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2.26.2015

On Trend: Black and White

Image Map I have never been one to be very trendy. However, I am ready to get onboard with this one. This trend can be worn by anyone regardless of age or shape. I also like that you can dress it up for work or keep it casual. I like to do all black but you could use shoes or a bag to add a pop of color.

2.02.2015

Easy Freezer Meals

As a new parent, I don't have a lot of time. In fact, I don't have enough time to do everything that needs to be done. When my husband gets home from work, I want to maximize my time with him. The last thing I want to do is spend hours cooking dinner. 

I recently purchased this Kenmore 5.0  Cubic Foot Chest Freezer. I bought this freezer when it was on sale for $199. I could have found a cheaper one, but I wanted a freezer that I knew would last. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. 

To save time in the kitchen, I went shopping and then prepped several meals. Prep the meals, put them in a freezer bag. All I have to do is thaw it one day and put it in the crock pot the next. 


freezer recipes


Taco Soup

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef 
15 oz can kidney beans
15 oz can black beans
2 15oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes 
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
2 packets taco seasoning ( I added more chili powder for more kick)
1 16oz bag frozen fire roasted corn, or regular corn if that's all you can find
1 cup diced onion
4oz cans diced green chilies

Instructions

Brown ground beef; set aside.
Drain & rinse beans thoroughly, place in large mixing bowl
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water
Add taco seasoning and mix well
Add the corn, onions, and diced green chilies.
Finally add the beef and mix well
Once cool divide mixture into 2  gallon size freezer bags and freeze. ( or use food saver)

To cook:  Cook in crock pot on high for 3-4 hours

Deconstructed  Shepard's Pie
1 pound ground pork
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1-3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 medium carrots, chopped
1- 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup frozen peas

Add pork,onion, garlic,and mushrooms to pan on medium heat; cook until meat is browned 
Remove from heat 
Mix in thyme, peas, carrots
Mix in Worcestershire and broth
Once cool put in gallon bag and freeze. 

To cook: Cook in crock pot on high 3.5 hours, serve with mashed potatoes or parsnip puree 

Meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1-1/2 Italian seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoons salt (I'm stingy with salt, you may want more)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients well
Roll into 2-inch balls and place on baking sheet (makes about 40)
Broil for 6 minutes flipping halfway 
Once cool divide into freezer bags ( I did 2 bags of 20)

To cook: Cook in crock pot with can of pasta sauce on low for 3 hours 



1.28.2015

IKEA Raskog Cart

When I found out I was having a baby, I had to get rid of a bunch of stuff because I knew I would need space for all of the baby stuff. I wanted the items I use frequently to be easy to get to.
On the top shelf I have wipes, powder, diaper ointment, and lotion. I keep diapers on the second shelf. Burp clothes and bibs fill the final shelf.

The cart is easy to move and can fit anywhere. I even bought a cart for my room to hold all of my makeup, medicine, and hair accessories.

It is also currently on sale for $29.99!

* This is not a sponsored post. 

1.19.2015

My Favorite Baby Products

When I found out I was having a baby, I started doing a ton of reading on everything baby. I read about strollers, and car seats, baby bottles, pacifiers...

I also bought a lot of stuff. Way too much in fact. Some of my purchases were hits but quite a few were misses. Here is my list of favorite baby products.

1. Dr. Brown's Bottles 

I wish I had found these bottles earlier. I was using a different brand that was supposed to be more natural feeling, but the nipple kept collapsing. These bottles, while they have more parts, work like a vacuum to reduce air bubbles. I really think they help with gas. Dr. Brown also offers several different nipples with different flow rates. While my baby doesn't use pacifier often, I also use Dr. Brown PreVent Pacifiers.

Dr. Brown's Bottles

2.  Carter's Swaddle Blankets 

I found that a lot of swaddle blankets are not very big. With my son being 20 inches long at birth, short swaddle blankets did not cut it. These Carter's Swaddle Blankets are my favorite. They are large and have a bit of stretch to them. They make it super easy to make a perfect swaddle. 

Carter's Swaddle Blankets 

3.  Angelcare AC420 Monitor

Monitors are super fancy now. They sell monitors now that show video. Some even allow you to view the video from your smart phone. Living in a small apartment where the nursery is easy to get to, I didn't see the need to spend hundreds of dollars on a video monitor. Maybe if your baby's nursery is on a different floor there would be a need. This monitor has a night light and a thermometer.  like being able to know how warm or cold the nursery is so i can adjust the heat or open a window if needed. 

