Pregnancy and child care

Articles about pregnancy and child care

Fun and edible robin's nest with eggs

The boys and I did a fun little "school" (science, right?) project today. We made edible robins' nests with little blue eggs! :)

We used these ingredients to make 3 nests:

3 small handfuls fresh spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups freshly grated carrots
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 drops blue food dye

Step 1: Mix the cream cheese, blue food dye, and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drop by teaspoons onto a little plate, making about 9 little "eggs". Place plate in the freezer to harden the balls of cream cheese. When balls are chilled (or when you can't wait any longer, if you're like me!) take them out of the freezer and smooth them into "eggs".

Step 2: Place a thin layer of spinach leaves on a plate, for the "tree" leaves.

Step 3: Put 1/2 cup of grated carrots on the bed of spinach leaves and form into a nest shape.

Step 4: Place 3 eggs into the nest. Top with salad dressing if desired and enjoy! :)

Our robin eggs weren't very smooth. I didn't chill them long enough. Oh well; they were the first things to be eaten off the top of the boys' "salads"! :)

And surprisingly, the cream cheese eggs actually tasted okay with the spinach and carrots. I topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was good! Of course, this is coming from the girl who likes popcorn cereal, so take it for what it's worth... ;)

And if the birds nests weren't enough, later this morning I made popcorn. The boys filled some empty parmesan cheese containers with popped corn and had a picnic in their bedroom. They were eating out of the lids. This is normally NOT allowed in their bedroom (all food stays at the table!!) but I was feeling generous.

I regretted it later when Eliyahu thought it'd be fun to dump his popcorn on the carpet. Yehoshua, being the sweet boy he is, got the big vacuum cleaner out and cleaned it all up! But now the... uhhh, sweeper.... well, it kinda needs emptied. :)

Another fun kiddie project: Food Creatures. So cute!! :)

Originally published in 2009; Spring is here and we'll have to make these again! The boys still remind me about "the time we made robins' nests and ate them"! :)

Fresh pumpkin, small helpers

Eliyahu helps with the pumpkin seeds

One of Joshua's coworkers gave us this pumpkin last fall. I love using fresh pumpkin, and finally -- the very day I went into labor with Moshe! -- I found a quick moment to use it! (Good thing fresh pumpkins store well!)

Eliyahu (4, above) had a great time helping me scoop out the seeds. Standing on a stool next to the counter, the task kept him busy for quite a while!

I contemplated baking the pumpkin, since readers here have told me how easy that method is. But in the end I decided to stick with the familiar: cut the pumpkin into fourths and cook in a large pan (covered) with a couple inches of water until tender. I drain the water, remove pumpkin from the rind, and mash with a potato masher to make my "puree".

Pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting recipe

That same day, I made two pumpkin sheet cakes for Ruth's 2nd birthday. These cakes are really easy to make and always bring rave reviews!

I froze the extra pumpkin puree in Ziplock bags for future cakes and cookies. I never did get around to roasting the pumpkin seeds, but I figured that having a new baby excused me from trying to do "everything". :)

The birth story of Moshe Paul

Moshe's little feet...
Moshe's little feet

We thank Yahweh for a beautiful, peaceful birth of our little son Moshe exactly 4 weeks ago today!

I seem incapable of writing a short birth story. Although it's been weeks, I remember every detail. Most of those details make it into my story. Some do not. Use your imagination if you wish! ;)

Moshe, 3 weeks old

Friday... the end of another work-filled week. Even though I'm tired, I give a hearty effort to have a productive day and be ready for a restful Sabbath.

This particular Friday, January 22, I am on my feet and busy about the house since our alarm went off at 4:50am. Our youngest child, Ruth, is turning 2 the next day, and Joshua's parents are coming for lunch at our house. Such excitement!

The children and I make a pumpkin sheet cake and a poppyseed chicken and asparagus casserole for tomorrow's birthday meal. We do our usual school work, laundry, cleaning... and everything else. By the time dinner is served and the kitchen cleaned up, I'm exhausted.

"I'm SO glad it's Sabbath!" I remark to Joshua, and he readily agrees. After playing with the kids for a while, we brush their teeth and send them off to bed. They were worn out, falling asleep quickly.

