It's been too long

Hello Food and Gladness Readers!  I can't believe it's been a month since I've written to you.  I have missed you so much!  My life seemed unusually busy from mid-April until now, that I just couldn't squeeze in the time to blog.   

At the end of April, my family celebrated my mom's 80th birthday!  Since my mom, Joy,  loves birdwatching, birds lead the theme of her party.  She did not want a big fuss for her 80th, just immediate family only, which turned out to be nearly 30 people.  She knew us kids would be coming over for lunch, but she didn't realize while my oldest sister swept her away to get her nails done, the rest of us were decorating her home for the party.  Her expression of shock on her face when she walked through the door was priceless.  I decided to catered the  party; the menu included pesto chicken salad sandwiches, roasted veggie and mozzarella sandwiches, Summer Squash lattice top tart,   Spinach salad with dates, fire roasted tomato-basil soup, and a fruit and cheese platter.  We ordered the cake from McArthur's Bakery {white cake with 4 layers of raspberry filling} which was fabulous!  I thought the birthday cake was going to be the big hit of the day, but it turned out that another "cake" stole the show.  I reached out to my mom's siblings and their children to send a birthday greeting in the form of a photo.  I edited each photo to include the greeting on a banner.  After that, the photos were printed out (4x6 inch), cut, then attached to inverted hat boxes.  I topped the photo cake with a bird nest, relating it to the party's theme.  My mom started tearing up reading everyone's birthday wishes for her and seeing pictures of family that lives out of state.  It was a memorable day!

The following week was my birthday.  It seems like Mike and I have started a tradition of spending my birthday at Missouri Botanical Garden.  This time last year the tulips and cherry trees were in full bloom, conversely this year iris' and dogwood trees were blossoming (see header picture).  It was breathtaking.  But, at one point I literally screamed; that wasn't due to the beauty of the flowers, but a garden snake scared me.  I've been going to the Botanical Gardens for 20+ years, and that was the first (and hopefully last) time I've seen a snake.  

Besides planning a birthday party and celebrating my own, I've been working about 30% more hours per week since March which has limited my free time to blog.  Besides busyness, another obstacle to blogging is my migraines.  Unfortunately, they have been pretty consistent for the last 5 months.  The past two months they seem to occur on my day off of work, aka my day to create and blog.  I was given a new medicine to try, so I'm really hoping I will no longer be debilitated by migraines.  

Looking ahead, I am thrilled to be taking an online class through Harvard University called, "Science & Cooking: from haute cuisine to soft matter science".  It's a 14 week course beginning in mid-June focusing on scientific principles that underlie the everyday and haute cooking techniques.  Since I have a BA in Chemistry and love food, this class seems like a perfect fit for me.  I'll be sure to share some of the kitchen experiments with you.

Some other exciting news: towards the end of Summer, Mike and I will be heading to Spain.  We are both eagerly awaiting exploring this country filled with a rich culture of history, art, and of course food! 

I will do my best in the months ahead to blog consistently again.  I'm hoping to send posts out once a week.  Here's looking forward to Summer, food, and gladness!