Happy 17th Birthday To My Son!

T Playing Guitar Watkins Glen 2012

Today is my oldest son’s birthday. He turned 17 years old today. To be honest, I have no idea at all where the time has gone. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 17 years since that magical day that he was born. Having him was one of the best moments of my life. I loved him long before he was born but at the first moment I saw him I was crazy in love with him. On the day he was born I recall thinking he was the most beautiful and perfect little being I had ever seen. On his first night at home, RB and I sat on each side of the bassinnette, looking down at our son in absolute amazement. At one point we looked at each other and both said that we couldn’t even believe that we’d done that, that we’d created such an amazing, beautiful baby. I remember for his first Christmas we bought a baby toy or two or three or ten, and a bunch of clothes. He was only a month old but already we knew we wished that we could give him the world. He’s grown up a lot now. He’s a young man making his own decisions – some right and some wrong. We don’t always see eye to eye on things but that’s normal. He’s such a handsome young man. Unfortunately he isn’t nuts about having his picture taken for some reason. I have no idea why that is. After all I still think, 17 years later, that he is one of the most beautiful human beings that I have ever seen. Happy birthday baby! I love you so very much!

Happy 13th Birthday Baby!

Thirteen years ago today my life changed completely. I feel like it wasn’t that long ago that you were born. My beautiful baby, you are everything I never knew that I wanted. You inspire me and make me a better person. You are so loving, generous, caring and beautiful. Your smile brightens my darkest moments and lifts my heart and spirits. Happy birthday! I love you!

C 13th birthday

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom And GInny

My Mom (Pat. @ Here And There) is my most dedicated reader, she reads both Mom Knows It All and From Val’s Kitchen every day. She’s an amazing woman and I don’t know what I would do without her. She’s always willing to lend an ear or a shoulder to lean on or cry on if you need it. I am proud to call her my Mom and my friend. I hope your birthday is a great one and that you have many more! Happy birthday Mom! Thank you for all that you do. I love you!

Finding The Perfect Gift

birthday present

Tomorrow is my Mom’s birthday. Even though money is tight I still want her to have a gift she’ll enjoy. I did look for gifts for her in a few local stores but had no luck finding the right one in any of them. Every year she and my Dad get a bit more challenging to shop for. They have just about everything but that’s not really the problem. The problem is that I’m picky. I won’t just gift any old thing I have on sale, I like to give just the right gift.  Do you have any problems finding the right gift for certain family members?

Bake Me A Wish Review And Giveaway

My youngest brother is in the Navy. We love him very much and are very proud of his decision to serve our country. My Mom sent care packages out to him regularly when he was deployed but they were always full of dry packaged goods because anything cold would never last the trip which can take weeks. Having just celebrated my son’s birthday, I was reminded how enjoyable it is to celebrate with a birthday cake. How sad to think of the thousands of soldiers that don’t have that opportunity. I recently learned that it is indeed possible for a soldier to have fresh, gourmet birthday cake from home thanks to Operation Birthday Cake, a partnership between Bake Me A Wish and Soldiers Angels.

From the website – Bake Me a Wish! is the premium nationwide service for delivery of gourmet birthday cakes. Our cakes are made with only the finest, freshest ingredients by an award-winning family run New York bakery that also supplies pastries to some of Manhattan’s most elite restaurants.

I received a Triple Chocolate Enrobed Brownie Cake for this review. The box was clearly marked Perishable, so hubby knew to bring it right in.

The cake arrived in a box containing a Styrofoam container packed with ice.

Upon removing the ice I found an attractive and regal looking purple and gold box.

Inside the box was a cake, sealed in plastic.

The cake. I can’t even describe how good this cake is. This moist & fudgy brownie cake is enrobed in rich chocolate, blanketed with a shower of dark chocolate shaves and finished with milk and dark chocolate glaze drizzled all over. Then they put an edible Belgian chocolate plaque on top that contains a message of your choice such as Happy Birthday or Congratulations.  The cake looks exactly like this but better. And bigger. And chocolateyer. (Is that a word?)

I found the cake to be fresh, moist and sinfully delicious. The only thing it needed was a beverage to accompany it – I suggest very cold milk or a cup of coffee. This is not a cheap cake that you want to sit down and just gobble. This cake is very rich and heavy and it is meant to be savored and enjoyed. The cake is seven inches in diameter but it will easily serve a group of six to eight or more. A small piece is easily enough and anyone with discriminating taste will love the texture and flavor. It not only makes a great birthday cake but it also would make a great cake to serve or bring to a get together.

