So, many moons ago, before I was technically a mother and when I was still anxiously preparing for Leo’s little arrival (though it seemed then and totally was more like a massively life-altering titanic arrival), I shared with you how I stocked our freezer for newborn days and how we use the FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing System to make it all go so much more smoothly. Well, I’m here to tell you that a) we survived! Leo is more than 2 months old, which is killing me on the inside (and that little dude can wear 6 months clothes, which I have since outlawed, thank you very much) and b) whoa! Those meals were not only super easy to throw together when we were exhausted and just trying to stay afloat with all the dang laundry, but totally delicious. The vacuum-sealing process kept the meals so fresh that it completely prevented that “oh yay.. another frozen thing” sensation. And since then, we’ve gotten a little creative, because once you have a FoodSaver® System lying around the house, the wheels start turning and you realize just how many things in your life need to be vacuum-sealed. So I’m going to share a few different ways we use them with you!
1. Holiday Organization
Mama’s stocking on the left and dada’s on the right.. cute or what?!
So, up until recently, I’d been more of a Halloween kinda girl, setting out decorations in, say, July (the end of July, OK?!) and planning my costume now later than 6 months prior. In fact, I planned this year’s costume a year in advance (Daenerys and baby dragon!) but pulled a very uncharacteristic move and changed last minute to a family getup that was much easier and less postpartum-body-showoff-y. The point is, I used to be a Halloween fanatic, but maybe it’s because I basically missed it this year or the fact that I have a sweet tiny baby I get to experience it all through over again, but I am Christmas obsessed this year. And have been for weeks. As in.. asking on Facebook if there are live Christmas trees in town at the beginning of November. As in.. I bought five stockings (gotta plan for those future bébés, n’est-ce pas?). As in.. I think coffee creamer is total blasphemy but I’ve been drinking peppermint mochas every morning for a week. It says a lot for this girl!
Other stockings lying in wait of future littles–and our tree skirt waiting to be dootied up when we get our tree–and then waiting to be vacuum sealed up for next year!
Anyway, we bought five stockings and tons of garland and lots of other goodness but one thing we are super low on is space. We live in a house built in the 50s when I guess they had less, erm, junk, and so there’s less, erm, space for said junk. Our attic is tiny and we have two closets that don’t belong to wardrobes! So as soon as Christmas woefully passes, I’ll be vacuum sealing up our stockings–keeping them flat and not wrinkled, garland–keeping it fresh and untangled, and all other décor to keep things nice and tidy and trim.
2. Holiday cards
Another strange thing has happened to me since I’ve gotten married, and it’s only gotten exponentially worse since I’ve had a baby: I’ve become an emotional hoarder. I started “memory boxes” when I was dating O and we saved so many things from trips and our wedding and honeymoon and simply just our life together. But these “memory boxes” are massive under-the-bed plastic storage containers typically reserved for like.. wrapping paper and boots. And we have several. The point being, Leo has only made me want to save everything more, but we’re already getting disorganized with all the keepsakes. I vacuum seal holiday cards we receive for the little goose and keep everything super organized! Am I a genius, or what? I said.. OR WHAT?! (I’m still not totally sure how to talk to adults anymore, but I could talk to you all day about your burpies [and I’m not a fan of Crossfit, if you know what I mean.])
3. Holiday party prep
A good family friend of ours from Korea told me about this fascinating tradition they have in Korea–the baek-il, or celebration of a baby’s 100th day. I couldn’t resist throwing a little family party for Leo, especially since his 100th day falls on New Year’s Eve! Convenient, non? But, I do have a tiny baby, who will only be 100 days old when I’m throwing said party, so this mama’s gotta plan and stay super organized in advance. I’ll be using the FoodSaver® System to help keep elements of the party fresh in advance. Since it’s a brunch, I’ll be making lots of quiche and I can easily prep the dough way ahead–along with so many other things. That way I’ll be able to cut down day-of work and focus on having fun and celebrating my little’s 100th day!
4. Breast milk storage
Being the type A lunatic that I am, I’ve been pumping since about week 2. We were super horrible awful people and started giving Leo a bottle of pumped milk maybe around week 3 (and wowza, had like zero problems at all with nipple confusion!). We now give him a bottle each night, and so I pump everyday to build up a supply both for his nightly nosh and a backup in case I decide to ever go anywhere alone ever. If you store breastmilk properly, it can keep for several months, and keeping air out is of the utmost importance. That and, oh, the storage bags will totally take over your freezer! So I decided to freeze individual bags in batches to keep them very flat, easy to organize, and completely and totally free from air which will maximize the storage time. Cool! Like.. literally..?
After I vacuum-seal the bag, I put the whole thing in a gallon storage bag–I can fit several FoodSaver® bags into these. I’ll be giving grandma one of these bags to load them up with plenty of milkies when they babysit Leo during the holidays! Mom and dad have places to be, yo. And I literally put “a silent night [you babysit Leo ALL NIGHT]” on my Christmas list. So.. I hope my Elf on the shelf is seeing all of my perfect behavior and letting Santa know that he can totally fulfill my requests.
5. Sterilized pump parts and pacifier storage
I have a manual pump that I take with me sometimes to maintain my schedule, if it’s remotely easy. I’m not germaphobic at all, really, but I do like to keep my pump from floating around an open cesspool of the natural world if I can! So I vacuum seal the parts that are more difficult to clean and need to be dry to use–the flanges I usually keep out, since they don’t need to be dry, are shaped super funky, and are a bit more delicate. Same with pacis! If you’re traveling and want to at least start out with some clean dummies, vacuum seal those suckers up and you’re good to go. Perfect for holiday visits, and I’ll be using this system to take my manual with me to marathon family events so I can maintain my pumping and nursing schedule for supply.
6. Outgrown clothes
Oh Leo, Leo, Leo. I keep telling you to stop growing and you keep ignoring my commands! What’s the deal, man?! So.. this little dude has grown out of his clothes so, so quickly. He was busting out of newborn jammies at about a month, fine whatever, but he’s now dangerously close to too long for his 3 month sizes. At 2 months old. Seriously!? My heart hurts, you mean baby. I mean, as much as I want you to grow big and tall and strong and lovely, I want to be able to access my teeny tiny newborn at any time I wish. So.. make it happen. Anyway, we have a berjillion newborn and 3m clothes he can’t wear anymore, but we want to keep them for future squishes, so we fold them up and vacuum seal them! This protects them from the air and makes it much easier to store them by cutting down on wasted space. The expandable bags are ideal for this use!
Yep.. I vacuum seal my iPhone. I have a baby monitor app that uses two iPhones to watch over the little one, which I installed because I wanted to actually shower one day.. and he was napping. Kidding actually, I’ve managed to shower every other day since he was born, so I guess I just erm, prioritize it? But anyway, I wanted to be able to shower before O got home, so I set up the app on my iPhone and peeked at it from behind the shower curtain every oh, 90 seconds, just praying for it to not jump off and into the shower. And while I wouldn’t you know.. dunk the thing in the bath, I do feel better about the possibility of it briefly falling into the shower. Do you guys know I am seriously the clumsiest person ever?! It boggles my mind, because I always thought of myself as pretty graceful, being a dancer and all, but no. Not even close. To keep the home button from being vacuum sealed down, I put my ring over it but I’ve come dangerously close to throwing it out when Leo is screaming and I’m rushing and trying to get my phone out of the bag. A really protective case like an OtterBox would be excellent for this. I love the pre-sealed bags for this use!
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How do you use your FoodSaver® System to create, seal and share during the holidays? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card!
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