Thursday, July 31, 2008
About that dessert party, this is one of the desserts I made. And I wanted to make a summery dessert when I hosted my book club tonight, so I finally settled on this recipe. It's supposed to make a sheet cake but since I'm terrible at applying frosting to cakes and cupcakes are the new black, I made them into cupcakes. Here they are:
Lemon Cupcakes (original recipe from here)
1 box (18.25 oz.) lemon cake mix
1 can (15.75 oz.) lemon pie filling (my can was larger, so I put about a TBSP into the icing)
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (I did about 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. vanilla to make it more lemony)
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix and eggs until well blended. Fold in pie filling. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter. (I used a cookie dough scoop and a half to pour the batter into cupcake liners. I saw this on Paula Deen at our hotel in South Dakota for the 4 1/2 minutes of the show I watched). Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla (and lemon juice and spoonful of pie filling). Frost cupcakes (I used this). Store in refrigerator. (Everything I've read about this recipe says that they are much better cold.)
Makes about 2 dozen standard sized cupcakes.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
*Although we aren't sure if I've actually been to Rhode Island or not.
The sign for the city of DeSmet says "Little Town on the Prairie."
Princess Sparkley with the graves of Ma, Pa, Mary, and Carrie.
Princess Sparkley disembarking from driving the horses before the pageant.
Before the pageant started.
Our family riding the wagon to school.
First, aren't these scenes beautiful? These are pictures I took of the 160 acres that Pa homesteaded outside of DeSmet, SD.
If you've ever been to Nauvoo, this was a bit like this but instead of focusing on the pioneers of the Mormon church, it focused on Laura from Little House on the Prairie and her family, a different type of pioneer.
Here we are when we first arrived and climbed a giant "tree house" to see the prairie. And here's Princess Sparkley doing the wash with help from Buddy. And Baby X discovering grass for the first time ever in his little life.
Princess Sparkley sewing on Ma's sewing machine. Buddy playing "Mary's organ." Pumping water from a well. Visiting a 3 week old baby pony. Riding a pony. Roping a "calf." Etc. Our kids were so brave about riding the ponies, petting horses and kittens. Princess Sparkley even held the reigns and drove the wagon to the school house.
Okay, the kids are complaining that I'm neglecting them. More pictures coming soon...
*I came home with giant piles of laundry, of course. Who doesn't? And I'm out of Tide!! Ahh. I got in one load and then filled the Tide bottle with water and counted that as my second load's soap. So I'm in a weird spot. I don't want to shower and go to the store until my house is clean. I can't get my house clean until my laundry is done. Hmm. What to do, what to do? I guess I'll have to shower and get ready to go to the store since I just made my kids take a sample drink of milk to see if it was acceptable tasting to top their cereal. (It hasn't expired yet, it's just been opened in the fridge for several days that we haven't been here). And if i go shopping, I need to take our recycling with me since that will clean up the house a lot (and get rid of the ga-zillions of empty water bottles Jed brought in from the car when he unloaded it).
Sunday, July 27, 2008
image from The Company Store
*You'll just have to look back a few posts, I can't figure out how to link to a post that I have scheduled to post in the future.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
For $4 a car some farmer allows us to drive through his field and get to the site of the dugout on Plum Creek. This was probably the most exciting part for Princess Sparkley, so well worth the $4.
Here are the kids and Jed frolicking in Plum Creek just as Laura and Mary did years ago.
Crossing Plum Creek to the Ma and Pa's dugout.
Field my the dugout site.
Princess Sparkley trying to look like a pioneer girl. She's placed her feet so it looks like she's walking.
Site of the Ingallses' dugout.
My cute family crossing back over Plum Creek.
Back in the town of Walnut Creek.
Princess Sparkley as Laura.
Walnut Grove's very own water tower. I'm sure this wasn't around in Laura's day, but it was an interesting shape so I took its picture.
Our first sort of official stop was at the Winter Quarters Temple Visitor's Center to use the bathroom and feed Baby X a bottle.
Statue in front of the Visitor's Center - July 2008
Haven't they grown!?!
the boys (not as happy)
image from and this recipe found here
Princess Sparkley's Peanut Butter M&M Bars
Peanut butter cookie baked in a bar.
Little marshmallows sprinkled on top and baked a couple more minutes until melted.
Sprinkled with mini M&Ms.
Drizzled with chocolate.
Cut into squares.
Optional: according to Princess Sparkley, you can add cherries if you want. This is her own addition to the recipe, not what the lady told her. And she would never eat it with cherries.
