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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Best Cookies Ever

I love a classic peanut butter and chocolate combination in any kind of dessert. And cookies happen to be my most favorite kind of dessert. (Anyone a Gary Gulman fan? You have to listen to his Cookie stand-up bit...hilarious!)

So like I mentioned last week, B Daddy and I spent the weekend with the high school small groups we lead at a church retreat and I decided to make cookies for the occasion. Which turned out to be the best cookies ever as a matter of fact.

I wanted to involve peanut butter and chocolate naturally and M&Ms happened to be on sale at I put it all together and added some oatmeal for health purposes. ;) They turned out to be absolutely delicious. Make these fairly large so they stay nice and soft and serve with a glass of ice cold milk. Oh so yummy!

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker, makes about 30 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.

4. Use a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Imagination Station

Meet Baby Big Boy.

My grandparents gifted this beautiful teddy bear to SWEET B for Christmas this year and for whatever reason some time about a month ago the Squirt suddenly grew an attachment to it. I have no clue what gave him the idea, but one day out of the blue he picked the bear up and told me it needed a diaper. Um, okay. Ever eager to "play" with my kids when it's easy and non-taxing to me, I grabbed one of Sweet B's diapers and handed it to E. Whatever kid.

"Mommy he needs a shirt."

Oh my.

Once the bear was fully clothed (in Baby #3's wardrobe) the Squirt carried on this narrative all day. They went to the grocery store together, the bear ate lunch with us (according to E he's not a fan of applesauce) and the bear was a necessary participant at story time and bedtime. Along the way the bear became "the baby" which then one day became "Baby Big Boy."

So for the last couple of weeks I've been putting up with Baby Big Boy. The Squirt already has TWO comfort items that he sleeps with. A little dog named Monkey and a monkey named Big Monkey. Are you still with me? I feel like this may be confusing. Anyways, now his tiny little toddler bed is a menagerie and when he watches TV all three come along for the ride. Oh and Baby Big Boy has a mommy. A small white teddy bear kind of mommy. Sometimes she comes along too, but she's not a major player in the narrative yet.

ANYWAYS - the point is that I have been ignoring/indulging his make-believe, thinking this is probably some milestone phase for toddlers to go through and he'll get tired of BBB soon.

But after what just happened I'm wondering if maybe I need to put my foot down?

This afternoon I put the Squirt down for a nap at about 2 like always. BBB was tucked in next to him and had gotten a kiss and a night-night from me at E's request. I shut the door, came out to eat Pecan Sandies and read blogs and 45 minutes later heard an urgent cry of, "MOMMY!!" from E's room.

Now the Squirt is my go-to napper. The boy sleeps like a champ. We're talking 2 hours everyday at 2pm since he was 5 months old. I can count on one hand the number of times he's cried out from his afternoon nap in the past 885 days of his life. So while had the cry been Britain's I almost certainly would have ignored it, since it was E I got up instantly (as instantly as one great with child can get up) and hustled to his room to see what on earth was wrong.

"Baby Big Boy needs to poop Mom."

Utter and total confusion must have clearly registered on my face, because the Squirt urgently repeated himself.

"Baby Big Boy needs to go poop on the potty right now Mommy."

You've GOT to be kidding me.

But I indulged. Again. I was really in no mood to deal with a tantrum over BBB's bathroom habits, so I took the blessed bear out of E's room, hung out in the hall bathroom for a second (long enough to look at my un-made-up face, crazy slept-on-it-wet last night hair and belly button popping out from under an XL sized t-shirt and wonder whatever in the world happened to the cool sexy me) and then walked back in Squirt's room, telling Baby Big Boy just loud enough to be overheard how proud I was of him.

I tucked the bear back in, told E emphatically that it was nap time and not play time and left.

You veteran moms have surely dealt with this type of play. Should I let it just fade out on its own or "lose" Baby Big Boy sometime soon? Is that a bridge too far? Am I overindulging Squirt's imagination or helping him develop some super duper important part of his little mind? I'd really love it if I never had to pretend to take a teddy bear to the toilet again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Days and Counting...

A year ago today I posted this about Ash Wednesday and the important acts of self-denial and penitence I was planning to engage in for the next 40 days.

Today I'm sipping a Diet Dr. Pepper and scarfing the last of the Valentine's conversation hearts with little to no thought of self-denial in the next 40 days. You know what happens in 40 days right? Baby Boy Leipprandt is due to arrive on the scene. Easter Sunday. Granted, I'll likely be induced (no need to comment with your personal opinions please) a few days before the weekend, so that means in 40 days I'll for sure be sleep-deprived, bleeding, nursing and most likely crying.

Self-denial is just not in the cards for me in this particular season.

Nor apparently is blogging. I apologize for my uncharacteristically infrequent appearance in your news feed as of late. It's just that, well, I'm really very pregnant. I have just about enough energy on any given day for feeding and bathing the children and watching New Girl. After that, I'm spent.

And in spite of my lack of energy the porch is getting remodeled, so every afternoon when the kids go down for their naps and my uncle has wrapped up for the day I can look at the sunroom and say to myself, "Look what we accomplished today Katie! You sit down and take that nap."

And generally speaking I do.

But I want you all to be up to date with all the mundane intimate details of our lives, so here's a quick update:

  • The Squirt and Sweet B are sharing a room. It's ADORABLE. They have matching beds (hers is a crib, his a crib with the front panel removed...from Ikea....I love them) that are adorable and each night they kiss and hug before heading off to dreamland together. ADORABLE.

