a local birthday

In this blogging game of "Rewind the Clock", I'll take you back to mid-September, when NS celebrated his 28th birthday at home in Grand Cayman. This was quite remarkable, really, because every year we end up traveling on his birthday. He claims it's all a coincidence. But let's review the facts:

Last year, we were in Paris, taking in the beauty of the Eiffel Tower's sparkly lights. On his birthday.

The year before, we watched the sunrise over Niagara Falls. On his birthday.

Okay, maybe I was the only one awake for this.
[Let's just be honest about who's not a morning person in this family.]
Before that, we were in Virginia visiting favorite friends and checking out historic Williamsburg. On his birthday.

Serves you both right!

And the year before that, we were on a New England cruise. On his birthday.

And before that, we did an overnight in NYC with more favorite friends. On his birthday.

Everything felt bullish back in 2007.

And the year before that, he was in his best friend's wedding. On his birthday. (I kid you not!)

And the year before that was 2005, when he turned 21, and I threw a surprise birthday party for him in our hometown (which was not where we were living at the time. So technically, we were traveling.) But neither my Facebook page nor my photo archives seem to go back that far. So you'll have to take my word for it sans photo.

I told you this was a game of "Rewind the Clock".

Back to 2012. This year, we originally intended on taking a business/vacation trip to Asia during September. The plans fell through, and we ended up going to Israel last month, but had Plan A worked out, we would have been in Singapore. On his birthday.

So yeah. This kid is all, "Oh, a birthday is just another day. It's no big deal." But then we're in some spectacular place every year ON HIS BIRTHDAY. Actions speak louder than words, my friend. And apparently, your birthday is worth celebrating.

Well then celebrate we shall.

Exhibit A.

GOTCHA!!!! You thought I was going to post a photo of a triple-layer peanut butter and chocolate cake, didn't you? Didn't you?! Well, there is a good reason that I posted a photo of Gwyenth Paltrow-style kale chips rather than peanut butter and chocolate, and here it is:

This year, the big event on N's birthday was not a trip around the world, but rather, the end of our first cleanse.

Kind of a big deal. We'd spent three weeks eating clean food, consisting of two liquid meals a day and one solid meal a day. The results were great, but by the end we were ready to transition back into a sustainable healthy lifestyle. That meant including more solid foods in our diet, but nothing that would ruin all the progress we'd made cleansing.

Thus, the kale chips. Just kale, olive oil, and sea salt. It makes them nice and crunchy, and the added salt tricks you into thinking you have a bag of chips in your hands. Sorta.

Also, after being gluten-free for three weeks, we didn't want to just go right out and consume an entire loaf of Italian, so instead of bread slides, I used cucumber halves to join up hummus and shredded carrots for a new take on the cucumber sandwich.

The lovely dish you see above is one of the best granolas I've ever eaten, and I've had my fair share. How can I make such a bold statement? Simple: Even NS likes it. It's probably because it has cacao powder (I used carob powder) and flaked coconut, making it seem a bit like an Almond Joy, as Sara from Me, Redone noted. I made this recipe quite frequently in our post-cleanse phase.

The bowl above contains the ingredients for Breakfast Cookies - great little nuggets of happiness for any time of day, if you ask me.

These "cookies" are only mildly sweet, since there is no processed sugar - only unsweetened apple sauce and a little bit of agave nectar. I made these first thing on N's birthday so he could start the day with chocolate - a staple in his normal diet.

I've found several gems in the blogging world for healthy eating over the past few months. I've mentioned the Me, Redone blog before, and I am continually finding new delicious ways of cooking through that site. I've also discovered the Minimalist Baker blog, which provides healthy twists on sweet tooth favorites, like the No Bake Cookie Bars you see above. Just four ingredients: Dates, natural peanut butter, dark chocolate, and rolled oats. A guilty pleasure, with the guilt removed.

And speaking of a sweet tooth, let's get back to NS and his birthday. We planned an evening beach bbq with friends, but since the afternoon's weather was so spectacular, NS and WH decided to do a lionfish hunt right outside our house earlier in the day.

It helps to have your own tanks in situations like this.
 Like typical boys, they were kitted up and in the water in no time, barely taking the time to wave goodbye to my camera.

Our dock leads to very shallow water, so entry was simple enough.

Oh, there's a wave!

And out they go, looking for dinner (or food credit at Michael's.)

As it turns out, much to their surprise, they really didn't see any lionfish. I guess that's good news for the environment, but it meant a pretty uneventful dive... until... they spotted something much more exciting: A manta ray! These rays are so hard to find and very exciting to see in the water as they can grow huge wingspans and are so graceful to watch. The boys came back pretty stoked. A pretty good birthday dive, after all.

Meanwhile, I was left on the beach taking photos of palm tree shadows. Also very exciting. This palm tree has a tremendous wing span.

In the late afternoon, we packed up a cooler and headed to the Camana Bay Beach (right next to Royal Palms), where one of our friends (who lives at C.B.) reserved the beach area, grill, and beach cottage for the afternoon.

There was something for everyone. Some remained under the shade of the sea grape trees...

...while others were interested in the sea located just steps away.

There weren't enough steps to keep little JW away from the water! She and her dad were busy at work, while Mom took a dip.

Two years old and perpetually happy, my favorite JW moment was when she tried to fill her pail with water to further her sand creation plan...

...which is when her world came crashing down when the pail was far too heavy.

Her wail is still audible in this photo!

JPW had to talk her through that crushing defeat. All ended well.

Meanwhile, NS (the birthday boy, remember) was introducing the guys to his latest beach craze: Spike Ball.

My favorite moments were when WH got involved. His typically louder-than-life self was in top form as he dove and cart-wheeled his way through the game.

 Before we called it quits, we had to sing Happy Birthday to not one but two in our crowd who were celebrating: NS and AK both had candles in their cupcakes, although the wind managed to extinguish them before they could make their wishes. Laughter all around.

Blurry, but funny.
A huge thank you to SS for making the most decadent, rich, heavy, cleanse-erasing peanut butter chocolate chip cupcakes ever. I'll provide you with the link to the recipe, but consider yourself warned: These cupcakes are serious business.

But hey! It's a birthday! And while we might not be in Paris or on a cruise, celebrating in Grand Cayman with wonderful friends is pretty special.

Happy birthday, honey!


  1. awww, i love this post. i do love your travel shots, but cayman pictures are my favorite!!! happy much-belated to nate! looked like an awesome day!

  2. LOVE the travel pics! Now that we have a dog it's not quite as easy to travel :(