“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.”

tasted our first homemade homebrew today, an amber ale that were calling “primero uno” #homebrewing #homebrew #adventuresinhomebrewing #beer

“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.” – Charlie Papazian

We have successfully brewed our first homebrew beer; it’s an Amber that we’ve decided to call “Pimero Uno”! Is it the best Amber I’ve tasted? Of course not. But, it’s definitely drinkable and we learned a lot from brewing it ourselves so the next batch of beer, whatever style we decide to make, should be even better and I count that as a win. I must also acknowledge all the resources out there that helped us to get as far as we have; there are many great resources online (like the American Homebrewers Association), locally (like Adventures in Homebrewing, where we took an “Intro to Homebrewing Class” yesterday), and of course books you can purchase (like Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen). Here are some photos/videos I took of our homebrew process along the way…

tasted our first homemade homebrew today, an amber ale that were calling “primero uno” #homebrewing #homebrew #adventuresinhomebrewing #beer

Cheers and more to come on our adventures in homebrewing soon!

by Valerie | 07.16.18 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

Memorial Day weekend

this #pearlbeer bottle opener belonged to my Mema & Granddaddy - my Granddaddy fought for our country in WWII, thank you to all who have served #memorialday

The Pearl Beer bottle opener pictured above belonged to my Mema and Granddaddy. In March of 1942, my Granddaddy enlisted in the U.S. Army; on June 6, 1944, he – along with the brave soldiers of the 4th and 90th Division – stormed Utah Beach in Normandy, France. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Arrowhead, Five Bronze Stars for five major battles, three Overseas Bars and the French Legion of Honor Medal in addition to several other commendations. He lived to be 94 years old and I am so honored to have known him and to call him family. Thank you to all who have served.

Long, holiday weekends are heavenly…yet somehow, they never seem to be quite long enough; we thoroughly enjoyed ours and squeezed in a movie, lots of r&r, grilling, some more planting in our garden and yard (Bartzella Itoh Peony, Cascade Azalea, a few more herbs, and a mosquito plant), and – even with temps in the 90s here in May (that’s hot for MI in May!) – we spent a good amount of time outside enjoying our backyard patio space.

Speaking of things we enjoy…Ryan and I enjoy beer, I’ve been curious to try our hand at homebrewing, and we also enjoy a good DIY project on occasion – so we took the first step towards this and bought this book about it. We plan on reading up on it first and then we’ll see where that takes us; I’m excited at the possibility of creating our own homebrew, with a healthy dose of reality that this won’t be easy to do and will take a good deal of patience and practice to hopefully, eventually be successful at (fingers crossed!). My Dad shared with me that my Granddaddy once tried homebrewing and that it didn’t turn out that well for him – lol! I’m hopeful there will be more to come on this for us, stay tuned…

You can view more photos from our Memorial Day weekend here.

#gottowearshades #memorialdayweekend #bordercolliemix #bordercollie

by Valerie | 05.29.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween 🎃

Happy Halloween! We put together this fun sign stand with chalk paint and carved up this cute little foam pumpkin to serve candy from so that trick-or-treaters can help themselves to candy on our front lawn. As our 1-year old, rescue, border collie mix pup, Maddy, can be reactive and likely wouldn’t do well with strangers (dressed in costumes at that) ringing our doorbell or knocking on our door most of the night we thought this would be a nice alternative. We’ll set it up on a pedestal with a blinking light inside to illuminate our jack-o-lantern tonight. Hope your holiday is frightfully fun!

by Valerie | 10.31.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

chili, college football, & diy pillow cases

Getting our pre-game on & ready for some Red Raider football tonight! On the left: Wolverine Oktoberfest. On the right: Homes Brewery "Bang Down" Oat Stout. @wolverinestatebrewingco @homesbrewery @texastechathletics

Although we still have some highs in the 80s here, it is cooling off and there are signs of fall everywhere…changing leaves, cooler nights, an abundance of Michigan apples, and college football. This Texas gal will never get over how truly breathtaking Michigan is in the fall! We recently made our first batch of veggie chili at home and watched our first Texas Tech football game of the season on TV last Saturday (TTU 52 – ASU 45). We paired two excellent, local beers with our college football experience last weekend too: Wolverine Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest and Homes Brewery “Bang Down” Oat Stout. To top it off, we enjoyed watching the game while relaxing on our DIY pillow cases; we found some beautiful wool fabric at an estate sale which we bought for next to nothing and managed to sew 8 pillow cases from out of 2 different fabrics (4 euro shams and 4 standard shams). Happy fall!

