Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah

by Valerie | 12.18.14 | Holidaze | No Comments »

weekend haps

Drawing Rally

We started our weekend with the MOCAD Monster Drawing Rally on Friday night, which Ryan participated in. And Sunday was a flurry of Christmas shopping and Christmas present wrapping for us; Ryan kept saying, “How did it get to be [insert time here]?!?” We still haven’t made that peppermint bark we bought everything to make weekend before last. But we did get our gifts all wrapped and boxed up to ship out, which was a task in itself. Our trip to the office supply store for shipping materials devolved into me laughing uncontrollably in the middle of the aisle as I mispronounced packing peanuts in Spanish (“cacahuete”) while an employee asked us if we needed any help; do I need any help…yes, I think I was way past the point of helping at that moment! By the end of the weekend, I think we all felt like Melody in the photo below…with my sock placed on top of her head (not that she seems to notice or mind). I’m looking forward to settling down for a long winter’s nap myself soon!

Wrappin

Put a sock on it!

by Valerie | 12.15.14 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

poinsettia

Poinsettia

Did you know the Aztecs used the sap of these plants to control fevers (during the 14th-16th century)? While we will not be using our poinsettia to control any fever, we will be enjoying the color and cheer it brings to our home this Christmas! I was not surprised to learn that there are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today; and I really enjoyed browsing several of them and picking this one out because it looked so interesting with the speckled bracts.

A few holiday-related things that had me laughing this week…

by Valerie | 12.11.14 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

weekend haps

Strawberry Pancakes

A few things that always make me happy are…Christmas, flowers, our dog Melody, lattes, and pancakes (not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea)! I’ve been feeling icky and Ryan was very nice and made me strawberry pancakes for breakfast this morning. Lucky me – because while eating my pancakes, I could also enjoy the fresh, Christmasy flowers I put together and our sweet dog, Melody, sitting near the Christmas tree. I just love these porcelain photo ornaments with personal, family photos on them – the one below is of Ryan as a little boy with his Dad…so sweet!

Ornament

Hydrangea & Hypericum

Melody

by Valerie | 12.07.14 | Around our home, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

giving thanks, part II

Thanksgiving 2014

I know this is a bit belated (I caught a bug and was feeling under the weather last week and I’m finally feeling myself again), but we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Low, warm dinner lighting doesn’t make for the best photos of food, but it was all so delicious! I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband, who is not only the best partner I could possibly dream up but also an amazing cook. It was so nice to have our dear friends Michael and Jennifer join us for Thanksgiving dinner (and bring along that delicious apple crisp to share – yum!) with Ryan’s Mom at our house. I hope you had a wonderful, delicious Thanksgiving filled with good memories as well as good eats!

Brussels Sprouts

by Valerie | 12.07.14 | Around our home, Holidaze | No Comments »

weekend haps

Frankenmuth, MI

We’ve had a jam-packed week/weekend of fun activities with Mom and have enjoyed her visit over the Thanksgiving holiday! We did some serious shopping on Tuesday, went to a Pistons game on Wednesday, cooked and enjoyed Thanksgiving on Thursday, a little shopping in town on Friday and decorated the house for Christmas, Frankenmuth (and Bronner’s) on Saturday, and brunch followed by the DIA on Sunday. I think after all the excitement, I could sleep for a solid 24 hours!

Frankenmuth, MI

deck the halls

by Valerie | 12.01.14 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

ryan broke the deviled eggs then made them better deviled eggs

Deviled Eggs

So Val made some bland deviled eggs which I tried to fix. I then made them inedible. So I decided to improve upon deviled eggs.
  • eggs (we used 6 for this batch – makes 12 deviled eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons of capers (rinsed and dried)
  • 2 slices of bacon (cooked to a crisp, we were lazy and made microwavable bacon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried “special thyme” blend (our “special thyme” blend is a mix of mother of thyme, orange thyme, and lemon thyme)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon green peppercorn dijon mustard
  • olive oil (1 teaspoon or more, 1/2 a teaspoon or so is for the egg mixture)
  • 1/2+ teaspoon hungarian sweet paprika
  • smoked paprika (enough to sprinkle on top of eggs)
  • salt
  • tarragon leaves

Heat up a small pan to medium heat, add olive oil to it, heat up olive oil. Add the capers, they will sizzle and pop. Cook them for about 30 seconds to a minute. (If you didn’t use microwave bacon you could probably use the bacon grease to cook them in). Set the capers aside to cool.

Prepare the eggs as you normally would, boil them (I boil mine for 10 minutes), cut them in half, dump out the yolks. In a bowl mix the yolks, thyme blend, and mustard. Mash them with a fork, as you mash them drizzle in some olive oil until they get to a consistency you like (you can also use something like canola oil). Add salt to taste (keeping in mind bacon and capers will add some saltiness). Scoop the mixture into the egg whites. Top with capers, bacon, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, and a leaf or two of tarragon.

It must have worked, because when she tried one she declared, “You just Top Chef’d that s*#t!”

Deviled Eggs

by Ryan | 11.27.14 | Recipes | No Comments »

giving thanks, part I

Thanksgiving Flowers

I have so much to be thankful for! I picked up these lovely flowers (alstroemeria, tulips, and rosehips) and enjoyed putting them together in this birch bark container on our dining room table, in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. And I had enough leftover for this sweet little arrangement of rosehips below too. We are so lucky to be able to spend our Thanksgiving this year with family and friends in our home. I am counting my blessings and giving thanks for loved ones near and far.

Rosehips

by Valerie | 11.26.14 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Spatchcock?

Thanksgiving 2012

Above is a photo of our Thanksgiving table from two years ago; one of the things I love about owning our own home is that I can now easily access, use, and enjoy my mother’s china for special occasions like Thanksgiving. I love setting a pretty table – with candles, flowers, and special linens, silverware, and china! I am looking forward to this while we have my mother-in-law visiting for Thanksgiving this year too. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? Below is our Thanksgiving menu:

Turkey (breast and dark meat, prepared with a dry rub and grilled)
Buttery Basil and Black Pepper Mashed Potatoes (a.k.a. “Mama Talbott’s Mashed Potatoes”)
Gravy
Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Shallots
Cornbread Stuffing with Onion and Celery
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
Rolls

And in preparing for Thanksgiving, now just three days away, here are some fun things you might enjoy browsing:

by Valerie | 11.24.14 | Holidaze | No Comments »

cozy day in

cozy evening in

We picked up Mom from the airport last Friday and have really been enjoying her visit; we are so glad she will be staying with us for the Thanksgiving holiday this year! We visited a few of our favorite restaurants and did a little shopping over the weekend together, but (besides a trip to the grocery store for some Thanksgiving supplies) we stayed in by the fireplace on Saturday as it was very icy outside. I don’t know about you, but I for one can certainly appreciate a relaxing, cozy day in on a cold day. We made chili and watched movies and it was so nice to just spend some down time together. Watching Ryan chasing Melody…chasing a squirrel…on ice was entertaining too. And ice skating down the sidewalk with no skates on was an experience. #winterainteasy

On Sunday, before heading to brunch, we took advantage of the above freezing temperatures for the day and cleaned out our gutters. Ryan climbed up on the roof with a bucket attached to a rope and lowered it down when it was full so I could dump it in the compost bin – our system worked well. Now we’re bracing ourselves for another cold front to hit – I’m looking forward to more cozy days in!

Cleaning the gutters

by Valerie | 11.24.14 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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