fall feels & Happy Halloween

boo #bordercollie #bordercolliemix #jackolantern

Happy Halloween; wishing you a spooktacular day full of fun frights and sweet treats! Ryan carved these jack-o’-lanterns for us and we’ll be celebrating tonight by lighting them up and handing out candy to any brave trick-or-treaters who don’t let the cold, wind, rain (and maybe snow) keep them away.

Jack-o-lanterns 2019

Since my last post, summer has most definitely come and gone and this past week or two we’ve been seeing some pretty spectacular fall color here in Southeast Michigan. In fact tonight they are predicting about an inch of snow to fall after plenty of rain today, and high winds as well…goodbye fall leaves. Fall seems to be the shortest season here, but it is by far my personal favorite!

We put our garden to bed for the season and made lots of hot sauce, salsa, and even some tomato sauce, as well as dried lots of our garden herbs for later use. We visited this corn maze in October and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while we were “lost” in the corn. And doesn’t Maddy look pretty with a carpet of fall leaves underneath her? Happy Fall!

fall feels #fallfeels #fallcolors
fall feels #fallfeels #fallcolors

by Valerie | 10.31.19 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »


That’s “What Would Jean Do?” We recently spent about 11 beautiful days up in North/Northwest Michigan, near Traverse City; I was lucky enough to tag along as Ryan taught an EMU class there at the Parsons Center for Arts and Sciences. Pictured above is a fun little piece Ryan created as a nod to the late Jean Noble Parsons; I think she’d be pleased to see this displayed in her home and it certainly made me smile. There is something so calming and so peaceful about that place…once you get over the fact that cell service and internet service are just about impossible, you really begin to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you – the sound of loons on the lake, the variety of multi-colored stones in the creek bed and on the lake shores, the opening and closing of the water lilies just off the dock every morning and afternoon, the sound of the cicadas humming in the heat of the day… It’s a place that definitely inspires! Just take a look at this image below (and listen to this).

Bellows Lake, Parsons
Bellows Lake, Parsons

I even worked up the courage to get into a rowboat with Ryan and out on the lake while we were there; ever since “the incident”, as I’ll refer to it (that one time, years ago, when we got in a canoe together on the last day of the season in the fall and I managed to tip us over into FREEZING cold water while wearing jeans and a sweatshirt), I have avoided getting into any sort of canoe/kayak/rowboat – so that was a pretty big deal! And I even enjoyed it! I left my phone safely on land…just in case…but Ryan wasn’t afraid, so he brought his and managed to snap this photo of me.

#imonaboat #puremichigan

We enjoyed a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes and Glen Haven, with the class. And we wrapped up our trip with one last, personal day in Traverse City and visited a few wineries in the area; ending the day with watching the sunset over the Bay in TC was a highlight for me (video here). You can view more photos and videos of our trip here.

he’s a perfect 10, no doubt about it #perfect10
Glen Haven
Traverse City, Lake Michigan

by Valerie | 08.20.19 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

fun on the 4th

Ypsilanti 4th of July parade  #fourthofjuly #redwhiteandblue

We celebrated the 4th by attending the Ypsilanti 4th of July parade (celebrating its 90th year), getting caught in a rainstorm, spending lots of time outside and sweating…a lot, dipped our toes (and paws) in the water, and of course enjoying some grilled eats and some cold beers – yum! Maddy enjoyed a little bit of Frisbee time in the park and she didn’t even seem to mind the shallow Argo cascades when we walked through the area for a bit (she’s not a big fan of the water). She didn’t seem interested in carrying the little flag we purchased, but it made for a nice decoration in our patio planter instead. Hope your 4th was a blast!

Want to see more? Here are a few photos and videos from our day.

by Valerie | 07.08.19 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

bench, please!

diy bench project complete with @deptofmiscellany #diy #gardenbench #madeitmyself

We now have a pretty sweet setup in our backyard for the summer, after tackling a few DIY projects to help us with relaxing and enjoying the summer weather to the fullest! We spent the last couple weekends building a brand new bench (to replace our beloved, but aged and falling apart, wooden Adirondack chairs that we’ve had for years), sealing and resealing all our wooden patio furniture to weatherproof it, and giving our metal patio chairs and patio table legs a fresh coat of paint. Maddy seems to enjoy it too! And, to my delight, we finally have a fire pit to enjoy on our patio; I’ve been wanting one since we moved into our home 7 years ago and was pretty excited when Ryan surprised me with this sweet little Solo Stove bonfire! We even used it to make s’mores…yum!

diy bench project complete with @deptofmiscellany #diy #gardenbench #madeitmyself
#saycheese #familyportrait #bordercollie #BorderCollieMix
#summertimegladness #bordercollie #bordercolliemix @coolaroousa

Here’s the view from our new bench; our garden is growing in nicely and we’re already seeing some cherry tomatoes about ready to pick and some peppers growing. Our herbs, lettuce, and kale are really happy and (while peony season is over here…sad) our dahlias and ketchup and mustard roses are blooming.

by Valerie | 07.03.19 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

maddy’s magically delicious dog treats

Maddy’s Magically Delicious Dog Treats

After watching all current seasons of The Great British Bake Off / The Great British Baking Show available to us on Netflix, we’ve (and by “we”, I mean mostly Ryan…but I have helped and done some baking myself through the process) been baking regularly in our home – homemade breads (thanks to Bread Baking for Beginners), various sweets and desserts (i.e. lemon lavender muffins, peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, etc.), our current favorite biscuit recipe, and even dog treats. Maddy approves this message!

