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On Turning 27

October 6, 2014

Christmas Card Photo 4 (B&W)
Yesterday I turned 27. I’ll admit that for the first 10 minutes of my birthday I totally forgot how old I was. I looked into the mirror in the bathroom and thought to myself, “I think I’m really going to like 28″ only to realize a few minutes later that I was actually 27. I guess it takes the sting off getting older when you’re prematurely aging yourself!

I’ve always taken the opportunity on my birthday to look back on the previous year and reflect, and 26 certainly gave me plenty to reflect upon. It was a year that started in my favorite place on earth, Gainesville watching my beloved Gators play with my dad and Joe,which is pretty much the best start I could imagine. I was in a strange place at the start on my 26th year, having just miscarried our first baby, I was filled with questions about our family’s future. Did we want to start trying to have a baby? What would the future hold and what would the road ahead look like?

When I look back at the past year, I feel pleased with how it was lived. There were plenty of tears but also lots of sweet memories, too. And when I look back, I’m glad that we chose to look beyond the harder moments and embrace both the good and bad of the past 12 months, because we certainly had our share of joys along the way as well.

Today, I’m kicking off my first full day of being 27 by going to our 19/20 week ultrasound. This afternoon we’ll find out if our little one is a boy or a girl (!!) and we’ll get to see him/her for the first time since our 12 week ultrasound, which feels like such a long time ago.  It seems so appropriate to start the year focusing on our baby, since 27 is (God willing) going to be the year that we welcome our first little baby into our family here on earth.

I’m filled with SO many questions as I start my 27th year. Will I be a good mother? How will Joe and I adjust to being (sleep-deprived) parents? I wonder what it will look like to welcome my 28th year and how different it will look from this most recent birthday. The last few weeks have, for a variety of reasons, reaffirmed to me how uncertain the future really is and what little control we have over many of the major events that shape our lives.

If you’ve followed the news, then chances are you’ve heard that those at my company (myself included) are facing a lot of job uncertainty. There is the threat of Ebola and Isis and worries about whether or not our baby will be healthy. Every day, if I seek it out, I can find more than my share of reasons to be fearful about the future. But I’m promising myself that 27 is going to be a year of walking out in faith, trusting that God has our future in His hands, believing that His plans really are best.

Madison

Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

September 13, 2010

One of these Mondays I’m going to be able to post about my relaxing, leisurely weekend where I got lots of sleep, painted my toenails, caught up on laundry and read all my untouched magazines cover-to-cover. But that day is not today. I’ll spare you the details only to say it was a crazy, whirlwind of a weekend and I’m still scratching my head wondering where Saturday went.

In addition to traveling eight hours in the car on Saturday to see J’s little brother play football, it was a weekend spent celebrating J’s 23rd birthday! He might not have seen the reason to cause a fuss, but I most certainly did. I’m a big believer in the concept of ‘birthday weekends’ and was intent on making the entire three days a celebration of the man I love.

There were birthday cupcakes on Friday night when he arrived and a birthday dinner in Minneapolis with family on Saturday night after the game; there was also a man making balloon animals at the restaurant who catered to my request that he make J an birthday balloon hat to wear during dinner. And when his actual birthday arrived on Sunday, I put candles in both his chocolate chip pancakes and his sandwich at lunch. Like I said, birthdays are a big deal around here. 

Since J isn’t a huge fan of overly-sweet desserts, I passed on most of my original ideas and decided to go with a simple spiced cupcake topped with a small dollop of peanut butter buttercream. Had this been my own birthday celebration there would have been a whole lot more buttercream involved. Thankfully, the birthday boy is generous and let me steal the buttercream off another cupcake to make up the difference.

Happy birthday, J!

Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
Cake
*1 stick butter, softened
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup self-rising flour
*1/2 cup buttermilk 
*2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Buttercream
*1 stick butter, softened
*1/2 cup peanut butter
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1-3 Tbsp. milk (start with 1 and add more if you want a thinner consistency)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and peanut butter and beat until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract until combined.
*Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in the self-rising flour until just combined, followed by the milk, then the all-purpose flour, being sure not to over beat and only mixing until ingredients are just combined.
*Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
*Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, followed by the milk, beating until smooth and creamy.
*Pipe or spread buttercream atop the cupcakes. Candles optional. :)

Happy Baking!

madison

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