#apartmenttherapy #diy

by Valerie | 09.19.17 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

homemade dog treats

pb, pumpkin, grain-free homemade dog treats #diy #grainfree #dogtreats #homemade

We decided to make Maddy some homemade dog treats, following this recipe, today and she seems to love them. It wasn’t difficult and went pretty quickly (the most difficult/time consuming step was getting the treats to come neatly out of the cookie cutters and onto the tray without breaking) and it’s good to know exactly what goes into them as we made them ourselves. We used various cookie cutter sizes and shapes and, pictured below, Maddy waited patiently at our feet while we put these together. I’m sure we’ll be making more and trying some different recipes out in the near future; here’s to happy, healthy pups!

pb, pumpkin, grain-free homemade dog treats #diy #grainfree #dogtreats #homemade

pb, pumpkin, grain-free homemade dog treats #diy #grainfree #dogtreats #homemade

by Valerie | 09.10.17 | Around our home, Marvelous Maddy, Recipes | No Comments »

peachy keen

peaches

It’s peach season in Michigan and there is an abundant supply of juicy, ripe fruit available at our local farmer’s markets – or if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who has peach trees and is willing to share, from friends too! We were inspired by our friend Jennifer, who recently made and shared a beautiful peach crisp photo, and our friend Laura, who generously gave us a bag of peaches from her yard, to make our own peach crisp and it did not disappoint; we used this recipe as a guide (thank you, Jennifer!) and Ryan did a bit of tweaking using what we had available in our pantry (we added oats and cinnamon and left out the garam masala).

While we aren’t growing our own peaches, we are growing our own tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, peppers, and herbs this summer and our tomato plants are producing some beautiful fruit; just look at this heaping bowl of tomato (there’s a zucchini hiding in there too) goodness! As our ripe tomato count is rising, we’re considering what do with them all…pasta sauce, salsa, etc. I couldn’t resist snapping a quick photo of them all piled up in this beautiful bowl by Abigail Murray Studio on top of this tea towel by MirDinara.

garden goodies #grewitmyself

We also took some time this weekend to use the laser cutter at Maker Works to make a custom-etched dog tag for Maddy; what we ended up with was 100 times better than what we were able to get from the machine at the pet store too. DIY for the win!

custom, laser-etched dog tag @makerworks_a2

by Valerie | 08.14.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy, Recipes | No Comments »

fenced in

fence

1 city permit, approximately 130′ of linear fence/750 sq. ft., 1 rental of a 2-man auger + 1 friend to help man it, 110 1″ x 4″ x 16′ cedar boards, 24 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 12’s, 30 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 8’s, 16 4″ x 4″ x 10′ pressure treated posts, 7lbs of deck screws, 3 cans of Penofin Verde (Natural), 4 Boerboel compact gate hinges, 1 tamper head digging bar, 1 post hole digger, ~3 weekends of labor, 1 truck rental to dispose of old fence that was falling down, 1 finger that had a screw drilled into it, 1 near accident of oily rags and spontaneous combustion… and we now have a beautiful backyard fence which was designed, built, and constructed all by ourselves!

fence

fence

by Valerie | 07.16.17 | Around our home, For Funsies | 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 »

you oughta know bitter

fog

Fog, rain, more fog, dog naps (in our house, they will always be dog – rather than cat – naps), and homemade bitters (more on that below) – this was what our weekend was made of; that and a nice dinner out with friends one evening, at which point I saw one those signs posted at the bar that says you have to have been born in a specific year (currently 1996) in order to legally drink which caused me to settle into a momentary state of depression… 1996? I’m not even going to say why that year is of significance to me, but I didn’t like how it made me very aware of my age.

About those homemade bitters, we’re very excited to try our hand at making our own for use in some delicious cocktails at home, and we used this very nice Christmas gift our dear friend gave us to make our first attempt at doing that over the weekend! We used their recipes and ingredients provided with the kit, and added a few of our own ingredients to the mixes; we’re also attempting to make our own lavender tincture (inspired by a former Ann Arbor Distilling Company cocktail called a Rise & Shine). We’ll see how they turn out in about a month, when they will supposedly be ready, I’m crossing my fingers.

homemade bitters

homemade bitters

my little love bug

by Valerie | 01.23.17 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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