Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cookies and Leggin’s

Just a quickie to post two requests: 

First, the Lime Sugar Cookie recipe.  This is from America’s Test Kitchen which is by far our favorite place for recipes.  I’ve had very few recipes that did NOT turn out fantastically, and those I’ve chalked up to problems at altitude.  They have a show on PBS, and all the recipes from the current season are online for free.  They also have lots of cookbooks, which we find at Costco fairly often for pretty cheap (this and this are our favorites).  LOOOVE ATK!!!

Anyway, here’s the Sugar Cookie recipe, and the lime variation at the bottom:

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spread 1/2 cup of the sugar in a shallow dish for rolling.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. 

2.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 20 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.  give the dough a few final stirs with a rubber spatula to make sure it is well combined.

4.  Roll 2 tablespoons dough into balls with wet hands, then roll in the sugar to coat.  Lay the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.  Flatten the cookies to a 3/4-inch thickness with the buttered and sugared bottom of a drinking glass.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the flattened tops. 

5.  Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10-12 minutes, rotating each sheet halfway through baking.

6.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

For lime cookies:

Process the 1/2 cup sugar in step 1 with 1 teaspoon grated fresh lime zest until fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Add 2 teaspoons grated fresh lime zest to the dough with the eggs.

And as a side note, since I’m on the subject of favorites in the kitchen, cookies are SO much easier to make if you have this beater blade for your KitchenAid- it scrapes down the sides as you go, making creaming so easy!!! 

(As a side note, you can blame my enthusiasm for anything baking related on being pregnant.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

And second- Piper’s leggings are BabyLegs- and one of the most genius of inventions.  We made teeny tiny ones for Piper last winter, because the “real” ones were way too big for her.  Now BabyLegs are making newborn-sized ones, too.  I really like them for running around the house- they protect her knees and keep her warm, but don’t get in the way of  her trying to move, either.  We’ve used them as tight-substitutes and extra layers, too.  And for hospital stays?  Brilliant!  Wish we had them in the NICU.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day Late, Dollar Short

I’ve been meaning to do this for, you know, two months now, but just actually thought about it tonight.

Piper got her new high chair (the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair) back in June.  We LOVE it.  She actually fits in it (which was an even more impressive feat when we first got it, and she didn’t quite weigh 13 pounds…), and offers the ability to grow with her.  So she can actually see the table, AND touch the “floor”, all at the same time.

And let me tell you, being a slightly vertically-challenged kid growing up, too, I totally wish I had one of these.

Anyway, the big problem with the chair is that it’s not height-adjustable.  It’s only standard table height.  And ours, of course, is counter-top height.  Then, when Piper had surgery, I didn’t use the chair while she was recovering, because I didn’t think I’d be successful in getting her out of her seat without picking her up from under her arms.

So, in November (I think?) my dad and Luke finished the base that needed to be built to get the seat up to the right height.


Wanted to share what it looks like- I know that a lot of therapists use these chairs, so we may not be the only ones in this boat. 



Piper insisted on having a picture with her seat, too.  After all, this is one of her favorite places in the house…

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wishin’ and Hopin’

While making cookies this weekend (lime sugar cookies?  Yum.), Piper decided she wanted to help. 

Unfortunately, her version of “help” is quite…  um…  limited.  So she got to “help” make sure that they weren’t burning. 

Her patience for them to come out of the oven rivals my own (you know- you can’t wait to eat one, so you snack on some dough- shh, don’t tell on me- but you can’t exactly give that to your one-and-a-half-year-old, so you have to try and carefully sneak without her seeing.  I think I deserve a ninja merit badge for my abilities.)

She screamed at the oven the whole time.

Yup.  That’s my kid.


…she even got a bib out of the cabinet and brought it to me to put on her in preparation.  Eons before they were ready.


She hasn’t quite gotten the idea that things go into the oven to be cooked, and you can’t eat them until they come out.  I’m pretty sure she thinks it’s a magic box meant to perpetuate her own frustrations… 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Endurance Building

Piper can use a spoon and a fork.  She is capable of such a feat.

However, anything beyond a couple of bites, and she decides that utensils are for the birds, and fingers are just so much more fun.

So we’ve been working on “endurance” (read: stop being lazy and use a blankety-blank spoon, would ya???).  And I think we’ve found the solution.

Ice cream from Chickfila is nice and solid.  And yummy.  Piper ate, and ate, and ate the stuff (off of a soup spoon, because that’s all they have, which made it even more comical) and proved, once again, that she’s just being stubborn.

We laughed.  A lot.  I’m pretty sure the family sitting in the booth behind us thought we were crazy.  Which is just about par for the course with any outing that involves Piper.

I so love the faces she makes….

P1090248What is this, and why can’t I use my fingers???

