Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Have Crabs

See? Just look at the size of them!

That's 3 pounds of crab, people. Courtesy of Sam's Club, which I heart. I have a very strong love of crab. I think it stems back to my dad carting us all down to Mesquite on Friday nights for the seafood buffet at the Casablanca Casino. I found rather quickly that crab was something I connected with more than other seafood. It has a hard outer shell, a flaky center, but it's so rare and delicious, you crave it fortnightly. Are you getting my simile here? Good.

So the crab came frozen. We weren't sure what to do about that, so we did some searching on the net. It said to thaw it in water for an hour. So we did. And note to self, when it's time to empty out the water, don't spill it all over the kitchen floor because it STINKS! So, the crab is now thawed. We glaze it in butter and garlic, put it in the broasting pan, as pictured above, covered it with foil, and popped it on the grill for like 5 minutes. Perfection!

Sugar Daddy was sure I couldn't eat all 3 pounds of it. I knew I could. Yes, there are times that I can't even get down more than 3 or 4 mouthfuls of anything thanks to my handy dandy lap-band, but I knew the crab would be fine. I knew my body was ready for it. And I did it! Well, most of it. I think he had like one leg, but I had the rest, and was so proud of myself. And most importantly, I didn't get food poisoning, which I was a little worried about, but it was a small price to pay for the deliciousness that is crab.

So there you go, my first post about crabs. Hopefully now that we know what to do with said crab, we will be cooking it more often. I probably won't thaw it in water, though, I think it made some pieces a little chewy.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Not me, I'm fine. Nope, the kids are fine too. So is Sugar Daddy.

It's the computer.

I'm very worried.

Every time I open a new page or tab, Firefox crashes.

I'm pretty sure one of the kids brought a virus in from one of their games.

What do I do? Eek, I feel like a first time mother! I'm so worried. Should I call 911?

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Monday, September 28, 2009

We're Back

Here is my one and only shot of our trip to Galena.

Beautiful, right? It really is. That is the Alpine Slide, and the people on the chair lift in front of me are Sean, Emma, and Maggie. This Alpine Slide was actually a lot of fun. It was pretty long, considering we were on the one and only mountain in most of Illinois. But riding the lift back up was cool, we had an amazing view of the Mississippi. I don't know what it is about that river, but it's just so mesmerizing to me.

We also did a little drive into Dubuque, Iowa. It's a lovely town. And by lovely I mean it's the kind of place you don't want to get stuck in after dark. It was a big ol' hole. I think we were the only non-smokers in the town, and probably the only ones not packing heat.

We had a way nice condo, courtesy of my mom's brother and his lovely wife. They are very sweet. We swam, watched movies, and just had a general good time. Galena is definitely some place we need to visit again, and next time we'll stay longer. It's like a miniature Park City, but with more rivers and less mountains. It has a million B&B's and the aforementioned ski resort. It is also home to Ulysses S. Grant's home, and an old period decorated mansion, called the Belvidere Mansion. We didn't go to either of those places. We hadn't heard great things about either place, so we passed. The kids were relieved.

I'd like to visit in the winter, and maybe hit the slopes. The ski resort had a couple of black diamond runs that were hilariously easy in comparison to Utah standards. But I could certainly use that as a little self esteem booster, right?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Leave A Message At The Beep


Off to Galena for a night with the family. Be home tomorrow. Have a good weekend!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Downright Scary Around Here

See what I mean?

We were blessed to have a box full of meat delivered to our house, yes, meat, in the mail, it's fine, really, and it was packed in dry ice. We've found that dry ice is pretty darn hard to come by in Chicagoland, so this was a real treat for the kids to see.

I promptly immersed it in water, and after a stern warning about not touching the actual ice, let the kids play in the "smoke". It was hours of fun. Immediately after taking this picture, I realized a glass bowl probably isn't the safest vessel for dry ice, so I found my last surviving Tupperware bowl and swapped it out.

After Sugar Daddy arrived home and had sufficiently wiped the drool from his chin upon seeing a box full of steaks and chops and ribs (oh my!), he plodded out to the back yard with a 2 Liter bottle with a smidge of water in the bottom and a (gloved) handful of dry ice. In went the dry ice, on went the lid and BOOM! went the bottle. It flew into the neighbors backyard. It made all the kids cry. It was awesome!

