Celebrations & Catching the Big One

a pink sunrise over a Wisconsin lake. A pier in the distance reflected in the water.

Some weeks are more eventful than others, and this past week was one for the books. First, three out of the four of us celebrated a birthday. So of course, there had to be festivities.

And what’s a birthday celebration without plenty of tasty food and fine spirits to toast to another year?

Fine food and drinks

I’m not sure where the time has gone, but all four of us fall into that “senior” category and considered to be in the last quarter of our lives. Eek! That sounds eerie, doesn’t it? So when ya put it into that light, we might as well live it up and throw any thought of diet or restrictions out the window. Right? Bring it on!


Despite all the negative happenings centered around 2020, Al and I have been enjoying a fantastic summer staying on family property, and having a ‘real’ house at our disposal.

mist on a lake with lily pads in the foregroundA real kitchen, a real shower, and a big-screen TV with cable have been huge bonuses.

I’ve been able to watch the Food Network to my heart’s desire which has led to lots of experiments in the kitchen … in both the RV and the sister’s house.

Some recipes have turned out better than others, but there hasn’t been any out and out fails.

There’s something about watching one of my favorite personalities cook (or bake) that inspires me to get in my own kitchen. Believe me, I need all the motivation I can get!

Oh, and I’ve been banned from watching HGTV after trying to talk my husband into doing a complete remodel on the RV … back to that inspiration thing. πŸ₯΄ Little does he know, there’s still Pinterest and Instagram that keep those remodeling ideas alive in my head. Shh, that’ll be our secret!

With new-found cooking inspiration, for Steve’s big day (Al’s sister’s husband), I made filet mignon cooked to perfection in a cast-iron skillet, a Ceasar salad made with homemade dressing, and a side of my version of focaccia bread. Dessert consisted of my favorite chocolate cupcakes drizzled with chocolate liqueur and whip cream. Yum!

While I made a fantastic meal and dessert for my brother-in-law’s birthday, we went out to brunch to celebrate my own birthday. Over the river creek and through the woods, we arrived at the Garmisch Inn located along the shores of Lake Namekagon. Good food, great view, wonderful company … a gal can’t ask for much more!

The fun didn’t end with brunch. The weather was perfect for a boat ride. So when we returned home, we hopped on the pontoon boat for a spin around the lakes and a little fresh air and sunshine. Later in the day, I made my favorite Sloppy Joe’s and Margarita’s, followed by more Margarita’s around a campfire.Β  #LifeisGood

The third birthday occurred at the end of the week. The festivities continued as we celebrated Al’s sister’s birthday. We started off the day with a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, cinnamon toast, and Bloody Mary’s followed by a boat ride. For an early dinner, I made Chicken Marsala, Buttered Egg Noodles, Ceasar Salad (by request), and herb topped dinner rolls. Al popped the cork on some sparkling Prosecco as we toasted to another year and another great summer spent hanging out together.

The day was topped off around a toasty campfire while indulging in my homemade apple crisp and spiked hot cocoa. We are definitely into fall weather. So the hot chocolate was the perfect way to end a great day.

Catching the Big One

Birthday cheers … eating, drinking, boating, and campfires weren’t the only events of the week. Although Al and Steve get out on Teal Lake fishing regularly and do routinely catch fish, they recently enjoyed a very special and rare fishing outing.

My husband had a once in a lifetime experience earlier in the week during an evening of fishing. He caught his biggest fish ever; a 42 inch, 24 pound, Musky. Al is still beaming. According to fishing guide Steve, aka brother-in-law, this Musky was trophy size (especially for this small Hayward lake) and many an angler spends a lifetime trying to catch such a Musky. For the serious and tournament anglers, they choose to try their Musky luck on Wisconsin’s third-largest lake located a mere fifteen minutes away from the family property; Lake Chippewa Flowage.

Al catches a trophy size Musky

And this was Al’s first-time Musky fishing. Beginners luck! Al usually focuses on fishing for Bass, Walleye, or Crappie… the good eating fish. He has never been one to trophy fish.

Happy Birthday to me and congratulations to Al.

So what does one do when they catch such a fish as a Musky? You snap lots of photos, take measurements, and do so quickly. Then you gently lower this freshwater shark back into the water and massage/revive the fish.

Once he starts fighting and you know he’s fine, you let him loose. “Be safe Mr. Musky and go make more Musky’s”.

These days, you never ever keep the fish. First, Musky doesn’t taste good, and second, for those wanting the wall hanger, you provide a taxidermist with the measurements and photos and a plastic replica is made.

If an angler did show up at a taxidermist with the real fish, the angler would be thoroughly chastised for his selfish stupidity. “Not cool, dude. It’s catch and release“. BTW – there won’t be any wall hanger in this RV, and that’s okay. Al is quite content with his Musky photo screen saver.

The summer is wrapping up!