Angelcare AC420 Monitor

4. Enfamil Premium Newborn Infant Formula Nursettes

This isn't the kind of formula I use for every feeding, but it is my go to when traveling. At one month old, I try not to go to many places with him, but when I do I want feeding to be easy. I keep several of these in his bag for just in case he needs to eat. They are super convenient because there is no mixing and they don't have to be refrigerated. 


Enfamil Infant Formula Nursettes


5. Sleep Sheep

Putting my little one to bed is difficult. Like his mom, he is a night owl. I am working on getting him used to a bedtime routine. This sleep sheep plays lovely sounds and turns off automatically. Our favorite sound is the ocean followed by the rain. The sheep plays several natural sounds as well as songs. I bought the Pottery Barn sheep bed set so this goes perfectly. It comes in a regular size that attaches to the crib and a travel size.

Sleep Sheep


1.12.2015

Its Okay Not To Breastfeed

I know that this post will stir up a lot of controversy. I understand that there are many benefits to breastfeeding. I accept that fact, but I will not apologize. It is okay not to breastfeed.

Before you get all angry, let me tell you my story.



I really wanted to breastfeed my baby. I bought the pump, the nursing bras, the leak pads,and pretty much every other breastfeeding item I could possibly need. I read the breast pump manuals, I read blog posts, watched videos. You name it, I did it.

Some people I know from college, often post about breast feeding and pumping. They made it sound like a piece of cake. I thought with all the prep work finished, that it would be smooth sailing. Boy was I wrong.

My baby was born early. My doctor decided we needed to try and induce labor because my baby was big and she had concerns about my blood pressure. We were both trying to avoid having c-section. I had expressed the fact that I needed to make sure I had a speedy recovery time, because I had to go back to work. Unfortunately, inducing labor didn't really work and I had to have a c-section anyway.

I thought the surgery went fine. I actually felt pretty great (then the drugs wore off), but apparently it hadn't went as smoothly as I thought. I had lost a lot of blood.

The first day or two with my little one were hectic and extremely painful for everyone involved. I loved my baby and I knew that the pain would go away eventually. I wanted to breastfeed. Breast was best, right? Needless to say I was sore and bleeding.

The lactation consultant showed me how to do a proper latch, gave me some ointment, and recommended I meet with her everyday while in the hospital and then follow up after.

After that, everything went downhill. My baby was 9 pounds which meant he wanted to consume a lot. Much more than the tiny amount of not even milk yet that I was producing. This lead to my baby crying and crying. So much that it broke my heart. I begged the nurse to see if they could do anything. Her response it that the don't supplement. She offered to take the baby with her so that my husband and I could get some rest. I was so exhausted I agreed. I don't know what she did to this day. I think she may have let him cry until he couldn't anymore.

The next day I had a new nurse, she could tell that my baby was hungry. She broke the rules and gave me equipment to supplement. It was actually pretty cool. the little hook like thing.  It works to that the baby thinks he is getting it from you and not being fed from a bottle.  I was so happy that my baby wasn't going hungry. I was sad that the nurse had to risk getting in big trouble to help me. The other nurses would have let my baby starve because they are not supposed to use formula.

The lactation consultant kept coming to my room trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and to try and sell me more stuff for the breast pump. Nipple shields, gel pads, $50 ointments, herbal supplements, and a ton of guilt.

Normally, milk starts to come in about now. I was hoping going home with my little guy ( and getting away from the stress of the hospital) would make things better. I was using formula at this point as well as trying to stimulate milk production with no luck.

The pediatrician even had suggestions for me. She also told me there was no way I could go back to work, at least for a month, if I was hoping to breastfeed or bond with my baby.

I had planned on being just like my friends and carrying my pump with me to work so that my husband would have a plethora of milk to feed the baby while I was at work. The pediatrician explained that my dream was not realistic. That there was no way that in three weeks I would be pumping enough milk. Deep down inside I knew she was right.

My job then was scanning documents, easy but required speed. There was a lot of pressure to do a lot of files really fast. If my numbers went down,  I knew I would lose my job (they told me that). Stopping to pump would keep me away from my desk for too long and my daily average would go down.

After the pediatrician, I saw a lactation consultant. I needed my milk to come in and I needed it to come in fast. However, when I got to the lactation consultant's office, all I did was cry. I was feeling so much pressure and having such a hard time with something that was supposed to come naturally. The lactation consultant was very nice. She gave me hope along with a list of herbal supplements and foods to buy that would increase milk supply. She also recommended a pumping schedule for me.