I drink several bottles of water. I must be dehydrated, because these Braxton Hicks contractions are rather strong...

I suddenly realize that I've been up for 14+ hours and haven't sat down, aside from dinnertime, a single time all day. I'm not surprised that my body feels so achey... a warm shower sounds like a good ending to the day.

As I comb my freshly-washed hair, I look at the clock. "Honey, what do you think about just heading to bed right now?"

"Well... it's only 7:15. I don't want to go to bed quite this early... How 'bout I read to you?"

Moshe, 3 weeks old


Joshua and I snuggle close in our bed and he starts reading from The Promise-Plan of God by Walter Kaiser. His reading is interrupted with my questions, and I soak in explanations of systematic theology, covenant theology, and "promise plan".

But my mind is wandering. Another contraction? I really need to go drink some more water.

I go back to giving my full attention to the book, trying to comprehend what Kaiser is saying. Oy. I understand things much more quickly when I'm reading it with my own eyes!

And I'm so tired...

Hmm.

These contractions are noticeable, yet mostly painless. Regular, yet so far apart.

Maybe I am in labor.

And if I am
in labor, maybe I will be giving birth in the next couple hours! (Ha, ha. My previous labors have been 7 hours, 3 hours, and 85 minutes long.)

But... I'm probably not in labor.

Moshe, 4 weeks old


"Tammy? Are you awake?" Joshua's voice pulls me from my fuzzy sleepyness.

"Ummm. I think... I fell asleep. Maybe we can read more tomorrow..."

I get up from the bed and head to the kitchen, drinking a bit more water.

Maybe I just need to walk around the house a little, and these silly Braxton Hicks contractions will subside. I wander between the kitchen and living room, tidying random objects and putting away the clean dishes I had washed earlier in the evening. But nothing subsides.

Rats. I am too tired to be in labor right now.

It's 9:30 pm, and Joshua puts aside his book. "Well, I'm going to bed."

It's 9:30 pm, and I'm feeling confident enough to break the news. "Ummm, Honey? I'm sorry, but I think I'm in labor right now."

Joshua's reaction is, of course, excitement! He suggests I call our midwife, and hops in the shower.

I call Charlotte, our midwife, at about 10 pm. My contractions are very regular (3-4 minutes) but not very long and I can still easily talk through them. I'm definitely in labor, but it's all so mild.

Maybe I'm one of those women who can dilate to an "8" without much pain! Wouldn't that be nice! Whee... what an easy labor.

I assure Charlotte that there's no immediate hurry to get here, but that I would like her to come soon since she lives an hour from our house. I convince Joshua to go to bed and get some sleep, telling him I will wake him when I need to.

I putter around... drinking my beloved pregnancy tea... pulling out the box of birth supplies... and getting more and more tired.

Eliyahu holds Moshe


I sit on the couch with my hot mug of tea, relaxing. I can still sit calmly through contractions, unlike any of my previous labors. So strange!

So nice, in one sense, to be in labor but remain composed and carry on conversation as normal. But not as nice when I realize how very tired I am getting...

Charlotte arrives with two assistants at 12:30am. I feel embarrassed as I let them in.

I look normal. I'm acting normal. I'm not in any great pain, even during contractions, which come steadily. Will they think this is all in my head?!

I close the bedroom door where our other three children are sleeping. The apartment is dim, and we all speak softly.

The midwives bring in lots and lots of stuff. Suitcases of stuff. Oxygen tanks. Fishing tackle boxes. And then pillows and sleeping bags!

They take my blood pressure, and we talk about how I'm feeling. Joshua gets up, and we listen to the baby's heartbeat. Lying down, the contractions are stronger than when I'm up. Charlotte says that some labors do produce stronger contractions (and thus progress faster) when the woman lies down.

Our apartment feels packed with stuff and people. I feel like everyone is waiting on me. I've called all these people here... now, I'm supposed to be having this baby.

My contractions aren't getting any closer, and all I feel is pressure (emotionally). They've only been here 10 minutes, but I can feel myself getting tense... and I know this isn't a good sign. I need to retreat.

