Tag Archive | birthday

28, feeling great: Confessions

Happy Friday, friends! It is safe to say April is the month of birthdays around here. First was Brandon’s (he is only 6 days older than me) and on Wednesday my sister and I turned 28. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again..where does the time go? I really do not know. What I do know is that I wish my twin sister her very best year yet. 28 is proving to be a huge year for her already! To start, she’s getting married and she just started a new job. Who knows what else the year will bring? I couldn’t be prouder of her. Anyway, since it’s Friday and all, I’d say it’s time for some confessions:

1) It always seems that every year at least one person asks me what it’s like to share a birthday as a twin.
I love getting twin questions, and I always answer this one in one simple word: AMAZING.
It’s amazing to share a birthday each year with your very best friend.
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It’s amazing to grow up and have joint birthday celebrations (twice the cake, twice the friends, twice the fun!)
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It’s amazing and a true blessing to be a twin.
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2)I should have been a wedding planner
As much as wedding-related activities can be stressful, it has truly been such a fun process with my sister and it was SO fun to make her wedding invitations this past weekend.  Although we were very tired of gluing and assembling after 150+ invitations, they came out better than we ever imagined. Looks like I should have been a wedding planner…or maybe just an invitation maker!
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3)I couldn’t have felt more loved on my birthday
Seriously,  I am so blessed. I have the best boyfriend, family, and friends around. The flowers, cards, packages, multiple phone calls and all of the messages I received throughout the day were so touching. Even though I had to be  in class all day, I couldn’t stop smiling from the amount of love I felt. Thank you all for your kindness. 28 feels great so far!
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Also, this was by-far the highlight of my food-related birthday treats:
A Dairy Queen Confetti Cake Blizzard. OMG. All I can say is, if you have a DQ in your area, go order this NOW.
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4) I am positive I have a cauliflower problem
Ever since my Mom introduced me to a gluten-free, dairy-free “cauliflower poppers” recipe that involves nutritional yeast as a main ingredient, I have been HOOKED on cauliflower. I’ll share the simple recipe soon, it is a definite keeper!
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5) 11 days remain…
The countdown is dwindling…Brandon is home in 11 days and counting! I have to pinch myself on a daily basis; I can not believe we are almost down to single digits. Ahhhh!  Wishing my love a wonderful last week with his mates down-under.
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I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Anyone else ever want to be a wedding planner?
Have you cooked with nutritional yeast?
Do you like Dairy Queen?
I am literally obsessed.

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A birthday wish for my beautiful mom

Today my beautiful Mom is 60 years young.
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We started off her special day with a mother/daughter work-out, which is truly one of my favorite things to do together. Having a work-out buddy that is your Mom and best friend is so.much.fun.
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I struggle to find the right words to describe my Mom, because there’s just too many of them: compassionate, giving, loving, beautiful, spirited, kind-hearted, honest, loyal; anyone that knows her would surely say all of those things,  but she’s  more than that too.

-She’s a wonderful wife
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-An outstanding mother
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-A loving daughter
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-A do-anything-for-these-puppies Nana

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-A remarkable business woman
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-A supportive sister
-A caring Aunt
-A loyal friend
-A positive role model
-A dedicated volunteer
-A top-notch cook

…I mean really, I could go on and on!

Today I wish my Mom a wonderful birthday and a spectacular year ahead. I’m so happy to be with you and I love you more than words can say.

I made her a cookie-cake last night to try and express my infinite amount of love for her….what do you think? Did it work?
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Does she look 60 to you? I think not!  If 60 looks this good, bring.it.on!

P.S. My good friend Monique asked me to guest-post on her blog over the weekend. Hop on over to her blog and check-out my ‘starting over’ story here!

A Blessed 27

Hello from beautiful Sydney, Australia! I can’t believe how quickly this past week flew by…between my parents arriving, my birthday, mid-term exams and flying to Sydney, this week was non-stop, but in a good way. I was truly so overwhelmed that I didn’t even attempt blogging once, so I apologize, this is long overdue!

My parents timed their visit just right in order to be here for my birthday and my winter-break, and since they probably won’t be coming back anytime soon, we planned a long weekend of sight-seeing in Sydney. So far, it has been a memorable weekend, and it just started! I’ll be back with more pictures next week, but in the meantime, here’s some highlights from my blessed birthday week :)

My Visitors <3

My Visitors <3

Workout clothes from B!

Workout clothes from B!

New Lulu Lemon  gym bag from my best girls :)

New Lulu Lemon gym bag from my best girls :)

Plane to Sydney!

Plane to Sydney!

Perfect day

Perfect day

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Sydney Harbour ferry :)

I must say, if my first week of being 27 is any indication of how the rest of my year will be, then bring on the late 20’s!

A cupcake and casino weekend

Hey there and happy Saturday to you! How is your weekend?  Between Brandon’s birthday celebrations and preparing for my parents arrival, it has been a busy but fun weekend around here.
Last night, a group of about 16 of us went to Ribs and Rumps (cute name for a barbeque restaurant, I think!) for Brandon’s birthday dinner. It was a great night full of laughs and great food. Check out my meal..I swear it could have fed a family of 3 with just the meat alone!

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I’ve never been the biggest “ribs” fan, but since it was the restaurant specialty, I decided was convinced to try a combination plate of both ribs and chicken. They ended up being delicious, so I’m glad I did, but it was so much food. I am thinking we may take my parents there to try it out while they’re here since my Mom loves barbeque ribs, plus I think she’ll get a kick out of the name and the portion sizes, too.
If you’re reading and you’re from Australia, have you eaten here?