Of course, the next day Sugar Daddy had to call the person that sent the meats, and tell him we were very thankful for his generosity, but that we are strict vegans. Could he please send someone to pick up the meat and redistribute it? He almost got that out without cracking up!

Can anyone say Filet Mignon? Nothing's scary about that!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Day To You

This is my sister Kelli. You might think it's weird that my parents named 2 daughters with the same name. Considering my family hosts approximately 100 Sam's and about 50 versions of Keli (Kelli, Kelly), it's not that unusual.

But you got me, she's not my sister by blood. She's married to that hot man, my other sister Troy. He's the favorite.

Kelli might as well be a blood sister. I love her like she's always been in my life. In fact, it's hard to remember that she wasn't always around! She shares our sick sense of humor, although not to the degree that I do, and she can hold her own around certain members of the family.

Things I love about Kelli are:
  • She loves the outdoors. She would rather go for a bike ride than for a day at the spa.
  • She loves to be right. She will argue until she wins. So don't bother!
  • She is very spiritual, but she doesn't think she is.
  • She keeps my brother on the straight and narrow.
  • She has an awesome sense of style. Her house is gorgeous, and totally "her".
  • She is a great mother. Her kids are awesome, and very respectful. But they still know how to have fun!
  • She isn't afraid of anything. She's always up for an adventure.
  • She manages to keep it all together; work, church, kids, home, and she makes it seem effortless.
I love you Kelli! I miss you so much! I'm so glad you're part of our family! Happy birthday!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sneaky Sneaky

This is my cousin Brent. Or, Elder Devey as he's called nowadays.

He's on a mission, here in Chicago! How cool is that? He's in the Chicago South Mission, Spanish speaking, and I live in the North mission, but despite our distance, we were able to "bump into each other" at the temple on Saturday.

It was all very covert.

He's a great missionary. He's working hard, and the language is coming along nicely. It was so good to see him in his element, and to see how committed he is to serving the Lord for our Gospel.

I even snuck in a little hug, it was direct orders from his mom.

Hopefully, when they go to the temple six months from now, I can "bump into him" again!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Just Tell Me What To Do

I don't like being in charge.

I like being told what to do. Give me a task, and I'll do it, but make me delegate, and I freeze.

Saturday we had our annual Daddy/Daughter date for Activity Days. I love Activity Days. I have some really fun girls, and they are all very pleasant and easy to please, which makes my job even more fun. But this date night was a lot of stress for me. The girls and I had been planning this for a few months, and we had prepared a lot of fun ideas, so I really didn't have too much to worry about. But still, I was in charge, so if it went down in flames, I was to blame.

Luckily we had very few mishaps. The pizza dough got a little gooey while sitting out, which made it hard to get off the plate and onto the cookie sheet to cook, but it was fine. The church was disgustingly dirty when we arrived, so we spent a good portion of our setting up time cleaning up other people's messes. The drawer that normally holds all the nice flatware was mysteriously empty, so we had to resort to plastic forks. The oven had some sort of overflow problem prior to our using it, so upon preheating it, we filled the church with smoke.

Somehow it all came together at just the right time.

The girls taught the dads the Hoedown Throwdown, which was hilarious, and the dads were all very good sports about it. We dressed them up in cowboy attire and took their pictures, and then played pin the hat on the cowgirl. After eating our individual pizzas and salad, we had cowboy cupcakes, and visited for a while. The dads helped clean up the tables and chairs, and the women folk, without whom I couldn't have done this, cleaned up the kitchen. Don't worry, we left it cleaner than we found it, which wasn't hard to do!

I heard good things from the dads and the moms yesterday at church, it seems everyone had a good time.

I'm just glad it's over.


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Friday, September 18, 2009


Does this look like a car commercial to anyone else?

I thought so.

Happy Friday!

Also, please check over here for a good laugh. Feel free to send in your submissions.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

This Is Why I Won't Buy Anything But Huggies, Ever Again!

How disgusting is that diaper? This is first thing in the morning, and boy, is it full! Huggies would never do this to me. With Huggies, she never has to come into my room in the middle of the night because of her diaper falling off. With these stupid imposters of diapers, it has happened a few times. And we all know that Keli likey her sleepy. So this is just wrong.

I quite enjoy the Sam's Club brand of toilet paper. In fact, it has become my favorite. Nice texture, good strength, all things you need in a good bum fodder.

