University Extension Agricultural Engineering Specialist,  2006

How to Winterize Your Car


Winter is on its way. Follow these steps to winterize your vehicle and ensure that you are ready for whatever this winter may bring. 

With winter approaching, thoughts turn to safe driving. Now is a great time to winterize your car and add to your car emergency kit.  You never know when you might be stopped on the freeway or stranded away from home.

Winterize Your Car:

  • To be prepared for inclement weather, keep your car filled with gas. Never let your tank get below half full.
  • Keep your car serviced. Check the oil, brake fluid, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid reservoirs to make sure they are full, and keep them at correct levels.
  • Put your snow tires on, check tire pressure and tread depth on all tires including your spare tire. Make sure all tire changing equipment works on the tires on the vehicle. Carry a full-size spare tire if you can.  Also carry canned air and tire sealant to repair a tire.
  • Test your heater to make sure it works. Inspect your battery and make sure it is charged and the terminals are clean. Inspect your windshield wipers and replace if worn.
  • Check the condition of your jumper cables. A heavy duty set of jumper cables is recommended.

Winterize Your Car Emergency Kit:

If you already have water, food, a first aid kit, a fire starter kit, a flashlight, blankets and toilet paper in your basic car emergency kit, add some additional items:

  1. Cell phone charger – A phone can save your life in inclement weather, but batteries don’t hold a charge as long in cold weather. Consider carrying an external portable charger with you.
  2. The Winter Survival Kit app – This tool will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family and calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s available free for both Android and iOS systems from the North Dakota State University Extension Service. Go to: Winter Survival Kit at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/apps/winter-survival-kit.
  3. Windshield scraper and small broom – Having tools to keep heavy snow off windshields, the roof of your vehicle and away from exhaust pipes is important in snowy/icy weather.
  4. Water – To keep water from freezing or getting too hot and leaking in your vehicle, wrap with a space blanket (or other blankets) or store in an insulated cooler bag.
  5. Survival medications – Carry an emergency supply of necessary medications in case you are stranded away from home for more than one day.
  6. Extra jackets, gloves, hats and boots – Make sure everyone has enough clothing if you had to walk outside for at least an hour in cold weather. Add hand warmers and include heavy gloves.
  7. Hand sanitizer/wet wipes/extra diapers/sanitary supplies/plastic bags – Carry a large empty can with a plastic cover, tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes. These items can be important if you are traveling with small children or if you have other personal sanitary needs to address during an emergency.
  8. Tool kit- Make sure to carry basic tools that can be used on your vehicle, including a multi tool with knife and duct tape.
  9. Safety Tools: Tow Straps – These straps should be used with caution to avoid harming the frame of your vehicle but can be very helpful in pulling the vehicle out if you are stuck. Shovel – A compact shovel with a telescoping handle is a must in snowy weather. Make sure it is sturdy enough to handle hard-packed snow. Sand/cat litter – Carry this to help give you traction if you get stuck.  Emergency flares and distress flags, warning triangles/whistle – These can alert others to your situation and also allow emergency personnel to find you.
  10. Tire Chains –If you don’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and are traveling in mountainous areas, they may be required.
  11. Fire extinguisher – Make sure the extinguisher is designated for use with a vehicle, and understand how to use it.
  12. Compass and map of the area- This is the old-fashioned form of GPS and can be helpful when cell service is not available. In stormy weather, the compass is a must because you can easily lose your bearings and be confused about directions.
  13. Collapsible fuel container for gas – This is a great item to have if you run out of gas and have to carry it to your vehicle. Gas stations may not have extra fuel containers.
  14. Entertainment – Pack a deck of cards, a paperback book, dice, paper, markers, pencils, coloring books and other games to keep everyone entertained.
  15. Cash – Keep enough cash in small bills (ones, fives, tens and change) to fill your car with gas or possibly cover a night’s stay in a motel or cover minor repairs. Store in a secure place in the vehicle.
  16. Emergency information – Keep an envelope in your glove compartment with family contact information, towing service, AAA Road Assistance, police or emergency services and your insurance company. Always let someone know where you are going if you travel.

Good luck in getting your vehicle ready for the season ahead!


This article was written by Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County


ASK A SPECIALIST: DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR PREPARING AN EMERGENCY CAR KIT? Answer by: Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extension family consumer science agent, Washington County.   http://extension.usu.edu/htm/news-multimedia/articleID=6233/print=true, Posted by Dennis Hinkamp on Nov 12, 2012

Winter Storm Survival Kit for Cars,   https://web.extension.illinois.edu/disaster/winter/ws_surv.cfm

Winter Survival Kit, North Dakota State University Extension at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/apps/winter-survival-kit

Don’t Let Aging Get You Down // Healthy Connections


This is the last installment in our aging series. Read part one on mobility and part two on healthy eating. Whether you are aging yourself, or caring for an aging loved-one, this series offers some great tips to help you.

