Sunday, May 25, 2014

Perfect spring day

If you have not had the privilege of visiting the sun room at my parents' house, I would like to extend an open invitation.

I highly encourage you to plan your visit for  a perfect spring day.....like today.

The windows are wide open. The breeze is gently blowing. The birds are chirping and flying about. 

I don't know if I like the scenery or the sounds better. Or should I say the lack of traffic/air planes/sirens/trains/barges sounds?





See! Doesn't that just look like a perfect spring day.

*****
Party #2 recap

As previously mentioned, I have more photos and details to share about some of my birthday celebrations.

The girls traveled from near and far to hang out, catch up and splurge on a great dinner out.

After spending the afternoon touring E's new home and trying to hear as many stories as possible, we enjoyed dinner at Station 220 in downtown Bloomington.



The year I lived in Bloomington, I longed to eat at this restaurant. But it just never happened. So when the Girls asked where I wanted to go for my birthday, I had an immediate answer. Station 220 owns it's own farm just outside of Bloomington. They use local, fresh, organic foods. Most of it they raise themselves. Some of it is purchased from other local farmers and specialty farms in the Midwest.

The menu changes with the seasons and produce available. 
Along with the typical, salad, soup, entry sections on the menu, they also have a section describing the dishes that are options in their 4 course or 8 course Tastings. 

The chef sends out complimentary treats to each/many of the tables. I wish I could remember exactly what it was. It was creamy with bite size pieces of pheasant meat and apricots. I think the topping was a thinly sliced fried onion. But one of the other girls may need to correct me on that. I can confirm that it was delicious.
P went with the 4 course Tasting. I would try to explain all of the dishes, but as you can tell from my failed attempt to describe the first one, I am better off just sharing the pictures and encouraging everyone to go dine there.
 Asparagus potato salad
The soups came to the table with the main ingredients in the bowl and the waiter poured the broth in at the table.
 Brined organic chicken.
Salmon
 Spicy pork dish. I think it was a Korean dish.

Crème brûlée and lava cake

As if all of that wasn't enough. We headed back to E's condo for more stories, a bag of goodies from Trader Joe's and a gift card to Chipotle. 
These girls definitely know my favorites!




Friday, May 9, 2014

I'll finally admit that I celebrated a birthday

It may seem like I am in denial of turning 40 (I can't even type the number 40 because my fingers automatically type 4-H). But that is really not why this blog has been unattended for the past month.

The reason is simply because I have so many wonderful family and friends who helped me celebrate my birthday all month long that it didn't leave much extra free time.

Party #1
Family

We did a game night/afternoon with some of my family. Typically during family gatherings I get caught up in the kitchen or with the kids or who knows what else. I don't get in on the games as much as I would like. So for my birthday I just wanted a chance to play some games.
We started out with a large group playing Apples to Apples. I was so thankful that everyone of all ages gets to play this game and we all enjoy it. As the group got smaller and smaller, we switched games. The evening ended with learning how to play a new card game, Rook with Jeff, Dorie and my parents. I don't have any pictures, because I was playing games.

But my dad did take this photo of all of the birthday club members: my aunt and brother in law actually had birthdays the weekend we celebrated. 

Party #2
The Girls
My next celebration was with the girls. This celebration will get it's own post because there were so many highlights.



These lovely ladies went above and beyond to make me feel extra special! We had an excellent dinner at Station 220 in Bloomington. I am going to hold on to those photos for the more detailed blog post.

Party? #4
Volleyball
The night before my birthday, my volleyball team mates gave me a unique gift.... a concussion.


Actually, it was just a gift from Steve. He delivered his elbow directly to my forehead. That knot appeared immediately. And one month later, I can still feel the bruise and a tiny bump or is it an indentation. I can't tell. I just know it hurts when I touch it.

Party #5
J, C and Little J
The day of my birthday, I originally had planned to take the day off from work and get some progress made on my window refinishing job at home. Instead, I spent most of the day icing my head and neck and getting a chiropractor treatment and physical therapy.

But I was able to keep my evening plans to attend a special play.

The Constitution Play by the 5th grade class was a Broadway hit.
My niece played the part of Oliver Ellsworth. He was one of the men who signed the Constitution.

My nephew also made me these beautiful birthday decorations.
This is probably one of the last photos I will have where I am picking up this little boy. He is not so little any more and it won't be long and he will be taller than me. I was struggling to hold him up for this photo.

Party #6
M-P friends
The next party was with some of my M-P friends. We have had plans to go to a tea party and fashion show for several months. 

It was a fashion show with the theme of Downton Abbey. I loved catching up with these ladies and seeing the fashions. I'll save the fashion show photos for another post also. 

This is a sneak peek of the outfit I wore.

Party #7
CFAs (Cousin/Friend/4-H Alumni)
The ultimate ending of a month of celebrations was a roadtrip with these two lovely ladies.

They combined many of my favorites: photos, an adventure, antiques, good food and them.
It is also worthy of it's own post. I have lots of great photos to share from this day. 

My 40th year is off to a great start! I'm looking forward to the adventures waiting for me in the next 11 months.