Pumpkin Carving 2013

Pumpkin Carving 2013

The hubs did an amazing job on our pumpkins this year. He ended up carving every single one of them with input and direction from us. The left one is for Lucas with the big eyes and sideways smile. The middle one is mine, something I saw on Pinterest and thought it would be a good excuse to break out the drill. And the right one is Mr. Mitten’s and he was inspired by those scary fish in Finding Nemo with the sharp teeth and lights.

How did your pumpkins turn out this year?

Closing in November…

I just heard from our realtor who said we are on track to close on our new house in November!  I’m so excited.  From the outside, our house still looks like this:

7 Oct

However, a lot of work has happened on the inside of the house this past week.  Rough electrical, plumbing, gas and they are getting started on pouring the driveway in back.

November is earlier than I was expecting the house to be finished.  But let me be clear my expectations have been low.   I heard from so many people to expect delays when building a new home.  Our builder told us 180 working days, so I was thinking December or even January so to hear November is amazing.

My mind is racing now with the things we must get done before moving in.  We have a washer, but still need a dryer.  The kitchen appliances have all been purchased. Window coverings (curtains, blinds, paper taped to the window?) of some kind are a “must have” in my book.  We have enough furniture to fill out most of the rooms. Everything else can wait and be added slowly over time. And then there is actual moving to think about; you know what, let’s not think about it now 🙂

What are your must have items when you move in to a new house?



We bought our range over the weekend! Here’s a photo that I snapped at the outlet just after purchase. Pardon the ugliness of the photo, this range was fresh off the truck and not on the retail floor yet. We’ve been looking for appliances since we signed our contract in April on the new house.  I frequently check on the floor samples at the major hardware stores in the area and at appliance outlets for deals.  On Saturday, a sales rep approached me and instead of shooing him away like I usually do I opened up about what I was looking to buy.  He said “we just got a couple of new items in that are not on the floor yet.  Let me ask my manager if it is okay to bring you back to see because I think we have one you might like”.  And sure enough there it was! This is a Jenn-Air Slide In Dual Fuel Range with Convection.  I feel like I am speaking another language sometimes when you talk about features.  But we got it for a great price, which I am excited about.

Our fridge was purchased a little while ago, now the range is done and all we have left to get is a dryer- woo hoo! I hate to pay delivery fees, so my dad was sweet enough to lend us his truck and a hand in picking it up and loading in the garage tonight.  The boys tell me it is really, really heavy.  I am excited to start cooking on it and I’ll share my thoughts in greater detail after we’ve used it for at least 6 months.

NYC, Detroit & weekend recap

Last week I was in New York City for work, and it was a busy/quick trip.  But, I did find the time to see Big Fish on Broadway with my boss. I love musicals, so I’m glad it worked out.  The usual star of Big Fish was off that night, so we saw Ben Crawford as Edward Bloom. The ending was very sweet and I cried, as usual.  I cry at commercials sometimes, so it only takes a bit to get me going! My hotel this visit was in SoHo. I took a walk around the block in the early evening on Thursday and found a bakery/coffee shop called The Frog’s Crown. The staff person working told me to try their coconut latte.  They make their own coconut milk blend in-house, that I might experiment with at home to recreate. Very yummy!

Frogs Crown Just around the corner was Anthropologie, my favorite “chain” store. Their sale section at this SoHo location was huge. I saw a couple of purple Rivulets Quilts on sale for half off. I wasn’t sure on the color and it would not be easy to bring it home with me since I flew Spirit Airlines.  They charge for every bag, it is insane. But it was a great price on one of their very popular items. Anthro I got home from NYC on Friday and spent the weekend enjoying this little guy. Lucas Tigers Hat

When I picked him up from “school” aka, daycare on Friday he said “my miss you mommy”. Aw, melt my heart.  I missed him too. Saturday mornings Lucas has a class that he takes which introduces the kids to all different types of sports.  This week it was parachutes and balance beams.  After sports class, we stopped at the local fire station because they were having an open house for fire prevention week.  It was like a convention for 2-5 year old boys.  There were so many kids!  Lucas has seen fire trucks up close a few times this year. But he has never held a fire hose, until NOW! With help from Daddy and the fireman, of course:

Fire Hose 1 Fire Hose 2 Just look at that little smile!  He is thrilled… Fire Hose 3 Fire Hose 4


The fire helmet Lucas is wearing was purchased at a Halloween store in the area. Lucas had worn a helmet he received at another fire house event earlier in the summer, but it was cracked and broken. We decided to get him something a little more sturdy. The cashier who checked us out at the Halloween store told me that he was also works as a firefighter with the Detroit Fire Department. He works two jobs because his salary as a firefighter is not enough. He said that the DFD would love to put on events for kids and give helmets, coloring books, etc. but they just don’t have the budget. That conversation has stuck with me over the past few weeks.  I thought of him when we were at this event at the Canton Fire Department over the weekend.

Detroit Police are actually telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“. The documentary Burn shows an up close look at what the Detroit Fire Department is dealing with in our declining city. There are so many stories to read about Detroit’s bankruptcy filing.  The question the day is Detroit eligible for bankruptcy?

