fall soups: what we’ve been eating

Happy October! Autumn turns our little farm into a golden-hued, hazy dream. As September’s light fades, the colors go from bronze to orange, and we’re all enchanted. Baskets of freshly picked apples and pumpkins brought in from the garden sit in my kitchen, for which I am grateful. We definitely know that fall has knocked on our door when we see the soups and pies make their way to our table. These soups are our favorites around here, and I think they’ll soon be your favorites too!

Vegetarian Lentil Stew

Since I grew up in Spain and lentils are a staple, I introduced them to our family pretty early on. They ask for this lentil stew so often! I usually make it with a ham bone, but meatless is great too. It does well in the freezer, and we eat it with muffins or just baguette slices with pats of butter. This is on the menu for Monday : )


Zuppa Toscana

This is Nathan’s favorite soup of all time. Eva and Isabel have been making it the last couple of times because it always tastes good no matter what : ) Really, we’ve been skipping the onion and sometimes the cream, and it’s still so succulent.


Butternut Squash Soup

photo credit: wholefoodsmarket.com

This soup is very mild and super delicious! I prefer this recipe over other butternut soup ones, because it doesn’t have the added cream. Cream is yummy, but sometimes I want something lighter. We serve it with biscuits or paninis so everyone stays full. Our whole family eats it even though the children wouldn’t say they enjoy eating butternut roasted or cooked in other ways. I’ve also frozen it with good success. A great soup to cook once and eat twice!


White Bean and Smoked Sausage Stew

This soup is as easy as a meal can get. You can’t beat SEVEN ingredients and a pot that does all the work for you in no-time! I love to serve this white bean and smoked sausage stew hot in generous portions with fresh crusty bread. It makes wonderful leftovers and freezes very well.


Potato Soup

two bowls of potato soup on a wood cutting board with a blue and white towel to the left
photo credit: farmhouseonboone.com

We all love this soup! This recipe is vegetarian if you skip the bacon as a topping. Our family likes the color, texture, and taste of gold potatoes, which is what we use in the recipe. I often make it on a Saturday afternoon to have ready when we come back from church on Sunday. I serve it with biscuits and call it a day. Since it’s his favorite, Alexander has made this potato soup for us the last few times. It’s really satisfying and flavorful. I have never frozen potato soup, but let me know if you have.

Do you enjoy soups as much as we do? I love preparing them in the morning and either just letting them slow cook in the dutch oven, turn the Instant Pot on and forget about it (it will stay on warm mode for the rest of the day), or even making the soup a couple days in advance (because we all know they taste better t hens to day). Now that the older children are starting to help in the kitchen, soups are a great place for them to begin. Bonus: they’re a one pot meal!

Enjoy a hearty and healthy bowl of goodness!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


farm update: early fall

Pigs

Alexander bought two shoats (weaned piglets) on Memorial Day when they were just a few weeks old. He takes care of their fencing, feeding, and a little back scratching too. He makes sure their water tank is full and that they have shelter. He plans to take them to the processor around Christmas or after the New Year. This is his business now, and he’s doing great with it.


Llama

Larry is almost 6 years old, and he’s so watchful. He’s been our shepherd for over four years, and we have never had coyotes in the barnyard. Even through laming season, we’ve been so grateful for his presence among the sheep. When neighbors walk their dog down the road or ride their horses, he’s always on the alert and lopes to the fence line staring down the passersby.


Sheep

We recently sold five rams and will be looking for a mature ram in the near future. We currently have 14 ewes in the pasture and 4 going to the processor soon. Eva manages the flock. She feeds them morning and evening, keeps their water tank full and clean, and gives them fresh hay bales. Eva also keeps and eye on any pregnant ones. She loves and dreads when lambing season starts. Eva’s really quite astute with the sheep, and we trust her judgement and responsibility.


Chicks!

We have 14 chicks that will be egg layers in a few months. Isabel takes care of the chicks keeping them warm with a heat lamp and safe in the pen in the barn. They eat like there’s no tomorrow, so she fills their feeder often and water too. They’ll join the 17 hens and 2 roosters in the chicken tractor in the next couple of weeks. William takes care of the chickens. He opens the coop at dawn, makes sure they have feed and water, and he closes the coop after dusk. Sometimes he remembers to add straw to the nesting boxes. Isabel and Providence gather eggs daily after lunch. Nora washes the eggs and puts them in egg cartons. When we sell farm fresh, pastured eggs, the profits go to lots of different hands.