Attitude is the one thing that can change any situation for better or worse.  As you age, you may find the things that came easily before are now difficult.  You may have habits that can be hard to quit, though you want to change.  Aging can bring discouragement and great joy just like every other stage of life, but whatever happens, we control our outlook.

Much of success and positive health is how you choose to view your circumstances.  Ask yourself, “How will I react the next time I receive bad news?”  Making the best out of what you are given can be the difference between joy and depression.

Sometimes it doesn’t work to just tell yourself to think positive. What else can you do to improve your attitude toward life?  Consider being more grateful, serving others, and being social.

  1. Be grateful: Look for the good in your life. You may be surprised there is more than you realized when you actually start paying attention. As you recognize the good in your life your attitude will naturally improve.  The Utah State University Extension website has some great advice on how to increase personal gratitude.  You can check it out here.
  2. Serve others: You can serve your own family or serve members in your community.  try cooking for a neighbor in need, make blankets for humanitarian kits, or help someone with yard work.  You can also volunteer at your local extension office, more information can be found here. There are many opportunities to serve and they all help keep your mind off your own troubles as you share joy with those you serve.
  3. Find a hobby: If you already live an active lifestyle you may be doing regular activities like tennis, jogging, swimming, fishing etc.; but for some it may hard to transition from taking care of children to being an empty-nester.  If possible, continue personal hobbies through all stages of life.  If you are just getting back into the groove of things, try looking up local classes and events you can attend.  For example, community education classes, lectures, college courses, certifications, concerts, theatrical productions, sports events.  Local senior centers may have social dancing, crafts, line dancing, ceramics, golf, and more.  Learning something new and meeting new people is a great way to improve your attitude.

Moving into your 50’s and 60’s opens up the opportunity to participate in your local Senior Center Activities.  Most activities provided are free; all you need to do is show up.  If you don’t have transportation, find someone willing to drive you.

My grandmother is taking care of my grandfather and has much weighing on her shoulders, but she has continued a positive attitude through her struggles by keeping fun hobbies and habits.  She goes out to get her nails and hair done which also allows her to socialize with her stylist.  She has weekly bridge games she attends with other community friends.  She is a perfect example of how socializing and keeping a good attitude helps you have great quality of life as you age.



This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 


USU Extension – http://extension.usu.edu/htm/news-multimedia/articleID=4002

Live Well Utah Blog – https://livewellutah.org/2015/02/14/spread-the-love-by-volunteering/

Carve Your Pumpkin // Keep the Seeds


This month we’ll be sharing some of our favorite pumpkin recipes. Today we’re talking about pumpkin seeds— how to prepare them and different ways to use them. So as you get ready to carve pumpkins this year, don’t forget to save the seeds!

When you are carving that Halloween Jack-o’-lantern this year, here is one request I have for you, keep your seeds! Did you know that 1 oz of pumpkin seeds has around 5 grams of protein? Pumpkin seeds are an easy, cheap way to add a nutritious boost to your trail mix, baked goods and granola.

First and foremost, remove the pulp and seeds from the inside of your pumpkin. I like to put the seeds and pulp in a bowl of water while carving my pumpkin. This helps to pull away all the strings from the seeds. When you have only seeds left in your bowl, give them a good rinse. Move seeds to a new bowl and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and oil. Make sure to mix well.  Next you will want to spread them evenly over a large baking tray. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Make sure to check and stir the seeds frequently to avoid burning. Cool pumpkin seeds and then store them in an air-tight container.

When choosing a seasoning for your pumpkin seeds, think about what you plan to do with them. The outer part of the pumpkin seed can be removed (hulled) after they have been roasted. The inner part of the pumpkin seed is a green color and is a great addition to breads and muffins.

Check out these five ways to use pumpkin seeds below:

Traditional Roast

When using this method, try different spices to give your seeds some flair. Here are some combinations:

  • Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds: 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, 2 Tbsp sugar, 3 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • Chili Pumpkin Seeds: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp tamari sauce, 2 tsp garlic powder, salt to taste, 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Spicy Pumpkin Seeds: ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes, 2 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • Ginger Zest Pumpkin Seeds: 2 Tbsp ground ginger, 2 Tbsp sugar, ½ tsp orange zest, 2 Tbsp melted butter or oil
  • Parmesan Pumpkin Seeds: ¼ c Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp melted butter or oil.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

This one was new to me, but has quickly turned into a favorite. Making a traditional pesto with pine nuts can be pricy, but not when you are using your pumpkin seeds! For this it is important to have hulled (green) pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients- 2 c. hulled pumpkin seeds, 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp sea salt, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 c. fresh cilantro, and ¼ c. water. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Cover and chill until ready to use.

