About Me

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Nebraska, United States
A would-be stay at home mom working full-time as a teacher. I teach at my old Highschool, working side-by-side with my own teachers. I blog to keep the Texan grandparents updated and chronicle our life for future reference. (In other words, I don't have a real baby-book or diary.) Comments make my day. Thanks for stopping by! kimlepper at gmail.com

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Palate Pushers

I think it's funny when people ask if Jeremy and I fight/argue. They think we're this perfect couple.
I just laugh.

Yes, we do.
Fight that is.

But not over the usual stuff like money and the thermostat. Dave has taken care of the financial worries and, as luck would have it, we both loooooove a freezing cold bedroom.

What we fight over is food.

Jeremy is from Texas.
I'm from Nebraska.

We may as well be from Mexico and China.

Now, I'm not that picky. I have foods I don't like- but very little that I just can't swallow.

I'm not a fan of BBQ and hot dogs and can't stomach meatloaf (yes, I like meatballs, no they aren't the same thing) peas and ketchup.

Jeremy is picky. And has a very expensive palate.

He prefers steak, roasts, lamb, bacon- you get the idea. He avoids at all costs casseroles, ground beef (hamburgers are ok), creamy/cheesy dishes, and...as he just said, "I don't know what else...anything you like to make."

We both like Italian and Asian- but spaghetti, lasagna and stir fry gets old really quick, no matter how good the recipe.

After many tears (yes, I've cried over meal planning) and Sam's food allergies- I've given almost all food planning/cooking to Jeremy. I always wanted to be the homemaker that has meals ready for hubby when he gets home- but he's so darn picky and loves cooking, that duty has been designated to him. He cooks, I bake (cleaning is a whole 'nother issue).

But with Jer in charge and my food limitations in place, our food budget has been going out of control.

We've come to dread Fridays (new food budget) because the inevitable "What do you want to eat this week" question arrives, forcing us to stop and think.

Which really hurts these days.

We decided to give it a shot. Jer promised not to whine if there was a meal he didn't think he'd like.

So we paid the $15 for 3 months.

W.O.W.

CHEAP meal planning with grocery lists, recipes and all thinking done for you every week.
Considering we were going $15 over our food budget every week, it's already paid for itself! And the meals are EASY and GOOD and Jer loves getting creative with each one!

(This is also endorsed by Dave. They have options for families of 2, 4 or 6. Weight Watchers, low fat, low carb and vegetarian.)

Like I said- W.O.W.

Here's what we ate this week:

Beef Tips and Rice
We used pork. There weren't any leftovers with this one!

Skillet Burrito with Chips and Salsa on the side
The rice had already been cooked, so this took 15 minutes to make. And was so delicious!

Warehouse Soup with Cornbread Muffins
Because I don't like peas, I'd normally skip such a recipe (included split pea soup from a can). Boy, would I have missed out- SO yummy. Jer did his own thing with this- doctoring it up and substituting his own potato soup for the cream of potato soup. We also found a new breakfast item with the muffins!

Chicken Salad with Fresh Green Beans
I love chicken salad and am not one to try new recipies if I already have one I like. So I went out of my comfort zone for this one. I picked out the grapes, but devoured the rest!

Tilapia with Green Bean Casserole and Seasoned Rice
So, obviously there isn't a casserole or seasoned rice. That's because I cooked this meal and didn't want to wait 30 min for the casserole to cook. Plus I couldn't have the dairy involved in it anyway. And I like plain green beans and rice.

There you have it, folks. Another marriage crisis solved.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sneaky Saturdays

Today's post is number three in the seven week series of Seven Sneaky Secrets Vitamin companies hope you never find out:


Secret Number 4 I've got a Secret

The last three weeks of sneaky secrets were closely related to each other. This week is different. Many companies don’t reveal their proprietary formulas because they don’t want you to know what you’re getting. They list the ingredients in a complex or blend, then list the dosage amounts for the entire blend.

The problem with that is that companies mix inexpensive raw materials together with the expensive good ones. Unfortunately, many times the largest percentage of the mix is the cheap stuff.

Shaklee labeling does in some cases include proprietary formulas, but the difference is in their high standards for including only the highest quality ingredients in the formulations that give the best results. That means basing the formulation on actual science and clinical testing. Each supplement uses the necessary nutrients in the proper amounts for you to actually FEEL the difference in your energy level, your resistance to colds and flu, and to help with long term health.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Shh..you can hear Him chukling right now...

We went in for Samantha's 9 month check-up (14 lbs 10.5 oz!)

