Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zak's Homecoming


Today Zak came home from his mission in Detroit Michigan.
Here are some pictures from the airport this afternoon.

Coming down the stairs!!! Yeah!!!!
Sign Jamey made!!!
First hug from Mom!!! (Andrea)
Hugs from Grandma!!!!
Happy return missionary!!!

Grandma and Zak

Proud DAD!!!
Proud parents
Brothers together again!!!

After we left the airport, Andrea and Jamey took Zak to the Stake Center to be released as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Talking in the back yard with friends.
Zak eating a sandwich at home (first meal at home)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner

Can you believe how fast the fall in whizzing by? I can't believe that Christmas is 3 weeks from Sunday. THREE WEEKS!

And I haven't even started Christmas shopping. Well, I have, but just for me. That's because I know what I want. The rest of my family, not so much.

Since Christmas will be here before we know it, I thought I better post about Thanksgiving. However, there really isn't much to post. Well, I could write a book, just wouldn't have many pictures to go with it.

Thanksgiving was held at my house this year. I invited everyone in my family.

Todd's family couldn't come as they live in Utah. Plus Todd works at Walmart and had to work on Black Friday. So his family had a legit excuse.

Andrea's family couldn't come as Jamey had just got back in town from being away for a month. He wasn't up to driving anywhere and wanted to stay home. A pretty legit excuse.

My step son Brandan's family couldn't come as my daughter in law Crystal had to work. Again, a legit excuse.

Eric's family came. Every last one of them. YAY!!! Finally someone was coming.

Jodi, Mom & Dad said they were coming. I even gave them a food assignment, but I did ask her if I should buy backups. She said NO, they would be there. Then the day before, Jodi calls saying they won't be coming. Mom wasn't feeling well & didn't want to drive an hour and fifteen minutes. It's a good thing I bought back up food.

Then on Thanksgiving morning, Jodi calls and wants to know if we still have enough food for 3 more. Mom was feeling better, and Jodi really wanted to come. I told her "of course we still have enough food". I really wanted to say "NO, we gave your share away". But I was nice. As I am always the nice sister (Jodi is trying not to gag as she reads this. Ha, ha!).

So Mom, Dad & Jodi ended up coming to Thanksgiving dinner afterall. And all was good in the Chalfant household.

We ended up with 14 people at our dinner. So I set up 3 different tables for eating.

This is the table in my family room/kitchen. Mom, Dad, Jodi, Brandon, Mike & I all sat at this table. I guess I should have asked everyone to look at me when I was taking the pic.

This table is in my living room. Jeannette, Jesse, Eric, Jase & Cade ate in here.

Danica, Taylor and her husband Michael sat at the kid's table in my family room.

And that my family, are the only photos I have to share. I thought I took a bunch more. In fact, I thought I took photos of each table before people and food took them over. But there were no pre food photos on either of my cameras. I must have dreamed it.

For dinner we had turkey and cornbread stuffing that Mike cooked. I cooked the mashed pototatos and gravy, green bean casserole, corn, and candied yams. This is the first year I cooked the yams in the slow cooker. They turned out so yummy. Everyone commented they were the best yams they have ever had. I also made Grandma Manning's green jello Thanksgiving salad. We have it every year. And I bought rolls from Sam's Club. I'm not patient enough for making my own rolls. Jodi was suppose to bring jello salad and rolls, but luckily I had the items on hand for making the jello salad and Sam's Club had rolls at the last minute. Jeannette brought Martinelli's sparkling cider and a couple of pumpkin chiffon pies she made. Taylor brought green lettuce salad. Oh, I did make homemade ranch dressing for the lettuce salad.

Dinner was as yummy as ever. I just love Thanksgiving dinner. We had enough leftovers to have Thanksgiving dinner for a couple of nights after as well. I did cook 20lbs of mashed potatoes. A little overkill since I had about 1/2 left after dinner. But I got to make Shepard's Pie this week with the left over mashed potatoes. So a win/win.

I just love getting together with family. I wish I had a big enough house to invite all my extended family, including aunts, uncles, cousins and children and grandchildren of the cousins. Wouldn't that be so much fun? We really need to have a Manning family reunion. Who's up for it?