Kittens!

Our barn cat Pearl had 5 kittens. They get held all the time. The kittens sit on girls’ laps while they do school, get carried inside warm sweatshirts in the yard, but they do sleep with their mama on the hay. Nora feeds the mama cat and tries to keep the rooster away from her food throughout the day.


Garden

The farm stand went really well this summer. The girls are a little but older and took more responsibility. Isabel and Nora sat at the farm stand speaking to neighbors, meeting their dogs, answering their questions about our farm goods, and giving them their change back. Alexander, Eva, William, Isabel, and Nora had helped to plant the vegetable garden and had weeded it for many weeks, so they earned the profits of the farm stand.

Even though the summer garden has yielded up it’s fruit, several varieties of pumpkins, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are still going strong. We harvested the last of our cabbages yesterday and made this delicious stew. The meal was simple and hearty and bread pudding was baking while we ate. The air has been quite crisp in the evenings, so it all felt very much like an Irish night. Hey, a girl can dream.


Raspberries

The variety of raspberries that we have produces in June and in September. This is the largest berry we’ve harvested to date. The bushes are so full everyday! We add raspberries to everything, and this year we finally made raspberry jam.


Honey

William transitioned to being our main beekeeper this late spring, although Nathan sometimes does still gear up with his bee suit and checks on them. This is our first year doing honey comb. It is so delicious in hot tea! Samuel likes it on yogurt while William eats it by the spoonful. It is fine to chew the wax and eat it. It’s also fine to chew it and then spit it : )

I hope you enjoyed hearing all about our recent farm days!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


healthy chocolate banana bread

I’m so excited to share this easy recipe with you! Although we have made countless banana breads, the chocolate and banana combination was new for us – and we love it! The bread will remind you of a tender crumb chocolate cake with a subtle banana flavor. This recipe is healthier than most because the Greek yogurt adds protein, and the honey enhances the natural sweetness of the bananas. Also, there’s no need for oil!

I’m telling you, this is a recipe that you will want to double or triple and freeze the loaves for another day. It truly freezes great. When you’re ready to eat it, just allow the bread to thaw and then warm it in the oven at low temperature while wrapped in foil. We love to eat this healthy chocolate banana bread for breakfast with a little spread of almond butter or peanut butter. Since we’re entering soup season (my heart sings), this bread makes a nice side to a hearty soup. Nothing more cozy than a thick slice and with a pat of butter. Okay, I’ll confess: we like it so much that we ate it yesterday for breakfast, and we’re having it today for supper with a spinach strata. Perfection : )

Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe:

3 medium very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (whole or 2% will give the bread a better texture)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional – we skipped it this time, but my family prefers it with the chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Combine well and add the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Incorporate the Greek yogurt and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


simple homeschooling schedule

I can’t believe it, but we were able to start school early this year, so today completes our third week of school. Currently, our family has children in four different stages of learning, but we try to weave everyone into the same daily rhythm. We have shared about our school day here before.

It is more fruitful for us to begin early in the morning, although no one at our house is an early riser – not daddy, not mommy, not anyone. For us, it really is rewarding to get into the rhythm of starting early. Our day’s routine has slowly formed over years of tweaking. When we were not getting done until supper, it was very frustrating to the children. When I was losing them to various activities in the morning or during lunch, it was very frustrating to me. This rhythm has helped to shape our days, and we have followed a very similar version of this schedule for several years.

STAGES OF LEARNING

1 – Alexander and Eva are part of the Classical Conversations homeschool group where they receive tutoring once a week on all their subjects. Hence, for the most part, they require little input from me. Their days are mostly outlined by their assignment guide which has a checklist of what to work on for each day at home. Alexander (15) does Bible reading, geometry, British literature, Latin, Spanish, biology, Western Cultural History, debate, and Traditional Logic II. Eva (14) does Bible reading, math, Latin, History of Astronomy (science), American history, exposition and composition (language arts), and Introductory Logic.