I haven't toyed with this recipe nearly enough. I tried out this version. And was not pleased. The topping of marshmallow goo just peeled off. It didn't stick to the cookie at all. And the peanut butter cookie bar left a lot to be desired. A lot. When I make this again I will use my regular peanut butter cookie recipe. I might even sprinkle the marshmallows, M&Ms and chocolate on individual cookies and reheat quickly rather than trying to cut bars with gooey marshmallows on them. Let me know what you do if you try it.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I also never read any Anne of Green Gables books. I didn't read Little Women until a college class required it. And I never ready any of The Little House on the Prairie books. That was the tomboy in me as a child. I didn't want to read the sappy, girlie books. Plus my sister always made me watch the TV version of The Little House on the Prairie and I really truly didn't like it. But I did watch it so maybe I secretly enjoyed it but wanted everyone to think I hated it. I really don't remember. As I've said before, I have a horrible memory.
My husband has been reading The Little House on the Prairie books to Princess Sparkley for a couple of years now since after all, we live in Kansas.* They are on the second to last book, These Happy Golden Years. I've listened here and there as has Buddy. So while I've missed a lot of the story, I've heard much much more. I've been annoyed my Mary and Ma, saddened when Jack died, excited for Laura and Almanzo, etc. But I haven't read them. In huge celebration of almost being done with this massive series, we're taking a family road trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota (On the Banks of Plum Creek) and De Smet, South Dakota (By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years). Both towns have pageants and museums, etc.
And you won't even know I'm gone because through the magic of the internet and blogging, I've set up some posts to happen while I'm away. It's like an automatic light timer so no one breaks into our house and steals are pathetic TV and a commuter bike. Although the TV is worth practically nothing and the bike would be the real steal.
* They've also read The Wizard of Oz.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
1. four new brake pads, free of charge ($4.82 at Dairy Queen while the kids and I waited)
2. nothing wrong with water pump ($1.50 bus fare to pick car up)
3. gas, filled up from almost empty for under $50 ($48.50 at $3.799/gallon)
Princess Sparkley assures me that she only likes Hannah Montana "because she's cool and she's a rockstar." Where did she find out about rockstars? Yikes. My baby is becoming a tweener and she's just turning six next month.
I have this comfort... in her drawings, when she draws Hannah Montana in immodest clothing, she draws shirts underneath to make them modest.
*Okay, okay. Not all of them. But lots.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I watched the last two episodes of season one last night, and let me tell you, this show knows how to hook you for a season finale. It's categorized as a dramedy according to Wikipedia. It reminds me a little bit of Desperate Housewives season one (I only watched season one). Probably just the fact that they both are dramedies. It's just a feel the show gives off. Sort of funny, a bit of mystery and drama. A little over dramatic, actually. Especially the end of season one.
Betty: has finally decided to fight for Henry but his ex-girlfriend, Charlie, has shown up prego and then Betty finds out that Charlie has been dating Betty's orthodontist for two months. So the baby might not be Henry's, Charlie was cheating, and Betty's off to the airport to declare her love.
Henry: sitting innocently on an airplane back to Phoenix from New York with Charlie, leaving Betty (who he loves) behind, not knowing that Charlie's been cheating on him.
Daniel: Editor of Mode magazine. Betty's sex addict boss has switched from sex to drugs and it ends with he and his sister (formerly his brother) crashing a car into a tree on the way to rehab.
Claire: Daniel's mom is part of a prison break in order to stop her husband from divorcing her and marrying Wilhelmina. It ends with her sneaking through the woods, in the dark, chained to a fellow prisoner - Fugitive style.
Christina: Locked in a hidden room with Amanda. Admits that she's married in Scotland but ran off to America and no one knows where she is.
Amanda: Locked in hidden room, opens safe to find her baby pictures and a birth certificate saying that she's Fey Sommers's daughter. (Fey is the dead (murdered by Claire) former editor of Mode magazine).
Hilda: Betty's older sister, finds out from Betty that her fiance, the father of her teenage son, was shot and killed in a gas station robbery.
Ignacio: Betty's father is still in Mexico having been deported after 30 years of living in the US illegally. He fled Mexico after killing his soon to be wife's husband at the time. Someone in Mexico hears that he is back and is planning to seek revenge.
That's all I remember now and the baby is awake and crying...
Everything is just left so hanging. It's awesome. And those of you who watch the show (if any), know what happens because season two is over, but... not on dvd for a few more months.
1. Frank Sinatra
2. Harvey Danger's "King James Version"
and, 3. Noodlebug (a kid cd)
My kids are usually the only ones to use this stereo. They just turn it on a push play when they feel like dancing. They informed me the other day that Buddy calls the cds:
1. Sad Noodlebug
2. Mad Noodlebug
and, 3. Happy Noodlebug
So funny to me. And so amazing how kids really do pick up on stuff, like the mood in music.
