From an experienced mother living on the other end of No Man’s Land, here are some ideas for simple, convenient, yet healthy eating.
Many Scriptures make better sense when you’re rearing children. “To have faith like a child,” used to sound like pretending that the pain doesn’t exist, or to remove our negative reactions and try to restore our former ignorance.
Now, I see my daughter. No matter what goes wrong, what is broken, or how badly something has been damaged, she responds with a happy, “Daddy fix it.” The clothes washer was out of balance, the toilet didn’t refill, a hairband snapped. Her instant reaction remained, “Uh oh!…Daddy fix it.”
Now, the washer had to go to a repair shop. The toilet filled on its own. The hairband was thrown away. She still relies on Daddy to fix anything, simply because he does fix the majority of our broken things.
How much more can we rely on the Heavenly Father?
When relationships are at an impasse, Abba fix it.
Money gets tight. Abba fix it.
Hearts break. Abba fix it.
Loved ones are lost. Abba fix it.
Evil increases. Abba fix it.
We don’t know what to do. Abba fix it.
We don’t know when, or by what means He will heal us and put things right. There is no need to force our own solutions as Abraham’s wife, Sarah, did. With the faith of a child, we can still smile and be satisfied that by the end of time Abba will fix it.
Our daily priority is to feed our children, from proper diet during pregnancy, to keeping the pantry stocked for teenagers. My family is currently feeding children aged three and under, but I have already found some “life hacks” that can make mother’s task less daunting. To the mothers just a step behind me, here are my tips and tricks.
From an experienced mother living on the other end of No Man’s Land, here are some ideas for simple, convenient, yet healthy eating posted on Prairie Dust Trail.
To begin with, cooking is an impossible task with a newborn in the house. Babies require so much attention that nothing else will be accomplished for several weeks. That’s okay. Accept that life will become slow and basic, and plan accordingly. First time around, my dear “Mother by Love” sent quite a few meals for us to subsist upon (along with her RICH, milk-boosting, hot chocolate.) The next time around, I got ready. Any leftovers large enough, I froze. Sometimes I had the energy to double recipes so I could save the extra food for what was to come. Even though the twins came two months early, I still had two weeks’ worth of meals in the freezer by the time we brought them home. There I was, with a toddler, new twins, an abdominal incision, and much of the familiar help I was counting on was tied up with another new mother’s health crises – but I had my freezer full of food. Adjusting to home life was much easier with that convenience. Especially to the first-time mom, I recommend this preparation.
Mix Formula Once a Day
With the help of some haywire hormones, a mom’s instincts scream at her to care for the little one. There is a mad dash in mother’s mind to feed baby IMMEDIATELY once he is hungry. It’s one of those feelings you must experience to understand. What can be done to ease the urgency and stress?
If you are not exclusively breastfeeding, you must take the time to fill a bottle with water, measure scoops of formula in your sleep-deprived state, and hope that you didn’t lose count while a baby wails that special manner that tugs at your very soul. Thankfully, you only have to do this once a day, not at every feeding. To keep from taxing the twins’ immature immune systems, I had to use boiling water to sterilize the formula. So, I poured enough boiling water to a day’s feedings into a Mason jar, added the formula, and mixed it with a whisk. The formula was good for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Make Pumping Easier on Yourself
If you pump milk for your little one, you have even less time to spare. Pumping takes extra effort, and then the parts and bottles require cleaning. A time-saving hack I found is to throw those pump parts into a Ziploc bag and into the refrigerator. The milk on that parts can’t go bad, so you can wait a few sessions before completely dismantling and scrubbing each valve and shield.
