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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Making an Entrance

Some people use their front doors; we Leipprandts prefer the garage. 99.9% of the time if we are entering our house, we are coming through the garage.

In fact we use the garage so often that neither of us has a house key on our keychain...

Last Easter, around the time I was becoming hugely pregnant, B Daddy began a new routine of locking our garage door (that opens into the kitchen) before we went to bed at night. I can only theorize this new protective measure had something to do with primitive fatherly instincts kicking in.

Typically we'd unlock the door as we left for work in the morning and it would remain unlocked for the rest of the problem.

Well on Good Friday of last year our kind friends Chad and Carlyn invited us to a concert and graciously offered to pick us up. Around the time they were set to come by it began to rain; so I determined that leaving through the front door would result in the least amount of time spent in the rain and would also help us look like the pair of grown-ups that we were. (Something about using the keypad to shut the garage door feels very middle school to me.)

I didn't bother voicing this rationale out loud - figuring that if I did B Daddy would look at me as he so often does and wonder why I felt the need to agree on an exit strategy fifteen minutes in advance of our departure.

So the car shows up, my pregnant belly and I waddle toward the front door, B Daddy right behind.

Step outside...
Scurry towards the car....
Front door slams....
...OH S%#T!

I turned to look at B and knew without a word that on this particular night he had in fact already locked the garage entry door for the evening. - Sigh -

Not wanting to make our friends wait, or get any wetter...we both laughed it off and hopped in the car, figuring we had a few hours to agree on a entry strategy upon our return.

Several hours later, the concert ends, we arrive back home and are now confronted with the reality of our situation. First we open the garage to ensure that B had truly locked the back door and not imagined it. Confirmation - we're locked out.

Not to be discouraged, we (and by we I do mean our husbands) run around the house looking for an open window. Ha such luck.

Finally B Daddy decides to give 'er the old heave ho.

You see the bottom lock doesn't usually catch properly; which is why we have been wanting to replace this door for quite some time. B Daddy figures that the door is most likely only barely locked and a stiff shoulder or two should be all it takes to get us inside.

So he backs up, turns his shoulder to the door and WHAM!


"Man - are you sure you want to do this?" Chad asks B.
"Oh yeah...we've been meaning to replace this door anyway," B Daddy confidently replies.

Undeterred....he takes a new angle, a few short steps and....THWUNK!


At this point, Carlyn and I start to giggle. I don't know why it was so funny...but at the moment, it was absolutely hilarious to watch. Chad was laughing too.

Another attempt....CRAAAAAAAAAACCCK!

Hmmmm. The wood paneling of the door gives way in a crack about 2 feet long. The lock? Still holding out for a key.

Carlyn and I are now doubled over holding back tears of laughter...which means I am also furiously using what little muscle control I have left to keep myself from further deteriorating our situation by peeing.

B Daddy recognizes the futility of the situation and is now laughing along with the rest of us - which makes his continued body slams against our apparently stalwart door grow less and less effective.

"Um....are y'all AAA members?" Chad asks.
"Yeah we are...guess maybe we should give them a call," B Daddy replies, turning from the door and heading into the garage.

A few minutes later he comes out, AAA card in hand along with something else. Something shiny...something jingling.

"Huh. Looks like I had an extra key in my truck."

Insert key, jiggle, turn, click. The door swings open easily to our relief and substantial embarrassment.

"Well I guess now we're really in the market for a new front door."

To Be Continued....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sofa Paralysis

Help! We have come to a total standstill as far as interior renovations go because we cannot decide on couches.

In my heart of hearts I desperately want something like this:

But B Daddy is, ever so practically, - sigh- thinking of moments like this:

And this:

And oh yeah, this:

And therefore crisp off-white, sand or oyster colored sofas may not be the right choice for us right now...

What do we do?? I am OVER our brown couches that hide pet hair and spilled formula and the occasional smushed M&M.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thrift Finds

My quest to re-decorate the majority of our home has me in a bit of a pickle.

Ideally I want a home that evolves as we evolve, that looks collected and comfortable - not thrown together in one afternoon. In 10 years I don't want to walk into our living room and think, "this is SO 2010."

That said - I want everything changed. Yesterday.

So what's a girl to do?

Well I've taken a hint from the design blogs I've been reading lately and am hitting up an old stand-by, Goodwill.

I am hugely envious of bloggers who constantly brag about the great deals they score at thrift stores. A Queen Anne chair for $20! A vintage light fixture for $5! Seriously!? The closest thing to a vintage light fixture in our Goodwill is a builder-grade brass chandelier from 1994. What kinds of thrift stores are in these folks' hometowns?

Giving the matter a bit more thought, I realized that I currently visit my local Goodwill exactly twice a year. Once just before tax time to make a donation and once around the holidays to get a tacky Christmas sweater and/or a White Elephant gift.

So last month I wondered if maybe the issue was not the quality of the local merchandise but rather the frequency of my own visits. Maybe all of these bloggers are simply getting to the good deals more quickly than me.