Where I live in the suburbs of Detroit things feel different. We are isolated from the city and carry on with our own lives continuing to distance ourselves.  My family and friends are moving away to places like Washtenaw, Oakland and Livingston counties. I want my son to have a safe, warm and educational upbringing. Detroit is not a place where that can happen now. Did you know the murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City? The violent crime rate is 5 times higher than the national average.

I read statistics like this and feel saddened, but yet curious about a solution.  How can we help Detroit? What does it take?

Brick pile

I am in New York City this week for some meetings at work, but I am dying to know what is going on back in Michigan at the new house. Before I left for my trip, the house was looking like this


7 Oct

Do you see that pile of bricks in front?  Those will cover the foundation and porch. I’m excited to see how far along they are when I get home tomorrow.

Little fireman at the Henry Ford Museum

Lucas’ grandma watches him on Mondays and Tuesdays while I am at work.  He goes to daycare the rest of the week. Today Lucas and Grandma took a little field trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Lucas insisted on wearing his fireman coat, hat and boots to the museum:

fireman lucas

The Henry Ford Museum has a large area dedicated to automobiles, naturally! Grandma texted me a couple of photos throughout the visit.  The museum has an interactive exhibit that allows kids to practice taking care of the cars. Here’s Lucas under the hood, checking out the fluid levels:

Lucas Henry Ford Car 2

And it seems his fire hat needed to go back on for this part of the inspection:

Lucas Henry Ford

I’m sure we’ll be back again soon to visit the cars.  Next time, I hope I can come too!

PS- can anyone guess what Lucas will be for Halloween?

Ann Arbor Cooks

For our third anniversary, we celebrated by taking a cooking class on Friday night at Ann Arbor Cooks. I love cooking, but am pretty much self-taught and watch way too much Food Network. I’ve wanted to take a real live cooking class for a while and I’m so glad that we did!


There were about 16 people in our class, which started with a demo from one of the chefs on staff.  After the demo, we cooked our three course meals in pairs.  All in all, we were there for about 3.5 hours.

I’m a new blogger and need to get the balance of being in the moment versus snapping as many photos as I can. So my apologies for not taking more detailed photos.  We sure had a good time if that counts for anything!

Here’s what we cooked for dinner:

Simple Fall Greens Salad with Dijon & Red Wine Vinaigrette and Garlic-Toasted Baguette Croutons


The greens were baby kale and we made our own salad dressing.  I learned that traditional vinaigrettes are usually one part vinegar to three parts oil.  However, our instructor prefers hers to be more half and half, so that is how we made ours too. Baking our own croutons in the oven was super easy and worth the effort (croutons are missing from this photo, oops!)

For the main course we had Boeuf Bourguignon with Pearl Onions and Mushrooms with Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables


The stew was fun to make because we got to light some cognac on fire during the process! Still considering whether we can try that at home? Sort of scary.  Also, I officially love brussels sprouts now but only if they are roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper.

And for desert we made Apple Tarte Tatin and our instructor made vanilla bean ice cream for us to enjoy with our tartes.


The puff pastry was pre-made, but I learned how to make caramel which is incredibly easy.

We are going to try to re-create this meal at home in the next few weeks, so I’ll post full recipes with more detailed pictures then.

Blue & Orange Toddler Boy Room

Big Boy Room Collage

(start upper left, clockwise)

Starburst Wood Mirror– is also from Target. It originally retailed for $49, but I got it on sale over the summer for just $15. Source.

Light– looks industrial and will swap out easily for the builder grade ceiling fixture. Source.

Airplane Propeller– such cute décor item for a boy. This one pictured is from Restoration Hardware and way out of my budget. I found something similar at Homegoods, but unfortunately don’t have a photo to link to just yet. Source.

Inspiration room photo– I saw this on Pinterest many moons ago and just loved it so much it was my inspiration for pulling together Lucas’ big boy room. Source unknown.

Mid-Century Bed- we bought this for Lucas at the Pottery Barn outlet over the summer. It is a West Elm bed and normally retails for $699. I paid just $150 because it was a floor sample and was missing a few pieces of hardware. Source.

Rugby Striped Quilt– I ordered this from Creative Seams on Etsy. The quilter, Jill, is from Ann Arbor and makes just about any color combination you can dream up. Source.

Orange Link Ottoman/Pouf– I found this at Wal-Mart actually and was surprised to see an ottoman like this for under $30. Perfect for a kids room! Source.

National Parks Map- is adorable and has stickers to mark off the places you’ve been. Lots of fun for a little boy. ElloThere on Etsy has a great version.  Source.

Airplane Pillow– very boyish and affordable on Etsy. Source.

Modern bed sheets– are from Target and are currently on sale! I am thinking about picking up an extra set before they sell out. Source.




We have a roof on our house! I drove by this morning and they had the packages of shingles sitting on top. When I came back again this evening, they had made it this far:


3 Oct back

I am very excited about the color. The shingles are Mystique by Building Products of Canada in the color Rustic Cedar. The sample looked more red-brown and I was actually having some anxiety about if it would be too red. In person, the color looks more gray-brown so it is perfect. Our builder recommended rustic cedar to pair with our siding choice and I’m really glad we listened to him now.