I encourage you ALL to think about preparing for the winter months. I think ice may be a part of our experience this year. Make sure you have at least one alternate source of heat and light. It's my understanding from reading a few accounts of people caught in an ice storm that IF you have an alternate source of heat, you will not be made to leave you home for a shelter for an undetermined amount of time. I may not be 100% on target with that statement but I've read a number of experiences and this seems to be the norm.
Our new house does have a fireplace but before that we only had forced heat which of course requires electricity. So we bought a couple of the Big Buddy heaters that run off of propane. You can use the little propane tanks or get the adapter to use the bigger tanks. This is what they look like. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200395499_200395499 You can do a google search to find a good price but this one is actually pretty good. There are a couple of different sizes. We chose the bigger ones because I wanna be really warm. :) We did practice with it. The Big Buddy used one small propane tank running on the highest setting for one hour. It wouldn't have needed to be run like that especially if the room had be closed off to the rest of the house.
Also, make a plan on how you'll close off your house and "live" in one or two rooms together as a family. Have sheets or blankets ready to block of other rooms or hallways.
Think about your sources of cooking as well. You should still be somewhat prepared for that from your experiences prepping for the hurricane. Do you have a camp stove? And fuel? Do you have a regular gas stove that you can light manually? Do you have enough water stored? Especially those of us on wells? If you don't have electricity, you don't get water. You'll need to be able to flush potties.
Sources of light. You should have those from your hurricane preps too. If not, run out to the Walmart and for about $11 you can buy a hurricane lamp and a quart of lamp oil. If you have those solar lights out in your yard, use those as indoor lights during the nights. Set them inside a mason jar or something similar and they'll be a bit more sturdy that way. Then in the morning, put them back outside.
Have a few large tarps on hand too in case you have a tree fall on your house. At least you'll be able to prevent precipitation from coming into the house to make matters worse.
Chainsaws are always nice to have. If you have one, make sure it's working properly and you have an extra chain or two.
Have some games to play and books to read. Crossword puzzle, word search and sudoko books are nice to have on hand.
You can charge your phones in the car. I bought a bunch of those wind up cell phone chargers when Emergency Essentials had them for sale last year. They did NOT work for our iPhones at all. I haven't found another option for charging yet.
Don't forget to have your car prepared as well. Charger cables at a minimum. You'll need at least one blanket, flashlight, food etc. Think about giving those as gifts this year especially to your teenagers that have their own cars.
I know it's not any fun to think about these things, but we have to. It's so much easier to think about them now and prepare for them in the comfort and warmth of our homes than when we lose electricity and it's flipping cold outside. Please get your houses in order this way. Know where your blankets are. Are there ready-to-eat foods that your family will eat if you don't have a way to cook? We've been so blessed in our area that we've not had major natural disasters occur in a widespread way. Let's take that as a blessing and do what we can with the resources we have to prepare. Let's be strong and organized. This is the only way we can confidently serve others as well. If you're too worried about you own family and existence because you didn't prepare, you'll never be able to serve anyone else. And we're here on earth to serve others and lift their burdens. Many of you have lifted my burdens and that of my family with our recent move. I'm so humbly thankful for your hard work, food and good cheer. I struggled to muster it myself. Continue to be that for others.
Try to be one of the people that doesn't need to go out to the grocery store or Home Depot when there's the threat of a big snowstorm. That's a great goal to have. Figure out what you need to do so you don't have to be one of those little grasshoppers. :) If you need any help or ideas, I'm always here to help and encourage. But, remember there is One with way more creativity and help than I could ever give. Rely on Him.
IF you have any other ideas or suggestions, please email them to me so I can share with others.