  • They also wake each other up in the morning. Before 7:30. This sucks. The last two days B Daddy and I have moved Brit back to her old room before we head to bed so she doesn't wake E up in the morning. This is my neurotic way of convincing myself I'm not backpedaling on the room-sharing thing and yet getting that precious hour to myself each morning. I know it can't last....but I have 40 more days gosh darn it.

  • The porch should be finished in another two weeks or so. It is beautiful already. I cannot wait to take a nap out there.

  • I went to Austin this past weekend with my sister to see where my dad works and we had a blast. We basically ate our way through the city. We also got pedicures without having to coordinate babysitting and shopped at what must be the world's largest Goodwill for two glorious uninterrupted hours. I spent $42, which is a record high for me at a thrift store. Maybe one day I will show you what $42 bought me... I was thrilled.

  • I am spending the weekend with 12 of my favorite girls. We have our annual in-town high school retreat Friday through Sunday and the topic this year is - Love, Sex and Dating. Phew! Please pray for us, it should be interesting as always.

  • I'm contemplating having a party for the Squirt where children other than his cousins are invited. Good idea, bad idea? Discuss.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week! Happy Ash Wednesday to you and I would love to hear if you're observing Lent this year, what the most money you ever spent at Goodwill was and what you would say to high school girls regarding Love, Sex and Dating if given the platform.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Room With a View

The porch is finally becoming more than a porch! Soon it will be a real room with a solid floor and glass windows. Here's what it looked like when we started:

There were a few other things out here, chairs and a rug, but for the most part it was this an unfinished, dusty, collegiate apartment-looking place

Note the unpainted hardiplank from when this door was installed oh 8 months ago? And the dangling strand of Christmas lights. This was one classy porch folks.

And then Uncle Tonny showed up and in a matter of days this is what we had

B Daddy and I stood out there over the weekend and admired the always-been-there-but-now-it-looks-better-somehow view. It was warm and cozy with the sun slanting in. I can already feel just how lovely naps out there are going to be.

...and the best part has been the toddler-entertainment factor of having a real life Bob the Builder out the back door. I will be so sad when Uncle Tonny leaves and I have to start playing with the children again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two New Chicks

Pullet - a young hen, esp. one less than a year old.

Having chickens here at Casa Leipprandt was my idea in the first place...if you'll recall I got very romantical about the notion of freshly laid eggs for breakfast and suburban farming and living off the land around two years ago. But after Charlotte's unfortunate demise I got used to just having Hester around. There's a lot less poop with one chicken. As a matter of fact, it's cut in half, if my math is right.

Not that I clean out the chicken coop all that regularly anyway. But with Charlotte gone and Hester not laying enough eggs to earn her keep, caring for another chicken seemed like a big (unrewarding) task. And one I wasn't up for what with my two toddlers pooping gracious plenty enough for this mama's liking.

Last week however B Daddy came home one day with two new chicks pullets. Um.....really??When did we have this conversation about the family addition? Oh that's right, we didn't. I feigned annoyance when he eagerly pulled out the apple carton they were hauled north in and told him, "coop poop duty is all yours now mister."

But then he let them out into our coop and it turns out they are GORGEOUS! And little. They are like pint-sized Hesters with different coloring.

Oh and Hester hates them. She's a total pullet-bully. Which in truth makes it way more entertaining to watch them all down there now.

The day of their arrival she stood guard at the entrance to the coop and pecked them if they dared walk the plank. She's mellowed a bit after a week, but she still stands in the middle of their run and plays Shark & Minnows with them as they try to dash across to get their food and water.

The internet people say that pullets start laying when they are around 6-8 months old. Not entirely helpful since I don't know how old they are now...but that just adds to the excitement. Never a dull moment around here you know.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Now We See in Part

I have a lot to fill you in on. We made some mega-big decisions around here about the co-habitation of our children and the porch renovation and there are now THREE chickens taking up residence in our palatial backyard coop (none of whom will lay a darn egg).

I'll get around to all of that I will.

But it came to my attention last night that my post about buying Fruity Cheerios inadvertently made another mama friend feel bad about her mothering/grocery store-ing skills. And that is a matter I feel needs to be dealt with ASAP.

I have a few things I'm good at when it comes to my newly-acquired mothering skills. I am good at feeding my children mostly nutritionally balanced (non-organic mind you) meals on a budget. I'm good at breaking into Disney songs without warning in the car. I'm good at snuggling. I'm good at not freaking out over a little blood (generally speaking of course.)

But when it comes to most other things...I am a serious work in progress. Patience is not my strong suit. I never knew I had anger issues until I became Mom. I don't like playing pretend. I usually make an exasperated face and sigh when my children wake up in the morning or from naps. I run out of joy, kindness and grace before lunchtime most days.

My sister? SO CONTROLLED with the tone of voice she uses with her kids.

My girlfriend Amy? JOYOUSLY SILLY with her little man.

My high school friend Lindsay lets her kid GET DOWN AND DIRTY when he plays.

Another mama I know from afar has done an incredible job of TEACHING RESPECT to her 6 yr old.

This lady's blog I read? She feeds her family of 6 way more healthily than I do on a budget that's less than HALF OF MINE.

I admire these women because I struggle with these things. I struggle not to yell and to just be silly at times, to get over the inevitable mess of play dough and finger paint and focus on the joy. To patiently correct again and again until respectful behavior starts emerging. To better myself and my children in our days together. And these women, in the snapshots of their mothering I see, seem to have it so much more together than I do. And I wanted to remind you and remind me that what we see in glimpses is not the full picture. What we read on blogs is the best, or the funniest, or the healthiest or the most noble of parenting moments.

But it's just a piece of the whole picture. They're not perfect. I'm not perfect. (Although I suspect you knew that...) So give yourself a little grace for today and go on being the best mama you can be. One Fruity Cheerio at a time.

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