Thanking my husband of Instagram with Statesman Ties

My husband is a good sport with my wild, random and crazy ideas. Especially, when it comes to being a husband of Instagram. If you don't know what a husband of Instagram is watch this video

He's always so willing to step up and take lots of photos of me, and for me, especially if my short stature hinders me getting just the right angle, lighting, or whatever. So, when Rob at Statesman Ties contacted me and talked about their amazing ties I was like, YASSSSSSS!! This would be perfect as one, an early birthday gift and two, as a thank you for being amazing and supporting all that I do, gift. 

What better way to thank my Instagram husband than with gifting him something that he'll have no choice but to be in front of the camera instead of behind the scene. A nice change, maybe. πŸ˜‚

Chris only has a few ties and he wears a tie every Sunday, honestly, he should have a whole bunch of ties to choose from, so I've been on the hunt for some really good ones. Let me tell you what, these are some good high quality ties! Even with our wild toddler pulling on it, it stood up to the beating. 

Each tie is 100% woven silk, with detailed embroidery and made with thick batting, basically it's the manliest of man ties!πŸ’ͺ My favorite part is that this tie is two inches longer than most ties! Which is absolutely perfect for my tall husband!  He didn't have to retie it like he usually does with his other ties, #winning! 

When a behind the scene guy gets in front of the camera you try everything to get them to smile but sometimes fail. πŸ˜‚ I promise he loves it. Next time we'll stick to him keeping his day job of taking photos of me, right Chris? 

Thank you Statesman Ties for helping me gift my Instagram husband with an amazing America tie that he can enjoy for a long time! What ties would you choose!? So many countries and states to choose from!

I absolutely love the story about how Rob started his company, a tie that means something. I know you'll love it too!

Statesman Ties was an idea that was two years in the making. While serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ukraine, Kiev Mission, I often found myself searching for new or unique neckties to wear. I searched high and low and would typically find cool ties at local bazaars in the city or at other markets.
On my last day in the Ukraine, Kiev Mission, some the very thoughtful members of one of the local congregations sent me home with gifts. One gift was a necktie with the same colors as the Ukraine flag.
That is when I realized that not only did I love the people of the Ukraine, but I also appreciated my time there…so much so that I was grateful to have a tie that would always remind me of my time there…a tie that means something.
It is with that in mind that I created Statesman Ties. We use the tagline “A Tie That Means Something,” because our custom neckties are more than just a fashion statement. It is a statement of pride and a unique way for people to be reminded of a country or area they’ve served in as an LDS Missionary, or just a country that they are fond of and like to visit.
Almost seven years after I came up with the idea, my wife and launched Statesman Ties in 2006. For the last 10+ years, we have been growing slowly and consistently. We are grateful for those who have supported us along the way and we’re looking forward to more growth in the future.
We have unique custom country ties and state-themed ties for anyone and everyone.
Thanks for taking this journey with Statesman Ties!


We opened a shop!

It's no secret that my husband and I like to create.

Chris and I love building and creating things in our garage. We both put in our ideas and see what comes of it.

A few months ago I mentioned I wanted a chalk board in the shape of Arizona. I created the template and he cut it out within minutes.  Seeing the final product take shape was so much fun! Talk about an instant high!

We immediately started talking about other ideas and shapes to make into chalkboards. It then turned into, why don't we have a little shop and sell our crazy chalk board shape ideas?

AZ Craft Works was born!

We currently have Arizona, Llama, & Mason Jars up in the shop, with a fun star wars theme coming very soon!!


also find us on  INSTAGRAM  &  FACEBOOK

Thank you for supporting us in this little journey!


Random things from my purse

I was cleaning out my purse to get ready to donate, and I couldn't help but laugh a little at some of the random things I pulled out. 

I hope to think that I'm one of the very few people in the world that would pull out a plastic narwhal from the side zipper of their purse.

Mermaid pins, uncut house key, mockingjay pin, and tiny clothes pins are a little out there too I guess. πŸ˜‚

What is the most random thing you've pulled out from inside your purse?


Summer by the hour in gifs

5am: When the poking me awake starts. 
me to me: 

6:00 am: me


7:00 am: kids

8:00 am: kids still hungry

9:00 am: kids

10:00 am: kids

11:00 am to 5:00 pm: me

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm(bedtime): kids


Kids sleeping: me


I love my kids, i love my kids, i love my kids, i love my kids, i love me kids....


