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My Crockpot saved my life…

crock pot freezer meal food stash

crock pot freezer meal food stash

My latest work contract ended a couple of months before my due date and although my finances certainly took a hit, I was able to really clean and organize the house for the arrival of Sweet Pea – which in retrospect was time really well spent.

Of all the things I organized or prepared, easy to cook meals were by far the most useful and life-saving thing I did ahead of time. I know that some people throw “casserole” baby showers where each guest cooks the mom-to-be a casserole that she can keep handy in her freezer, but I was having an August baby and the thought of turning on the oven to cook dinner each night was frankly too hot to handle. The solution: prepare freezer meals that could be cooked in a crock-pot.

I won’t take much credit here other than to say that I actually did all the legwork to prepare a month’s worth of freezer meals – and when Sweet Pea arrived and things got crazy in our household boy was I glad that I did! All we had to do each day was pop a block of frozen meal into the crock, put it on low and 5 to 8 hours later we had a home cooked meal.photo 5

Most of the recipes I used came from http://whoneedsacape.com/ an awesome website that has a whole collection of crock pot freezer recipes. What I liked most about the site was that they also give you, pre-prepared grocery lists for all the meals so you can buy and prepare everything at once.

I mostly stuck to the 20 meals in 2 hours recipe list because I’ve got a small freezer but they’ve also got a list of 40 meals in 4 hours, 30 summer meals or 7 meals in an hour that I’m sure are equally great. I put each meal into a freezer zip lock bag, wrote the date, recipe name and instructions on the bag, and stacked them flat, one on top of the other in the freezer compartment of my fridge.

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Not all the meals are h aute cuisine or dinner-party worthy but they’ll certainly satisfy for family dinner and are much better than ordering out for pizza every night, which I would have ended up doing when newborn sleep deprivation set in.

My only warning is that if you are also shopping for your ingredients the same day, 20 meals takes more like 6 hours. Sounds like a lot of time yes, but believe me when life gets crazy, these meals are a life saver!

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Padsicles – the only item you place in the postpartum ward fridge that other people won’t eat!

Padsicles

Everyone warned me about the morning sickness that comes before a baby and the sleep deprivation that comes afterwards but people tend to gloss over the actual nitty-gritty details about giving birth – things that a lady should really be told.

So to be blunt…

1) It hurts like hell and no amount of hypnobirth app training will dull this pain. (No I could not visualize my body opening up like a lotus flower – it felt more like being ripped apart on a medieval breaking wheel! – anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or actually had an epidural that worked)

2) You do not exactly forget the labour pain when they place your little miracle on your chest…in fact you are reminded of it every time you sit, go to the bathroom, sneeze or cough.

3) There will likely be some damage down there that will require stitches and it will take a couple of weeks for this to heal.

Welcome to motherhood!

One thing I am glad I discovered on the internet before I delivered was something called padsicles! – not as delicious as popsicles…but almost as satisfying.

“What are padsicles?” you might ask… they are maxi pads treated with various healing ingredients and then frozen. When the time comes (and it will!) you pop one out of the freezer and use it as you would a regular maxi – only this frozen one helps to bring down swelling, disinfect and heal your lady parts so that you can maybe one day not want to strangle your husband or partner when 5 minutes after you give birth they announce how the baby can’t grow up an only child and absolutely needs a little brother or sister.

There are all sorts of DIY padsicle recipes and instruction videos you can google online so I won’t add to the clutter. I’ll just say that I was so thankful to come across these two great blogs, their padsicle recipes, and step-by-step instructions.

http://www.modernalternativemama.com/

http://intheknowmom.net/

I ended up using this recipe because it described the healing properties of each of the 4 essential oils used. (Calming swelling, cellular regeneration, scar prevention, disinfectant, muscle strengthening etc.) Plus my best friend works for a natural health company so I can purchase the essential oils at a major discount.

But if you don’t feel like forking over tons of money for essential oils you’ll only be using a couple of drops of, this simpler recipe requiring only lavender essential oil is just as good.

Plus the lavender essential oil can also be used to make several natural creams, soaps & oils for the little one (as it is safe for newborns)

Any health food store should have all the ingredients needed to make the pads – just be sure to get 100% witch hazel as opposed to the one at the pharmacy that is mixed with alcohol.

If you’ve got the time to whip up a batch of padsicles prior to delivering, I highly recommend it!

They would also make a pretty awesome DIY baby shower gift!

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Two days and counting…

I’m 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my first child – Due to be induced on Saturday. By Monday I will be a mother for the first time and life will explode with joy, fear, fatigue, love and all the emotions in-between.

For the next 50 weeks of my maternity leave I’ll be embarking on a new life adventure on the homefront. I’ve started this blog to record the major milestones, mistakes and misgivings of life as a new mother. I promise not to become one of those self-obsessed new moms oversharing every bowel movement, feeding mishap and tedious detail of motherhood. Rather I hope to share the human moments, ideas and insights on this special, yet awkwardly challenging, time in life.  I also hope to pick-up many tips and guidance along the way from those who have gone through it all before.

I invite you to follow along as I make the transition from the working world to the domestic sphere…and hopefully live to tell the tale!