The only down side of having so many people to dinner, is the dishes. Luckily Jeannette and Eric helped. OK, they did most of the dishes. I did have to run my dishwasher two times to accommodate all the dishes. Thank goodness for dishwashers. See, I am thankful for something.

The best part of the day was seeing Mom with our dog Cookie. She just loved her. Mom loved Cookie so much that we had her convinced to take Cookie's brother (who is looking for a home). But Dad the Grinch, talked her out of it by the time they got back home. Or maybe it was Jodi. They gave some lame excuse about having to open 2 doors to let the dog in and out. Whatever!

Speaking of our dog cookie. She is the best dog in the whole world. You couldn't ask for a better dog. She is perfect. Even my husband Mike who doesn't like dogs, just loves her. And you know she is perfect if Mom wanted a dog just like her. My neighbor (who has worked in vets office for 20 years) says that almost all Golden Retriever's are just like Cookie. Very loving and gentle.

Enough about Cookie and Thanksgiving. Time to journey on to Christmas. What are your plans for Christmas? We are going down to Mom and Dad's house. Plus we will be able to see my Grandson Gunner.

And then on New Years Day, we will be back down in San Diego to attend Zak's homecoming. Zak is Andrea's oldest son. He gets home from his 2 year mission to Detroit on the 20th of this month. Everyone in our family is so excited. Andrea is beyond excited. It will be so good to see him.

And now, you are pretty much caught up on what is happening on the Langston side of the family. At least the stuff that I know about.

Take care & have a Merry Christmas! Just covering my bases in case I don't post again before Christmas.



P.S. Happy 21st birthday to my stepson Jesse. And Happy birthday to Andrea's son Simon. I think he turns 18 years old today. Yikes! Our kids are getting old. How can they be when we are not?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our first ever Halloween party

Well look who has decided to finally post something. Sorry that I have been away so long. I just haven't been feeling it.

But since we had our first ever Halloween party last Saturday night, I decided I should come out of blog retirement aka: laziness, and tell you all about it.

In case you were not there, you missed a fun time. It was small, but lots of fun. And no alcohol was involved. See you can still have fun without booze.

The secret is to have ice shaped like a skull in your blood aka: Shasta Tiki Punch.

And you must have nachos. No party at Kim's house is complete without nachos. I decided to be a little healthy by adding a spinach dip to the mix.

And I had lots of fun putting together this graveyard 7 layer bean dip. The graveyard decorations are made from flour tortillas that I cut out using cookie cutters and a knife, then baked them in the oven until crisp. I should have used some food coloring to paint some color. Maybe next time.

We had lots of food. Mike made riblets, Danica made funeral potatoes. Jeannette and Eric put together the mummy dogs, I made the garlic bread bones and my neighbor Roxanne brought the KFC chicken and the ants/spiders on the log (celery sticks with peanut butter and bugs painted on).

I had a couple of more Halloweeny dishes I was going to make, just ran out of time. There is always next year. I even made cupcakes, but never got them frosted. Luckily Jeannette brought hers that were. I still haven't frosted my cupcakes.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I did make fossil cookies, but they all disappeared before I could take any photos. And what are fossil cookies? They are snickerdoodles that I imprinted with a plastic spider right away they came out of the oven. So it made an imprint of the spider. Looked like a fossil.

After dinner we all went outside to watch a Nightmare Before Christmas movie at the "Dive In Theater" over our pool. Mike was mad I didn't take a photo of the movie. I told him it never shows up if I don't use flash and if I use flash, you can't see the movie. So why bother.

Here is Michael (Taylor's husband), Taylor and Danica. Taylor is dressed up as a pregnant woman. Oh wait, that is her normal self.

Eric sat in the jacuzzi for awhile, while Jeannette sat on the edge. When the movie was playing the jacuzzi was full.

We were going to pop popcorn for the movie, but everyone was so full from dinner. And we never did make our s'mores. But no one noticed.

After the movie it was time to take photos. Everyone was suppose to dress up in costume. But it was mostly the kids that did so. But a few of the adults did as well.

I set up an area complete with ripped cheesecloth and lights for taking the photos.

