Pre-Baby Meal Prepping

 

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I knew I wouldn’t feel like cooking for a little while after the baby was born. So I had this great plan that I would pre-make and freeze several meals so I could just pop them in the oven and have real meals without the work. What I didn’t realize was how hard it would be to stand in the kitchen for hours prepping these meals while eight months pregnant…
If I had the opportunity to do it over, I would still make the meals (even more of them) but I would make them earlier, maybe during the blissful second trimester!

I started by picking the recipes I wanted to make (meals I know my husband and I like). Then I hit Costco with a list of supplies I needed.

Here are the meals I decided to make to freeze for after the baby came.

Meal #1
Sausage, Potatoes and Peppers:

Ingredients:

  • Your choice of sausage (I picked mango jalapeno chicken sausage)
  • Onion
  • Bell peppers
  • Yukon Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Blackened seasoning
  • Poultry seasoning

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Directions:

  • Cut sausage, potatoes, peppers and onion into bite sized cubes.
  • Season all evenly and mix in a medium bowl.
  • Vacuum seal and freeze.

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Meal #2
Bacon, Egg and Cream Cheese Bagel Sandwich: 

Ingredients:

  • Cheese bagels
  • Cream cheese
  • Precooked bacon
  • Eggs

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Directions:

  • Scramble the eggs, season to taste.
  • Spread cream cheese on each side of the bagel.
  • Layer bacon and egg and place the other half of the bagel on top.
  • Wrap in clear wrap and foil.
  • Freeze

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To Cook:

Preheat over to 400 degrees and place bagel sandwich in over for 30 minutes.

Meal #3
Cheese Stuffed Meatballs:

Ingredients:

  • Ground Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Garlic
  • Season Salt
  • Salt
  • Pepper

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Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients except the cheese.
  • Grab a chunk in the estimated size of the desired meatball.
  • flatten meat in the palm of your hand, place a square of cheese in the middle and roll into a meatball.
  • Vacuum seal and Freeze.

Meal #4
Breakfast Burrito Filling:

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Precooked bacon
  • Yukon potattoes
  • Shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • Season salt
  • Garlic
  • Salt

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Directions:

  • Scramble eggs
  • Cut potatoes into cubes
  • Tear bacon into small pieces.
  • Season eggs and potatoes to taste.
  • In a vacuum seal bag layer salsa, eggs, potatoes, bacon and cheese.
  • Vacuum seal and freeze.

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To Cook:

Thaw ingredients and warm up in the microwave for 3 minutes. Spoon filling into tortillas for breakfast burritos.

Meal #5
Chicken Enchiladas:

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Tortillas
  • Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Onion
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Diced Tomatos
  • Rotel
  • Chili Powder

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Directions:

  • Boil chicken breasts and shred and cool.
  • Chop onion.
  • Drain tomatoes.
  • In a medium bowl, combine soup, sour cream, salsa, onion, tomatoes, Rotel and chili powder.
  • In a separate bowl combine chicken, cheese and 1/3 sauce mixture.
  • Fill six tortillas with chicken filling and roll into enchiladas.
  • Place rolled enchiladas in a tin disposable casserole dish.
  • Pour remaining sauce evenly over enchiladas.
  • Top with additional cheese, chopped onions and diced tomatoes.
  • Cover with tin foil and freeze.

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To Cook:

Preheat oven to 375 and place enchiladas in oven still frozen (DO NOT THAW). Cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until warmed through and bubbly.

 

These meals worked out great for my family! It was so convenient to not have to worry about all that goes into creating a meal or running to the store for missing ingredients while trying to figure out this new tiny human I had just brought into the world.

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Nursery Creation!

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When we bought this house I knew right away which room would be the nursery someday. We had already been trying for four years so I didn’t know when we would need a nursery but I knew someday we would. While I waited for that day, that room belonged to our cats and our clutter…

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When we found out we were pregnant nothing changed in that room. After three miscarriages I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Then suddenly the first trimester was over and it was safe to believe we were actually going to have a baby. We rolled up our sleeves and got busy! Once we cleared out the cats and junk we started thinking about paint.

 

We changed out the old 70’s light fixture and put in a cute mini light/fan combo fixture.

 

We decided on a three different shades of purple. White with a light purple tint for the top part of the wall, a medium purple gray color for the bottom half of the wall and a dark purple for the center chair railing. First we taped off the room and painted the top and bottom portions of the walls.

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We decided to save some money on chair railing and make it ourselves instead of the expensive stuff. We bought pine planks and measured to fit and cut to size then painted in our dark purple paint.

 

We used a nail gun to seamlessly attach the chair railing to the walls. It turned out amazing!!

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The only thing left to add was furniture…

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Oh and a baby of course!

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I could not be happier with how the nursery turned out! It’s now my favorite room in the house! Baby Mazi and I spend a lot of time in there!

Share your room creation with me!

DIY Cat Box Cabinet

Some say there are Dog lovers or there are Cat lovers… I am both!!! being such an unbiased animal lover has it’s challenges… Anyone who has had both dogs and cats at the same time can attest to this.

