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!

Melody

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)…

Before

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…

Before

And after…

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)!

Family15

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 »

looking up

Evening walk

Things are really starting to look up…weather wise, that is, here in A2 and I’m pretty sure I can speak for the general local population when I say that we’re all very excited to see a possible high temperature of 69 today; as long as we’re above freezing this time of year then I’m one happy girl!

Upon close inspection of the hellebore we planted in our side yard last spring/summer, which have only just recently been visible from under all the snow on the ground, I saw that they all have little buds coming up and will be blooming for the spring this year and I’ve been noticing comments from friends in the area that other bulb sightings have begun…this makes me very, very happy and is a sure sign that spring is really on the way and soon I hope! We are enjoying longer hours of daylight, lovely afternoon/evening walks, and seeing hints of green again.

Speaking of green, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day – may the luck of the Irish be with you. We are planning on a dinner of bangers and mash and will toast the day with some good Irish stout. Turn on some Irish tunes, raise a glass, and “Sláinte”!

Evening walk

Evening walk

by Valerie | 03.16.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

marvelous movie marathon

Ready for movie marathon Sunday

I enjoyed a marvelous, two-day movie marathon over Valentine’s weekend; I can think of nothing better to do, especially given the frigid temps (what one person described as “weather is expected get really rugged”) we’ve been having – we woke up to -10 (actual temp) with a wind chill of -30 on Sunday morning, and it was -15 (actual temp) here this morning…#winterainteasy. Ryan picked out and lined up the following in our Netflix queue, we piled up blankets and pillows in front of the tv (Melody was in hog heaven!), lit a fire in our fireplace, and watched as many as we could in two days – some we’d seen before and some were new to us and I can’t wait to do it all again:

Sunday movie marathon

Valentine's Day snuggles

And I got this specially designed, screen-printed Valentine along with some beautiful roses!

My valentine from Ryan

VDay blooms

by Valerie | 02.16.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Putting the Val in Valentine’s Day

Valentines 2015

I’m looking forward to spending my Valentine’s Day in with my sweetie tomorrow, ordering pizza, with a nice glass of wine, and enjoying some delightful romcoms together by the fire. Here are some fun ideas, in case you are looking for inspiration:

I used the photo app Over to create these Valentines for Ryan with photos I’ve taken over the last year. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines 2015

Valentines 2015

by Valerie | 02.13.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

keep moving forward

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The highlight of my week was definitely shaking the hand of Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, yesterday; he gave the keynote address for the Ross School’s McInally lecture honoring Martin Luther King Day. What an honor it was!

by Valerie | 01.20.15 | Holidaze | No Comments »

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