2 – William (12), Isabel (10), and Nora (8) do Bible reading (devotional), math, handwriting, spelling, grammar (William and Isabel), writing (William and Isabel), and reading aloud (Nora). These subjects they do daily. History (early modern) and science (astronomy) we only do three days a week. William, Isabel, and Nora require some help like answering questions, grading homework, taking tests, and listening to them read aloud. They are learning to follow instructions and understand the lesson’s directions without my guidance. Nathan’s mom comes one morning a week to teach grammar and writing to William and Isabel. We’re so grateful for her help!

3 – Providence (6) is doing kindergarten. She does letters (phonics), numbers (easy arithmetic), and handwriting. I sit with her for all her lessons.

4 – Samuel and James sleep in and usually get up after 8. If we’ve already started school lessons, then they have breakfast, and I turn my attention to them for a little bit. My goal is to read to them during this time. They miss Bible study in the morning, so I recently ordered a Bible story book and look forward to reading to them a short story every day. I spend some time with the little ones while being in the same area where the children sit to do school. In our house, this is crucial for progress : ).

DAILY SCHEDULE

  • 6am – wake up. personal care. make beds.
  • 7 – instrument practice. chores (feeding the animals, wipe bathrooms, empty trash bins)
  • 8 – start school
  • 12 – lunch. chores (flip laundry, collect eggs, dishes)
  • 1 – back to school

During the afternoon, I do history and science with William, Isabel, and Nora (3 days). Alexander and Eva continue their schoolwork until 3 or 3:30. Providence and Samuel play, and James takes a nap.

The late afternoon is left for nature walks, going to the park, sewing with mom (mainly Eva), watercolor (mainly the older girls), writing letters/pictures of thank you or encouragement, baking/cooking with mom, outside projects (mainly the big boys), or just playing and riding bikes. The season determines much of what happens during this part of our day.

This is what this year’s homeschool schedule looks like for our family. It was really helpful for me to put this post together, and I’ll be glad to have this reminder of what the years with so many stages of learning looked like in our home.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


Homeschooling: staying on track

Here’s the truth: the unsettling part of homeschooling is that there is no track. Sometimes, structure is provided by the curriculum. The State regulations might have minimum requirements (like days of school and subjects/grades). Often, we can find expectations in a local homeschool group or co-op. Honestly, the choice of studies and the schedule is mostly up to the family. What to do in a day or a year is left to the parents to decide, yet this is both freeing and paralyzing at the same time. Considering that most people don’t have any experience homeschooling until they begin with their own children, staying on track seems intimidating.

Nathan and I regularly remind ourselves of the goals at large when we begin to get lost in the details of the moment. We are after their hearts, and all else is secondary. Praying for the new school year and pleading for wisdom from the Lord gives us peace. Trying to surrender our plans and our days is part of the call of a Christian to obedience and faithfulness.

As parents, we set the atmosphere for learning in our homes by our interests and experiences. Our family enjoys biographies, literature, music, hosting people, road trips, hiking and nature. Since we instill our strengths in our children, we can assume that we will not be teaching them everything they will ever need to know about God’s world. A seasoned homeschooling mom several years ago shared with me her schedule and her prayer request which I have treasured as a nugget of wisdom. She mentioned that she regularly prays “that the Lord would fill in the gaps.” This is part of the adventure of the journey. It would be so stressful to constantly compare what our kids know with the neighbor kids. It would be discouraging to always question if they’re getting ahead or if that other math program would have been perfect. There will be holes that others will fill in as God brings them along our path.

Every year I create schedules and checklists, but that is just because of how I think. I thrive on order, so following a curriculum and incorporating our interests has been a good flow for us the past 12 years of homeschooling. We simply complete the curriculum and move on to the next level. Although we have done hands-on projects, we have mostly depended on literature (reading aloud) and comprehension. We use copywork, converstion, and writing papers (if old enough) to evaluate progress. In the last seven years, we have found support through the tutoring and brief classroom experience of Classical Conversations. I have been tremendously grateful for it especially in the junior high and high school years as have my children.

Keeping on track requires a great deal of intuition, observation, and conversation. When frustration and discouragement seep in, we try to take a break and look at it again with fresh eyes the next day. Sometimes we have evaluated if the material was not suited for that year for that student. Often, we just prayed together and pushed through.

