A Beautiful, Beachy Birthday

October 10, 2009

The day started out beautiful – Operation Beautiful!

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Caitlin is calling for creative submissions for the Operation Beautiful book. With beach on the mind, I thought a message in a bottle would be fun. How cool would it be for someone to find this a few months from now and email Caitlin!

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Capping the bottle (former New Castle glory!)

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After our project, we set out on our kayaking adventure –

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Two hours of beautiful marsh later….

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It was way past lunchtime and we were hungry. We quickly made our way to the beach for lunch, thankful we’d already packed up sandwiches

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We had Whole Grain Goodness with pepper jack and ham and honey mustard

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We also packed a bag of produce each – an apple, a carrot, some grapes

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And some Barney Butter!

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Matt put some on his apple

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And me on my carrot!

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I didn’t end up eating my apple due to being full from some home brew x2 small cups

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The afternoon was spend with this. I finally finished the book. It wasn’t my favorite, but it did get really good by the end. Can’t WAIT to see the movie. Love Rachel McAdams!

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Around 5PM the clouds started rolling in

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Booo. But as soon as I was packed up and ready to go, the sun came back out and we stayed another hour playing frisbee!

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The next event on the agenda was cocktail hour! Best time of day and the most fun times with mi familia.

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We had quac and chips (I had just a few of each)

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And some Toad Hollow Chardonnay from Healdsburg!

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Matt did a peach barley wine tasting, but I was not a fan

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Around 8PM, we started on dinner.

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Toasting walnuts for the salad –

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Homemade dressing with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey mustard, 2 tbsp lemon, pinch salt, pepper and garlic salt and a big 2 glugs of orange juice –

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On the menu –

Confetti Shrimp + Grits with Feta + Walnut Salad + Honey Wheat Rolls

The Shrimp + Grits Variation Here!

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Carolina shrimp sautéed with carrot, peppers, baby spinach and Old Bay

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This huuuuuge batch of "grits" was really a mixture of millet and amaranth cooked with butter and drizzled with agave nectar –

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The salad was a simple green leaf lettuce with tomato, mushroom, feta and walnuts we toasted in a skillet

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What would a Younger-Monson meal be without Great Harvest Honey Wheat Rolls!?

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And of course wines..

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I had some Bianco

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Everything was delicious

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Shared my roll with Matt –

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Cheers –

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Splash – O – Red

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After we digested a bit (walks / swinging / etc. ) we rendezvoused (sp?!) for cake!

Our family friend Sara Coleman started a bakery in Raleigh – The Cupcake Shoppe. Last night’s cupcakes came from her bakery, and she made the Octoberfest birthday cake just for us.

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We dined on candy corn while we prepared the cake!

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Mom did a hilarious reading in honor of our birthdays about a papa who doesn’t like onions [neither Larbs or I do]. Hilarious.

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I procrastinated celebrated the end of 26 years with 2.5 slices :mrgreen:

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It was vanilla bean with strawberry buttercream filling. My was it delicious!

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The leftover wedge.

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Larbs and I exchanged gifts. We got her Crate + Barrel placemats + napkins and she and Matt got me….STEMLESS WINE GLASSES!! So in love.

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Everyone else is dreaming of sugar plums and I am still typing.


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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 theskinnyplate October 10, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Wonderful beach day for sure. The Time Traveler’s Wife movie made me cry, but the book was more touching. I love Rachel McAdams in The Notebook and can’t wait to see her in Sherlock Homes.


2 Heather October 10, 2009 at 11:38 pm

This may be one of your best posts ever. Beautiful photos, beautiful narrative. I feel like I’ve just had a mini vacation, myself.

Question: Is your mother an English professor? Both of your parents seem so academic!


3 Help Meghan Run October 10, 2009 at 11:41 pm

I think this is officially my favorite post. :) Just gorgeous all the way around!


4 Jemima October 10, 2009 at 11:43 pm

An amazing cake! Totally looks like it deserved 2.5 pieces worth!


5 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) October 10, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Happy early birthday!! I saw your Canon (or something like it) today and desperately wanted to steal….I mean buy…it!! Your photos are gorgeous!! Super creative Operation Beautiful note too!


6 Ashley October 11, 2009 at 12:01 am

cake = DROOL Glad you’re enjoying your trip!


7 Sara October 11, 2009 at 12:06 am

I agree with the others; super post. What a beautiful, glimmering day and lovely family.


