life imitates art

life imitates art

life imitates art

by Valerie | 06.27.17 | For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

summer solstice

rosé on a summer day - happy summer solstice!

Last Wednesday, June 21st, was the summer solstice; I enjoyed the sunshine and those long hours of daylight with a delicious glass of rosé – pictured above is the view out my kitchen window in the late afternoon on the solstice. Thanks to the sunshine, our garden is doing well this summer; while our pepper plants haven’t grown much yet, most of our tomatoes and all of our herbs are flourishing. I cut some things from our garden to make this pretty arrangement below on Saturday: hosta leaves, Japanese painted fern, coleus, and green and purple basil.

hosta, painted fern, coleus, green & purple basil - all from our garden

We’re having lots of fun with Maddy too; the training we’ve been doing with her (look at this!) and many trips to the park to throw the frisbee have been fun for us all! She works hard and plays hard, but she knows to relax as well (puppy dreams). We are one happy family!

z's

family photo +=

by Valerie | 06.26.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

weekend haps

Henry Ford Museum

We enjoyed a full day at The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village on Friday; the House Industries Exhibit was fun to walk through and we enjoyed all the rides at the Village as well. You can view photos and videos of our visit here.

We managed (with help from a friend – thank you, friend!!!) to get all 16 of the holes dug in our backyard to place the fence posts into on Saturday; looking forward to finishing that project and appreciating how hard DIY work can be sometimes! This experience has definitely taught me a few things:

  1. I’m not as strong as I would like to be (or thought I was) and/or I may have underestimated how difficult manning a 2-person auger really is.
  2. Having friends/family who are willing to give up an entire Saturday afternoon to help you dig 16 very deep holes in your backyard is invaluable.
  3. Ryan’s strength and focus when it comes to projects like this never ceases to amaze and impress me!

After all that hard work and heavy lifting (the 2-person auger we rented to get the job done weighed 71 pounds without the bit or extension attachment!) on Saturday, it was especially nice to spend some time resting inside our home on Sunday…here’s Maddy peeking in from the kitchen in the photo below.

Home

Last, but not least, wishing my wonderful Dad a very happy Father’s Day!

Dad8

by Valerie | 06.19.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

weekend haps

lovely day for a on the patio with @deptofmiscellany

If you can find a nice patio, with some shade and preferably a cool breeze (and a cold beer) on a summer day, take advantage of it always! We began our weekend doing just that at Dominick’s and it was lovely. While my Texas friends and family may laugh at this, I’m going to say it…we’ve had some hot temps here in A2 this last week, with highs climbing into the high 80’s and low 90’s over the weekend; it definitely feels like summer here – hot, humid, and sweaty. Despite the weather, Ryan managed to dig out all of our existing fence posts (which were all that was left of our dilapidated fence) over the weekend and we currently have brand new ones sitting in the floor of our garage waiting to be placed into the ground; we’re very excited at the prospect of having a new, functional fence – complete with gate – in the near future and are looking forward to enjoying our backyard with Maddy. And we have now added a post hole digger to our growing pile of tools and equipment in our garage.

We enjoyed a walk to Zingerman’s Roadshow with Maddy for breakfast bright and early Saturday morning and we saw Wonder Woman at the theater (here I am, as a kid, in my Wonder Woman suit). Hope you’re having some summer fun of your own and enjoying the sunshine!

...order some food! @zingermansroadshow #zingermans

by Valerie | 06.13.17 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | 1 Comment »

peonies and puppies

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden

It’s peony season here in Ann Arbor and the Peony Garden at Nichols Arboretum is quite the sight to see…absolutely gorgeous! I’ve taken a stroll through there twice now in the past week (where we met this sweet little pup) and I can’t get enough of it – the variety of peonies is impressive and the smell is heavenly; here are some photos and videos I captured of the gardens last week; they also have some lovely Dogwood, Rhododendron, and Azalea, etc. Our own peony in our garden at home is blooming now too. I’m here to pet all the puppies and smell all the flowers!

We enjoyed some delightful patio time at Wolverine on Friday afternoon and at Beer Grotto (where we met this sweet little pup) on Saturday, stopped by the Mini Maker Faire, and are having so much fun with our little imp of a puppy, Maddy!

afternoon at the Arb

Maddy

by Valerie | 06.05.17 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

Marvelous Maddy

This Friday will be one week since we adopted Maddy and she is still as sweet and lovable as ever! She is a high-energy (typical of her breed and her age), active (we walk/jog and play ball or throw a frisbee with her for ~1 hour in the morning and again in the afternoon daily), smart (she already knows “sit”, “lay”, “don’t touch”, etc.), sweet, beautiful puppy. She is very young and will need a lot of training and we are going to enjoy every minute of it. When she’s not running as fast as she can and playing as hard as she can, she very sweetly will lay down at our feet (sometimes on top of our feet) or lay on one of her pillows. She has the softest, silkiest coat and does the most adorable and amazing stretches; you should see her downward dog. Just look at that face and those eyes…L-O-V-E! On top of being the lucky ones who get to be her family, we are lucky to have friends and family share their excitement and support with us on our adopting her too. I think my Mom got it right when she said, “I think you picked the right dog. She probably has an IQ higher than all of us combined.”

