January 29th rolled around just like it does every year and I braced myself…my oldest turned 17!  I know, I know, don’t get weepy or sad, don’t reminisce about him being a baby and don’t tell him stories about things he’s done in the past.  Well, I must say, I am very proud of myself because I didn’t do any of those things.  It was truly a miracle because, I can cry at the first frame of a Hallmark commercial and when it comes to my boys, goodness, tissues can fly!  Like I said, I got myself ready and planned the day – decorations, cards, gifts and of course food.
We had a wonderful day and I think the birthday boy loved it too … even the goofy card from his brother, the special gift from dad and the very sweet but sappy card from me.  We had a great day full of special birthday wishes and  celebrated with cheesecake from one of his favorite local bakeries with a few extra touches just to make it “his.”  After 17 years, you’d think I’d have this birthday thing down pat but really, not so much, although I am getting better at it.  At the end of the day, I know my boys are growing up and I love how they are finding their own way in life and becoming men that Rob and I are proud of.  So, Happy Birthday RCM … Mom loves you!

Sugar Balsamic Strawberries

Add a special touch to strawberries with this sugar balsamic treatment.
Prep Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert, Extras
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Donya | asouthernsoul.com


  • 2 pints strawberries , washed and hulled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  • Wash and hull strawberries.
  • Cut each berry into quarters and place into a glass bowl.
  • Drizzle balsamic vinegar over fruit and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Mix gently.
  • Cover and leave on counter until ready to serve - up to 3 hours.

Chocolate Sauce

Add some chocolate goodness to any dessert with this homemade sauce.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert, Extras
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Donya | asouthernsoul.com


  • 4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , chopped
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon extract
  • pinch of good sea salt


  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat.
  • Stir constantly until chocolate is melted.
  • When mixture is smooth, add vanilla and salt.
  • Serve at once or can be kept in refrigerator, covered for up to one week.

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