Putting the Val in Valentine’s Day

getting ready for our movie night in with the drive in by Compartes (milk chocolate + popcorn) #comparteschocolatier #compartes #abigailmurraystudio

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day and, as always, I am looking forward to this wonderful holiday that celebrates love and all things love! I’m a holiday person in general; I love them all – Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc. But a holiday that celebrates love and often involves flowers and chocolate and declarations of love in many forms…now that is something special! Of course, you don’t need a holiday to celebrate love or to buy yourself or a loved one chocolate or flowers, but it certainly can’t hurt. And, speaking of chocolate…we recently discovered our love for Compartés – it is REALLY good chocolate, it comes in lots of really interesting flavor combinations, and…bonus…the packaging is beautiful; if you believe that you eat with your eyes first, this certainly fits the bill. We’ve found it locally at Plum Market, but you can also buy it online. Here are some other fun Valentine’s Day treats:

by Valerie | 02.08.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Ringing in the New Year

1/1/16

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a wonderful Christmas with family in Texas this year – so once we arrived safely home on New Year’s Eve, it was nice to enjoy a quiet dinner out and then return home to sit beside our beautiful tree next to the fireplace and enjoy the cozy glow for the evening; after having driven for 2 full days, we were spent. I was thrilled to come home and see my amaryllis plant in full bloom though and counted myself lucky that it had done so well in my absence. Speaking of luck…did you eat your black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day? We did – Ryan had a great idea to incorporate them into a vegetarian taco mix, which turned out to be not only fast and easy to prepare, but also delicious. We are looking forward to the New Year and all the possibilities ahead for us. Wishing you happiness, health, and good luck in the New Year!

by Valerie | 01.04.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

I’ll be home for Christmas

Christmas Eve 2015

We traveled back to my hometown (Gatesville, TX) for Christmas this year and loved spending it with family at my parents house; my Aunt Connie and Uncle Phil came down from Abilene and my brother and sister-in-law drove down from Lubbock too. We had so much fun seeing everyone, celebrating Clint’s birthday on Christmas Eve, eating lots of delicious food, playing games, and just relaxing. If you’d like to see more photos from our trip, you can view them here.

Christmas 2015

Couldn't have found a better birthday gift for my little brother...

Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas time in Gatesville, TX

by Valerie | 01.01.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

Christmas cheer

another Ryan Molloy original, coming to a mailbox near you 😊

Our Christmas cards (another Ryan Molloy original!) are in the mail and, short of treating myself to a glass of soy eggnog,  I am ready…bring on the Christmas! I’ve got a whole box of holiday movies ready to be watched; here’s a few of my favorites…

Thinking of doing some holiday baking?

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

by Valerie | 12.18.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Wrappinville

wrapping

Not only am I lucky enough to be married to a most amazing, incredibly talented, creative guy who personally designs our holiday cards each year, he’s also a wrapping ninja! Ryan wraps a gift really well, better than I ever can (but I tie better bows…I have to have something!), and he does it in less time than it takes me too. And on that note, have you seen this?

by Valerie | 12.14.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

deck the halls

deck them halls

Our halls are decked (we even put up some mistletoe!), we did a marathon gift-wrapping session yesterday too, and I’m just about ready for Christmas to be here – just need to put those holiday cards in the mail! Here’s a few photos of our cozy Christmas home…

Santa paws

deck the halls

deck the halls

deck the halls

And Happy 8th night of Hanukkah last night!

Hanukkah: Night 8

by Valerie | 12.14.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

giving thanks

Thanksgiving 2015I have so much to be thankful for; we had the pleasure of spending our Thanksgiving holiday with family in Texas this year, as well as visiting our dear friends Jen and Walter and their family. We had our traditional giant mound of mashed potatoes, as well as other sides and desserts, and Steve and Deb were kind enough to make not one, but two turkeys for our feast – one brined and roasted and one fried. I have to say that I think my highlight of the day was when Tina so kindly fed Deb her cocktail so that she could continue to cook while she enjoyed her beverage – teamwork! We had so much fun playing games and visiting with family and friends and even had time to stop by a local brewery, Franconia Brewing Company, for a tour and tasting before we left. I hope you enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious treats and wonderful memories that you’ll hold dear for years to come! You can view more photos from our holiday weekend here. Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015Franconia Brewery

by Valerie | 12.01.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Travel | No Comments »

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

winterWe 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! winter wreath 2015

winter wreath 2015pom pom garland

Christmas cactus

by Valerie | 11.22.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Weekend Getaway and All Hallows’ Eve

Up North - October 2015We 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. Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm

Kilcherman's Christmas Cove FarmWe 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

Up North - October 2015Up North - October 2015Fish TownUp North - October 2015Melody was happy to join us on our adventure too. And we enjoyed celebrating Halloween and making DIY masks during our weekend getaway as well. Up North - October 2015DIY Halloween masks

You can view more photos from our weekend here.

by Valerie | 11.02.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

creative costumes

Costume Party


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! Costume Party

by Valerie | 10.29.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

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