Eric used part of one of his boys costume for his photo with his daughter Danica.

And who is Danica dressed up as? Why Danica Patrick the race car driver. And that is a wig Danica is wearing. She used to have long black hair, but right now it is short & bleached blond.

Taylor didn't dress up. So for those who didn't wear a costume, I had some funny glasses and other masks they could wear for photos. All my props came from Dollar Tree. The funny glasses and noses were the biggest hit.

Taylor and her hubby Michael dressed as a pregnant man.

Jase and Cade. Loved their costumes.

I didn't get to dress up as my costume needed to be altered and I never got it done in time. So I put on a pair of funny glasses and nose and a couple of dollar boas. Mike was a cowboy.

Since this is a family blog, I'm not posting the photos of my neighbors and other friends since you won't know any of them. But you can see their photos on my facebook if you are really interested. My neighbor Kenny made a real scary "Pinhead".

I had plans to make some other photo props, but never got them done. Being a procrastinator does that. But no one cared. They loved the props I did have and had fun taking photos.

All in all we had a good time. It was just my family, Eric's family, the next door neighbors and some friends. Taylor and Michael brought some of their friends as well.

We will definitely have to do this again next year. Maybe we will even invite you.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Utah Vacation 2011

We have been vacationing at Snowbird Utah since Saturday Aug 20 to Saturday Aug. 27.
We have been having fun. Todd and Julianna stayed with us from Sunday till Tuesday. We played a lot of Dominios with Todd and Julianna. We went on walks to the Snowbird Center and walks to the Pond. On Tuesday we rode the Tram to the top of the summit at Snowbird. It was fun. Tuesday evening we drove to Murray and ate dinner at Rubio's.

Julianna trying on Mom's hearing aids

Taking a walk to the Snowbird Center to get soda's.



Walking over to the Pond to feed the fishes.

Julianna & Dad

Julianna, Dad, Todd & Brandon at Pond

Julianna, Dad, Todd & Jodi at Pond

Todd feeding bread to fish at Pond

Julianna in flowers

Monday, August 8, 2011

First time to Cold Stone Ice Cream

I know, I know, I've been a bad blogger. I haven't posted on the family blog in over a month.

It seems everything gets posted on facebook first, so I don't feel like posting again on the family blog.

Darn that facebook.

But today I decided to post here first. And then maybe I'll also post the photos on facebook.

Anyhoo, can you believe that I have never been to Cold Stone for ice cream? Me either. Especially since my family loves ice cream. The only reason I have for not going is the cost.

But now that my niece Taylor (Eric's daughter) works there, I decided it was about time to go. So Saturday night that is what we did. Mike and I stopped by Eric's house first so we could follow them to Cold Stone as I had no idea where it was.

And who was our helpful ice cream scooper once we got there? Why it's Taylor.

Here she is busy posing for photos while trying to mix up my Founder's Favorite.

I had a really hard time making up my mind as to what I wanted. Too many options to choose from. A real stressful situation for a non committal person like me.

Eric, Jeannette & Cade were the only ones to go from their family. Jase stayed at home and Danica is still up in Tahoe. Which by the way, I get to hopefully go see in a couple of weeks. I'm so excited. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to see Danica too, it's just that I've never been to Tahoe. I'm going with Eric to pick up Danica in a couple of weeks over my birthday weekend. Can't wait! That is, if work will let me off a couple of days.

Sorry for the distraction. Back to the matter at hand. Ice Cream!

Here is my masterpiece. Looks yummy, no? Loved the waffle shell.

Mike got some strawberry/banana concoction that I can't remember the name of. Normally it comes with graham crackers, but they were out, so he got pecans instead.

And here is Mike enjoying his ice cream. Everything was very yummy & I highly recommend & give Cold Stone "2 thumbs up".

I'd give them more, if I had more than 2 thumbs. Which I'm glad I don't. What would you do with more than 2 thumbs? Other than give more thumbs up to Cold Stone?

We even gave our ice cream scooper a huge tip. Thanks Taylor! You made my first trip to Cold Stone, a very yummy experience. This definitely won't be my last trip.

What is your favorite thing to get at Cold Stone?

And guess what I found this weekend?

There is a Starshine Dr in my town. Too bad it didn't say Starshine Chic Dr. That would have made it even cooler. And no, I don't want to move to this street. I like my house just fine.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Reception

Daniella & Dusty's wedding reception was held at Daniella's Aunt Kristin's house. And what a house.

When we first arrived it was sunny, but cold as the wind was starting to blow. This photo was actually taken on the way out, but you can see what a gorgeous house it was.

As we were walking up to the house, I tripped over the edge of the sidewalk & down I fell. Just call me Grace. Luckily nothing was hurt except for my ego.

The reception was to be held in the backyard, but the weather was turning bad real fast.

They placed all the tables as close to the house as possible. Trying to keep them all under the patio overhang.

There was a chocolate fountain. Which was great fun once the wind kicked up. Chocolate ended up getting everywhere.

It was so cold outside that everyone ended up inside. We mostly hung out downstairs in the game room/home theater. This room was fabulous. The seats for the home theater were so comfy. Mike & Brandon had front row seats. In the 2nd row we have Cathi (bride's mom) talking to Tyler's friend, with Tyler talking to his aunt from his mom's side of the family. Sorry but I don't remember her name right now.

This is their TV. It was huge. Perfect for watching a movie. The fireplace was pretty fab as well. It was a gas fire & made the room nice & toasty. Julianna was goofing off a bit in this photo.

I was so enamored with this house that I mostly took photos of the house & not of the family.

The basement had a basketball court of all things. Doesn't everyone have a basketball court in their basement?

And they keep their pool heated to 85 degrees. When it started raining later, steam was rising up from the pool.

And because it was so cold outside, the favorite place to hang out was the outdoor fireplace. And I have no idea who these people are. But I'm sure Daniella and Dusty do.

Finally the bride and groom arrived. Daniella looks so happy.

This little girl was so happy to see Daniella. But she forgot she had chocolate on her hands. So chocolate got on Daniella's dress. But Dusty was so cute. He made sure that someone helped get the chocolate off. So all was well.

The cake was originally outside. And it didn't have these flowers on it when we first arrived. It seems the flowers that were on the cake when I first saw it were all wilted. They wilted from being in the fridge or freezer. So Dusty came to the rescue again. He took apart one of the bridesmaid's bouquets and placed the fresh flowers on the cake. Another tragedy averted.

Everyone gathered in the kitchen for the cake cutting. I did take a video, but the photographer was in the way the whole time so it's not worth posting as you can't see a thing.

Then I took a video of Daniella & Dusty feeding each other the cake, but for some reason my camera didn't focus. Another video that was a dud.

But I did get this photo of Dusty's toast. Too bad I took the photo when the glass was in front of his face.

Here is the view from the living room area looking into the kitchen. And by the way, I'm in love with this black buffet. I need it in my house.

Isn't this the best photo? It was taken the night that Dusty proposed to Daniella. He set up the camera & put it on a timer. That way they still had a very private intimate moment, but had it documented forever as well. I love how they are in silhouette.

When the reception first started everyone was downstairs here in the game room. But once the cake was to be cut, everyone moved upstairs so I was able to get a better photo of the gameroom. And I have no idea who these kids are either.

And have you noticed that I haven't really taken any photos of family members? I told you I was more interested in taking photos of the house. I need a house like this.

I never did get any photos of Mom, Dad, Jodi or Todd. Mom, Dad & Jodi ended up leaving early as the weather had turned really bad. The wind was howling and the rain poured down.

Here are a couple of videos that did turn out of Daniella throwing the bouquet and Dusty throwing the garter.

A little story about the throwing of the bouquet. Todd's oldest daughter Mari really wanted to catch the bouquet in the worst way. But she started out at the very back of the pack of girls. Mike saw her & knew because she was short that she didn't have a chance in catching the bouquet. So he grabbed her & moved her to the front. And lucky for Mari that he moved her as she was able to catch the bouquet. Mari was one happy girl after that.

Well that is the end of Daniella & Dusty's wedding and reception. Tomorrow I'll share what we did on the rest of our little vacation.