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  • Jennifer Stewart

Forty


I am 40. How did that happen? I use to think 40 year olds were old. Like REALLY old. I clearly remember celebrating my parents 40th birthday when I was 10… my dad had a boob cake (like the 3D kind) and we celebrated at a local dive bar. I remember my mom’s was at our house.. I went trick or treating and we had a lot of family over. It was a big deal to turn 40 and I suppose it still is.

This year on my 40th, I am 32 weeks pregnant. I suppose I could say that my life path isn’t like most. Or maybe these days I can. I had chosen to follow a career first … that I’m still following. When I was in my late 20’s I hadn’t found true love and was driven to find adventure. I can still remember that feeling of knowing exactly what I wanted and going for it. Although life took me down some crazy roads, both fearlessly and not. I have a book of memories. Stories. People… so many incredible people I’ve met along the way. After hitting my mid-30’s I wanted more. I wanted a family. More than a career. I valued so much of what my parent’s gave me through life that I wanted to give it back to what would hope to be my own children. So I had to make a change… and with that came a life of another kind of joy. Another kind of value for myself. Another kind of adventure. I’m grateful for this life. I’m grateful for the journey I’m on and although I’m not celebrating this 40th on an exotic island with my best girlfriends sipping on delicious wine and getting a tan, I’m celebrating with a full heart. And a full belly.

I’d like to dedicate this blog to my daughter… while she’s still baking in my belly… I want to teach her all the things I love about baking… And all the things I love baking. Starting with this fall recipe from Betty Crocker. It’s fall here and I love it more than anything in the World.

APPLE CRISP By Betty Crocker

Ingredients

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

½ cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup butter, softened

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream.

There’s a song that is special to my heart after all these adventurous crazy beautiful years. A song I’ve sung since I was 19 years old. Once that came along with some choreography in show choir, once that was sung in a very memorably production of Time of Your Life in Chicago, and now a song that I sing to my beautiful babies every night before bed. The 1933 song, "It's Only a Paper Moon" written by Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose was recorded by The Nat King Cole Trio on January 17, 1944.

This pregnancy hasn’t been the easiest. I don’t feel the most attractive these days as I’ve gotten bigger. And I suppose my husband would agree more grumpy. And all a woman at 40 could ask for is to feel happy and beautiful right? But I’m experiencing the kind of beautiful that some women don’t get to feel… the kind of beautiful that is a true miracle. And as I stare at my wiggly stomach every night watching her move and kick and stretch… I’m reminded of the journey we are all on. And for her… her journey is about to start with me by her side. And that is extremely humbling and truly very joyous for a mother at 40.

#natkingcole #bettycrocker #40 #pregnancy #applecrisp #papermoon #age

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