The Tutu Stage

Have a little girl? I can’t guarantee it, because I’m sure not all little girls in the world will find their cute selves in this stage, but for the most part The Tutu Stage, is real and alive. There seems to be many stages that most kiddos pass through as they grow — the pink, princess, the superhero, the pajamas all day (this is a favorite also) — and of course the tutu stage. Since I myself have fallen witness to this very adorable stage, I thought a full post on this adorable moment in time was required.

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Little Piñatas Favorite Books: His Second Year

This is my first “favorite book” post so far. A lot of that is because Little Piñata has quite a large book collection and for the most part it took him a while to communicate to us what his favorites were. Even though we read to him just about every night his first year, he never really showed preferences for which books he liked best. But, that has definitely changed now! There are some books I have read 3 times in a row at bedtime for so many days straight that I now have them memorized. He definitely loves “pull the flap” and other types of interactive books, and even though many of those flaps are now missing, a lot of those books have stayed in his list of favorites over the past year or so.

So, I have put together a list of Little Piñata’s favorite books so far.

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Feeding our Family for $300/month – Part 3

Previously in this series I have shared how we decide what we will eat all month. Now I want to get into the important part – the shopping.

I mentioned before that even though I plan monthly, I shop weekly. I try to do my grocery shopping on Friday or Saturday, when I can go without Little Lion in tow. I typically have to go to at least 2, sometimes 3 stores, so having him with me makes this take considerably longer. If I go alone I can be done in about an hour (plus, solo time out of the house is always a win when you are a SAHP!)

Once I have my meal plan in place, I create my shopping lists. These are crucial, and I try really hard to not buy anything that isn’t on the list (this is probably the MOST important part if you want to stick to a small budget!) Week 4 I accidentally went to Trader Joes without my list (for shame!) and you can tell there are a few things on there that I normally wouldn’t have bought. (Dark chocolate peanut butter cups? Don’t mind if I do…) I try not to make a habit of this, but toward the end of the month if I know I am pretty close to being within budget, I may splurge on a few things and not feel bad about it. I try to avoid this in the beginning of the month completely. This month, by week 4, I had come in under budget so far for the month, so I knew we had a little more wiggle room.

I am pretty old school when it comes to my grocery lists….I like to use a simple note pad. I know there are a lot of fabulous apps that you can use, but for me it is a million times faster to just write it down. I pull off one piece of paper for each week, plus a list for Sams Club. In total I will have 5 shopping lists. This month I actually needed to go to Sams Club twice (apparently LL cannot get enough of mandarin oranges!) so I had a 6th list this month.

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Birth Months

When Mr. Chocolate and I were thinking about starting a family, we sat down to discuss what would be ideal for us  as far as timing.  Mr. Chocolate is a teacher so he mentioned how many of his female co-workers often tried to have babies from April to June so they could roll their maternity leaves right into summer vacation, and maximize time with the baby. At the time I worked as a nanny and also had a similar schedule, as my kids went away for summer camp from June through August. As a nanny I didn’t have any form of maternity leave built into my job, and if I didn’t want to leave the  family I cared for in the lurch with my pregnancy, trying for a baby right around that schedule made the most sense for me as well.

Mr. Chocolate and I were very fortunate and lucky, as we know that it’s not always easy to time a pregnancy, when we had Drake in early June. I was able to have three months off in the summer with him as a newborn before returning to work in September with him in tow. When we decided to try for Juliet, we once again figured that June would be best to allow me to work for the longest time possible, as I did not think I would be returning to work the following September, and we were extremely lucky to have another June baby.

While I am not ready to have another one right now, I still like to dream ahead like I did when I used to plug in my period date to find out when a baby would be due.

I really like June for many reasons:

  • Parties can be done outside and you don’t have to worry about anything worse than a rainstorm.
  • It’s a summer birthday but school hasn’t ended yet, so kids will still be around to attend parties.
  • Our town doesn’t have a cut off date so it wouldn’t have affected Drake or Juliet either way, but June isn’t too early or too late to worry about cut off dates or red shirting.
  • June is 6 months from Christmas so it’s nice spacing and better on the wallets for mom and dad too!

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Greek Lentil Soup

This recipe is adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook, a fantastic collection of recipes from the famous restaurant on Vancouver Island. I can’t recommend this book enough – I usually scour the internet for sure-fire recipes with 4-5 star reviews, but with books, I find each recipe can be very hit and miss. Almost everything I’ve made in here has been fabulous, and it was a while before I even noticed it was vegetarian.

The key is the lemon, rosemary, and feta. A twist on this recipe would be mint instead of rosemary, but I haven’t tried that yet. I rarely have fresh herbs on hand, especially in the winter, so I use 1 1/2 tsp of rosemary and 2 tsp of dried oregano and omit sprinkling the extra rosemary on top the recipe calls for at the end.

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Pattern Play

I love me some good ol’ pattern mixing, and this season, I’m especially loving florals and stripes together. This isn’t a new pattern combo, but it’s one that’s getting a lot of play this spring into summer. I think the trick is to mix bold florals with thinner neutral stripes or larger stripes with a muted floral so that one pattern stands out without too much clash from the other. It’s a fun way to mix up your work wardrobe or add a new twist to more casual pieces.

Lucy Laught

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Quest for the Perfect Baby Soap

Before Miss H was born, I didn’t do a lot of research about baby soap. I knew that California Baby was generally considered to be a good brand so I bought a bottle of it. And while we liked it, at about $14.00 for 8.5 ounces, it felt a little bit pricey.

After that ran out, we picked up some Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash. A bit of a better deal at around $10 for 12 ounces, we liked it enough until we realized that Miss H was much more upset about getting this shampoo in her eyes. We still used it up – no need to be wasteful – but were on the hunt for something new.

In one of our monthly subscription boxes we received a sample of Babytime by Episencial’s Playful Wash. It has a fresh tangerine scent and doesn’t bother Miss H’s eyes. We were sold! Oh, and did I mention that it gets really sudsy? An added bonus. When the sample ran out we went ahead and bought a big bottle of it.

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