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 »

weekend haps

Sunday morning stroll

Our garden is producing peppers like crazy now and our tomatoes are doing pretty well too; I picked another zucchini and a decent-sized poblano pepper yesterday! We had a fun weekend catching up on past Game of Thrones episodes for this season, visiting with friends, and we had a relaxing Sunday filled with a nice walk in a local park followed by some dog park fun with Maddy, then lunch at a local place that was new to us, and a visit to our local Humane Society to drop off some donations. The weather cooled off this past weekend and it was beautiful weather to be outside in! Cooler temps are already making me think of fall and I’m getting excited at the thought of having our first fireplace fire, fresh apple cider, and the changing leaves.

garden goodies #grewitmyself

by Valerie | 08.07.17 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

summer fun

summer colors

Ryan and I recently spent a day enjoying lots of summer things – cold beers on a warm, sunny patio, stopping in our local ice cream parlor, enjoying those beautiful, blue summer skies, etc. And our garden is starting to produce a good amount of fresh produce for us as well now; we’ve picked a whole bowl full of jalapeños and serrano peppers, 6 ripe tomatoes, 1 zucchini, and a whole lot of fresh herbs. Amazingly, the summer is already almost gone and suddenly it’s August! Where has the summer gone? Maddy seems surprised too…

garden goodies

say what?!?

by Valerie | 08.02.17 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

summer solstice

rosé on a summer day - happy summer solstice!

Last Wednesday, June 21st, was the summer solstice; I enjoyed the sunshine and those long hours of daylight with a delicious glass of rosé – pictured above is the view out my kitchen window in the late afternoon on the solstice. Thanks to the sunshine, our garden is doing well this summer; while our pepper plants haven’t grown much yet, most of our tomatoes and all of our herbs are flourishing. I cut some things from our garden to make this pretty arrangement below on Saturday: hosta leaves, Japanese painted fern, coleus, and green and purple basil.

hosta, painted fern, coleus, green & purple basil - all from our garden

We’re having lots of fun with Maddy too; the training we’ve been doing with her (look at this!) and many trips to the park to throw the frisbee have been fun for us all! She works hard and plays hard, but she knows to relax as well (puppy dreams). We are one happy family!

z's

family photo +=

by Valerie | 06.26.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

peonies and puppies

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden

It’s peony season here in Ann Arbor and the Peony Garden at Nichols Arboretum is quite the sight to see…absolutely gorgeous! I’ve taken a stroll through there twice now in the past week (where we met this sweet little pup) and I can’t get enough of it – the variety of peonies is impressive and the smell is heavenly; here are some photos and videos I captured of the gardens last week; they also have some lovely Dogwood, Rhododendron, and Azalea, etc. Our own peony in our garden at home is blooming now too. I’m here to pet all the puppies and smell all the flowers!

We enjoyed some delightful patio time at Wolverine on Friday afternoon and at Beer Grotto (where we met this sweet little pup) on Saturday, stopped by the Mini Maker Faire, and are having so much fun with our little imp of a puppy, Maddy!

afternoon at the Arb

Maddy

by Valerie | 06.05.17 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

Mother’s Day weekend

Happy Mother's Day

Pictured above are my mom (left) and Ryan’s mom (right, with Ryan); much love to our moms and all those who are mothers! We enjoyed a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend here in A2; sunshine and lovely weather had us out on our patio Friday night grilling hamburgers, we headed to see the Cranbrook Degree Show on Saturday and stopped at Griffin Claw Brewing Company for lunch and a beer (making it my 25th Michigan brewery visited), then took a stroll around the Matthaei Botanical Gardens where we saw an adorable family of geese, and ended our day with dinner at a friends’ home where I brought some fresh-cut white lilacs (from our yard), peonies, and a bottle of rosé to enjoy, and on Sunday we had a delicious brunch out, followed by purchasing and planting our summer garden. We’re growing many of our usual favorites in our garden this year, a variety of hot peppers (ghost pepper, poblano, mucho nacho jalapeño, and serrano), tomatoes (green zebra, Cherokee purple, Mr. Stripey, better boy, and roma), herbs (basil, chives, orange mint, oregano, and thyme), and flowers (Julia Child roses, XXL Hidalgo dahlia), but are growing some new things this year too – broccolini, zucchini, and Flashy Trout’s Back Lettuce. Happy gardening!

“May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends,
And many books, both true.”
― Abraham Cowley

Griffin Claw Brewing Co

mid-May patio perfection; peonies + white lilacs (from my yard) & rosé

2017 summer garden

2017 summer garden

by Valerie | 05.15.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

bloom

Melody Azalea

Tomorrow it will be one month since our sweet Melody passed; I miss her all the time and think of her often. This beautiful, white Azalea that my wonderful coworkers gave me in her memory is just beginning to bloom.

Melody Azalea

Melody Azalea

by Valerie | 05.04.17 | Around our home, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

spring has sprung

lilacs from our yard #diptyque #springhassprung

Happy May Day! Spring has most definitely sprung in A2 and the world is alive with color; dogwoods, magnolias, flowering pear, and all manner of flowering trees and plants are blooming, our lilacs are blooming in the backyard (pictured above), and there are robins everywhere you look. Last week was Commencement for the University and we are headed into summer already. I am looking forward to planting our garden in the coming weeks and enjoying the sunshine and flowers for as long as I can!

Spring in A2

spring has sprung

Spring in A2

by Valerie | 05.01.17 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

everything’s coming up roses…Lenten Rose, that is

Hellebores

It’s been an odd winter here in A2, with roller coaster weather, and while I don’t want to jinx it (I know, I know, there’s still a good chance it could snow through May)…it feels like we may be over that hump and truly headed into some real spring weather. I was thrilled to see our Hellebores, otherwise known as Lenten Rose, coming up and blooming when I took a peek in our side yard over the weekend. I’m happy to have more hours of daylight and flowers budding and blooming again!

We made the most of a cloudy, rainy weekend by taking a trip to the Toledo Museum of Art, where we enjoyed seeing the Kehinde Wiley exhibit (you can view my photos of the museum here), and spent our time at home enjoying a Buffy marathon (the series is only available on Netflix through March 31st – I don’t know how we’ll get through it all before then).

Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo Museum of Art

@toledomuseum

by Valerie | 03.27.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Travel | No Comments »

Labor Day Weekend

Wreck 'em Tech!!!

Hope you all enjoyed a fun and exciting, as well as restful and relaxing, Labor Day Weekend! Ours consisted of college football (Melody is pictured above supporting our team…although we weren’t happy to find that the channel they were airing the Texas Tech game on here was showing a Tigers game instead and we couldn’t see the game live on TV until almost the end of the 3rd quarter; my brother says we can fix that by moving to Lubbock!), yard work, movies at home, and some delicious cooking. We used our garden peppers to make hot sauce and pickled jalapenos and Ryan made some delicious guacamole with one of our garden habanero peppers and this Blue Apron meal (pictured below) for dinner last night – yum! It’s official, summer is over and there are signs of fall everywhere – football, mums, Oktoberfest beer, etc. – although you wouldn’t think it given the summer-like weather we’re experiencing today in Ann Arbor. Here’s to changing seasons and guacamole…always guacamole!

Summer Vegetable & Queso Tostadas with Fairy Tale Eggplants #blueapron

by Valerie | 09.06.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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