P1090252Hmm…  Maybe this is worth this gosh-darn spoon…

P1090249Yup.  Definitely worth it.

P1090245…Ohhhh…  Heaven in every single drop.  (By the way- apparently it helps to look at the thing you’re eating…)

P1090241I’m pretty sure she was actually slurping here.

P1090250…All in all, it didn’t stop her from dipping her finger into the spoon and then sucking it off, but I’ll take it.

Besides, it’ll give me an excuse to have ice cream more often.  And you can imagine how sad that makes me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


My kid does have hair.

Not much, and certainly not enough for pigtails (I cannot even start to illustrate my envy of those of you who CAN- ahem- LC, Aubrey, Claire, Emily- this would be YOU- but we won’t get into that…), but she does have some. 

Piper has almost the exact same color of skin and color of hair as I do.  Which is lovely, because my hair is almost skin-toned.  So it “blends” very well, and sometimes I forget how much she actually does have.

In an (albeit somewhat lame) attempt to remind myself that she IS growing hair, and that maybe, just maybe, one of these years I can do cute girly hair styles on her, I took these. 


I will admit that it’s a far cry from the cueball-esque style of a year ago, and that means something, right???


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trail of Destruction

…from one side of the house to the other.



And when she was found out?  ESCAPE!


(Can you tell that the pantsless-and-one-sock look is popular at our house?  I promise Piper is the only one to sport the style…)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Speech Progress

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated about speech-related ANYTHING.  Piper’s always been a quiet kid- even her excited SCREAM is pretty tame.  She’s very conscientious about her surroundings (and people in it) and is quick to go into quiet mode if she’s shy, playing shy, or thinks she should be shy.

However, the past couple months we have seen a HUGE change.  Talking to her pediatrician last week, we’re thinking it’s because with the very significantly compromised airway, she was never able to to get enough airflow past her vocal cords to actually make any sound.  Which means that she never got to experiment with making different sounds, the first steps to “speech”.

Don’t get me wrong- Piper has always cried and fussed (although I will admit that when she first came home from the hospital, she slept in our room and I STILL used a baby monitor IN Her basinet to be sure I didn’t miss something).  She has very obvious happy, sad, and mad noises that she makes.  But it’s those babble sounds that she was never particularly good at.

We had Piper’s IFSP the end of December- the only big change is that we’re going to up her speech therapy from once a month to once a week.  It’s a (hopefully) short term increase (we’re hoping to decrease to every other week in a few months) to encourage Piper to accept Gretchen, the therapist.  Most the time when she came over, Piper would just sit and smile at her.  She’d sign, play, all that jazz, but never make a sound.  No pouts, no hollers, no attempts at babbles.  Which goes back to that “she’ll talk if she’s darn well in the mood, thankyouverymuch” category.  And if she’s not participating, we’re not getting very far.  Since she’s got a healthy vocabulary, it’d be nice to start hearing that little voice. 

The timing couldn’t be more perfect- I think she’s “there” and ready, and now that’s she doesn’t have to think about walking any more, hopefully things will start to fall into place with speech.

So today was the second week of once-a-week visits with Gretchen, and I think it’s starting to work.  Piper didn’t vocalize a whole lot today (surprise), but she DID make sure she showed Gretchen ALL of her toys.  I’m hoping that maybe this is step toward rapport and things’ll start getting more productive. 

She’s mimicking so much more than she was even a month ago.  She’s starting to learn the actual mechanics of HOW to make noises, which is something that should have happened MONTHS ago.  I couldn’t be more proud of her progress!  She’s a PRO at anything with the ‘oo’ sound (she’ll answer to “What does a cow say?” and “What does a dog say”, and she’ll copy most words if they have the ‘oo’ sound).  This is a pretty tame example, but you can see the exaggerated lip posture here- makes me laugh every. time.

The past few days, though, she’s actually said REAL words.  Every syllable.  Every consonant, and every vowel.  “Daddy” (with the Y, not Dada) came the other day, as well as “up” (with a perfect “puh” on the end). 

My jaw hit for the floor last night when ‘BALLOON’ fell out of her mouth.  Clear. As. A. Bell. 

That’s my girl.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, the many benefits

Realized the benefit today of the wide shopping carts at Costco.

Dang is this handy…

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Yup.  That’s my kid.  She has NO hips and NO behind.

Which explains why she still (comfortably) wears a size 1 diaper. 

The only thing she’s outgrown in size 3 months is her sleepers.  Her 3 month dresses and tights still work great.  But now that she is getting longer (but not really wider), I’m starting to have issues with her pants.  Her 0-3s have been working fine, but I’m finding myself having to make the decision of having a 50’s girl in high waters, or an 80’s look with the baggy pants (that don’t stay on). 

Case in point:  6 month pants.




