Today is my birthday and tonight I’ll be spending it with Mr. N and Miss A (Mike will be at work) at my mom and dad’s house. I believe Grandpa will even be joining us.

Grandpa making a surprise visit one summer.

I’m going to enjoy a home cooked meal and a birthday cake made especially for me by my dad. I’ll share pics and the recipe with you all soon.

A home cooked meal at mom and dad’s. And yes, there is usually still a giant bottle of ketchup on the table.

I’ve never been one to dread a birthday. The whole getting older thing doesn’t really bother me, but I do like to look back over things I have done and look ahead to things I want to accomplish. I think that birthdays are a wonderful day to celebrate life, love and family; a day to be fully present and aware; and perhaps above all else, a day to be grateful. I mean ideally I would like to be this way every day, but until I get the hang of that…my birthday seems like a good option.

Today I would like to spread a little of my birthday gratitude. I have recently been awarded the coveted Versatile Blogger award from three wonderful people, Sawsan at Chef in Disguise, Casey at Beautiful Disasters and Stefanie at A Dash of Sugar and Spice.

First a shout-out to each of these wonderful women. Many of you are familiar with the wonderful recipes and photos at Chef in Disguise. Sawsan’s recipes are always packed with wonderful flavors and fresh ingredients. I imagine if she could bottle up the wonderful aroma’s in her kitchen she could make a fortune selling scented candles! Aside from her mastery in the kitchen, Sawsan is also wonderfully reflective. This post in particular struck a chord with me and is one I often think back to – especially on days like today. Thank you Sawsan for the award and the insight.

My family score in the 100 theory is pretty high thanks to these two little monkeys!

Next is Casey from Beautiful Disasters. Casey is only 18 and still in high school, yet somehow between school, homework, extra-curricular activities and the social life of a teenager she manages to find time to bake some truly delectable desserts and even dinner for her family (not to mention blog about it)! Casey has been cooking since she was a tot with her mom…which as you know is something close to my heart. Let’s hope the same enthusiasm is rubbing off on my little guys. Speaking of whom, I’m planning to surprise them with this crazy chocolate dessert when they’re least expecting it. (Maybe on a night I’m sending them to Grammie or Nana’s for a sleepover…a few bites of this and they’ll be up all night. Just kidding Grammie and Nana!)

They bounce off walls without chocolate and sugar!

And last but not least is Stefanie from A Dash of Sugar and Spice and in my opinion all things nice. I’ve only recently discovered Stefanie’s blog, but it has fast become a favorite of mine. She has some amazing recipes and is full of sincerity and variety. I mean take this recipe for instance. These are flavors I never would have thought to combine in a dessert and she topped it with lemon sour cream icing. And you all know how I feel about lemon.

Had to get at least one food picture on here today.

So thank you ladies! You’ve made my day. Now the rules of the award are that I have to list 7 things about myself that you wouldn’t otherwise know and pass the award along to 15 other bloggers.

I remember the first time I received this award from Kay at Pure Complex, we were still relatively new to blogging and I wasn’t even able to come up with 15 blogs to nominate. My how things change! I can’t even keep track of how many I read let alone comment on all of them; but I assure you all, if I’m subscribed, I’m reading each post! So here’s our first list of 7 things way back when, it included a bit about each one of us. Our original list of nominees is there as well – I’m still following them all.

But since it’s been a while, I’ll update the list of 7 and make it all about me this time. It is my birthday darn it!
1. Today I came across a list I wrote when I was 16, of 59 things I want to do in my lifetime. I have since done 25 them. (Interestingly enough – #41 on the list is to try foods from every ethnic background. #56 is learn to cook really well. Guess those have worked there way out of my subconscious!)
2. I am terrified of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I don’t think that any other movie scares me more.
3. I have a younger sister with whom I was inseparable as a child. Even though we’re separated now, she’s still on a very short list of people that can make me laugh until I cry.

Sisters, sisters. There were never such devoted sisters. (Name that movie!)

4. I love books and stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and have read The Great Gatsby five times.
5. On a family vacation as a child my pick for a random stop along the way was Billy the Kid’s grave. I was going through a Young Guns and Young Riders obsession at the time.
6. I’m not a fan of Halloween. I really dislike being around people in costumes. Freaks me out.
7. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing three great-grandma’s in my lifetime. Amazing.

Four generations of fabulous women!

And now on to my list of 15. I referenced my very first set of nominees above, here is another set from early this past summer, and below is the new list. If I didn’t name you here, it’s not that I don’t love you or regularly read your posts. I do! I swear! I just have to draw the line somewhere and heck, this one came with an arbitrary line so I’m going with it. Here are some blogs that are favorites of mine and worth checking out if you haven’t discovered them yet.

