summertime

summertime patio eats #hotdogsandfrenchfries #patioeats

“Summertime” brings to mind so many wonderful things, like…this…and this…and “I carried a watermelon.”

Being the native Texan that I am, I am all-too-familiar with hot summer weather (or “super summer” as my Mom likes to call it)…where they have days on end of 100+ temps and little to no rain. While we haven’t officially hit 100 degrees here in SE Michigan (and typically don’t, thank goodness!), it has been in the upper 90s lately with a heat index of 100+ and combined with the high humidity it’s felt sweltering to me.

There are many things to love about the summer (for Ryan, the hot weather is one of them)… all that sunshine and so many hours of daylight, lightning bugs/fireflies, the food (fresh watermelon, popsicles, ice cream, everything on the grill, etc.), patio dining, cold drinks, and I convinced Ryan that we needed a kiddie pool to dip our toes into on especially hot days while enjoying our backyard! Hope you’re enjoying your summer and all the season has to offer.

#sundayfunday #tongueout #bordercollie #bordercolliemix

by Valerie | 07.02.18 | For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

Memorial Day weekend

this #pearlbeer bottle opener belonged to my Mema & Granddaddy - my Granddaddy fought for our country in WWII, thank you to all who have served #memorialday

The Pearl Beer bottle opener pictured above belonged to my Mema and Granddaddy. In March of 1942, my Granddaddy enlisted in the U.S. Army; on June 6, 1944, he – along with the brave soldiers of the 4th and 90th Division – stormed Utah Beach in Normandy, France. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Arrowhead, Five Bronze Stars for five major battles, three Overseas Bars and the French Legion of Honor Medal in addition to several other commendations. He lived to be 94 years old and I am so honored to have known him and to call him family. Thank you to all who have served.

Long, holiday weekends are heavenly…yet somehow, they never seem to be quite long enough; we thoroughly enjoyed ours and squeezed in a movie, lots of r&r, grilling, some more planting in our garden and yard (Bartzella Itoh Peony, Cascade Azalea, a few more herbs, and a mosquito plant), and – even with temps in the 90s here in May (that’s hot for MI in May!) – we spent a good amount of time outside enjoying our backyard patio space.

Speaking of things we enjoy…Ryan and I enjoy beer, I’ve been curious to try our hand at homebrewing, and we also enjoy a good DIY project on occasion – so we took the first step towards this and bought this book about it. We plan on reading up on it first and then we’ll see where that takes us; I’m excited at the possibility of creating our own homebrew, with a healthy dose of reality that this won’t be easy to do and will take a good deal of patience and practice to hopefully, eventually be successful at (fingers crossed!). My Dad shared with me that my Granddaddy once tried homebrewing and that it didn’t turn out that well for him – lol! I’m hopeful there will be more to come on this for us, stay tuned…

You can view more photos from our Memorial Day weekend here.

#gottowearshades #memorialdayweekend #bordercolliemix #bordercollie

by Valerie | 05.29.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

how does our garden grow?

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

We purchased and planted most of our summer garden on Mother’s Day and are looking forward to some delicious garden goodies over the summer months! We are growing some of our annual favorites, but always pick out some new and different varieties to try as well. Here’s what’s growing in our summer garden this year: basil, oregano, thyme, mint, parsley, chives, shallots, strawberries, a variety of peppers (jalapeño, habanero, etc.) and tomatoes (Green Zebra, Mr. Stripey, Black Krim, and Chello), red leaf lettuce, kale, marigolds, nasturtium, dianthus, lavender, and ketchup and mustard roses. We’ll be adding coleus and maybe a few other things to pots in the coming weeks too. We also planted a few hanging baskets and pots with pretty, trailing plants like sweet potato vine, etc. Happy gardening!

