Monday, May 27, 2013

But What In The World Do I Pack!? -The Ultimate Hospital Bag

So being in a million mommy groups, I always hear the question what in the world do I pack in my hospital bag. Well, it's not a simple answer, but I hope to help you be able to take my ideas as well as hundreds of other mothers suggestions and adapt them to your own needs. 

My hospital experience was fantastic. I gave birth in a hospital that is no more than 5 years old, so most things were state of the art. I also have a sister that gave birth there 4 times as well, so it kind of gave me a little idea on what to expect. But, having said that, packing was still a nightmare! Ahh!! You are having a baby!! And you're expected to pack for yourself, your baby, and your husband! Yes, don't forget him, he comes too! 

So here is the ultimate list- take the things you think you'll use and leave the things you won't! I think these are in order of importance from what I experienced.

The general rule of thumb is if you think you'll need it, bring it! You'll never regret bringing something, but you'll hate if you forget something! The nurses are their to help you out to the car too. They gave me a cart to put all my stuff on.

For yourself: "Remember what you carry in, you have to carry out, bring enough but not too much, taking multiple trips sucks!"

PJs Robe and slippers- You are going to want to get out of that nasty hospital gown asap! You are also going to want to sit and do nothing but snuggle your new baby on top of that. My suggestion- EASY pjs. Some mothers suggested a gown that buttons or zips down the front. You can usually find a good, cheap one at Walmart- something that must be destroyed afterwards! Well, mine was covered in blood. But something that is easy to put on, easy to make trips to the bathroom, and easy to do skin to skin and breast feed. Much simpler than getting into some pajama pants- you are literally going to get checked every few hours down yonder so a gown makes it nice and simple. I never had to leave my room so I didn't worry about having a robe, but when family visited I hid under the covers most of the time. It makes you a little more modest for visitors, and for roaming the halls. You are going to be getting up a lot as well so slippers make it easy to avoid walking around on the bare floor.

Boppy or nursing pillow- I had bought a pregnancy boppy from target. It made it really nice to double as a pillow to sleep with at night and use it to help with nursing. It is pretty big though so remember it'll take up a lot of space. What you carry in, you have to carry out!

"I tore a lot so it hurt to sit and my mom bought me a donut pillow! And it was so much better:)" -Michelle

Camera/Cell phone- Lets face it, everyone has a cell phone now with instant access to facebook so everyone will instantly know what baby looks like. But even so, I wanted some nicer quality pictures to have forever. Your baby is only going to be brand new once. Don't forget those chargers! Coming in, and going out! Also, remember to let your husband help you pack so help you pack so he's not digging through the bag asking questions while your pushing! 

Something to pass the time- In my hospital, I had access to a bunch of relatively new movies that my husband and I just watched every so often. Most of the time I just stared at my baby. There is always so much going on though, if you're not asleep, and someone isn't visiting, then chances are you're with your baby. But if you get really bored really fast bring a book, an iPod or some movies and a laptop!

Snacks- This was also not a big one for me. During labor I just drank juice and water. Other moms suggested something to suck on. Since you can't have solids, it might be nice to keep your mouth perked up! My hospital provided me as many meals as I wanted, but occasionally the cafeteria is closed so having a couple snacks doesn't hurt. My husband was unable to have delivered food so he went to the cafeteria a lot. Another idea is to bring a roll of quarters for him to hit those oh so yummy vending machines. 

Hygiene products- Okay to be honest I was in the hospital for two nights and didn't even want to attempt the shower. But if I had been in another day, I would have. Make sure you have shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush and paste, make up ("sounds vain, but it does a lot to lift your spirits and make having visitors more bearable"), chap stick, and a towel. All of these were provided for me, but I've also seen that they aren't. Either check beforehand or bring your own if you know you are wanting to stay clean and fresh. Remember- no one expects you to be all dolled up after just having a baby so don't stress it! I literally didn't use any of these except a tooth brush so adapt this list to what you think you'll need.

Exit clothes- One word- COMFORTABLE. Wear something you can slip on easy. Some women shared their experiences and all came to the conclusion that a dress/skirt is easiest. I just slipped on a maxi skirt and a little shirt and bam! Easy peasy. Don't try to get back in those tight jeans- let your body heal itself and stay comfy. Mothers suggested a summer dress, maxi dress, yoga pants, etc.

-Eye mask and ear plugs- If you are determined to get sleep in the hospital, then these are a necessity. I didn't bother because I didn't want to sleep much or rather couldn't sleep much anyways. Too much excitement happening and it wasn't worth it when you get woken up every two hours.