With the cool air blowing in and the leaves beginning to change color, it’s time for Al and me to think about our migration south. But not so fast! I have my camera batteries charged and waiting at the ready for fall colors. I have a few day trips planned to capture that beautiful autumn foliage … fingers crossed! 🀞

For my birthday, I received more cooking inspiration. These are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support❀.

Valerie’s Home Cooking: More than 100 Delicious Recipes to Share with Friends and Family
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime – Comfort Classics
Porcelain Tea Pot – Loose Leaf Teapot

67 thoughts on “Celebrations & Catching the Big One

    1. That photo was worth getting out of the RV at 5:45 in the morning and walking down the road to a neighboring resort. Thank goodness it was only wild turkey’s that I surprised (rather they startled me) and not a black bear. πŸ¦ƒ


  1. Happy Birthday, Ingrid! All of the celebrations sound like fun. We need fun, especially in the midst of these unsettled times. You know how to enjoy life, and that makes all the difference. But, you don’t want a giant taxidermied fish on the wall of your RV? Why not? πŸ˜‚


    1. Thank you Laurel. Despite all of life’s negative happenings, we’ve been able to have a very enjoyable summer. It helps to be somewhat disconnected from media – social and other. Ah, a 42″ fish on the wall? We don’t have a wall in the RV big enough – that’s my reason and I’m sticking to it. 🀣


  2. You are right, Ingrid, how some weeks are much more eventful. I am with you on the β€˜go for it’ attitude. I have stopped saving my new socks and my good candles.

    Enjoying the real kitchen, shower, TV made me smile. We are fortunate we have a house. Yet, we are leaving all of this soon to camp in our eight foot camper. It is the highlight of our entire year.

    Happy Birthday, Ingrid! Your brunch location (and drinks) look amazing. All of your photos are beautiful. The one of the sunset is breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing such an uplifting post.πŸ™‚


    1. Thank you Erica. Sounds like you’re getting ready for a fun time in the camper. Hope the weather cooperates. Yeah, no sense in saving stuff just for something special … every day is special, so enjoy and have a great time on your outing. I look forward to hearing all about it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First, congrats to Al for catching the BIG one, Ingrid! I showed Hans the pic–impressive! Gorgeous shots of early Fall and cooler temps! Happy birthday to all and how fun to actually celebrate INSIDE a restaurant! Enjoy cooking and safe travels as you prepare to head home!


    1. Thanks Terri! The Garmisch Inn is quit lovely. It’s a favorite of Al’s sister. Each day, the colors change a little more and we’re waking to foggy mornings making for interesting light.
      I think Al and I have each gained weight this summer. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Our intention was to loose weight … sigh!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Oh, I remember those CO fall snowstorms well from when we lived there. I think we’ll return to Phoenix via I-40 instead of I-70 knowing the snow starts early especially in the high country. Here in northern WI, the overnight temps dipped into the 30’s 😱 Thanks for stopping by and commenting. In the event, you too write a blog, be sure to link your gravatar so we can stopover to your site.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your travel plans sound smart, Ingrid, based on your experience.
        You have already visited my blog, and I’m not sure how to link my gravatar, as that usually happens automatically (or so I thought), WP sometimes does weird things, though.


        1. WP definitely does do weird things. The problem is here in the comments when I click on your name, it takes me to your gravatar but your site isn’t connected. So if my readers/commenters want to check out your site, there’s no link to your site. It might take some playing around. It’s always fun to find new blogs to follow from other blogs I read. 😊 I’m not sure how I came upon yours.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Holy Cheeseballs! What a huge catch! High five! What a great way to celebrate the birthdays. That Bloody Mary looks like it was made to celebrate! Great pics and hope the Food Network continues to inspire good dishes πŸ™‚ great pics!


    1. Yep, that was definitely a huge fish and the largest Al has ever caught. It was a great week of celebrations. Although, I’m afraid one or two of us may have gained a couple of pounds 😏 Time to step away from the butter and focus on some healthier alternatives … ah, what’s the fun in that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know I do notice that A LOT of chefs use a lot of butter or olive oil. πŸ™‚ Juliet Childs especially if she’s still on air. But the funny thing is everyone is gaining weight like when you go to college and it’s the Freshman 15. So no worries keep cooking and keep traveling:)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Al had no reason not to release the fish and releasing is the thing to do up here… unless of course, it’s a walleye then he’s going in the cast iron skillet 😁


  5. Congratulations to Al on the Musky! You are right, that is a fish of a lifetime! We used to live on a class A Musky lake and I had not caught anything over 40. Pike yes, but not a Musky.
    I could not help but notice the beer chaser with your Bloody Mary. Definitely a Wisconsin thing. Ask for a beer chaser outside of the Midwest and the bartender looks at you like you have a third eye!


    1. Yeah, even I wasn’t familiar with the beer chaser and looked at the waitress with a “huh”? Definitely a Wisconsin thing. My brother-in-law has been fishing this lake (Teal Lake) for the past 30 years and has never caught a 42″ on this size lake. His 46″ wall hanger was caught on the Flowage so even he was shocked. Exciting catch!


