"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Potty Parade

I couple of weeks ago at church they announced that there was a need from a family for some diapers for a three year old boy. My first thought was, what three year old boy still wears diapers. I quickly realized... mine.

We're working on potty training/toilet learning our son. He's not interested. Not at all. I can only get him to sit on the potty, while watching a movie, and eating a bowl of marshmallows, or some sort of other, not so healthy snack. I bought stickers as rewards. I give him a nickel just for sitting on the potty of a considerable amount of time. We finally had him pick from the Thomas the Tank Engine catalog a toy he'd like to get if he pooped in the potty. I bought it on ebay so it would be cheap and it arrived in the mail about three weeks ago. It was still unopened until Monday.

I ran to the store, alone, and my husband convinced Boy to sit on the potty while they had ice cream for dessert after dinner. While sitting, he peed. It was a huge event. My husband and Princess Sparkley congratulated him. They saved the pee to show me. I got a phone call on my way home wondering approximately where I was and when I'd be home. When I pulled onto our street I could see them at the edge of our driveway waving and marching with band instruments. With Boy in the front they marched to the car after I'd stopped, and Boy led us into the house, marching to his little potty to show me that he'd peed. He was so proud. It was adorable. My husband did a great job making it into such a huge, special event. Hopefully Boy will be inspired.

We decided that since he'd shown so little interest in the potty, and that pooping was still a bit off, that he could open one part of the special present he'd picked out and we'd ordered. So he opened one present, and we've retaped up the box.

That was Monday. Tuesday, he sat on the potty for only about two minutes. Wednesday, for quite awhile, but with nothing coming out. Today, I took his PJs off to put in the wash, leaving him in only a diaper to which he responded, maybe pee pees need to come out. So here we are, watching a movie, eating Chex Chocolate Turtle Party Mix (have you tried this??? So yummy!) and waiting for something to happen.

Still waiting...



Wild Turtles

I always wanted a pet turtle as a kid. My parents almost got me one once. So I think one of my favorite things about Kansas, that always sort of surprises me, is wild turtles. It's sort of like thinking about how chihuahuas were once a wild dog. Or that somewhere, a watermelon used to grow in the wild. They just don't seem like "wild" things. But the other day on the home from the grocery store with Boy, there was a turtle crossing our street. I raced home and got my husband and Princess Sparkley and we went back, dropped the husband off to pick up the turtle and save it from a car, as well as carry it over to where I parked the car at the next cross street so we could all see it. So fun that wild turtles cross our street. This is the second one my husband has had to save as it tried to cross from one side of the street, where there is a small creek, to the other side, where there are homes and grass and only the occasional trickle of water.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Key Limes

I am slightly obsessed with Key Limes as of late. I saw a special about some specialty store in the South that make divine Key Lime Pies a few years ago on the Food Network (probably on Food Finds, Good Eats, The Secret Life of... orUnwrapped since those are the shows I always used to watch). So, having this intro to Key Limes on the Food Network, and knowing how Key Limes are unique, etc. I tried a free sample of cake at Walmart the other day that was Key Lime Cake. (Ang, you'd be proud, it was my daughter who found the free cake samples - only about three feet above her eye level - and dragged me over.) It was so limey. Yum. So I was at Walmart again yesterday and they had the cakes (which had been Mother's Day specials) on sale. Of course, I bought one. It's not quite as good. But still pretty tastey. AND, Walmart has key limes for sale, a bag for $2.44. The Food Network show talked about how most Key Lime items you partake of, aren't made from authentic Key Limes. They are mostly found in Florida, etc. Kansas is far from Florida. I bought them as well. But now I need a good Key Lime recipe, and I'm not sure if I'd like a Key Lime Pie or not. Does anyone out there have a delicious Key Lime recipe to share??

This is of course not the picture of the Walmart Key Lime Cake. It was just sort of your everyday frosted cake, but lime green.

While browsing through Food Network recipes, I found a Key Lime tart recipe that only calls for 2 TBSP of Key Lime juice. I have a whole bag. I mean, they are tiny. But I'm sure that one bag puts out more than 2 TBSP. Plus I started worrying that I don't have a juicer. But then I remembered that from my days as a Pampered Chef Consultant that I at one point won a lime juicer which is in my drawer, which I believe I have never used. Until now...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cake Box Cookies

This is Jed's favorite cookie recipe as of late. He's had me make it twice for days when he's had a class presentation, and then again tonight for the award potluck he invented for work tomorrow. (He carved a statue of Atlas holding the world... ------>).