1. Back Road Journal
2. Diethood
3. Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
4. From the Bartolini Kitchens
5. Inspired Edibles
6. Kitchen Inspirations
7. Smart Food and Fit
8. Sweet and Crumby
9. The Shiksa
10. Taste and Tell
11. Ang Sarap
12. Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
13. Pretty Plate
14. Cravings of a Lunatic
15. Yes, folks. I run like a girl.

Some of you have likely already received this award. And others make it a practice to not do awards on their blogs. So I’m throwing this out there – There is no pressure to pass it along further. Just know that your words are read and your words are loved! And the same goes for all the other bloggers I follow out there, to my readers and to my commenters – your words are read and loved. You have my sincerest thanks!

Now I’m off to go eat my really, really, really fattening, but oh-so-good cake!

47 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Beth (i run like a girl) says:

    Happy birthday (again) and thank you for the link-love!
    (And apologies for seeing this a few days late – travel to my cousin’s wedding has me behind on my blog-reading!)

    I love the idea of using birthdays as a day of reflection. I do a good job of using the new year to plot out my course for the coming year (or three) but I’m not so good about reviewing where I’ve been. I like this idea, and might just try it for my next birthday! 🙂


  2. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Kristy! Congratulations on your award and thank you for mine. I LOVE that you guys stopped at Billy the Kid’s grave. What a kick. I love doing weird stuff like that on car trips with my kids. We stopped at the Sun Maid Raisin plant. They had the largest box of Raisins in the world in front of their store. We took photos there.


    • Kristy says:

      The largest box of Raisins! That is awesome! My parents loved that kind of thing too – the sod house in Nebraska is one I remember in particular. They weren’t too thrilled about driving to such a remote location for a cowboy villain’s grave though; but they love me. 😉 And we’re carrying the tradition on…we just came upon the statue of Superman in Metropolis, IL…I didn’t even know it was a real place and the same weekend stumbled upon Popeye’s hometown. Both became instant picture stops. We love stuff like that too; although we have promised ourselves never to make our kids sit through a trip to the Amana Colonies. Mike and I both have awful memories of that place as kids. 😉


  3. spicegirlfla says:

    Happy Birthday Kristy! I love this post and your sharing of your family. Age is but a number and I too live for today, this moment in time is the most precious! Hope you have a wonderful birthday; you’re definitely surrounded by many who love you!


  4. smartfoodandfit says:

    Happy Birthday Kristy! Congrats on being nominated again 3x’s for Versatile Blogger Award! I think you should get the Mom fo the year Award. I don’t know how you find the time to make different recipes from around the world, take photo’s of the step by step process of recipe, share them with us by writing a wonderful story to go along with your recipe and doing other jobs that go along as being a wife and mother…..You are TERRIFIC! 🙂 I hope your day is filled with joy and happiness.
    Thanks for presenting the Versatile Blogger Award, though I was presented with it from Kay (PureComplex) I may pass it along to other bloggers that are not in our loop 😉
    I totally agree with you on the Willy Wonka thing, as a kid I was scared of that movie but the new version scares the crap out of me even more! Iol


  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Late to the party. (Thank you, WordPress!) Happy belated birthday and congrats for receiving the well-deserved Versatile Blogger Award! How lucky & wonderful to have known 3 great-grandmas! Thanks for passing the the award to me. Having just received it last week, I won’t be passing it along for fear that we’ll all end up in some sort of infinite loop but that doesn’t mean that I value it any less. And, again, hope you had a great birthday, Kristy!


    • Kristy says:

      LOL! An infinite loop…Groundhog Day always comes to mind. 🙂 I knew you had received the award earlier this week, but I couldn’t not include you again. I absolutely love your stories and recipes. The most recent one about the spaghetti…got the heartstrings that one did. 🙂 Thanks for the birthday wishes. And you’re not late for the party…we’re still celebrating today! Birthday dinner number 2. 🙂


  6. Stefanie says:

    Happy birthday a day late!! Congratulations and thank you for the shout out! It was wonderful learning more about you! Willy Wonka is pretty disturbing and trippy… but that’s so unfortunate you don’t like Halloween! I hope for your sake that it passes by quickly 🙂


    • Kristy says:

      You’re not late at all…I’m celebrating through the weekend. 🙂 Last night was dinner with my parents. Tonight is dinner with the four of us at home and tomorrow night is date night. I milk it for all it’s worth. 🙂 No worries about Halloween..the kids make it a bit more fun. Just as long as I don’t have to dress-up or go to grown-up Halloween parties. Little kids in costumes…they’re more cute than scary. 😉


  7. kitchenbelleicious says:

    Happy Happy Birthday to an extraordinarily amazing mom and wife. Your family is so lucky to have you! Love this post and seeing your old pictures. i hope you have a fabulous day and congrats on the awards- you deserve them. Headed to check out some of those blogs right now!


