It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

winterWe haven’t made it to Thanksgiving yet, but it’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Ann Arbor; we had 9-10 inches of snow here yesterday and everything is covered in a blanket of sparkling white, fresh-fallen snow. We haven’t put up our Christmas tree yet, as we always wait until after Thanksgiving at our house to do that, but we did visit the Farmer’s Market yesterday and pick out a gorgeous, fresh fir and boxwood wreath and hang it on our front door – not only does it look nice, it smells wonderful too! I did put a few things around the house in preparation for Christmas, like this really cute, red yarn pom pom garland from a local store, Found, in Kerrytown. And my Christmas cactus is blooming! winter wreath 2015

winter wreath 2015pom pom garland

Christmas cactus

by Valerie | 11.22.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Weekend Getaway and All Hallows’ Eve

Up North - October 2015We spent a really fun weekend in northern Michigan; we saw some beautiful sites and were pleased to see there was still plenty of amazing fall color. We visited Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm, where they not only have an impressive selection of antique apple varieties, but they also have one of the largest pop bottle collections on display; we chatted with one of the owners, who was so kind and friendly – she said her husband had gotten into growing antique apples because he used to play baseball in the orchards. When I asked her what her favorite apple was, she explained that they didn’t have it anymore as the tree had died after the hard winter they had, but we did take home her second favorite apple and a selection of a few others too. Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm

Kilcherman's Christmas Cove FarmWe also stopped by the Gwen Frostic studio; such a charming little place and what beautiful paper products filled with images of flora and fauna! It was almost too perfect, as we were checking out a little chipmunk darted across the shop floor – to which the staff happily commented, “He lives here, he’s getting ready for the winter.” Before we left, we also made it to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, some beautiful hiking trails, Fishtown, and no trip to the area is complete without a stop for pasties and apple dumplings at Mr. Foisies

Up North - October 2015Up North - October 2015Fish TownUp North - October 2015Melody was happy to join us on our adventure too. And we enjoyed celebrating Halloween and making DIY masks during our weekend getaway as well. Up North - October 2015DIY Halloween masks

You can view more photos from our weekend here.

by Valerie | 11.02.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

creative costumes

Costume Party

Halloween is now just two days away. If you’re looking for costume ideas and you suddenly find yourself in need of one (D’oh!), never fear…there are plenty of creative and fun, DIY options out there; take a look at these art history-inspired costumes, for example. I am lucky to be married to an incredibly creative and crafty fella myself, who came up with and made this pixel-head costume all by himself back in 2010; this came after his equally amazing, homemade robot costume. How about Magnum, P.I.? Now sit back, relax (perhaps with a glass of 19 Crimes Red Blend, which I think is appropriate for the holiday), and enjoy the holiday! Costume Party

by Valerie | 10.29.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

labor day weekend

early September sky

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need more holiday time after my holiday weekend… We had a very productive Labor Day weekend: cleaned out our garage, moved a very heavy, solid wood, vintage typewriter desk up the basement stairs (the same one the former owner left for us because it was too heavy and too big to move up the stairs – now I know why…) and then back down the stairs again (because even after we removed the door from the frame it still wouldn’t fit through), then disassembled the desk, moved it back up the stairs once more and got it outside where we reassembled it and placed in on our curb with a “free” sign – luckily, less then 24 hours later, someone picked it up. We also managed to move all our basement items, which had a temporary home in our guestroom, back downstairs and reorganize our basement and that resulted in half our office filling up with piles of things to donate; it feels really good to clean up and clean out and start to prepare for fall. Now if we can just find time to tackle the growing list of projects we still have left… We enjoyed watching Texas Tech win on Saturday, several longs walks in the sun with Melody, Ryan managed to squeeze in a couple bike rides, fried green tomatoes with house-made hot sauce and dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse followed by a movie at the theater, really tasty pancakes on Sunday morning at home, and we found some fun stuff at a few estate sales as well. Melody took advantage of football Saturday by taking a nice long nap too. Go Red Raiders!

Zingermans fried green tomatoes with house made hot sauce makes me ridiculously happysleepy pup

by Valerie | 09.08.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

fun on the 4th & weekend haps

Happy 4th!

We enjoyed a fun holiday weekend at home this year – complete with the wonderful company of friends on the 4th, a game of Horse at our neighborhood park, bag toss in the yard, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, apple pie, and sparklers!

arrangement 7/3/15

Melody was ready for the holiday in her red and white striped collar and 4th of July bandana – and I like to think that the hot dog cookie we gave her tasted extra special because she ate it on the 4th. After all the excitement, she was a ready for a nap. I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!

