Happy birthday (birthweek) to me

How do you all feel about holidays? I don't really get into the various national holidays (national donut eating day, national ice cream day, and national peanut butter day are a different story). Thanksgiving? eh, it's fun to eat fall foods, but whatever. Valentine's Day? talk about awkward before getting married. Fourth of July? fireworks just don't excite me. I know, un-American. But Christmas and birthdays? Holy moly, I get excited. I dare you to listen to Michael Buble's Christmas CD without getting all kinds of happy. And my birthday--it's always been a big deal to me.

Growing up, my mom always did such a great job of making birthdays special.  She planned the best birthday parties or family celebrations and I always got the "you are special" plate at breakfast. And I feel like it was never celebrated just one day on my actual birthday. It was more of a birthday week, or birthweek. All bets were off the week of my birthday. I could get out of chores, stay up late, talk her into anything in the name of "it's my birthday." It was such a great tradition that I've decided I should just keep it going even though I'm out of the house. Am I right? Or am I right? So, this year to start of my birthweek, my parents came up the weekend before (this past weekend) to celebrate. 


The four of us met with some friends of ours at a restaurant called Napa Flats. They're known for their wood-fired grill and fresh ingredients. We got the mediterranean plate as an appetizer: it came with tabbouli, two types of hummus, tzatziki sauce, some sort of olive relish, pita bread, cucumber, and carrots. Veggies and hummus for an appetizer, yes puhlease. As an entree, my mom and I split an asian salad with ahi tuna, and a pizza. The salad wasn't that great, but oh my goodness that pizza! I really wish I had taken a picture of it. It had spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, brussels sprouts, and white truffle olive. I'm gonna have to recreate it soon and give you all the recipe!

After dinner we went back to our apartment to play nertz and eat pizookies. Growing up we played nertz at all of our family gatherings and it was such a blast. Basically, it's a group game of fast-paced solitaire. Unfortunately, my friend Laurel didn't take it easy on me and she won. Seriously? It was my birthday celebration. But fortunately for me, we made chocolate pizookies and topped them with oreo icecream. Don't worry, all was not lost. (I am a total failure for not taking pictures of those bad boys.)

The next morning we started off our morning well with some almond flour crepes topped with fruit and yogurt (and a little drizzle of dark chocolate and peanut butter). Next we headed off to do some bargain shopping at...garage sales and estate sales. Again, something I grew up doing. My mom passed onto me the thrill of getting a great deal on something at a garage sale. Yes, I had some success. :-)

That afternoon Isaac's parents came up to join in on the festivities. We met them and headed to a park along riverside to have a picnic and play some disk golf. Notice how I'm across the street in the picture below? I wish I could say that is a rare occurrence, but my mother taught me to never tell a lie...

After enjoying the glorious weather outdoors, we headed back to the apartment for birthday dessert and gifts. My mom is so sweet and thoughtful!! Stay tuned for seeing some of those items in future blog posts!


Wednesday was my official birthday. I was a little worried about my first birthday as a real adult in the working world. I thought it was going to be super sad and really didn't expect much of it. Thankfully I was wrong! Early that morning, I facetimed with my beautiful, thoughtful (and now pregnant!) sister who lives in Italy. She had sent me a package earlier in the week, so I opened it while she watched on the phone. Look at these beauts! Hand crafted in Italy. Bet no one else has these featured in their blog...Unless a food blogger lives in Italy...Again, these will definitely be featured in the near future.

After finishing up with my sister, Isaac had me open up his gift. Best gift he's every gotten me! The BEST tumbler from target that has a sealing feature that allows you to mix/shake drinks without spilling it everywhere. If you're an iced coffee addict like me, you've got to give this tumbler a try. He also gave me money for some Bath & Body Works soaps and lotions I've been wanting, along with a really funny card and incredible gift bag...

The girls at work surprised me by decorating my desk with streamers and a sign. We all ate lunch together and then they gave me some salted caramel chocolates and a badge holder. Talk about so sweet and special. Those girls know how to throw a rockin' party ;-).

After work, Isaac and I headed to Panera for a quick dinner before Bible study. Oh Panera, you have my heart. Why do you have to be so expensive?? I got a half ancient grains, arugula, and chicken salad and a half turkey cranberry flatbread. Oh, and we split an orange scone. Having a myPanera card has its perks.  

After Bible study, a group of us headed to the most predictable place for me to celebrate my birthday--Yolatti, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop. Home girl can eat a lot of froyo. We're talking a lot. It's sort of a problem.

 I am so grateful to have such wonderful people around me to celebrate and make my birthday special! I'm off to go talk Isaac into washing the dishes, after all, it's basically still my birthday....