The doc let me go on a little about how High-Needs she is (NOT spoiled. Saying such a thing just proves you've never had one. Be glad, not judgmental.)

He actually had a solution.

"Really?! What?"

"Have another."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"I'm serious. Have another. Closer than 20 months. So you better get crackin'!"

At which point Jer's eyes lit up.

plan: wait 'til Sam was 2 to even consider another

plan: meh- whatever.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Now I Really Want to Roast Marshmellows

We got a package the other day from the in-laws in Texas!

(FYI comments and brown paper packages tied up with strings...these are two of my favorite things.)

With the Leppers, a package is never ordinary. We get bibs, printers, hats, phones and even plastic baggies.

Our favorite so far, however, is this:



Your eyes doth not deceive you.
That is a DVD of a roaring fire.

One of my NEW favorite things.

(Yes Tricia, you did good!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Typical Tuesday

A friend shared with me how to get a free pass to a yoga fitness place. This is extremely exciting for me as I LOVE yoga. Before I got pregnant I was going 2-3 times a week to a 90 minute power-yoga class. I had never felt so healthy- physically and mentally. I'm healthy now, just REALLY out of shape. I mean, good nutrition only goes so far. One must do something physical too (and as much as I've tried to rationalize it- laundry and cleaning the kitchen don't count, as exhausting as they can be).
I know, I know- walking is free too. So is running. Even the yoga DVD's that I bought (and used quite a bit years ago) are free to use now. But it's just not the same a going to a class.

Anyway, on to my question. I was so excited that I called my mom- a fellow yoga fanatic.

Or Former fanatic, as I discovered. Her response was a somber face with the warning to
"Be careful."

"Don't worry!" I assured her, "I know all the basics and know not to do too much too quickly."

"No, Kim, I mean spiritually. You're walking a fine line. "

Now, I don't want to be arrogant or tread ignorantly where I shouldn't, but- seriously? I've been doing yoga off and on since my freshman year in college. As far as I'm concerned, it's pure physical and mental relaxation and rejuvenation.

Yes, I do the "sun salutation" and "namaste"- is this anti-Christian or Catholic? Or is this another "Harry Potter is evil" controversy where I just say, "Ok mom, I'll be careful" and leave it at that?

Monday, February 22, 2010

21st Century Baby

I stood Sam in front of the laptop and I realized two things...

1) I'm pretty sure she's a south paw


2) Considering her hand position on the laptop and the way she handles the phone...I'm on the computer and phone WAY too much.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Christmas...in February

Some of you may have received a Christmas Card from us. If so, you should keep it for forever- it's a Lepper Family original and first.

Will be worth lots someday (like when printed photos are obsolete or something).

Anyway, for those of you who didn't make the snail mail budget cut (.44 cents a stamp are you kidding me?!) Here are some from the photo shoot, thanks to my sister Amanda. Plus some with the Sam and Cuz.

Nom nom...

Final Shot given to my mom (and dad) in a frame.

Joel wanted to give them this one.

First time meeting


Holy crap, someone smaller than me?!

Caption, anyone?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sneaky Saturdays

Today's post is number three in the seven week series of Seven Sneaky Secrets Vitamin companies hope you never find out:


Secret Number 3 Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Ever see those supplements that have dozens and dozens of ingredients listed on the label? Those so-called, “All-in-One” inclusive formulas are so weak, you’d have to take fistful of them to get any benefit. With the 30, 50, or more ingredients listed, the pill would have to be the size of a baseball to do you any good.

You would get more energy and nutritional value from eating one grape than from the small amounts of nutrients actually found in these types of vitamins.

Once again, Shaklee supplements are based on actual science, not marketing hype. Each supplement uses the necessary nutrients in the proper amounts for you to actually FEEL the difference in your energy level, your resistance to colds and flu, and to help with long term health.

Wear out your body, WHERE are you going to live?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kissing Cousins

A while back I mentioned being at the hospital every day for a week. I forgot to revisit why we went back after Jeremy came home- I became an AUNT! And I'm apparently a pretty bad one at that, considering she's more than 2 months old and I have yet to say anything about her here.

In all honesty, it's probably because subconsciously I'm horribly jealous. She's perfect. Doesn't cry. Sleeps. No allergies. Has daddy's eyes and mommy's mouth. Oh, and she's been smiling on command since she was two weeks:


Let's revisit Sam around the same age:


What, doesn't look that bad? Here' s the sound track of the first 2 months of her life.
(I'm still shocked that the hairdryer didn't short out with the HOURS it ran every day)

Let's do a another comparison, shall we?
















