Tag Archives: Birthday Month

WIAW~A Tale of Two Birthday Cakes (and Two Crock Pots!)

Good Morning and Welcome to my second What I Ate Wednesday post in a row! I’m quite excited to be back and joining in with all of the fun people who gather at Jenn’s party over at Peas and Crayons. I’m going to dive right in and tell my story as I go.

What I Ate Wednesday: FALL into Good Habits

I’m finally back at my own house. After recuperating at my friend Gail’s house for several months ( I started referring to myself as her “squatter” which she found amusing) I am home and it is a bit of adjustment in some ways.  Different bed, different kitchen, different arrangement…I have to stop and think where my spices are, where my utensils are, where my crock pots are!  No, don’t worry, I never forget where my crock pots are!!

Monday afternoon, I suddenly realized that I needed to make beans.  Normally I soak them over night and put them in to cook in the morning.  But I really wanted them on Tuesday so I tried an experiment.  At about 1 in the afternoon, I put them in to soak. My intention was to put them in the c/p at about 11pm.  I fell asleep so they ended up going in at 1 am.  As I write this, it looks like they’re doing fine, but need some more cooking.  But now I know if I forget to soak overnight, I can do it this way.

Two crock pots


But I think you all know by now, in my house-where there’s one crock pot, there’s probably another.  This one filled with my version of the Weight Watchers veggie soup.

Veggie soup in crock pot


I’ve missed having this while I was away.  There’s actually no reason why I couldn’t have made it at Gail’s house, but as I said…different routine.  Funny thing is that it took me longer than usual to make it.  I think my  chopping skills are a little rusty.  I’ll fix that!

One of the things I always put in my veggie soup…and my stir-fries, and my morning omelette is Mrs. Dash.  I love it because it’s no salt and has so many flavors in one bottle.  The mix is always right.  I’m used to the small containers, but Gail found this huge bottle for me, probably on Amazon.

Mrs Dash


I’m so excited because I use it so much.  This should last me a week or two!

Dunkin Donuts breakfast


Ralph had to have fasting bloodwork on Monday so I fast along with him.  But I tantalized him with Dunkin Donuts after.  And I had coupons which saved us almost $6.00!!  I had iced pumpkin coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese.  It was a splurge, but delicious!

I promised you two Birthday cakes, so here goes.  My birthday was early in October but because Ralph was away, we didn’t celebrate with my sister, Ele as we usually do.  This Sunday we took care of it.

My bday cake


There’s a story with this cake, isn’t there always a story in our family?!  The candle on top is a gift from our friend, Jim from Washington.  He brought it for I think Ele’s birthday and we use it all the time now.  The cake itself is very specific and Ele always makes it for me.  It is a boxed devil’s food cake with lemon confectioner’s sugar icing.  It’s what Grandmom always used to make for us and it’s tradition.

The next cake is a little fancier!

Maddie's bday cake


October 13 was my wonderful sister-in-law Maddie’s birthday.  Saturday we had a little surprise party for her.  The cake was beautiful and we had a wonderful time.  As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that I never took a photo of my lunch that day…it was pasta…it was Delicious!

That’s my contribution to What I Ate Wednesday today.  I’m glad to be back and I suppose it’s just like riding a bike, just get on and type!  Be sure to check out all of the delicious food that you’ll find at Peas and Crayons. It’s always a party over there!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

Party of the Week!

Maybe there will be more this week…at this point I don’t know, but today’s party was a great addition to Birthday Month!

Ralph and I met everyone at Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford.  This party was a twofer…we were celebrating my birthday and my sister-in-law Maddie’s birthday (October 13) So of course we both got to look like prom queens!

We both got beautiful pink roses!

Of course there were balloons…after all it is a party! 😉

Maddie and Aunt Marie!  The beautiful blue eyes run in the family!

Maddie and her husband George.

Ralph and Me!


Excellent, Huge Greek Salad, my favorite choice here.

Birthday Cake!  In my favorite colors…purple and green! Happy Accident!

I’m so lucky to have married into such a wonderful family!

Everything’s a piece of cake!

We had a really lovely afternoon.  It’s always a lot of fun when we all get together.  Not known for allowing a chance to party get away from us, we planned two more get togethers.  So we’re set until the end of the year!

This has been an excellent Birthday Month so far.  I wonder what will come up next? 😉

Happy Thursday!

WIAW~Between Parties

When you’re having a Birthday Month, there are times when you’re between parties.  Not so exciting for What I Ate Wednesday, but I’m sure that there will be lots of people over at Peas & Crayons with Jenn who’ll be showing lots of exciting food.  For me this week, it’s kind of plain and simple.

