Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Mama Series: Getting Packed

New Mama Series
My two sister-in-laws are just starting their families. I have been thinking of things that I can share with them to help them in this new journey. So, I've decided to put on my blog to share with all of you.

I am a Mom of 3. I just had my third child about 4 weeks ago. My first child was full of unforeseen challenges. With 2 years of ups and downs with her, I learned a lot. For a long time I felt alone and helpless. While many people tried to help, it is hard when no one knows what you are facing. I am thankful that I have been able to share some of what I have learned to help others and I hope that my experiences may help you as well.

New Mama: Getting Packed
Are you getting ready to become a brand NEW MAMA?
Maybe you are getting ready to add to your family!
Here are some things I have learned along the way for getting ready for a new arrival:

Packing Your Hospital Bag
Leave the baby nail clippers at home! 
>It is so hard to cut a newborn's nails without cutting the skin.
>I use a nail file for the first 6-8 weeks until their nails are firmer and easier to cut.

Bring a MP3 player/ Ipod/ Pandora access with ear buds!
>It is hard to sleep when nurses are coming in all the time and when babies across the hall or next door are crying!
>Listen to your favorite music and block out the distractions!
>This also helps if you have some visitors while you are sleeping!

>The first time I waited to buy some nursing bras until after my daughter was born! Who has time to go bra shopping with a newborn?
>I originally had the clip-up kind. This past time I got a sports bra type. While both are nice, I found the sports bra was easier to use at home! I use the clip kind when I am out.
>Don't forget to bring them to the hospital! Just leave the tags on in case they don't fit. Get a couple sizes if you can.
>Go try some on in your third trimester and get a size larger. When your milk is in, you will fill out.
>You'll want something comfortable to wear 24/7. I am a larger size and wear something 24/7 the whole time I am nursing to prevent sagging.

If you're nursing, you will need some nursing pads.
>Nursing pads are helpful to prevent leaking and to comfort a sore nipple.
>The throw away kind were really uncomfortable for me. They stuck to sore nipples and were always moving. You can buy washable ones in stores and online.
>I made my own with some leftover fleece and flannel. You can read about how I made them here.
>You want a size appropriate to your cup size. I am a DD, so I made a larger circle when I made my own. The store bought kind only come in one size.

Bring your maternity clothes to wear home.
>I remember my first time going to the hospital and I thought I'd suddenly be able to fit some of my old clothes! I don't know why! It seems so dumb now. It will take time to get into regular clothes, especially if you are nursing! Hello bigger shirts!
>Pack some comfortable clothes! This last time I wore some lounge pants home and I was so much more comfortable than when I had my other two kids and I wore some maternity jeans instead.

Save your money & skip the Nipple Cream
>I am very sensitive, but honestly your milk is your best healing agent.
>If you really feel you need some, I suggest an all natural Nipple Butter by Earth Mama Angel Baby. You can find it on Amazon or at retailers like Walgreens and Target. 

Bring an all natural Baby Shampoo/ Baby Wash
>When you are at the hospital you will be supplied a baby wash for your baby's first bath...most likely Johnson and Johnsons. YUCK!
>After my first was born, I discovered how many harmful chemicals are actually in most baby washes... including formaldehyde... yep that great preservative from chemistry or biology class! Let's put that on my babies soft skull! I don't think so!
>I have gone through some different brands and my favorite is Burt's Bees so far. I have written a little review of baby washes at the bottom of my disposable wipe recipe.
>If you are looking for a safe baby wash check out the Skin Deep Database for more information on what is in products you use. You'll be surprised what you find in some of your everyday products!

Be Prepared for the Baby!
>You'll want to pack some of those labor and delivery and early baby survival books for reference. I never leave home without my favorite book, On Becoming Baby Wise by Ezzo and Bucknam. 
>I also refresh myself with the techniques from the video Happiest Baby on the Block by Karp. This helps you to know how to help soothe your new baby including how to swaddle!
>Take a birthing class! It will help you to get familiar with the basics and what to expect.
>Lastly, don't forget the breastfeeding class if you are planning to nurse! Nursing is not just some natural thing you catch on to. Nursing starts right after your baby is born, so you just jump right in. A class will give you some great tools for your toolbox as you get started. You'll find that nurses will typically have all kinds of opinions, so it is helpful to have your own understanding of how it works.

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Moved In!

Well after a little delay, we moved into our new home September 4, 2013! We are so grateful for all of our new space, especially with baby number 3 coming soon.

I thought some of you would love to see some pictures. We have only done some minor changes. We decided that painting would wait until 2014. There has been enough on my plate to just get unpacked!


Moving Day!

Cleaning up the Living Room
I have some great little helpers! Moving Day is here!

The new house! WE ARE HERE! Yea!
An Attached Garage!!! YESSSS!!!
My new vanity in the Master Bedroom!

New rug... now we just need a new paint color :)

Master Bath! So glad to have our own bathroom!
Kids playing in our new hot tub!
Leona's new room

Her new BIG bed :)
The Boys room
Kids Bathroom/Main bathroom on main level

Our first snack on our new patio!

