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Friday, October 28, 2011

Super Easy Super Hero

So B Daddy and I decided the Squirt should be "Dash" from The Incredibles for Halloween this year. (What do you do once they are old enough to decide for themselves?!?) One of my goals for the time being is going to be to make at least one of my kids' Halloween costumes each year. My mom took care of #2 by purchasing this adorable ladybug get up... Dash's bad-guy-fighting gear was up to me to create.

Here's what I did:

I used a craft store piece of foam to cut out a mask, patterned/sized from an existing Green Lantern mask the Squirt loves.

A hand-me-down red sweatsuit worked perfectly as the body of the costume since it's 12 month size and fits pretty snugly.

I was really excited when we were given these boots...the Squirt loves them and they are black. Check! We had a sweatband laying around that just needed a quick Rit dye bath and it became the right color for Dash's belt.

The only sewing I had to do was to make the "gloves". I figured the little man wouldn't last long with actual gloves on, so I created tubes of fabric from an old t-shirt (what else?) and sewed them on to the sweatshirt sleeves so they wouldn't be pulled off before we hit the 'hood. (Bonus: the gloves cover up a too short sleeve.)

The most time consuming part of the costume was creating the Incredibles logo. Here's a mini-tutorial if you need to make your own Superman/Batman/Incredibles chest emblem in the future:

1. Do a Google images search and print your logo off the computer, approximately sized as you want it.

2. Cut a backing piece of fabric that each different colored piece will adhere to. (In this case - a black t-shirt.)

3. Cut out the detail pieces in appropriate colors.

4. Working your way from the very top color on your emblem (white in this case), heat-n-bond each piece to the next, until the entire logo is attached together.

5. Heat-n-bond the emblem to your shirt.

It seriously took 15 minutes. And I was trying to take my time.

So that's my Dash costume. I have to say I am pretty pleased. It was free except for the piece of foam to make the mask. (I'm also buying black face paint in case Squirt goes on a mask strike Monday.) What are YOUR kids being for Halloween this year??

Oh yeah - and I am hosting a Halloween party. Be still my heart. It's for the kids in the neighborhood...but I am decorating with a craft or two off my Pinterest Spooky Party board - I can't wait to share pics next week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My (Inerrant) Theology on Child Birth

Let me preface this post by saying that pregnant women everywhere are welcome to deliver their babies any which way they feel like having them and I will cheer them on and laugh and cry with them when they tell their labor story.

Let me also just say I usually try not to go proselytizing those of y'all who just want my Blueberry Cobbler recipe. But in this instance a little background is necessary, so bear with me if you would.

I have developed a theology on child birth that informs my feelings and thoughts about the matter and since enough people have asked me about my plans for Numero Tres, I figured I would just go ahead make my stance on the subject public.

Most readers will be familiar with two little Biblical characters named Adam and Eve. In the Old Testament creation story this happy couple are frolicking about in paradise when they decide to break God's one and only rule for them.

Consequently, God hands out some punishments, (in addition to the whole - separation from God for eternity thing...) One for Adam, and one for Eve. Adam's goes something like: working will be hard and you will sweat and toil to obtain your food. (Paraphrase entirely mine, Gen 3:17-19) Eve's punishment is given one verse earlier (Genesis 3:16) and is pretty cut and dried:

"I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children."

So let's review mmm k? Painful childbirth is a curse and a punishment. Straight from the mouth of God.

Now - some good news comes to both men and women in the New Testament. And here's where theologians have come up with two fancy terms: saving grace and common grace. Saving grace refers to the gift of Christ's sacrifice, which fixes the whole separation from God for eternity thing.

Common grace (the grace most related to child bearing and my point in writing this post) refers to the grace of God that is common to all mankind. "Common" because it is intended for the whole human race and "grace" because it is undeserved and sovereignly bestowed by God. (Definition Wikipedia)

Examples of common grace for moms include: nap time, coffee and my personal favorite - The Epidural.

I love dearly and truly admire all of my friends who have taken Bradley classes and eschewed medication in favor of a painful Natural Childbirth. That is insane and amazing.