But regardless, It’s a Party!

Peas and Crayons

No real snacks included and I’m not into Halloween yet, so what you see is what you get!

As I’ve said before, being the person who brings the Big Salad to a dinner means I get to go home with the left overs!  Love it when there’s a big bowl of salad to be had at any time.  Fills me up and keeps me on track!

Pineapple Greek Yogurt with Fiber One.  Such a good breakfast and one of my favorites!

I’m continuing my quest to put EVERYTHING over sweet potatoes!  Microwave 2 sweet potatoes for 8 minutes and they are just perfect.   I sautéed onion, garlic and yellow squash in veggie broth, then added something I will never eat again. I found lost in my freezer a partial bag of Morningstar Farms “beef” strips.  They don’t make them anymore so this was a little sad.  I then added a half cup of cottage cheese.   Added some various spices (I’m always SO specific with my recipes!!) and that’s it.  It was very tasty and just what I needed since it’s been so cold out.

Another breakfast…

Simple as can be…pomegranate kefir and Fiber One.  Guess I really like my Fiber One…huh?!

None of this sounds very exciting I realize but for me it’s great.  I feel that I am on track and making good choices.  After feeling out of control for a while…this is a much better way to be!  Besides…there are still more celebrations to be had throughout the rest of the month!

Be sure to stop over at Peas & Crayons…look around and leave some comments.  It really makes us all smile! 🙂

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!!

All Partied Out

For the moment at least!!  During this last week or so, I’ve been back in my routine of waking up WAY too early again.  Sometimes it’s 3am, sometimes 4am but it’s Early!  I think that sort of caught up with me on Monday.

I was up at 4am. I got up and did my usual morning things, working on the computer, doing my ride on the exercise bike.  I’m proud of myself because in spite of the fact that it’s been drizzling out so many mornings lately, I’ve been getting my exercise on the bike.  Most mornings I’ve been riding for 60 minutes.  It’s great because I do hand weights while I’m riding and of course I’m reading.  I never thought of myself as a multitasker, but I guess in this case I am!

It was cold, damp and dreary out when we finally headed out.  Ralph and I wanted to stop at Ele’s house to say good-bye to Jim who was heading back to Washington and to Little Michael whose Dad was picking him up.  We did that.  It’s always sad when everyone leaves again.

I was happy, though because my best friend Gail is finally back from her summer in Maine.  Felt like I hadn’t seen her in forever!  We hung out for a while, looking at photos of all the improvements she and her brother and our friend Alice had done on the cabin while they were there.  Then we went to run some errands and ended up with lunch at Taco Bell.  Everything is back to normal now!!  No photos because somehow I forgot my camera.

Since I have no other photos to share today I’ll give you my only sunrise photo for quite some time.  It’s funny, when we were in New Mexico, just about every morning had a spectacular sunrise.  This is the only one I’ve gotten since our return to New Jersey.

Usually the Fall has a lot of beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but I’ve been disappointed except for this one.

So that’s Monday…not exciting, but you can’t have a party every day!!!

Happy Tuesday!

Day After Birthday

Having survived my birthday, it was time for some continuing birthday celebrations, although they were low-key.

I had coupons, so guess where Ralph and I went for breakfast?

Why, Dunkin’ Donuts of course!  I had my first of their pumpkin spiced coffee (yum!) plus a veggie omelette flatbread (also yum!) These are so tasty and they are very filling.  Only cost me 7 Points on Weight Watchers.  Good Deal!

After breakfast, I had plans to go to Barnes & Noble with Ele, Jim and little Michael…so what else is new?!  Ralph had some things to work on and a football game at 1pm so he stayed home.  Since I got more gift cards for my birthday, I did some more Nook-looking because I think I have enough now to buy one.  Still have to decide.

Michael reading a book that Grummy Ele was buying him (hidden in his lap) and eating a cookie bigger than his head.  I swear that cookie stayed the same size in spite of the fact that he was eating it!

I was good, only had a cool lime refresher.  I was afraid they would only have them for the summer, but it looks like they’re on the permanent menu now.  I bought The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I only recently heard about this book.  I actually just found the second and third books in the series at the library on their “for sale” shelf for 50 cents each!  I decided I could give myself a birthday gift of the first in the series.  Only $6.99, pretty good.