My favorite new additions to the Kitchen... my new spice rack and...

my new antique hutch!!
I'll have to update some pictures of the basement bedrooms, lower bathroom, family room and living room later :) We feel so blessed to be in our new home! Hope you enjoyed the partial tour!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Rachie's Pasta Salad

You gotta love when we hit the picnic weather :) Since I am not a fan of macaroni or potato salad, the only way to go is some yummy pasta salad!!!

When I was a little girl, I fell in love with pasta salad when a neighbor mom showed me how to make hers. Later, when I got married, her recipe spurred on my own version!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

>1 box of tri-colored rotini noodles (or bow tie)
>16 oz. bottle of Kraft Zesty Italian dressing
>1 head of broccoli
>1/2 head of cauliflower
>2/3 red, orange or yellow bell pepper (or 4 sweet, mini peppers)
>6-8 oz. block of mild cheddar cheese
>can of small pitted black olives
>1/2 lb. deli sandwich pepperoni (or stick of pepperoni)--see step 5 for more details
>1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning (or salad supreme seasoning)
>grated Parmesan cheese, sprinkled to taste
>optional: small cherry tomatoes

Rachie's Pasta Salad


Prep Time: 20-30 min.
Fridge Time: 2-4 hours

 1. Boil the noodles until al dente. Continue preparing the vegetables while you are cooking the noodles. (You want the noodles to be slightly firm. My box normally says 7 min.) Drain. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. The salad dressing will cause your noodles to soften as it sets up. Allow the water to drain really well before adding it to the bowl. Stir.

2. Break off little florets off of your broccoli head. I always start with one broccoli head and then add more from another if I think it needs it. Put the broccoli into a large plastic bowl with a lid.

3. Pour about half of the bottle of Kraft Zesty Italian dressing into the bowl. Stir. (I have found that I like the Kraft Zesty more than any other kind.) Keep stirring to cover all of your ingredients as you add them to the bowl.

4. Break off little florets off your cauliflower head. I normally use a small portion of the full head. Stir into bowl.

5. Strip your pepperoni of any plastic casing.  (I tend to get deli sandwich pepperoni directly from the deli. I have them slice it into 1/4" slices. If I can't find the sandwich kind, I will find a roll of pepperoni around the deli area and have the deli worker slice it for me. This saves my arm and knife from doing the hardest part.) At home, I take my kitchen shears and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to bowl and stir. The nice thing is that pepperoni lasts awhile, so leftover pieces go into my next batch.

6. Cut your cheese into small, bite-sized pieces. (I tend to use about 6 oz. I love using my Pampered Chef crinkle cutter for this job. For some reason the crinkles just make it way more appetizing.) Add to bowl and stir.

7. If you're adding cherry tomatoes, put them in whole. Stir.

8. Slice your olives in half. Add them to the bowl and stir.

9. Place your pepper into a food processor. I like mine to be very fine and hardly noticeable except through taste. Feel free to chop them if you like a more chunky pasta salad. Add to the bowl and stir. (Sometimes I will put my broccoli and cauliflower into the food processor for a quick spin when I am in a hurry. It makes for a less chunky pasta salad and even hides the evidence of veggies from those picky eaters!)

10. Now comes the seasoning. My MIL and Mom swear by the salad supreme seasoning that you find in the spice aisle. I'm not a big fan, so I use my favorite seasoning, CREOLE!!! (Creole is a southern favorite. It is a Cajun seasoning.  We love it on all types of meat when we are grilling and on our homemade sweet potato fries.) I just sprinkle a little on...maybe a 1/2 tsp. Make sure to mix it in well. A small amount will not make it spicy, but a big concentration will.

11. Stir the pasta salad really well. Add more salad dressing until about 1/8 of the bottle remains. Stir it really well again. Save the rest of the dressing until right before serving.

12. Chill the pasta salad for 2-4 hours. You can chill it overnight too.

13. Right before serving, stir it really well and take a taste test. If you think it needs more dressing, add some of the remaining dressing. I also add the Parmesan cheese to taste at this point. I normally do 2-3 sprinkles. Just note that the Parmesan cheese will dry up the dressing a tad.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Project Complete

Within two weeks we had my mom's house sold and we started the process of getting our house on the market. Right before J was born we had started putting in a basement bedroom so that our home would be 3 bedrooms instead of 2.

Here are some of the starting pictures:

When we left off in February 2012, we had about half of the framing up and some drywall. We had finished the electrical and duct work. Now came the hard part. We needed to move the drainage pipe up into the ceiling, put in an egress window, finish the walls, put up trim and put in carpet.

Here are some of the basement project pictures:
replacing the subflooring under the toilet

cutting the drainage pipe out

cutting the cast iron pipe out got messy

new pipes; notice they are up in the ceiling :)

working on the egress window and well

drywall taped, mudded and sanded; all prepped for painting

painting the walls :)

new carpet

painted and carpeted; bring in the furniture!

Finished product!