Starting to Bento – The Best Boxes

Drake’s pre-school program next year will be on a different schedule than the one he is in this year. He will be there 4 hours instead of 2 1/2, and for the first time I’ll have to start packing lunches. Drake’s school is nut-free, which I imagine is the norm these days with the increase in peanut and nut allergies, but means that good ole peanut butter and jelly — a staple in our home for getting protein in — is out.

Drake isn’t the best eater; he’s non-adventurous and suspicious of anything new and even of things he has tried in the past at times. I myself don’t have a great relationship with food — I am picky and I don’t eat anything close to three meals a day, so this has always presented a problem when I am trying to instill good eating habits in my children. So this new lunch packing presents a whole new set of challenges for me as I try to find foods that don’t have peanut butter in them for Drake to bring to school.  I know school is still months away (September and we are only at April currently), but I realize that if I don’t start trying to widen Drake’s food palette now, it might be too late when September does roll around.  He will only go to school 2-3 days a week so in the end if he is hungry at school he can always come home to eat, but I need to find a way to make our eating habits better as a whole, both for school and in home.

I am very focused on always trying to get protein into Drake. He loves yogurt, peanut butter, and chicken nuggets. Carbs are his best friend so he eats no shortage of that. Dairy also is fine as he drinks lots of milk and will also have cheese (slices and in grilled cheese) and sour cream with meat. Fruits we do ok as well. He likes bananas, oranges, apples, grapes (sometimes), strawberries (sometimes), and blueberries (sometimes). Veggies however are where we stall out. I do find it strange as I grew up loving veggies. I still like them a lot, but I realize that I don’t really cook them often at all and thus we have a dearth of them in our home.

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Don’t forget to look out for number one….

I mentioned in my go-get-your-flu-shot post that we as mothers are so busy with our babies — feeding, changing diapers, running around for their doctors appointments, etc. — that it’s easy to forget about our own health and well-being. I had been dancing up to four times a week, 1-2 hours a day right up until the day I gave birth, and went I back at it at 5 weeks postpartum feeling great. Then 4 months later I suddenly became extremely exhausted after just one hour, to the point where I would be so inexplicably dehydrated until I went to bed. If I didn’t get enough water into my system (which was hard, because my stomach was literally sloshing around with all the water I was guzzling), I would wake up the next day with a migraine at 8am, throw up nothing but water at noon, and be out of commission in bed until about 5pm. That happened three times to me — once when my parents decided to visit so they were able to help me with the baby, and twice I just brought Winter into bed with me all day and she did fairly well.

A kind parent-baby instructor approached me and asked if I was feeling ok because it looked like I’d lost a lot of weight. A couple months after giving birth, the scale revealed I’d dropped 10 more pounds than my pre-pregnancy weight. I was wearing some perhaps not the most flattering clothes that day (skinny jeans and a baggy shirt that made me look like a Tim Burton claymation character), but I told her that I hadn’t been feeling awesome and I had been thinking about booking a physical. She encouraged me to do so. I contacted my gynecologist, but they didn’t want to see the whites of my eyes until a full year after delivery for a physical, and when I mentioned my migraines, they didn’t want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. I thought surely, it would be post-partum related? Maybe the baby, being older, was nursing more, and I needed more fluid intake to compensate? I made an appointment with my doctor, which involved a month wait. I went in for some blood work ahead of time, and got a call a few days later that everything turned up normal.

Ever since I was in college I drank water like I lived in the desert, to the point where one doctor warned me that I could deplete all my electrolytes and die like some athletes have. Yes, he told me I could die! And I was anything but athletic in college. I drank tonnes of water, and peed more than anyone I’ve ever worked with. Before I became pregnant, I dreaded how much more I’d have to consume and expel once I was pregnant.

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Children’s Books Every Adult Should Read

It’s no secret that I love children’s books. I love picture books, children’s chapter books, and young adult fiction (yes, I’m totally one of those embarrassing Harry Potter and Hunger Games fans!). I often prefer reading books geared for younger audiences because they are quicker-paced (I barely have time to read and need to read books that move quickly enough for me to keep up with), cleaner, and often have great, focused storylines.

Once in a while, I’ll read a children’s book that I want to shout about from the rooftops. Something about the story, the characters, and the way its written make the book something magical that should be read by not only children, but also by everyone else on the planet!

Here are some of my favorite children’s book must-reads:

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Transitioning to Daycare

A little while back I shared that Miss H will be transitioning from her nanny share to a daycare. When I wrote the post the changes still felt so far away. Now, we’re at less than 2 weeks away from big changes! Time is moving too fast.

Backpack on and ready for school!

When I originally shared about Miss H’s new daycare, it was still a very new center. So new, in fact, that it wasn’t even open yet! We’d made our decision based on how passionate the center director was about what she was going to do there, and how comfortable Mr. H felt with her (as I wasn’t able to visit). I’m excited to share that the center has been open for almost 2 months now, and a couple of weeks ago Mr. H and I were able to drop by for a visit.

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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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