I took my herbal supplements, drank tons of water, and used the pump. For several days not a drop came out. When I did finally get some milk to come out, it was less than a teaspoon.

At this point I was tired, frustrated, and depressed. I couldn't feed my baby, he wasn't even interested anymore. He had gotten used to the bottle. I was being guilted by my mother, my in-laws, my lactation consultant, and my husband. I spent so much time just crying. I wanted to breastfeed so bad. Everybody was telling me how horrible it would be if I gave up.

My husband finally called my doctor concerned about me. I met with a doctor (mine wasn't available) and told her my plight. I was so sure she was going to tell me I had to breastfeed. To my relief she told my husband that he needed to let it go. That I needed to let it go. That as long as my baby was getting fed and was content that it was fine. That the stress wasn't worth it and that I should just enjoy my new baby.

It was an instant relief of burden.


1.07.2015

Hospital Bag: What I Packed and What I Really Used



I was shopping at the mall by myself and I thought I was going into labor. I was freaking out wondering if I could make it out of the mall. I wasn't ready. It wasn't time. I hadn't packed my hospital bag yet.

I had been thinking about packing my hospital bag for sometime. I just hadn't gotten around to it. Plus it was hard to know exactly what I needed. Searching online for ideas lead me to lists that seemed outrageous. I was having a baby not going on vacation for two weeks. One blog I visited, the blogger packed three bags!

Thankfully, my baby was not born outside The Cheesecake Factory on a mall bench.

I decided I was going to pack one bag (not three) with a combination of things that my friends suggested.




I packed:
My husbands large robe
Several pairs of large cotton briefs
Heavy duty pads
Travel size shampoo and conditioner ✅
Cottonelle wipes✅
iPad✅
iPhone✅
Phone charger ✅
Chicken salad cups
Travel makeup bag
Flip flops✅
Fuzzy socks
Tank top
Baggy gym shorts
Leggings✅
One blouse ✅
Two nursing bras✅

The check marks show what I actually used.

What I forgot:
Toothbrush
Large towel
Hairbrush
Face wash

My delivery was actually scheduled and they tried to induce labor. Unfortunately, I ended up having a c-section. I had to stay in the hospital for several days but because I couldn't do much I used less of the items packed in my bag. Even if I had a natural birth, I don't think I would have used all of that stuff anyway.

After delivery, I was tethered to the hospital bed. I lived in my hospital gown for the entire week. So no need for the robe or any of the clothes I brought. I also wasn't able to shower for a couple of days. Once I was able to shower, I wished I had brought my own towels.The ones the hospital provided were pretty small. I didn't wear the fuzzy socks either. My legs had plastic squeezers on them working to circulate my blood so I wouldn't get blood clots. They were very warm and made me sweaty. No need for socks. The hospital provided me with very large pads and "underwear" which I greatly appreciated.




1.01.2015

2015 New Years Resolution: Get Organized



2014 was an interesting year for me. I spent most of the pregnant with my first child, terrified of what motherhood would bring. I new my life was changing. Being prego my 2014 was much different than I originally planned. Last New Year, I posted a list of things I had hoped to accomplish. Out of a list of 15 things I accomplished 4 of them.

  1. Find a job that will last more than a blink of an eye
  2. Go on a relaxing vacation out of the country
  3. Learn to cook French cuisine ✅
  4. Spend less money on things and more on experiences
  5. Climb up the stairs at school without feeling like I might die
  6. Travel to Astoria, Oregon. 
  7. Learn more HTML ✅
  8. Grow my social media following
  9.  Go to Multnomah Falls ✅
  10. Take more pictures
  11. Be more friendly
  12. Try more new things
  13. Eat more vegetables ✅
  14. Do more fun things with my husband
  15. Procrastinate a little 

This year, I plan on embracing  this new chapter in my life. As a mother my priorities have changed as have my goals. Preparing for a little one was a lot of work. The room that is now the nursery was once my office. As a grad student, I practically lived in there. The room was full of stuff that needed a  new home. 

Anybody that knows me well enough, also knows my life is a disaster in pretty much every way possible. The actual physical disaster that was my apartment had to be dealt with. My husband and I had to get rid of a lot of things. What we didn't get rid of, was just redistributed to other areas of the house. Like the kitchen table or the master bedroom closet floor. Needless to say, I need to get more organized. 

This year my resolution is to be more organized.  I plan to first go through all the piles, all the boxes, all the closets and just get rid of a bunch of stuff. Then I will organize the stuff I chose to keep. Last, I will work on maintaining the organization.