Memorial Day

red, white, & blue

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.

by Valerie | 05.26.15 | Holidaze | No Comments »

Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

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)…

Before

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)…

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

Memorial Day weekend yard improvement

And the front yard, before…

Before

And after…

After

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.

Magic hour

Magic hour

by Valerie | 05.25.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | 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 »

looking up

Evening walk

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”!

Evening walk

Evening walk

by Valerie | 03.16.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

marvelous movie marathon

Ready for movie marathon Sunday

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:

Sunday movie marathon

Valentine's Day snuggles

And I got this specially designed, screen-printed Valentine along with some beautiful roses!

My valentine from Ryan

VDay blooms

by Valerie | 02.16.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Putting the Val in Valentine’s Day

Valentines 2015

I’m looking forward to spending my Valentine’s Day in with my sweetie tomorrow, ordering pizza, with a nice glass of wine, and enjoying some delightful romcoms together by the fire. Here are some fun ideas, in case you are looking for inspiration:

I used the photo app Over to create these Valentines for Ryan with photos I’ve taken over the last year. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines 2015

Valentines 2015

by Valerie | 02.13.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

keep moving forward

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The highlight of my week was definitely shaking the hand of Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, yesterday; he gave the keynote address for the Ross School’s McInally lecture honoring Martin Luther King Day. What an honor it was!

by Valerie | 01.20.15 | Holidaze | 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 »

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet

Happy New Year's Eve

Whether it’s watching the ball drop in Times Square, doing your best Auld Lang Syne rendition, celebrating with family and friends, or whatever your New Year’s Eve plans are on this last day of 2014, we wish you a very happy New Year’s Eve and a wonderful New Year ahead. Hold your loved ones close, whether they be with you…far away…or the memory of loved ones lost, and look forward to the wonderful possibilities that all the new year may bring.

Happy New Year's Eve

by Valerie | 12.31.14 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Merry Christmas!

Christmas

We wish you a very Merry Christmas – full of happiness, love, and enough warm fuzzies to last you a whole year!

Melody

by Valerie | 12.25.14 | Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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