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! ...now 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 »

Rainy days and Mondays

Rainy days & Mondays

We had quite a bit of rain here on Sunday and some more on Monday (did I mention how happy we’ll be to have a waterproofing system installed in our basement over the summer – ugh?!?), but I think we’ll have a little time to dry out today and hopefully a chance to mow our lawn which is now looking a bit out of control. But the flowers and plants and gardens must be happy to have received all the rain!

Rainy days & Mondays

These aren’t from my garden, but they are lovely aren’t they?

Fresh cut

Peonies

by Valerie | 06.16.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

weekend haps

Melody

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 »

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 »

tabled

DIY outdoor table finished!

Our outdoor table is officially complete and we were able to sit around and enjoy it with friends over the weekend! The wood used for the top was all reclaimed wood found in our garage and left by the previous owner; it even includes some ping pong table (the previous owner’s wife was a ping pong champion) and bed frame wood, which I thought was fun. The center pieces come out and reveal two metal food pans which we plan on using to chill drinks in or use as a planter, etc.; the nice thing about the food pans is that we can easily remove them and drop them back in as needed. And we picked up some short hairpin legs which I think worked out great for this little table. 4 new patio chairs, DIY table complete, and we’re ready to enjoy the summer on our patio!

DIY outdoor table finished!

by Valerie | 05.17.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

how does our garden grow?

backyard beauty

We did our first big plant purchase for the season over the weekend and it always make me so happy! We’re starting with lots of flowers in pots and hanging baskets: a rose bush (in honor of my Granddaddy), some really pretty pink dahlias, yellow lantana, a variety of geraniums, coleus, sweet potato vine, and various other trailing greens to fill in and spill down the pots. We also picked up a couple orange mint plants and a spearmint plant for our garden box; we’ll wait until later this month to plant the rest of our herb and vegetable garden. It’s lovely to be able to sit in the backyard and feel as though you’re in your own private oasis; Ann Arbor really is stunning this time of year – the trees are flowering and everything is so beautiful and green…and my lilacs are blooming! Want to see more photos of flowers and plants and/or our garden?

backyard beauty (roses, dahlia, & mosquito plant)

backyard beauty

We also got started on a really cool DIY outdoor coffee table project we’ve been dreaming up and planning for since last fall; I think we my have it all finished and ready to enjoy by this weekend – stay tuned for more on that…

We had the pleasure of chatting with our mothers on Sunday too – hope you gave your Mom some love in honor of Mother’s Day; here’s a fun throwback photo of me and my brother with our Mom (those are some sweet glasses and awesome hot air balloon shirt, Mom)!

Family15

by Valerie | 05.11.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | 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 »

Spring!

Lenten Rose

While Ann Arbor, MI still has the potential for frost through early-mid May (meaning we won’t be planting anything outdoors until mid-May at the earliest), it is definitely looking/feeling like spring and the change is weather is much welcomed! Last Friday and Saturday were perfection – sunshine and highs in the 70’s. We took advantage of the weather by cleaning out our garage, placing out (and buying some new) our patio furniture, doing some outdoor chores on our home, and firing up the grill for the first time this year. I was so excited to see the forsythia in our yard in full bloom as of last Friday and my Lenten rose plants are looking lovely as well; it’s so nice to be able to cut flowers and plants from our yard and enjoy them in vases inside the house this time of year and throughout the spring/summer. We’re already starting to plan for and think about all the wonderful things we’ll be planting in our garden boxes soon.

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose

Forsythia

As we were waiting in line to purchase our new patio furniture, we conveniently had a place to sit while we waited – here’s Ryan enjoying one of our new chairs; coming soon, a DIY table in the making…

found some patio chairs we like - bonus is that while waiting in checkout line there's conveniently a place to sit

by Valerie | 04.20.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

ch-ch-changes

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

Untitled

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

sunning

by Valerie | 04.14.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

spring forward

Sunday morning breakfast view

Daylight Saving Time went into effect over the weekend and we were sure to “spring forward”. Speaking of spring…the weather finally seems to be heading in the right direction here as highs are moving up into the 40’s and 50’s, we’ve enjoyed some lovely sunshine, and the ice and snow are beginning to melt; I’m already looking forward to when we can begin planting our summer garden and spending some time outside again – I tend to hibernate and stay in as much as possible during the winter months, so spring is always a much-welcomed change. I was sure to take advantage of the tulip sale that Whole Foods had on Friday – 3 bunches of tulips for only $10 – so I bought myself 6 bunches of course…I can’t resist!

Melody is still enjoying eating the snow, no matter how much we tell her not to do that (you never know what may be in the snow) or how much we fill up her water bowl, but I’m hoping it will be gone before too long and we’ll start to see some grass and bulbs coming up for the spring soon. The sweet little grape muscari bulbs that I’ve got in a pot in our house are starting to flower. Sunny, late afternoon cocktails at our place looks like this. And Melody makes a good model, as always!

Tulip sale at Whole Foods - 3 bunches for $10...so I bought 6! 💐

heads up

action shot

by Valerie | 03.09.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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