We haven’t had to worry about them getting along. Our dogs and cats play together, cuddle together and beg for scraps together…
Begging

One of our biggest challenges has been keeping our dogs from eating the “delicious kitty treats” out of the litter boxes. They just can’t seem to help themselves. The way we have done this up until now was to dedicate an entire room in our house to the cats. A baby gate in the door way (and lots of training of the dogs not to jump over it) has kept the litter boxes safe from hungry canines. This was working fabulously for the last five years, but now a baby is coming… And the cat room must become a nursery.

We debated for months about where to move the litter boxes…
The guest room? Our out of town guests don’t want to share a room with our cats. Plus they would not be able to close the door for privacy because how would the cats get in to use the bathroom?
The office? The downstairs access to the backyard is through the office. The dogs need that door available for their own potty needs.

Finally we realized we would have to get creative. With help from Pinterest and supplies from Lowes we created the perfect solution! We created a cat box cabinet that fit right under the stairs. This solution solved everything! The dogs can’t get to the litter box but the cats can and it looks pretty nice if I do say so myself.

Before COLLAGE

Cat box setup before

After Collage

Cat box setup after

This project was so easy and turned out so great, it surprised even me!

Here is what we bought:
1. A stock kitchen cabinet insert (in the size to fit our space and the style of our house)
2. A sheet of unfinished pine board
3. Finishing screws
4. Waterproof clear finishing spray
5. A medium cat door insert kit
6. A stick on “pop it” light

Here is how we did it:
1. We cut the pine board to fit the top of the cabinet (with a small lip over hang).
2. We treated the pine board with the finishing spray and let dry.
3. Using the instructions and cut out sheet from the cat door kit, we cut a hole in the side of the cabinet and installed the cat door.
4. Next we cleaned out the shavings from cutting the hole for the cat door.
5. Using the finishing screws we secured the pine board to the top of the cabinet.
6. For convenience we added a “pop it” light to the ceiling of the lower cabinet to provide light while scooping the used litter box.
7. We moved the cabinet to the desired permanent location under the staircase.
8. We put the litter box in the cabinet space, the scoops and plastic bags in the drawer and the food and water bowls on top.

We did have to teach our cats to go through the cat door to find their litter box. We found treats and desirable wet food as motivation to go through the scary new contraption helped a lot.

Now we have a beautiful way to hide the stinky side of having cats while also keeping our dogs from helping themselves to the “kitty treats” they so desire. We did all of this in one afternoon and still had time to clear out and clean up the soon to be nursery!

Nursery Before

Dear Baby Journal

Dear Baby Journal

Even before I got pregnant I knew I wanted to keep a journal about my pregnancy journey. When I ask my Mom about what it was like to be pregnant there isn’t much she remembers. I guess that’s a vital part of natures plan to keep us wanting to have more babies. I want more from my memories. I want to be able to share my experiences with my child when they are starting their own journey of having a child. I want to be able to enlighten them about both the fun and the ugly parts of making a person. Also, they won’t remember us when we were first becoming parents and trying to figure out what to do. I want to be able to show them that we didn’t have it all figured out.

My husband and I didn’t know when we started this idea what it would become. We bought some blank journals and decided we would each document our individual experiences throughout the pregnancy. As we got started we both realized that we wanted this to be more than just a diary. We wanted something special we could share with our child some day. We started writing as if we were talking to our baby. Each entry became a letter to our unborn child about how the pregnancy is going and how they have already started changing our lives.  It’s therapeutic in a way we didn’t expect. We don’t hold back, expressing our joys, fears, amazement, love and our own self doubts.

I write once a week on the day the pregnancy switches over to the next week. I always start with “Today you are ** weeks and roughly the size of a **”. Each entry is unique based on what has happened over the last week. I end every entry with “Love Mom” which is strange in its self getting used to the new title of “Mom”. My husband writes when he has something to write about, sometimes more often, sometimes less. I don’t read his and he doesn’t read mine. We want to be able to share in complete honesty with no fear of judgment from the other person about how we may be feeling.

Some day our child will be starting a life all their own, whether that be moving out of state to college, getting married or having a child of their own. When the time feels right we will gift her with these letters we wrote to her before she was born (and possibly through her first year). I hope they will bring a smile to her face and offer some insight into how having her changed our lives.

 

Pregnancy Gender Predictions!

There are so many old wife’s tales depicting ways to predict the gender of your baby while pregnant it can make your head spin! I loved gathering everyone’s guesses and learning of all of the different reasons why they thought one way or the other. My husband and I are very competitive and while we didn’t actually have a preference we had many laughs debating our girl vs. boy predictions.

I decided to create a chart (I’m an accountant, we LOVE charts!) to tally up the boy vs. girl wife’s tales so we could see, after we found out from an ultrasound, how accurate they were. I decided not to do any of the ones where you have to play with your pee because it grosses me out a little. We kept it simple and innocent.

