On This Day in History: Sliced Bread

“It’s the best thing since sliced bread!” is a modern saying.  But where does it come from?

“Otto Frederick Rohwedder was an American inventor and engineer who created the first automatic bread-slicing machine for commercial use. It was first used by the Chillicothe Baking Company.”


Since then, we have seen pre-sliced bread in so many recipes and favorite meals.

I love grilled cheese and tuna sandwiches.  What about you?


Blackout S’mores: How to survive a blackout and still have fun while doing it!

With the neighbor’s kids making s’mores by candlelight.
(Photo posted with permission from their mom.)

What do you do when the power suddenly goes out?  Do you just sit around in the dark for hours at a time while the Summer dusk wanes into complete darkness?  Not me!  I let the dog out and went outside with him.  I joined my neighbors at their house where we indulged in candlelight chat and marshmallow roasting!

In this installment of Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, you will discover some creative and awesome ways to prepare yourself in the event of a future blackout, and look like you meant to have a party the whole time!

Last night was a supremely eventful evening.  I’m dog-sitting on the quiet side of Morristown, New Jersey, while my parents are away in Florida for the week.  I was in the midst of planning my own little trip to Florida, when the power suddenly went out.

I grabbed a flashlight and my cell and went to ask the neighbors if they were having the same problem.  They were outside and yes, they were, as was another neighbor.

What is strange is that we found out that only six houses in our area were affected by this power outage.  All six houses made up only a tiny part of our side of our street.

Even stranger still was the fact that there was no bad weather tonight, not even a sign of heat lightning.


1)  Make sure you have a drawer stocked with plenty of batteries.  You will never know how long a storm could last, whether the power lines are frozen, damaged, the power plant has flooded or exploded, or some other kind of damage has caused the shortage until the information is available to the public and you can once again have light and air in your home.
2)  Get yourself one of these:

Energizer Rechargeable Flashlight
Energizer® Compact Rechargeable LED Light

My folks keep one of these Energizer® Rechargeable LED Flashlights plugged in the kitchen at all times.  Preparedness is key in this house.

3)  Another set of items that many homes will not do without include candles and matches.  Whether they are ceremonial candles or scented ones, it doesn’t matter.  They will still serve a higher purpose in an emergency.

4)  It is also very important to be prepared in the event that there are other types of emergencies during the blackout.  Make sure your fire extinguishers and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors have been properly inspected, that there is a well stocked and up-to-date first aid kit on hand, and that your back up generator and sump pump will work right, should you need it.

For fun facts such as when was the first flashlight invented and who invented it (that you can read to your kids by flashlight during the blackout) as well as product information on this particular light, visit the link in the above photo’s caption.


That’s a tough one, especially where the kids are concerned.  There’s not much you can do these days without electricity.  Here’s a list of some fun activities you can try with the kids during a blackout.

  • Build a furniture and bed sheets fort.  How cool would it be to sit beneath a tent in the living room and feel like you’re camping in the wilderness for a night?
  • “A long time ago, a boy and a girl had a blackout much like this one…”  Tell ghost stories.  Instead of sitting around a campfire,  sit in a circle and give each member of the family a flashlight.  When it is their turn to tell a story, have them aim the light up towards their chin for a “spooky” effect.  This activity can also be used in a classroom as a language arts or dramatic arts educational lesson.  My fifth grade teachers did this as a Friday the 13th activity!
  • Make Blackout S’mores by Candlelight!  It’s not exactly fire pit worthy, but the fun is just as good!
  • Play games.  Board games are better than no games at all.  With video games, you may want to limit those by encouraging kids to preserve the batteries in case you may need them for an emergency.
  • Play games like Flashlight Tag indoors.
All in all, it was an exciting evening.  Of all the activities listed above, we only made S’mores By Candlelight, and that was kind of an impromptu idea we had, since Mrs. Neighbor (the Mom) had all the necessary ingredients.  However, this got me to thinking; what if blackouts were turned into family fun nights?
Try these ideas and I assure you, your kids will be telling their friends, not about the nightmare that was the blackout at their house, but the party their parents put on during what would have otherwise been boring and dark!