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.

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

Our New Home!… Oops

I have lost count of how many times I have started and restarted this post over the last 7 months. Each time my outlook and feelings on the subject completely changed from the draft before. Seven months ago we sold our first house, our “Starter house” if you will and bought our second house. Days after we closed on the purchase I drafted a blog post that clearly shows my optimism and excitement. I held off on posting it only to take the time to add photos. Here is a snippet to give you an idea of how I was feeling…

August 2016: “One major change in my life recently has been the sale of our cookie cutter, ranch style home and the purchase of a quirky, 1940’s bungalow! Words cannot explain how over the moon I am about this new adventure. Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of taking an old house and making it my own, piece by piece. The possibilities are endless and the pride of fixing it up, just my husband and I is unimaginable! I am going to spend far too much time on Pinterest… But in the end I hope to create something we will love and enjoy for many years to come! Of course I will share our DYI journey with all of you!”

In September we hired Lowes (they hired a 3rd party contractor) to build a cedar fence around our .21 acre yard. The contractor came and drew up designs for us and from that moment on came up with the most absurd excuses to not start the project. We requested a new contractor from Lowes and they provided one. He and his crew tore down the existing chain link fence and then proceeded to make excuses of why they weren’t going to show up or would only stay a short time. This contractor refused to talk with me and would only address my husband. Finally after weeks of waiting they finally finished and we were so desperate for them to be gone we ignored that fact that they didn’t fill in the holes they dug, clean up their materials or the work area. we found unused materials all over our yard and had to call Lowes to send a truck to remove it. We also found screws and nails all over the yard and drive way. At this same time Lowes sold the fridge we had paid for to someone else and informed us that the model was now discontinued so they couldn’t get another one. By the end of this I was still trying to be optimistic but was frustrated.

September 2016: “The fence is finally built after weeks of frustration and taking the dogs out on leashes several times a day. I have to admit though it looks fantastic! the cedar is beautiful and truly compliments the natural beauty of the yard. Our new appliances are in but Lowes sold our fridge out from under us so our fridge is not what we had wanted… We are working on painting the cabinets for the second time. Inexperienced as we are we forgot to sand them first!”

By October we had remodeled the kitchen and were very happy with the results. We were finally starting to get furniture and getting things unpacked. Then one Sunday morning we ambled down to our basement living room only to find the carpet sopping wet and no idea where the water was coming from. Eventually we discovered it was coming from the wall between the downstairs bathroom and one spare room. We immediately called our plumber and our insurance company. We managed to survive the few days our water was turned off and once the pipes were fixed they started ripping out the damaged walls and flooring. The pipes from our kitchen and bathrooms had burst, spewing water and sewage into our living space. A few days after this my husband was hospitalized for his chronic illness, (an episode worse than usually) this one lasting a month.  During the month of October we had scheduled a few other improvements as well. We had the dinning room rewired to include a chandelier at which time it was discovered that the electrical wiring in the upstairs was unsafe. He fixed it and completely rewired the bathroom as well. We also had a wood stove and new chimney installed. Our general contractor re-built the walls and installed the new bathroom vanity (the old one had to be thrown out due to sewage damage).  Keep in mind that during all of this I was trying to juggle Work, Contractors, my dogs and my husband in the Hospital. Most of the contractors were wonderful, only the wood stove/chimney contractors took advantage of me. My husband is the knowledgeable one in regards to home improvements so I assumed the contractors were doing what needed to be done in the appropriate way. When my husband was finally able to come home we discovered they had made the chimney too short and our house filled with smoke when we tried to use it. So he demanded they come back and build it to code.

October 2016: “I am seriously considering just burning it to the ground…”

In November the new carpet was installed down stairs by two very lazy installation guys. It was delayed and therefore got installed the day of my company holiday party and the day before my father in-law came to visit. They removed the steps from our spiral staircase to put the new carpet on then left without reinstalling them. Looking back now I’m sure it was an amusing sight to see me body slamming the stairs into the slots in a dress and heals, hair curled, makeup done up but at the time I was not amused. At this point we stepped back and took stock. Several unexpected issues came up and took immediate precedence. We had barely touched our wish list of improvements but on the upside the house was now safe to live in… Unfortunately we were also out of money.

November 2016: “What is wrong with societies work ethic? When did everyone start half assing their jobs? I would be unemployed if I treated my clients the way most of the contractors we have dealt with have treated us. At least it’s done! There is a lot more we want to do but we have spent all of the money we had set aside and then some… The cosmetic improvements will just have to wait.”

Little did I know the worst was yet to come. The house stayed as it was but in late December my husband lost the function in his legs. It was sudden and unexplained so he was back in the hospital but this time a specialty hospital 30 miles away from home. After the hospital he couldn’t come home because a wheelchair wouldn’t fit through our hall ways and he couldn’t manage the stairs. I had to tour and pick a nursing home for my 33 year old husband. It was a terrifying and depressing experience I hope to never relive. Eventually he was able to come home, through physical therapy he was able to walk again over time. My bitterness for the house that kept my husband in a nursing home was well rooted by then.

February 2017: “This house was a mistake. I won’t stay here longer than absolutely necessary. Denver (my husband) and I have decided to sell our house, buy land and build the house of our dreams. We never again want to buy a house full of horrible surprises and waste every penny we have trying to make it work. We will instead build what we want!”

I will still post the before and after pictures of the improvements we made. I will also be sure to blog the entire process of building our forever home! In the end the universe gave us sign after sign that this house isn’t right for us and we are going to listen. Wish my luck on our newest adventure!!