  8. Charles says:

    Late to the birthday party here but I was so busy at work yesterday. Happy Birthday Kristy – thanks for sharing this post and the photos with us, I reading about it and seeing the fun pics – so cute 🙂 How come you’re terrified of Willy Wonka? Do you mean all of them or just the new one produced by Tim Burton (if so I can understand… Burton manages to turn every nice, sweet, innocent thing into some screwed up, dark, depressing mess. Or maybe it’s just the oompa-loompas? :/


    • Kristy says:

      II haven’t even seen the Tim Burton version – won’t. The original was enough for me. It’s totally the oompa-loompas. Well and a few of the Gene Wilder scenes. And the fact that they do scary things to these poor kids. I think the cinematography may have played a role as well. Mr. N told me the other day that he gets to watch the movie in his music class. My reaction was, “What?! Why?! Why would they do that to you?!” He just laughed at me. He finds it totally amusing that it terrifies me. LOL. 😉 Thanks for the birthday wishes…you’re not late to the party at all. I’m milking it as long as I can! 🙂


      • Charles says:

        Hehe, I enjoy the films – at least, I used to *love* the books, and Roald Dahl in general as a kid, but he definitely has a “darker” side which comes through in his stories. Don’t forget that it’s not like Wonka sets out to do those things to the kids. They bring it upon themselves by be obnoxious and undisciplined! 😀


        • Kristy says:

          So is the book any less freaky than the movie? LOL – I know those kids got what they had coming, but as a kid that freaked me out. Not that I ever misbehaved or anything. 😉 Today I think it’s more Wilder and the oompa loompas.


  9. thecompletecookbook says:

    Wishing you a very BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May your year ahead be the best one yet and how great to be having dinns with the family – just sorry Mike won’t be there. Congratulations on receiving the Versatile Blogger Award again – exciting stuff.
    Wonder what you will do next from your list of 59 things…
    Have a happy weekend.
    🙂 Mandy


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you Mandy! We had a wonderful dinner last night. 🙂 I missed Mike being there as well, but we’re planning another dinner tonight and a date night this weekend. Yay! Have a great weekend. 🙂


  10. Kelly says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post Kristy – and have been thinking of you on your special day (strange for someone I’ve never met yet it occurs to me that I have more contact with the people I blog with than most of my relatives – ha-ha!). Thank you so much for bestowing the coveted award on me 🙂 I have enjoyed this blogging adventure more than I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams… it’s so darn fun! You are a very lucky girl to be so well surrounded – the thought of having a dad make a birthday cake for his daughter, literally brings tears to my eyes. I hope you enjoyed every moment. I’m very happy you were born! 🙂


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you Kelly! And you’re welcome for the award. You deserve it. I love reading your blog and eating your recipes! 🙂

      And I have enjoyed my whole day. I’m a lucky girl. 🙂


  11. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You’re so lucky you didn’t tell me earlier because I would have done a post about you :). Now onto receiving this ward, it was a long time ago I gave you this award but you deserved it then and you deserve much more now :). After-all it is your birthday dammit lol. Your family has somehow become apart of my own family without even meeting you officially lol.. and I have to say you and your family are simply amazing. As far as you being afraid of Willy Wonka.. well I was afraid of Michael Jackson’s Thriller so I won’t pick with you about that lol. You gave this award to some great blogs. Again Happy Birthday :). My mother and I wish you many more 🙂


  12. Casey says:

    YAY! Happy Birthday to you!! Love this post :] I am totally with you an the willy wonka thing, especially the newer movie. Johnny Depp looks so scary!!! I’m also the same way with my sister, we fight but still love eachother to death. One of my favorite things i’ve ever been told is that friends come and go but sisters are forever. (not to say i don’t LOVE my friends!) But it’s so true. Lastly, that is INCREDIBLE that you have gotten to meet 3 of your great grandmas! I’ve never even seen one of mine in a picture. With your genes it looks like you’ll be blowing out a lot more candles in the future!! Have an awesome birthday 🙂


    • Kristy says:

      You absolutely deserve the award Eva. I love reading your travel adventures, your kitchen stories and recipes! So many fabulous recipes! Oh and of course I love your organizational skills! 🙂


  13. sallybr says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! Enjoy your day, and yes, count me with the folks who want to see the Bday cake…

    congrats on the blog award, very well deserved!

    I haven’t spent a Bday with my family, well, my Brazilian family, in a long, long, looong time, your post made me a bit nostalgic for it.


  14. Caroline says:

    Happy birthday Kristy!! Hope you have a wonderful dinner and I can’t wait to see photos of the cake your dad makes. Congrats on the award from three different bloggers…what a birthday treat! Oh, and you know I’m right there with ya on the lemon thing. That tart looks divine! xx


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