Moshe, 2 weeks old


"I think maybe Joshua and I should go to bed and try to get some rest before things really pick up."

Everyone agrees, and the midwives roll out their sleeping bags on the carpet as Joshua and I head to our bedroom. As our door closes, I sigh.

"It feels nice to be in here, just the two of us. I need to forget that anyone else is even out there."

Joshua and I lay down together. I again convince Joshua to get some sleep. "Just because I'm in labor doesn't mean everyone else needs to miss a whole night's sleep!"

Joshua does sleep... and so do I. My contractions are waking me up, though. I'm so exhausted that I fall asleep for a few minutes, waking midway through the now-painful contractions. Waking is disorientating and I reach the point where I cannot relax at all lying down.

It's nearly 2:30am, and I'm pacing the tiny floor space in our bedroom. I place my hands on my hips and sway through each contraction. I'm trying to be quiet, as Joshua's breathing tells me he's truly asleep. Our living room holds two sleeping midwives. Another is sleeping on the floor in the dining area. And three children are asleep in the second bedroom.

I'm surrounded by sleeping people. Ahhhhh!!!! I need... more... space.

More contractions. More swaying. More trips to the bathroom.

The house is so quiet. The clock is moving so slowly.

Why in the world did I ever want to have a home birth? I could be relaxing in a hospital bed right now... oh, this is crazy. I'm so tired and these contractions really HURT. Abba, help me...

Surely I'm getting close. I think I'll ask Charlotte to check me. I'm probably, like, 7 or 8 centimeters by now.


I timidly wake Charlotte, and she is happy to check me.

"You're 2 or 3 cm... fully effaced... you're doing great!"

Oh, my. I should NEVER have asked.

Two or three??!! That is SO not possible. I could be in labor for days at this rate. I mean, I know that, like, getting to a "7" usually means you're getting close, almost there. Getting to a "2 or 3"? People do that before labor even starts.

I smile. "Okay. Thanks for checking me. I'm gonna go back to bed."

Moshe, 2 days old


I do go back to the bedroom, but I don't climb into bed. I pray, and pace as best I can, and try not to look at the clock, since it seems like it changes so slowly.

Two or three... I guess I have some work ahead of me. Probably a lot of work.

But I only make it another 25 minutes before I wake Joshua.

"Honey, I need you. My contractions are really strong. Charlotte checked me at 2:45 and said I was 2-3cm. I just need to lean on you and hug you..."

Joshua, sweet man that he is, hugs me and holds me through a contraction and then we leave the stuffy bedroom for the living room.

I sit on the couch between contractions. During contractions, I pace the floor. I wake Charlotte, have a contraction, and feel my water breaking, all at once. I run to the bathroom, and the cotton bath mat makes a nice sponge as I stand through more contractions, holding onto the door frame and Joshua.

At my request, Charlotte checks me again, and has much better news than she did 45 minutes earlier. Eight!

The midwives pull out chux pads and stuff to cover our couch/carpet, and Joshua and I go to the living room again. I soon feel a little "pushy", but wait until my body feels completely ready before giving in. My water breaks again (the rest of the way?) as I push.

I give birth standing/squatting, holding onto Joshua, very similarly to how Ruth was born (except this time we have a midwife to catch the baby!). I love that the midwives stay back, out of our way, and just let us have our baby...

Moshe


The relief of feeling the warm, wiggling body has me exclaiming "Oh, our baby! Our little baby! Oh... look at him!"

What bliss to lie back against the couch, holding a tiny baby boy... who we called Moshe Paul. We praise Yahweh for His strength, care, and blessing in our lives!

Moshe with his siblings
Moshe sleeps, surrounded by his wild and loving siblings!

