My bags are packed

A few musings on packing…and though, we all love a good bag, tote, or container –for today we’ll just focus on the inside. It’s what counts anyway, right?


The first thing that came to mind with packing is care packages. It’s one of my favorite things to give and receive! I think it can be a lost art in the days of internet shopping and Amazon Prime. That being said, it can mean even more now because of the time and thought it requires. Here’s my list of easy and inexpensive things to pack in a Christmas/birthday/get Well/any day package. (Remember my love of the dollar store? So many great care package finds can be had there–I’ve starred the ones below I’ve found and bought from my Dollar Tree.)

The joy of a package from Grandma! She’s the best. This particular one came just days before our now toddler was born. He came early and it was a tough time for everyone. Packages are a great way to brighten dark days.

  • Vitamin C cough drops, mints in a cute tin, or fancy gum.*
  • Travel toiletries*. I especially love the single serving face masks!
  • Small office or desk items like post-its, fancy tape, or a cool pen.*
  • A magazine, journal, or sticker book*!
  • Homemade treats like banana bread or fudge puddles (the trick here is to put them in the box frozen and they’ll arrive just right and not yucky).
  • For kids, homemade play-dough with a few accessories is always a hit. Get a big set like this one and then split it between several packages/gifts.
A package we made for Operation Christmas Child (

The only MUST HAVE item in a care package is a note. Handwritten is best. It doesn’t have to be long but just a little love on paper. Even better, add a picture of your kids, recent vacation, or funny meme in the envelope.


On Saturday I will be 37 weeks pregnant and despite the fact that I don’t think I will be going into labor until I am induced, I decided it was about time to pack a bag for the hospital. After watching many videos and reading lots of articles I have come to the conclusion that I am a hospital minimalist. There are so many LONG lists out there, and I really can’t imagine using half of that stuff. Here is my list, let me know what I am forgetting, I’m sure there is something.

For me:

• Clothes – Nursing Tops, coming home outfit, socks, flip-flops
• Toiletries – A few make-up essentials, lotion, Blistex (a Rane girl requirement for life), hair ties, these awesome headbands that my husband gave me for Christmas
• Nursing/ Carseat cover
• A little notebook to record the birth story and thoughts/ feelings
• Electronics and chargers

Nursing Tank, over sized gray t-shirt, lightweight hoodie, I am opting for basic Old Navy flip-flops over slippers

For Baby:

• Swaddle blanket – I have this Copper Pearl beauty and still need to pick up a white muslin one.
• Clothes – A few onesies and a special coming home outfit.
• Misc – Baby Fingernail Clippers, NUK binkies (because some hospitals are anti-binkie, and the NUK ones are so much cuter than those other ones everyone is using right now), hair bows

Probably the thing I have put the most thought into, which bow to bring?? I know red and pink don’t always go together, but I thought the red dainty one was super appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I love all the bows from Modern Piggy!

Things that didn’t make the cut:

• Fingernail polish – I do need to get a pedicure before she comes, but are people really doing their nails while they are in labor?
• Toilet Paper – My husband and I can only assume that this is a one-ply vs two-ply debate. I figure I am paying the hospital a nice fee to provide some basic necessities. (I am also skipping any feminine products, nursing pads, diapers and wipes – I think they can provide what I need until I get home.)
• Bedding/ Pillows – I debated this. I am a fan of traveling with my own pillows, however, I don’t plan on getting a great night’s sleep in the hospital even with my own pillows and don’t really want to bring anything that I can’t throw in the washing machine when I get home.



If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know this summer we lived in Stanley, Idaho. One of my jobs there was packing daily lunches for white water rafting trips. The load totally depended on the day and how many people we had going out on the lunch trip. This meant I could be packing 1 to 4 coolers similar to this one, holding everything necessary for a “gourmet river lunch”. Some days it was like food tetris trying to fit everything into just one cooler! If only one boat was going out (which could be 7 people) all of their lunch had to fit into one cooler. As opposed to other rafting companies our lunch camp was on the other side of the river from the road. This meant you rafted down the river with your lunch, making fancy dishes much more appreciated. This included a chicken entree wrap, pasta or quinoa salad, Caesar salad, and of course chocolate chip cookies! There were always those that were gf, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, or had other dietary requests that added more dishes. I learned quickly that the sizing of Tupperware was very important and that chopped lettuce can be compressed into quite a small zip lock bag. Some days it was really difficult to guess how much food was right for say 54 people, but after packing lunches every day of the summer it got to be kinda fun. I’m thoroughly prepared to pack food for any rafting or camping trips we take this summer!

Kale quinoa salad with grapes and vinaigrette. One even the rafters and my husband loved!

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