We have never heavily relied on testing. While it’s a constant challenge, Nathan and I have always wanted to inspire a love for learning rather than the academic tasks. We have required diligence more than perfection and required focus more than completion. In recent years, we have seen the fruit of this. Children that struggled to master concepts are able to embark on new and challenging themes with enthusiasm for learning. They don’t exasperate nor retreat. They’re aware of their stumbling blocks yet can fully enjoy their own level of engagement. They’re aware that the learning will take more and varied efforts, but they feel defeated. This brings us so much joy and triumph.

As parents, we tailor the year to suit our children’s interests and aptitudes. While creating a homeschool track can seem demanding, hopefully it is rewarding to each child. I firmly believe that if the parent isn’t enjoying it, nobody is. Don’t hesitate to deviate from what everyone else is doing! Learning should be interesting, fun, and appealing to everyone!

Enjoy as much as you can in a day, and the days will add up to a wonderful year.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


welcome to homeschooling!

The talk about town is that many families are turning their efforts to homeschooling. While I am so excited for families to be home together, I wanted to drop a small thought that has been with me for months.

The experience many parents had with homeschooling a few months back was not the normal atmosphere in which parents homeschool their children. Because parents were frantically tossed into this semblance of homeschooling at the end of last school year, that is not homeschooling. It has been appropriately named crisis schooling. No one was operating as normal or in a purposeful, intentional environment. High anxiety, health fears, job loses and isolation are not a normal context for homeschooling. “This is so stressful.””This is horrible.” “I’m so glad I never did this before.” “I can’t imagine how you do it.” “This is a nightmare.” This perception of homeschooling is inaccurate.

On some level, I wanted to propose that when a family home educates, it doesn’t look nor feel the same way as those intense and stressful weeks did for many families. I heard from several parents that their experience solidified why they never wanted to homeschool. Don’t be mistaken in thinking that homeschooling means confined people, who have no interests and live mostly disorderly, stressed lives; or that homeschooling families are miserable while attempting to school their kids. The notion that those months were “homeschooling”, is just not true nor normal. Not because parents didn’t do a good job, but because the situation was manufactured.

So if your experience was discouraging to you, be of good cheer. Homeschooling is a beautiful, healthy environment for learning.

“Talk together. You’ll find yourself enjoying it!

Relax.

It isn’t all as hard as the experts make out. We are human beings, persons, created to live. To have life more abundantly. Wonder together; grow together. Together share the struggles of knowing that we cannot perfectly follow God’s law. We are fellow-pilgrims. We walk side by side as human beings under the love and authority of Him who made us.” (For the Children’s Sake -Susan Schaeffer Macaulay)

Jump on in, the water is fine!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


cobbler, the easy farmhouse dessert

You have to just memorize it. This recipe is so simple that you can put it together while sitting down to supper and have it steaming hot as you finish cleaning up the meal. I have been making it for 15 years, and it’s still a summer staple.

It requires no forethought. No need for peeling, dicing, nor butter-softening. It’s a one bowl recipe. Perfect when you’re in a pinch to serve guests, pretty for an occasion to celebrate, yet mouthwatering on any given night of the week.

The edges get so crispy and buttery, the center so soft and the fruit oozes its delicious sweetness. This cobbler is nothing short of tempting. We serve it with fresh cream, but sometimes we have ice cream – wow!

We love blackberry the best. Peach is our next favorite. While cherries are good too, strawberries turn mushy and may not be the best choice for cobbler. Fresh fruit doesn’t last very long in our kitchen, which I’m sure happens at your house too. Since frozen fruit bags are something I keep on hand, that is what I always use. There’s no need to thaw the fruit before making the cobbler. Oh, and I always double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13 inch pan. The leftovers are even better! Promise.

Peach (any fruit) Cobbler

-1 cup flour

-1 cup sugar

-1 Tablespoon baking powder

-1 cup milk

-4 Tablespoons butter(1/2 stick butter ; a 1/4 cup)

-1 16 oz. bag of frozen fruit (or 4 cups of frozen/fresh is perfect too)

-Cinnamon-sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the butter to an 8 inch square pan (a 12 inch cast iron skillet works very well) and place in the oven until the butter melts.

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and milk. Pour mixture over the melted butter and drop the fruit evenly over the batter. The dusting of cinnamon-sugar (or just sugar) over the whole thing will add a little crust when it’s baked, and I highly recommend it : ). Bake the cobbler for 45 – 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center.

