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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

When given license by B Daddy to buy the dining room lights I had been coveting for years - I had a feeling this little project might snowball into a redecorating frenzy of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" proportions.

If you give a mouse a cookie....
He's going to ask for a glass of milk.

And if you give a mouse a glass of milk...
He'll probably want a straw.

And if you give him a straw...well, you get the picture.

Because our family room and dining room are really one big living space and we've now started in on the dining room, I am feeling the need to "do" both rooms at once.

If you give Katie a new pair of lights above her dining room table...
She's going to think her table needs to be moved to be centered beneath them.

And if you center the dining room table beneath these lights...
Her sideboard is going to look out of scale.

If you decide to replace the sideboard...
The artwork hanging above it will need to be replaced as well.

And if you change your artwork...
You should probably re-paint the walls of the living area to match.

If you re-paint the walls of your living area...
Your old couches are going to look shabby in their spruced up environment.

And if you replace your shabby couches...
You might as well replace the rug they are holding down with something more kid-friendly.

If you get a new kid-friendly rug...
You should get a kid-friendly coffee table while you're at it.

AND if you do all of the above...
You're going to need curtains, accessories and a large budget to boot.


Squirt Alert

Just thought you might want to see how big the little man is getting!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Buh Bye Ceiling Fan

Up until last week the crowning glory of our little dining room was this ceiling fan - circa 1979.

Made lighting that candle centerpiece down below a bit tricky.

I have been searching high and low for a replacement since the day we moved in (it was actually a line item on "the list"). About 2 years ago, I found this. Unfortunately it was out of our budget, especially since I was convinced we needed not one, but two of them. So I continued looking, determined not to sacrifice classy lighting for the sake of the budget or vice versa.

Finally last month B Daddy looked at me and said, "you know what? Go ahead and get them. I think they're worth it."

WOOO HOOO! So I jumped online - but instead of going directly to I decided to Google the name of the lights- and wouldn't you know this site popped up! Whoa! Those are my lanterns...but those lanterns are...HALF THE PRICE!

Sweet patience. Thank you for your reward.

Check them out in all of their budget-friendly glory. I'm in love.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Smitten Kitchen's Granola Bars

I just pulled these out of the oven.

You must try them.

Editor's Note: After baking 3 batches of these bad boys, I've determined that what you do after you pull them out of the oven really makes a difference in how well they hold up.

Let them cool for at least 20 minutes in the pan, then transfer to the fridge for an additional 30 minutes. Cut them into squares cold and store them in plastic wrap in the freezer. It keeps the granola from going soft on you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Oh my goodness I'm finally done. Sort of.

I read with intensity the first three chapters of this book, read with determination the second three and skimmed the last two just to be able to say I had finished.

Here's the skinny on this famous self-help/improvement book:

HABIT 1 - Be Proactive
I loved this chapter. All about choosing what you do with your life and not letting life "happen" to you. It was very helpful in crystallizing my decision to leave my job.

HABIT 2 - Begin with the End in Mind
This was also GREAT. The idea is to think of your life from the end...what would you want said at your funeral? What do you want your legacy to be? Are you moving in that direction today? What can you do to start?

HABIT 3 - Put First Things First
Very useful. Mainly about time management...the key takeaway for me was to prioritize those things you need to do that are "important but not urgent." The author talks about the fact that most of us spend our days tending to things that are urgent (whether important or unimportant) and end up neglecting the important non-urgent things (like building relationships).

My favorite sentence, "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." HUGE for me to learn how to do!

HABIT 4 - Think Win/Win
This is where I started to drift. Very repetitive. The title really explains the whole concept.

HABIT 5 - Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Great concept...VERY repetitive chapter! The idea here: listen first, talk if/when necessary. A good goal for me. : )

HABIT 6 - Synergize
I hate the word synergize. It conjures up all sorts of business-speak conferences and Tony Robbins-type events. I really couldn't tell you what this chapter is about...sorry!

HABIT 7 - Sharpen the Saw
Basic concept: It takes many many hours to cut a tree down with a dull saw. Spend the time to sharpen your saw regularly and you'll save yourself time in the long run. Talks about renewing yourself Physically, Mentally, Socially/Emotionally and Spiritually.

All in all?

The book highlights some key principles which will undoubtedly help you in your personal and professional life if you are able to internalize them and put them into action. I would recommend it if you find yourself in a slump and in need of some motivation personally or professionally. Just be ready to do some skimming or you're going to be reading this one for a while!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Day

This kind of snow in Georgia is a VERY rare occurance.

We were caught without sleds, shovels or snow scrapers.

But all the same...the Squirt was bundled up,

B Daddy learned that I am a seriously committed snowman-maker,

And all kinds of non-winter sporting equipment was pulled into service in the name of getting outside to enjoy the white stuff.

What did you do in the winter weather today!?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Because it's Supposed to Snow Today

(Hit the Play arrow)

I can't wait for Spring!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Home Improvements 2010

After almost 5 years of making this little ranch our home and working hard to put our pennies away according to the guidance of Dave Ramsey...we finally have some free cash to do a little home renovating/decorating.

