23 December 2010
13 October 2010
25 June 2010
~for previous posts in the series, click on the banner :)
It is without question that having meals on hand after the birth of a baby are tremendously helpful. It is equally helpful to have things on hand to make creating those meals easy. Multiple births have taught me that the time and energy invested are most definitely worth it.
I like to stock my freezer with a lot of meals. Around 34-36 weeks, or whenever I am mostly done with the other preparations (except cleaning) I plan what I want to make for my freezer. I sit down and make a list of meals my family enjoys that are freezer friendly. I plan a cooking day (usually a Saturday for me) and figure out how much I can reasonably accomplish in one day. I make a list of what I will need from the store, (don't forget disposable ziploc bags and foil pans!) and do my shopping a couple of days in advance.
Ideally you will be able to get a lot of prep work done before your cooking day (chicken cooked/shredded, meat browned, veggies chopped, etc.) but if you can't then just plan it into your day. No worries.
I wish I could give you some really great tips on freezer cooking. Sadly, that is not really my area of expertise. I just get it done. I try and be as efficient as possible, but it's really just been trial and error. Every time I do it it gets easier. And this is something I actually try and do at least a couple of times of year, even when I'm not pregnant. It's just really helpful. Some really resourceful and impressive people do it on an ongoing basis, always doubling or tripling recipes and sticking the extras in the freezer. Hopefully I'll be that impressive one day, but for now this works for me. I can't really get my brain around adding anything else to my life right now. :)
While I mainly just use my own recipes that I've gathered from all over the place, one book in particular that helped me a lot the first few times I did it was Don't Panic - Dinner's In the Freezer. I really only used a handful of the recipes (though there were a lot that sounded promising) and tweaked them to my liking. But reading about the process was really helpful.
And if the idea of big cooking day
(To get a glimpse of what the end of my pregnancy and some of the freezer prep I did with Grace, read here. You have to scroll down a bit to get past the pregnancy update but down a ways is a good picture of what life looks like around here toward the end of my pregnancies.)
Here is a list of what I made before I had Grace just to give you some ideas. If you click on recipes, it will take you to some of these.
6 meatloaves (yep, with hidden zucchini again...shhh)
4 chicken casseroles
3 sesame chicken
3 chicken enchiladas
2 bags chicken in raspberry walnut vinagarette (edit: won't use this again, it was not good as a marinade!)
2 bags chicken in some other marinade I can't remember :o)
4 bags beef brisket
15lbs browned hamburger with onions
10c. cooked, shredded chicken
some hot dogs and beef smoked sausage for easy, fast meals (i know, i know...yuck. but i have kids, people. kids)
turkey bacon & turkey sausage
several bags frozen chicken tenderloins
we still have a huge amount of beef from the cow we split with my dad
a ridiculous amount of frozen veggies
a stack of pizzas and gluten free pizza crusts
frozen waffles & french toast sticks
whole rotesserie chickens in freezer ready to be thawed and reheated; which they do beautifully
Next time I will probably make some of the same stuff and also some different things. Some other ideas and meals I made in my first trimester (which we ate during the fall and winter months) were:
cheesy chicken vermicelli
chicken & rice soup
white chicken chili
chicken tenderloins frozen in egg to make homemade chicken tenders quickly
chicken pot pie
What foods and meals do you like to have on hand?
19 June 2010
18 June 2010
When I was expecting my first baby I was working full time. I continued to do that until the day before she was born. My preparations looked like any first time mother's. I registered, had a couple of baby showers, got the room ready, and that was about it. It never occured to me to do much else...
*lansinoh - if you are nursing, you will want this. Trust me.
*nursing pads possibly
(non prescription, if you can get prescription meds in advance that's great, too)
That's it. I kind of miscalculated with Grace. She was the first one that I aimed for a six month stockpile. I ended up with almost a year's worth of supplies in some things! Next time, I don't think I'll be quite as ambitious in my quantities, but nevertheless it came in handy!
I wanted to take a minute to say that these posts are by no means meant to come across as Super Mom posts. For someone that loves to be prepared and feel like things are under control then I hope they will be helpful. But some people thrive on spontanaity and have those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants personalities; very free-spirited, and I never want to make someone feel like they are failures or don't have it all together like I do. (cough, choke, spit...ahem...) :)
I am a planner. A huge planner. I think it has something to do with my needing to feel in control of everything, but regardless of the reason, I love to plan things. I'm not always so great on the follow through, but if all else fails, at least I have a plan :)
So while there are plenty of lists to be found online about what you need to have on hand for a baby, this is my list of essentials. It's what I've figured out works for us after seven children. And it falls into the whole Preparing for Baby series by being what I like to have accomplished around twenty weeks or so. Well, the clothes and bedding part. The equipment can wait, especially if it's a first baby and you're going to be having a shower.