Meal planning before baby arrives: Main Dishes

Easy lasagna recipe

I've been busy filling my freezer in anticipation of our new baby's arrival! :) We've been eating more fresh veggies for our meals, and the space that was previously occupied by 5-pound bags of Costco vegetables is filled with meals to lighten my load in future weeks. :)

I've already shared my breakfast menus and made-ahead mixes, so it's on to the rest: main dishes and easy meal ideas! :)

I've taken the plunge and frozen a number of fully made casseroles using the "mold technique" with my 8x8-inch glass dishes. Each dish should be one meal for our family, and I've made a variety of things in hopes that we can figure out what we do and don't like in a freezer meal! :)

Chicken lasagna recipe

For the past 4-6 weeks, I've made a double recipe of a dinner casserole a couple times a week (filling a 9x13-inch dish for dinner plus two 8x8-inch dishes for the freezer). This hasn't really been too much extra work (just extra ingredients!!). I use FoodSaver bags to seal all of my freezer food/meals since they are the BEST at preventing freezer burn and keeping food tasting its finest! :)

Three-cheese baked spaghetti recipe

Main dishes completely assembled and frozen:

Easy Lasagna (unbaked)
Burritos with beans, rice, cheese, and beef filling (individually wrapped in foil, then sealed in a freezer Ziplock; will warm in the oven)
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (unbaked)
Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti (unbaked)
Beef and Spinach Quiche (fully cooked; will re-warm)
Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake (unbaked, w/rice on the bottom)
Spinach Rice Casserole (unbaked)
My Mom's Meat Loaf (unbaked)

Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake recipe

I've also prepared meal ingredients for the freezer. Due to limited freezer space and a preference for freshly-prepared meals, having pre-cooked meat, beans, etc. in the freezer is one of my favorite ways to make cooking "from scratch" so much easier! :)

Meal ingredients in the freezer:

Pre-cooked beef with diced onions (for lasagna, crockpot pizza, stuffed shells, and baked spaghetti)

Pre-cooked beef with onions, green peppers, and taco seasonings (for taco salad, spanish rice with beans, nachos, or burritos)

Pre-cooked pinto beans with Tapatio and salt

Pre-cooked beef with onions and spinach leaves (for quiche)

Leftover diced oven-roasted chicken meat (for cheesy chicken vermicelli, chicken lasagna, chicken pot pie, farmhouse chicken, poppy seed chicken and asparagus, chicken fried rice, or saucy broccoli chicken bake)

Having the meat or beans already cooked, seasoned, and/or diced makes all of the above recipes into "quick and easy" for me! :)

Easy pizza recipe

I also have a list of just plain easy meals. When my freezer is depleted of my fully-made freezer meals, I'll turn to this list for last-minute or not-planned-the-night-before dinners!

My list of easy dinners:

Baked chicken drumsticks
Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole
Grilled burgers
Easy pizza
Beans and rice
Baked beans
Meatloaf and baked potatoes
Rice lasagna
Baked cod or salmon 
Salmon potato casserole
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Italian Cream Cheese Chicken over Pasta

Italian cream cheese chicken over pasta

I had planned to freeze some soups, homemade bagels, pre-made garlic bread, etc. but my freezer space wouldn't accommodate all that. So, I tried to stick with main dishes and main dish ingredients, and will make soups or breads as time and ability allows when the time comes. :)

I feel so blessed to have food prepared ahead in the freezer -- much more food than I had with previous childrens' births. Cooking large amounts of ground beef, making a double batch of something, or just freezing the leftovers (like leftover chicken meat from a roasted chicken!) isn't double the work, with some extra effort and only a few extra dishes to wash. :)

I also tried to only make/plan things we really love to eat! :) I'll have to update after we've tried some of the casseroles, since most of those I have not frozen before. Freezing a casserole took some bravery on my part! :)

Update: I share our opinions on the casseroles we froze that were mentioned in this post

Do any of you have tips to share regarding post-birth meal ideas, freezer meals, or easy (from-scratch) meals? I'd love to have even more ideas! :)

Meal planning before baby arrives: Breakfasts

Yehoshua (5) making waffles
Yehoshua (5) helps make and cook waffles

Before our last child was born (nearly 2 years ago) I made extensive menu plans. These included 2 weeks of easy meals and 12 weeks of "regular" menus, rotating our favorites and including lots of meals that we prefer to enjoy on a more infrequent basis.

Even though I didn't follow the menus exactly as I had planned, it was so helpful to have already thought about our meals and have something on paper to turn to as needed! :)

This pregnancy, rather than making weekly menu plans, I have made lists of meal ideas. I've then set about preparing as much of these meals in advance as possible!

Here is my breakfasts list:

Breakfasts made ahead:

My mom's homemade granola (double batch!)
Cinnamon Crunch Granola (quadruple batch, already half eaten though!)
Breakfast Burritos (ran out of freezer space to make these)
Homemade waffles (no freezer space for these either...)
Homemade bagels (again... no freezer space left!)
Energy Bars (still need to make these)

Breakfasts partly made ahead:

Challah French Toast (our favorite; still need to make Challah and freeze the leftovers for this if possible!)

Easy breakfasts:

Scrambled eggs
Oatmeal
Cold or hot cereal
Whole wheat berry pancakes

Banana muffin mixes

Dry mixes made ahead:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (done!)
Oatmeal Apple Raisin Muffins (done!)
Mocha Frappuccinos (for Joshua) (done but gone... need to do again!)
Hot cocoa mix (for me!) (done!)
Herbal pregnancy tea (on the list for tomorrow!)

Coming next: Lunches and Main Dishes for the freezer

Filling the spice bottles...
After making some dry mixes, Yehoshua and I decided to make sure the spice bottles were all filled (I buy most spices in bulk). He enjoyed the challenge! :)

Cookie-making fun!

Eliyahu helps mix up the cookie dough...

When Joshua brought home M&Ms last week, we decided to make some sugar cookies to decorate. :) Eliyahu (almost 4) was my cookie helper! He borrowed Yehoshua's hot pepper apron and chef's hat for the occasion. :)

Old-Fashioned Cloves Cookies recipe

We made Old-Fashioned Cloves Cookies, a family favorite. As I mentioned in the recipe notes, the ingredients for this recipe were originally taken from the book Household Discoveries by Sidney Morse, c. 1903.

When I was a child, we found the book at a rummage sale and my brother Phillip decided to try this recipe from it. We liked the cookies and nicknamed them "Cloves Cookies" because of the strong clove flavor. :) The original recipe didn't even give a baking temperature or time. :)

Eliyahu decorates the cookies...

My idea was to use the M&Ms to make smileys on the cookies.

Eliyahu, however, thought they should be doggie paw cookies, and made up some hilarious doggie stories as he worked on the "doggie paws". :) He had a LOT of fun decorating the cookies, spending quite a while intently hunched over the tray of cookies. :)

I must say, though, that I don't recommend using M&Ms (or any other chocolate) on these Old-Fashioned Cloves Cookies as they are rather spicy and the flavor doesn't go well with chocolate at all!! :)

Red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy

Pregnancy tea herbs

I've been making a concentrated effort to remember to drink my herbal pregnancy tea daily, and it really does help me feel better! I've been more relaxed, less tired, and just felt better overall. Whether it's the extra fluids, the iron-rich alfalfa, the swelling-reducing nettles, the relaxing peppermint, or the uterus-toning red raspberry leaf -- I don't know, but I'm not complaining! ;)

I still have plenty of herbs left from when I ordered a couple years ago. I mix up the (dry) tea and then brew it using an IngenuiTEA tea pot.

IngenuiTEA tea pot

I really love the IngenuiTEA pot for brewing loose leaf teas! It is so SO easy and in the 3 years I've had it, I've used it hundreds of times. Loose leaf teas almost always taste a lot better than the packaged pre-bagged teas, in my opinion. :)

Kathryn asked:

I am getting conflicting reports about whether raspberry leaf tea is safe for pregnant women to consume. Some say only during the 3rd trimester, some say all throughout the pregnancy. Any comments would be appreciated!

I have most commonly heard that red raspberry leaf tea is safe to consume in these quantities:

First trimester -- 1 cup per day
Second trimester -- 2 cups per day
Third trimester -- 3 cups per day

If you have a history of miscarriage, you may want to avoid red raspberry leaf in early pregnancy.

Herbs (like most things!) affect people in different ways so what worked for me may not be best for everyone. This is why I hesitate to get too specific! ;)

Snacking on frozen blueberries

Frozen blueberries from Costco

Frozen Blueberries are one of my childrens' favorite snacks during hot summer days. Blueberries are naturally so sweet that they taste like candy to us! :)

The boys (ages 5 and 3) sit at the table with a bowl of blueberries and a spoon, instructed not to get their hands all blue (and certainly not to wipe it all over their clothes!). ;)

Ruth, eating blueberries

I usually pop the blueberries one by one into Ruth's mouth. She's good about keeping her mouth closed while she eats and not making a mess. :)

We get frozen blueberries in 5-pound bags at Costco for about $2 a pound. Besides eating them plain, we make blueberry smoothies and put them in oatmeal for breakfast! :)

Prepare for Baby Frugally: Money-Saving and Space-Saving Tips

Baby crib and dresser...

After reading my other post about preparing for a new baby, a number of people have asked for more information about what I would consider to be necessary baby things to own.

So get ready for a photo tutorial of our baby stuff! :) We're currently a family of 5 living in a 900-sq.ft. apartment. Even though I didn't consider myself a packrat, I pared down even more when we moved here 6 months ago.

In complete honesty, I did get rid of some stuff when we moved (my baby swing and some toys are the things that come to mind). However, I obviously didn't consider them to be completely necessary! ;) But more on that in a minute.

When we had our first child 5 years ago, we were living in a smaller apartment and didn't have much. Some clothes, diapers, a car seat, stroller, and a small dresser for the clothes. As our baby grew, we were able to find things second-hand.

As our family grew, keeping the "stuff" under control became a growing challenge as well. Here's where we're at right now!

The changing area
(More photos of the children's bedroom
can be viewed in our house photo tour!)

My changing table has always been a dresser top with a waterproof pad/mat of some sort. It started out as a tiny dresser top. Now I have this big huge dresser top (hand-me-down furniture is the best!). :)

I like having a raised changing surface of some sort since it's so much easier on my back, especially just after giving birth. :) Other drawers store clothes for the children, extra blankets, sheets, etc. (our last house didn't have a closet, so everything was kept in these drawers!).

Yehoshua and Eliyahu, in front of their dressers
(More photos of the children's bedroom
can be viewed in our house photo tour!)

We have one more dresser; this smaller dresser holds Yehoshua's things. The top is perfect for the picture Bible we use, a small lamp, and a cd player/clock. We love music and reading at our house! :)

Baby toys!

The top drawer of the tallest dresser is also home to a few baby toys (I have about 10 small baby toys), Ruth's hair stuff, and other miscellaneous necessities (stroller pump, piggy banks, Bibles).

Our children each have their own bed right now, since we have a crib and bunk beds. I like co-sleeping, but a crib is still nice for nap time. :) We didn't have any sort of baby bed until our first child was a few months old. I got second-hand crib sheets and we just use any appropriately-sized blankets/throws as needed. :)

I especially enjoyed Kim's posts about how they fit many children into their bedrooms. Sometimes our idea of how much space we need per person can be challenged -- in a good way -- when we read about how others have worked around the difficulties!

Baby bath rest...

Here is Eliyahu's favorite Doggie, modeling the infant bath support (similar to this) I used for Ruth. I got this at a garage sale for 10 cents and it replaced my large hard plastic infant tub. It worked great, and a huge plus is that it can be stored in with outgrown clothes and takes up hardly any space when not in use! :)

An infant tub isn't a necessity in my opinion, but it is a nice little luxury. :) I originally had a hard plastic infant tub from a garage sale, but it spent more time in storage than anywhere else!

The diaper bag my mom made for me

I had a baby shower when I was expecting my first child, and was blessed with a good supply of gender-neutral clothes and supplies (including cloth diapers!). My mom made a diaper bag for me! Here it is after 3 babies, still going strong. ;) The outside pockets are perfect for holding water bottles.

Mei tai
My mei tai

We have one stroller (an older model of this one; I like it because I can go as fast as I want with it), which is definitely useful at times.

However, what I really use the most is my mei tai. (What is a mei tai? It's a baby carrier. You can see some pictures of me using it from a few years ago here.)

Folded mei tai
The mei tai folds up small!

I take the mei tai everywhere and use it more than the stroller or anything else. It's comfy and can be worn by me or by Joshua.

Folded up and in the diaper bag!

One of the best things about a baby carrier like the mei tai is that it folds up small enough to easily fit in a diaper bag or drawer when not in use! And there's really not room in our car to take the stroller everywhere, anyway. :)

Every baby is different, and I think often it's ideal to try to borrow various things (such as a swing, bouncy seat, various carriers and slings, strollers, johnny jump-up, bassinet, etc...) if you feel you may need them.

We got a swing from a garage sale when Yehoshua was about 5 months old, and he LOVED it!! Eliyahu and Ruth only used it a couple times each. (I gave it away when we moved.)

I borrowed a bouncy seat when my oldest child was born, but he never cared much for it. I have used the infant car seat in the house to rock tired newborns at times though! For me, the car seat was versatile enough to not need a bouncy seat, bassinet, or (later) swing. Others will tell you that the bouncy seat saved their sanity!

So if you want to try out lots of "stuff" and you have friends with babies or toddlers, borrowing a few items for a few weeks or months (and later purchasing only what you will really use a lot!) could be much easier. :)

If you're short on space, it might not be worth the expense, headache and hassle to try to store numerous large baby items when they may or may not get used more than a handful of times. I've found that borrowed items can be returned at your convenience -- whether that's a few days or a few weeks (or a few months if your friend is in no hurry!).

An old-fashioned high chair :)

A high chair isn't really a necessity in my opinion, and I have eaten many meals while feeding a toddler who was sitting on my lap. :) However, having a chair for toddlers is really really convenient!

We got this small older-style metal high chair (which someone had refinished!) for $5. I love that it doesn't take up nearly so much space as many of the newer plastic designs.

The closet... toy storage!

The children's room has a closet, where I store outgrown clothes and all their toys, games, school books, etc. We even recently moved their bookshelf from the living room into their closet!

We get out one kind of toy at a time. Ruth's infant car seat is stored in here too, along with winter coats, hats, gloves, and scarves. :)

Closet shelf full of toys and stuff...

The closet shelf has "big kid toys" like Legos, race cars, and puzzles. Many garage sale treasures and hand-me-downs up there! :) The boys each have a tricycle, and they share a large plastic Little Tikes car (these things completely fill up our small outdoor storage area!).

And I think that's it! (Am I forgetting anything?!) :)

So, to recap:

The baby stuff I feel is necessary:

A basic wardrobe (gender-neutral for newborns)
Blankets
Car seat (if you have a car)
Diapers (I use cloth)
Diaper bag (or substitute)

The baby stuff we also have (luxuries!):

Mei tai
Stroller
High chair
Bed
Dresser (for clothing and changing)
Baby wash, towels, and wash cloths (homemade "upcycled")
Toys and books!
Swing (used to have)

Baby/kid stuff we DON'T have:

Lots of clothes/shoes/etc. We have plenty! But when space is limited, you have to be practical too. :) And to save money, nearly everything is second hand. :)

Bassinet
Bouncy seat
Swing
Infant tub
Potty chair (use smaller toilet insert, or just help child)
Baby monitors
Baby food supplies
Large toys or any toys that don't help children be creative and thoughtful in some way! :)

More worthwhile reading on the topic of what a baby really needs:

My friend Crystal had a great series of posts about Having a baby Without Breaking the Bank! :)

So, there is my long, graphic-oriented answer to a very simple question! ;) Now it's your turn! Do you have any great money-saving or space-saving tips for parents or soon-to-be-parents? :)

Visit Jessica's blog for more frugal posts! :)

A chance to use the pizza cutter...

Like the normal 4-year-old boy he is, Yehoshua would love to run around the house with the pizza cutter, pretending it's his knife.

Yesterday's lunch of cheese quesadillas provided the perfect opportunity for Yehoshua to have some fun with the pizza cutter!

He cut numerous different shapes and then we had a little "math class" during lunch, talking about shapes. ;)

Surprisingly, the melted mozzarella cheese on crispy flour tortillas was almost as tasty as a breaded/fried mozzarella stick! We used flour tortillas and shredded mozzarella cheese, both from Costco. Yum!!

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