Cake Box Cookies


1 box of your favorite cake mix.
(Devil's Food is pretty rich... we've been liking Milk Chocolate Cake Mix lately.)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of oil.
Chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc. (whatever you want, however much you want)
(Or, to be healthy, add two eggs, 1/4 cup oil, and a 1/4 cup applesauce).

Mix ingredients together. Scoop onto making sheet.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until cracked on top.

Variation: Homemade OREOS

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cube butter (softened)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Mix together cake mix, eggs, and shortening. Roll into balls. (Try to make them the same size since they'll have to pair up). Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Mix frosting ingredients until creamy. Don't soften butter too much. Spread between two cookies. Enjoy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fudgy Mint Squares recipe

Fudgy Mint Squares - so not the recipe that I've been trying to hunt down for years, but these are pretty yummy. I think I originally got it from Taste of Home magazine.

10 TBSP butter (no substitutes), divided
3 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 TBSP cornstarch
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring, optional
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup whipping cream

In a microwave safe bowl, melt 8 TBSP butter and unsweetened chocolate; cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture; mix until blended. Gradually beat in flour. Spread into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until top is set.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining butter. Add cornstarch; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk and remaining egg. Add extract and food coloring. Pour over crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack.

In a heavy saucepan, combine chocolate chips and cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until chips are melted. Cool for 30 minutes or until lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill for 2 hours or until set before cutting.

Yield: about 4 dozen.

Blogger Buddies

So I got suckered into a blog on accident trying to comment on my best friend's blog. Found out a group of us from college all have blogs and we all had fun with it for awhile. Now it's down to two of us who have posted anything recently. And we're slackers ourselves (at least I am most definitely). I still have my husband and a few others, but now I need a new group of Blogger Buddies. Hello out there...

Midwest Storms

Storms are sort of exciting. As long as I am secure and confident in the fact that nothing near and dear to me is especially threatened. The loud boom boom of Kansas thunder is possibly the loudest thing I've ever heard. But it's sort of thrilling. The loud rain drops pounding and splashing are calming and beautiful. Just so I'm safe inside, not wet, not worrying.

Forcing Recipes

When I was in college I had these good friends who had grown up together in Salt Lake City. We were good friends and were invited to family functions (ie: missionary homecomings, wedding receptions, etc.). Their good friend always brought the yummiest chocolate mint fudge like brownies. I desperately wanted this recipe and asked our mutual friend if he could get it from her for me. I was informed that she did not give out recipes.

It has been close to eight years since I have tasted these delicious desserts. I have make probably ten different types of chocolate mint brownies or chocolate mint fudge. Some are good, but they are not the same. I'm not even sure if they are as good as I remember them being now, or if maybe one of these recipes I've tried could have been it and I just don't remember it correctly anymore.

It is because of this that I offer my recipes so much that sometimes I feel like maybe I'm forcing them on people a little bit. Especially with the advent of email. (Not that a whole lot of my adult life (ie: none) happened before email). If someone compliments me on something I've made I'll either say, “I'll email it to you,” or I'll just email it as a surprise. If it's an easy recipe, or one that I make a lot with few ingredients, I'll recite it to them on the spot. Do people appreciate this? I have no idea. I'm starting to think that I'm taking people's politeness too literally. Maybe I'll start posting the recipes I want to share with the world on my blog. Then you can pick and chose.


We happened to be at Sam's Club a few weeks ago. And I happened to need a box of animal crackers for Princess Sparkley's preschool lesson on letter Z and the zoo. So I send my husband to go in search of them. This is what he came back with. Way more animal crackers than I could have ever dreamed of. There are only six kids in the preschool group. But we were at Sam's Club, and this container of nearly 1200 animal crackers was only $5 something. So we bought it, figuring it would probably last until our youngest kid (yet to be born or created) left for college. After preschool, the dent made in it was indistinguishable. Three days later it looked like this. At this rate, we will finish it before any of our kids even start school. We're pigs. We just walk past it (it's just on the counter since we have absolutely no where in which to store it) and grab a handful thinking, "It says "LOW FAT" right there on that green balloon."
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