These are the things I have found to be actually used and needed. But, for example, I don't do baby bows or shoes. If you do, then you will want to add those to your list. On the otherhand, I do gas drops like they are liquid gold and use the bouncy seat extensively. If you're a sling kind of gal, then you may not need the bouncy seat. If you cloth diaper, you will definitely want to add those to the list. (And by the way, cloth diapering falls into the Super Mom category. Yet another reason why I am not in that category.)
Baby Clothes You Actually Need~
*Lots of pajamas. I personally like Gymboree and Gap sleepers and two piece pajama sets, but I buy them off ebay. Babies spit up and their diapers leak a lot, so you will want extra. My babies live in pajamas the first two months of their life. I like to get cute ones that are perfectly acceptable to take them out in. I like to make sure my babies stay warm, so I don't typically do onesies until they are older. Again, that's me, but other than a couple of going out outfits we just do cute pajamas. But make sure you have a lot, unless you want to be doing a lot of laundry. I have had several late spring/summer babies and I still find that 90% of the time I use long sleeved pajamas. Some lists will point out convenience issues of zippers vs gowns vs pants, etc. Honestly, I buy what I think is cute and deal with it. It's not that hard to slide baby legs in and out of pajamas. Six month olds, well, that can be a little trickier :)
*Two or three "dress up" outfits. For church, going out, whatever. But they don't need a lot. I mean, feel free to have as many as you want, but they don't actually need that many. I just like to buy the cute pajamas since that's what I see them in most of the time.
*Socks. If you use them.
That's really about it in the clothing department. Though with the state of my brain I'm probably missing something glaringly obvious, like underwear. Except that babies don't need underwear. Though for baby girls a few cute diaper covers could definitely be in order.
*Five or six blankets. Not huge blankets, but just regular blankets. I tend (again) to like Gymboree and Gap blankets (again, off ebay mostly.) They are thicker and more substantial than receiving blankets, but not huge. Great for swaddling, covering up while nursing, laying flat to change a diaper, burping etc. Due to the whole spit up/diaper issue previously mentioned you'll probably want a handful.
*A few burp cloths. I don't use these a whole lot, I tend to just use the blanket, but my fabulous sister in law makes super cute ones and uses them a lot, so again, your mileage may vary. (I know, I know. I'm supposed to be telling you what you actually need but some of these things just aren't scientific.)
*Whatever you plan to use in the crib or bassinet. We use a (generously sized) bassinet for the first six months. This could be a bumper, quilt, etc. I don't necessarily think this has to be done by twenty weeks either, but for lack of a better place to put it, here it is.
*I like to have one super soft snuggly blanket for those first few weeks :)
*You may want a nursing cover. I personally don't use them as I feel like I might as well wear a sign that says, "Hey, I'm nursing over here!" But a lot of people really like them. I prefer to just use a blanket.
*The Miracle Blanket. The best swaddling blanket, hands down. If you can get past feeling like you're mummifying your baby or putting them in a straight jacket. Haven absolutely loved his. We had three or four once we realized he practically lived in them. Grace didn't really care for being swaddled, so you may want just one to start out until you figure out if your baby likes to be swaddled.
*A bouncy seat. If I could only have one thing it would be a bouncy seat. They are easily portable, the baby can sleep in them, and well, they're bouncy. Our babies like them. A lot.
*A swing. Some babies like them, some not so much. But we typically use one quite a bit.
*A baby carrier. I'm not so much a sling or carrier person so much at first, though they can come in quite handy at the beginning when you're going out and don't want everyone breathing on your baby. Once older, for me, the ergo is indispensable. But in the beginning I mostly
*Infant seat and stroller. Not that I needed to mention it, but for the sake of being thorough, here it is on the list.
* Bassinet. We co-sleep a little in the interest of training the baby to recognize night as night (the best to do this is by sleeping and nursing while lying down at night in my opinion) but I put baby in the bassinet right next to the bed at every possible opportunity. The bassinet stays by our bed for a few weeks, then moves into the baby's room. Which at our house happens to be our large, vented, walk in closet :)
*Pack n Play. Not absolutely necessary, but great for having another place for them to learn to play when they're older.
*Exersaucer. Around 4ish months our babies have all loved their exersaucer.
*Play mat. Really comes chronologically before the exersaucer, but it's too much work to change it at this point. Our babies love and use their play mats.
*Bumbo seat. How I wish they had these when my older kids were babies. They are so much fun. And if you have super squishy babies like me, they look super cute all squished into them. We also use them for bathtime once they outgrow the baby bathtub. (Which isn't on my list of necessary items since we just kind of dunk and go.) But if you use the bumbo seat in the bath, obviously stay with your baby just in case it floats up. Which has only happened to us once. But I don't really need to tell you to stay with your baby in the bath anyway. Obviously.
