Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Feel My Savior's Love--Emma's Baptism Day

In addition to a fridge-less Thanksgiving spent with loved ones, we also had a very special occasion this weekend...Emma's baptism day.

So as not to inundate the blog with 40,000 photos of the day, I've compiled a few of our favorites into a short slide show with Emma's musical number as the soundtrack.

Wasn't that so pretty? I'm so glad that Emma inherited her musical abilities from Glen's side of the family.

Thanks to all of you who shared in our special day--Heather (all the way from MN), Pete & Mika (& family), Aaron & Trish (& Sylvie), Marilyn, and many wonderful friends. We are grateful for your love and support. And for those of you too far to come, we are grateful for your love from afar!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Help me Mr. President...

I need a presidential turkey pardon granted--PRONTO !

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with lots of love, yummy food, and laughter! --gobble, gobble!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Wrath of Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the fridge,
To give the poor children some milk:
When she came there,
The fridge was bare,
And so the poor kids had none.
Two days before Thanksgiving and my fridge looks like this! Grrrr.

And what about my oven?
Sure it's ugly, I'll give you that.

But when I went to the parts store today to get a new element for it they had to look up its model number on MICROFICHE! Remember those old things we used to do genealogy on? Apparently my oven falls into the "ancestor" file and it's still going strong, while our 3 year old fridge needs a new motor! Grrrr again!

Old Mother Hubbard
Went into Sears,
To give the workers a piece of her mind:
When she came there,
She kicked their behind,
And now the workers are scared.

HEHE! I always think I'm so hilarious at 11pm.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stake Conference Defined

Stake conference [steyk][kon-fer-uhns]:

1. an official assembly of clergy and laity, in a division of ecclesiastical territory, consisting of a number of wards presided over by a president and two counselors.

2. a time for w
iping noses, propping up nodding heads, continually searching for something new and interesting to do that may have grown in the bag, trying to make room for two kids on my lap, stopping near constant squabbles over who had more right to my lap over the other, a child who kept singing along with the choir, calming a panicked child whose fingernail finally ripped off after hanging on by a thread for weeks, trying hard to keep the kids' antics from injuring the elderly women sitting next to us, lamenting not bringing snacks...

3. The longest two hours of my life!!!!

Happy Birthday Kristina!

Turn up your volume and click on play
in the box below for your very own super duper Crain family happy birthday rendition!

Gabcast! The Golden Seven #1

Um, yeah. Go ahead and tell us how awesome we are for recording this from three different states and how you totally want me to release it as a single so you can buy it on itunes... know I totally would do it too. I'm all about appeasing the masses you know.

We love you K! Happy birthday!!

PS When is the next America's Got Talent audition?

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Boycott and a New Tradition!

So each year the week before Thanksgiving rolls around and all the parents are invited to school to join their kids for a special Thanksgiving lunch--turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, you know the drill. Normally my kids completely refuse to take hot lunches other than when pizza is on the menu [chalk it up to their good taste...ha!], but for whatever reason they always insist on trying the Thanksgiving lunch.

So year after year I choke up the $3.40 and join the kids in eating the chewy, flavorless memories of my own childhood lunches...leaving the school feeling unsatisfied, gypped, and still hungry.

This year I was feeling rebellious [and hungry], so I decided on a new family tradition...
a quick stop at Subway for a sweet-onion chicken teriyaki to share with the kids. A win-win-win for everyone [a win for each of the three meals I ate at the school that day].

Now that's a tradition I can stick with!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Was It Supposed to Be THAT Hard?

Remember this from a month ago?

After 29 days of being the mailman's worst enemy,
one trip to Home Depot,
one broken shovel,
4 trips to Lowes ,
countless stripped screws,
one busted pair of pliers (from pulling out stripped screws),
my first experience pouring cement,
1-1/2 hours with my neighbor as he tried to help me attach the cross arm,
two arguments with Glen,
a toolbox that now feels way more loved by me than by its rightful owner (see previous statement),
a whole bunch of these as de-stressing food [click here for recipe]... one super goofy picture taken by my sister...
and VOILA!
The prettiest mailbox on the block!!! WOOHOO!

Something tells me that it wasn't supposed to be quite that hard.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post-Marathon Tradition

What's the best thing to do (besides sleeping) after the mental and physical exhaustion of running 13 or 26 miles?

Going to visit with an old friend that was willing to feed our insatiable appetites and be patient with our refusal to walk up or down stairs! Chelsey used to live nearby us here in the area, but has since moved on with her cute family to a beautiful home in Richmond. Chelsey is the responsible party for getting me hooked on stamping and card making!

Cami and Whitney hadn't seen each other in a couple of years, but were giggling, talking, and cooking together in no time!

Don't ask me what it was that Cami and Whitney made--all I know is that it had loads of sugar, corn syrup, and artificial coloring. Perhaps a little lacking in the nutrition department, but Ellie and Brinley were oblivious to that fact and thought they were the coolest treats ever!

