It's Birthday Time!

 

I'm still a kid when it comes to my birthday. I wake up ecstatic and there's very little that can shake me on MY day. Other holidays you share with the world, but on your birthday, it's YOUR day.  This year as I step deeper into my 30's, I've been thinking about the year behind me and the year I have unfolding before me.

Last weekend, I was talking with some girl friends about how we as women treat ourselves.  We are our own worst enemy and are harder on ourselves than anyone else, most of the time unnecessarily harsh.  This conversation got me thinking about things I want to change and do differently, and what better day than my birthday for reflection?

First, I'm going to be kind to myself.  I find that when I'm alone, I speak in a harsh manner.  Expecting and demanding more, always feeling that there's more to conquered and accomplished. It's funny, because I actually enjoy my own company and I like being alone at times. I've explored cities, traveled, eaten at restaurants and lived, all alone. If I truly enjoy my own company, why is it that I harbor little compassion for myself?  I wouldn't speak that way to my niece or my best friend, both of whom I adore. A change in the upcoming year: I want to speak with a kind heart and not be so hard on myself.

The second goal for the year, is learning how to take a compliment.  This is usually how the scenerio plays out:

Friend: "Your house looks great.  I like what you've done around here!" Me: "Oh, thank you. It's coming along, but I really wanted to have more done by now.  I feel as if there's always more that I can be doing (see paragraph above)."

My New, older response:

"Thank you."

Really.  It's just that simple.  No conditions or caveots on the gratitude.  Just a simple "thank you."

Now, I must run to get my Birthday Celebration started!

 

Friendship = Peanut Butter + Chocolate

A dear friend of mine was celebrating a mile stone in her life, and I wanted to do something special for her.  I had in my mind earlier in the week that I wanted to try out a recipe that I had not yet made, so the timing worked out well.  But, for me, what worked out the best was the reason. The recipe was for my grandmother's Buckeyes, which are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, otherwise known as a homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  I was thrilled when I was recently given this recipe, as I felt it was a memory of mine, of my grandmother, that I could recreate and share. Like many that pass on, I miss my grandmother everyday.  When I was struggling during the marathon portion of the Ironman, I looked up to the sky and started talking to her.  There are things that I will never be able to say to her, face-to-face.  She will never meet my children, nor will she see me walk down the aisle.  I will never be able to look her in the eyes again, to tell her how much I love her and I will never again hear those word from her.  I'll never hear her tell me that she's proud of me for the choices that I've made in my life, nor will I hear anymore of her hilarious jokes.  She would tell us "at her age, she has earned the right to say whatever I want!" But, I can tell the people that are in my life now just how much they mean to me.  I can tell my friends that I'm proud of them and I can show up to celebrate.  I can give my friend a hug when she's accomplished great things in her life. And I can show up with a box of homemade Buckeyes, recipe by Gran, made with love and delivered with a pretty bow on top.

Ingredients:

4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

2 sticks of butter

1 1/4 cup of peanut butter (I used the natural peanut butter, which provided the recipe with a bit more oil)

Steps:

1) Cream the peanut butter and butter in a mixer

2) Add the sifted powdered sugar a little bit at a time.  Do not pour all of the sugar in at once.  If you see the mixture getting dry, you have added enough and may not require all 4 cups.

3) Once the ingredients have formed a mousse like texture, place in the freezer for an hour.

4) After removing the bowl from the freezer, take a spoonful of the mixture and roll it between your hands to make a small ball.  The mixture will be frozen, but the heat from your hands will soften the mixture enough to form a ball.

5) Put the Peanut Butter balls back into the freezer as you temper chocolate over the stove. You can use a double boiler or simply place a pot with 1-2 inches of water on the stove, and put a bowl on top of the pot.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

6) Stir the chocolate constantly, until it melts, adding 1-2 tablespoons of milk or cream.

7) Once the chocolate has melted, use a toothpick to pick up the peanut butter ball and dip it into the chocolate.  You can also use a spoon to spoon chocolate onto the top, to ensure that the whole piece is covered.  Another option is to not cover the top with chocolate, to let the peanut butter show through.

8 ) Once they have all been covered in chocolate, place them back into the freezer to harden.

9) ENJOY!

Tip:

If the peanut butter balls become soft as you're dipping them, put them back into the freezer for 10 minutes. I would suggest dipping one plateful at a time, which another plate of balls remain in the freezer until you're ready to use them.

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing you a very Happy, Healthy and wondrous 2011...

Today, I'm going to spend sometime reflecting on the positive elements of 2010 and making a few notes on the places that could use come TLC, through changes, in 2011.

Spending time with family, friends and loved ones later this afternoon will start the year off right.

All the best to you on the first day, of the new year!