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, we thought it would be fun to bake some homemade dog treats in the shape of shamrocks…and hearts and stars – which may remind you of one “magically delicious” cereal you may have sampled or seen before. And so that’s just what we did and here’s the recipe we used:

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups oat flour (we used a Vitamix to grind rolled oats into oat flour)
  • ~1/4 cup oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix pumpkin, egg, and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Add oat flour, then oats to form a dough.
  4. Place dough onto a lightly floured counter and roll to about 1/4″ thick.
  5. Cut shapes out.
  6. Place on lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool (on a cooling rack), and store in an airtight container for freshness.
Maddy’s Magically Delicious Dog Treats
and here we have Maddy exhibiting an incredible amount of self-control and making funny faces while waiting for me to say “ok” so she can eat that fresh-baked, homemade treat
#bordercollie #bordercolliemix #puppydogeyes #glbcr #greatlakesbordercollierescue
don’t worry, she’ll get plenty of treats – she knows what she’s doing making this face and flashing those puppy eyes at us

by Valerie | 03.09.19 | Marvelous Maddy, Recipes | No Comments »

hello…we’re still here!

always eating with an audience 👀#bordercollie #bordercolliemix

Hello, it’s been a while since we posted, but we’re still here! Since our last post, we celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve/Day, and our anniversary. We visited our home state of Texas, and saw lots of family and dear friends while we were there. We had a pretty amazing dance party with my favorite 2 year old! We’ve had a few winter storms and experienced a seriously frigid polar vortex here in Michigan, but our home is warm and cozy and our hearts were warmed by this year’s Puppy Bowl XV.

Christmas Eve family fun
family photo
#puppybowl #puppybowlxv #bordercollie #bordercolliemix

Maddy doesn’t seem to like playing in the water, but she does LOVE playing in the snow; and winter Frisbee time is just as much fun as summer Frisbee time, as far as she’s concerned!

#frisbeeislife #bordercollie #bordercolliemix

We’ve also been baking our way through Bread Baking for Beginners and our house smells pretty amazing; it’s been so nice to have freshly baked, homemade bread and now that we’ve gotten into the habit of doing this I don’t think I can go back to having only store bought bread in the house. And Galentine’s Day/Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! xoxo

We made our 2nd loaf of homemade bread yesterday (8-hour fermentation no-knead bread); working our way through Bread Baking for Beginners by Bonnie OHara. Maddy would very much like us to give her a piece. 🍞👀😋 #breadmaking #bread #breadbaki

by Valerie | 02.08.19 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy, Travel | No Comments »

lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting and candied lemon slices

lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting & candied lemon slices #greatbritishbakingshowinspired #baking #cake

We recently started binge watching The Great British Baking Show and it’s fantastic! After watching episode after episode of “biscuits”, cakes, swiss rollls and roulades, some things I’d never even heard of before but looked amazing on camera, etc. being baked and presented, we were inspired to bake something ourselves at home. The particular episode we were watching at the time featured a lot of lemon cakes, which led me to discover this recipe for lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting; as we already had everything we needed to make this at home, we got to work. Of course we did not have edible flowers on hand, so we made candied lemon slices instead to top the cake with. I think it came out pretty well too! As they say on the show, “On your mark, get set, bake!”

lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting & candied lemon slices #greatbritishbakingshowinspired #baking #cake

by Valerie | 11.30.18 | For Funsies, Recipes | 2 Comments »

thanksgiving feast

Thanksgiving 2018

Ryan and I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving this year. We certainly didn’t let the fact that it was just the two of us (and Maddy of course) stop us from cooking a proper Thanksgiving feast though! Our Thanksgiving meal included:

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

by Valerie | 11.28.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

big fun at the Big House

Family fun in Michigan

We enjoyed a fantastic weekend with family this past week; they were kind enough to fly up from Texas to visit with us and we filled our weekend with lots of delicious food, Michigan craft beer, pregame at Homes Brewery (where they did a pig roast and we sat by the fire pit and watched the snow fall!), tailgating near the stadium, an exciting game at the Big House on Saturday, and of course the best of times with the best company! You can view more photos of our weekend here.

Family fun in Michigan

Family fun in Michigan

by Valerie | 11.19.18 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

fall snowfall and Robert Frost

#fallsnowfall #snow #snowfall

We woke up to snowflakes tumbling from the sky this morning and everything dusted in white. Against the fall leaves still hanging onto some of the trees, it was a lovely sight. I felt this Robert Frost poem captured it quite nicely…

My November Guest
by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

by Valerie | 11.09.18 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

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