  6. Belated Happy Birthday wishes to all, and congratulations to Al! It’s always a treat to share celebrations with family or friends. That musky is impressive (so are the Bloody Mary’s) but what’s even more impressive (and sweet) are the pride and joy evidenced by Al’s grin. The screensaver idea is a perfect way to highlight such a memorable experience. Enjoy your leaf peeping, Ingrid – without a doubt, we’ll enjoy the subsequent photos!


    1. Thank you, Mary. It was a fun week. Although I think we all need to go on diets and a detox 🀣 The screensaver is definitely the perfect way for Al to remember this special fishing excursion. I’m excited to be in the Midwest for fall foliage. It has been many, many years since I’ve been here at this time of year and the colors in the west just don’t compare. Fingers crossed the leaves and the weather cooperate 😊🍁


    1. Thank you, ML, and yeah, you don’t eat Musky because I guess they don’t taste good. IF the guys catch any bass or crappie, I’ll be sure and keep the heads for you. Normally, the eagle gets them.πŸ¦… Right now, the season is winding down and the boats will come out of the water in early October.


    1. Yum is right! We all need to go on diets πŸ˜† With the cooler weather blowing in, each day I’m noticing a little more color here and there. In a couple of weeks, I should be able to capture some nice fall photos.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah, those drought conditions do play havoc on things. According to my SIL, we received enough moisture this summer that she’s thinking we’ll have a good showing of color … provided a serious wind storm doesn’t blow through 😏


  7. Well first of all Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had fun celebrating all three birthdays, and I was getting hungry just reading about all the meals πŸ™‚

    And congratulations to Al, he should be very proud of himself. Interesting about the trophy fish, I didn’t know that but I think it is a great idea.


    1. Thanks! No one goes hungry around here πŸ˜‹ I too did not know about replica’s being made until BIL showed us one of his wall hangers. Interesting! He has several mounts of various species. Some real and some plastic. The real ones don’t hold up in the long run, and thus plastic is preferable and better for future anglers.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Birthday to all! I was about to feel sorry for Al For being left out but I think he received the best gift! What a whopper of a fish! I love summer but I do like a good week of autumn temps, smells and colors!


    1. Thank you Debbie. Al might have missed out on getting another year older but he caught a once in a lifetime fish. I think he got the better deal.😏 That was quite the catch. I haven’t been back in the Midwest during autumn in a very long time so I’m really looking forward to seeing the leaves change color. Come October, I know I’ll be ready to head south.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Okay. My mouth is watering! And who makes buttered noodles except all us (former) midwesterners! I had to laugh. Grew up with lots of butter. Gorgeous lake photos. I can hear the loons. Congrats on Al’s Muskie. What a beauty. Haven’t seen one like that since I was a kid in the 50s. I’m still trying to catch a walleye! Lots of Crappie, Northerns, Bass, Bluegill, and Sunnies, but no walleye. They taste so good! Enjoy autumn and safe travels south.


    1. Yeah, the walleye seem to be elusive. Al loves eating them while I prefer Crappie. I learned how to water ski on the Chippewa Flowage, and my fear of being bit by a musky was incentive to stay on top of the water even though I don’t think that has ever happened. Try and convince a 12 year old 😏
      Since we had left over noodles, the next day, I tossed them in a frying pan with more butter, fried them up, topped’em with a little Parmesan cheese and yum. Reminded me of my mom and growing up… good old fashioned Midwestern epicurean delight. πŸ˜‹


      1. Haha. Yeah, I think it would be hard to be bitten by a muskie if you fell off your skis. LOL But we all knew they have sharp teeth! Enjoy your Midwest fare. Your buttered noodles sound delish. I miss fresh curds. And no, we never fried them! We liked the squeak. There is a great cheese factory in Cadot. Got fresh warm curds there last year. Yum. So glad you had great birthdays all around. Happy Birthday season!


  10. Happy Birthday, Ingrid! Great pics. Thanks for reminding us to enjoy life, despite whatever else is going on in the world.


    1. Thank you! Yeah, we figure, we’ve earned the right to start the day with bloody mary’s or in my case mimosa’s. At this stage in our life, each day maintaining our good health is a gift.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, such beautiful photos and that fish is HUGE!! Happy birthday, Ingrid! It’s still blazin’ hot in Las Vegas, 113 today, 112 tomorrow, the fun never ends eh?? Stay cool up there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John. We’ve been keeping an eye on those record-breaking hot temps in the west and aren’t in any hurry to get back there to sizzle. I just changed our sheets to flannel today. We have a cold front rolling through with nighttime temps into the 30’s 😱 and daytime in the 50’s. I’m hoping the cold will start shocking the leaves into changing πŸπŸ‚πŸ

      Liked by 2 people

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