You'll remember that first up was our little headboard addition taken from the list of un-finished (and un-begun) house projects I wrote up approximately 3 years ago.

In the interest of accountability and because I like sharing the days of our lives with you, I thought I'd post a new list here:

Casa Leipprandt's 2010 Facelift

Re-paint the house Jan 2010
Install new front door Feb 2010
Paint the front porch March 2010

Living Room:
Decide on & purchase new couches (or couch + two chairs?)
New coffee table
New rug
New curtains + rod
Paint the fireplace?

Dining Room:
Chandelier (to replace ceiling fan) March 2010
Replace crown molding
New hutch/console table
New artwork
Install molding under chair rail?

Stainless steel sink
Granite/Quartz/Silestone countertops
Crown molding
New light fixtures
Re-tile backsplash
Raise cabinets
Sand & re-paint all cabinets
Install free-floating shelf under cabinets
Build banquet seating
New butcher block surface counter-height table
Stools for table
New appliances!? : )
Chalkboard pantry door project?

Master Bedroom:
New chair for corner of room
Matching side tables
New lampshades
Mirrors above headboard
Artwork/decoration for center wall
New ceiling fan
Paint crown molding
New headboard

Master Bathroom:
Tile where current linoleum is

We'll be picking and choosing projects to start (and hopefully finish) this year and I'm hoping for some design advice and opinions from the peanut gallery along the way. And yup, recently finished projects are included because that's how I roll. I also like to make to-do lists that include "brush teeth" and "eat lunch" so I'm assured of some real progress throughout the day.

There are certainly more to be added to this list...but I'm pretty pooped just thinking about these. And that new front door slated for February 2010?

Stay tuned!!...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

Being sick for an entire month means eating lots of soup. And when eating lots of soup it's inevitable that you'll consume some Chicken Noodle Soup along the way, it being the king of soup and all.

If you're cheap an experienced  cook like me, you'll be making a lot of whatever soup you're consuming and you will, after many trials and tribulations, discover that this chicken noodle soup is the king of all Chicken Noodle Soups - and that's sayin' something.

It's adapted from The Lady's (that's Paula Deen y'all) Chicken Noodle Soup. Because I wouldn't want you to be sick for an entire month before discovering how wonderful this soup is, just take my word for it. And make it. Make it tonight. You'll thank me tomorrow.

Chicken Noodle Soup - Serves a small army
  • 14 cups chicken stock - make your own using this method please
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops (like I told you before, NEVER throw away celery tops!)
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles (I used whole-wheat shells and it was yummy)
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken 
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used dried...I'm sure fresh would make this even better)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, optional (Most definitely NOT optional)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, optional (Again, NOT optional. Ignore Paula.)
  • Seasoning salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Add Italian and lemon-pepper seasoning to stock in your largest stock pot and bring to a boil. 
Add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes.
Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. 
Add the noodles and cook according to directions on package. When the noodles are done - add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry and rosemary. 
Add Parmesan and cream, if using because it's the right thing to do. 
Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper.

Enjoy with some Artisan Bread of course!

I am not kidding - this is the real deal. I can't even look at Campbell's anymore.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Passionate Parenting

I think I was sick 20 of the 31 days of January... which meant that during nap time I was napping instead of writing (or vaccuming or cooking). I also just haven't had a lot of words lately.

But I was finally thinking some thoughts this morning that I wanted to share with you...

One of my occasional indulgences is watching The View. On behalf of stay-at-home-moms everywhere, I will admit I am more than a little ashamed to write that...I can just hear my dad now, "stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason Katie." Oh well. My name is Katie and I watch The View. Sometimes I'm folding laundry or feeding E and sometimes I'm just watching.

The other day "the ladies" were talking about the conflict women have between working and raising a family and the pros/cons of starting a family early vs. focusing on your career, etc. Whoopi Goldberg said one thing that stuck with me as I went on with my day, which was, "You have to be passionate about parenting."

And I thought to myself, you really do. To be a great parent anyway. It's no different than any other pursuit in life.

That's one reason I decided to quit my part-time job this week - so I could give myself more wholeheartedly to Eli when I'm at home. That's why we decided that we wanted to homeschool our children. It's something I'm passionate about, raising the children God gives us to the best of our ability.

But some days there doesn't seem to be a lot to get passionate about. The house is messy, the weather is icky, the Squirt is cranky and passion seems to be about the furthest emotion from my heart. Those are the days you just have to suck it up and push through.

And all of this brings me to what I wanted to share this morning: I read a blog called Ragamuffin Soul. The blogger behind the blog, Carlos Whittaker, used to lead worship at our church among other things. He is a passionate parent. The real reason I read his blog is for the occasional times he posts things like this:

Just being a dad. But parenting from the heart.
Passionate parenting. That's what I'm striving for today.
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