Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Traditions

Living in Wisconsin you really end up needing at least two good summer months to make up for what are normally very cold winters.  These past winter having been unbelievably cold, I feel as though even six months of summer wouldn't make up for it.

From January 6, 2014:
Thus far, it hasn't even really been that warm so it's felt like a slow start to summer.  But, then the first church festival came around and I knew it truly was summer.  Attending church festivals is something I've done every summer since I was a teenager.  It's the perfect blend of bbq and roasted corn, along side beer tents, along side carney booths with games you know you're never going to win but still fork over $10 so your kid can take home a $1 Oriental Trading plastic sword or random, small, ugly stuffed animal, or, goldfish that will likely die within 48 hours.

Maren stayed with her grandparents while Shannon, Quinn, Sully, our friend Bob and myself joined in the fun.  Shannon and Sully drove a truck over bumpy landscape.
Quinn and Sully rode the train.
"Uncle" Bob helped out when the kids got tired.
And the kids came home with armfuls of junk.
As predicted, one fish died the next day and two days later, this little guy also went to sleep with the fishes.

Other great summer traditions, fishing!  The husband is an avid fisherman so he'll get out on the water every chance he gets.  Shannon caught a big one all by himself the other day.
The older kids are signed up for swimming lessons this summer but they also love heading to the county pools whenever they can.
Which hasn't been too often so far considering all the rain we've been having lately.
A few nights when it's been sunny out we've taken family walks.  Along the way we've enjoyed stopping at free little libraries.
Luckily, Father's Day was sunny and we got outside for pictures before heading off for brunch.  Unfortunately, Maren was not all that interested in sitting down for pictures.  Sometimes it just takes a little time for her to warm up, even when it is hot and summer.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Channeling My Inner June Cleaver

Today I just had a craving to cook something.  And, it wasn't just a craving to cook a meal, it was to cook something that I could make a whole bunch of, eat tonight for dinner and then freeze some for later.  I decided on spaghetti sauce.  Why I have no idea since I have jars and jars of it in my pantry.

So, I hopped in the car and drove to the fancy grocery store.  I came home with tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, garlic, a sweet onion (or, as the kids call it, a stinky onion), salad mix, mild Italian sausage, thin spaghetti, two bottles of wine and a movie. 

Since I haven't been to the big grocery store in quite a while, I took a little extra time to explore.  There is a what used to be normal sized grocery store right near our house so I frequent that for basics, but because of the size, they don't stock many new or "fancy" items.  That can be a plus since I don't waste time, and money, wandering the aisles and adding things like this to my cart:

Once home, I got to work on the sauce.  I channeled my inner June Cleaver and even wore an apron.  I bought one a few years back at an estate sale and it's been hanging off my spice closet ever since.

I chopped the onion, minced three cloves of garlic, chopped one stalk of celery and put all that in a skillet with once tablespoon of olive oil, a pound of mild Italian sausage and around a pound of ground beef.  While the beef and sausage browned, I added one can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato soup and a couple of chopped up mushrooms to the crock-pot.

After draining the grease from the meat and veggies, that got added to the crock-pot too and my little helper stirred it all up.

The plan is to have spaghetti for dinner with the veggie salad as a side along some Breadsmith garlic knots which I picked up yesterday.
Oh, and wine.  Let's not forget the wine!  The Toad Hollow Risque is what we served at our wedding so it always brings back good memories.