Thursday, 22 September 2016

Freezer Meal Ideas - Preparing for Baby #2


I am very blessed to have some wonderful friends who, each time a new baby arrives, prepare a one to two week meal roster to provide dinner for the family each night, delivered to their door! It was so helpful when we had Miss M, and just meant we could focus on getting used to such a massive change, rather than worrying about cooking dinner each night for awhile. I am so looking forward to some delicious dinners again this time, but have also chosen to fill my freezer with a range of meals as I anticipate an even bigger change from a family of 3 to a family of 4!

Prior to going on maternity leave, I made a list of our favourite meals that I knew were suitable to be frozen. I'm actually not one to spend all day cooking multiple meals (Miss M wouldn't let me haha!), but decided to make my list of meals our menu plan for September and make sure there was enough for at least 2 nights of meals for each dish I cooked. Here is my list (click on each for the recipe I used; most are Thermomix recipes):

 - Skinnymixers Butter Chicken (I've also frozen naan bread, and all we have to do is cook rice and veggies to go with it)

 - Tuna Casserole: no recipe! Just chuck a jar of tuna pasta sauce, cooked pasta, cheese, tuna and frozen veggies into the oven.

 - Porcupine Meatballs (Add mashed potato/rice and veggies)

 - Spag Bol: again no recipe. Just cook an onion, add mince, herbs, a jar of pasta sauce and cooked spaghetti.

 - Chilli Con Carne (Serve with rice and veggies)

 - Rissoles (I have frozen some burger buns so I can use the rissoles for burgers, plus we have extras to just have with mash and veggies or salad)

 - Cashew Chicken (made in the slow cooker. Add rice and fresh cashews to serve)

 - Apricot Chicken risotto (serve on it's own or with extra veggies)


 - Chicken and veg pasta bake: no recipe, just cook chicken, add a pasta sauce, frozen veg, cheese and pasta. Serve as is.

 - Lasagna (serve with veggies or salad)

- Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni (I also added some roast pumpkin. Serve with salad or veggies)

I also have a store-bought meat pie topped with potato, some extra mince and some chicken kebabs & chicken schnitzels frozen as well. I've also made and frozen some savoury muffins for easy lunches or snacks, and some lactation cookies ready for when baby #2 arrives. I labelled everything using washi tape (4 rolls are $2 from Kmart). That should keep me going for awhile!  

Monday, 5 September 2016

Packing my hospital bag & baby's bag - Designs by Emma Review


I have just received the most beautiful bags in the mail from 'Designs by Emma!' They are custom-made plastic coated bags, and I have chosen the large size in a beautiful and colourful stripy pattern, and a medium size in a light green with gold polka dots. My last nappy bag was nowhere near big enough for a newborn, and so this is ideal timing for me as I have begun maternity leave and am packing my baby bag and hospital bags today!

What makes these bags different from others I believe, is the plastic-coating on the outside. The plastic is so perfect for the numerous spills we can expect from changing babies and cleaning up spew, and not to mention grubby fingers from toddlers! They will be so easy to keep clean, which is what all mum's want!

Emma custom makes these bags for her customers, and her cheerful, positive attitude makes dealing with her a pleasure. She asked me what sort of style I wanted, and then sent me some fabric sample pictures via Facebook messenger. You can also choose any bag extras or additional matching products.

They would make absolutely perfect gifts for Christmas, especially as they are custom made. Why not message Emma for some fabric samples and gift a small, medium or large size bag to that special person in your life? I know I will use these throughout my life for various purposes as my kids grow and my needs change. The quality of the workmanship is just outstanding. And bonus - you are supporting an Australian small-business and a fellow mum! Click on this link to check out her Facebook page! A price list is at the bottom of this post.

Baby's bag / Nappy bag



Here is the contents of my nappy bag (and what I'll be taking to the hospital for the new baby in my custom-made stripy bag.


 - swaddles
 - muslin wraps
 - singlets
 - bibs
 - socks
 - mittens
 - beanies
 - clothes for both boys & girls
 - hand sanitiser
 - baby powder
 - newborn nappies
 - nappy snappies (for the cloth nappies in the hospital)
 - nappy bags
 - wipes
 - dummies
 - toy
 - spew cloth
 - baby wash



Something I found so handy with Miss M was having a change mat in my nappy bag. Unfortunately mine was so small and wasn't very practical. Emma has made me a matching plastic-coated change mat, which is a perfect size for a play mat as well! It also folds quite small to fit into the nappy bag. We have just ordered another one for my Mum to have at her house!



All packed and ready to go!

The green and gold polka-dot bag will be a handy size for many different things - I plan to use it for a bag for the pram when we go walking, plus it will be perfect for Miss M's swimming lessons this summer (especially being plastic-coasted!) It would also be ideal for a bag for teachers (what a great teacher gift!), an overnight bag or even just for mum's handbag.




My Hospital Bag

The large stripy bag would also have been an ideal size for a hospital bag for me! Here are the contents of what I'm taking to the hospital this time:
 - comfy clothes
 - feeding tops
 - PJ's
 - socks
 - thongs for the shower
 - my own pillow (I can't stand the pillows at the hospital!)
 - nice thick toilet paper
 - lollies for Brendan and my Mum while I'm in labour
 - drink bottle
 - large dark coloured underwear
 - bras
 - toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hand cream, lip balm, deodorant, dry shampoo, hair ties, razor, hand sanitiser
 - heat pack
 - makeup
 - straightener
 - hair dryer
 - phone
 - phone charger
 - lansinoh nipple cream and nipple shields
 - breast pads
 - Panadol
 - a large Aldi bag for a laundry bag
 - dressing gown
 - book or magazine
 - wallet (with Medicare card)
 - breast pump
 - CD for labour
 - massage oil/lotion for labour
 - Old clothes for labour
 - a large towel (the hospital ones are so small!)
 - notepad and pen
 - tissues
 - maternity pads
 - present for Miss M for when the baby arrives (a family barbie doll set from Kmart)


It feels great to be ticking things off on my list while on maternity leave - about 3 and a bit weeks to go!

Designs by Emma Price List




Thursday, 1 September 2016

Padtastic Review


Amanda from Padtastic has just kindly sent me a beautiful and practical personalised notepad, and I wanted to share just how good they are with you!

When you go to the Padtastic website, you can choose between A5 and A4, depending on your needs. A5 is a perfect size for me, as I can easily fit the whole notepad in my handbag. There are hundreds of designs to choose from - choosing was the hard part, as I loved all of them! I eventually chose 'Polka Dots' in Turquoise as it is fairly neutral, as I knew I'd be using the notepad for a range of purposes! 



Once you've chosen your style, you can choose 3 different personalised messages, 6 different fonts and whether you'd like the pad lined or unlined. There are 50 sheets in each pad. When I received my notepad, the quality of the paper and the vibrant colour were what I noticed first - just beautiful to touch and write on! 

I love to make notes and lists, and always have a hardcopy to-do list and a shopping list. I choose to have my notepad say 'A note from Sarah' so that I can also write quick notes to others - which I do a lot being a teacher! 



These notepads would make an absolutely perfect Christmas gift for teachers, friends and family, and the fun part will definitely be choosing a unique style and personalised message to represent their different personalities and likes. It's definitely not too early to start planning and ordering Christmas gifts, now that we are only 3.5 months away! I am absolutely going to order more for those special people in my life. The prices are fantastic too - the A5 notepads are only $8 each, with shipping only $5, with no minimum order requirements! 

Who would love a personalised notepad in your life? Your kids, your partner, your mum or dad, your kids teacher or doctor? Have a browse of the Padtastic website and get organised for Christmas now!