Happy 4th of July!


On Sunday, rather than taking a bike ride or heading to the park for some paddleboat fun, we decided to start working on our basement stairs; the old and ugly green carpet is gone and the treads are all sanded now, next step will be to stain, seal, and paint…more to come on that.

by Valerie | 07.06.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day, to my wonderful Dad – we love you so much!

by Valerie | 06.22.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Memorial Day

red, white, & blue

With Memorial Day in mind, here’s a video my parents shared with me.

When we returned to Texas for my Granddaddy’s funeral a couple weeks ago, we were part of a beautiful funeral service in which they played this clip and when he saluted in the video we all saluted him back one last time – we saluted to his memory and to his service – and at the burial site we heard the bugle play Taps and we watched the servicemen fold and present the flag to my Dad.

In the video, Granddaddy says, “They made veterans of us right quick, the day we hit the beaches over there. You either gotta be a veteran or you’d be a dead man, one or the other.” Thank you for the sacrifices that so many have made for our country.

by Valerie | 05.26.15 | Holidaze | No Comments »

Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

We had a very busy, very productive Memorial Day weekend full of outdoor cleanup and improvements; we planted all four of our garden boxes (variety of peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, herbs, and some marigolds too), replaced small section of grass in our backyard with concrete pavers and pea gravel, weeded and trimmed bushes, and we cleaned up the bed around our birch tree in the front yard and placed stones underneath the bird feeders as the ivy never grew in there correctly – all of which, I think, made a huge improvement and we will most certainly enjoy throughout the summer.

For comparison, here’s the backyard before (complete with awkward, little patch of grass)…


And after (you may remember when we put in pea gravel and planter boxes a couple years ago in place of the empty garden – I mean weed – bed)…

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

And the front yard, before…


And after…


After a long day of hard work, it can be really relaxing to enjoy a walk in the evening light and watch the last rays of the day’s sun glisten off a field of dandelions – they almost looked like stars shining in the night sky in the light of the setting sun.

Magic hour

Magic hour

by Valerie | 05.25.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

how does our garden grow?

backyard beauty

We did our first big plant purchase for the season over the weekend and it always make me so happy! We’re starting with lots of flowers in pots and hanging baskets: a rose bush (in honor of my Granddaddy), some really pretty pink dahlias, yellow lantana, a variety of geraniums, coleus, sweet potato vine, and various other trailing greens to fill in and spill down the pots. We also picked up a couple orange mint plants and a spearmint plant for our garden box; we’ll wait until later this month to plant the rest of our herb and vegetable garden. It’s lovely to be able to sit in the backyard and feel as though you’re in your own private oasis; Ann Arbor really is stunning this time of year – the trees are flowering and everything is so beautiful and green…and my lilacs are blooming! Want to see more photos of flowers and plants and/or our garden?

backyard beauty (roses, dahlia, & mosquito plant)

backyard beauty

We also got started on a really cool DIY outdoor coffee table project we’ve been dreaming up and planning for since last fall; I think we my have it all finished and ready to enjoy by this weekend – stay tuned for more on that…

We had the pleasure of chatting with our mothers on Sunday too – hope you gave your Mom some love in honor of Mother’s Day; here’s a fun throwback photo of me and my brother with our Mom (those are some sweet glasses and awesome hot air balloon shirt, Mom)!


by Valerie | 05.11.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

Easter/birthday weekend

birthday cake with sprinkles

I enjoyed a really great birthday weekend, full of celebration and fun activities, and thoughtful gifts and wishes from family and friends too – thank you all for making me feel so special! The Birthday Cake at Sava’s is pretty amazing…and it’s on their regular dessert menu so you can enjoy it anytime you visit (this could be good or bad, depending on how strong your willpower is). I don’t think I went a day from Thursday on last week without having some sort of delicious sweet treat – cake, cupcakes, pie, candy, etc. – even the salad I ordered for lunch on Friday had bacon toffee on it (and it was amazing).

We ended our fun weekend with a lovely Easter afternoon brunch (complete with egg dyeing), which Ryan made an excellent vegetarian hash for, followed by a tasty dinner of casarecce pasta with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. And there’s still a pile of Easter chocolates and candy on our kitchen table, a pretty spring-appropriate shade of nail polish, and some beautiful tulips, daffodils, and roses around our house for me to continue to enjoy. We had some rain/thunderstorms last week and I spied pots of pansies for sale around town over the weekend too – more sure signs of spring!

Happy Easter

Easter 2015

by Valerie | 04.06.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

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