Rabbit Trail for First Time Expectant Mothers: If there is any chance that your may need to use a breast pump, GET THE RIGHT SIZE SHIELDS NOW. Pumping is a rough experience, and in the post-partum phase, you may feel very emotional and perhaps inadequate. Often, women believe that their bodies are incapable of nourishing their children, when it is the equipment that is causing problems. So before you even give birth, familiarize yourself with the equipment and the concepts that make it work, even if with a cheap hand pump. Make sure the shields are not too large or too small. (Standard sizes were too large and could have torn me up. I am positive that a majority of negative pumping experiences are due to improper sizing.) Check those valves for pin holes and tears. Overall, take a look over the instructions and practice assembling a pump. Your future self will appreciate it.
Cube and Freeze
My twins are eating solids! It’s great to start moving away from formula, but it can be troublesome, as well. Store-bought baby food gets expensive (and the popular brand seems to be in bed with the abortion industry.) Blending a portion of your meals means you must detail-clean the blender parts multiple times a day. Also, keeping small portions in the refrigerator doesn’t seem to keep well. If you cook a fresh meal for baby alongside every family meal, you’ll surely lose what was left of your mind.
My solution? Ice cube trays.
I cook an adult serving or more of cereal, boil and mash a whole potato, mash a couple of avocados or bananas, or strain out some bone broth from a leftover roast. Then, I use each batch of baby food to fill an ice cube tray and flash freeze it. Once the food is solid, I dump the cubes out of the tray and into a freezer bag, and throw them back into the freezer. When it’s feeding time, I grab a couple of cubes, add a bit of water, and thaw it in a custard bowl or a mug over our bottle warmer. I only have to cook, blend, and mash baby food once every few weeks!
Though I haven’t had a chance to try it, I’ve read of using ice cube trays and regular freezer bags to store breast milk. That sounds simple and economical compared to pricey milk storage bags. If a baby’s immune system were compromised, though, the specialty bags might be safer.
Utilize Those Machines
We go through a lot of bread. My husband uses it for grab-and-go meals. The toddler and I eat quite a bit of it for meals and snacks, too. I acquired my first breadmaker and love it. It saves us money, trips into town, and helps us avoid some unwanted preservatives. Not to mention, a slice of warm, fresh bread dobbed with butter or honey is a delight to have with a cup of tea. If we begin to run low on bread, I can dump ingredients into a pan, click it into the machine, push some buttons, and have a loaf just the way I like it in four hours. There is no need to stop my chores to knead or bake the bread. It requires just five minutes of effort on my part.
Crock pot recipes are popular, according to my social media, but we don’t have to have precise recipes or cream-of-something to fix up an easy, tasty meal. Look through the pantry. Check the freezer. You need meat, vegetables, and maybe a starch. Steak and roast are nice to brown over the stove before setting into the crock pot. Throw veggies, and rice, potatoes, or noodles in with the meat, and cover everything with a liquid, be it broth, tomato sauce, milk, cream, or water. My rule of thumb is to cook on low for up to eight hours, or on high for three hours. With a few basics, you can easily throw together a meal at the beginning of the day and forget about it until the family asks, “what’s for supper?”
For now, that’s all the family feeding hacks I have been utilizing, and I hope these tips can be helpful for you as well. Keep taking care of yourself, and keep an eye out for the next installment. Happy eating!
Panorama photos and long descriptions do not capture the beauty outside my door. I have found that video and audio seem to help share my moments outside more effectively with my distant friends. This post shall be updated from time to time with more videos, so keep an eye on it and enjoy.
These are the ranching men who shape our family: my husband, his brother, their father, and our grandfathers. Some we keep in memory. All we are thankful to have as fathers.
“There are 365 times in the Bible where it says to not fear, once for each day of the year,” so they say. Do we realize that this is not merely a phrase meant to make us feel better? Do we understand that “Fear not.” is a command?
This new life of motherhood changes the dimensions of our existence, particularly our weaknesses. As mothers, new fears assail us, stronger than we could have imagined before. Struggles we were unaware of now fill our minds. Then the fears work us over.