I however, feel that I would be remiss were I to forsake the marvelous and amazing common grace given to modern woman in the form of the epidural. My God has providentially and graciously provided a way out from under the punishment of painful child birth. I give thanks for my coffee. I give thanks for nap time. And come April 2012, I shall once again give thanks for The Epidural.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Favorite Flat Apple Pie

For those of you who have a counter full of apples from your recent trip to the orchard or who just can't resist 88 cents a pound at the grocery is the easiest apple pie recipe you will ever come across. (Besides the one that goes, take Mrs. Smith's out of the freezer, put in oven for 90 minutes.) I served this when we hosted small group at our house this week and it was so perfectly fall I swooned.

Flat Apple Pie - Makes 2 pies
Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

5 peeled and sliced Granny Smith Apples 
(Granny's are great in a pie since they don't turn to mush with the baking and the sugar, but don't let having the wrong variety of apple on your counter keep you from making this right now)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 pie crusts (I've used Pillsbury and I've used homemade...they taste approximately identical) 
6 Tbsp butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients.

2. Roll out two pie crusts into large circles, place on large (rimmed!) baking sheets
3. Place half the apple mixture on one crust and half on the other crust. (Rocket science)
4. Fold over the edge of each crust so that it covers 2 to 3 inches of the apple mixture. Don't fuss over this part, rustic is better!

5. Brush the crust with an egg white wash or do what I do and spray it with some Pam and sprinkle with raw sugar for some sparkle and crunch.
6. Dot the tops of the pies with chunks of butter.
7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is golden and bubbly. If the crust browns too quickly, cover the edges with foil until done.
8. Drizzle with jarred caramel topping, slice into wedges with pizza cutter and serve with vanilla ice cream. 

It's absolutely heavenly right now and not too heavy. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TV options: What Do You Do??

Yesterday evening I had a chance to hang out with some of my oldest and most favorite girlfriends and in the course of conversation discovered that B Daddy and I are the only ones in the bunch who subscribe to full-blown Bravo and HGTV-filled cable.

I was stunned. I kind of thought everyone had cable. I mean, except for my Amish friends who don't have a TV at all.

I brought the subject up because B Daddy and I are debating cutting the cord in December when our current specially priced package expires. So I'm my group of girlfriends an anomaly or are we? Do you have full-blown cable? Do you Hulu/Netflix/Roku it? Or do you have no TV at all?

Do tell.

Monday, October 17, 2011

#24 - Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Fall

I am feeling pretty awesome about the recent progress I've made on my 30 Before 30 list. Two weekends ago I crossed off #23 and this past weekend I crossed off #24. B Daddy and I took off on Thursday afternoon, leaving both munchkins in the very capable hands of their aunts and headed north.

Thursday we drove for three hours and ended up around the Nantahala National Forest, where we spent the night at at friend's lovely mountain home and ate a very very overpriced and sub-par three course dinner. We both took naps before going to dinner. That was probably the loveliest part of the day. Friday morning we got up bright and early and hit the highway. 7.5 hours later we had made our way Monticello.

I am a BIG history geek and love all things related to the Revolutionary War. I was born on the 4th of July after all; it might be inevitable. Monticello, if you've never visited, is simply beautiful. It is easy to see why Jefferson chose this plot of land for building his unique home. You can see mountains off one side and a beautiful valley of rolling Virginia hills off the other. The tour we took was short and informative (my favorite kind) and we had plenty of time to explore the grounds on our own. I had no idea Jefferson was buried here - and his descendants are still being buried here in the present day.

After visiting Monticello we headed to Charlottesville to eat dinner and spend the night. We booked a hotel last-minute (we had originally intended to camp out) and paid WAY more than we wanted to after calling a dozen different hotels for availability. Turns out UVA had their Homecoming game the following day...whaddya know. Being in a college town the night before a football game is always a fun experience though (especially in the South) and we loved the people-watching.

