Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Scientific Explanation

Brian and I spent some quality time together a couple of nights ago…cooking. I was making a creamy butter sauce for my bread pudding and he was practicing alchemy. I’m not kidding. He was turning pennies to gold (or at least making them look gold) to give away to little kids as Christmas gifts. The conversation went something like this.

B: Hey, I think your butter is scorching.
C: That brown stuff is the vanilla I just added to it.
B: Oh.
C: You just deface U.S. currency and I’ll take care of the butter sauce.
B: It might not be smart to have your food too close to this.
C: If it’s dangerous where are your safety goggles?
One minute later.
C: Can you put 2 tablespoons of sugar in here for me while I stir?
B: I thought I was supposed to just cook my sodium hydroxide while you cook the
hydrogenated vegetable fat.
A few minutes later, after the butter sauce was done.
B: Drop a few more pennies in.
C: Oww! It splashed on me.
B: Is it chemically burning you?
C: A little.
B: Well go wash it off!
C: I told you we needed safety equipment.
A few minutes later, after the burning had subsided.
C: Wow, it doesn’t take them long to turn once they get on the hot plate.
B: I won’t even offer the scientific explanation since I know you won’t appreciate it.
C: Well that’s a first, but thank you.
A few minutes later, after the scientific explanation.
C: I’m going to write about this in my blog.
B: You’ll have the ATF down on us.

It just struck me that ours may be the only house in America where this conversation took place on Christmas Eve. Ahh, life with a science nerd.

Cutie Kinley

This may be the best picture of Kinley I have ever taken. It is definitely my favorite picture of her up to this point. It was pure luck, but it turned out so great! I love it! That smile is just the cutest. Just thought I'd share.

Christmas Kids

Ryker and Cainan both participated in their programs at church this year. Ryker was a member of the chorus in "A King is Coming to Town". He sang lots of songs and learned choreography for 3 of them. He can now do the twist and "walk like an Egyptian." It was a very cute musical and the kids did a great job.

Cainan was a shepherd in the Cradle Roll nativity. Well, he wanted to be a shepherd and he told his teacher that he wanted the shepherd costume, but when he appeared in the sanctuary he was wearing a crown. He still maintains that he was a shepherd, not a wiseman. Maybe he was a very wealthy shepherd. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas from the Grove Family!

Brian, Crystal, Ryker, Cainan & Kinley

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cainan Speak

Cainan is at that cute age where he says all kinds of funny things. He also has a lot of very entertaining pronunciations of words. Here are a few samples...





He also makes us laugh all of the time with these crazy phrases that he comes up with. One of his favorites is, "Speaking of.." Of course you don't really have to be speaking of anything for him to mention it. For example we may be having a conversation about corn and he will say, "Speaking of trains...lets play 'I Spy'!" Here are a few other Cainan quotes.

After beating me in a race, "Hurry up you slow coach!" (Obviously he has spent too much time watching British television, Thomas the Tank Engine in particular.)

One morning he came downstairs and announced, "I got some good sleep-eye last night!"

Today he wanted to play with his trains in my soapy dish water. I told him he had to wait until I was finished with the dishes but he was getting impatient and whiny so I said, "Hold your horses." He replied, "You mean trains."

But my favorite quote of all came in a conversation with Ryker one afternoon as they were playing sword fight. Ryker had just watched the movie The Princess Bride and wanted Cainan to re-enact a sword dual from the movie with him, complete with the correct dialogue. Ryker told Cainan his line, "There is something you should know. I am not left-handed either.", but this is what Cainan actually said in the course of the battle...

Ryker: There is something you should know. I am not left-handed.

Cainan: There is something you should know. I don't have any hands.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

My pants are falling off!

It has probably been approximately 20 years since I was last afraid that my pants might fall down in public. But, actually that would have been the 80's and everyone's pants were plenty tight enough back then to relieve any of those fears. So I guess I have actually never worried about losing my britches until last night. I was wearing my fat jeans, also consequently the most comfortable pair I own, while directing a rehearsal for our Christmas musical. I had my cell phone in one pocket and the battery pack for my wireless mic (so I can yell at the cast when they miss a line or an entrance :)) in the other. I was seriously wising I had a belt! I had to keep one hand on the belt loops at all times as I walked around putting out fires, not literally thankfully, on the set. This may seem like no big deal to most of you but to someone (me) who has been fat for the last 7 years it is a very big deal. Four months ago I was just happy if I could get that same pair of pants fastened.

I started Weight Watchers in October. (Well, let me be truthful. I went to three meetings under a no registration fee promotion, got all of the information and tools, and then haven't been back since.) Over the last 3 months I have lost 18 pounds. I'm still not down to my pre-three-kids weight and I still have 34 pounds to go to hit my goal weight, which also happens to be my high school graduation weight, but it is a start. I never thought it would go so quickly or so easily. I still have really bad days and weeks when I only lose 1/2 a pound instead of the standard 2 or 3 pounds a week but overall it is going great. I was really worried about what two days of Thanksgiving feasting would do to me, but I ended up losing 3 pounds that week in spite of the holiday. I feel like I have really accomplished something. Something I never thought I would be able to do.