More Ideas

  • Add them to trail mix or granola. Do your granola or trail mix recipes call for nuts? Reduce the portion of nuts and add pumpkin seeds for the remaining portion.
  • Add them to baked goods or use in brittle. Instead of making a nut brittle this year, sub in hulled pumpkin seeds to make a new fall favorite.
  • Garnish soups, salads and desserts. Add a little extra crunch to any meal by topping your dish off with pumpkin seeds!

This article was written by Jaqueline Neid-Avila, Utah State University Extension nutrition faculty for Davis County. Comments or questions may be sent to jaqueline.neid-avila@usu.edu or call 801-451-3404.

Family Mealtime on Studio 5


Join Live Well Utah blog editor Marta Nielsen as she talks with Brooke Walker of Studio 5 about Family Mealtime, and demonstrates some breakfast recipes from the Live Well Utah Cookbook, Family Mealtime Edition.

Did you see us on Studio 5? If you missed the show, you can watch the clip here. We have also posted the full recipes for the veggie frittata, granola, and overnight oats with all the variations.


Halloween Activity Roundup


halloween-activity-roundupOctober is here, and Halloween is coming. The temperature has dropped a bit, and you may have found your kids spending more time indoors and looking for things to do. We’ve searched for some of the best Halloween-themed activities to do with your kids, whether for everyday entertainment, a classroom party, or a gathering with friends. Check out our Pinterest Board for even more ideas.

  1. Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas from Eat Well Utah


  1. 31 Days of Halloween STEM Activities from STEAM Powered Family


  1. Weaving a Spider Web Alphabet Activity from Mom Inspired Life


  1. Create Your Own Monster Cookie Bar from Babble


  1. Spider Races from Still Playing School


  1. Paper Cone Witch from Krokotak


  1. Super Simple Spider Web Art from Kids Play Box


  1. Self-inflating Halloween Ghost from Mama Smiles


  1. Origami Bats from A Girl & a Glue Gun


  1. Halloween Masks to Print and Color from It’s Always Autumn


What are some of your favorite Halloween activities? Let us know in the comments!

Fall Bucket List


We’re welcoming October with more than fifty fall things to do around Utah. Pick and choose your favorites to create your own custom fall bucket list. 

The weather is starting to cool off, the leaves are changing and there is so much fun to be had.  Utah is full of great experiences whether you want to spend time out in the crisp fall air or stay home working on simple projects.  Whatever mood you are in it is nice to have a list of exciting ideas to choose from, and we have more than fifty suggestions for you to build your own fall bucket list.


  • Drive the Alpine Loop or other local canyons to see the leaves
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Visit the local farmer’s market
  • Go on a hike to see the fall colors
  • Go camping in the colors
  • Go apple, pumpkin, squash, pepper or tomato picking at a local “pick your own” farm
  • Go pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  • Practice recreational shooting
  • Go hunting
  • Go Trick-or-Treating
  • Tell scary stories around a campfire
  • Go on a hay ride
  • Join in a family and friend turkey bowl football game



  • Do fall cleaning
  • Decorate the house
  • Host a football watching party
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Gather family for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Rake up and play in the autumn leaves
  • Clean out garden beds to prepare for next year
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant a tree — Autumn is a great time to plant a tree, but be sure to water well if it is a dry autumn.


  • Do a chili cook-off
  • Make apple cider
  • Harvest fall produce and preserve it by freezing drying or canning (jams, jellies, whole fruit, etc.)
  • Throw a homemade doughnut party – invite friends and family over for fun and doughnuts everyone can enjoy. Try them  baked or fried.
  • Make caramel apples
  • Try a new recipe for Thanksgiving (pie, stuffing, etc.)
  • Throw a party where everyone brings a different kind of pie
  • Host a crock pot party
  • Try a new homemade soup, like  Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (page 7) to help keep you warm as the days get colder.


