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# 27 Lazy Sunday

Today was a lazy Sunday. My mom was out of town, and while I had some precious alone time at the house I ran downstairs to play some piano. Afterwards my dad got home and insisted we do something fun for the night. So we got out the scrabble board. You should know that my dad is an intense scrabble player. He thinks of words that Webster himself hasn't even thought of yet. He always wins. Always. It has been my lifelong goal to beat him (and by lifelong I mean since this fall). After a lively game of scrabble and a skype-date with my brother and his wife, we went on a short walk outside, where my dad told me about his childhood. It was fun to hear all the stories. He told me lot's of interesting things, like about the time that he lived in Europe and the most exciting thing he ate was French Fries (I'm just kidding) (Kind of). And the time he ate pizza in Italy. And the time his brother made up a song to tease him about a girl. (Dear Uncle Crawford, Thank you for doing your best to tease my dad! It's good to know that someone took responsibility for that before I came along.) All in all, it was a nice night!

Also Last night I made some dinner for the Pops and I. We had Chili Lime Grilled Chicken with mango salsa. And on the side we had grilled squash. If you like yellow squash or zucchini, then you have to try these. Here is the recipe

Grilled Squash for 2
1 yellow squash or zucchini
1 T Olive Oil

Using a cheese slicer, or veggie peeler, or just cutting super thin (Like a long potato Chip but slightly thicker). Slice up long strips of squash
toss in the olive oil. Salt and Pepper Liberally (and I mean liberally) and toss again. Place on hot well oiled grill. Flip when you start to see grill marks. Take off and enjoy. Try your best not to eat them before they get to the table.

# 26 Haley Amanda Johnson

Yesterday my beautiful friend/basically older sister Haley got married. She was the prettiest bride. (don't you agree?)

Here are some of my favorite things/memories of Haley.

- One time we had a surprise party for her, and boy was she surprised, in fact we scared her so bad she forgot how to go down stairs. Surprise Haley, we got you some fresh bruises!

- When my parents had their 25th anniversary they for some reason felt the need to go on a vacation to England... Without me! I mean come on, how rude! That aside, they did let me stay with Haley for those 2 weeks. It was a fun filled week. I ate wonderful Cajun food (Haley's mom is the best Cajun cook in the U.S.) I got to share clothes for the first time in my life (all brothers= no clothes sharing). I went and saw the midnight showing for a Harry Potter movie. And I basically got no sleep because let's be honest, it was merely and extended sleepover. Best two weeks ever!

- Haley was basically my older sister. Having all older brothers most of my growing up life, Haley introduced me to a lot of the "girl" world. (I.E. Make up, boys, nail polish, etc.)

- This girl always has the best advice, is always ready for a laugh, is simply amazing at being a friend, and is just one of those people who is incredibly refreshing to talk to.

Thanks Haley for being such a wonderful, patient, fun friend! I'm so proud of you! And I'm so happy for you and Mike!

(Isn't Mike just the luckiest guy?)

#25 "Having fun isn't hard...

... When you've got a library Card!" (-Arthur)

Yesterday was a bright beautiful day to head to the library, so I grabbed my library card and a list of books ( some of them recommended by you) (And I would still love more recommendations!)

After arriving at the library I was surprised to run into my old High school friend Cody. He and I were in drumline together. He basically is the coolest kid I know. He is also a library employee. We chatted, he gave me some music recommendations, and then I was on my way.

I picked out a few books, but not too many. I don't have the best financial record when it comes to the library, so I decided to just get a few. After I finish my current book, I will get to work on the new accumulated pile! And, if I love the books, You might see them in a future post (foreshadowing)! Stay posted!

#24 Love at first bite

As far as ice cream goes, I try not to play favorites. I am impartial to all flavors. However, there is a special place in my heart for cookies and cream. And today while my mom and I were at target we picked up some cookies and cream frozen yogurt on sale. I had low expectations, but they were quickly erased. This stuff was so good!

#23 Eric Cragun

If you were to ask me about my favorite memory of my brother Eric, I probably wouldn't be completely honest with you. I have lots of memories of Eric, but my favorite one might seem completely insignificant. If you asked for my favorite memory, I might tell you about the time that he told me (to my horror) that my dog J.D.'s lack of tail was directly related to the hot dog I just ate and I cried in my room while he begged to come in so he could apologize. I might tell you about the letters I got from Eric while he was on his mission all the way in Korea. I might tell you about the time I went to visit Eric in D.C. and he patiently listened to Michael Jackson's "Don't stop til you get enough" over and over again by my request (if I were being pun-ny I would say, we didn't stop til we got enough) . I might tell you about the time on Christmas eve when Eric dressed in his Elf costume and spread Christmas cheer to basically everyone in Southern Minnesota.

Anyway, if we ever have this conversation and I tell you one of those stories, or any others for that matter, don't believe me, I am lying. Because if I were telling the truth, I would tell you of this memory:

I am standing on the step that divides our kitchen from our living room, and Eric is standing a few feet away from me, and I can't quite remember but he is either dancing in some ridiculous way or serenading me with "Have I told you lately that I love you" by Rod Stewart.

And that my friends, is my brother Eric.

Oh boy do I love that kid!

#22 Dear Kohls,

I'm not quite sure why you keep sending my mother 10 dollars in Kohls cash every week. But as the humble reciever of the leftover Kohls Cash, I would personally like to let you know of my appreciation for all the free stuff. Thank you.

Love Catherine

# 21 Weekends...

But then again who doesn't love weekends.

#20 Books that YOU love

As of this monday, I am a proud renewed owner of a library card. I have plans to do a LOT of summer reading. And since I love me some good books, I'd love to hear some suggestions of some books you love! So if you have any suggestions (and by you I mean anyone, and everyone!) leave me a comment!

#18 Cold on a stick

I wish that I could meet the saintly person who thought of the idea of putting Sweet Frozen Goodness on a stick. Seriously. Popsicles, Orangesicles, Creamsicles, Star Bars. I love them all. So today after I got home from a long day at work I threw out my blanket, filled my water bottle with fresh Ice water, grabbed a book, and pulled out a delicious frozen treat on a stick. I was in heaven.

# 17 Fun Shway and too much lovin.

Today was a wonderful lazy Sunday. So I decided to move my room around a little bit. Actually it all started because my mom bought me that little plant, and I need to find a spot to set it in the sunlight. So I rearranged my room for that little guy. I love the feeling of a freshly arranged room. Also, I dusted off some of my old stuff to use for decoration. My room feels a little more like me now.

Also, Last week was kind of lame post wise. Sorry, (or maybe you're welcome?) . I was a little tuckered out from all the blogging for mother's day weekend. But now I'm refreshed and ready to go for this week! See ya around!

# 16 Catherine and Mom's Excellent adventure

Ham, Brie, and Spicy mustard on a Baguette at the Nelson Creamery.

Ferry Boat on a Lake in Minnesota.

Rainbow over the Twin Cities

My Mommy-o and I love to go on adventures once in a while. We decided to go exploring Thursday, and it turned into a perfect day. Here are some highlights

1. Stopping in the cute little town of wabasha, where we laughed at the overpriced national eagle center, stopped in the Chocolate Escape which supposedly has the "best chocolate in the world" and also the "most confident salesman in the world" (However the chocolate was undeniably amazing, and the "endangered chocolate turtles" stole my heart upon first bite). We also picked up a few little treasures at an antique shop.

2. Crossing over the border into Nelson Wisconsin, where I had my first experience with Brie cheese (believe it or not) at the local Nelson Creamery. It was so incredible.

3. Heading back to Minnesota where we stopped into Red Wing, which is home to the worlds largest boot.

4. Stopping into Gerten's flowers, which is my mom's gardening mecca.

5. Swinging by Mall of America where we may or may not have gone shopping for some clothes.

6. Catching the most beautiful rainbow on the drive home. We could see both ends of the rainbow at one point (and if we were greedy, we probably could have found 2 pots of gold) and all the colors, for a while there was a double rainbow. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day with my cute mom.

#15 Finally...

... A Sunny Day

It's too nice out to blog. But I'll have to do some Blogathoning later to catch up with some wonderful loves the past few days.

#14 He's Baaaaack!

And by back I mean someone uploaded more Hip Hop Abs videos onto Youtube! that means new dance moves for my next party.

And don't worry, Crazy low impact lady, and crazy hair lady are both still in the vids.

#13 Mothers day weekend pt 3. My Mother

*Photo taken by the wonderful photographer Ann Eldridge

I'll admit, Mother's day makes me a little competitive. Everyone is trying their best to claim that their mom is the real "Best Mom". Sometimes I feel like I want to start a competition.

"So you think your mom is the best? Well my mom can water ski on dolphins while reciting the constitution and all of it's amendments, and while tossing a pizza. Can your mom do that?"