Saturday morning we were up early again to hit the main attraction - the Blue Ridge Parkway! I was seriously giddy. I kept squealing for the first hour we were on it. But was very different than I expected...I thought it would meander through quaint towns along the way south...but it truly is just a scenic parkway. No gas stations, no quaint towns, just scenic overlooks (every hundred yards) and rest stops. The scenery in Virginia was truly breathtaking - you've got George Washington National Forest (aka mountains) to your left and the Shenandoah Valley (aka rolling hills with mountains beyond them) to your right. Oh yeah and leaves at peak color. Gorgeous.

3 hours into our drive Saturday morning we realized we had barely driven 120 miles. This was going to take a lot longer than I anticipated. At this rate, we wouldn't make it to Asheville until well after dark. So a little after lunch time, we broke away from the parkway and took a local highway that paralleled the parkway for the next hundred miles. It was still slow going, but we passed through some quaint towns and were able to get gas and some provisions before jumping back on the parkway around Boone, NC. From Boone to Asheville the parkway scenery is absolutely STUNNING. Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls and all the other landmarks in that area were breathtaking. I think my mouth was open the whole time. I highly recommend a weekend trip to Asheville just to drive the mileage in and around that area. Stunning I tell you.

We spent the evening in Asheville at a super swanky hotel - got massages in the morning! - and had a nice breakfast with the local hippies and protesters in Downtown Asheville Sunday. I'm still trying to understand exactly what the Occupy Asheville movement is all about.

This will be our only real vacation prior to Number 3's arrival...and it was such a relaxing time; no whining toddlers, no cooking, no dishes, no laundry, did I mention no whining toddlers? No crying babies either. :) It was wonderful. Thank you to Aunt Anna and Aunt Allie for the gift of watching the kiddos!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Maybe The Best Way to Get Over Yourself

I just read this post by Gypsy Mama and found myself nodding along with each sentence. You'll probably only want to click over if you're a mom in the trenches or a husband who wonders why his wife has become a different person in the past few years since having a kid....but it's worth reading if that's you.

I'm a person who has desperately needed to get over myself since I was born. This mothering thing is possibly the only thing in the world capable of accomplishing that task.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We Survived! (Camping with an Infant and a Toddler)

We did it!! I'm thrilled to report that everyone survived our mini-camping trip and I'll venture to say we even had a good time. A few tips from our experience if you want to take your (little) kids along for your next camping adventure...

Bring a BIG tent. Our loaner had room for an air mattress and TWO pack-n-plays. It was seriously big. I'm pretty sure the kids slept as well as they did because it was so similar to being at home.

Pick your camp site wisely. Ours was at the far end of the campground next to the playground (clutch!) and faced the lake. We had a gorgeous view, only one set of neighbors to annoy and the white noise from the water lapping against the shore helped put everyone to sleep. Oh yes and we were a short walk away from the bathhouse. Very important when you have the newly potty-trained with you.

Make peace with dirt. Your kids will be dirty. Your tent and gear will be dirty (our kids never quite mastered taking their shoes off before coming in the tent.) You will be dirty. Get over it. This is camping. It's just a day or two and clothes and hands can be scrubbed up.

Keep meals simple. For dinner my sister pre-prepped chili, so all she had to do was throw the dutch oven on top of the fire while we were setting up camp and dinner was ready. For breakfast I made muffins ahead of time, brought bananas and cooked a big skillet of scrambled eggs in the morning. (My mom had the brilliant idea of cracking and whisking the eggs together in a gallon Ziploc ahead of time, which was key in getting breakfast served quickly.)

Make S'mores. Duh.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Sweet B has been in the habit of waking up SCREAMING at approximately 4am for the past several weeks. Here at the house we just let her cry, as she's not sick and there's really no telling why she's doing it. We crank up the white noise in our room and she quits eventually (she's silently sleeping when we wake up). We figured this might not go over well at camp, so we mentally prepared to get up with her immediately and walk her around camp. This was my privilege at 5am. And I think I handled it rather well (if I do say so myself) because I was expecting it. She fell asleep after 10 minutes of walking, so I headed back to the tent, where she woke and started screaming again as soon as I tried to lay her down. So off we went again...this time accompanied by B Daddy. It was actually quite romantic, walking in the dark early morning, holding hands and looking at the stars. The best part was the sleep I got after she went down at 6am...I think it was the soundest sleep I had all night.