I began frequenting our own thrift shops weekly to see if I could become one of those envied bloggers. (Reason #482 being a full-time mom is great. You can drop by Goodwill once a week.)

And whaddya know?!
I scored this.

And this.

On the same day! I was thrilled.

After a bit of spit and shine my $3 silver tray now looks like this:

And for $20...this mirror has greatly upped the sophistication level of our living room.

Where do you go for decorating inspiration? Magazines? Home stores? Design blogs?

What else can I do to achieve my evolved look??

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Perennial Plate

A good friend of mine from high school is now a chef and filmmaker (aren't we all grown up!?) and has recently combined his two vocations into an on-going project called The Perennial Plate.

It's a video series about sustainable eating - specifically in Minnesota - and he's producing short films each week for a year to document his eating adventures.

His first episode was just released and it's certainly not for the faint of heart...but if you like a good turkey on Thanksgiving you should probably watch it.

Check it out and if you enjoy watching, consider donating via

Episode 1 of the Perennial Plate: TURKEY from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Forward

Is it wrong to love daylight savings time so much?
The Squirt is still asleep and I'm on cup of coffee #2.

Not a bad way to start off this Monday....not bad at all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And the Gift Card Goes To...

Thanks to, we have a winner for our couponing contest...


It truly was totally random, but it clearly never hurts to be the first commenter. Thanks to everyone for taking a minute to tell me what you think about couponing, I really enjoying sharing and learning from YOU.

April shoot me an email with your grocery store of choice and your address and you'll be $40 closer to a killer shopping trip next week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is Cutting Coupons Worth It?

I apologize in advance to those of you who could not care less about couponing, grocery store trips or our Dave Ramsey budgeting trials and tribulations....but I know several of you are geeks like me, so this post is for you!

We have been tracking our finances on a monthly spreadsheet since July of 2007 - which means I have 32 months of spending history to analyze and average when I'm feeling particularly geeky. (Which is far more often than I will admit here.)

This week I decided to take a look at our "Grocery" line item and see if I could pinpoint a pre-couponing and post-couponing difference. Sometimes I really feel like I'm saving tons of money with my pile of coupons and then I wonder if maybe I'm spending the same amount (or more!?) and just getting more for it. I guess either result would be a good thing, but the goal in general is not to see how much stuff I can get for $400, but to supply our family for the month on the money we've allotted to groceries - and anything leftover means saving, giving or playing more.

(Editor's Note: Our "Grocery" budget encompasses perhaps more than the average family's. We buy all of our toiletries, cleaning products, diapers, etc. out of it. Since I shop at Publix for the most part, it doesn't make sense to me to have separate envelopes for those things.)

I can't remember exactly when I began couponing, but it was sometime towards the end of my pregnancy in 2009. So I thought I'd look at our grocery budget from Feb 08 - Feb 09 and then again from Feb 09 to Feb 10.

Here's how things shook out:

Pre-couponing ('08-'09) - $339.71/month
Post-couponing ('09-'10) - $364.43/month

An increase of roundabout 7%. Hmmmm. None of that can be chalked up to inflation (I told you I am a geek - I checked) as consumer prices fell ever so slightly on average from 2008 to 2009. But the post-couponing budget does include diapers and formula which we obviously never purchased before the little man was born.

(Here's where it gets real nerdy - feel free to check out if you were only sticking around to be polite.)

If you consider that we go through approximately 155 diapers (avg. price $0.21) and three canisters of formula (avg. price $18) a month, that's an additional $86.55 we're now spending each month on "Groceries".

Once you back that out of the budget for the 9 months E has been freeloading at Casa Leipprandt (joke!)...our monthly average drops to $299.51.
A decrease of almost 12%!! (12% sounds SO much better than forty bucks doesn't it?)

Which brings me to the main reason I wanted to look at this - I now spend 15-30 minutes each week planning my grocery store trips and cutting coupons. With a real savings of $40/month that means I'm getting paid anywhere from $20/hr to $40/hr to coupon.

As a full-time stay-at-home mom, I'm okay with that hourly wage...but maybe you're a lawyer, a nurse, a chemical engineer...does it make sense for you to coupon too?? Maybe not, unless you can do it much more quickly and save way more than I do.

So I'd love to know your thoughts...

Feeling relieved that you now have an excuse not to coupon? Is $40 a pathetic amount to get excited about? Do people with coupons make you angry? Is our budget way out of whack?

Let me know your thoughts and I'll award a randomly chosen commenter or emailer a $40 gift card to the grocery store of their choice! : ) (Ha! Now you're excited about $40....)

(P.S. Comments/emails will be accepted for drawing until next Wednesday at midnight EST - winner chosen next Thursday morning once I've had my morning coffee)

(P.P.S. Please only comment once! But feel free to encourage your spouse, child, or couponing geek buddies to comment as well.)

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