Our results were almost perfectly split 50/50. I intentionally kept the tests to an odd number so one or the other would have to win out. The silly predictions came out to guess, 8 for a girl and 7 for a boy.

Over all it ended up being correct (by a hair)! We are having a girl!!!

Gender Predictions

What other fun gender prediction tests have you heard of? Where they accurate for you?

Before Baby Comes Check-List

I’m 16 weeks (4 months) along now and I recently sat down with my boss to discuss my maternity leave plan. After that meeting I started to feel a little panicked. There was so much to do at work before November comes and it suddenly seemed right around the corner. This of course led me to start thinking, “is there a ton of things to do in our personal life before the baby comes that we haven’t thought of yet”?

I scoured the internet for hours looking for pregnancy to-do lists and pre-baby prep lists. The more I looked through the more frustrated I got. List after list containing to-do items like “drink lots of water”, “get plenty of rest” and “pamper yourself with a pedicure”. That’s cute, and all well and good if you’re looking for a sweet list to remind you to take a piss every couple hours. I was looking for a serious pre-baby check list. One with actual necessity items not all this fluffy sh**!

I couldn’t find a single list containing the types of serious items I was looking for… I was able to gain a few ideas here and there but no comprehensive list. Could I possibly be the first person to ever want a serious, no frills pre-baby checklist? I doubt it.

I decided to create my own list! I surveyed my friends, family and co-workers, looking for items I haven’t thought of yet. I am a first time parent after all, I can’t expect to know it all. Below is the list I have put together for myself, though I’m sure it will continue to grow a bit. Hopefully others find this helpful as well. If you have items I’ve missed please share!

  • Sign up for birthing and newborn care classes.
  • Plan the nursery space and take measurements.
  • Research daycares in our area.
  • Research baby products safety and consumer reviews.
  • Create a labor contact list.
  • Register for baby shower gifts.
  • Take a hospital tour.
  • Create a birth plan.
  • Paint and set up nursery.
  • Pack a hospital go bag. (Items for me, husband and baby)
  • Prepare our pets for the new arrival.
  • Buy and Install carseats.
  • Wash all of the baby clothes.
  • Deep clean the house.
  • Make freezer meals.

 

Of course if it’s important to you, don’t forget to get a pedicure 😉

Pregnancy Panic

We (Myself, my husband, and all of our family and friends) released a collective sigh of relief once we made it past the terrifying first trimester of pregnancy. I naively expected to be able to sit back, relax and watch my belly grow…

If I had truly thought long and hard about it I would have realized that conforming your body to hold a whole new person inside an already pretty cramped space wouldn’t be easy or comfortable. But I was so relived that our baby lived through the first trimester I hadn’t thought about anything else. We had learned to protect ourselves after the first loss, by the second and third we almost expected the losses when they came. So this baby was no different. We couldn’t allow ourselves to get excited, to get attached to something we couldn’t keep. We did everything we could to give this baby a fighting chance but we never let ourselves believe that it would be ok. Then, all of a sudden we were at twelve weeks. Our high risk doctor cleared us to be transferred to a regular OBGYN and assured us that our baby was still doing great…

The first few weeks of the second trimester were spent trying to wrap our heads around the idea that our baby was healthy and strong. The excitement and sudden reality of the future overwhelmed us. We are going to be parents… Our baby is going to live…

Then the sharp pains in my lower abdomen started… We panicked, my husband was suggesting the emergency room but I decided to wait it out and call the doctor in the morning. My thoughts were consumed with “It’s happening again”, “we got excited too soon”, and “please survive baby”.  I called the advice line at my doctors office. I explained in great detail to the nurse what was happening. She asked me a thousand questions and told me she would talk to my doctor and call me back. That had to be the longest two hours of my life…

I got the call back and was immediately concerned by the chipper note in her voice. How could she dare be peppy while my baby dies inside me… Then she said the words I hadn’t even dared to hope for, “What you are feeling is perfectly normal”. She went on to explain “round ligament pain” and gave some suggestions of how to calm it. Stretching regularly, warm baths, plenty of rest. I was flabbergasted, could it really be that simple?

Once I got off the phone I researched round ligament pain and started laughing uncontrollably at my own fearful overreaction. The description of round ligament pain was almost word for word what I had described to the nurse. My symptoms were textbook second trimester ailments. “Round ligament pain is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. It is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy. It is most often felt during the second trimester”. It went on to describe what can bring it on, detailing the exact situations during which I had felt my own pain. I felt elated and like an idiot at the same time. My baby was fine! Still healthy, strong and growing. I couldn’t believe I had jumped to the worst possible scenario, I felt very foolish.

This experience opened my eyes to the reality I face for the next six months. Of course it will be painful and difficult to expand my body to make room for this whole other person. There will be a million new feelings and sensations I will be experiencing as my entire body changes. There is no good in jumping to the worst case scenario, though I will admit I will still probably call my doctor far more often than is truly needed. Better safe than sorry.

Pregnancy is hard. It should be, I’m making a person from scratch after all.