GONE.  Piper finally got tired of them impeding her mobility, and made the executive decision to take them off.  Not that I blame her- walking around with pants around your ankles would be a tall feat for meDSCN0677

And there they stayed- on the floor, unused, and my kid in bare feet and bare legs (but I get credit for the sweatshirt, right???).DSCN0678

So, long story short, I’m not really quite sure what I’m going to do with the string bean between now and shorts season (can’t WAIT for shorts season- no length issues!!!)  I did happen to find a couple pair of corduroy pants from Carter’s that are cuffed on he bottoms, so they’re about 3” longer- these are working GREAT, and about the only pants that will 100% stay up.  But I like to, you know, wash her clothes, soooo… 

I love the idea of Dapper Snappers, but they aren’t recommended until 9 months, which means that, I’m guessing, anyway, they’d be too big to do any good.  And once she gets into the size 2T at a lot of stores they have adjustable waists, but that’s a looooong way away. 

So, I guess in the meantime, we’ll just laugh at Piper’s inability to keep pants up, and continue following behind her pulling them up so she doesn’t trip. 

Who knew that walking could be such an occupational hazard???

Friday, January 14, 2011


One of Piper’s all-time favorite treats are freeze-dried fruits.  They sell a big box of them at Costco, and they’re individually packaged, so they make for great diaper bag treats on the go.  Especially since they’re mess-free!

Anyway, Piper found a bag this morning.  She’s smart, and knows when I’m not paying 100% attention to her (especially days like the last couple when I’ve been working a lot).  So, she got into the bag, not so cleanly, and was munching down where she thought I couldn’t see her. 


She may have gotten away with it, too, if she weren’t sharing it with the dogs.



…this is the face I got flashed when she realized I was laughing at her.  Notice the bag under her leg?  As soon as she saw me, she (literally) jumped, and then tried hiding it beneath her. 

I’m sure I’m not ready for the ornery/creative combination…

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You’ll never believe it!

Today, Piper is 20 months old.  She’s been home with us for 18 of those months.

And you know what?  Today, for the first time in those 18 months, Piper has made it the FULL time between well-child visits.  No weight checks (which used to be as frequent as once a week), no funny sicknesses (coughs, petechiae, etc., etc., etc.), no follow-up for something else…

Three.  Whole.  Months.

I’ve been afraid to say anything for fear of jinxing the whole thing, but there we were, three months later.  Holy mackerel. 

It was so fun to show off everything Piper’s doing now.  A lot has changed since the beginning of October, and her doctor could tell!  She was shocked to see her walking, and couldn’t believe all of her signs.  (That’s my girl!)

When she showed me her growth chart, I thought it looked like she was pushing the 25% for height (and barely holding onto the 5% for weight, but we won’t go there…), until I got home and realized it must have been the 10% line…  Whoops.  Either way, the kid has made up some MAJOR ground in the height department.  She’s never been that high on the chart (which is really sad when we’re talking approaching the 10%- we’re still a good 1/2” away…)- woohoo! 

And the the best news?  We don’t have to go back until she’s TWO (which, in and of itself is kinda weirding me out- how can I have a TWO year old???), which is FOUR months away.  FOUR!!! 

She told us not to make an appointment, though, because we can just call her when the baby is born and bring both girls in at the same time.  THAT sent me into heart palpitations- are we really that close to having another kid???

Of all the toys in her diaper bag, Piper chose car keys as her distracter-of-choice while we waited for the dread “S” word- her last immunization until she’s FOUR!  YAY!



And then she figured out there was a hole in the bed- it made for really fun kicking.  And a perfect place to play “in” with the car keys.  At least she’s easily entertained.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mmmm… Donut.

I was totally craving donuts today (which, for those of you who know me, know how totally bizarre this is- I usually HATE donuts), so I was going to make Luke go to Krispy Kreme on the way to church.  Unfortunately, it was snowy, cold, and the roads were a mess, so I decided the most direct route (to church, not the Krispy Kreme) would probably be the best.

So, instead, I made Luke make donuts tonight.  Yummmm…  And since Piper hadn’t gone to bed yet, she got her first taste of fried-and-covered-in-sugar-and-horrible-for-you goodness.  Piper’s “sweet” in her diet usually consists of fruit and Gerber puffs, with an occasional baby cookie or bite of ice cream, so this was a real treat!

P1090208Not so sure…..

P1090204Maybe.  But not so brave.  Especially the eating messy food on the floor part…

I think I would like some more, please. 

(She’s staring down the plate here, about ready to pounce, and sticky from head to toe, therefore ending my ability to take pictures…  She hasn’t quite gotten the idea of waiting for permission after she asks with “please”.  We had a mini-meltdown when I took the plate away.  Apparently I’m mean like that.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Favs

A slight bloggy-intermission…

It’s no secret that I love shoes.  LOVE shoes. 