Bake Me A Wish has been featured in publications and on network television shows such as Good Morning America, Ellen, The View, CBS News, ABC News, Rachael Ray and today. Only the freshest, premium ingredients are used in the cakes, which are Chof-K Kosher certified. Cakes are available in a variety of flavors  and pricing starts at $29.95 plus shipping. Cakes are baked in New York City, packed and shipped out to their destination. Scheduled deliveries are guaranteed.

Every time you buy one of these delicious cakes it helps a good cause. 5% of every cake order goes to Operation Birthday Cake, a project where birthday cakes are sent monthly to overseas soldiers having a birthday. If you doubt how good that having a birthday cake can make a person feel, check out soldier’s responses to Operation Birthday Cake. This isn’t the only way Bake Me A Wish is showing appreciation and support for our troops. They also make a Freedom Cake, which features a layer of deluxe chocolate brownie thickly blanketed with smooth & creamy fudge frosting, with an avalanche of sprinkles adorning the top and bittersweet chocolate shavings all along the sides.. For each Freedom Cake sold another just like it is sent to a soldier in your name, alongside an imprint of the American Flag.

So who’s hungry?


One winner will receive a Triple Chocolate Enrobed Brownie Cake.


To enter visit the Bake Me A Wish site and then return here and leave a comment telling me one cake you’d like to try and one ingredient that’s in it (besides the Triple Chocolate Enrobed Brownie Cake).

You may enter this way as many times as you like as long as you don’t repeat your answer.


1 – Subscribe to my RSS feed.
1 – Follow me on Twitter AND leave your Twitter name here.
1 – Tweet this giveaway.
1 – Friend me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/valmg
1 – Fave this blog at Technorati AND leave your Technorati name here.
1 – Blog about this giveaway, including a link here.
1 – Place my button on your blog.
1 – Visit  HereAndThere.US (my Mom) and leave a comment on any post (except a giveaway post) there. Then return here and leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you read or learned on my Mom’s blog. (That’s two comments you need to leave for this bonus entry, one there and one here.) Unlimited entries for this method of entry.

Leave an additional comment for each entry you qualify for. You must have completed the first entry according to the instructions to be eligible for any bonus entries.


US addresses only please. This contest will end on Tuesday 07/21/09 at 11:59 pm est.  If you’ve entered any of my giveaways before then you know that only comments containing all of the requested information will be eligible for entry. The winner must contact me to confirm they wish to receive the prize within two days of my email notifying them they’ve won.  Good luck to everyone! Members of my own family are not eligible to win but are still welcome to leave a comment.


Happy birthday TJ!

I write this in absolute amazement that you are now a teenager.  You’re a smart, handsome, funny young man that’s growing up so fast that I can’t believe it. It seems like the years have flown by. The night we brought you home from the hospital I stayed awake all night, sitting in a chair staring down into the bassinet in amazement that someone so small, beautiful and perfect had come from your father and me. I know that this birthday was not the easiest for you, and I am so proud of how understanding you have been and the way that you have handled yourself. I love you very much.

Halloween’s just around the corner

I stopped at the party supply store this past weekend to pick up a couple of things for my son’s 9th birthday party. I was shocked to walk in the door, on the fifth of July, and see an aisle with Halloween costumes. The girl behind the counter told me they were starting to bring in more stock for Halloween. I can see the advantage to selling them this early. People that buy early can choose what they want and not fight the terrible crowds that start forming in September.

I don’t dress for Halloween on a regular basis because I never see many costumes I’d be interested in wearing. I did find one I liked in the couples costumes section on the Halloween Adventure website. The costume is for adults, one half of the couple dresses as bacon and the other half of the couple dresses as eggs. I love bacon and eggs! I think that’d be a fun costume to go out in with someone else, even if it was to just walk the kids around.

Halloween Adventure is a website that sells anything you can think of for Halloween. They carry costumes for adults, children and even pets. They also carry accessories, makeup, hats, wigs, masks, decorations and props. They even carries costumes for other holidays and events. All of the costumes are categorized. The advanced search feature is very nice, it allows search by category, size, material, price and keyword. Halloween Adventure has locations across the United States and sell online as well. The selection is huge, much bigger than anything you’ll find in a department store. Get a jump on the crowds and start your Halloween planning and shopping now, at Halloween Adventure.