1. Mom made a recipe from one of Paula Dean's cookbooks called gooey cake....it was yummy...of course it would be with all of that butter and sugar!
2. We bought a rice cooker months ago at Costco and have used it a few times. Each time making the smallest batch of rice possible. This time we decided to make a large batch of brown rice to have some ready for any meal. We also had some squash, zucchini and baby bell peppers in the fridge and an onion on the counter. I thought a stir-fry would be quick and easy. And it was...we chopped up and sauteed the veggies and mixed in some of the pre-cooked rice with some meat that Costco has packaged in the freezer section as philly cheesesteak meat. It cooks up fast and everything came to together nicely!
3. Farmer's Markets! Today was the first market day that we packed up the kitties and hit downtown Waukesha for the weekly market. The cats in their stroller were a big hit! We bought some veggies...but what we stumbled upon that was absolutely wonderful were these baskets from Ghana that you can read more about below in #4. After wandering around downtown Waukesha well after the farmer's market had ended we decided to go to another - larger - market in West Allis. More veggies and herbs quickly filled our new baskets.
4. Plowshare, especially the baskets from Ghana! One of the stands at the farmer's market in Waukesha was Plowshare, with a selection of the items that they have in the store that's in downtown Waukesha (on Main St right next to Divino Gelato). I fell in love with the baskets they had hanging around the edge of the stand...especially for only $32. We bought one and made our way through the end of market. After grabbing lunch we meandered down to the Plowshare store to see what other treasures awaited us. Not only did we find a second basket, we found the story behind them. I now love them even more.
Plowshare pays women in Ghana upfront to make these baskets. Many times giving these women their only opportunity to raise money for their families that doesn't include being ladies of the night. After the baskets are sold, Plowshare again sends these ladies money. So they pay on the front end for the women to acquire the supplies and then they pay on the back end to give these women a share of the proceeds. There are just so many things about this process that I applaud. I am thankful that I was able to not only buy a beautiful basket for an amazingly reasonable price, but also that I was able to make a difference in the life of a woman miles away!
5. I'm often thankful that we have had our cats since they were itty bitty and have been able to get them used to being in the car. We have a litter box just for the car and we have sealable containers that we can put wet food, dry food and water into. And amazingly enough, they use all of things so well. They are not phased at all about being in the car and traveling....which is especially important for days like today (more about that in #6). In this picture you see Jake cuddled into the blanket in the back seat while Edward chomps into his first bites of the masa from tamales!
6. After our trip through the farmer's markets we decided to stop a hispanic market for some of the best tamales we've had outside of El Paso. And you know that's not all we ended up buying. After we loaded everything and everyone back into the car we decided to drive along the lakeshore of downtown Milwaukee on the way home. We ended up driving all the way up to Sheboygan before turning back towards Waukesha. We walked along the water, snapped some pictures and then found a little family diner to have dinner in. It was completely unplanned and really just a ton of fun.
7. The first stop of the day was to Target to get some sunscreen. My mom and both burn to a bright read crisp in about 2.5 seconds in the sun. So sunscreen was an important thing to get before wandering around outside for the farmer's markets. And mom picked a good one! It's from Neutrogena and it's called Cooling Mist. It's an spf 45 and it feels very cool and refreshing going on. And it kept us from turning into Elmo's relatives...don't get me wrong...the fuzzy little guy is cute and has an infectious laugh (hmmm maybe we're already related????), but I don't really care to be that shade of red!
8. While the sunscreen really was cool and refreshing...after wearing it all day I was so thankful for a the chance to scrub it all away in the shower when we finally returned home from our impromptu day out and about in weather that was well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.