Daily Life

Brooke Turns 2

by Chansoda on October 1, 2018

I absolutely adore my little niece. Here we are wishing her a balloonful birthday at 2 years old. I love her excitement for the little things.

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ChansodaBrooke Turns 2

We Became Homeowners!

by Chansoda on January 12, 2018

Karla and I closed on our first home. Closing date kept changing but then it ended up falling on my dad’s birthday. Such a bittersweet day, knowing that even though he’s gone, he’s still here with me as we journey towards the American dream he had always hoped for us. I really felt this was the right house, and the closing date confirmed it for me. Happy birthday Pa.

We fell in love with this house the first time we saw it are so excited and relieved that this day finally came. Moving… but cannot wait to start this next chapter.

We went for a short walk after the closing to take in the not so cold foggy day in our new town. (And the house pic is actually from the realtor’s site, winter wasn’t the best time to take the pics!)

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ChansodaWe Became Homeowners!

We are Bee Keepers!

by Chansoda on May 9, 2016

Karla and I are official beekeepers now! We are starting off with two honey bee colonies. I built my first two top bar hives from scratch following some plans and learned a lot while trying to advance my woodworking skills. I think the hives I built came out looking alright, the bees are taking to it. It was hard finding the time to build and breathing in all that saw dust in the musty basement was probably not good for my health. At least they got done.

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ChansodaWe are Bee Keepers!

Big Family, Big Wedding!

by Chansoda on July 14, 2015

Multiple day wedding for the Roeun family! My brother finally made it official and married his long time girlfriend this past weekend. Several family members came in from out of town to share in this day. So nice to see how big our family has gotten.

The bride and groom did a traditional Khmer ceremony on Friday, multiple costume changes and all at the bride’s home. I served as the family photographer for the day, Karla served as one of the bridesmaids. There was a live traditional Khmer wedding band that accompanied the different parts of the ceremony. It was absolutely beautiful to see the different wedding acts.

Then on Saturday followed the big American style wedding and reception with over 400 guests in attendance. Karla and I were honored to both be bridesmaids for this one. A lot of dancing, a lot of people, such a crazy fun night. I only wished my father was alive to come and join in the celebration. It was really nice to see my oldest brother Pek fulfill the role of my father and accompany my mother alongside everything.


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ChansodaBig Family, Big Wedding!

The Walkway

by Chansoda on June 24, 2015

After the garden, we tackled the walkway leading to it. Wanted to add some interesting landscaping to the yard, because you know… we didn’t do enough digging and hauling with the garden already (sarcasm).

But seriously, it looks much better. And the digging, nope, did not get any easier. But we did it! The first original home owners were big in to their landscaping, but it got lost and overgrown throughout the years. So working in the yard always feels a little bit like an excavation. We unearthed a lot of hidden belgian blocks in the ground that use to line their gardens and walkways and were able to gather them up to line our new gravel walkway. We even got a bit of a history lesson on them. The community was founded by a group of Jewish NYC firemen who wanted a summer home/camp for their families. When the streets of NY were being ripped up, the cobbled pavers removed to make new roads, these guys decided to grab them and use it up here in their homes. So, original belgian blocks from the streets of New York City, literally.  Pretty cool.

After the digging was done, we thought the hard part was over. It would have been had the gravel been delivered right next to the walkway. But instead it was dumped on the driveway… which is fine, at least it wasn’t the wrong driveway.

Shovel. Wheelbarrel. Haul. Dump. Repeat until we eventually used up the two yards of gravel.

No more (big) landscaping projects after this.

As for our garden, it’s growing very nicely.

And the sound of pea gravel beneath our feet is soothing to hear.













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ChansodaThe Walkway

A “Raney” Birthday at Two Roads

by Chansoda on June 13, 2015

We celebrated our friend Erin’s (Rane) birthday with a trip to Two Roads Brewery in Stratford this weekend.

Very cool brewery and highly recommend a visit if you’re interested in science, or beer, or just the science of beer! Definitely take the tour, it’s fairly inexpensive, you’ll learn a lot, and a plus, they give you beer to try! I love how they turned around the old historic US Baird building in to this beautiful factory and pumped so much life back in to it. It’s really impressive that they just started brewing a couple years ago (still considered a start up), but they already have expansions on the way and putting out some great craft beers.

We ordered a flight and found that Karla and I are partial to the Honeyspot Road White IPA, it had a nice clean crisp taste with a smooth sweet aroma to it. So so good on a hot summer day. Enjoyed it with some unhealthy fried goodness and serious layered baked potatoes from The Spud Stud food truck, parked outside for your convenience. (Check out the Two Roads website for their food truck schedule)

Great visit, and from their website, looks like they have lot going on, so if you like good brews, definitely check them out.

It was really hard to take good pictures with beer in hand, and beer on brain = tipsy.


Grab a beer and have a seat at Two Roads


Huge vats!


The ladies!


All kinds of brews!


The Honeyspot hits the spot!


I suggest you try them all.


Factory tour



Samples for everyone!


the malts!


What do you see in there?









The foam is a good thing.



wanna try some veggie mite…



almost my last name, almost…


Supporting the local brewery with Two Roads gear from the shop.





sporting our gear!


Yeaaa growlers of beer!



growler monster!



And one for the Road… errr, Two for the Road…



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ChansodaA “Raney” Birthday at Two Roads

Gardens and Dirt!

by Chansoda on May 30, 2015

I build, we dig, she plants.

We wanted a garden and was it a lot of work building and filling this thing! We went with cedar planks for the garden bed and used 2×4 studs as posts. A kind neighbor saw me working hard on the construction so he dropped off some of his old fencing, which I was able to cut up to build fencing frames that will keep the deer and other animals out. After it was built, we did the math and realized we needed about A LOT of dirt to fill the thing. That can get expensive with delivery. So, at first we attempted to save money by filling our friend’s truck with dirt from the community compost pile… by hand shoveling… which means we first had to hand shovel the dirt in to the truck, then off the truck in to our bed… The truck broke down after the first run so we didn’t get very far… then we decided that was enough for the day.

As luck would have it, the next morning another neighbor stopped by and asked if we still needed dirt. A mistake delivery just happened to work out in our favor. Don’t turn away FREE DIRT! They dropped off a huge pile of topsoil into our drive way (of course it starts raining…pouring rain… but free dirt is the silver lining). Eventually, we filled the bed with the heavy wet dirt and got the plants in to their new home. A lot of work, but mission accomplished.

I’m not sure what Karla planted, but I know I can’t wait to see it grow.










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ChansodaGardens and Dirt!