Classic Samantha- awake and grumpy



Classic Kahlan...not only sleeping but with a BINKY


Sam at 2 months:

Kahlan at 2 months:

*sigh*

Anyway, she's just too cute and I'm so glad she's here. Sam and Kahlan are gonna have a rockin' good time growing up together.

Or, at least Kahlan will.

Hopefully she'll rub off on Sam a bit.


























Thursday, February 18, 2010

9 Months

In 3 months baby will be a year. Wow. I'm finding myself saying "I miss being pregnant."

But am always quick to add, "NOT the newborn stage yet, though!!"

(Anyone who had a newborn that slept and doesn't understand what I mean just needs to slowly move away from the comment button!!)

So, nine month stats:

She weighs 14lbs, 12(ish) oz. (That's 2nd percentile!)

No clue how tall, just that she's too long for her 6 month pants.

The 24 oz of solids a day has finally calmed down. We're down to 12-15 oz a day.

She fits some 3-6 mo clothes yet (mainly because I'm not ready to pack them away) and 6-9 fits her, but are generally very loose in the waist region.

She CAN sit up and did for two whole days. She must have re-set herself the second night, though, as she is back to refusing to sit up.

She can't crawl, just does this:

video

(She's lucky she doesn't have carpet burn on her face!)

She loves doing this:
video

Is horribly afraid of this:

video

And her newest trick is this:

video

As far as baby sign language goes, she recognizes the sign for "nurse" (and did it in her sleep once), can do "more" and "all done"- but I'm pretty sure she has them mixed up.

She'll do "yea" again when she feels like it, loves giving me her phone for me to talk on it and squeals with delight at pictures/videos of babies (especially if they are of HER-little narcissist).

Oh, and if I put my phone on speaker-phone, she goes nuts jabbering (especially if it's daddy)! SO cute!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baby Cabin Fever


Looks like it will turn into a Spring Cleaning as well...


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Typical Tuesday

Time for class participation folks!

The other day I almost got in a car accident. Long story short, a kid was texting while driving. When I re-told the story the immediate response was, "Did you honk?" My answer was a resounding,
"Heck yes!"

However, the car next to me, who this kid also almost hit- didn't. My assumption was that his horn was broken. I mean, hello!- the kid made a left-turn into oncoming traffic without seeing the two lanes of cars coming right at him! Who wouldn't honk?! That's what the horn is for, right? To tell the car ahead of you to go when the light is green, and to tell someone who almost hits you that they almost hit you and it was their fault!

Right?

Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out WHY the guy next to me didn't honk. When is it appropriate to honk? And if the answer isn't the same, when do you personally use the horn?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Allergy/Planning Update

I thought I'd update how the whole food intolerance thing is going.

For future reference.

You know,
for when I need to slather some guilt on the child.
I don't want such details to get foggy!

Just a recap-
We were dairy/soy/beef/tomato/chocolate free.

When chocolate returned, I think I might have over-indulged. Just a bit. Gaining 5 lbs in a week is considered just "a bit" right?

When tomato returned I lived off Jer's spaghetti sauce for a week. When we ran out of noodles, I just ate it like a soup. Yes, it is that good.

When soy returned- oh, how the possibilities (and my waist) expanded.

We're still dairy and beef free. She's allergic to cows. Which is funny, considering how much she makes me feel like one.

Anyway, people have asked me many questions. Some more frustrating than others.

"Wait! Don't eat that- it has bacon...can you have bacon?"

(Um...as in cow bacon?...)

"This has (insert 10 non-dairy ingredients). Can you have it?"

(Well, like I just said- just dairy and beef...so yes.)

"Can you have olive oil?"

"What about garlic?"

????

I'm not sure what the thought process is, and I know everyone is just trying to be helpful, but seriously- is the category "dairy" that unknown? Do people really think things like olive oil and garlic are dairy?

People (especially fellow mothers of food-intolerant babies) have also asked me how I know what bothers her.
It's simple, really.

I'm either taking care of this child all day:



or this one:


On the planning front:

Back in April I had these "plans":

Have the baby before we move
- yep, made it by 12 days.

Find an apartment for $550 a month (or less???)
- um...kind of. $575 but got $700 worth of new furniture we were planning on purchasing anyway...

Babysit, waitress and tutor to replace teaching
- Well...tutoring is going well. Certainly doesn't replace teaching, but $120-180/week for 4-6 hrs of work ain't bad, right? Shaklee is certainly getting there too!

