We 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!
We 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.
We 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.
You can view more photos from our weekend here.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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)…
And the front yard, before…
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.
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!
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”!
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:
- Movie #1 – The Apartment (1960)
- Movie #2 – Annie Hall (1977)
- Movie #3 – His Girl Friday (1940)
- Movie #4 – Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
- Movie #5 – Romancing the Stone (1984)
- Movie #6 – Stardust (2007)
- Movie #7 – Punch Drunk Love (2002)
- Movie #8 – Not Another Happy Ending (2013)
- Movie #9 – Stuck in Love (2012)
And I got this specially designed, screen-printed Valentine along with some beautiful roses!