Let me know how you like it!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


For Our 18th Anniversary

photos credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

From the very beginning of our relationship, we’ve both always said that “opposites attract” is not a true statement. Very shortly after we meet in that creative writing class, we talked for hours discovering how much we had in common. Even though we’d been raised worlds apart (literally), we were so alike that we couldn’t imagine anyone, so dissimilar being this close.

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. Even though we have so, so many ways and things in common, I (and the children) came up with 18 things in which we are different. Nathan has not seen this list, and I can’t wait to hear him chuckle in consent.

1- I don’t use the snooze, but he plans for it.

2- He loves water, and I’m not a confident swimmer.

3- I thrive on change. He’s steady.

4- His virtue is delayed gratification, but I enjoy something new.

5- He’s good at impromptu, and I need to plan.

6- “Sleep is overrated,” he says. Bedtime is never too early for me.

7- I like sweet drinks, and he enjoys bitter coffee.

8- He’s prudent, but I move quickly.

9- I have wanderlust. He’s a homebody.

10- He enjoys a juicy burger, but I live on vegetables.

11- I’m from the old world, and he’s from the new.

12- He’s daring, and I’m fearful.

13- I’m cautious, but driving dangerous roads is a thrill for him.

14- I was trained in music, and he was trained in sports.

15- He says,”I’ll find another use for it.” I throw it away.

16- When I see a crisis, he sees a resolution.

17- I can feel overwhelmed and nervous. He’s calm and collected.

18- He rules his life by principles, yet I fall prey to convenience.

Regardless of differences, we are two sinners who God chose to bring together for such a time as this: to serve Him in this place as we nurture eight beautiful children.

On a very warm Spanish summer evening, eighteen years ago, we said “I do.” I’ve never looked back. Happy 18th Wedding Anniversary, My Love!


fall farm update

New Coop

Nathan and Alexander built a chicken coop with downloaded free online plans. This “chick-shaw” can house 30 chickens, never needs cleaning, and is mobile. The boys move it around every few days so that the manure gets spread out throughout the pasture. William lets the chickens out at sunrise and closes them up after dusk, but, really, they return to the coop when the sun goes down on their own. They free range all over the pasture during the day, and a couple of them like to lay their eggs in the sheep’s hay feeder. I don’t think sheep like eggs, we just have to remember to go get them. We currently have 20 hens and 1 rooster. He’s the nicest rooster ever.


Raspberries

We never thought, but raspberries our more prolific in the fall than even the summer harvest. Our variety produces in June and again in September, but this year, we still have some frozen under the snow.


Pigs

Nibbles turned a year old, and we (along with a few customers) are grateful for full freezers. The children are looking forward to bacon and eggs, and mom has meals planned though the winter. We have a fourth pig still growing which will be a year old in the spring.


Pumpkins

We had a very low harvest for all of our garden vegetables this year except for pie pumpkins. They were lustrous and abundant. It’s so delightful to use them around the house until we’re ready for baking them.


Bees

In the fall, Nathan and William add a reducer to the hive entrance. This prevents other insects like wasps from getting in and stealing the honey. We’re still enjoying raw, unfiltered honey, and we have it for sale too! We see a few bees still visit the few wildflowers that are most cold-resistant.


Sheep

We had three lambs born this fall. A singleton and a set of twins. One of the twins had a hard time within the first 48 hours, so we brought her in the house and bottle fed her. Really, force-fed her. She didn’t want to eat for 2 weeks. This is when Nathan noticed that her knee joint was swollen. He did some research and found that lambs that are rejected by their moms are especially susceptible to an infection. Alexander gave her a shot of penicillin for 10 days, and although she’s quite small, she is back in the pasture with the flock and just started eating sweet supplemental grain this week.


Llama

Larry has been the best shepherd for our sheep! We have never had any incident with losing even a lamb to predators. Each time there’s someone going on a walk with their dog or a neighbor riding a horse down our road, he races to the fence and watches. Larry lives with the sheep in the pasture and is always with them.

Fall is quieter than summer. We’re happy to have enough hay till the spring and all the animals buttoned up for the cold weather.

Until next time!

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris


postpartum care and wardrobe

There is so much hype surrounding labor and preparing for baby’s arrival that many moms don’t even consider how they’re going to feel when they get home.

It’s not uncommon to feel like time is both standing still and moving too quickly. The fourth trimester is an important time that shouldn’t be rushed. For our baby, for ourselves, and for our families, we’re better off to prepare. While the magical and exhausting days after birth bliss pass quickly, we need to be aware of our body’s healing.

