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Archive for the ‘birthdays’ Category

Jack turned two at the exact time as our plane left the ground, carrying us to San Francisco. I can’t help but feel wrapped in nostalgia with all the moments that filled the days that surrounded Jack’s birth…I wonder if all those vivid memories will ever be forgotten? I really hope not…

Jack enjoyed several days of festivities. We started Jack’s birthday celebration at school on Friday morning. We had a special story time in which he requested that I read his friends and teachers one of our favorite books, The Happy Day. Seriously, every child should have their own copy of this book…it’s really wonderful. All of the animals are hibernating and suddenly they begin to awaken sniffing the air. Following their noses, they find a yellow flower growing in the snow, they all laugh and dance at the magical discovery! After story time, we had a special birthday song (both in Hebrew and English) and game, then hugs from all of Jack’s friends followed by maple leaf cookies and juice boxes.

Friday night, I made a birthday dinner for Jack…he chose the menu. My heart swelled to the point of popping right out of my chest at the realization that I have such a foodie babe!
Salad: Rustic tomato and mozzarella with basil
Entree: Pasta with olives piquant, Tuscan bread with olive oil for dipping (recipe below)
Dessert: Banana chocolate chip cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and vanilla bean ice cream

Jack then tore into his presents…he has so many wonderful new things to wear and play with! Thank you to everyone who helped make his birthday extra fun with new things!20111113-122041.jpg

Then, we flew off to San Francisco and enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the sunshine! We spent Saturday on Stanford’s beautiful campus having delicious outdoor lunch with friends at The Cool Cafe at Cantor Art Museum, running around on the green lawn, and looking at the Rodin sculptures in the garden.
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On Sunday, we made a quick jaunt into the city to visit some friends at the beach area of Crissy Field.

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A very special thank you to Jennifer and Alan for making our wedding excursion possible! Jack still talks about you both…I think the Sprinkles cupcake outing was a real treat!

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Love how Jack and Alan are sitting the exact same way in this shot!20111104-125826.jpg

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And, Rebecca, the #2 shirt was wonderful! He wore it for his whole special day and really likes the dinosaurs!

Olives Piquant
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers

Mince 1 1/2 cups of assorted pitted olives in a food processor (I like to use a combination of green olives stuffed with garlic and black olives so the texture, colors, and flavors are different)…only mince until finely chopped, not pasty.
In a skillet on low heat, cook 4 cloves of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until browned. Add the chopped olives and cook, stirring constantly, just until olives are heated through. Remove from the heat.
Stir the olive mixture into cooked pasta, you may want to use a bit of the pasta cooking water to give the pasta a bit of moisture, it’s up to you. I often forget to reserve the liquid and it’s always turns out yummy! At the table, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

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Banana chocolate chip cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting
Adapted from Not Without Salt

For the cake:
Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.

Cream 1 stick of softened butter and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar in a large bowl by hand with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. You can also do this, likely with more ease, with a mixer at high speed, but I made these while Jack napped and I wouldn’t dare wake the birthday boy! Using a whisk, beat in 1 large egg until combined.

In a small bowl combine 2 ripe bananas and the seeds from half a vanilla bean. (To remove the seeds, carefully slice the bean in half using a sharp paring knife, then scrape out all the seeds using the knife.). Add 1/4 cup of sour cream to the bananas and vanilla bean, then combine this mixture with the butter mixture. Next, carefully add the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Now, stir in about 1 cup of dark chocolate chips.

I don’t usually use cupcake liners, but I had some super cute Halloween ones on hand, so I used them this time. If you are not using liners, be sure to grease your cupcake tins well. Bake in the middle of your oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes then move to a rack to completely cool before frosting.

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.20111113-121801.jpg
For the frosting:
Combine 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1 stick of softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, beans from 1/2 of a vanilla bean, and 1 cup powdered sugar; using a mixer beat until smooth. To avoid lumps make sure the butter and cream cheese are very soft.

After the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost your cupcakes.20111113-121808.jpg

A note: Don’t thrown your vanilla bean pod away. I put it in a glass jar with some sugar and the vanillaness has scented the sugar, making it so tasty in my daily cup(s) of vanilla and cinnamon hot tea. David has used it to make cinnamon and sugar toast, also quite delicious!

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Happy Birthday, David!