*High chair. We prefer those booster kind of seats that attach to an actual chair so we can just slide it under the table. And they're portable and can be used on the ground as well so they're great for going to the park, church meals, relatives, etc.
*There are plenty of other things you may need; such as a baby gate for stairs, outlet plugs, etc. but that's not really the point of this list so you'll have to find that info somewhere else. Sorry. I've got
That's all I've got for now. I guess if I figure out something I've left out I can always add it later. Feel free to leave a comment on what your most used and indispensable baby items are! And if you read on facebook, leave your comment on the blog so my non-facebook friends can see what you love!
17 June 2010
I will confess I feel a bit silly. Back when I was busy preparing for Grace and was talking about it I had quite a few people ask me questions or comment on what I do to get ready, but it hasn't exactly been a topic of conversation recently. So to help me not feel quite so silly, I just want to say I decided to put all these in post form for a few different reasons. Namely, I needed to get it off the sidebar. I mean, talk about a neglected looking blog! Secondly, I want to be able to reference should there be a next time. And hopefully it will come in handy for anyone else that happens to be looking for the info; including maybe my own children one day ;)
With that said...
Preparing for a new baby is one of my favorite things to do. It helps the time pass by more quickly and helps you focus on something other than waiting and feeling blah. While I do lots of nesting and preparing toward the end of my pregnancies, another super helpful thing I've found to do is to make some freezer meals as soon as you get two pink lines. Seriously. While meals after the birth of a baby are wonderful, having meals in that first trimester when you don't feel so hot can
With the advent of early pregnancy tests, it is not uncommon for women to find out they are expecting as early as four weeks. That gives most women, give or take, two to four weeks to do a little advance cooking to make that first trimester a bit easier. Longer if you're lucky.
So what I do as soon as I can is plan a cooking day. Or a couple. This really depends on the needs of your family. Not to mention how badly you are affected by morning sickness. I usually spend about two full days making some freezer meals. I plan out in advance the meals I want to prepare and make my grocery list. I then spend all day Saturday in the kitchen. And then I usually do it again. But that's because I have a big family and I really enjoy having meals on hand.
So part one is pretty straightforward. When you find out you are pregnant, make some meals for your freezer. Brown some ground beef and put it in bags in your freezer. Roast a few chickens, or take the easy way out like me and buy some from Costco, pick them, and store them in your freezer. If you're really ambitious, make broth for your freezer to have some super nutritious baby-growing food on hand for easy soups. Stock up on some items for easy meals like noodles, frozen or canned veggies, spaghetti sauce, etc.
The other thing I attempt to do after I stock my freezer and pantry, but before I start feeling yucky, is do a really good house clean and make sure we've got the whole kids and jobs things figured out pretty well. No one wants to clean when they feel yucky, and no one wants to be in a messy house when they feel yucky, so if you are able to get your house in a really good order, by all means do it.
Trust me on this one. You'll thank me for it. I just wish I had figured it out before baby number six!
To read about my cooking day adventures when I found out I was expecting Grace, read here.
14 April 2010
13 April 2010
Has it really been a year? How can that be? Wasn't it just yesterday you were a newborn baby snuggled up in softness with sleepy eyes and tiny clentched fists? Delighting me with sweet baby yawns and sighs. Don't you know your Mama's heart relishes your baby-ness? Don't you know you're supposed to grow up slower than other babies? Oh, how thankful I am that you are a snuggler. And even though I enjoy a good nights' sleep, there is something precious about snuggling and nursing in those sleepy dark hours. There really is.
You are such a delight to us. Do you know how many requests I have to turn down from your brothers and sisters to please wake you up early in the morning? Every day you're like a new gift. You bring us countless smiles and indescribable joy. You are such a sweet, happy baby. We love seeing your face and eyes light up when someone walks in the room. We love watching you bounce up and down with excitement when someone comes to play with you. And even though you are just now beginning to show signs of trying to crawl, we're not worried. That's how your brothers and sisters have been too. It's a great adventure to set you down and see how far you can scoot yourself :)
Children are a blessing. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full. We know it. Without a doubt. We live it every day. We are so thankful for you. We are so thankful you are here with us when you might not have been. Every day we thank the Father for the wonderful gift of Grace. You are sweet, and beautiful, and such a delight.
We love you, Precious Girl. Sweet Baby Grace.
24 March 2010
Um, yeah. I’m sure I will. As soon as I hear that Noah and Haven have woken up to an entire gallon of milk spilled and a box of cereal thrown all over the floor by their children on a Saturday morning. And that my grandchildren danced in it. Then you’ll see me rolling on the floor :)
"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton