Bringing Meals

Bringing meals to families after the birth of a baby, during times of sickness or loss is such a simple way to really bless a family and make them feel loved and cared for.

After the birth of our third baby, we were blessed with many meals from friends in our small group and other friends from church. Every meal that was delivered made me feel loved and cared for. And, I’m so thankful for the sweet friends who took time out of their busy days of caring for their own little ones to prepare a meal for our family.

Since I know what a blessing meals are to families, I prefer to celebrate babies by bringing a meal or two instead of giving them more stuff for baby (babies don’t need much)!

In the past, I’ve made excuses for not bringing meals to families, telling myself I was too busy taking care of my kids, preparing our own meals and that I didn’t know what to bring.

While, it does take some time out of my day, I’ve found that bringing meals can be pretty simple and involve a minimal amount of time, thanks to planning and keeping meals simple.

I have two meals that I typically bring to families:

    1. Roasted Chicken,  Baked Carrots, Potatoes and Onions, Green Beans, Rolls and Dessert
    2. Chicken Parmesan Casserole with Green Beans, Rolls and Dessert

Dessert is usually cookies or brownies.

Sometimes, I’ll bring fresh fruit (like bananas or cut up melon) or muffins so the family can have something extra to snack on and pack kid friendly foods (cheese sticks, carrot sticks) for kiddos.

Meal to Bring

These two meals are simple to prepare and are family favorites. I typically keep the ingredients to make both of these meals on hand. This makes bringing a family a meal on short notice possible without a trip to the grocery store.

I’ve found that knowing what I’m bringing allows me to volunteer to bring meals without any stress over what I’ll prepare. And, preparing the same two meals makes getting the meal packed up and ready to deliver simple since I know exactly what containers I need.

Packed Up Meal

Once everything is cooked, I package it up in disposable containers and bags. Disposable pans work best for my main dish, green beans can be transported in disposable pans or plastic containers (like Gladware) and rolls/brownies/cookies are easy to package in a plastic bag. (I hate the waste element of this but it’s easier for the family to not have to worry about returning dishes.) 

I have learned the hard way that transporting food in disposable containers can result in some leaks. I’ve had several green bean juice leaks – once all over the back of the van.

To avoid leaks in my vehicle, I line my clothes basket with a clean towel and load everything into the basket. This not only keeps any leaks contained, it’s also an easy way to deliver the meal. I am able to bring everything into the home in just one trip.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a good cook or truly don’t have the time to prepare meals for families, you can still bless families with food.

  • Pick up a Rotisserie Chicken at your local grocery store, add a salad mix, fresh bread and fruit.
  • Pick up all the fixings for homemade sub sandwiches and add chips and fruit.
  • Bring takeout from any restaurant. (Calling ahead to see what the families favorite foods are would be a nice gesture.)
  • Bring a basket of snacks. (John David’s grandparents brought a bunch snacks and fresh fruit after Cecilia’s birth – it was much appreciated and the boys were thrilled with all the yummy snack foods!)
  • Invite the family over to join your family for a meal – you won’t have to worry about transporting food at a certain time and they won’t have to worry about any clean up.
  • If you live in a different town, you can still bless friends with meals via gift cards to restaurants in their area.

For more meal ideas, here are some of the meals we were given (and everything was delicious):

      • Baked Spaghetti, Salad and Bread
      • Quiche, Baked Oatmeal, Fruit (breakfast for dinner – yum!)
      • Pot Roast, Green Beans and Rolls
      • Chicken and Rice Soup, Salad, Bread
      • Chicken Enchiladas, Beans and Fruit
      • Stromboli, Salad, Fruit
      • Pizza
      • Chicken Casserole, Salad and Bread
      • Hamburgers, Chips and Pineapple Casserole
      • Potato and Corn Chowder and Corn Muffins
      • Smoked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Our boys really loved the nights that pizza and hamburgers were brought. In fact, they’ve asked me several times over the past year when we were going to have another baby because they liked having people bring us food!  (Our entire family was truly blessed by the gift of meals!)

Do you have specific meals you bring? I’d love to know your easy to transport meal ideas!

Washing MachineTo My Washing Machine,

Thank you so much for being such a faithful worker in our home.

You serve me well each week as I wash our clothes, towels and bedding.

I am thankful for you every other day when I start a load of cloth diapers.

You make doing laundry a simple task.

And, after a bout with a stomach bug, I am even more thankful for you.

I can toss bedding and clothes that are covered with throw up in and hit the ‘rinse’ button and you take care of the icky mess.

Once you’ve rinsed, I simply add in detergent, hit another button and 48 minutes later, clean laundry emerges.

You’ve worked hard these past few days, working nearly non-stop.

Thank you for washing our laundry.

And, thank you so much for having a rinse cycle and making cleaning up throw up just a bit easier.

Sincerely,

Rachel

We’ve been dealing with a weird stomach bug over the past few days. Cecilia has thrown up multiple times- including all over both of us while I was wearing her in the Boba at a church picnic. Ick. Even though she’s throwing up, she seems just fine and is playing like normal. I’m looking forward to whatever this is being over and I really am so thankful for my washing machine!

Homeschooling in a Small Space

Five years ago, when we sold our first home and started looking for a new one, one of the home features on our wish list was a bonus space of some sort that we could use for a school room. Even though our son was a baby, we knew we would homeschool and thought having a separate room for school was a necessity.

We ended up compromising on several items on our wish list in favor of a home that was smaller than the first home we owned but below our housing budget. For us, giving up extra square footage was well worth it since we have a very affordable mortgage.

We’ve lived in this home for 4.5 years and have attempted to sell but have realized that choosing to live small allows our family more financial freedom. And, a few months ago we set a goal to pay off our mortgage by May 2020 so we’re planning on staying here until the mortgage is gone!

Last month, our oldest started Kindergarten and we began our journey of homeschooling without a dedicated school room.

Homeschooling in a small space has proven quite simple for our family.

Our learning area is our dining room. Our table is the most used piece of furniture in our home. It’s where we eat 3 meals a day, do school, create and write (I’m currently sitting at our table writing this!)

As soon as breakfast is over each morning, we clear the table, wipe it down if necessary, then pull out our learning materials for the day and jump right into learning.

We have a cabinet in our dining room that holds all of our school supplies and books as well as our art supplies, coloring books, library books, learning games and there’s even a shelf with toys for our toddler.

Homeschool Cabinet

While our dining room may have a bit of a classroom feel, I think it’s quite charming. I love having a map on the wall, our children’s art work displayed and books in our dining room.

Instead of viewing our limited space as a challenge, I’m embracing the simplicity of making our small space work.

The cabinet is our learning material storage space which makes me think carefully before making purchases and I ruthlessly declutter items that are no longer useful for our children.

I’m also thankful for our library, we check out our limit of books almost every week so our children are exposed to a variety of stories and information but we don’t have to deal with the clutter! Having a dedicated shelf for our library resources keeps them from getting lost and gives them a place to belong while they’re in our home.

After just one month of homeschooling, we’re loving the lifestyle of teaching and learning with our children. We also know that being content in our small home and homeschooling in a small space has given us more freedom.

Buttons Cloth Diapers
We’ve been cloth diapering since the birth of our first child, over 5 years ago and the majority of the cloth diapers we’ve been using for our third baby were used on both of her older brothers. After 4-5 years of nearly continuous use on 3 babies, our diapers have been well loved and many of them have been ‘decommissioned’.

A few months ago, it became obvious that we needed to purchase a few more diapers in order to continue cloth diapering full time. I really didn’t want to purchase any more diapers but knew the investment of a few cloth diapers would save money in the long run instead of having to use disposables.

I decided to do a little research on cloth diapers and look into some different cloth diaper brands that have debuted since we purchased cloth diapers last. I’m so glad I did because this research led me to Buttons Diapers.

Buttons Diapers is a small, family owned business. Their goal is for their diapers to be easy to use and affordable for everyone.

I love that by purchasing Buttons Diapers, you are supporting a small business, run by a young family who values simple and sustainable living – just like my family!

Diaper Cover + Insert

Buttons Diapers are an all-in-two cloth diapering system which consists of a cover and a separate insert. The cover is a one-size cover which fits most babies from 9-35 pounds.

The cover is made of high quality PUL and comes in a variety of colors and cute prints. The solid covers are priced at $11 and prints are $12.50.

The inside of the cover has two snaps where you can easily snap in your Buttons inserts. Or you can use this cover with inexpensive prefolds, which is what we do.

Buttons Inserts

You can purchase a variety of inserts to meet your babies needs:

  • Microfiber Daytime Insert
  • Microfiber Nighttime Doubler
  • Hemp/Cotton Daytime Insert
  • Hemp/Cotton Nighttime Doublers

The inserts are available in size small (9-20 pounds) and large (20-35 pounds).

Our Buttons inserts are size large since Cecilia is 17 months old and weighs 21 pounds. They both work well but I really like the hemp/cotton blend insert. Plus, I prefer natural fibers to synthetic ones.

Double Leg Gussets

One of my favorite features of the Buttons diaper cover is the double leg gussets. This is a very nice feature and which makes this a nice all-in-two cover for exclusively breastfed babies. (I’ve never had much success with all-in-twos or prefolds/covers with the explosive exclusively breastfed baby poo).
Buttons Cloth DiaperI have been very pleased with our Buttons cover and especially love the color (Midnight).

If we need more diapers before Cecilia starts using the potty, Buttons will be my first choice!

To purchase:

Disclosure – I received a Buttons Diapers cover and 2 inserts in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. This post contains affiliate links.