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Sweets, we love you so much and wish you a very happy birthday! I wish this year’s special day had a bit more fanfare…although, a night of trick-or-treating, pizza and beer, and a Mexican dinner with friends at the end of the week sounds pretty fun!

One day soon, we will be back to celebrating our birthdays with a special trip…oh, what fun we had sitting in the sunshine, relaxing on the beach, having long dinners and lots of wine and toasting to our 30s. I’m looking forward to all the future birthday trips we get to take when life makes it a bit more feasible.

Here’s a look back at how we’ve spent your last two birthdays, both remarkably special in their own way:

Your thirty-first birthday, 2009:

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And, your thirty-second, 2010:

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Happy Birthday! We love you to pieces!

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Happy, happy two!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, sweet lovebug! Happy birthday to you!

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You have so many words and great sentences like “what’s Jack doing?” that you say in a very curious tone beckoning us to turn and look at you (it usually means you are doing something funny or naughty…mostly it’s both, but we would never let you know that!).
You are a dreamer. Always singing songs and looking up into the sky or out the window. You notice things we easily overlook, yet you help me to slow down and see them for myself and I adore you for that.
You would rather eat than do almost anything else. You love pasta, mama’s muffins, waffles, pretzels, granola bars, yogurt, fruit, tomatoes, cheese, ice cream, pie and dipping bread into olive oil which you learned from your Pops.
You are 100% boy…you go all-out, always leave-it-on-the-field…a messy, sweaty little monster!
You love having mama and dada right near you and while you are constantly hugging or affectionately patting our legs, you rarely cuddle.
Your color for everything when asked “what color is this?” is green.
Your hair is thick and wavy, with lots of curls in the back, when dada doesnt chop them off!
You still say “oh” most of the time when you mean “yes.”
Your love of music and your sense of rhythm are beyond anything I’ve ever seen. And, you can carry a tune!
You still love your da-dews (pacifiers) and get so excited when it’s car time, stroller time, or bed time so you can have them.
You don’t forget anything! When I tell you what we are going to have for breakfast, the following morning you wake up asking for it! Bees remind you of when your friend, Hanna, got stung by a bee this summer. And, you remember everyone that you meet and, usually, where you were when you met them!
Your favorite clothes are your Gator shirts. And, relatedly, you love sitting on the couch and watching football, or at least talking about doing that (you rarely sit still for more than a few minutes!).
You love your “teachers and friends” which is how you refer to your school. And, the teachers have told us that you always give hugs to your friends, especially when they are sad. We sing goodnight to each of them every night.
You love book time, especially “books with mama” which, to the disappointment of your dad, you plea for every night. Your favorite books right now are My Mommy Hung the Moon (you love to find the ah-ah (monkey) on every page), The Happy Day (you particularly like the snails), Goodnight, Owl (you can make every bird sound), Hello, Aubie (especially the page where Aubie is watching the football game), Goodbye, Albert, Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (which I find hysetrical because you’ve never eaten a hot dog!), and This is the House that Jack Built.
And, despite all of your loveliness, you must realize what age you are turning (“terrible two”) because your yearning to be independent and do things on your own ALL of the time is making for some very frustrating moments…sometimes, I just stare at you wonder where the monster you can be has put our sweet little guy!

Happy two years, Jack! You give me butterflies. I just cannot get enough of you. Time, please slow down.

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For Jack’s birthday this year we decided to keep it sweet & simple {with a Palo Alto wedding this weekend and our recent cross country move it seemed a bit too much to pull off a party}. I struggled with the decision for a bit, but now love that we are keeping it intimate. Despite what our future family structure looks like, David and I realize that Jack may not have many more birthdays where it can just be the three of us, given the typical wish for birthdays spent with friends. So, we plan to soak up every second of this birthday weekend.

While we are off celebrating our boy, here’s a trip down memory lane…
First stop, Jack’s REAL birth day:

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Oh my…we were in love!

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I still dream of those sweet, blond sideburns…they absolutely took my breath away.

Next stop, a revisit of Jack’s super fun first birthday party in Pensacola (aside from the crazy wind that blew my decorations all over the place, it was a wonderfully beautiful and festive day):

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So happy that we made the effort and went all out for his first year celebration. He may not remember the details or even the day, but he will have pictures. And, we have lots of memories…like the fact that 5 of his great grandparents were there to celebrate with him…the last birthday that Granny will share with Jack.

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