If You Experience Cold Winters, You Probably Keep These Things In Your Car

I have two fairly new drivers in my family. My oldest son has been driving for about a year and a half. My middle son just got his license in June. Living in Pennsylvania, our winters can get pretty bad. Snow, ice, occasional blizzards, occasional subzero temps. Not only do I worry about them hitting a patch of ice but I also worry about them breaking down or getting stuck when it’s 10 degrees outside.

While at the grocery store I pick up a jug of kitty litter. I bring it home and tell my oldest son to put it in the trunk of his car. He looks at me funny. Then I realize he probably doesn’t understand the purpose. I also realize that for people that might not live in a colder climate, they might not do the odd things we do when prepping for winter. Whether you’re on your way to work at car dealership in Yonkers, NY, taking a drive in Duluth Minnesota, or going to the grocery store in the Laurel Highland of Pennsylvania, here are things people in colder climates keep in their vehicles and why.

Kitty Litter or Bags of Sand

Seriously, a lot of us that live in areas that get frigid winters keep either a bag of non-clumping kitty litter or bags of sand in the trunk of our vehicles. For those with only front or rear wheel drive it helps to weigh down the vehicle a little bit for traction. But mostly it’s used for when your vehicle get stuck in some snow or wheels are spinning on an icy patch. Pour some sand or some kitty litter in front and behind each tire. This helps to gain traction.

Emergency Shovel

Most of us have small shovels to throw in the trunk or back of our vehicle. A small metal one is best. If you look up emergency shovels you’ll see what they look like. This can be used to serve several different purposes. It’s not unheard of to park your car at work, have snow dump down while you’re working, and come out to your vehicle buried in snow. Having an emergency shovel makes life a little easier to dig your car out. A good metal shovel can also be useful when freezing rain happens to break up ice around tires or pry things out of the ice.

Blocks of Wood or Wooden Boards

I don’t personally do this but I know people that do. Some people keep blocks of wood or shorter wooden boards in their vehicle or truck. This one I didn’t really know about until recently. The blocks can be placed in front of the tire if stuck in a ditch, mud, or a snow drift. Wedge in front of the tire. Hopefully it lift your vehicle up enough to get out of where you’re stuck.

Emergency Blankets

My husband had actual emergency blankets from a survival kit in his vehicle. Some people just throw an extra fleece blanket or two in their car. The idea, if your car breaks down, it might be a while until help arrives in bad winter weather. You can’t keep your car running forever. If you’re low on gas this statement is very true. Emergency blankets could mean the different being ok until help gets their or going straight to the emergency room once help arrives do to hypothermia or frostbite.

Bottles of Water and Energy Food

Ok so maybe this one isn’t so different but it hits different when it’s 20 degrees outside and you’re broke down in the middle of nowhere. Foods that store for a while and might be considered energy food are helpful. Things like protein bars, nuts, or granola bars. Again if you’re gonna be there a while you grab your emergency blanket and have water and food for at least a little while.

Yes it’s true the water bottle can freeze but it will typically start to melt while driving hopefully having melted enough by the time a car breaks down. It’s also helpful if your car is overheating.

Vehicle De-Icer and/or Winter Washer Fluid

Vehicle De-Icer comes in handy a lot. De-icing windows, frozen locks, windshield wipers froze to the windshield, etc. They typically come in convenient spray cans or squirt bottles to make de-icing easier.

There is also special winter windshield washer fluid that can help melt snow and ice while cleaning your windshield. Some people will fill their washer reserve with the winter wash fluid and keep a container of vehicle de-icer but the washer fluid can also help de-ice locks in a pinch.

Closing Tips

Whether you live in a cold climate or not, have a car emergency kit is always a good idea. Most include things like emergency triangles, jumper cables, a couple basic tools, roadside flares, flashlight, etc. Some more elaborate ones will even have the emergency shovel I mentioned and air compressors. It’s a good idea to keep your phone charged and even carry a back-up battery or power bank with you in bad weather. Have the name of your mechanic or roadside service handy just in case. Always let someone know where you’re going and approximate time of return so if you do break down or get stuck there’s a better chance someone will know where you are to get you help.