But these Sam's Club diapers? Crap. Total crap. I shouldn't have let Sugar Daddy talk me into them. So they were $3 cheaper. Not worth it for the amout of times we have to change the diapers because they are flimsy. Huggies can go all day.

So don't waste your time or money. I won't compromise on diapers again. Or sandwich bags. I like Ziploc. Or tissues. Kleenex only. Or cereal. No Malt-O-Meal. I guess I'm more picky than I thought.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Before you go thinking I'm going to homeschool my kids, let me just say I am using that title as a clever play on words. This post is about food.

Lunch, mainly.

I'm curious about how other people do home/school lunches with their kids.

Right now we give Emma $22.50 a month for lunch. That's for 10 lunches. She can use them as she sees fit, using up all 10, or carrying some over for next month. She usually comes out about even. But I have to say, I'm not looking forward to next year, and doing $45 a month for lunches! Yikes!

When she has home lunch, it's a sandwich, a juice box or Capri Sun, and a granola bar or a baggie of chips. Sometimes I'll throw a cookie or two in just for a surprise. I know, it's not super balanced, but it's what works, and it's what I have on hand.

What do you guys do? What do your kids like?

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's What I Do When My Head Gets Restless

The last couple of days I've been doing something I don't usually do a lot of. No, not exercising. No, not cleaning. No, not parenting.


I mean I usually cook dinner, most nights. Really, I do. But I don't usually really cook. I mean, I'll heat up some chicken nuggets and a can of beans and a box of rice, and then I'll make some honey mustard dip or Ultimate Dipping Sauce, but that's about as gourmet as I get.

These last few days my head had been restless. That's the only way I can describe it. I have a lot going on, and I don't deal well with stress. I have a big party coming up for Activity Days, I have the Primary Program coming up, and I have to teach and review and encourage and teach some more for that, and I have people around me that are struggling with depression, and that alone brings back so many emotions of what that feels like.

So I started cooking, and it felt good.

First I made Pioneer Woman's Tres Leches Cake.

If you haven't tried TLC, you are missing out on pure bliss. There is a little scary Mexican restaurant near my house that has it, only occasionally, and when my mom and sisters were here, we were able to try it. They all loved it. And PW's version is better than that! It's not an easy recipe, meaning there are a lot of steps, but it's not too bad.

Next I made Avocado Ranch Dressing.

I love this stuff. I could (and do) eat it straight out of the bowl. Last night I heated up (see, cooking!) some chicken fried steaks, sliced them up, and put them over a yummy salad of green leaf lettuce and sliced carrots. Add a dollop of the dressing, and it's lovely bliss.

This makes my head calm. Keeping my hands busy doing something, and then being able to enjoy the fruits, or veggies, of my labors is very cathartic. I think I've always been like this, which is why I blog. It's just what I do.

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Friday, September 11, 2009


Today is picture day. I hate picture day. Is it just me, or do the school pictures always look like crap? Add to that that they cost $40, and that just makes me one mad mama!

I would rather do haircuts in trade for someone's awesome photography skills, but I don't want to be that mom who's kid doesn't get to stand in line for school pictures.

What do you do about picture day?

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Cup Overfloweth

Blogger is being a butt head today, and won't let me upload any pictures, so instead you get thoughts, a la moi. If you want pictures, go to my Facebook and you can see the Kentucky album there. It's not really worth the trip though, I'll be honest. It's pretty lame.

Anybugger. Thoughts.

Sugar Daddy and I have been married almost 12 years. That's like forever in Keli time. I'm not a sentimental person, and I don't keep things around for 12 years. My baby pictures? Shoved in a bag in a drawer somewhere. Our marriage license? Who knows. I'm just not that kind of person.

So for me to keep a husband around for 12 years is a pretty big deal. Especially considering some days are touch and go.

But there is one more thing that has stuck around for those 12 years. No, it's not the crabs, I got rid of those weeks ago.

It's a blue cup. An ugly plastic blue cup. We got it when we got married. Not sure who gave us said cup, but as a note to future wedding gift purchasers, don't give people crappy blue plastic cups. That's just mean. But this cup is invincible. From day one it found it's way into our shower. Our first tiny apartment had the water pressure of an old man at midnight, and we needed the cup for an extra shot of rinse water.

Then we moved into the ancient house, and again we were left with spotty water pressure, so the cup dutifully provided.