DIY Wood Feature Wall

We love watching home improvement shows. Chris and I always end up discussing different ideas we like or it give us ideas we would maybe someday (but never will actually happen) to our house.

One wall in particular in our home has bugged me since the day we moved in.  It's been my nemesis and I've constantly changed it up in hopes that I'd find just the right thing for it.  A lot of homes in my neighborhood with the same floor plan have cabinets with like a little desk area, so I've contemplated putting a desk or something there,but didn't want to make the space feel claustrophobic.

Seriously, I've lost sleep thinking about this dang wall.

See ^^^ confusion. I seriously could not figure it out.

One night we were watching property brothers, or maybe it was fixer upper, and we talked about some design element and we both mentioned our ideas of if we ever put wood on the walls it would look a certain way.  

I mentioned that I'd prefer a natural wood finish. None of this paint over good looking wood fad. Apparently, those were the magic words cause the next weekend Chris was at home depot getting something else and came home with 50 of the most beautiful wood boards(which smell amazing too) and was ready to make my dream a reality! 


1in x 6in x 6ft Better Blue Stain Ponderosa Pine tongue & grooved boards.(< link if for 8ft lenght, they have 6ft boards in store)
Deckmate screws

We measured, cut and then drilled the boards directly into the studs in the wall.
Basic carpentry skills are all you need to do this. It's that easy.
I recommend getting a tongue & grooved boards if your are thinking about doing something like this
1.) it hides gaps between the boards
2.) since the connect you can place your board and not worry about it falling off the wall or needing extra hands to hold it up.

total time around 6 hours
total cost around $210

we all drew funny pictures, wrote words and different things on the walls before we boarded them up. It was a lot of fun and got the kids involved in the project too. 

Now that one thing is done, we're in like ultra planning mode for other things.  Hopefully will happen sooner rather than later, but one thing at a time.

I'm working on the cabinets next. So stay tuned for that.


Are you a better mother for my children?

I was helping a friend at church with one of her boys, I just happened to be right there at the moment, he is the cutest spitfire with a big fun personality, and my friend jokingly said, "I swear he was supposed to be your child, Erica" I laughed and then went about my Sunday.

It got me thinking.

How often do we feel like someone else would be a better mother for our children?

I love my kids, but yes, they can be the worst. But, why do we feel like because our children are not listening, throwing a tantrum, or whatever thing they are doing that drives us nuts, someone else would be a better fit to mother them?

I'm just thinking about loud here, but maybe, its because I get get so burnt out with my kids that the idea of someone else taking care of them is a glorious thing.  Maybe, its that in general kids tend to listen better when someone else is giving them instruction (maybe that's just mine), or helping them do things. Maybe, its that I tend to have a little more patience with other peoples kids than my own.

Do I really want someone else to mother my children? no. Do I believe that there are people placed in my life at certain times to help in my mothering journey and visa versa? yes.

I am glad I have other women around me that I know would be good mothers for my children. I'm glad to have that piece of mind to know that if I need them, I can count on them to mother my children, to protect and love them.


One of the many reasons why I love being a member of my church is that I have that built in tribe everyone seems to be seeking. Any connection whether through church, a facebook group, instagram friends, twitter etc. are great places to find women with like minded goals, and values. So many amazing women in the world to connect with!

I hope that in whatever stage in life you are in right now, that you can find those women that help your life be brighter, and happier. It literally can take a village to raise children, a helpful hand, or a listening ear. There is NO better mom for your children then yourself, but there are plenty of helpers

Have you thought someone could be a better mother for your children?? 


They were cones

My dad has a soft serve frozen yogurt machine. I know, all the envy. My dad is also an extremely generous human being and invites the families in his ward & neighbors over to his house two times a month on Monday nights for free frozen yogurt cones.

Chairs are set out in their driveway and people come and go as they please. Its pretty fantastic. On occasion we get to make the trek to my parents house to partake of the yummy goodness.

Little Leonard was given his first cone a couple months back and I was able to capture the moment he realized that frozen yogurt was an amazing thing. 😊

He's a fan of the froyo! I'd be sad if he wasn't, cause froyo is life y'all. 

This last pic didn't focus on the messy, froyo covered sticky mess in the front, it got a great shot of my niece Maddie, Bro-in-law Jon & my mom. 