Bring your Camera. I forgot mine. So the only pictures I have were these, taken on my iphone.

Do any of y'all have a camping trip planned soon? Or tips of your own to share about camping with little ones? The weather in so many places is absolutely perfect for camping right now! In fact, B Daddy and I enjoyed it so much, we're skipping a hotel one night on our upcoming long weekend away and pulling out the tent again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gone Camping

We are heading north today to fulfill Numero 23 on the list - taking the kids camping!

We've had a countdown on the chalkboard all week long. (I know I've got mad art skills.)

We bought this on Tuesday. (It's a lantern. A Lego lantern! Which I definitely lobbied for. Isn't it awesome!? I'm a total sucker at REI.)

And this was set up in our front yard all day yesterday.

This may be a total nightmare, or it could be the best thing ever. Who knows until you give it a try? I'm definitely not gonna pretend that we're roughing it....B Daddy and I have an air mattress and both children will be corralled into pack-n-plays for the evening. The plan right now is to meet my sister and brother-in-law (and their two toddlers) at a campground about an hour north of our home on tonight.

Chili is on the dinner menu to be followed by s'mores (but of course!) for dessert. We're hoping the kids will conk out before 10 and sleep until at least 6:30. :)

Saturday we're going to eat breakfast, break camp and head to Ellijay for some apple pickin' - our third year in a row! - and pumpkin patchin'. Why stretch the autumn activities out when you can cram them all into one big day of craziness, right??

Come Monday I'll hopefully have a few helpful tips about camping with toddlers. (With any luck, something other than, "don't do it!!") Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And Baby Makes Five

Bada bing baby! The Leipprandt clan is expanding yet again.

I know I know... our fan club has been pestering us for ages as to when we were going to have another kid. Turns out April 8th is the doctor's best bet.

As of today I'm 13.5 weeks pregnant. And -oh yes- have already gained 10 pounds. Feel free to take a second to revisit this picture to reference what I looked like 10 pounds ago. -Sigh- See you next summer waistline.

A few more details for those of you who are into this kind of thing:

- We found out I was pregnant this time the same way we found out with #2 - the sudden and inexplicable presence of a belly at week 5. Week 5 people. Yikes.

- We are TERRIBLE at natural family planning. I will no longer give advice on the subject. Not that I ever did.

- The Squirt was tasked with bringing the pregnancy test results over for Yours Truly and B Daddy to see. Neither one of us felt our legs were up for the journey from the edge of the bed to the toilet and back.

- I thought the test was negative at first.

- B Daddy informed me after my sigh of relief that two lines means Baby.

- It took several days for me to get excited about the new resident in my belly. I hope that #3 understands that one day.

- I have been ridiculously nauseous for the past 5 weeks and have a newfound appreciation for Zofran.

- Being ridiculously nauseous hasn't slowed my weight gain. What can I say? "Will Throw Up For Chocolate" is apparently a thing.

- We are out of bedrooms at the house. Baby #3 will most likely sleep in our (spacious!) closet for its first few months. I've floated the idea of renting a room for the newborn at a neighbor's...early responses haven't been overly enthusiastic.

- I am (naively?) optimistic about the prospect of having children share rooms. It feels very Brady Bunch to me.

- If someone had told my 18 year old self that she'd have three kids in three years before she turned 30 she would have vomited or died laughing.

Most days now I can just shake my head at that control-freak of a girl who occasionally often rises to the surface. This is the life that God is shaping for us and it is proving to be far more interesting than the neat little life I had planned out for myself.

I'm sure I'll post a belly pic or two in the coming months. We're currently taking any and all name suggestions. (But please - no need to submit anything already on this list.) The baby's sex will be announced within a month or so, but the winning name shall remain a closely guarded secret until the big day.

Say a prayer for us and then feel free to call and schedule any babysitting you'd like to do in advance. I'm sure the calendar will fill up quickly! 

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