a taste of summer

The weather here in the northwest has been so nice lately. Everyone has been coming out of their little houses in swarms & flocking to downtown, the waterfront, parks - basically anywhere the sun shines. It's as if we all forgot what the sun feels like, & we're just experiencing it for the first time. 
& with all of the warm weather comes the startup of one of my favorite family traditions:: porch dinners. Yesterday, we had our first outdoor dinner of the year. Of course, we had burgers. [what else would we have eaten to kick this off?] & let's just put it this way:: when the Koehlers do burgers, we do it right. 

Here's 2 really good reasons why::

a). We raise our own beef. So it's organic, healthy, and delicious. There's no hormones or chemicals that are snuck into it. Plus, it's delicious. When I was younger, I used to be really against the idea of us raising our own beef. I think I tried going vegetarian for about 2 weeks when I was 13, but my parents wouldn't let me leave the table til I ate my meat. So that kind of failed. Thank goodness it did, because, now, I love our beef. Seriously, it's so good. I guess I always took it for granted. But now I know that the best hamburger on earth is made right in my kitchen. & next year's hamburger is out in the field, grazing on some grass, blissfully ignorant that he will be in my tummy next year. 

b). The second reason that are burgers are the best is quite simple really::
Sauteed mushrooms.

Need I say more?
My mom also makes the best fresh juices to go with whatever we're having. They're always fresh & tart, just like summer. This time it was an iced strawberry lemonade. Mmmm.
I loved yesterday. It was so nice to sit down & relax & talk with my family, together. We haven't all been together for a family dinner in ages, & I really missed that. It's important to regroup & catch up once in awhile, you know?

What's one of your favorite family traditions that summer brings?


let's go on a picnic

Summer is quickly approaching! & with that, I plan on taking lots of picnics this summer. I have 3 down on my bucket list. Picnics are probably one of my favorite things to do with my friends. They're inexpensive, low-key, & so relaxing. We pack up my little car with quilts & pillows to lounge on, a thermos of chilled lemonade, & a picnic basket full of delicious food, & drive to my town's central park, or down to the waterfront. We pick a spot & lay everything out & it's heaven. Sometimes we turn on some music, or sometimes we bring our guitars & ukuleles & sing our little hearts out, or read poetry, or talk, or just take little naps in the sun. Whatever we do, it's always lovely & relaxing.

Here's some inspiration for a couple different kinds of picnics::


The quintessential little picnic, complete with a checkered blanket. I love the idea of doing a tea party//picnic hybrid. It would be perfect for an autumn picnic!


 I am absolutely in love with the idea of an evening picnic on the beach. Snuggled up in quilts, with a bonfire, watching the sun go down. Ahhh. Nothing could be quite so peaceful.   

Or, just camp out overnight on the beach & picnic the whole trip away! I've been wanting to go picnic on the beach with some friends. Trying to figure out a safe place//way to do it is the tricky part.

French ::

This kind of picnic is actually on my summer bucket list. My friend went on a month-long trip to Europe last summer with her mother, & while they was there they stayed in France for a week. When they got back, they couldn't stop raving about french food. They started buying baguettes & french cheese, & got me addicted as well! Whenever I went over there that's all I would eat. I think that buying a baguette & some french cheese & going on a picnic on a hot day, with the sun melting the gooey, savory cheese on the the soft bread couldn't be any more perfect.

If you've never gone on a fun little summer picnic before, I encourage you too! You won't find a more relaxing way to spend the day.