These are just a few things I know people do to prep for winter driving emergencies. If you have idea I’d love to hear them!

This post is sponsored by Central Ave DCJR . This post also contains some affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my posts.


The Value Of Timber On Your Land: FREE Resource

It’s not something I’ve put a lot of thought into. In hindsight, maybe I should have. We hired some arborists to cut down a few dead trees for us a couple years ago. We did keep the fallen timber to use in our fire pit and wood burning furnace. So, I guess we didn’t waste it. But we only live on about an acre. I know a number of people around us have acres of land with lots of trees or fallen timber.

Have you ever wondered about the value of the timber on your land? Penn State Extension has released the “Value of Standing Timber” publication. It helps land owners and loggers learn the economic value of standing timber and how it’s determined.

This 24-page publication describes methods for estimating timber volumes and values in a simple, easy to understand, manner. It will also help landowners and loggers understand how the value of timber is determined and, in turn, provide them with increased opportunities for obtaining a fair market price when selling timber, said Dave Jackson, extension forester and publication co-author.

The publication is available as a free downloadable PDF; printed copies are available for purchase. To learn more, visit https://extension.psu.edu/valuing-standing-timber or call 877-345-0691

I looked over this myself. It’s highly informative with helpful illustrations and tables. It covers a number of steps to take to prepare you for getting a good value for your standing timber. As well as information about how it’s valued at more. Education is the best way to make sure you’re not taken advantage of!

This is a great time to start preparing wood for the winter too. It needs to dry out for several weeks to a couple months to make good firewood. I know in my area, there are always people looking for firewood for small things like fire pits to necessities like heating their homes.

If you own wooded acreage in my area another way to make money off your land is to let hunters pay to hunt on your land. Hunter find it appealing as there is exclusivity to it. The land isn’t over-hunted.

About Penn State Extension

Penn State Extension is dedicated to translating scientific research into real-world applications to drive progress. In support of Penn State’s land-grant mission, extension programs serve individuals, businesses and communities, while promoting a vibrant food and fiber system, a clean environment, and a healthier population in Pennsylvania and beyond. With support from federal, state and county governments, the organization has a tradition of bringing unbiased information and support to the citizens of Pennsylvania for more than 100 years.


How Knowing Your Plants Can Save You Money

For way too many years, I took for granted the “weeds” that were growing in my yard. I thought they were good for nothing but making my yard look bad. Then after learning a common weed in my garden was actually edible (and not half bad) I wondered else I didn’t know about the weeds in my yard and garden. Turns out, it’s a lot.

It is important to note that you should NEVER consume plants/weeds that have been treated with weed killers or certain lawn products. If you’re not sure, it’s best not to consume it.

Just another weed in my yard?

A landscaping company posted a picture of a weed I commonly see in yard.

Crushed or chewed then placed over a bug bite, mosquito bite, bee sting, rash, or acne as a poultice and bandaged these plant is said to be able to help draw out toxins. Do a quick search and you’ll find several recipes for salves and balms using the broadleaf plantain. It’s said to be a digestive aid as well. B&D Landscaping’s facebook post has a wealth of information about this plant and uses.

Broadleaf plantain is also edible in salads or added to recipes.

That Sticky Plant

On another occasion, while harvesting raspberries from the wild raspberry bushes we have growing in our yard, I came across this invasive weed. It was so long and sticky. It was starting to wrap around the raspberries. I wondered what it was since it was touching some of the raspberries we were going to consume. Turns out this weed has many names: Clevers, sticky willy, coachweed, goosegrass, and a few other names.

Probably my favorite thing to learn about these was that you can make “coffee” with them. Cleaver is actually part of the coffee family. Yes, those little sticky, fuzzy berry looking things. You can pick them off, dry out, then roast them in the oven, then grind them up and make coffee. Be warned the process is time consuming. Picking all those stickly little berries off takes a while and you need a lot to brew a pot of coffee. I tried it though. It wasn’t half bad. The leaves and stems are edible as well and can be added to stir fries, salads, and soups.