A few other things that were suggested by other mama's:

-Journal and pen

-Paper to record babies eating and pooping schedules

-Depends instead of pads- everyone's doing it!

"Buy Depends! Because they are SOO much more comfortable than the mesh panties they give you and you don't have to worry at all about leaking everywhere:)" -Katie

-Granny panties if you don't want to bother with the hospital mesh panties.

"Definitely some good comfy underwear. I hated the mesh panties from the hospital! Especially with all the pads you need to wear. I had to have someone go out and buy me some nice comfy granny panties." -Allison

-Nursing bras- I didn't bother with this except for on the way out of the hospital. Next time I'd say just leave them at home. 

-Nursing pads-Generally it takes your milk a couple of days to come in and even after that they don't really start leaking until you get your supply in check. I'd say leave them! But everyone gets their milk differently!

"Breast pads. No one told me I'd need them, and I went through gowns like water. It was awful!" -Ariana

For Hubby- "Don't forget your husband, we forgot and he had to drive home and grab things so many times!"

All of your check in info! License, debit card, etc!

Clothes- My husband stayed the entire time so we brought all his clothes he would need.

Entertainment- Again, my husband needed this more than I did. He sat bored a lot of the time.

"Next time I'm going to worry about what to LEAVE AT HOME since video games piss me off more than usual when I'm pregnant and hormonal I'm going to have my husband leave his game at home! I actually packed it for him trying to be nice but I still regret it two years later. I get it that we're there a long time but him playing Pokemon while I'm in horrible pain was super annoying haha love you babe but that game isn't getting anywhere near me next time." -Hillarie

Pillows and blankets- forget the hospital ones even if they do provide them, they are always itchy, hard, and gross. Help make the stay for him a little more liveable. 

"A pillow and blanket for the hubby! My husband was freezing all night! We only stayed one night because he was so miserable." -Allison

For baby-  

Clothes- make sure they have legs! Don't try to put a cute dress on and then try to strap baby in a car seat! It just makes things difficult! Make sure they are warm if it's going to be cold out! Also bring a few different sizes just in case nb size don't fit! If you don't want baby hanging out in the hospital provided shirt, then bring some!

Car seat- Make sure your husband knows how to put it in the car so the nurses don't have to watch the poor guy fumble around with it. The nurses will judge you!

Blankets- We used all the hospital provided blankets and all the ones we brought ourselves. My view is you can't have too many baby swaddling blankets! I. LOVE. BLANKETS!

All diapers, wipes, formula (if needed), were provided, but if you're worried your hospital won't, bring some!

Well I hope this massive list helps you! Remember to adapt it to your own personal wants and needs! This is just a general pool from lots of mommies that have been in your same place!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Home Made Mod-Podge-the recipe

Super simple and super fast! I found this recipe here.

  • A container with lid (I emptied an old dressing container because I liked the spout on it.)
  • Elmer's Glue (whatever size, depending on how much you want to make)
  • Water
1. Fill container with glue.
2. Put an even amount of water into the container. I did 4 oz of glue and 4 oz of water.

2. Shake contents until thoroughly mixed.

There you have it! Works amazing!

Some tips-
The recipe calls for 50% glue 50% water, mine was a little runny, so in the future I'd use just a bit less water.

Mod Podge is not water proof, so if you need to water proof something, make sure you cover it with some sort of water proofing spray.

Other than that it worked great!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

DIY-Recipe: Chicken Stuffed Shells

So this idea also come from The recipe comes from Paula Deen originally. I loved this dinner so much! So first, here's the recipe:

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
1 (12-ounce) box uncooked jumbo pasta shells:
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce

Okay Steps!

1. Cook the shells according to package directions, be careful not to break them. Do not overcook, they should be done al dente, and not completely soft. *Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook the chicken and mix in a large bowl with all the ingredients except sauce, shells, and 1-cup of Mozzarella cheese.

3. Spray a baking dish (9x13) and fill the bottom with some of the sauce.

4. Carefully begin to fill the shells with the stuffing and put in baking dish. I used a small spoon but I've also heard it works if you put it in a zip-lock bag and snip one of the corners off. I don't think I'm patient enough for that and the spoon worked great.

5. Spread the rest of the sauce over the shells. I did mine in rows. (see below)

(Sorry about the terrible pictures, I had a ton on my camera and they all got deleted. This one was from my phone)

6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

7. Uncover and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the shells. Cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes.

Serves 8-10 people.

Okay so some of the things that I noticed that kind of would be good to know for next t

-With one box of shells, I had a TON of the stuffing left over. Next time I would probably get another box and freeze one of the dishes (*freeze after step 5).