Finally we moved into our brand new house, and though the water pressure was magnifico, that cup couldn't seem to find any place to call home, save the shower. Once Emma came along a few months after our move-in, that cup became the rinse aid in the baby tub. Then it progressed to the big tub. And there it has lived ever since.

2 more homes, and 2 more kids, and it lives on in the bathtub. At the risk of someone calling DCFS, I'll tell you that in those 12 years, this cup has never once been washed properly. It is faded and dented, and the edges are raw with use, but it stays fairly clean on its own.

Then the other day I noticed a small crack down the side of this precious goblet. It seems the blue cup is on its way out. Will I ever find a suitable replacement? Probably not. It has always been a fixture in our home, and I'm sad to see it go.

But like Sugar Daddy and I, it's touch and go. It could last, it could fail. I think it's all in how we treat it.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Okay, Here You Go

So we headed to Kentucky over Labor Day. It was great fun! The drive was long, but our kids are seasoned travelers, so it wasn't a big deal. I still cannot get over the greenness of Illinois and the surrounding states. It's amazing how lush it is.

Here are just a few of the pictures, I'll do another post tomorrow with more pictures. I know how much you just love looking at my kids and our super exciting life.

Here we are at Tootsies Landing Ferry. It took us across the Mississippi from Missouri to Hickman, Kentucky. We didn't know it at the time, but it saved us about 2 hours of driving. We were just along for an adventure, and when we saw the sign for a Ferry, we thought that would be perfect. The ride took about 15 minutes, just long enough to eat the picnic lunch we packed, and then it was off to find our way back to camp.

Here are the girls playing on the beach at Kentucky Lake. Ken Lake is the second largest man made lake in the nation, I'm guessing second to Lake Powell. It's so beautiful, and the water was nice and warm. This picture takes me back to my childhood. I bet we have a zillion pictures just like this from when we were kids playing on the beaches of Lake Powell.

If you look closely, you can see that is all 3 of my girls on the tube. Yep, I never thought I'd see the day that Mags would be brave enough to conquer the tube without Mimi. Not only did she love it, she went alone for a good 20 minute ride, too. Gretta loved it, and didn't want to get off. Of course Emma loved it, too. I think she secretly likes getting thrown in the lake by dad.

And here is our littlest captain. She took to driving like a fish to water. Shortly after this picture was taken, we sort of ran aground and bent the crap out of the prop. Oh well, it was a rental. In her defense, there were no buoys marking shallow water, or any other hazards, so how would she have known? Please notice Gretta asleep on the couch in the background. She had the best nap with the rock of the waves and the hum of the motor.

After our day at the lake, we went for a little hike. First thing we saw was a couple of deer hanging out just a few feet from the parking lot. That was about it as far as large wildlife goes. We did see lots of possums, racoons, and turtles, though.

So that's it for today. I'll post more pics tomorrow.

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We're back. Stay tuned for pictures later today. My camera is buried in the mess that is the trailer, and who knows how long it will take me to actually dig it out, hook it up, and sit down long enough to upload pictures and witty captions.

Bear with me, folks. Trust me, it will be worth it.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Man

Does anyone watch Man Vs. Food?

I did.

And I suddenly got voraciously hungry. Too bad it was midnight.

Last nights episode was especially cool, because he visited a place that I love. It's called The Crab Pot, and it's in Seattle.

You might remember our girls trip there a few years ago.

One of the best ever. My mom loved it there. The Space Needle was cool, and I scored a sweet off-white jacket with a fur collar that I still wear.

I have a funny picture of my mom at The Crab Pot. She had a bib on, and was holding a mallet.


Anyway, it made me miss her. But I think I've turned a corner, because the "miss her hurt" is sort of waning into "miss her poignantly". Less sad, more sweet. Does that even make sense?

So thank you Adam, I needed that last night.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gettin' My Hillbilly On

We're headed south this weekend.

It's a place in Kentucky called Land Between The Lakes. Hmmm, that name leaves quite a bit to the imagination, doesn't it? I wonder if it's between some lakes? Could be.

Anyway, here's the best (meaning first) image I could find on Google Images that shows just where in Kentucky this place is. Please disregard the whole "Pygmy Rattlesnake" thing, since I'm blocking that out in my mind, since snakes totally gross me out.