“I don’t have time to shower!” is something every new mom feels in the first few weeks (okay, months). Today I’m sharing what I’ve used to feel a little more put together without taking much time. Also, the fourth trimester attire is real and necessary.  Mandatory soft sweats, stretchy jammies, and soft sleeping/sports bras make a tremendous difference in our mood and comfort during the several weeks of postpartum.

Here’s a list with links to all of my favorite items for postpartum wardrobe and care:

Cleansing Face Wipes – I love these! They are perfect to keep in the nightstand for washing my face at the 3am feeding, if I haven’t gotten to it earlier. These are quick, no getting out of bed, no waiting for the water to run warm at the sink, no lathering, etc. : )

Dry Shampoo – always smells good and when you spray the roots, you actually get lots of volume. It’s a multipurpose product that helps you feel fresh and combats flat, day-old (or two or three) hair.

Perineal Spray – it provides healing and relief without the chemicals. The application is just a simple and light spray.

Feminine Pads – the length of time you may use these varies tremendously between 10 days or so to 6 or more weeks. I like the long and thin for most comfort and extra coverage at night.

Depends/Always Discreet Underwear – what the hospital provides is usually not tight or secure. It’s mesh and itchy and never stays in place. I brought these to the hospital and was so happy I did! I wore them until the package was empty which was just right. They are very comfortable, you feel very dry with no leaks, and they have a little built-in support for feeling covered and all tucked in.

Breast Cream – this is a must. I always use it consistantly for the first couple of weeks. I’m so afraid of getting chapped or worse. This balm gives very thick protection.

Nursing Pads – disposable is quick and you may not need them for very long. I like to wear them especially during the weeks I apply the breast cream since it can stain or leave a greasy residue on clothing.

Witch Hazel Pads – these are my secret weapon. I have used them for all of my postpartums (eight), and it feels very cooling and clean. I use them until the package is gone. First, I wear them over the pad, later, I use them to wipe and feel like the healing is coming along.

Underwear – just a couple of these help smooth out the middle-section so fabrics don’t cling in all the wrong places ; )

High-waisted Leggings – they cover the tummy when nursing for more comfort. These have a gentle compression that secures the post-baby belly and feels supportive on my back.

Seamless, Soft Sports Bra – I always wear one through labor and delivery and really for the first few weeks. It doesn’t tug or dig anywhere and you still feel supported. Later, when I wore regular nursing bras, I still wore these to bed for the comfort for sleep and ease of nursing.

Sweatshirt – soft and cozy adds a little comfort when you’re extremely tired. This works great when you’re too sleepy to change into pajamas.

Protein Drink – helped me get to the next meal if we were going to be out or if i was nursing/pumping and couldn’t get a bit to eat until a little later.

Concealer – this one is thick and a very little bit goes a long way. I’m still using it over a year later.

Audio Bible – listened everyday and brought so much joy to my soul. I would switch up the versions (a different reader with each one). I purposed to listen during my morning feeding/pumping session. It was very comforting and I looked forward to it.

Tylenol – when you’re not a first-time mom, afterbirth pains may be intense. I have sometimes taken it just to not think about it. Afterbirth pains should taper off within the first week.

Nursing/lounging Clothes – you may have taken some to the hospital, but if not, having a couple sets at home is very practical. You’re comfortable and discreet for visitors, but can slip into bed for a quick nap midday, too. It’s a wonderful feeling to change into clean clothes when there are so many messes around : )

Probiotics – I mentioned similar ones in a previous post regarding postpartum preparation. It was helpful to take them through the postpartum weeks to keep the digestive system regular. It may boost the immune system, so I take it in hopes to compensate for lack of sleep lowering my immune system.

Water Bottle – staying hydrated is so important! It will affect your milk supply. I like this kind because I can sip it while driving without having to tilt the bottle. It also doesn’t require two hands to unscrew when nursing.

Extra Set of Bedsheets – if baby’s diaper leaking and spitting up the whole feeding doesn’t convince you, then mom’s night sweats and midnight snacking in bed will. You’ll need another set of sheets for a 3:15am bed change. Choose natural fibers like cotton or linen.

 from our farmhouse kitchen with love, Damaris