Anyway, most of us went into town after dinner to have drinks, hang-out, and “play the pokies”. This is what they call the slot machines in Australia, which I think is too cute. It sounds much more fun than “playing the slots!” One of my girlfriends won $40, and I was envious! It was a really great celebration for Brandon.
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Surprise birthday dessert
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Big Winner of the night!
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Love these girls, such a fun night!
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With the birthday boy  : – )

Speaking of celebrating for Brandon…we’ve still been celebrating nightly because the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes I made on his birthday seem to be never-ending! I guess that’s the problem with making a batch of 12 cupcakes for two people; we have to eat them all! Not that I mind, these are too good to pass up.  I found this recipe over  a year ago on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet It Is,  and I’ve been making them ever since. However, to make these more birthday-ish, I adapted this batch to include a very special Australian ingredient:
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Basically, these are cake-batter tasting Oreos and they are out-of-this-world good! Mark my words, I will be shipping these home to America when we move back…100%, absolutely shipping them back.

Cookies ‘n Cream Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Cupcakes and frosting adapted from How Sweet It Is
makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I used white flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk ( I used skim)
12 crushed 100s and 1000s Oreos (Or any type of Oreo-like cookie would work)

Directions
1) First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 176.6 degrees Celsius),and crush your oreo/oreo-like cookies in a Ziploc bag, and set aside. Now line your muffin tins with liners. (This really helps come clean-up time and makes the cupcakes extra festive. I chose blue polka-dotted liners that my friend Sarah sent me. I adore them. Thanks again, Sar!)
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2) Next, cream the butter, sugar, and eggs together in a medium-sized mixing bowl until fluffy, then add the vanilla.
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3) Next, combine the dry ingredients in another  mixing bowl and stir. Then add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing them until combined. Then add the milk.
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4) Now add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.

5) Once mixed, add your crushed Oreos to the batter and stir them in with a large spoon or spatula.
Pour the batter into your tins evenly, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you save yourself a taste, you know, just to make sure it’s as delicious as it looks!
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6) Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden on the top. Let them cool, and while they cool, you can make the frosting.
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (You’ll likely have extra, this makes a lot of frosting!)
Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 – 2 lbs powdered sugar (called sugar icing in Australia)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk ( I used low-fat)

Directions
Soften the butter and mix the butter and powdered sugar together, just gradually adding the powdered sugar to the mix slowly, a bit at a time. Add the vanilla, and then mix in the condensed milk, adding more if needed to reach the consistency you want. (I ended up using 2 tablespoons).

To frost these, I put the frosting in a Ziploc bag, cut a small corner-edge off, and “piped” the frosting on the cupcakes the best that I could without an official piping bag. They weren’t perfect but I think Brandon loved them and that’s all that matters to me!
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This is how I presented them, which wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it, but these blue “27” candles were the only candles I could find. At least they were blue and not pink, which is what I almost resorted to buying!
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If you try these, I hope you enjoy them!

What’s your favorite  Oreo, and what’s your favorite birthday dessert? Cupcakes? Ice-cream? Cake? Please share!

Me? I’m a Double-Stuf Oreo and an ice-cream cake kind-of-girl : – )

A Special 27

Hi there and happy April 3rd! Today is a very special day in this house…it’s Brandon’s 27th birthday! It has definitely been a happy day down-under. I have always considered birthdays to be very special, I think in large part because  my family has always been big on celebrating, but I also just really enjoy taking an entire day to celebrate a person. It makes you feel special…right?

Anyway, you know what’s even more special about having a birthday in Australia? It lasts longer! Brandon’s had a 36 hour birthday. Yesterday when he woke up it was his birthday, and today when he woke up it was STILL his birthday. Isn’t that neat? If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is! However, one drawback of this is obviously that our families aren’t here to celebrate with us, so I tried to make it as fun of a day as possible. Here’s some highlights:

-Hanging up a Birthday banner: I love birthday decorations, and my Mom always put banners up for my sisters and me, so I am simply following tradition! ( I also bought balloons but completely failed at blowing them up because I can’t tie balloons to save my life!)
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-Cookies ‘n Cream “27” Cupcakes: Oh.My.Gosh. These are my favorite cupcakes in the world to make AND my favorite cupcakes to eat!
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-Birthday presents: 3 shirts and a couple of un-pictured work-out items, too. I really need some creativity help with boys’ presents, I find it so hard to think of new ideas! Any suggestions?
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-27th Birthday dinner at Ciabatta: Best restaurant in our area, that’s for sure. We ate every last drop of food on our plates. Dessert included a homemade Italian Crustoli with Salted Peanut and Caramel Ice-cream, which tasted like heaven-on-earth!
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-Birthday  “Skype” session and present-opening with Brandon’s parents: Brandon received his birthday package from his parents this morning,  so he opened his presents with them via Skype, which helped make it seem like we were all together. Thank goodness for technology.
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All in all, a special birthday for my special guy. I’m so glad we were together to celebrate, and I am not wanting today to end. Love you, B!

P.S. I’ll post the cupcake recipe soon…it is a winner!
P.P.S. Thanks to my twin sister for the care package I received yesterday! Now I’ll be eating Easter Candy until June! (Not that I’m complaining…I cried I was so happy).
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Does anyone have any birthday gift ideas for males? When is your birthday? Anyone celebrating soon?
My sister and I turn 27 on April 9th…5 days away! Eeeeek!