A Hot Birthday Idea Is More Than Light

My mother, bless her, was the queen of terrible gifts. She was mystified by teenagers in general and often gave my kids toys that were intended for much younger children or knock-offs of useful things. Then there were the sweaters. Polyester horrors in garish colors–but my kids adored their Grammy and always acted as though she had given them the one thing they really wanted. It got to the point that we all looked forward to seeing what she could come up with from year to year. My children still have those sweaters and will often show up at a family gathering sporting a Grammy Special. We knew the love that was in every dropped stitch.

My gifts for the kids are pretty predictable. I tend toward the outrageously practical. I have given emergency car kits, camping stoves, cords of wood and tanks of propane. I give gifts that are practical, although they’re often hard to wrap.

It looks like a lantern, but it can also cook for you! Available at Lehmans.comor Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

It looks like a lantern, and it can cook too. Available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

I have a son with a birthday coming up and I’ve been thumbing through my catalogs looking for inspiration. I always shop by catalog or on-line since I don’t go to shopping malls unless forced by extreme circumstances. Birthdays are not an extreme circumstance.

I’m considering a Dietz Lantern Cooker for him. The power goes out a lot where he lives and this dual purpose light/cooker would be just the ticket for a quick meal of soup or stew or a cup of tea. The color is wonderful too. I’m a big fan of preparedness equipment that is just part of the furniture.

Battery-powered LED spotlight can give 175 hours of illumination.

Battery-powered LED spotlight can give 175 hours of illumination.

As you all may know, we keep our hurricane lamps on the kitchen table so they are always available if the lights go out. They look quite pretty in my country kitchen.

My husband is also looking at lighting for our son’s birthday. I guess that’s what happens when you shop in the dark of winter.

The NEW edition from Storey Publishing is now available at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

The NEW edition from Storey Publishing is now available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Bruce is taken by a very cool LED Spotlight. I think he’s really thinking about himself as much as he’s thinking about Ben. Bruce often has to out to care for animals or deal with some homestead problem in the dark. Regular old flashlights are fine for walking to church or finding the matches in the dark but for doing real work at night you need good light. The LED Spotlight looks cool. It can even be used hands-free which is a bonus. Last year, the pigs got out and we had to chase those brutes all over the field and get them back in their pen before they ruined the gardens. The spotlight flashlight would have made that job a lot easier!

I so remember that night. By the time we had rounded up 4 pigs we were wet, cold and muddy and exhausted. Pigs always seem to escape in the worst possible weather. I think recalling rounding up those pigs made last night’s pork chops taste even better than usual. I just might have the leftovers for lunch, as soon as I order the lantern.

Kathy Harrison

About Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison is the author of Just in Case, Another Place at the Table, and One Small Boat. She is a national spokesperson for both foster parenting and family preparedness and has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and National Public Radio. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts.