A corpse and his bride

Carl and I were invited to a fantastic Halloween Party this year that required us to not only wear a costume, but comply to a Tim Burton theme.  I love this kind of stuff!  We weren’t sure what to wear until my mom mentioned that she still had her wedding dress “sitting in the dress up box”.  Fingers crossed it would even fit me, I had her ship it to make The Corpse Bride.  The dress itself was really pretty, my mom sewed it all herself.  (Can you imagine sewing your own wedding dress?  Talk about stressful!)  And the best part was that it fit me if I sucked it in while standing straight up to zip it.  Mom assured me she didn’t care if I ruined it with makeup or hair paint but still, I was a little nervous.


But it made the perfect Corpse Bride costume.  I tried my best to copy Emily’s look.


I had my costume all figured out but Carl’s was a lot more tricky.  We had 3 hours before the party so we made a quick trip to Goodwill to see if anything would work.  We found this really cool jacket that did just the trick.  Carl even let me put makeup on him to make him look just like Victor.


The party was amazing but the best part was hanging out with my favorite ghoul.  Carl was such a good sport!

Categories: Family, Holiday Hurray | 2 Comments

Girls’ trip 2012

I’m never prepared for how much fun I have when I escape with friends, whether it be for a night out or a full blown weekend getaway.  Plans for this trip, the annual Sewing Night Girls’ Trip began almost a year ago.  IMG_1269We thought it’d be genius to plan it after school was back in session so our kids wouldn’t be home all day with a babysitter.  Turned out it wasn’t the best idea since it created lots of run around for the husbands with school, sports and scout schedules.  A very HUGE thank you to Carl for letting me dump all that on top of his crazy work schedule so I could go and play!!  We chose to try Newport Beach this year, something a little more local and still packed full of everything we want in a vacation: sun, sand, and shopping.  Not to mention that the idea of spending a day at the beach with nothing but a towel, sunscreen and a book sounded magical.  So we packed a Suburban to the brim with all the necessities (nail polish, brownies, beach chairs, clothes, clothes and more clothes) and said goodbye to the husbands and kids for a few days.


We found this little cove in Newport to hang out for the day. ( I pretended that the house at the far end was mine.)  The weather was a little overcast but still calm and plenty warm to enjoy the down time.



Then we rode the trolley back to the car.  We were a little slap happy at this point.



We still had some grocery shopping to do (our hotel suite had a small kitchen) so rather than waste time getting ready and driving back and forth, we chose a chill little hamburger joint in Huntington Beach called T.K. Burger for dinner.  Conveniently located near shopping, of course.


Jana is our resident foodie and always knows the best places to stuff your face.  This place didn’t disappoint.


After that we went in search of an old friend.  We were so happy to smother Lauren with hugs!


After that we shopped until every store in the area closed up shop for the night.


(I know this next picture is fuzzy, but it makes me laugh every time I see it.  Tami, Jana and I were laughing at a street musician and his…unique voice.  And again, we were slap happy.)


The next day was rainy and overcast so we filled it with more shopping, lunch at Rodrigos and junk food for dinner back at the hotel.


{Tami, Jana (and expected little one), Krystal, Autumn, Shannon and me}

I geeked out about being this close to the ocean and living in California in general pretty much all weekend.  Thank you friends for putting up with me!


I seem to catch a picture like this of Shannon and Krystal every year.  Shopping can be exhausting.


Every night ended just like this.  Who needs TV and movies when you have iphones, ipads, macbooks and PINTREST?!


By day 3 we were bound and determined to spend some good time in the sun.  So we went back to Huntington Beach and found more shopping too.  Big surprise, right?






Like all our trips, we laughed until we cried, we stayed up late and slept in way too long, we had some really deep conversations, and even shed some tender tears.  But this year we also missed some very dear friends.  I’m hoping next year we’ll be able to coordinate everyone’s schedules and get us ALL together.  I’m so very blessed to have such amazing friends here in California!

Categories: Beach babe, Friends, Sew inspiring, Vacation Bliss | 2 Comments

Spencer palooza 2012

Right after the baptism we packed our car to the brim and drove to St. George for another Spencer Palooza week!  We stayed in an amazing house with rooms and bathrooms for all, a pool and lots of space to roam, play, watch movies and hang out.  It was exactly my kind of vacation!

Crew was first to give the waterslide a test run.

IMG_1362The water was freezing cold, but it was perfect for the 100 degree sunny weather!

IMG_1343When you’re on vacation, clothes are never a first priority.

IMG_1348Eating between swim sessions. {Peyton, Milo, Jax, Carl and Crew. Boston in the highchair}

IMG_1350Boston cracks me up!  I just wanna squeeze him silly!

IMG_1352Nerding out is totally ok when vacationing.  Jax took full advantage.

IMG_1355Milo and Peyton were in a constant giggly conversation with each other.


IMG_1380The remains of my Tigers Blood.  Good to the last drop.

IMG_1381Nana brought a craft for the kids to make.

IMG_1384Custom door hangers!


IMG_1386Getting all these kiddos to hold still is practically impossible.  Here’s a fuzzy but happy picture of their craftsmanship.

IMG_1391Greg helped Crew, Jax and Daxton trap this enormous lizard.  And when the ants killed him, they caught another one.

IMG_1393Carl tried, oh how he tried, to win me in swimming races.  But he was no match for my aquatic skillz.

IMG_1395Nana lounged around and laughed at all of Papa’s cat calls.  (You’d think they were in love or something.)


There was a creek behind the house, perfect for shooting rocks with the new sling shots Carl gave the boys.  I think he loved those sling shots as much, if not more than the kids did.

IMG_1402Milo shared his sling shot with Daxton so Carl took him and Crew out for a round.

IMG_1404Aw.  Love this one.

IMG_1406Enjoying the last sunset before saying goodbye. {Chantel, Carl and Daxton}

IMG_1407Milo knows how to enjoy the pool!


IMG_1374Sadly, it was time to head back home.  We had a fabulous time with family and can’t wait to see them again!


Categories: Family, Vacation Bliss | Leave a comment


September 1 2012 was a good day for Crew!  Nana, Papa, Courtney and Peyton all came to help us celebrate!

(oh man, I wish this pic wasn’t blurry!!)

IMG_1334He set such a great example for his little brothers.

IMG_1332I’m so proud of you Crew!


Categories: Crew, Family | 2 Comments

Rip van winkle

This kid will sleep just about anywhere.


Categories: Family, Good Things, Shopaholic | Leave a comment


It was totally quiet in our house the other day so red flags were flying in my head as I went in search of my kids.  All three were home and nobody was making a sound.  Usually this means they’re up to no good.  I quietly walked up the stairs expecting to catch them in the act.  But when I rounded the corner…

I found Crew, Jax and Milo deep in a game of Squinky Battle.  Can I tell you how happy this made me?  I tried to sneak away without breaking the magic but wasn’t quiet enough.  But they didn’t seem to care that I’d intruded, just explained who’s turn it was and who was about to dominate the next battle.  This after coming home from two great parent teacher conferences?  I’m definitely feeling the Mommy Pride right now!

Categories: Family | Leave a comment

Going public

I’m ashamed to say that once upon a time I was sort of a book snob.   If I wanted a book, I’d go right to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I figured if it was worth my time to read it was worth my money to buy it brand new (or slightly used- excellent condition).  I knew we had a public library close by, a pretty good one too.  But that was for everyone else.  Not for me.  I don’t quite know how I ever formed this attitude towards sharing books.  I have really fond memories of my mom and dad taking my family to the library all the time.  I checked out every Babysitter Club,  Black Stallion Series, and Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on.  We’d check out a heap of book and go home to read them in our pajamas before bedtime.  I have one particular memory stuck in my head of snuggling up on our light blue velvet couch with my book and a blanket.  I must have finished all my homework because I remember feeling excited to finally have time to read my book.  It was dark and snowy outside and we’d turned on our fireplace.  The house was warm and smelled of dinner baking in the oven…

Anyway, it’s funny what a financial crisis will do to a person.  When Carl lost his job years ago we were forced to cut our spending down to a bare minimum and my snobbery was snuffed out cold.  Buying books was simply out of the question.  I think at that point I’d been to the public library once or twice and had actually picked up a library card.  It was time to put it to good use.  I’m ever so grateful to say that things are much, much better now with Carl working full time and on the fast track to earning his MBA.  I’m also grateful to say that it was all those trips to the library that made me fall in love with the public library system.  I mean, think about it.  A building FULL OF BOOKS, and good ones too!  Anyone can check out a book, read it, enjoy it, bring it back and trade it for another one FOR FREE!  (Assuming you bring it back on time.)  Really, it’s such a beautiful thing.

My kids love our trips to the library.  Crew makes a B-line to the natural science section to inhale facts about bugs, animals and sea creatures.  (Be warned that if you ask him about any of those topics he will regurgitate facts for 30 minutes straight.)  Jax heads straight for the computer to search for the latest Pokemon books.  Milo prefers to play at the hands-on-learning table that someone was fabulous to donate.  It has all kinds of blocks to build with, magnets to fit together, stuff like that.  It keeps him quietly occupied while the other two look for books.

“Look Mommy, I built a temple!”

I like to browse the isles for chapter books to read to my kids at bedtime.  I’ve come across several books I’d forgotten all about but vaguely remember reading when I was a kid.  Like this one.  I’m sure my boys would love hearing about a boy who decides to run away and live in the mountains.  Maybe they’d realize how good they have it at home.  *wink*

My one and only complaint about our library is the long wall of computers they have set up just for kids to use.  It’s right as you walk into the children’s section of the library and usually full of kids playing video games, mostly educational, but video games none the less.  (BTW, I hate video games.)

Our trips to the library usually begin with, “Remember, we came to the library to find books not to play video games.”  I know most people view this as another great feature of our library.  To me it’s just frustrating.  I’m constantly trying to pull my kids away from screens and video games at home so I’d hoped this would be a good escape.  Sooner or later they gravitate to the computers and hover over some other kid’s’ shoulder.  I have to herd them to another section of the library to break the trance.  Those computers are such a distraction from what the library is really all about.  BOOKS!

I’ll be honest with you, I still really like to buy books.  And this is the best part.  There is a tiny little book shop just outside the front doors to the library.  Every day they push carts outside with signs saying, “2 books for $1” or “3 for $2”.  Now that’s my price range!  I’ve snagged some great gently used titles from those carts.  So we all go home happy and excited to read.  I’ll make dinner that night while my kids quietly read and look at pictures, just like when I was growing up.

I really do hope that these trips to the library help them grow up loving books the way I did.  Maybe they’ll even have a fun memory or two of their own to share with my grandkids.  One can only hope!

Categories: Family, Good Reads | 2 Comments

Days like this

The heat has F.I.N.A.L.L.Y given in to cooler fall weather here.  At least for the moment.  It seems to be an hour-by-hour thing.  It’s hot then cold, then windy, then rainy, then sunny, then HOT.  I came out of Institute (a church class, not the loony bin) yesterday to pouring rain.  What?!  As much as I love the sunshine, I absolutely love when it rains too.

I’ll admit the coloring is a bit weird thanks to my windshield tinting, but this sight was still amazing enough for me to risk taking a picture while driving 50mph.  Today is more of the same, minus the rain with cool air and lots of clouds.  So wonderful!  Having surrendered my car to the service department for some maintenance (annoying!), Milo and I celebrated our house arrestedness with some pie baking. With the weather all crisp and fallish I was craving something pumpkin.  I’d planned to make a traditional pumpkin pie using the recipe off the can.  Nothing too fancy.  Then Pintrest said to use mini muffin tins to make tiny pies.  With tiny fingers wanting to help I had to make some tiny treats.

  So we gave it a try.

Holy bite-sized trouble!  Just wait til they cool and we plop some cool whip on top.  I forgot that most of my family doesn’t even like pumpkin pie.  Sadly, Milo doesn’t like them.  Jax doesn’t either.  If Crew doesn’t appreciate them it’ll be up to Carl and I to eat the entire batch.  Note to self, the recipe on the back of a 29 oz. can of pumpkin is for TWO pies.  Oy.  Let the holiday binge eating begin.

Categories: Cooking, Family | 2 Comments

Hi, I’m Chantel. Nice to meet you.

It’s been so long since my last post that I feel introductions are in order once again.  I don’t really have one really good, solid excuse for neglecting our blog here, just lots of little things that have kept me away over the last month.  I’ve been on some great vacations, Carl has been neck deep in school, and I’ve been preoccupied with some great books.  But the other night I caught Carl logging into the computer and going straight to our blog, just to check for a new post before resuming his schoolwork.  I felt guilty for not posting the funny, quirky and totally random things we laugh about every day.  So this is me officially recommitting myself to posting.  To kick off my new resolution to blogging, let me tell you a little about myself.

Carl and I are going on 12 years now.  He’s still my best friend, still making me laugh ’til my cheeks ache.  We have so many inside jokes that we can hold entire conversations without out kids knowing what in the world we’re talking about.

These are our three little stooges.  They can melt my heart like butter in the microwave and make me go from zero to irate in a matter of seconds.  I just love, love, love these 3 sets of blue eyes and dimples!

I love the beach.  I geek out all the time over how much I love the ocean, love visiting the beach, LOVE living in California.  I mean, before 7 years ago pictures like this were only found on my PC wallpaper and postcards.

I love Pintrest.  I remember a few years ago I made a post on Facebook with teary eyes, “It became painfully obvious tonight that I have no sense of style or fashion.”  I felt like I’d hit a low after going shopping and not being able to put a simple outfit together.  I felt so out of touch with what was in style and more importantly what portrayed my style.  After using Pintrest (and creating over 1,000  pins) I’m finally realizing what kinds of things I gravitate towards and I have a strong sense of what my style is.  At least when I go shopping now I don’t want to curl up in the fetal position and cry in the dressing room.

I love surprises and random acts of kindness.  Like having a giant bag of kettle corn dropped at my front door because someone overheard me raving about some I’d had at a ward party!  Or when Carl threw me a surprise party once for my birthday and had all our friends meet us at our favorite restaurant in Utah.  (It went down in my books as one of the funnest nights ever.)

I love to laugh.  I wouldn’t say I’m wild and crazy but I’m definitely not a very serious person.  Nothing feels better than a good laugh and those times when I get slap happy and can’t stop laughing (usually late at night)… oh my, those are the.best.moments.ever!  I tend to laugh over the dumbest things too, like one-liners from movies or other people’s infectious laughs.  Maybe that’s why I love the movie The Burbs so much because the characters say the most randomly funny things and listening to my dad laugh at it makes it that much better.  In fact, the last time I laughed myself to tears was over a quote from The Burbs that someone had posted on Facebook.

I love to run.   I have this awesome group of girls I meet up with early in the AM and sometimes late at night to run with.  Carl and I are training for another Ragnar Relay next month so I’m trying to kick my butt in gear and reach 8 miles before the race.  I’m so close and I’d never get the miles logged in if it wasn’t for these girls.  And the conversations we text about back and forth prior to a run are hilarious!.  (Let’s just say poop is a regular topic.)

I love to write.  This blog has been a great outlet for that.  And my family loves to check in and read my posts when I actually get around to writing them.  (Sorry Mom!)

One thing’s for certain, I haven’t given up yet.  And now that my blog and I have been properly reacquainted I hope to see much, much more of it.

Categories: Good Things | 5 Comments

“It’s business, it’s business time!”

Crew and Jax are always wanting to earn money for random things: ipod games, pets, the toy of the week, ice cream truck treats, the list goes on and on.  So Carl suggested they offer to water plants and feed pets while their owners go on vacation.  We all thought it was a great idea and so it began.  Creature Keepers was established 2012.  They made flyers and Crew handed them out to all his friends at school.

And before we knew it they were tending gardens, sitting tree frogs and beta fish, taking out trash, feeding bearded dragons, caring for bunnies and walking dogs.

It’s been really exciting for all three of my boys (Milo was soon hired by the owners) to earn money and care for so many different animals.  Maybe I should say fun for my FOUR boys.

Crew has been begging for a fish tank and convinced his brothers to save up their shares of the Creature Keeper money to help buy one.  It didn’t take long before they earned enough for a tank and set up.  Carl and I pitched in with some fish and the extra money needed to get the tank up and running.

Just for the record, now swimming around in that tank we have an african dwarf frog…

a loach…

a placo to suck the goo off the glass so we don’t have to clean the tank as much…

2 rasbora terteromorphas (guz oon tight!)…

2 red miner tetras…

and one dwarf gourami.

I’d say we’re doing pretty well so far with only one fatality despite constantly bumping the tank, over feeding the fish, and catching little fingers, hands and arms (ew!) in the tank.  We’re told it was most likely an overcrowding issue so we took out one of the decorative rocks.  It’s been a learning experience for all of us.  But if we can keep these guys alive for awhile we’d like to try our hands at a larger tank and some bigger, cooler fish.  There are some really pretty fish out there, some funny looking ones too.  We’ll see.  This has been a great way for Crew, Jax and Milo to learn the value of hard work and the responsibility that comes with owning pets.  Not to mention they’re seeing what real gardens look like when not being eaten alive by ants!  So if you have anything that needs to be fed or watered, be it plant or animal, give us a call.  My boys have their sights set on a lizard next!

Categories: Family, Good Things | 2 Comments

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