suddenly, it’s October


Suddenly, it’s October; it seems as though it snuck up on me somehow. Ryan did an artist talk at Savannah College of Art & Design this week and our friend, Lisa Waud, is doing this amazing project and was featured on Martha Stewart…hey, I know them! In other news, the fall weather is still really beautiful here and there’s definitely that cool, crisp, fall nip in the air; I’m just itching to turn on our fireplace for the first time this season and I might just have to do that over the weekend. I’m loving Oktoberfest this time of the year (Wolverine and Great Lakes make a good one!) and the amazing selection of antique apples here in Michigan too – we picked up an assorted bag of them at a local grocery store the other day. Finally, I wish you all a very happy college football weekend…unless you’re routing for Baylor, in which case I really hope you lose (go Red Raiders, wreck ’em Tech)! fall leaves

by Valerie | 10.02.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

camping trip

Camping Trip 8/2015We took a camping trip over the weekend and visited Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio; the scenery was nice, the company was great (first time camping with Melody and we had friends join us too), and the weather even cooperated. I did really enjoy most of the hiking and my personal favorite spot we hiked into was Ash Cave (you can view a short video I took here). And then there was the part where I crawled on all fours up the “stairs” (more like well-placed rocks with no railing along a cliff), ate “breadsticks” (hot dog buns with garlic butter and melted cheese) and pizza out of the back of our car in a parking lot, witnessed some very questionable fashion choices (the mullet to end all mullets is out there…I know, because I saw it in Ohio), and saw a man driving down the highway with his left leg dangling out the side of his Jeep as if that was how everyone drives a Jeep…totally normal…nothing to see here… My co-worker shared this with me this morning, which had me laughing so hard I almost cried. You can view more photos from our trip here. Camping Trip 8/2015

Camping Trip 8/2015Camping Trip 8/2015

by Valerie | 08.31.15 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | 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 »

weekend haps

Thank you @molishusmclovin!

Thanks to our dear friends, Mo and Adrian, for the fun package we received in the mail and to Ryan for surprising me with a gorgeous Polaroid camera, it was a pretty fantastic weekend; presents and fresh iced tea and strawberry mint infused sparkling water…oh my!

He loves me; so excited to be surprised with this gift! I just have to wait for the film to arrive in the mail... 😄

strawberry mint infused sparkling water

It was a very productive weekend at our house too – we’re in the process of having some work done in our basement and after Ryan removed the built-in shelves that were previously there, we managed to successfully make a trip to IKEA for some more basement storage (to quote my wonderful neighbor, Emily, “our love survived a trip to IKEA” and if you haven’t seen this you should watch it for a laugh); we also got our washer and dryer back up and running (they had to be moved to make room for the sump pump that was just installed) – it may not seem all that exciting, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference!

In the process of cleaning the house yesterday, Ryan decided it was a good time to go ahead and rip off and throw out all of the really old, really ugly, green carpet that was on our basement stairs; that was the last of the carpet to go and I say good riddance – I’m so excited to see our basement once we get it all done and am looking forward to the possibilities! Our garage door opener just stopped working too, but we’re having it fixed tomorrow. Owning a home can be a lot of work, and it may not be perfect, but it’s ours and we love it!

Rather than showing you the remnants of old dryer tubing, built in shelves, and really old, really ugly, green carpet Ryan just ripped off basement stairs, I’ll leave you with this photo from our neighborhood walk on Sunday morning…

Sunday morning stroll

by Valerie | 06.22.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

weekend haps


Guess what we did on Friday afternoon last weekend? A whole lot of nothing, that’s what, and it was wonderful – we just sat out on our patio and enjoyed it; although Melody seemed skeptical about us removing her little patch of grass in this area, I think she’s coming around and warming up to it.

We got plenty of rain on Saturday afternoon and a bit on Sunday as well and in between rain storms we managed to pick up and put out most of our 17 bags of mulch, the rest of which we’ll surely get to this week. I also took the opportunity to cut some of our garden roses and put them in vases around the house; they smell pretty amazing!

Garden roses

Garden roses

And the award for cutest fist bump last week goes to little E – super baby fist bump power!

Little E has fist bump power

by Valerie | 06.01.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

sunshine and pretty, pink peonies

peony power

It actually snowed here this last week, but my dear friend Jennifer Reedy had this to say and it’s so beautiful and so quotable that I wanted to pass it along: “It was such a soft April snow. So vulnerable that most of it would collapse and dissolve into the earth almost immediately, so fragile it would be obliterated instantly upon contact with warm skin. So delicate and so very fleeting, I thought it beautiful and poignant. These clusters of snowflakes cascading down from the clouds that bore them, with only that brief journey through the atmosphere to exist within. It seemed a little sad, but also peaceful. No part of me felt anything at all akin to “ugh” while watching it. Things begin and things end, and we are at that crossroad in a season of change. So don’t fret Val, spring cannot be stopped now. Vibrant colors have burst forth by way of flowers blooming and the buds are growing every day on the trees and shrubs, as you know.”

Unrelated, but this had me laughing – it’s important to remember…things could always be worse…you could be dead on Mars.

It’s wonderful to witness the change in seasons – with the arrival of spring blooms and signs of growth all around, the sunshine seems somehow extra special this time of year. Our forsythia is blooming, and I see that our lilacs will bloom soon too which I find myself looking forward to each spring. They even had some beautiful pink peonies, which I was happy to take home with me, at the grocery store this week; I’m hoping the peony we planted last spring will come back this year (fingers crossed).

peony power

Even my purple shamrock is blooming…

Soaking up some sunshine

by Valerie | 04.26.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »


my home improvement hero!

It’s been quite an eventful week or so… Some friends of ours welcomed a new baby boy (congrats!), other friends/colleagues of ours announced they will be moving for other job opportunities out of state (you know who you are and you will be missed!), and…Ryan was able to successfully install a new garbage disposal on our kitchen sink – while this may not seem nearly as exciting or important compared to the other items in my list, it was a big deal to us (even the nice lady at the hardware store commented that plumbing jobs always take at least two trips – but ours only took one)! Change can be hard, it can be good, and it is definitely inevitable. And just look at these daffodils… How could you look at these cheery, yellow blooms and not smile?

coffee table tray 4/11/15


Last Saturday was National Pet Day and Melody spent it lounging around the house, getting pets, and laying in the sunshine as much as possible…which reminds me that it’s about time for us to switch out our glass insert for the screen insert on the door to the patio – looking forward to enjoying lots of sunshine, some fresh air, and open windows and doors again!

#mywestelm happy national pet day


by Valerie | 04.14.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | 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 »

weekend haps

Baby shower fun!

We had the pleasure of co-hosting a beautiful baby shower for some friends of ours on Saturday; it was fun to visit with friends, the food was delicious (check out these vegan, gluten-free cake pops we made – which Ryan made these wooden stands for too!), and we even had the opportunity to get crafty by decorating onesies during the shower too. I wrapped up my weekend by napping on the floor with Melody by the fireplace – she’s a great napping buddy! Three cheers for babies, (napping) buddies, and for weekends!!!

Baby shower fun!

Baby shower fun!

Baby shower fun!

Napping buddy

by Valerie | 02.24.15 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

good luck

Happy New Year's Eve

We enjoyed a lovely New Year’s Eve with friends and followed it with a full day of house cleaning and a delicious dinner of pan-fried yellow lake perch, rosemary cornbread, roasted potatoes, and black-eyed peas (we used this recipe as a guide, but Ryan gave it his own spin). Here’s hoping that the new year brings us all plenty of good luck!

Black-eyed peas

Rosemary cornbread

by Valerie | 01.05.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

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