I used one of my gift cards for the book and for this…

My new planner for 2013.  The good thing is it’s an 18 month planner so I can start it now! It has the weekly calendar on the left and a page for notes/lists on the right.  I need to get myself more organized and this is part of my effort.  I’m excited that I get to start now.  It was 20% off plus my 10% member discount, so a pretty good deal.  Now to get organized!! 😉

So I had a very good Day After.  We have a birthday celebration on Wednesday for Me and Ralph’s sister Maddie so I’ve got to be very mindful for the next two days so I’ll feel in control for that day. I’m feeling really good about all of this.

I’m off to make good choices and celebrate my Birthday Month!

Happy Monday!

Birthday All Day Long

Well, I must say that my birthday started off with a bang! In a good way.  I found this sitting on the kitchen counter…

Yes, Ralph was working his magic again!  I laughed out loud when I saw it!  It had the sweetest, most lovely card inside, too.  He’s so sentimental…one of the reasons I love him!

When I got to Weight Watchers, my second gift for the day awaited me.  I had been trying Very had all week, trying to make up for Monday’s anniversary lunch.  I tracked and measured and watched everything.  When I got on the scale I had lost 2.2 pounds!!  I never expected that! I’m now back to where I was before vacation.  Only a few more pounds and I’ll be at my personal goal, which will make me happy!

I stopped at Goodwill on the way home and I may have bought some books.  Stopped at the library to return some books and I may have bought some books…Hey…It’s my birthday!

So I came home and really just hung out for a while.  We knew that my nephew Michael would be coming for the evening festivities and since we had been away for his birthday, Ralph wanted to work on his birthday card.  I spent my time reading.  I’m reading an interesting book right now, which I’ll talk about later in the week.

Around 4:30, we headed over to Ele’s house.  Our friend Jim from Washington is visiting and we had fun (and puns-of which Jim is the King!!) catching up waiting for dinner.  I had made a big salad earlier in the day and had to do it like this…

Didn’t want my bandaged finger to get wet, so I made the with my rubber glove on my left hand!  Not as cumbersome as I thought it would be.  Got this red leaf lettuce at the produce market earlier in the week.  It was cheaper than the regular Romaine.  Score!

My birthday dinner…Ele’s yummy pasta sprinkled with my beloved Locatelli cheese, some of my big salad and yes that is wine.  I decided it was my birthday and I could!  This was all delicious.

Ok, yes my birthday cake has a Veggie Tales candle on it!  It was the only one we could find in the house and after all…I am a Vegetarian!

I couldn’t wait to eat this, as you can see!  This is my traditionally requested birthday cake as my Grandmom used to make it.  Store bought box devil’s food cake with lemon icing, just like Grandmom’s!  A few years ago, Ele asked what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday and this is what I asked for. I’ve been getting it ever since! 🙂

When it came time for pictures, we had trouble with the light…

Ok, this one works.  Then…

A Mikey-eye view of us!  He’s quite a good photographer!

Ralph took me shopping for birthday presents on Friday and this sweater is one of the things I got.  Too other pretty things, that I’ll show eventually.  I got several Barnes & Noble gift cards which should bring my total up to what I need to finally buy my Nook.  Now I have to decide which one I want.  Also got a beautiful pair of earrings from Jim.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d say I had an awfully nice birthday all around.  But the celebrations aren’t over yet.  As I’ve mentioned before, in our family we believe in the concept of the Birthday Month!

I’m excited because my best friends Gail and Alice will be home today.  I haven’t seen them since May!  That’s a good Birthday present if you ask me!

Happy Sunday!!

Too Old To Care??

Last year I had a great time writing about my birthday.  It was the first birthday I had celebrated with a blog.  I was feeling creative and I posted all of those fun pictures of myself.  Now I feel compelled to try to live up to that post.

This year the celebrations have already started, at least we’ve already celebrated our anniversary.  But this is a Birthday Month, as is our family tradition and I really should start partying a little hardier!

I’m facing weigh in at Weight Watchers this morning.  I think I should get dispensation on my birthday…guess that comes from being raised Catholic!  But…that doesn’t happen and I’m feeling pretty good about my week in spite of Monday’s Anniversary lunch…so instead of talking about my birthday…I’ll talk about food!

A breakfast from this week…

This was pomegranate kefir with Fiber One. Very tasty.

A quick late lunch of caramel corn rice cakes and sunflower butter.  I Love this combo.

Last night’s dinner that was SO good!  Microwaved 2 small sweet potatoes for 8 minutes.  Thinned out and heated up some of the barbecue beans I made earlier in the week.  Sprinkled with a bit of parmesan cheese.  I just loved it.  Think I’ll do this again!!