An afternoon at the park

Parks are great for free entertainment, tiring your kids out, and bringing home buckets of sand in shoes. I'm not much of a park person though, but my kids are super fans. 

In Arizona perfect park season is from about October-April so right now is not the time to spend afternoons at our neighborhood park with the burning hot lava slides and I ain't about to take the kids to the park at 5am for reasonable play temperature. πŸ˜‰ Thankfully a lot of parks here have water features to keep us cool.

I tend to stay inside as often as possible during the summer, I thrive as a summer hermit, but the kids get a little cabin fever so off to the splash parks we go.

When it comes to going out with the kids I don't like to over complicate things.  Less is more. If I brought everything I could possibly think we might need when we're summer splash park hopping i'd better just throw a dresser in the back of the van and call it good.

What I lug around:
I make sure we have plenty of snacks and water for the never ending summer hunger. Mostly fruits cause vegetables are the worst. Kidding, but some are though. Sunscreen galore, cap stick, hats & sunglasses, anything to keep our skin as white as possible through the summer.

But seriously though, the best part about a trip to a park of any kind in the summer is the drink pit stops. We always end up at either Sodarush, or sonic for a cool drink.

The kids get excited to spend an afternoon out and I get excited for the early bedtimes that usually follow the day. πŸ˜‰

I'm linking up this post today with Mommy Style Monday. Want to join the Mommy Style Monday link up? 
Visit: Kiana // Glitter & Donuts or Madeline // CaseyLand and sign up!

Kiana // Glitter&Donuts
Madeline //at CaseyLand
Monica // It's All About


Create or Not Create, that is the quesiton

I was feeling particularly crafty the other day and I got out some canvases, paint and brushes. Printed off some shapes, cut those out then started painting.

I don't have water color paints, I'm actually not 100% sure whats the difference but I just took regular acrylic paint that I had and watered it down. Worked perfectly to me, but i'm not an expert.

I ended up with a water color state of Arizona, orange like the sunset(if you know the reference then you get 10 virtual high fives), and free handed a little cacti.

Scanned them into the computer, cleaned them up, and I'm happy with how they turned out.

I never know what to do with the things I create. Its obviously fear based because someone, somewhere is better at everything I do, so whats the point in sharing the things I do. I'm trying to get over it, so I though I'd share with you today.

What do you think? Want one?


You're Awesome Giveaway Recap!!

In the middle of April I sent out a bat signal on Instagram asking if anyone would be interested in collaborating in a giveaway idea I had.  I was definitely scared to ask, but this is my year of fearless, so I went for it.

What started out as more of mothers theme thing, morphed into the YOU'RE AWESOME GIVEAWAY! Cause really shouldn't we celebrate the little awesome things we do as people every single day!

I thought it would just be one maybe two participants, ended up being 5! Five amazing human beings participated in my crazy giveaway idea! Gets me pumped for possible future collaborations and giveaways.

We had 5 weeks of awesome! Kicked it off on April 17th and ended May 19th! Check out all the business/shops/creatives below! Also, follow me on instagram @airkaka
(*disclaimer* i was not given any product/items/services in exchange for this giveaway. having these amazing women choose to participate was enough for me.πŸ’“)


Jordan Whitlach


Natalie Devore


Andrea Hunt


Melissa Jennings
INSTAGRAM: @the.mamallama


Tammy Gabel
INSTAGRAM: @mommatammyaz


Summertime Sanity Savers

The End.

Kidding, but sometimes it can feel like that. Summer is the end.
The whole heat thing, then add no school on top of that. It can be hectic and busy, but we always make the best of the time together. In order to save my sanity though, I have to have at least a few things planned to keep the heard entertained.

Before the school year ends and the summer begins, I always like to attempt to make a summer bucket list with my kids. Well, we make the list, but the attempt is in actually checking off things on our list. We try our best to do as many things on the list as we can.

The List:

  • Sleep over at grandma & papa Crandell
  • Go to Cabin
  • Visit at least 3 different splash parks
  • Visit at least 3 different pools
  • One designated craft day a week
  • Sign up for summer reading program at the library
  • Go to library once a week
  • Take a day trip: Tucson, Tombstone, Prescott, Snowflake, Petrified Forest 
  • Movie Nights
  • Back to school party
  • Ice cream party
  • Get a sitter at least 4 times
  • Personal quiet/meditation time 
  • Go to the Mesa Temple Visitor Center story time
June 1st is the last day of school for us and my girls are eagerly looking forward to that day. I'm excited too, but in order for me to be able to keep myself sane i'll have to be extra organized this summer. Hopefully our list will help. 