That kind of thing. But I have a feeling that my mom (tried) to teach me to be better than that (that being said, if anyone is up for a "who's mom is cooler-off" you name the time and place :) ). So I'll just say this: If life started all over, and all the mothers past, present, and future were lined up, and I got to choose any mother in the world, I would pick my mother, Leanne Cragun, in an instant, even over Oprah, Giada, or Amelia Bedelia. I love my Mom, and I can't imagine what life would be like following in anyone else's footsteps.

*this is the cheesy part* Now, this mother's day as I was thinking about it, I don't think there is such thing as the "best mom" I think every mom is wonderful. All moms are the best, because I think all mom's are the best for their own family. But that doesn't mean I can't brag about my favorite mom for a little bit. So these are the Top 5 Things I love about my mother.

5. She is a woman of many talents. Cooking, gardening, cleaning (fun? no, but talent? I think so), genealogy, being a leader for the girls at church, watching baseball, quilting, quilting, quilting.

4. She is pro at being a mom. She's done it all when it comes to being a mom: crying children, angsty teens, and not to mention with 4 boys and a girl who wanted to be just like her brothers she taught us manners like a champ (however, that doesn't mean we always choose to use them)... (sorry mom) and she never failed to be patient with us (even though we usually didn't deserve it)

3. She loves food just as much as I do. In fact, she taught me how to cook. How grateful I am for that.

2. She believes in having equal dosages of hard work, and fun and laughter. Us children were not brought up to be lazy, however, we weren't brought up to be boring either.

1. She is a sweet, kind lady who is always serving others, and never complains about it, even when she doesn't get a thank you.

So there you have it. Happy Mother's Day to all you mother's out there. And an extra special Mother's day to the mom I think is extra special. (Did you know she won the national ring toss championships blind folded and has the record for most push ups in the state of Minnesota? Yeah, she's a pretty cool lady.)

#12 Mothers Day Weekend Pt 2: Grandmothers

There is something special about Grandmothers. Maybe it's their wisdom, or years of experience, or maybe it's their superhero like abilities to be incredibly sweet and kind. Either way I know why they put the Grand in front of Grandmothers, it's like the black belt of motherhood. Lately I've been thinking about my two grandmothers, and boy do I think they meet the "grand" part of the job.

Grandma Cragun

Grandma Eddington

The other day while mowing the lawn, I was thinking about the traits I see in my Grammas that have been passed down into my own family. Both of my grandmothers have a wonderful sense of humor, a belief in hard work, a love and trust in God, and an amazing ability to bring family together. Where would I be without these two women who raised my parents, and taught them what life is all about. Happy Mothers day Grandma E. and Grandma C. I love you both so much.

#11: Mother's day weekend post pt 1: Other Mothers

Throughout my life I have been blessed to know and look up to some wonderful women. I've taken these women to be my "second mothers" so to speak (even though there have certainly been more than two). I firmly believe that without the guidance of these women (along with my own mother, who you'll hear more about later) I would have probably ended up as one of those criminals you see on 20/20, or taking up a profession of stealing from the produce department at grocery stores around the country, or a professional cat declawer, something horrible like that. Since it's mothers day weekend, I thought I would give a little shout out to these women, especially since we get hootin and hollerin about our own mothers, and forget the other women who inspire us. So here goes, A special mothers day shout out to:

Brianna: Who always has words of wisdom, and helped me survive those awful middle school/high school days. Who is a captivating teacher, and makes Cajun food like a queen.

Caryn: Who continues to inspire me with her unfailing positive attitude and spirit of service. Who always makes me laugh. Who spent hours helping me fix up an english paper I had written my junior year of high school. Who I always took an extra hour after babysitting to talk to. And who I miss so much.

Joy: Who also inspires me with her spirit of service, her love of life, and her belief that you can buy a little piece of happiness for 79 cents at taco bell.

And to all my friends' mothers (Mary, Nancy, Robyn, Jane, and many more) who raised such wonderful kids, and let me come to your houses so many a time.

Happy Mothers Day to you all and thank you for everything!

And Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there.

#10 Grilled Pizza, or Me versus the man

For a long time now I've wanted to find a good way to make grilled pizza. Last summer I attempted making grilled pizza and all I got was a charred mess. Today was my first day seriously cooking since I've been home and I wanted to go big or go home. So after some research online and a little motivation I got to work.

Round 1 was an idea from a blog I found. It made it look so simple: just put the rolled out dough on the grill and flip when you see grill marks, throw all the ingredients on the cooked side while the other side cooks, let the cheese melt, and you're done... WRONG, it was more like, throw the dough on, untangle the dough, attempt to fix the holes and lay the dough flat, and then, oh wait, the otherside is already burning, flip the dough, then flip all the parts of the dough that break off, desperately chuck the other ingredients on, and there you have it, a beautifully charred mess of a pizza.

Round 2 went much better. I rolled out the pizza on a pizza stone (if your trying this at home, MAKE SURE you roll it good and thin, otherwise it wont cook evenly), decorated it with the toppings, and slid the pizza stone into the medium heat grill. Let it cook until the bottom of the crust was very light brown, took it out of the grill and put it under the broiler until the top of the crust was light brown and the cheese was perfectly melty heavenly goodness.

And the winner? Round 2. Luckily for Round 1 even charred pizza crust tastes good dipped in hummus.

If you want to know, I made a margarita pizza with Wolf Gang Pucks pizza dough recipe (my absolute favorite pizza dough). Margarita pizza is simply dough smothered in olive oil, sprinkled with fresh garlic, topped with fresh basil and tomatoes, and covered with fresh mozzerella. yum.

For dessert we had a Strawberry cream pie. I thought I would share the recipe while strawberries are still in season.

Strawberry Cream Pie

2 Cookie pie crusts. (you can use anything from graham cracker to oreo, I used a shortbread crust) OR 1 large crust
1 4-serving size box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cold water
14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 pint whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
lots of strawberries sliced thin

Mix pudding, water, and S.C. milk until pudding mix dissolves. Put in fridge.
Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla.
Fold half of whip cream into pudding.
Spread thin layer onto pie crust. Pile on strawberries. Cover with the rest of the pudding mix. (if your using 2 pie crusts split up the filling and strawberries accordingly) Spread the rest of the whipped cream over top and chill for at least 2 hours.

Note: If you want banana cream pie you can simply substitute bananas for the strawberries.

#9 Cinco De Mayo

5 things to love this Cinco De Mayo

1. Edy's Slow Churned Yogurt Blends. My favorite is Tart Honey.

2. My favorite brand of lotion.

3. In my 3rd grade class, it was the cool thing to have one of these water bottles. I just bought myself a new one, and I can kind of see why!

4. They might be men's T's, but I vote they make some of these babies for women too! I love those comfy shirts! All in favor say "yes please"!

5. I tried to get a picture of this blog but I couldn't get it to work. Anyways, I haven't tried any of the recipes, but they sure sound delicious. I'm looking forward to some cooking adventures!

#8 Home cookin

I'll let you in on a little secret: My Mom makes the best Strawberry rhubarb crisp this side of the mississippi, (confession: I never checked the geographic locations of good ol strawberry rhubarb cookin, I just wanted to use that phrase) and guess what, you lucky reader you, my mom gave me the recipe, and now I'm giving it to you.

Strawberry rhubarb crunch
1 Cup Flour
1 C packed Brown sugar
3/4 C quick-cooking oats
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c butter (or margarine)
4 c. Sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 pint fresh strawberries halved
1 cup sugar
2 T Cornstarch
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 whole lotta love

Directions: In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture into 9-in square pan. Combine rhubarb and strawberries and spoon over crust. In saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch, stir in water and vanilla. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Pour over fruit. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over top. Bake 350 for 1 hour. Bring some to Catherine. Just kidding. Serve with ice cream.

#6 Strawberries

You should know that collectively as a family, (currently me and my mom and dad) we have eaten about 11 pounds of strawberries this week (averaging about 3.667 pounds per person.) I know this may astound, surprise, and/or upset some, we are usually a fairly health conscious family who believes that we should eat all things in moderation (except of course when it comes to ice cream). However, if I told you that strawberries were only 97 cents per pound at our local grocery store, I think we could reach some sort of agreement as to the amount of logic in our strawberry consumption. Also, because we've reached this agreement, now you can't pass judgement if I told you there are 4 more pounds of Strawberries sitting on my kitchen counter as we speak, and we are planning on going to the grocery store tomorrow, since it is the last day of the deal.

#5 Friday's Top Five

5. Target. Oh how I've missed you

4. New Giant Purse... only $5....

3. Chatting with my lovely SIL Nicole

2. Antiques and craftin with my pardner in crime Heather

1. Movies, laughs, and pudding with my newly toothless pal Corey (who is trying his best to make a silly face in this picture poor guy)