Today’s breakfast.  When I went shopping at Aldi the other day, instead of getting the fat-free vanilla yogurt, I got the fat-free plain.  😦   I was disappointed when I realized it, but… I put a cup of it in a bowl, added some of my crock pot apples from yesterday and then a quarter cup of Fiber One.  This was delicious and filling.  I’ve never tasted plain yogurt that was this creamy and tasty.  I may buy this from now on because I can use this in cooking.  Happy Accident!

Ralph decided he wanted to take me out to find a birthday present which we did. I’ll show those after birthday.  We decided to stop for lunch.

A tossed salad from our favorite spot, Picasso’s.  Please note that I did NOT get the mixed cheese salad. I’m really trying hard to break that habit.  I requested the grated cheese and shook that on.  It’s a good choice.  Ok, how did I get into italics and how do I get out?!?!?  Must be something I did with my bandaged finger…Yikes!!!

So that’s enough food and I will lighten up on that as soon as I get to Weight Watchers and see how I did.  I just need to feel in control.  Talking about it here is a real help!  Thanks for listening!

So I’m off to enjoy my Birthday!  Not sure what’s on the agenda, but I’m sure it will be fun!  Oh, yes…I’ll NEVER be too old to care!!

Happy Saturday!!  Happy Birthday to Me!!!




Sometimes, Yes…Sometimes No…

I wish I could figure something out.  If I could figure it out, I would probably be rich (especially if I could share the secret with other people-who would pay me money!) and I would feel so much better in general.

The secret I search for is…why are there some weeks when I can be SO completely on track, getting exercise and making good food choices and other weeks I’m a screaming neurotic freak?!  Well perhaps that’s a little over the top, but I think you know what I mean.  I was having such a terrible time…eating, snacking everything I could get my hands on.  Now this week…thank goodness, I feel calm, in control, I’m making the right choices and I feel I’ll have a good result when I get to Weight Watchers on Saturday.

Maybe because I am focusing, trying hard to be on track and just doing what I have to do.  But why now and not 2 weeks ago?!  Maybe because I got to have my Anniversary splurge on Monday…maybe, not.

In spite of that, I feel that I am having a good week. This was Saturday night’s dinner.

Zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, onions and garlic mixed with cottage cheese over cous cous.  You see on top the last of the shredded cheese I had bought.  I’ve decided that I will not buy it anymore unless I plan to use it for a specific recipe.  It may be one of the culprits so we’re experimenting here.  This was yummy and filling.

Here’s my usual favorite Sunday breakfast, eggs on a sandwich thin, with sriracha sauce, without cheese…have to do it.  Added a sliced apple topped with cinnamon for a little extra.  Good idea, I should do that more often.

Another breakfast, Greek yogurt with honey and Fiber One.  This is a good choice because of the protein boost…15 grams!  Tastes good too!

I always say that I do better when I have things ready.  A quick lunch of hard-boiled egg, carrots and celery.  Easy because everything was there.  I need to keep this up!  This is starting to look like a What I Ate Wednesday post! 😉

Next…and I won’t bore you with any more food…comes one of my favorites.  I finally remembered to buy sweet potatoes when I went to the produce market.

I microwaved these two babies for about 8 minutes after piercing them with a fork a few times.  They came out perfectly!  After cooking, I cut them up in bite size pieces.

I sautéed together olive oil, garlic, onions ( I had been forgetting to buy them, too…glad I remembered!) yellow squash, tomatoes and cottage cheese.  Used one of my Penzey’s spice mixtures…I think 33rd and Galena.  This was so delicious and I didn’t miss the cheese sprinkled on top!  Yummy and Filling.  Hmm…I think I may have to change the name of BCDC to Yummy and Filling!   Just noticed that this is very Autumn colored…I like that!

I think that I’m focusing on my good food choices for the week because it may be tricky to make good choices on the coming weekend.  It’s my Birthday weekend and who KNOWS what’s going to come up!   Whatever comes up…I am going to be focused…mindful…and I Will write it all down!  That’s what works!

Happy Thursday!


WIAW~Happy Anniversary!

As I prepare to write my What I Ate Wednesday post, I realize that it’s going to look as though I’ve fallen off track.  To be honest, it sort of felt that way.  But I’m telling myself that it’s just one day and I will be on the (very) straight and narrow until next Saturday (after weigh in at WW) when I’ll be celebrating my birthday.  Besides, I HAVE to be good…I only have 7 Weekly Points left!!!

