It should not be underestimated: the perfume of feeling loved and special and treated for several days while your birthday meanders around you, slowly introducing you to another year. My birthday was this weekend.

We started Saturday with a delayed flight for my son. He had to wait 2 extra hours to start his last big trip of the year. When you’re 11, 2 hours is a scary amount of time to be stuck somewhere without access to legos. Instead of feeling bored and heaving sighs of frustration, though, Simon was content to enjoy breakfast with us, talk about plans, play his Nintendo DS (distraction system), and take random pictures with mom’s old/new camera. I even got a “I’m really gonna miss you” out of the extra time. A gift of extra time to spend with my family with nothing to do but hang out for a couple of hours.

Once Simon’s adventure began, we dispensed with our farmer’s market plan in lieu of air conditioning and cold showers. What can I say? Instead, we landed at a outdoor shopping mall where I was gifted some fresh cardamom pods (Plum Noir Jam or some variation of it – thank you!), new flip-top Kilner jars, and a Teavana pitcher and set of caffeine free or barely caffeinated teas for iced tea mocktails this summer. A gift of preservation and taste.

Sunday brought busy-ness all around. Church in the morning, a visit with my great-grandmother where she helped me figure out how to thread my sewing machine (more on that later), and an incredible birthday party for another July baby in the evening. A gift of instruction, and time spent with a woman whose smiles and wisdom never get old.

Monday brought a continuation of birthday goodness in a snack made by my aunt and co-worker: apple donuts. Mind you, these were not your typical spiced apple cake donut, full of calories, great with coffee and leave you crashing in about 30 minutes. No, these were fresh apples, cored, cut in half, schmeared with peanut butter and dipped in granola. A yummy treat with no real guilt associated. Sure, there’s fat in peanut butter, but it’s nothing compared to a donut. A gift of health and shared culinary pleasure with colleagues.

If you are inspired by these, let me tell you the green ones (Granny Smiths) were the best for the combination. The Red gala or fujis were good, too. But the green had a nice crunch and tart addition to the peanut butter and granola.

Lest you think the birthday was completely wholesome, I also received two cakes. The first, a caramel cake from Bobby Flay’s caramel cake recipe. A gift of the magical combination of brown sugar, butter, and milk, a gift of time and focused energy to create, and a gift to savor.

Caramel Cake from the Bobby Flay recipe. No, we didn’t have a party. It was really all for me. 🙂

The second, more gift than cake, but when I saw them stacked so prettily, I couldn’t help thinking that I’d been given a Mason Jar Cake. A gift of support of my hobby, an expression of love for what I gift in return.

Mason Jar Cake – quarts, pints, and half pints. Ready to face the rest of the summer!

My husband treated me to a local Italian restaurant, Bari. This place never disappoints, so it was truly the perfect way to end  a long birthday weekend. Having been together for almost 5 years, going to restaurant doesn’t always feel like a date anymore. This one really did. A gift of time and resources dedicated just to me and my choices.

So many gifts from so many different sources – really makes a girl appreciate the life she has.


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