Pumpkin Carving Party & Walter’s Birthday

We enjoyed a fun party at Jen & Walter’s place last Saturday – there was a pumpkin carving contest & we also celebrated Walter’s birthday; everyone had a great time! Here are some pics from the festivities…

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by Valerie | 10.31.09 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

Fall Hike & Jenny’s Market

We stopped at Jenny’s Market in Dexter, MI & then went on a lovely hike at Pinckney Wilderness Area last weekend & here are some photos…

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by Valerie | 10.31.09 | Around town, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Happy Halloween!!!

Halloween

by Valerie | 10.31.09 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Airplane Etiquette

planephoto

I’m flying from SFO to DTW as I type this & it seems like a good time to talk about airplane etiquette. Airplanes are generally uncomfortable spaces (unless you fly first class maybe, which I’ve never had the pleasure of doing) & I do my very best to be polite & considerate to those flying with me.

I never put my seat back, because, come on people, I don’t take up THAT much room & even I feel like a sardine without the person in front of me practically sitting in my lap; also, I happen to be married to a 6 foot 5 man & I truly feel for anyone that tall on a plane!

I don’t spill over my seat into other’s personal space; I paid hundreds of dollars for the few inches I have & there are arm rests to define these spaces for a reason. Please do not fall asleep with your elbow in my side & force me to plaster myself to the window for the entire flight.

I don’t cough & hack all over everyone in my general area making them all wonder what communicable disease I may be spreading; if you must cough, at least cover your mouth.

I don’t take my shoes off or wear half a bottle of perfume, etc.; unpleasant/strong smells linger on a plane. We are all stuck in this metal tube for quite some time & so…have a heart, don’t fart!

I don’t bring a huge bag onto the plane as a carryon & then act surprised when, after 20 minutes of me trying to squeeze something the size of a watermelon into something the size of a tic tac (into the overhead compartment) while everyone behind me is waiting to board, it doesn’t fit.

If we could all just make an effort to be polite, considerate, use our manners & say please & thank you, the world would be a much better place – both in the air & everywhere else.

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by Valerie | 10.30.09 | Travel | 2 Comments »

Brussels Sprouts

BrusselsSprouts

Brussels sprouts are a most wonderful thing! I know it sounds crazy & somehow they seem to have such a bad reputation, but they are actually quite delicious if you buy them fresh & prepare them right & they’ve recently become one of my favorite vegetables (the potato always being #1 in my heart, of course!).

There are obviously lots of ways to prepare them, but our favorite is to saute them with olive oil & garlic & then season them with salt & pepper & finish them in the oven. When you saute them first, you’ll want to cut them in half & put the flat side down & they’ll get all nice & caramelized on the bottom – yum!

Here’s how we like to prepare our brussels sprouts – remember to buy them fresh at the store (not canned or frozen, I think this really makes all the difference):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Clean off the outer, loose &/or damaged leaves of each brussels sprout & rinse them well
Slice each brussels sprout in half
2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced
Heat up a saute pan to medium heat & add about 2 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
Add diced garlic cloves & saute for a couple minutes (before adding the brussels sprouts to the pan); be careful not to burn the garlic as sometimes this can happen pretty fast
Add brussels sprouts to the pan, face down (this is important to get them caramelized on the bottoms), & cook until they start to caramelize/brown on the bottom
Transfer to baking sheet & add more olive oil as necessary
Add salt & pepper to taste
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes
Optional: Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar &/or parmesan cheese to finish

This is super simple – as often the best food is – & we certainly aren’t the first ones to prepare brussels sprouts this way, but we really enjoy them like this!

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by Valerie | 10.18.09 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

Apples!

apples

I love apples & one of the definite perks to living in Michigan is apples in the fall!  It doesn’t get any better than this, folks – ever bite into a fresh picked Michigan apple on a crisp fall day?  If so, then you know what I’m talking about!  So here’s a little bit on some of the apple enjoyments I’ve had & I’d love to hear any suggestions from you on the subject as well…

Visit the Dexter Cider Mill in Dexter, MI for some delicious & fresh apple cider & then go just down the road to Jenny’s Farm Market for some fresh pumpkin doughnuts (they have cider, pumpkins, & fall mums, etc. too) to pair with your cider – yum!

Spicer Orchards has become my favorite place for pick your own produce.  They have some great apples & pumpkins in the fall, among other things (including fresh apple cider & doughnuts), & they’ll give you a hay ride out to the orchard.

Some other orchards that we’ve had the pleasure of picking apples & pumpkins at & that also serve fresh cider & doughnuts at are Wasem Fruit Farm in Milan, MI & Wiard’s in Ypsilanti, MI; Wiard’s has more of a theme park feel than Spicer or Wasem & includes things like haunted houses & you pay for parking there.

And since we’re on the subject of apples, one of my favorite apples is the Honeycrisp apple.  They are sweet & tart & crisp & perfect & if you haven’t had one you should make it a point to find one & eat it up as soon as possible – you’ll thank me later, I’m sure!

What did I have for breakfast this morning, you ask?  Fresh, hot apple cider & homemade waffles topped with apples & cinnamon, mmm…delicious!

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by Valerie | 10.11.09 | Around town, For Funsies | 2 Comments »

Fall Cleaning

Bed

We have had a very productive day today so far & are continuing to work at getting things sorted, washed & dried, cleaned, donated to the Salvation Army, etc. It’s that time of year when I get the itch to switch out bedding (& buy some new bedding too!), freshen up the house for the fall/winter, etc.

So, we’ve been busy trying to tackle the mountain of laundry that seems to build up when we’re not looking at it, changing out pillows, throw blankets, comforters, donating clothes & bedding that we no longer want or need, & cleaning up the house. We filled up 3 huge bags of clothes & bedding & dropped those off this afternoon & it felt good to get rid of some things & make some extra room in the closet.

I’m looking forward to our trip to the storage unit to get out the boxes with Halloween decorations & get those up in the house too & I’m excited for our upcoming Halloween & pumpkin carving parties to come.

by Valerie | 10.04.09 | Around our home | No Comments »

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