“Fear not” is a strict command, especially for those of us in charge of other souls, because fear is a strong weapon that effectively prevents us from accomplishing The Master’s will.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear holds punishment, and he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Yoḥanan Aleph (1 John) 4:18
The fears of motherhood are few, yet strong in the beginning. Then fear breeds upon fear in the false guise of love. Eventually, we find that we are constantly yelling at loved ones, and lashing out over little things. The unloving behavior towards our families is not rooted in hate. We may be frustrated, but hate? No, the root is fear. Once we identify the fear the Enemy is using against us, the tide of the battle has turned. From there we can fight with the Word, prayer, love, taking captive every thought.
When you find yourself enraged, ask, “What am I afraid of?”
- Being a bad mom?
- Not being enough?
- Going unnoticed?
- Doing the wrong thing that propels your children into self-destruction?
- Angering your community with your parenting choices?
- Inability to get on the same page with your husband about your concerns?
- Judgement from your family?
- No one caring about your efforts?
- Disaster taking your children from you?
- Alienating your kids from you, yourself?
- Causing unnecessary grief to your family?
- Cursing them with your mistakes or evil past?
- Burning up your life for nothing?
- Exposing your children to family battle crossfire?
- That if things don’t go your way, they can never come out right?
- Never getting anything perfect?
We mothers do have a responsibility for our children’s safety. Go set the boundaries. Teach the rules. Encourage good connections. Discourage bad company. Take precautions around that person who gives you a bad gut feeling. Become the repetitive voice of good sense that your kids will hear wherever they go.
Beyond the practical action, though, our concerns turn into fear and have no benefit for our families nor ourselves. Ruminating on fears winds us up tightly, makes us irritable (fruit of the Spirit is patience) and causes us to make stupid decisions. Our words cut. Our tempers flare. Our impulses inflict chaos. Our families hide.
The above bullet points of fears may seem to come from a place of love, but they don’t. It is a distrust of the One Who is Love. The King of the Universe came up with the idea of our children. He created them and knows their every detail, down to each hair on their heads. Jehovah loves them, more than even a mother. He gave up his only perfect child to secure our babies’ eternal lives. Our children may get hurt, we may fail them, they may choose their destruction, or tragedy may take them from us; but The One Who created all things is doing everything, even delaying the Kingdom of Heaven, to ensure that these precious children will have every opportunity to choose an eternity of His goodness. We must assist Him and drop the fears that have held us back from being the mothers God intended us to be.
Seek Him out, and let YHWH flood you with His love. Keep your eyes on the eternal. Let yourself love God first, and He will guide your every step in His grace.
This post is one of a series titled, “Dear Mama.”
You stride over in the midst of a public event to get a peek. My twin car seats and cute toddler dancing around command a lot of attention like that. You ooh and ah, asking about age, gender, giving a compliment or two. As we talk, you learn that all my children were premature but turned out fine. I am blessed, they grow so fast, enjoy it while I can, you advise me.
You think I don’t see the quiet pain under your smile. There’s a sad soreness on your shoulders, like your arms ache for someone. Horrific memories flash over your eyes. Your ears still strain to hear a voice that never was. This sort of grief feels isolated from the rest of reality, but I see. It’s the same for me.
As full as my arms are now, they still ache for the one I couldn’t keep. I still fight the flashbacks when I smell the sterile odor of a hospital. It is now easier to cope with the shrieking silence of cries that should have been there, now I have three other voices in my house. Still, there are moments when I struggle to breathe. Then there are the questions when I see that another baby with the same condition, same weight, or same gestation was able to survive. Why not mine?
I wish I could hug you, tell my story, listen to yours, and cry a while. What was his name? How old? Did he look like you? What do you treasure most of his memory? I want to know.
Time and place do not permit such interaction. I go on tending to my blessings. You dab your eyes in a corner across the room and move on. We may never meet again.
All I can do is pray for you and hope for the days when our grief ends. You may believe that I don’t know how good I’ve got it.
But I see.
This post is one of a series titled, “Dear Mama.”