Simplify: Traveling with Baby

standard September 18, 2017 Leave a response

If you’ve ever wanted to simplify your belongings and your life but thought to yourself, “I could never get there” or “I really NEED all this stuff,” then go take a 6 or 8 week trip. There’s nothing like an extended time away from home to make you realize what you actually need every day to not just survive but thrive.

We traveled for 6 weeks with a 3 month old baby. We packed two suitcases, 2 computer bags, a diaper bag, and a car seat. And no, we didn’t even use everything we packed, but it was pretty close. And yes, we bought stuff once we arrived at our destination. Namely, baby necessities and a few household items. Our goal was to make the day-to-day as normal as possible for our daughter, in order to make our lives easier (i.e. NAPTIME). However, despite our best efforts, traveling across time zones and being away during that dreaded 4 month Wonder Week/sleep regression is generally going to be a nightmare. Even our best efforts didn’t do much to help with that, but we survived.

Navigating airports, home rentals, cable car hills, and numerous skipped naps taught me a few things about simplifying travel with a small child. Namely, you really don’t need that much, but the few things you do need, you really will get every penny of use out of.

Top 3 Things to Take When Traveling with a Baby

1. Baby wrap or carrier.

LIFE. SAVER. If you only take ONE thing, take this. Child doesn’t want to nap, and you need to get stuff done? Child is unsure of new surroundings and needs to get used to environment? You desperately need to get out of the house? Babywearing is the way to go.  Especially when going through airport security and a long flight. I prefer my Solly Baby wrap over a carrier, especially at the airport, because I was able to also carry a backpack without the straps from a carrier getting in my way. I also easily got a sweater or jacket on and off without looking ridiculous.

2. Lightweight stroller.

We decided not to lug our beloved BOB stroller with us, just because of its weight. Instead, we ordered a smaller, lighter stroller to be delivered directly to our rental and then flew home with it. And while I missed being able to run on days I was solo parenting, it was really nice to have something that maneuvered easily through city streets and hills without the added weight.

3. Sound machine.

A sound machine was not on my baby registry. It was not even on my radar, until I was reading something online and stumbled upon a blog post that highly praised the NEED for one. I immediately hopped on Amazon and bought that exact one, and its been amazing. It’s just enough white noise to drown out almost anything without being super loud. And no matter where you are, it makes the room your baby is sleeping in sound and feel like home. I honestly don’t know where we’d be without this item right now. Along with my breast pump, it was the only other thing I insisted upon having in my carry on vs checking because I could NOT risk it getting lost in transit.

How have you handled traveling with an infant? Any other must-have items you’ve learned about along the way?

 

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Simplify: To-Do Lists

standard February 10, 2017 Leave a response

For me, the new year is always a busy season. Everyone has a resolution, a goal, a plan to get healthier, eat better, increase fitness, become more organized. Which translates to a lot of fun and exciting projects and new clients for me. However, as baby Darby’s due date is fast approaching, my usual to-do list has slowly become a very daunting list. I generally only give myself 6 top things to get done each day, and add other small things as needed, maxing out at 10 tasks in addition to appointments. But with my waning energy, 6 things has now become 3 or 4 some days. And as I’ve come to embrace this as both necessary and okay, it is making my days much happier, leaving more margin for the unexpected, and letting me appreciate the work I am doing more fully. One of my goals for February was to cross one thing off my to do list each day. That as well as a few other tips have been extremely helpful in letting me slow down. So whether or not you’ve got a baby coming soon, these ideas are still helpful in helping to make any day just as full and present.

1. Pick a number. 

For me, it’s 6. For you, it could be 3. Or 10. Pick a number of MOST IMPORTANT items you know you will want to get accomplished in a day. That is how long your to-do list is. Get everything done and ready to tackle more? Start on tomorrow’s list. Or add to it. But don’t give yourself more than that number of things to focus on for the day. You know your limits. Don’t stress out over what isn’t as important.

2. Cross one thing off.

This doesn’t mean cross off one thing you don’t want to do, or one thing you didn’t get to at the end of the day. Look at what you’ve given yourself as agenda items each morning before you start your workday and consider the feasibility of everything. Is your list realistic? Is it manageable in the time frame you have for your day? Find what doesn’t work and cross it off! Move it to another day. Or just eliminate it all together. Breathe a sigh of relief.

3. Just do it. 

First thing. Work on those most important tasks first in your day, before distractions and emails and phone calls pile up. Carve out time to focus on your tasks before checking your inbox. Especially if it’s a hard item or something you have been putting off and procrastinating doing. Don’t think about it. Just do it. And then breathe, take a break, and get back to the rest of your list.

Happy Simplifying!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links may result in a small commission used to support neatandnutritious.com.

Simplify: Freezer Meals

standard January 13, 2017 Leave a response

Welcome to a whole new year of Simplifying! While most of these monthly posts this year will be centered around making life easier with a baby, they are definitely universal enough for everyone! January is a perfect month for cleaning out and restocking the freezer. A lot of us are gearing up for new schedules, big goals, and with the momentum of the new year, we have the energy to prepare ahead for the approaching slow down that usually happens late February. We are ready for Spring, but it may still be cold and snowy. We have lost our energy from the new year’s sheen. And a freezer full of healthy meals will keep us going until the warmth and sunshine comes back. Ready to get started?

Make a plan.

Ready to go all out and make all this month’s meals at once and eat out of the freezer every night? Or do you just want a handful of staples for those extra hectic weeknights? Making a list of meal ideas, recipes, and a schedule for making it all will really help once you get to cooking day. You may be able to do it all at once. Or you may need to break it up. For example, I am working on stocking my freezer for after baby comes, so I have a plan for breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners for at least a month to balance out what friends will bring over. Each week I pull a handful of meals from this list to shop, prep, cook, and store to keep things manageable over the coming weeks.

Don’t try new recipes.

It may be tempting to make all the recipes from a brand new cookbook you just got for Christmas. Or a blog recipe you saw yesterday. But since these meals won’t be eaten right away, you want something you know is good to look forward to. And you want something that you know will hold up to freezing, thawing, and reheating. While adding one or two new recipes can be okay, make sure most of your plan include tried and true family favorites, that everyone can look forward to eating.

Store in manageable portions.

It may seem convenient to freeze entire casserole dishes of food, but if you are wanting to feed just one or two in a hurry, thawing a whole casserole can take a while. And once an item is thawed, you don’t want to refreeze it. Think ahead to how each dish might be enjoyed and store accordingly. For me, this means single serving containers of everything, so I don’t have to worry about the husband wanting something else or needing to feed myself for lunch during the day or wasting the food already in the fridge.

Keep it simple. 

Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Start out small. Make Plan A, then build on it with Plan B, until you get an idea for how long it takes you to shop, prep, cook, and store meals. Some people can multitask easily, cooking up two or three dishes at once. Others, like me, prefer to do one recipe from start to finish before starting on the next one, cleaning as I go. Whatever your method, keep it simple. And don’t stress out about it. This is supposed to be helpful, time-saving, and possibly fun (if you are someone who loves being in the kitchen and the sense of accomplishment of filling your freezer with delicious meals!)