Cleaver is said to have diuretic properties and has been used for kidney and urinary tract ailments.

People actually plant this one on purpose!

Purslane. This is the one I often saw growing in my gardens. Almost looks like a succulent to me. I found out that not only is Purslane edible but quite nutrient dense for a little plant containing antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Potassium, and Manganese. Phew! Now that’s a hard working plant.

You can eat it raw by itself, mix it into your salad, or add it to your dish. You can easily find Purslane seeds and plants online. In fact, Purslane is commonly grown, on purpose, in many other countries.

The multitasker of the weed world

Dandelions, we all know them. Dandelion greens can be eaten. The petals can be turned into teas, wine, jams, or jellies. You can use the root for dandelion root coffee.

Dandelions are also said to have medicinal properties. A quick search will have you finding tinctures, tonics, and many other medicine cabinet ideas for dandelions.

The more I learn the more I realize the culinary adventures and medicine cabinet stocking I can do. And that saves me money! I’m also interested in learning more.

I love seeing companies like T1 payments that care. Donating to the South Florida Fairchild Botanic Gardens. I truly believe that there are so much more we need to learn about plants. There could be one out there that could be the cure for an illness, or an affordable option to help stop hunger.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links.


Create Images For Your Needs with DesignCap

As a blogger and social media influencer, I used design websites and software fairly often. There is one in particular I had been using for years which will remain nameless. One day I decided to cute expenses and got rid of that website. Then I realized how much I used it. When I decided to sign up again they raised the prices. I felt like I had no choice though. Having no graphic design knowledge, I needed simple. Then I came across DesignCap.

DesignCap is very affordable even offering a free option. The top tier account is DesignCap Plus and it’s still more affordable than that other site I was using.

Design cap is not just for header images and social media headers though. They offer templates for infographics, business cards, invitations, reports, brochures, and more! Making this a great tool for businesses and entrepreneurs to use too. Create images for your needs. Pull from DesignCaps stock photos or your own.

Here is just one example of the eye-catching templates on DesignCap:

Brochure template front
brochure template back

DesignCap is easy to use and requires no graphic design experience. You can use one of the templates or create your own designs. Add in your own business pictures, change words, fonts, sizes, whatever you want.

DesignCap is localized to 7 different languages including: English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, French, Chinese.

The site was so easy to use. They offered more options for images, icons, colors, and fonts than the old site I was using. I created the header images for this post in a matter of minutes. It was so easy, no stress or frustration. I encourage you to try it out today.

Visit DesignCap.com to create an account.

I was gifted the DesignCap Plus account to try it out all the features for this post. No other compensation has been received.


Sculpey Shape-It, Bake-it, Wear-It Party with Tryazon

I received a Sculpey party kit at no cost as part of the Tryazon program.

All the gals in my family, well we like to get a little crafty. I’m not saying I’m Martha Stewart, not even close. I just like to get creative. Particularly I like to get creative with something functional or fun. Like jewelry, for instance.

We had a chance to host a Sculpey Shape-it-Bake-it-Wear-it Party with Tryazon. My nieces, future sister-in-law, and I couldn’t wait to give it a try. My brother and my dad enjoyed watching the kids design and create.

I’ve used Sculpey products in the past for other craft projects. I can honesty say I’ve never tried making jewelry with it before. We had a pretty pearlized white sculpey clay and the pearlized aqua color you see in the pics.

We received everything we needed to each create a bracelet with 3 charms each thanks to Tryazon.

It was fun to see the interesting designs that each person came up with. Everyone had different design ideas truly making each piece unique. The kit came with fun decals that let us add designs to the charms easily. After we’re done creating all we had to do was bake them and attach them to the bracelets!

This was my finished bracelet. I went pretty basic with mine. I’m more minimalistic when it comes to my jewelry. My daughter on the other hand loved adding embellishments and her own clay creations to her charms.

Check out Tryazon for your chance to host parties like these. There were 99 other Sculpey parties happening this month. If you see my posts with the #charmedbysculpey hashtag, I’d love it if you’d share it on social media.

Check out these and other Sculpey product on the Sculpey website. Have you used Sculpey products before?