-The onions didn't thoroughly cook for me so I might saute them a little before hand because I don't like crunchy, uncooked onions.

-I liked them smothered with sauce and they cooked great that way.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did! They are amazing!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DIY Vintage Window Picture Frame

This inspiration came from a gift that I had to make for my sister. Since I am a photographer, I wanted to make her something that had to do with that. Because I had just taken a bunch of pictures of her and husband I went in that direction.

I had never actually seen this done but I found something similar on that you can compare it to.
  • Vintage window-However many panes you want. I got mine off and it's 3x3.
  • Pictures to fill the windows (the window I got perfectly fit 8x10 photo's. I used 8 pictures.
  • Brown Package Wrapping Paper
  • Staples
  • Modes of Hanging-I used Hanging Wire
  • Quote for the middle window-I used a vinyl lettered quote
  • Styrofoam

1-Put the pictures into the panes of the windows. I filled the back of them with Styrofoam to hold them in.

2-After that, I covered the back with the brown package wrapping paper to hold everything in and stapled it to the window. The only problem with that is that in order to re-open it you have to rip it open.

3. Attach the hanging mode to the back. If you use hanging wire like I did, make sure they are even so the frame will hang straight.

-Note: when I ordered my window off, it came with a few broken windows so I took it to a local Window shop and they replaced it for me for 25$. Fast and Easy process.

DIY Braided Calzone

For this one, I wanted to make my fiance dinner. My first thought was to get a recipe off of, so here is my second DIY project.

This idea comes from: (shown below)
  • 1. Pizza Dough (I just bought a Pillsbury pre-made roll of dough-- it's the perfect size)
  • 2. Pizza Sauce (again you can home-make it or buy whatever brand you prefer)
  • 3. Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4. Fillers-whatever you prefer-I used pepperoni, cheese, and bacon.
Step 1:
Roll out the pizza dough into a flat rectangle shape to fit onto a cookie sheet baking pan.

Step 2:
Spread the pizza sauce on the center of the dough.

Step 3:
Add your fillers-Pepperoni, cheese, etc.

Step 4: Cut the sides of the dough-up to the center where you added the fillers- into strips- about 1/2-1inch wide.
Step 5: Alternate sides and begin to fold (braid) the strips you cut over the top of the fillers.

Step 6: Bake at 375 for about 14 minutes or until golden brown (I followed directions on the Pillsbury package.)
I served mine with an Outback Wedge Salad and Texas Toast.
It was amazing! Don't forget the rootbeer!

DIY Decorative Wall Art

This is the first project that I've tried to do. There are quite a few things that I love about this, and a few things that I would change for next time.

I first saw this idea on in black and white and very modern (below). I'm addicted to this site and most of my ideas will come from here. I love taking these ideas and making them my own. It comes from
Here is my step by step process. I don't have pictures for each step of the way, but in the future there will be. Enjoy!

Materials: I got all of this from HobbyLobby
  • 9 12X12 scrapbook pages
  • 9 12X12X1 pieces of Styrofoam (I bought 3 pieces of 36X12X1 Styrofoam and used a Styrofoam cutter to cut them into 12X12. If you don't use an actual Styrofoam cutter, the edges will be jagged and hard to work with.
  • Fabric glue (I used tacky glue)
  • Ribbon-36 ft for outsides of Styrofoam and at least 1 inch thick
  • Pins or tacks
  • I chose to go in a more vintage looking wall decoration so I also added some yo-yo's, buttons, and pearls.

1. The first step is to choose the lay-out of the pages you want. Once you've chosen them begin to glue them to the tops of Styrofoam. Hint: the glue makes the pages bumpy and not very appealing. Be sure to use the glue just along the edges and corners to make it stick.

2. After doing this, take some ribbon and glue it around the outsides of the Styrofoam to hide the white sides. I chose brown to match with the vintage them. Tack in the ends.

3. Screw the "teeth hangers" to the back to hang up the displays. Make sure they are all in the same place on each of the 9 pieces so they hang even.

4. After this, I added my own touches of some yo-yo's. To make yo-yo's,
1. Cut a circle of fabric. Hint: they shrink pretty small so cut it relatively big. I usually
begin with a diameter of about 10 inches and then create a few different sizes from there.
2. Fold the edges of the circle (reverse side facing you) about a 1/3-1/2 inch around and sew
them down with a needle and thread.
3. Once you've sewn it all the way around, pull the thread tight so the fabric begins to
scrunch together.
4. Tie a knot and assemble it in a circle way

5. Pin the yo-yo's to the displays wherever you like them. I also added some buttons and strings of pearls to keep it a vintage looking style.

6. Put some nails in, equidistant and hang the displays!