Nov 15 2010

A list of some meals for after the baby comes


I know I won’t have the mental capacity to put together a meal plan for a few weeks after our baby is born, so I thought I’d make a list of some really simple, quick meals that will do the trick. Nothing fancy here. This is a link to a Google Doc that will update as I make changes to it.

I haven’t used my slow-cooker much lately, but that’s about to change. I’m newly inspired by some recipes found on A Year of Slow Cooking and we’ll sample a few.

I didn’t do a ton of meals for the freezer, but I’m ok with that. There’s a few in there to get us started, and I can use the rest of my freezer space for side veggies, reasonably healthy convenience foods, fruit for smoothies, whatever.

My intentions are to go through that list and have plenty of the non-perishable ingredients on hand. Then, my grocery list for that particular week will be shorter and hopefully easier for me or my husband to get the stuff.

What are some of your favorite quick, I-really-don’t-have-time-to-cook-but-I-need-something-good, meals?

Nov 11 2010

Buying more baby gear this time to make my life easier


So with ¬†five weeks until I hit 40w pregnant, I’ve been reflecting on what I felt went well with the newborn time with my son, and what I think I’ll do differently this time.

I now realize that I made things way too hard on myself. In the name of saving money and keeping things simple, I think I made my life harder than it needed to be. Maybe it was out of pride. Maybe it was out of just plain, “I have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m gunna try it this way and hope for the best.” I don’t really know.

But here are just a few things that I’m planning on doing differently:

Infant car seat. I opted to skip the infant seat and went straight to a convertible seat that goes 5-65 lbs. or something. I didn’t want to spend money on a seat that would only get a few months of use. I knew that I would have probably nowhere to store the seat once it was out of use. I knew that lugging it around would be a huge pain.

And yet. The day we brought my son home from the hospital, the wind chill was -11F. That is NOT a normal temperature for Pittsburgh. Getting his little newborn body in the seat in the cold wasn’t so fun. We had the heat cranked up in the car, and I could sit in the backseat with the door closed to buckle him in, but come on!

On the rare occasion I went to a restaurant before he could sit up on his own, I had nowhere to set him. So I wore him in a sling and that was mostly fine except I got food all over him.

With this new December baby, I went ahead and got an infant seat. For one thing, I won’t be able to sit back there and buckle her in — the other seat will be occupied by my son. And for two, I don’t know how I can quickly get both kids in and out of the car without all of us freezing, unless I have that seat for her.

Swing. My son didn’t have a swing until he was 2 weeks old. We wanted to take a “wait and see” approach to determine if we wanted one. Turns out, we did! Getting out of the house was good for me, but again, it was cold! And we didn’t have the luxury of shopping around and comparing lots of models because we were pressed for time. We found a decent swing for a decent price anyway.

That swing has since conked out, but I have a new-to-me swing and batteries ready to go. If the girl doesn’t use it, fine. But if she does…yay that I already have it.

Bouncy seat. I didn’t have a bouncy seat until Johnny was about three months old. It turned into a pretty handy place for him to sit while I ate or cleaned up or whatnot. Pre-seat, he might have been in the swing or a sling or on a blanket. Can’t really remember. Do all kids need a swing and a bouncy seat? No. Not all kids need either. But I still think they are handy to have — a bouncy seat is a lot more portable than a swing.

Boppy pillow. I just didn’t really want one the first time, and didn’t think I really needed it. But I borrowed one from a friend recently, and saw the potential use and decided to get one myself. It’ll help while I’m sitting and nursing (I think), and could be another place I could set the baby if I wanted. Plus I can sit on it.

No bottles. I haven’t fully made up my mind on this one. Instead, I’ve decided we’ll just evaluate things as they happen. But with Johnny, I didn’t give him a bottle. He nursed for pretty much all of his feedings except for when I had surgery at 6 months of his age. I had expressed milk for him and he sorta took it, but not really (probably because he was like…what is this and where is my mom?). But anyway, most of the time it was perfectly fine with me that he didn’t take a bottle.

For one thing, I was the on-call parent during the night — Shane’s work schedule just would make it really hard for him to get up in the night and I didn’t want that for him. So just grabbing Johnny to nurse in the night was a lot easier than making a bottle for him or grabbing something out of the fridge. And pumping milk is work in itself, and there’s prep involved that initially would take more time.

But I think it would have been nice for him to have a bottle on occasion if I really needed more sleep, or the like. I’m kind of intimidated by bottles and pumping and dealing with that whole bit and like I said, I haven’t decided how I’ll do things this time. But I want to be easier on myself.

Those are the big ones that I can think of right now. I still don’t regret getting a big stroller for him. We have an umbrella stroller and it rarely gets used. We’re just sling people (or walk if you’re big enough!). So if I do get a stroller, it might be one of those sit n’ stand ones that work for two kids. But I’m not planning on getting one right now.

My advice to pregnant women? Choosing baby gear is tricky. Of course manufacturers want you to think you absolutely need their product. And you might. But it’s hard to say at first. I say talk with trusted mom friends and get their take, and see if you can borrow some things instead of buying your own at first. Or just go ahead and get what you want and hope for the best. If something doesn’t get much use, you can most likely resell it and recoup most of your costs.

Just be sure to try and make things easy on yourself. The newborn period is hard. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be!

Can you relate at all?

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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