So I did a little test when I got home last night. I left my jeans buttoned and zipped and pulled them right off, no problem! I know I have never done that. Then I got out an old pair of jeans and tried them on. I've been terrified to do that so far, but last night I found the courage to give it a shot. Sure enough they buttoned right up. Hooray! I guess all of the salad and rice cakes and water (ugh!) has been worth it. My goal is to lose 8 more pounds before Christmas. That way when family and friends that I haven't seen in several months see me again it will be a big old 26 pound shock!

Monday, December 4, 2006

No Bones About It

I am not spoiled, but there is one thing that I have never had to do because someone else (my mom and my husband) has always done for me...prepare salmon. Brian enjoys cooking and particularly likes salmon patties so that is one of the things that he makes for us sometimes. I like them too, so when I found a recipe for Salmon Pie I thought I would try it. Brian wasn't home, so I had to prepare the salmon from the can myself. Now, I knew it had bones in it that had to be removed and I had even seen my mom and Brian removing them on occasion, but apparently I had never looked that closely because I was shocked at what I found in that can. Not only was there a long backbone of several vertebrae, but there were also hundreds of small rib bones and to top it all off skin! I wasted 30 minutes and got a crick in my neck from sifting through that stuff! What kind of industry cuts the head off of an animal then stuffs it in a can can calls it ready for consumption? Would you buy beef if it came complete with hide and hooves? ( I know I wouldn't. We ended up in an Asian grocery store in California a couple of years ago and as we passed the meat counter piled high with cow lips and tongues and livers Ryker said, "I think we need to get outta here." I agreed.) Why have we been buying salmon this way for the last 100 years (I just read a book about , among other things, the salmon industry in Alaska, that's how I know it has been that long)? Why haven't consumers demanded a product that comes out of the can ready to throw in the pot? I understand that if I am going to buy a whole fish I'll have to clean it, debone it, etc., but if I buy a processed food I want it to actually be processed.
As I was mentally ranting and raving, much like above, I realized. It never takes Brian or Mom this long to prepare salmon. Brian and Mom don't have the patience to take out every little bone. I've been eating these things for the last 30 years!! Sure enough, when Brian came home and I mentioned my complaints he said, "They cook out. They're so small you don't even notice them. They won't hurt you." Of course I had to agree since I have lived through all of my salmon meals to date, its just the principle of the thing now. So I call on all of you that are fed up with eating bones and peeling skin off of canned fish to write your congressmen and demand that cleaned, boned, skinned salmon appear in our cans in the future! Salmon eaters of the world UNITE!

The Blackout

Inches of Ice on Everything: 3/4
Amount of Time without Power: 84 hours
Hours of Darkness Every Night: 12
Loads of Wood Burnt: 9
Indoor Temperature: 65 degrees
Board Games Played: 10
Candles Used Up: 3
Days Off of School: 2

We just came out of a 3 1/2 day blackout and despite Cainan's suggestion to "buy some 'lecktristity' at the store" we were without power the whole time. It was a first for all of us (Brian and I lived through the one in the late 70's but don't remember it). Luckily we had our wood stove and our gas fireplace to keep us warm. We were able to maintain a reasonable temperature in the house. We shut off half of the second story (our bedroom, bath and closet) so we would only have to heat part of the house. So, Brian and I slept downstairs in front of the fire (partly to stay warm and partly so that we could stoke it every 2 hours) and the kids slept in their rooms upstairs. The open layout of our house allowed most of the heat to go upstairs anyway, so they were toasty warm. Since we are avid campers we had our lantern for light (plus a couple of oil lamps and some candles) and our dual fuel two burner stove to cook on. We also boiled water and heated beans and soup on top of the wood stove. We had water and our hot water heater is gas so we always had hot water too. Our deep freeze is in our cold garage anyway, so everything in there stayed frozen. We did loose a gallon and a half of ice cream and some frozen blueberries, but everything else we were able to save, or eat. It was cold enough outside that we just left our perishables in a cooler on the back porch most of the time. Overall we came through it just fine.

The hardest part was filling the time in the dark. We are night owls anyway and find it difficult to go to bed before 11 pm. So passing the time from 5 pm to 11 pm with no TV, radio, or even enough light to easily read by was a challenge. We played a lot of board games. I beat Brian at Scrabble at least twice, we taught Ryker how to play Monopoly (and actually played it all the way through, something we've never had time to do before) and we all got sick of the Thomas the Tank Engine Matching Game. I had rehearsals at church two of the nights ( I used that time to plug in and charge our cell phone, laptop, electric razor, spotlight, and camcorder battery), so Brian had to sit through the darkness alone (after the kids went to bed) on those nights. Needless to say he has read all of his magazines...twice. The kids had a blast and spent a lot of time building elaborate Lego creations and playing with the trains on the train table. Kinley was generally oblivious, but did have a hard time sleeping in the quiet.

Yep, the quiet was a little hard to get used to. Usually we have the background noise from the furnace, blower on the wood stove, refrigerator and a fan (we keep it going outside Kinley's door to keep out the noise) minimum and often add the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and TV to that. Sitting in absolute stillness (well as much stillness as there can be with three kids and a dog) for 84 hours is weird, but kind of nice. We had a great time just being together and playing together but we were very happy to see the power company trucks come down the driveway this morning. It was like the Allies entering Berlin...in a very, very small way. We knew that the end of the cold and darkness would be soon. Sure enough, two hours later it all came back on and the kids started dancing around singing, "We have power, we have power!" Then they turned on the TV, I turned on the computer, and Brian stuck some leftovers in the microwave.