I'm linking up this post today with Mommy Style Monday. Want to join the Mommy Style Monday link up? Visit Kiana // Glitter & Donuts or Madeline // CaseyLand and sign up! 

Check out what everyone else is up to this summer! 

Kiana // Glitter&Donuts
Madeline // CaseyLand

Monica // It's All About


Arizona Bloggers Meetup with Boncom

I was able to attend an Arizona Bloggers meet up that was hosted by the amazing Boncom team. They are doing some beautiful things as they connect people, organization, companies with influencers to make a difference and share goodness in the world.

I've had the chance to partner with them in the past and share some holiday campaigns and it's a pleasure to be included, even in a small way, to make a bigger difference.

Designed by Grace + Vine

Designed by Grace + Vine

BYU Tv, Studio C, Random Acts, Relative Race, Extinct Tv

Swag Bag Goodies
Whimzical Woods Barn, Rod Works, Project Life, Seth Adam Smith, Greg TrimbleTaylor Town, Retrogram Boards, White Elegance, Goldyn Eero, Olivewood Designs, Moments Defined, Lolly Letters, Lucky Love, Prickly Pear Lane, Fiiz 

If I start writing about all the details about what the presenters & keynote speaks talked about this would be an extremely lengthy post.  I will write separate posts on all that because each needs its own.

I will say that I am so glad there are people willing to share their talents, stories, and life with others.

We heard from Jamie Hutchings, Seth Adam Smith, Kristyn Merkley, & Becky Higgins.

Each their own, but together they shared messages of strength, balance, hope, light, and love. There was even more, but like I said, lengthy.

I love walking away from an event feeling inspired and feeling better about myself than when I showed up. I have so many things I want to accomplish, so many things I'd like to share, and just so many thing. All the talk about balance was something I definitely needed to hear. Inspired words from those I look up to.

For the moment this is all I will share. Stay tuned for more and I might reference this night a lot in the coming months.


This Mothers Day

After a long week of the stomach flu running rapid through our home I am ready for the calm.

This Mother's Day will be simple, calm and hopefully germ free.

I am lucky.

Lucky to have four special little children that I get to love & nurture every day.  That's all I need. No frill, no hoopla, just love from the ones that call me mom. Shouldn't mother's day be a mothers day after all? That's all I want (well, maybe a nap tooπŸ˜‰)

Happy Mother's Day and thank you to all the mom's out there for being the best mom's they can be.



Little Hands

We were all hit hard with the evil stomach flu this past week and many popsicles were consumed.

These little hands couldn't get enough of them. They also couldn't wait for me to take a pictures of them too. πŸ’—


Mommy Style Monday: Time Management

Time is such a weird thing.

I want it to pass quickly but be slow simultaneously, somehow.

The topic for Mommy Style Monday is Time, specifically how I manage my time.

Honestly, I am not a time manager for my personal life. Probably a tiny pinky nail size of time management is in me. It's not much, but its enough. There are dates and events that I need to remember, that I write on my big calendar for myself and my family, and that works.

When it comes to time management and being organized for other people though, that is a whole different ball game.

I would love to give you an amazing post about how I wake up early and get things done before the kids wake up (they wake up so flippin early right now, this could only happen when they are sleepy teenagers) or how I'm consistent with nap times for Leonard, or work outs( or more like work nots), but I can't.

It's taken me time for me to let go and stop feeling like because I'm not doing something on a schedule, or I don't have a magical chore chart for my kids, or what not then I'm doing it wrong. I've tried many times to do these things, and its not a passion of mine. I know it won't stick till I have that.

If you are a time manager, more power to you, some days I wish I could but, that's just not me. :)

You do you.

How are you with time management? Is there something that works for you? 

Want to join the Mommy Style Monday link up?
Visit Kiana // Glitter & Donuts or Madeline // CaseyLand and sign up! 

If you're wanting actual awesome with tips and more about by his topic,
Check out the other ladies that are linking up today! 

Kiana // Glitter&Donuts
Madeline // CaseyLand
Cayli // Nightchayde
Rachel // Tutus and Heels
Monica // It's All About

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