Due to complications around 30 weeks of this pregnancy, I have spent several weeks thinking each week was my last week being pregnant... During those times, I have filled my days with "last minute" preparations for baby's arrival and today when I stopped and thought about it all, I realized: Holy cow! I'm really ready now. From freezer meals, to including our toddler, warding off germs, and planning ahead for some personal R&R, I think I'm all set. More than likely, I have yet another week (though this one really is going to be my last week pregnant... for real!) so I'd totally love suggestions as to what ought to be done in the upcoming days that I haven't already thought of!
Chaotically Pictured Above (and explained below):
1. Outfit bags
2. Toddler activity box
3. Toddler care instructions
4. Hospital Bags for Toddler and Mom (mine isn't pictured)
5. Clean hands sign
6. Mama's R&R eye mask and bath soak
7. Freezer meals
I should have included the following in the picture since they're done too:
1. Clean sheets
2. Birthday cards, written and addressed for the next two months
3. Christmas gifts completed and wrapped
4. Stocked pantry
What the heck am I talking about?!
1. Outfit bags.
I originally saw this idea on pinterst as a technique to make vacationing with children easier, but I thought it'd be perfect for this as well! It's as simple as bagging seven individual outfits with a diaper in each bag for your child. I also bagged the two pair of pajamas that we rotate through. This is going to be a life savor while I'm either in the hospital, or tending to the new baby once I am home. Who ever is looking after our toddler will only have to grab a bag to help her get ready in the morning! No need to rummage through messy drawers guessing as to what fits and what our preference is... Also, my daughter is entering that age of independence and already likes to pick out her own clothes- or at least dispute the ones I choose... This way, she can pick a bag, but she'll still have on a matching, cute outfit! This is important because our camera is going to be used a lot those first few days. Win/ win.
2. Toddler activity box.
Our daughter is perhaps just like every other toddler out there. Demanding, easily bored, high energy, and curious. I have a hard enough time entertaining her now (and failure on my part leads to tantrums on her part) I know it's going to be even more difficult while I am nursing or rocking her baby brother. So, I put together a box of crafty, fun activities for her that I, or her daddy, or a babysitter or a grandparent can use to keep her occupied. It includes crayons and coloring books, water color paints and paint pad, props for interactive nursery rhymes and songs, play dough, cookie decorating supplies (dough is pre-made and in the freezer,) and supplies for mess free finger painting (seriously! Check it out.)
3. Toddler care instructions.
This is pretty simple; just a binder with a few pages in it that a babysitter might find helpful. It outlines our daily routine, what we do before nap and bed time. I also included some tips for communicating (remember we teach her sign language, which is great- but lots of times she won't vocalize her words, which is not so great if you don't speak sign language. Same with some words in Spanish. If you ask her to show you her hand she simple won't do it, but she'll gladly wave around her mano.) Some songs she knows, and important phone numbers: ours, family, doctors and friends.
4. Hospital bags.
Mine has been packed for quite a while now. My three most important things to include in it were the camera, my birth plan with specific instructions as to my preference concerning fragrance free lotions, no baby eye drops, my decision on vaccinations, etc, and chocolate. I also found this hospital bag check list to be incredible, it's written by a nurse who worked on the labor and delivery floor. For the toddler hospital bag, the super cute, pink "big sister" bag sent to me by my awesome friend from A Pocket Full of Elephants has quiet activities in it to keep her occupied while visiting me and baby in the hospital. Crayons and coloring books, stickers, books and hot wheel cars.
5. Clean Hands Sign.
6. Mama's R&R eye mask and bath soak.
I love my homemade, lavender scented eye mask and I really hope to be able to snag a nap every now and then using it after we bring baby home. I blogged about making it [here.] Fellow blogger and good friend Bethany of Happy Homemaker Me posted a natural healing kit for new mothers and in it was included a lavender oatmeal epsom salt bath soak. Ahhh. It's wonderful!
7. Freezer Meals.
Man, did I resist these! Oh, how they seemed like to much work, and organization, and time... But, my same friend who sent the Big Sister Bag above kept talking about them and how she has been making hers in preparation for her twins, and I finally gave in to following her lead. I'm sure glad that I did too!!! Of course, my cousin helped assemble some while she was here and that was awesome of her. I've since twinked the recipes to our liking and made more...
Fajita Chicken Dinner (recipe makes two meals)
Adapted from Ring Around the Rosies
6 Chicken breasts
3 8oz cans diced tomatoes with chiles
1 large onion, sliced
2 green bell peppers, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder
Split ingredients equally between two large zip lock bags. Seal, mix, lay flat and freeze. To prepare, remove one bag from the freezer, let thaw almost completely and cook in the crock pot on low 4 to 6 hours. Serve with corn tortillas and sour cream.
Teriyaki Chicken Dinner (recipe makes two meals)
Adapted from Ring Around the Rosies
6 Chicken breasts, halved
6 Large carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 red onion, cut into large chunks
1 large can of pineapple, undrained
1 large can of pineapple, drained
2 garlic cloves, whole
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 can water chestnuts, drained
Split ingredients equally between two large zip lock bags. Seal, mix, lay flat and freeze. To prepare, remove one bag from the freezer. Let thaw almost completely and cook in the crock pot on low 4 to 6 hours, adding an additional 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce is optional. Remove garlic before serving. Serve over rice.
Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce
Combine and heat:
1/2 cups gluten free, low sodium, soy sauce
2 cups water
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
Mix and add to above once hot
1/2 cup cold water
4 tablespoon cornstarch
Remove from heat once it has reached desired thickness.
Spinach Lasagna Rolls
26 oz spaghetti sauce
12 lasagna noodles, prepared, rinsed cool and patted dry. Set aside.
Combine the following:
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 package fresh baby spinach
Pour 1/3 of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a greased baking pan. Spoon mixture onto lasagna noodles, roll up the pasta and place in the baking pan. Smother with remaining sauce. Cover and freeze. To prepare, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for about a half hour or until hot through.
Buffalo Chicken Bites
Bird Nest Pie (Baked Spaghetti)
Enchiladas with gluten free homemade cream of chicken soup