Realistic Cooking Ideas

for Busy People! And sharing our life adventures along the way!

Birthday card from Greg

Anyone who has a birthday that is close to Christmas can relate to my struggles with having a January 5th birthday! As a child a January birthday was not desirable especially since we live on the East Coast. A January birthday often came with a snow storm and the warning that no one may be able to come over to celebrate my birthday. This is one of my youngest memories on why I dislike snow so much today! Some years when the weather was nicer relatives would come over or maybe there would be a small party with friends. But if it wasn’t snowing it was bitter cold! I always envied the young girls that had birthdays during the warmer months and their great outdoor parties! Of course those parties were simple as compared to today’s parties. Then there was the birthday gifts that came wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. As a child it was interesting to note that no one else got birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper. Only those of us whose birthday was close to Christmas. But even worst was the joint Christmas/birthday gift. As a child you were always suspicious of those gifts. Is it really two gifts or is it just one gift being used as two gifts?

Birthday card 4

What bothered me as a child no longer matters as an adult. Birthdays, of course, take on a different meaning and is less about parties and gifts. Instead it is about the precious gift of life. Christmas and New Years comes with a lot of food and calories. After New Years Day I am so tired of sweets that I want to purge my body of sugar and calories. I do not take in a lot of white sugar so the Christmas season could cause me to go into a diabetic coma if I am not careful! Of course I am exaggerating because I am not a diabetic – but we all know the dangers of the holiday season. So comes January I am ready to go back to my healthy lifestyle but oh wait… my birthday and then my father’s birthday is a few days later! Many years ago, we decided to celebrate my birthday with my fathers and just have one cake. Greg and I do not buy a regular cake for each others birthday. Instead we will either purchase a small cake or have dessert when we go out for dinner.

Birthday card 1

This year my birthday was on Saturday and is the year I touched the last year of my 40’s. The day felt a bit odd being the weekend and knowing another decade of life was close to an end. My husband advice is to enjoy every single day of this year. Many people focus on the past and what they wished they had done or dwell on regrets. I live for today and the future and the possibilities of what could be instead of what was not.

Birthday card 3

This year started out with a hair appointment – kind of nice to be pampered on your birthday! Maybe that is a good sign. I got so many wonderful cards, emails, and Facebook posts wishing me a wonderful birthday. It is nice when so many people take time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday. That is a blessing in itself! My parents called to wish me happy birthday as we will celebrate my birthday with my father’s next week. Another good sign! Ajay and I chatted a bit about ideas for testing articles because I am running out of ideas. He always has great insight and lets face it I love talking about testing. Mike and I chatted a bit about history and his insight on some historical events. More good signs!

Birthday card 2

Greg took me to Mangia Ristorante & Cafe for dinner – it is a wonderful trendy Italian cuisine restaurant. If you did not know Mangia means “eat”! Their restaurant is dark so the below pictures are not the best quality – I would encourage you go to their website to see the pictures of their beautiful restaurant and food! We really enjoy their dinners and atmosphere. We started with a glass of wine and they bring out their home made bread, pizza bread, and dipping oil. I had a glass of Pinot Grigio from Cavit. I love their wine glasses as they are heavy with a sturdy stem and is enormous in size and shape. Wine taste so much better when you have a proper wine glass. I am rather particular on the wine glasses I use for white versus red wine. I would never use the same wine glass for both types of wine. I dislike when restaurants serve wine in the wrong type of wine glass or worst yet use an imitation version of a wine glass.

Mangia Orchard Park Wine Pinot Grigio Cavit

Then we had their Bruschetta which is: Italian crostini topped with chilled chopped tomatoes, onions & shaved parmigiano. You get four pieces which is just perfect and it is delicious!


For dinner I had their Raviolo Rosa which has a wonderful tomato cream sauce. I only have this meal on special occasions since I rarely order a meal with a cream sauce. But this meal is delish and is worth any extra calories! They describe this meal as: Spinach and ricotta filled ravioli in a light tomato cream parmigiano sauce.


Once we got home, we had my birthday cake which was a Pumpkin Roll. It was the perfect cake after a holiday with too many desserts. This was light, creamy, and delish! My type of dessert – perfect pick by my husband!

Birthday Cake

We ended the evening with watching Downton Abbey. We are watching season 1 and 2 again to prepare for the January 29th release of the UK uncut version. I love not only the quality of this series but also the beautiful castle and grounds, plus the artistic filming. I must admit we had to watch it a couple of times to understand the story line – especially since the class system is a bit foreign to us. But that makes this series all the more appealing and fascinating! I rarely ever watch tv without multi-tasking. I might be reading a book, reviewing my email etc. But Downton Abbey is spellbinding and it is my only focus. I cannot wait until the end of January to watch season 3!

10 thoughts on “A Birthday Too Close to Christmas

  1. LizzieJoy says:

    Belated birthday greetings for yesterday. It sounds as though you had a great day. Abundant blessings wished for you for the coming year.

    1. Bernice says:

      Thank you Lizzie – and yes I did have a great day!

  2. Susan says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday!

    1. Bernice says:

      Yes, I had a great birthday as my husband always tries to make it special. Thanks Susan!

  3. meeta says:

    Have a life ahead that is filled with more and more love and warmth!!

    1. Bernice says:

      Thank you Meeta for the wonderful birthday blessing! I am glad we got acquainted over a “cup of chai”. Bernice

  4. Happy birthday for the 5th! Your evening sounds lovely and your dinner looks delicious, especially the pumpkin roll! My mother, brother and sister all have birthdays a week either side of Christmas, so as a family we know what it is like to try and make the birthdays special while in the midst of Christmas preparations. I hope the next year brings you much fun and happiness!

    1. Bernice says:

      Thanks so much for the wonderful birthday wishes! Birthdays around Christmas are a challenge – especially when you are younger. But I have always been lucky since my parents and now my husband make them special! Happy birthday to your mother, brother, and sister!

  5. Liz says:

    Happy (belated) birthday! Many thanks for stopping by foodforfun for croissant bread pudding:-) Love that you follow your passion for cooking even though it’s outside of your day job.

    1. Bernice says:

      Thank you for the birthday wishes! Yes, I love testing and cooking. Both are very similar. At some point I might write an article about it. Thanks for stopping by! Bernice

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Susan Call Hutchison

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