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 »

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 »

snuggle bug

snuggle bug

snuggle bug

snuggle bug

by Valerie | 07.23.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

fenced in

fence

1 city permit, approximately 130′ of linear fence/750 sq. ft., 1 rental of a 2-man auger + 1 friend to help man it, 110 1″ x 4″ x 16′ cedar boards, 24 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 12’s, 30 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 8’s, 16 4″ x 4″ x 10′ pressure treated posts, 7lbs of deck screws, 3 cans of Penofin Verde (Natural), 4 Boerboel compact gate hinges, 1 tamper head digging bar, 1 post hole digger, ~3 weekends of labor, 1 truck rental to dispose of old fence that was falling down, 1 finger that had a screw drilled into it, 1 near accident of oily rags and spontaneous combustion… and we now have a beautiful backyard fence which was designed, built, and constructed all by ourselves!

fence

fence

by Valerie | 07.16.17 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

slow motion

Skee-Ball

Because slow motion is fun

by Valerie | 06.30.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

weekend haps

Henry Ford Museum

We enjoyed a full day at The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village on Friday; the House Industries Exhibit was fun to walk through and we enjoyed all the rides at the Village as well. You can view photos and videos of our visit here.

We managed (with help from a friend – thank you, friend!!!) to get all 16 of the holes dug in our backyard to place the fence posts into on Saturday; looking forward to finishing that project and appreciating how hard DIY work can be sometimes! This experience has definitely taught me a few things:

  1. I’m not as strong as I would like to be (or thought I was) and/or I may have underestimated how difficult manning a 2-person auger really is.
  2. Having friends/family who are willing to give up an entire Saturday afternoon to help you dig 16 very deep holes in your backyard is invaluable.
  3. Ryan’s strength and focus when it comes to projects like this never ceases to amaze and impress me!

After all that hard work and heavy lifting (the 2-person auger we rented to get the job done weighed 71 pounds without the bit or extension attachment!) on Saturday, it was especially nice to spend some time resting inside our home on Sunday…here’s Maddy peeking in from the kitchen in the photo below.

Home

Last, but not least, wishing my wonderful Dad a very happy Father’s Day!

Dad8

by Valerie | 06.19.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

weekend haps

lovely day for a on the patio with @deptofmiscellany

If you can find a nice patio, with some shade and preferably a cool breeze (and a cold beer) on a summer day, take advantage of it always! We began our weekend doing just that at Dominick’s and it was lovely. While my Texas friends and family may laugh at this, I’m going to say it…we’ve had some hot temps here in A2 this last week, with highs climbing into the high 80’s and low 90’s over the weekend; it definitely feels like summer here – hot, humid, and sweaty. Despite the weather, Ryan managed to dig out all of our existing fence posts (which were all that was left of our dilapidated fence) over the weekend and we currently have brand new ones sitting in the floor of our garage waiting to be placed into the ground; we’re very excited at the prospect of having a new, functional fence – complete with gate – in the near future and are looking forward to enjoying our backyard with Maddy. And we have now added a post hole digger to our growing pile of tools and equipment in our garage.

We enjoyed a walk to Zingerman’s Roadshow with Maddy for breakfast bright and early Saturday morning and we saw Wonder Woman at the theater (here I am, as a kid, in my Wonder Woman suit). Hope you’re having some summer fun of your own and enjoying the sunshine!

...order some food! @zingermansroadshow #zingermans

by Valerie | 06.13.17 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | 1 Comment »

Meet Maddy

Maddy

Meet Maddy. Maddy is a 7 month old Border Collie mix; you can read all about her, and the Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue, here. She is black and white with spots, she’s adorable, and she’s such a clown! She is very, very, VERY fast, loves to run, and she loves to chase a ball or as many frisbees as you can throw. I love her spots/freckles, how her tail (half black, half white) curls up on to her back when she’s alert, and I love her pointy ears. She already knows some commands: sit, lay, back up, don’t touch, and we’re currently working on “stay” with her too. She was an excellent passenger in her 1.5 hour car ride home on Friday, she is potty trained and hasn’t had any accidents in the house in the day and half we’ve had her, and she did well sleeping in her crate next to us in our bedroom last night too. We’re doing our best to make her transition to our home as easy and comfortable as possible, introducing her to rooms of the house slowly, and allowing plenty of quiet/down time with a healthy amount of active time sprinkled in between. We are enjoying getting to know her and having her get to know us. We are looking forward to introducing her to our city and our friends more and more, after giving her ample time to acclimate to us and our home. We are excited to start her in a training class in the near future and look forward to so many possiblities with her ahead (agility, frisbee, Flyball, Treibball, etc.).

Why a Border Collie, or how did we decide she was the dog for us, you might ask? It was important to us, when choosing a dog to make part of our family, to find one that 1) is preferably a rescue dog (there are so many wonderful pets, in shelters or rescue organizations, out there who just need to find the right home…also our first dog, Melody, was AMAZING and a rescue dog herself – so she set the bar high), 2) is smart and very trainable, 3) is active and can go jogging/hiking/walking with us, and 4) bonus – Ryan has always wanted a dog he could play frisbee with (Maddy definitely fits that bill). We are so grateful to her foster mom, Sandy, and the Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue organization for helping to bring Maddy into our lives and we’re so excited to share our lives with this lovable, energetic, sweet-natured, clown of a pup!

Maddy

Maddy

by Valerie | 05.27.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

weekend haps

58 & rainy on a Saturday afternoon in May

We enjoyed a cool, rainy weekend here in A2; watched some movies, cooked this Blue Apron meal, and visited my 26th Michigan brewery when we stopped by Brewery Becker in Brighton – my personal favorites on tap were the West Coaster (west coast style IPA), Victoria (Victorian era export stout), and Hefeweizen (classic wheat beer of Bavaria). Looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend ahead!

Baked Spinach Flatbreads with Sautéed Asparagus & Lemon #blueapron

Brewery Becker

by Valerie | 05.22.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Recipes | 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 »

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