I am proud to report that no one cried, no dentists were bitten (which my mom apparently did to her dentist when she was a little girl), and both are going back in 6 months... they are sending me reminder postcards. I will not procrastinate. I will not procrastinate. I'm just going to keep telling myself that. Princess Sparkley did wonderfully, talked her dental hygienist's ear off. All Buddy had done was the dentist looked in his mouth, he'll get a cleaning, x-rays and fluoride next time. He didn't want to sit in the chair. Freaked out when they tried to recline it. Finally he agreed to sit up and open his mouth, first just a little, finally big enough that the doctor could see his teeth. So, not completely successful, but way better than swimming lessons.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I haven't seen this girl in years. We were never really friends, just friendly to each other because we went to the same school, were members of the same church and we were generally nice people. I think the last time I saw her we both showed up at the Spanish language placement test at BYU. I was a sophomore among all the freshman deciding what level of Spanish our high school classes put us at, she was a junior a bit behind like me. She was always the cutest, nicest, friendliest person.
I guess this just struck me as a reminder that no one is immortal. At some point we'll die and while I hope we all live to be 95 or 100, it
Monday, July 21, 2008
I've mentioned before that I hate dealing with car stuff. In college, I cried just about every time I took my car in to have an oil change or the tires rotated because I always ended up spending a ton of money I didn't have or want to spend, and I always felt ripped off because I was a girl and totally clueless when it came to cars.
This is the list of stuff I need to get done to the car this week:
Brake Check - they squeak, even though they squeaked in March and we took them in then and spent $200+
Oil Change - I tend to go about the length of 3 normal people oil changes before we get ours done. Usually because I start worrying that I'll kill the engine when we run out of oil since it's been so long.
Water Pump looked at - my father-in-law let us know something was wrong with our car by the way it sounded last time we were there, apparently this sound has something to do with our water pump. Great.
Tires rotated and balanced.
This is ignoring a ton of other regular maintenance (ie: timing belts, tire alignment, etc.) that should probably be done, or should have been done. But other than tire rotation and oil changes, I pretty much wait for a sign that something is wrong, then get it taken care of. Or ignore it for a bit more.
I started today with the brakes. It's always a bad sign (and this happens every time I take the car in) when the mechanic calls to have me describe the problem because the car isn't doing it for him. Argh. The brakes squeak every time we stop, why won't the car replicate it for him? But this visit ended on a good note... 4 brand new break pads, free of charge because the old ones were a bit defective (my term, not the mechanic's, he showed me on the surface of a cell phone what my brake pads were supposed to be shaped like and what they weren't).
Hopefully this is a sign for all good things car related this week. It would be great, fabulous, terrific if all car related things this week were also free, but I doubt it.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Baby X just started doing this flippy binky thing when
he's bored and has his binky in or when we first give it to him.
So, Baby X will be 6 months old next week. He's been up on his knees for a week or two now. And he started rocking back and forth on his knees and trying to scoot (sometimes backwards successfully) over the past few days. I'm a bit stressed over the fact that my child with a heart condition is also my first to roll over (at 3 months) and crawl (at 6 months).
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Today we got the kids bikes out of our storage unit. (I know. I know. The summer is almost over, the snow melted months ago. . . I just didn't feel like dealing with bikes in my house (remember, we have no garage) or having to watch the kids outside on them while dealing with a baby). So today we finally got the bikes out and they are both way too small for the kid they are supposed to fit. Princess Sparkley's bike is perfect for Buddy, except for it's a Disney Princess bike. Buddy's bike would be great for Baby X in 2 years, but I'm getting tired of holding on to giant stuff and having to move it when we move (which will happen again a year from this month) and having to store it. The sad part is they can finally pedal this year. Just as they've outgrown their bikes they finally got the hang of pedaling. I guess I've learned my lesson... don't buy them a bike until they are old enough to pedal it. But with Baby X trying to crawl already, he might be ready for a bike in a few more months!! So, I'm on the hunt for new, cheap bikes from craigslist and garage sales and hoping someone else out there is as well.
So here's what I'm getting rid of:
It feels great to get rid of this stuff. Spring cleaning. Liberating. If only I could be brave like a college roommate of mine whose family is moving from California to Virginia and they decided to sell everything except a small trailer worth of stuff that has sentimental value. I don't think I'm a pack rat, but then I hear her story and I almost cry thinking about what I'd have to sell or leave behind.