I was sharing with my friend Sheila yesterday that Maddy seems very unsure/scared of our basement stairs and she then shared this (and this) with me which had me laughing out loud. Lucky for us, I have no doubt that Maddy would pass any dog IQ test we gave her with flying colors!

dog nap

by Valerie | 05.31.17 | For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | 2 Comments »

Meet Maddy

Maddy

Meet Maddy. Maddy is a 7 month old Border Collie mix; you can read all about her, and the Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue, here. She is black and white with spots, she’s adorable, and she’s such a clown! She is very, very, VERY fast, loves to run, and she loves to chase a ball or as many frisbees as you can throw. I love her spots/freckles, how her tail (half black, half white) curls up on to her back when she’s alert, and I love her pointy ears. She already knows some commands: sit, lay, back up, don’t touch, and we’re currently working on “stay” with her too. She was an excellent passenger in her 1.5 hour car ride home on Friday, she is potty trained and hasn’t had any accidents in the house in the day and half we’ve had her, and she did well sleeping in her crate next to us in our bedroom last night too. We’re doing our best to make her transition to our home as easy and comfortable as possible, introducing her to rooms of the house slowly, and allowing plenty of quiet/down time with a healthy amount of active time sprinkled in between. We are enjoying getting to know her and having her get to know us. We are looking forward to introducing her to our city and our friends more and more, after giving her ample time to acclimate to us and our home. We are excited to start her in a training class in the near future and look forward to so many possiblities with her ahead (agility, frisbee, Flyball, Treibball, etc.).

Why a Border Collie, or how did we decide she was the dog for us, you might ask? It was important to us, when choosing a dog to make part of our family, to find one that 1) is preferably a rescue dog (there are so many wonderful pets, in shelters or rescue organizations, out there who just need to find the right home…also our first dog, Melody, was AMAZING and a rescue dog herself – so she set the bar high), 2) is smart and very trainable, 3) is active and can go jogging/hiking/walking with us, and 4) bonus – Ryan has always wanted a dog he could play frisbee with (Maddy definitely fits that bill). We are so grateful to her foster mom, Sandy, and the Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue organization for helping to bring Maddy into our lives and we’re so excited to share our lives with this lovable, energetic, sweet-natured, clown of a pup!

Maddy

Maddy

by Valerie | 05.27.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

weekend haps

58 & rainy on a Saturday afternoon in May

We enjoyed a cool, rainy weekend here in A2; watched some movies, cooked this Blue Apron meal, and visited my 26th Michigan brewery when we stopped by Brewery Becker in Brighton – my personal favorites on tap were the West Coaster (west coast style IPA), Victoria (Victorian era export stout), and Hefeweizen (classic wheat beer of Bavaria). Looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend ahead!

Baked Spinach Flatbreads with Sautéed Asparagus & Lemon #blueapron

Brewery Becker

by Valerie | 05.22.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

Mother’s Day weekend

Happy Mother's Day

Pictured above are my mom (left) and Ryan’s mom (right, with Ryan); much love to our moms and all those who are mothers! We enjoyed a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend here in A2; sunshine and lovely weather had us out on our patio Friday night grilling hamburgers, we headed to see the Cranbrook Degree Show on Saturday and stopped at Griffin Claw Brewing Company for lunch and a beer (making it my 25th Michigan brewery visited), then took a stroll around the Matthaei Botanical Gardens where we saw an adorable family of geese, and ended our day with dinner at a friends’ home where I brought some fresh-cut white lilacs (from our yard), peonies, and a bottle of rosé to enjoy, and on Sunday we had a delicious brunch out, followed by purchasing and planting our summer garden. We’re growing many of our usual favorites in our garden this year, a variety of hot peppers (ghost pepper, poblano, mucho nacho jalapeño, and serrano), tomatoes (green zebra, Cherokee purple, Mr. Stripey, better boy, and roma), herbs (basil, chives, orange mint, oregano, and thyme), and flowers (Julia Child roses, XXL Hidalgo dahlia), but are growing some new things this year too – broccolini, zucchini, and Flashy Trout’s Back Lettuce. Happy gardening!

“May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends,
And many books, both true.”
― Abraham Cowley

Griffin Claw Brewing Co

mid-May patio perfection; peonies + white lilacs (from my yard) & rosé

2017 summer garden

2017 summer garden

by Valerie | 05.15.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

weekend haps

#beerponcho #cincodemayo

We had a fun weekend celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food/drinks and nopales and made it through two of the three Mexico Trilogy movies on Friday and the Kentucky Derby with homemade lemon cooler cookies and, of course, mint juleps on Saturday. It’s still bursting with spring color here in A2 and we enjoyed a nice, long walk around our neighborhood on Sunday, after being productive and cleaning out our garage, where we saw this and this and this!

spring in A2 #springhassprung #nofilter

by Valerie | 05.08.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

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