8 Kat (Kat's Daily Plate) October 11, 2009 at 12:17 am

Looks like such a fun night. Your family is beautiful! Happy birthday!


9 Jenn (www.j3nn.net) October 11, 2009 at 12:39 am

I think this is one of the best posts of the year! Love the beach picnic + dinner party. All the food looks delicious. Awesome pics. 😀 Looks like a FABULOUS time!!



10 Linda October 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

happy birthday kath! you and your sister are the cutest.


11 Bronwyn October 11, 2009 at 1:18 am

Looks like a beautiful day.

Love your Operation Beautiful post it note!


12 maria October 11, 2009 at 2:56 am

Happy birthday! Seems like you’ve had quite an awesome time celebrating! What more could you want?


13 Madelin @ What is for breakfast? October 11, 2009 at 4:35 am

Your photos with your new camera are so beautiful! And that cake looks awesome :)


14 Julie October 11, 2009 at 6:11 am

Beautiful pictures, looks like a fun time!
I tried reading the time travelers wife a while ago and I could not get into it. I had to stop reading it. I could never tell what time period it was set in. The narrator or main character or whoever talked like it took place in the early 1900’s, yet it was modern day. I didn’t like that.


15 April October 11, 2009 at 6:20 am

I hope you guys kissed before the pepper jack 😉

I love your photos and creativeness!! When scrolling through reader I instantly know your pics without know it’s your blog 😀


16 sarah (ghost world) October 11, 2009 at 6:39 am

ohhh looks like a wonderful trip! :) so much family love.

my sister lives in raleigh and told me about the cupcake shoppe!! i definitely plan on trying it sometime!


17 Simply Life October 11, 2009 at 6:40 am

What a fun day! Your dinner looks amazing!


18 Spotty Prep October 11, 2009 at 7:01 am

I love your variation on the shrimp & grits :) That’s one of my favorite meals!

I actually liked The Time Traveler’s Wife movie waaay better than the book. The aspects of the book that I didn’t like didn’t make it into the movie :)


19 Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 11, 2009 at 7:37 am

Oh Kath . . . . 1) super creative with your OB project 2) your beach day looked super romantic 3) I wish it was my birthday and I was in your family as well!


20 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 11, 2009 at 7:44 am

Looks like so much fun! Family time is the best. I love to kayak.


21 Ashley October 11, 2009 at 7:51 am

Oooo, the Cupcake Shoppe! I’ve never been in the store but I have had some of their cupcakes at BugFest (when they’re covered in gummy worms)–so good!


22 CaSaundra October 11, 2009 at 7:52 am

Looks like you had a fun/busy day!!! I love beach life, I wish I could live it more than a week for spring break!

That cake is soo adorable–and looks delish!


23 Heather October 11, 2009 at 7:55 am

Um, Kath, your arms? They are AMAZING!

Your Operation Beautiful note is awesome, as well.


24 Susan October 11, 2009 at 8:03 am

Happy birthday! 😀 I agree that the pics are all gorgeous! I love the shots of you throwing the bottle in the water – I hope it finds someone!


25 Mara @ What's for Dinner? October 11, 2009 at 8:15 am

any birthday with guacamole, the beach, and cake is a good one for sure! Happy Birthday :)


26 Erin October 11, 2009 at 8:21 am

That cake looks amazing! And the pictures too! I’m glad it was such a great day – and the striped dress picture really shows off your hard work at the body sculpting class! Look at those guns! 😉

Happy Birthday!!


27 Lucy October 11, 2009 at 8:31 am

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now – it’s great! I was wondering what you would think of that book. Overall I liked it but there were parts that just didn’t make sense (like when he would go visit himself in the past or future??) Anywho, I like to hear other people’s perspectives on books I’ve read. Also, LOVED your Operation Beautiful idea – I want to submit one but haven’t thought of anything that creative:) And, finally, I loved your recap of your family dinner at the beach. It totally reminded me of when my family gets together – such fun times!


28 Daria @ Daria Can Cook October 11, 2009 at 8:32 am

Happy birthday!! Looks like the ideal celebration. :)


29 Nicole October 11, 2009 at 8:36 am

Happy birthday 😀 It seems like a fabulous birthday celebration.

Your Operation Beautiful note is so creative!!


30 Lizzy October 11, 2009 at 8:45 am

That cake is wonderful and i’m so glad that you enjoyed it! :) Your new glasses are amazing and i know you’ll enjoy them so much!