So welcome to the Happy Anniversary edition of WIAW sponsored as always by the lovely Jenn at Peas & Crayons!  I guess I have to hope that our theme is still Fall into Good Habits… 😉

Peas and Crayons

Ralph and I decided that we would go out to lunch for our anniversary.  What could be better than a restaurant where we had gift cards to use?! So we were off to Olive Garden.  A bit hokey, perhaps and not always my favorite food, but…the dessert always makes up for it!  😉

We probably shouldn’t have but we started with bruschetta which is one of my favorite things.  In fact, I think the next time I go, I’m ordering this and salad and that will be it!  The world’s largest piece of basil!!

The plate after we had already torn into it!

My first of several returns to the Bruschetta Altar…yum…

Next was the salad which as always was very tasty.  It still bothers me to pay for salad in restaurants because I know how inexpensively it can be made at home.  I enjoyed it regardless!

Portobello mushroom ravioli.  They were a little dry but still tasted pretty good.

Now for the real reason I go to Olive Garden…

The lemon creme cake!!!!!  I really can’t use enough exclamation points here!  This is so delicious and makes me smile every time I eat it.  Their coffee is good to and it was a nice finish to a nice meal.

So you may ask, how this fits in to Falling into Good Habits?  It fits in because I will as I said at the beginning, be very VERY good for the rest of the week.  My plan worked last week and I intend to stick with it.  I haven’t mentioned that I have been either walking or riding my stationary bike every day.  That really does help.  Rainy today so it was the bike for me! I believe That counts as a good habit!

So that’s WIAW for Anniversary Day and the beginning of Birthday Month!  Be sure to stop over at Peas & Crayons…look around and leave some comments.  We all love them!

Happy October!  Happy WIAW!!

How Lucky Can One Girl Be?

I had mentioned that yesterday was our anniversary, but I didn’t say a lot about it.  I was focused on beans!  Today I think I’ll focus on Ralph.

Is he the perfect man? In many ways yes, in some ways, no.  Of course, he didn’t win any prize, either, when he got me.  But somehow we fit.

We met by accident, introduced at a meeting we were both attending.  It was a meeting of a poetry group I belonged to and we was invited by the woman who was hosting the meeting that month.  We spent the entire evening as far from each other as possible, Ralph on one side of the room, Me on the other.  It just happened that way.  We finally got to chat after the meeting when everyone was having coffee and snacks.  That was it.

Along with several other members of the group, I was known as one of the cut-ups. We would joke and have fun during the meetings, not like so many of the “serious” poets.  I got a call from one of my cut-up buddies, Walt saying he wanted to get together with the idea of writing comedy.  I thought it was a great idea.  He had invited a few others, “oh and I asked that guy Ralph who we met at the meeting the other night.”  Again, I thought it was great.

Now comes the tricky part…I was dating someone else, Ralph was dating someone else.  Along with the guy I was dating at the time, we would regularly go to a local diner.  As it happens, Ralph as a police detective usually working the 4 to 12 shift, he would also go to this diner on his dinner break.  First time I saw him, I said Hi and we invited him to sit with us.  This started to happen on a regular basis.  The guy I was dating would sit there reading the newspaper (and staring at the waitresses) while Ralph and I laughed and joked and sang the theme songs to old TV Westerns.  Who was having fun?

Eventually, Ralph decided to have a surprise birthday party for the friend who had hosted that poetry meeting and asked for my help.  I said sure and he asked me to meet him at a nearby diner (not the same one) to talk and make plans.  As it turns out, we never talked about the party that night, just everything else in the world.  So, gee whiz…we had to meet again to actually plan the party!  😉

There was a bit more back and forth with our friend (who still didn’t know about the party) asking me how much I liked the guy I was dating and what I thought of Ralph.  I said I was having some trouble and that I thought Ralph was a great guy.  She said that Ralph liked me.  I said I liked him too. She said NO he Really likes you (are we in high school? but this is true) I said, well I think I really like him too.

I won’t drag this out any more. By mid July of that year we had “declared” ourselves.  He had just broken up with his on-off girlfriend and I had the messy prospect of breaking up with the guy I was dating-the only time I ever had to do that and it was difficult. However, I did it and I’m very glad I did.

So we rushed right into things and 9 years later…

We had the wedding ceremony in Mom’s dining room and photos in the back yard taken by a good friend who is a professional photographer. Do you think we were happy?  You decide…

Then 12 years later, I awake to find this on the kitchen counter…

I think I’m pretty darn lucky!

Happy Tuesday! Happy Day after Anniversary! Happy October!