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

by Valerie | 05.15.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

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 »

fun on the 4th

Untitled

We had a nice, long, fun holiday weekend and filled our 4th of July with lots of sparklers, great company, and delicious eats and drinks; we enjoyed using our bag toss game and patio umbrella for the first time this season too! On Monday, we stopped by our favorite neighborhood brewery and treated ourselves to a couple cold ones on the patio – Maddy was all smiles; we are enjoying taking her out and about and socializing her in different surroundings when we can. Here’s our little blue grill, smoking away on the 4th. Hope you had a happy 4th!

😄

by Valerie | 07.06.17 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

summer solstice

rosé on a summer day - happy summer solstice!

Last Wednesday, June 21st, was the summer solstice; I enjoyed the sunshine and those long hours of daylight with a delicious glass of rosé – pictured above is the view out my kitchen window in the late afternoon on the solstice. Thanks to the sunshine, our garden is doing well this summer; while our pepper plants haven’t grown much yet, most of our tomatoes and all of our herbs are flourishing. I cut some things from our garden to make this pretty arrangement below on Saturday: hosta leaves, Japanese painted fern, coleus, and green and purple basil.

hosta, painted fern, coleus, green & purple basil - all from our garden

We’re having lots of fun with Maddy too; the training we’ve been doing with her (look at this!) and many trips to the park to throw the frisbee have been fun for us all! She works hard and plays hard, but she knows to relax as well (puppy dreams). We are one happy family!

z's

family photo +=

by Valerie | 06.26.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, 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 »

staycation

Kuhnhenn

After having both been traveling separately for work, it was nice for Ryan and I to be home together last week and enjoy a much-needed, relaxing staycation. We filled our week with a nice visit with family in Frankenmuth, a visit to Cranbrook to see the Hippie Modernism show (which we loved!), several movies at the theater, and I was able to add several more Michigan brewery visits to my ever-growing list – which currently includes the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Ann Arbor Brewing Co/Corner Brewing
  • Arcadia Ales
  • Bells
  • Blue Tractor
  • Brewery Vivant
  • Dark Horse
  • Dragonmead
  • Founders
  • Frankenmuth Brewery
  • Glasshouse Brewing
  • Gonzo’s Big Dog
  • Grizzly Peak
  • Jolly Pumpkin
  • Kuhnhenn Brewing Co
  • Latitude 42
  • Mitten Brewing Co
  • North Peak
  • Oddside Ales
  • Perrin Brewing Co
  • Right Brain
  • Salt Springs Brewery
  • Tandem Cider
  • Wolverine Brewing Co

You can view photos from our staycation here.

Dragonmead

Cranbrook Hippie Modernism

by Valerie | 08.19.16 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

summer fun & on the road again

NY state of mind

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for me – at the office, we packed up everything to move into our new space while at the same time packing for Ross on the Road events we’re traveling for in seven cities from Tuesday, July 19th (in Boston) through Thursday, July 28th (in Chicago); in the process, I’ve been lucky enough to see some really beautiful event spaces, like the Ascent Lounge in New York and the First Amendment Lounge at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. In NY, I made a point to stop by Junior’s and pick up some black and white cookies to take home (I can’t resist, they’re so good!) and in DC I was sure to take a stroll by The White House of course. Next week, I’m headed to Los Angeles and Chicago and looking forward to it.

In Ann Arbor, we had Art Fair this week…which always brings our hottest summer temperatures and thunderstorms; Ryan and I enjoyed strolling around downtown and seeing the sights yesterday. It’s always so good to come home! Speaking of home, I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is an amazing cook – I’ve been craving some delicious pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil so Ryan was kind enough to cook that up for me when I returned home from DC on Friday, yum! Our garden is doing great; we pulled a whole bowl full of fresh tomatoes from our garden box just yesterday and our peppers, onions, and herbs seem to be enjoying the summer weather too.

pasta with garden tomatoes, garden basil, & farmers market pesto

garden tomatoes & sun tea #grewitmyself

by Valerie | 07.24.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Travel, Work | No Comments »

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