When Luke deployed to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003, my parents and father-in-law came to San Diego to help me pack up our apartment and move be back to Colorado while Luke was gone.  Jerry, my father-in-law, groaned when he picked up a heavy box.  He groaned even louder when I told him it was shoes (which, mind you, did not include all my favorites that were moving with me…).

But if someone had told me how much MORE fun it is to buy little girl shoes, we (ahem, I) may have pursued this baby thing a whole lot sooner.

And now that Piper’s feet are approaching the non-newborn sizes, the world of shopping opportunities is beginning to open.  I couldn’t be more thrilled (and my husband more terrified). 

I’ll preface this with saying that I know there are two big schools of thought with shoes- hard-soled for support or soft-soles for ease of movement; we’ve been in the middle of the debate, too, and I know it’s a “to each his own” kinda thing.  I’m choosing the ease of movement route…  I know I was talking to someone a few months ago about finding really soft-soled shoes (but I can’t remember who), and I figured there are probably others, so I wanted to share.

These are my new favorite shoes for Piper.  See Kai Run infant shoes are very similar to Pedipeds, except for they have little rubber grippers on the bottom for traction (which is my big beef with Pedipeds).  They are exceptionally flexible (more than her Stride Rite or Umi leather-soles), and cute to boot.  I bought these this fall when I was desperately trying to find black dress shoes, which apparently didn’t exist at the time (even online).  I’ve since bought a few other styles for next fall, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying them in her size for now.

Their bigger kid shoes (starting at 3) are “hard” soled.  These are, bar none, the softest hard-soled shoes I’ve ever seen.  They very easily bend and are made of really nice, soft leather uppers.  If they made them in my size, I’m sure I’d be game.  The 3s are, regrettably (heartbreakingly), too big for Piper, but I bought a pair anyway because I couldn’t resist.  She’ll get there eventually, right??? 

And their little boy shoes?  Just as cute as their girl shoes.  LOVE them!!! 

My other pair of favorites, which I REALLY like, but am having a hard time finding in her size (which is why I got turned on to the See Kai Runs instead) are these from Stride Rite:

Absolutely 100% flexible (and thin) soles and easy to move uppers.  And they’re light and flexible enough that I can put her down for a nap in them without a flinch.  Just wish they made them in 2s still! 

I know this sounds like an ad; it really isn’t, I promise.  Just like to share my finds…  So, as a bonus, and to get it all out of my system, I’ll share one of my new favorite websites to buy shoes from (including for me!!!)- is Zappos clearance outlet, so it’s reliable.  And if you catch their sales right, dang cheap.  I bought $142 worth of shoes a couple weeks ago for about $45, including shipping. 

I wonder if it’s coincidental that Piper’s decided to start signing “shoes” lately???

Friday, January 7, 2011

This photo shoot brought to you by…

…a very ornery aunt and a very ornery uncle. 

And in order to understand why this is funny, you’d have to understand the underwear/boxer short competitions we have every year at Christmas.  But in order for you to understand that, I’d risk making my entire family sound a little…  odd?…

So, suffice to say that anything that involves a pun wins double points (the worst pair I’ve ever seen had a bunch of antlers/“horns” on them—), and if it’s a pun that involves the wearer’s profession, hobbies, etc., you win. 


Problem is that in recent years, the “boxer short” rule has been…  ahem…  expanded.  And now anything that comes in underwear-related packaging just brings a chuckle.


So, please don’t think that my family exchanges gifts from this (or anything in the realm of THIS) particular vender.  And I guarantee that Piper has no idea what she’s into here.  Nor is she going to find out any time in the next century, I assure you.


But when she found the sack, and it kept her entertained for a good half hour or forty-five minutes, I figured it was as good a toy as any to play with.


After all- there has never been any doubt that kid fits in just fine with our family.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I have a friend who I’ve known since middle school- we did Job’s Daughters together for a lot of years, and then competed in Speech through high school.  She got a big job in Singapore last March, so I’ve been living vicariously through her and her hubby since then, because, well, if nothing else, I’m pretty sure I’d starve to death if I were put in a similar situation.  But I won’t admit that.  I mean, really- how cool would it be to live a couple years somewhere like Singapore???

Anyway, Piper got a box in the mail today from Miss Erin- and it could NOT have been cuter!!!

DSCN0589It came complete with a pretty pink (and shiny!) dress…

DSCN0596…and BEAUTIFUL (Piper said so herself!) bracelets (which were exponentially more fun to watch Luke trying to put them ON than it was watching Piper take them OFF)…

DSCN0619and a parasol.

Piper begged not have to put on her pajamas. 


Thank you, Erin and Dave, for thinking of the squirt!  The chopsticks are bound to bring hours of entertainment, I’m sure!