Large family takes on Blizzard 2016 in Western North Carolina

How quickly the weather can turn when you live in the mountains of the Carolinas.  On Thursday, my daughter and I were out running some errands and it was beautiful. Some people were wearing flip flops as it was so nice out.  The sky was clear and it was gorgeous, it was hard to believe we would be experiencing a blizzard over the next few days.  It was the calm before the storm.

Being from Michigan, we have had our fair share of blizzards, the snow down here does not bother us.  For the few days we get it, then it quickly melts.  My kind of winter.   IMG_20160121_073710After moving down here last year, we got rid of all of our snow gear.  We gladly did not bring shovels or snow scrapers—-so on the days of scraping windows, we are resounded to looking for creative ways to scrape.  Here is Greg scraping with a wooden block.

I inwardly chuckle at the “milk sandwiches” that people joke about eating down here.  That to me sounds very gross.  I think with a little preparation, you can be prepared for anything.  No need to run for milk and bread when you hear the word “blizzard.”

If you cover your basics:  food, heat, and water.  You are good.  I believe in having this already on hand for any time of year as you never know when the power will go out.

We own a kerosene heater and that heats our home quite well.  It is efficient and takes only a little bit of kerosene to burn the entire day.  You can pick one up for under $100 (and less at thrift stores) and we keep it stored in our garage for when the need arises.

We always have 5 gallon water bottles on hand as well.  Every year, I take note and change the water adding 1 Tablespoon of bleach to the bottle to keep it sterile.  I actually leave these outside all year round and we have never lost any to solid freezing water.  This is great for drinking as well as dumping into toilets when everyone has been using it and you are out of power.

We always have plenty of candles to burn for lighting.  I know where my lighters and matches are always and know we can live by that light.  It works to keep one burning in the bathroom for children to see easily.

Food, I don’t worry about food as we have a camping stove to cook with.  I have plenty of propane bottles to use and if the power went down, we can easily fix spaghetti or fettucine for food.  We can even cook scrambled eggs or cook some soup.

Then it is time for fun.  We were fortunate to not lose any power during this storm, as I had heard many people were without power.  I made sure that I kept my phone plugged in at all times and I have a backup battery that I keep charged as well.  We keep the tablets and laptops charged too,  this will allow for some fun if we are stuck for days with no power.


When you come from the north and move down here, who needs winter supplies.  In fact finding winter items are somewhat hard unless you are paying full price for them at the stores.  My children don’t have boots because that would be a waste of money to keep them on hand for the 1 time a year it snows. What we did, I used to do as a child back in the days before waterproof boots.  We used to put bread bags for our feet, but I just used grocery bags wrapped around the children’s socks and then slid into their tennis shoes or dress boots, depending upon what we had.  IMG_20160122_114219

It worked well in the girls boots but the the little boys only had tennis shoes and that was hard.  I put legging type pajamas on them as well as another pair of sweat pants over top.  I pushed the bag in between the two layers of pants. It worked:)

They all own winter coats—thankfully:)  and we brought one pair of mittens for each younger child. These are great for hiking and bike riding when it is a little chilly.  Unfortunately none of the adults had gloves.  My husband had some work gloves he found in the garage for him and the older boys.   I was gonna grab some socks but just decided to brave it.  My theory is, if I am freezing, them my children are cold and I need to take them inside.   IMG_20160122_123914_edit

Okay, so we don’t own any sleds.  Can you even buy sleds here?!?!!?We decided to do the next best thing—we blew up our inner tubes that we swim with.  What we found is that when you blow them up, as soon as you take them outdoors the air condenses in them and they deflate.  I had the children bring them back in and we filled them up past full.  This made them stay full of air.  IMG_20160122_124555_edit

With the children in their “snow gear” we decided to slide down the front yard, which is a mountain.  They had fun, but walking up through the snow was treacherous for little ones.  As trucks started driving down the road, we took our sledding down the road. My husband and two oldest stood down the road and I pushed children one after another down the paths of the wheels.  This was great, because they walked back up on the other tire tracks coming up.  As it got dark, we took this to our little lane we live on.  This worked out perfectly as we pushed them down on the tubes one after another and Dad and older ones caught them.  Such fun.  We blew up 9 tubes and lost 4.  My theory is that it was $20 worth of tubes and that is about the cost of one pair of winter boots–which we didn’t buy:)  I will take it.

Afterwards they were cold and wet from the snow, we heated up with some homemade hot chocolate.


We keep a big batch of this on hand for an easy  morning drink with some homemade muffins.  The children love it and I love it because I control how much sugar is in their drink.IMG_20151231_194228

Saturday afforded much sunshine and the winds were blowing.  I believe in total we got 18 inches of snow.

You can watch our video of having fun in the snow:

The best advice is to stay home and don’t go anywhere unless absolutely necessary.  It is only 3 days of being cooped up.  It gives you much time to get some things done in the home.  Plus spending lots of extra time with family.  Enjoy!!

2 responses to “Large family takes on Blizzard 2016 in Western North Carolina

  1. Hi Amy!

    I love reading your blog, even though I do not have children of my own yet. You are very inspiring, and I have recommended this blog already to a few people. I really admire how much you manage to accomplish with the website and homeschooling, considering how many children you have! Anyway, I just read somewhere online that you can melt off the ice on the car by spraying an alcohol and water solution, which is something you can make and keep in the car. This might come in handy next time you are looking for creative ways to scrape. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom, and helping make your readers’ lives easier and more meaningful <3 Alina

    • Alina, I am very blessed to hear from you. Thank you for your words. I am hoping we won’t have to worry anymore about scraping the ice off our windshield—maybe next winter:) I am aiming for warm sunshine weather—keeping fingers crossed:) But will keep that in mind for next year. Be blessed, Amy

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