Adam and Tyler were like old friends in no time glued to the video games.

Even Glen and Aaron picked right back up where they left off...watching the BYU game! It was good that the Cougs ended up winning, otherwise we may have had to leave early. : )

Good friends like the Gregory's are hard to come by and I am truly grateful for their friendship over the years. We left their presence feeling energized by their contagious enthusiasm about the things in life that truly matter and inspired by their courage and faithfulness through the very difficult times they have endured recently.

Now we just need to figure out a way to see them other than just before or after running the Richmond marathon. Really we don't smell/eat/walk like that all the time!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twice as Crazy?

You all thought I was crazy for running 13.1 miles?

Does that mean that Glen is twice as crazy for running 26.2?

(Lest you think that Spence and Cam are super athletes for running marathons before puberty, I should explain that after seeing a couple of kids accompanying their mom into the finish line, they thought it would be fun to surprise him and join him for the last half mile to the finish line. I think it worked, since it actually made Glen smile after his four plus hours of
torture exhilaration.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Simple (?) Equation

Take a step back to your youth and solve this simple word problem...

What do you get when:

Sister visiting from California
+ Going out of town for the weekend
+ Running a half-marathon on Saturday
+ Cooking dinner for 19 today
+ No working fridge
+ Pain with every footstep
+ Four whole days since last blog post

If you guessed an exhausted, hobbling, irritable, distracted, ice cream craving lady who misses her blogging so much that she just had to sneak a quick post in while her indentured servants (aka Glen and the kids) are vacuuming and cleaning the playroom you'd be right on!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vast Left-Winged Conspiracy

I'm an informed consumer. Really I am. Over the years of home ownership we have come across several appliances that have needed to be replaced and each time we have spent hours researching the best options...the price, quality, reliability, etc. We want to make sure we're spending our money wisely.

Inevitably we've always turned to good old faithful Consumer Reports for the bulk of our research. They [supposedly] have no affiliation with any company and do not accept advertising money or donations from companies of any sort, so they claim complete neutrality in their research. Sounds good to me.

So now after carefully purchasing FOUR Consumer Reports "Best Buy" deals--supposedly the highest quality for the fairest price--I'm here to tell you that it's all BUNK BUNK BUNK!

A fridge that has to be repaired 3 times in the first 6 months. {They never did officially call it a "lemon". We finally got so upset at throwing away entire fridge's worth of food every couple of months that we demanded a new one.}

A dishwasher that needs a new motor after less than a year of use. {They claimed that although only 11 months old, that based on our usage of 1-2 loads per day that it was technically more like 3-5 years old...since they expect the average consumer to do 2-3 loads per week.}

A washer that needed a repair exactly a year after purchase. {Luckily this was an easy fix.}

And now that replacement fridge is broken with a part that will take TWO WEEKS to arrive . {Another fridge worth of food gone, gone, gone.}

Where did we buy all these crappy hunks of junk? Yard sales? The dollar store? No...

Another old reliable.

So how did they get Sears get a good name for quality products selling this kind of poorly made junk? How did Consumer Reports become the gold standard for product reviews when everything they recommend falls apart in a year?

So here's my theory: I think that Consumer Reports and Sears aren't quite so independent of each other as they each claim. In addition to Sears slipping CR a commission for recommending their products as "CR Best Buys", I have learned that CR and Sears together have made a pact with the devil and are conspiring to collapse the US economy by letting evil appliances take over the world.

Now excuse me while I step back a century and go hang all my meat out in the smokehouse.

Who am I?

Blogging Drama

So, Spencer had thought that I'd been divulging secrets about him again (a HUGE misunderstanding--totally not true--I so have learned my lesson), so naturally he thought of the blog as his sure fire method of seeking embarrassing revenge on me. Problem was that he didn't count on Glen being way more embarrassed than I was about the whole thing [a much worse fate than embarrassing his mom somehow]. So Spence deleted it.
Not only is he sweet, hard-working, fun, good-hearted, smart, generous, and understanding, but he's also way hotter than those other guys Spence had listed here.

And in the meantime I totally need to figure out how to unlink Spence's gmail account from my blogger account. Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Girls' Guide to Cleaning Your Room Super Fast

Hi, my name is Cami and I'm here today to give you five tips on how to clean your room super fast...guaranteed to work every time.

1st tip--make sure your mom is really preoccupied with something important

2nd tip--folding your clothes is way too time-consuming. Stuffing everything haphazardly will save you oodles of time.

3rd tip--Who needs garbage cans? Under your bed is so much easier!

4th tip--Same goes for behind dressers.

and my 5th and final tip--pick all your sisters' clothes out of the clean clothes pile and stuff them inconspicuously into the Goodwill bag mom started in your closet.

Like I said, super duper guaranteed to work every time...

until mom finds out. Oops gotta go now!

Friday, November 7, 2008

"In the Fall..."