Become certified to teach NFP- Let's see if we can make it the first year postpartum without getting pregnant again and then we'll revisit this goal, k? Not that it isn't working, so much as I'm not as diligent as I was pre-pregnancy.

New plans!

1) Be debt-free by Dec '11 (currently in the red 75K. 100% SallieMae--BLAH! Not sure how this is going to happen, considering we currently don't make that much in 3 years- so let's maybe re-label this as a wish?)

2) Hold off on baby #2 until debt free

God, I'd love it if your sense of humor made #1 happen sooner. Thanks!


Also, happy 1-year of blogging to me!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Now THIS is commitment

We've known each other since 5th grade.
Killed thousands of trees passing notes.
We had a 1/8 chance of having all girls- and succeeded.
We are...the babymakers!

January '09
(1st, 2nd, 3rd trimesters)
August '09
(1, 3, 6 months old)
January '10
(6, 8, 11 months old)
to be continued...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sneaky Saturdays

Today's post is number two in the seven week series of Seven Sneaky Secrets Vitamin companies hope you never find out:

Secret Number 2 The Big Switch

Slightly similar to last week's post...
Underhanded companies switch the recommended milligrams down to micrograms. It takes 1000 micrograms to equal 1 milligram. These companies hope you are not too smart and not too observant.

If an expensive ingredient is on the label, the consumer assumes that the proper amount is in the bottle. Just having the name of the ingredient on the label drives the price up, even if there is not enough in the bottle to do anything.

For example, companies loudly tout that they have lutein in their formulas to help vision. They quote the scientific studies, but fail to mention that the studies were based on 6 milligrams, which is 10 times more than the 600 micrograms they use in their formulas.

Shaklee does not participate in the big switch. Their nutritional products are based on solid science, not on marketing hype. The amounts on the label are at the proper amounts for you to see health results.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Anything you can do I can't do better...

I've been quite frustrated with my camera recently. I see all these blogs with awesome shots taken and I think, "Wow, I wish my camera could do that." Then I get frustrated- we invested a good $200 in the camera this summer to be able to take (and store) photos of our new addition.

It's a Canon Powershot A1000is. It has lots of buttons and settings. I was so sure I'd have all these fancy photos- never needing to invest in a professional photographer. I even read a book by a famous local photographer, learning such sophisticated things as "rule of thirds" and what all the buttons and setting on the camera do.

Eight months later... my pictures...to be honest? They stink.

Seriously.
The camera may as well have one setting- "Auto"

I mean, who really has the time (or brain power) to flip the camera to the appropriate setting?

When baby is doing something cute, if I have time to grab the camera without her seeing me and then turn it on without her hearing it and then point it at her while cuteness is still in action- I call myself lucky.

So when baby decided to sit up AND play for the first time the other day (the combo is the key here) I grabbed the camera. She saw the infamous red light and ignored it- woohoo! Time for me to try and get creative.

Hm...which setting should I use? Wait- what do all these mean again?

What's this camera with a heart in it? Or the guy standing next to the letter A suppose to be? And the capital P? That's stands for "Picture", right? Then what are all the other ones?
ARG!

After 5 minutes, this was the extent of my abilities:

Flash off:
Flash on:
Or, check out these two talents combined:

Flash off:
Flash on AND camera rotated!:




Pathetic, right? You can see why I was so frustrated with the camera. "This stupid flash washes everything out!" I complained to my 8-month-old, who dutifully ignored me.

Later that same day I took the same child and same camera to my parent's place, where Amanda, my 14-year-old sister was chilling. I showed her Samantha's newest talent of being cute AND sitting up. I sighed and decided to take a couple of shots of them chatting with my pathetic camera:



Amanda's ignorance radar must of been triggered and after giving me this look

She took hold of the reigns.

After a couple of clicks she laughs and says, "HaHA! I love this! Check it out"











What the...?How'd she...?




I check the camera to see what magical setting combo she used...Hm...same I was using...surely it was a fluke...I mean, I knew she was talented...


How is she doing this?!?
I can't take these kinds of shots when I'm LOOKING into the camera...

*Sigh*

I did manage to take some better-ish pictures myself, but my talents don't seem to move beyond "point-and-shoot. I'd like to take the credit for these



but truth be told, they're only good because of Amanda's facial expressions...


So, obviously the problem is not with the camera...And really I should be excited to have a budding professional in the family...but the sibling rivalry in me just bubbles up to the surface wanting to scream,
"Yeah, but you can't bake, so THERE!"

Ram Sam Sam

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lil Sister

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Genevieve

Lilypie First Birthday tickers