So we're leaving Friday before noon, since we have to head pretty much due South, straight through the city. I don't want to get stuck in weekend traffic. It's a 7+ hour drive, so we should arrive and start setting up camp just as the mosquitoes are out in full force. I'm just grateful that I can hang out in the trailer and do the "women-folk stuff" while Sugar Daddy does the outside stuff.

Really, this post isn't about all that. I was meaning to post about all the yummy food I'm making to take with us. I learned this from my mom. She always took a couple of days before any trip and started baking and cooking everything in advance. Now that I have my own family and my own RV, I find myself doing the same things she did. Funny.

So, as we speak, I have potatoes baking in the oven so I can shred them and make them into Au Gratin potatoes tomorrow. Also, I have cream cheeses softening so I can make Nunn Bee's Roll-Ups, and Shrimp Dip. I was going to bake cookies, but Sugar Daddy got a little carried away at the grocery store, and I think I'm off the hook for those. I'll also be making Mom's Sloppy Joe's tomorrow, for which I don't exactly have a recipe, but I think I can figure it out.

Speaking of recipes, Jill was kind enough to gift me a book full of my Mom's recipes. It's the best treasure I've acquired in a long time. I love looking through all the funny recipes of stuff she used to make, and it's all in her handwriting, which I miss so much! So all of these yummy recipes from years past have opened up a lot of options for dinners. Stuffed Mushrooms, anyone? How about Crab Drink?

Anyway, wish us luck as we head to Kentucky. We'll also be visiting Missouri to see the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. And then perhaps a trip into Tennessee just to say we've been there. So that will get us 3 more states under our belts! Yay!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Product Review

Today I'll be reviewing my newest favorite acne control product. It's Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick.

It might come as a big surprise to many of you, but I suffer from crappy adult acne. I mean, come on, Lord. I'm fat, okay, I get that. I'm slightly perverted and crass, cool. I have moderate to severe depression, depending on the day, I can deal with that. But then I have to have freaking zits at 33 years old, too! Give me a freaking break! Freak!

I have struggled with acne since I hit puberty, and have been miserable about it ever since. I distinctly remember refusing to go into church one Sunday because I was so embarrassed about my zits. I'm sure I was making it worse than it really was, but it was so disgusting to me, I couldn't bear the thought of someone seeing me like that.

Not long after that incident my parents started taking me to the dermatologist. This was a pretty big deal, since we didn't have insurance and it must have cost them a fortune. Of course, I didn't realize this until adulthood when it was too late to offer a "thanks" without coming across like a jackass. But nevertheless, I began taking Erythromycin, and did so for a couple of years. It never really took it away, but I think it took the edge off. When I graduated from High School, I started taking Birth Control pills to help with the acne, but I hated (and still do!) the idea of changing my entire body chemistry for aesthetic purposes, so I quit those. Then I started on Accutane. Turns out, you have to take Birth Control pills with Accutane, so I had to start them again. This time I actually had clear skin! It was amazing! But it came at a price. Not only financial, which again my parents took care of, but also physically. This medicine dries out everything. Your skin, lips, eyes, ahem, everything! It was so uncomfortable, but I held on for the 9 months they ask you to use it. After that 9 months, they said I should have out grown my acne, and should be cured.

And I was.

For like a day.

Then it came back. And ever since, I've been fighting what seems like an uphill battle. I've tried everything. Acne Statin, remember that? Yep, did it. ProActive? Yep, done that too. Every commercially available acne product, tried them all.

Over the years I've found a few things that really help. First is hydrocortisone cream. If I feel a bad batch of zits coming on, I can usually spread a little on over my whole face at bed time, and in the morning they feel much less harsh. Also, Cetaphil for oily skin is my friend. It doesn't take off my eye make-up very well, but I can live with that.

Finally, the Burt's Bees Blemish Stick. This is wonderful! I love that it's natural, because I'm kinda granola-y like that. Not. But I do like the natural thing because I put enough crap into my body, I don't need it on my face too. Really though, it is a little tingly, in a good way, and it's super easy to put on. I don't have to touch my face with a greasy finger, which is one of my all time pet peeves, btw. I can just roll it on, and it dries quickly with no shine or residue. It also helps for when I get my eyebrows waxed or threaded to keep the irriation at bay.

So if you're like me, and you hate your skin, give this a try. It's worth it, I promise.

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