One thing I love about visiting my family is the daily walks that we take. Jacksonville is a beautiful place to stroll (or powerwalk), and "cemetery hill" not only gives you a great view of the little town, but it's also great for the glutes! The cemetery is also a great place to learn about the history of this small but very important mining town.
Jacksonville was founded following the discovery of gold and a rush of miners from 1851 - 52, and the cemetery was founded in 1860.
The front circular road at the top of cemetery hill...
There are so many infant and child graves...
And many prominent families...
This poor baby gets me every time...life was so rough out here...
Mom and Charlie following the winding path that volunteers keep clean...
Want to climb up on this seat with Caitlin, Charlie-boy?
Well, my very first Fill-in-the-blank Friday hosted by my friend Lauren at The Little Things We Do. She not only is the cutest person but also has the cutest blog!
1. Today I am wearing: jeans, legionnaire t-shirt(andy's friend's company), green sweater, zebra print flats.
2. My favorite childhood food was: sugar breakfast cereals. Favorite food now is: good pizza. fries from Potato Champion. real crepes. good butter. wine. guacamole. freshly-popped popcorn with butter melted over the top. burgerville little burgers. raw cheese. anything with coconut milk. breakfast for dinner. blueberries. can you tell I like to eat?
3. A day that I am too busy to: hang out with my husband is a day that I am too busy.
4. The last movie I saw was: "I'm Reed Fish" (on Netflix) and the next movie I want to see is "La Vie En Rose" or "Les Cons".
5. My favorite smell is: pumpkin pie spice or something just coming out of the oven.
6. A weird little quirk I have is: I imagine things happening at a microscopic level. For example, If I spill something I immediately imagine what it looks like soaking into a carpet fiber. I don't know why but it makes me a little OCD sometimes.
7. When I take personality quizzes they always say: You are a strong person who likes to be in control but is sensitive at the same time. Sometimes an interesting combo, especially being married!
My cousin Stefanie introduced me to Modcloth.com this weekend - it made me long for summertime, when a jacket was optional and just a thin cardi would suffice.
We went through the dress list and everything yours truly chose Stefi classified as "grandma dresses". Hey! Okay, yeah it's true. But there are so many excuses for buying a cute dress, all of which are excuses I could legitimately use because I have a busy summer filled with:
Antique shopping after a trip to the Farmer's Market...
And a summer concert in the park, or for having a dinner on the patio at a schmancy restaurant...
A trip to the beach, or maybe walking through the Washington Park rose gardens...
Eating Sunday breakfast at Tin Shed...
A fancy summer wedding...
And a late-night concert or night(s) on the town...
Mom is the youngest of six kids - five girls and one boy. Here she is, during her tomboy preteen years, I'm guessing, being pulled out of a box by my aunt Susan. I'm not quite sure what she's wearing - small sailor stripes, then a technicolor-dream coat type sweater? Then colorful knit gloves. I'm not quite sure who cut her hair, either. It makes me laugh.
They lived in a house on Dumbarton Street, where my grandma lives to this day. Four bedrooms, very small. My uncle Jim had his own room, so there were two and three girls in teeny rooms with beds bumping up against each other. Two bathrooms; one in the master bedroom, so that meant one tiny bathroom for all six kids, with only a bathtub. I can only imagine the frantic rush that took place with all those girls trying to get ready! There is a fairly small kitchen and dining room, no dishwasher, and one main living room. That's it. I remember my aunt telling me once that she would sit outside in the car and read, just to get some peace and quiet.
Grandma made dinner every night and the family sat together. Afterwards, dishes were the kids' responsibility. I remember when I was little, baking cookies with her in that small kitchen, and could just imagine my mom doing the same thing when she was a little girl. Or banana bread, which is grandma's specialty. Little tiny loaves that you can eat in one sitting, covered with cold butter and maybe warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave.
I'll be seeing them all this weekend as our family gathers to celebrate my grandpa's life and say goodbye. Although it will be a very sad time, there will no doubt be silliness and laughter; it's just the way we Hansens's are.
One of the perks of marrying into this family has been the plethora of good casserole recipes. We weren't a casserole family growing up, so I have a special appreciation for them because I wasn't inundated with tuna-noodle or any sort of neon-red sauce hamburger helper. There was a period when we did have a variation of chicken every night for approximately 365 days in a row, but that's a different story.
But not being used to them or pre-conditioned to automatically think "casserole" when I think of an affordable and dense dinner means I don't make them very much. Andy's favorite, the one that wins me Wife of the Year, is called Oh So Good Chicken.
I remember when I first had it, and truly, the first words that came out of my mouth when I took the first bite were, "Oh so good!" I didn't have the recipe for the first few years of marriage, and now that I have it, I feel more prepared to fulfill my wedding vows - the one that said, "I promise not to make you eat tuna or chili..."
True story, those were part of our vows. The man had honestly only been eating those two foods for quite a while leading up to our wedding and I somehow felt it was important enough to stand before God and Man and ensure him that I would be different.
Unfortunately, there is Trader Joe's chili and special non-chunk light tuna in the pantry. Fortunately, he either doesn't remember that I vowed against it, or he's looking the other way because he still really likes it.
I'll just keep him distracted with a dish of Oh So Good Chicken.
A Kimmelshue Family Recipe
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1-4 oz. can green chiles, diced
1 1/2 c. mild salsa or picante (or hot!)
12 oz. chopped cooked chicken
2 to 2 1/4 c. cooked rice
6 Tbsp. sour cream (or more, to taste)
4 oz. grated cheddar
Heat oil, saute mushrooms and onions. Stir in green chiles and salsa. Let simmer together for a few minutes. In a bowl, combine chicken, rice, sour cream, and half the cheese. Stir in simmered sauce, mix all together. Spoon into 8x8 casserole dish, season with paprika to taste and the remainder of cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly on top and browned, 30 - 45 minutes.
Then off to explore Forest Park. It's bigger than New York's Central Park!
Still trying my hand at sketching. That darn tree, and the sun kept moving!
One of the Audubon volunteers had brought out a spotted owl - look at those eyes! I'm sure she is very wise, but she didn't know the answer to the burning question I had: how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?
After our little hike, we went to NW 23rd and shopped around. We each found shirts for $10 that were reduced from $84 and $48, and I also found a pair of ballet flats for $10 at one of my favorite little shoe shops.