31 Emily, homecookedem October 11, 2009 at 9:04 am

What a gorgeous meal! Looks like a lovely day!! :)


32 Simone @ P:T October 11, 2009 at 9:06 am

This post makes me want to go hop on a plane and go see my family!!! Looks like you are having an awesome trip and a nice “summer” flashback type day. That cake looks AMAZING, but then again I love anything vanilla with vanilla, and your new camera makes all these pics look freakin’ fantastic. Enjoy the rest of your trip!!


33 Kristin (Kristins Nibbles) October 11, 2009 at 9:09 am

What a great note!
Love the feast, and the CAKE!
Happy Birthday!!



34 Kristen October 11, 2009 at 9:11 am

What a lovely lovely day! Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!


35 Tammy October 11, 2009 at 9:38 am

I hope you had a very happy birthday! Wow, I’d forgotten about grits — I was really into them when I went to college in Wilmington, NC — I’ll have to revisit them and my college days again soon! Thanks for the reminder!


36 Food Makes Fun Fuel October 11, 2009 at 9:45 am

That cake is so cute. What a fun time!


37 Sues October 11, 2009 at 9:51 am

Happy birthday!! Looks like you had an awesome one… And I love your Operation Beautiful idea!!


38 Sheri October 11, 2009 at 10:00 am

Happy Birthday! Your cake looked so awesome!

Love your Operation Beautiful message idea…so cool! I must say your arms are looking pretty toned!

Looks like you are having a great time with your family.


39 caitlin October 11, 2009 at 10:05 am

awesome entry for operation beautiful :)


40 Julia October 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

What a beautiful post!
Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures:)

xxx Julia (Taste of Living)


41 Kath October 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

Yes, my mom is very literary : ) She has a MS in library science, is a writer and is currently teaching writing + composition at a community college.

Other Heather + Sheri,
Ha – you made my day! Thanks!

Yes, I was very confused at times. I think I would need to re-read it to catch even more details!



42 eggie October 11, 2009 at 10:48 am

how about planting the operation beautiful message in the garden for someone to discover while gardening.


43 rebecca October 11, 2009 at 11:08 am

oooh well i see my sister (sarah) already commented about the cupcake shoppe, but i’ll second that =). love their mini cupcakes in all the different flavors…


44 Cynthia (It All Changes) October 11, 2009 at 11:43 am

What a creative way. You just gave me a great idea :-)


45 nicole October 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I love kayaking! We just learned how to this summer with the kids and they loved it.

Your arms look amazing in that one picture!

Happy Birthday!


46 Kasey @ Fit For Wellness October 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm

What an awesome Beach Bday! That dinner looks amazing :)


47 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 11, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Happy first birthday celebration!! Looks like an amazing time.


48 Jess October 11, 2009 at 1:11 pm

You are so creative, Kath!


49 Bridget October 11, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Looks like you had a great birthday!! That cake looked soooo good, and your dinner looked amazing!


50 Chloe (Naturally Frugal) October 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Damn Kath, you have some sweet guns :)

If only my arms would look like that – so inspiring!

What a lovely birthday, have a great rest of your trip!


51 lynn (The Actors Diet) October 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm

happy bday kath! those “grits” look terrific.


52 Krissy (Single Serving) October 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Best birthday wishes!! Sounds like such a wonderful way to celebrate. Everything looked so delicious too!


53 Erika October 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Kath, I’ve been to the Cupcake Shoppe in Raleigh!! It was absolutely fabulous…I had the carrot cake cupcake!!!

Happy BDAY~


54 Andee (Runtolive) October 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Great menu, you guys are so creative. Cake looks amazingg


55 Jaclyn October 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Happy early Birthday! Your sister looks so much like your mom!


56 Nicole October 11, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I love this post….the ideas, the WINE, the pictures. Vacations, especially those spent on the beach, are so inspiring. Enjoy the rest of your time there and have a safe trip home. Happy Birthday!!


57 Jenna October 12, 2009 at 10:56 am

such a cute pic of you and matt 😉


58 Laura October 12, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I lived in Raleigh for two years and love, love, LOVE the Cupcake Shoppe! Unfortunately, I no longer live there, so I am super jealous of your cake and NC adventures in general. Jealous in a good way, that is 😉


59 Gavriel March 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

What a fabulous post! Happy birthday! It looks like such a fun day!


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