A photo essay by Cami (age 11)

In the fall the leaves turn orange, red, yellow, and brown. Sometimes they fall so thickly it looks like it is raining leaves. When we rake leaves we rake them into a big pile right at the edge of the trampoline, then we jump off the trampoline and into the leaves. When we rake the front yard we rake all the leaves to the bottom of the hill, run down the hill and into the leaf pile. Raking leaves is probably my favorite type of yard work.

Another thing I love about fall is apple pie. We usually go apple picking and get a healthy supply of apples for at least a month. My mom’s apple pie is so good she teaches apple pie classes almost every fall. Her apple pie is so sweet and looks beautiful too. My mom’s apple pie is the best pie in the entire world.

I love the smell of fall. It smells crisp and delicious the smell often reminds me of camping. Sometimes I want to stay outside all day and just run and breathe the fresh air I think out of all the seasons fall smells the best by far.

Another thing I love about fall is the weather. The fall has perfect weather for biking, running, and jumping on the trampoline. The weather is perfect for almost every outdoor activity. Sometimes there are rainy days but even those days I love the weather of fall. The fall weather is definitely my favorite season for outdoor activities.

Thanksgiving is a big thing I love about fall. There is always a big dinner with turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, and pretty much everything you like to eat. There is also more of my mom’s famous apple pie. And all our family comes to share a great night with us. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

The last thing I will tell you about is another fun fall holiday--Halloween. I love Halloween because of all the costumes and decorations. I have to admit I do like the candy as well. On Halloween we always get double treats because it is my sister’s birthday. I love to go trick-or-treating with my friends. Everything about Halloween is so much fun.

I love the fall so much for so many reasons. Only a few of them I have shared with you. Everything about fall is so amazing, it is hard not to love. Everything is so beautiful, all the colors, smells, and fun things to do. A lot of people don’t notice how wonderful each season is but when you think about it there are so many things to love every season, but fall will always mean a little more to me.

The end.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

They didn't tell me...

I had just started getting used to the fact that lately whenever I try to take a picture of Adam that I usually get some goofy smile like this...
or maybe even this...

but now this is what I've got for his kindergarten picture too?

His comment on the subject, "They didn't tell me I had to do a real smile."

So, now do I send him for retakes? Or preserve the perplexed birthday boy look for future generations?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Need some election day comfort food?

What could be more comforting (or celebratory) than some good old-fashioned apple pie? So here's an illustrated tutorial on how to make my favorite apple pie with perfectly flaky crust just in time for election night blues and Thanksgiving!

Pie Crust--this crust was a Maryland State Fair winner from 1979. After experimenting with a million different ones over the years, this is by far my favorite (and everyone else's too)!

1 cup shortening (Crisco)
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg + enough ice water to make ½ cup liquid


Cut shortening into flour and salt until the size of peas. Add egg/water mixture and stir with fork until just barely clinging together. Knead with hands for thirty seconds just bringing in some of the loose crumbs. I think the crust handles best when used right away, but you could cover and refrigerate the dough at this point. Yields two 9” crusts.

Divide the dough into two equal sections. Then on a generously floured pie mat (mine's from Pampered Chef) or piece of wax paper, use your hands to pat the dough down until relatively flat. You'll want to flip it over a few times, reflouring the surface each time.
Making sure you start with both sides of the dough and the mat well floured, use the rolling pin to form the crust into a somewhat circular shape. Make sure that you rotate the whole mat a few times while rolling out the dough to ensure that the thickness is even throughout.

After rolling it out to your desired thickness, carefully lift the entire mat into a centered position in your pie pan. Be careful when removing the pie mat/wax paper, so that you can try to minimize any rips or sticky spots in the crust.
Whew! The hardest part is done! Now it's onto the filling part...

No Fail Apple Pie--seriously this is SO easy!

1 ½ cups sugar divided
¼ cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
6-7 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs. butter

Start with the pie crust rolled out into a 9” pie pan. Sprinkle ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour, and a pinch of salt over the crust (this step seems weird to a lot of people, but I promise it turns out fine. I forgot to take a picture, but basically you'll just pour the flour, sugar, and salt into the empty pie crust and stir it around lightly with your fingers).

Then fill crust with half of the apples. Sprinkle on another ½ cup sugar, then add the rest of the apples. Then sprinkle on another ½ cup of sugar, pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Cut butter up into small clumps and place evenly over the top of the apples.
Roll out top crust and place over pie (using crust directions from above). Cut half an inch from the edge and tuck and form as desired,(I use the extra dough to cut out seasonal shapes with cookie cutters to adorn the crust)Make sure to poke a few holes to allow steam to escape, then brush the top with some milk, then sprinkle with about 1 Tbs. sugar.

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375° and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Watch the pie carefully the last 20 minutes or so, being ready to place some foil over edges or top if they are browning too quickly. The filling will bubble out slightly when the pie is done.

Serve warm with cool whip or vanilla ice cream and've got comfort for the most depressing of election days.

Oh and I guess I should tell you that my bishop informed me that my calling and election were made sure after I brought one of these pies to him....

I wish it were only that easy, but I'll take what I can get.

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