  • Pumpkin carving – A tradition that never gets old. Find your favorite printable template or draw freehand to make your pumpkin carving creation.
  • Decorate/paint pumpkins to look like a favorite book character – Painting and decorating pumpkins is just as fun. They also last longer without wilting.
  • Boo” ding dong ditch the neighbors – Leave a bag of goodies on someone’s front porch and run away – once you have been “boo-ed” you hang an image of a ghost near your front door so others know you have been “boo-ed.”
  • Start a fall gratitude journal
  • Create a new autumn decoration
  • Make a new Halloween costume
  • Sew homemade hand warmers


This is a way to transport yourself and your little ones into another world of fun, adventure and fantasy. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy some of these favorites this autumn.

  • Scary chapter books:
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Halloween picture books:
    • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
    • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michal Rex
    • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
    • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
    • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
    • Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
    • Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and Shmuel Thaler
    • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
  • Thanksgiving picture books:
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
    • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 

Family Mealtime // Meal Planning 101


A key to successful family mealtime is planning. Research has shown that cooking at home is significantly more likely if you already know what you will have for dinner.

10 Steps to Meal Planning

  1. Set aside time each week for menu planning. The amount of time you need will decrease as you gain practice.
  2. Ask your family for ideas of what they would like to eat during the week.
  3. Plan your menu around food items you already have in the pantry.
  4. Choose a variety of meals including family favorites, budget stretchers, and quick fix meals.
  5. Cook once, eat twice.
  6. Plan to use your leftovers.
  7. Picture USDA’s MyPlate as you plan each meal.
  8. Have your local store circulars available. Take advantage of those sales!
  9. Create a thorough shopping list.
  10. Keep it simple! Successful family meals don’t have to be gourmet; they just have to be a time together.


Printable Weekly Menu Planner

Quick Tips

Tired of planning a menu every week? Try planning a 2-4 week cycle menu. Choose meals for 2—4 weeks and then repeat once the cycle is over. Change cycle menus with the seasons to take advantage of local produce.

Bored of the same old meals? Add some theme nights to your week. Taco Tuesdays, Breakfast for Dinner Thursdays, or Sandwich Saturdays are fun for the whole family. Let the kids choose a theme and then make some table decorations for added entertainment.


September is National Family Mealtime month. Each Friday this month we’ll be posting on that topic — specifically from the Live Well Utah Cookbook, Family Mealtime Edition. This publication is available for free at your local Extension office, or available digitally here. It features some great tips on the importance of family mealtime and meal planning, plus 21 quick, inexpensive, and nutritious recipes that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. 

Ask an Expert // 7 Things to Keep in Your Car

Car Preparedness.jpg

Don’t get caught unprepared on the road. Stock your car with these seven things to ready yourself for any emergency.

We spend a lot of time in our vehicles, whether we’re driving to work, the grocery store, soccer practice or a family vacation.  Its been estimated that the average American spends 101 minutes per day driving. (Harvard Health Watch 2016)   With that much time in the car, it makes sense that we may have unanticipated issues, including mechanical trouble, a flat tire, weather problems, a car accident, or being first on the scene of any type of accident. Here are seven items to always keep in your car in case of an emergency.

  1. Water- Make sure you have sufficient water for 24 hours for all occupants of the vehicle. A good rule of thumb is 2 liters of water per person.  Water filtration devices are also useful and great for emergency kits.
  2. High Calorie Snacks- While-high calorie snacks are not usually what is recommended in case of extreme weather (heat or cold), they are best suited for emergencies like being stranded or needing to walk to get help. There are many high-calorie snack options, including S.O.S. 3600 calorie bars.
  3. Basic First Aid Kit- There are many inexpensive first aid kits readily available. However, often these kits don’t include some extremely important items.  In addition to the standard Neosporin and Band-Aids, be sure that your first aid kit includes: Neoprene/nitrile gloves, ibuprofen, sufficient ace bandages to wrap a limb, and at least one Mylar survival blanket.
  4. Fire-starter Kit- This can be as simple as a few lighters and some paper, or as elaborate as you would like. A small candle in a can is helpful during the winter and can be used as a source of light.  Just be sure to always have supplies for at least two methods of starting a fire.
  5. Flashlight- Keep a good flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries in your car. Be sure to check the batteries regularly.
  6. Blankets- This is in addition to the Mylar blankets included in your first aid kit. Mylar blankets are an excellent source for shelter or to retain body heat in an emergency.  However, the comfort of a real blanket can be particularly soothing to children during an emergency or for the victims of an automobile accident.
  7. Toilet Paper – It never fails that someone will need to use the rest room as soon as the facilities are unavailable. Toilet paper will add some comfort to an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

Now (as with all preparation) please take into account your typical number of passengers. If you have six children you will obviously need to prepare differently than for a single individual.

Elizabeth Davis is the Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Assistant Professor for Kane County. Questions or comments may be sent to elizabeth.davis@usu.edu