Happy, Indeed.

Today happens to be my birthday, and in the process of trying to imagine what I could possibly write today for my SIXTH birthday post on Suburban Scrawl, I came up empty at first.

Last year I wrote about things in the world that are younger than I am, like Post-It Notes.

In 2010 I gave myself some goals (don’t ask me about the weight loss goal I made. Everything else, though? DONE.).

In 2009 I wrote about the blessings that are my friends.

In 2008 I lamented the fact that I was turning forty and wrote up a list of forty things I was thankful for or proud of.

In 2007 I wrote about childhood birthday memories.

I guess I don’t have any birthday lists I feel the need to make this year, and I don’t care to make new goals at the moment. I think what stands out about this birthday is that I am very, very happy with the way my life is going right now. I have an amazing family and awesome friends. I love my day-to-day life: I’m doing what I love to do, writing and working in social media. I have the most regular workout schedule I’ve had in a decade at a place that I adore. Though I’m still working out some of the kinks in my time management when it comes to this working at home thing (along with that six day per week workout schedule at The Dailey Method), I’m…content. I realize I’m really, really lucky to be able to say that, and I do my best every minute of every day not to take anything for granted.

I plan to have some fun today. I’m starting off by taking a TDM class with Bonnie (I admit I’m a little scared of her laser-like focus on me, though). After I stop at home and shower (and work for an hour or so), I’m off to get a mani/pedi at a salon I’ve never visited before because I’m writing about it for Nailpro Magazine (Nice scheduling, huh? I did that.). In the evening, I’m going to Lou Malnati’s for dinner with Julesie and J. Jim is on a business trip so we’ll be celebrating my birthday again later this week.

So that’s it. A lovely, low-key birthday, just how I like it. I plan to enjoy every second.

And now, a present for you. Here’s my Apple Bread recipe. (Actually, I didn’t create it but I’ve had it in my recipe book for more than twenty years.) It is one of my most-requested baked goods. It will make you very popular, it will get you invited to the best parties, and it even decreases wrinkles. (Also, the recipe is super easy so it makes you feel REALLY smart, too.) Try it out with your family, but be really, really careful when you’re cutting those apples!

Melisa’s Apple Bread

Ingredient Group A: 1 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil, 3 eggs, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla

Ingredient Group B: 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredient Group C: 3 cups diced apples (Did I mention to be careful?), 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup raisins

In large bowl, mix Group A. Mix Group B in another bowl and then add to Group A. When Groups A and B are combined well, add Group C. Grease and flour either two loaf pans or one tube pan. Loaf pans cook at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours and the tube pan cooks at $350 for 2 hours. Check with a toothpick and when it comes out clean, the apple bread is done!

Let’s go out there and make it a great day, friends!