Construction FOURman

Michael turned four this past September and we celebrated with friends, family, a bounce house, pinata, and an epic cake.

Of course, I spent a considerable amount of time planning the party. (Thanks, Pinterest!)

Our invites were amazing — Michael’s construction hat came from Home Depot and I taped on a few layers of foam I cut out. His shirt was from Old Navy. We were lucky to find a torn up parking lot at our swim school: the perfect photo backdrop.

DUMP EVERYTHING! Michael is turning FOUR!

And I designed some great signage. (Download the set here!)

Construction Party signage

To feed our guests, we went with really large “party pizzas” from our neighborhood pizzeria and made our own cake out of FOUR boxes of cake mix and FIVE cans of frosting. (And it was delicious!)

Dig in: Party pizzas

Construction site birthday party dessert table

The dessert table

Construction site birthday cake

The delicious birthday cake

The pinata was great fun. I made a “4” out of card board, tape, and crepe paper. Tutorial coming!

Party pinata

Party pinata

Michael helped me fill it with construction-themed bracelets, temporary tattoos, suckers, tootsie rolls, and construction trucks. We passed out mini bags from Amazon for the kids to collect their pinata droppings and had the kids decorate plastic construction hats. (Hats & bags sold together here.)

My pinata filling helper

Construction site birthday party decorations

So many hats and letters!

The kids whacked and whacked the pinata and it finally broke. I might have built it a little too well. Oops.

Pinata time!

Construction birthday party

Pinata recovery

We had such a great time celebrating our little FOURman!

Large bouncy house

We rented the perfect bouncy house– and they let us keep it all weekend!

Hanging the pinata

Inside the bounce house. Michael means business!

Happy Fourth!! {Larger than life number sculpture at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor}

So much delicious cake!

Construction everything! Additional party decor

Such a happy Birthday Boy!

ONE happy camper!

Our little man turned one in September and we celebrated in style: a rustic, outdoorsy, glamping style. Here are all of the details of our big party.

ONE happy camper!

We rented a picnic shelter space on Megan’s Island, in between two large fields and adjacent to a play structure. It was a pretty sweet spot. The only thing that would make it better would have been an infant swing, Michael’s favorite thing to do at the park.

The birthday boy

We opted for the Sunday before Michael’s birthday, which also ended up being the Seahawks home opener. We managed to squeeze the party in between Michael’s morning nap and 1 p.m. kickoff.

Food. We kept the food simple with 12 feet (FEET!) of Subway sandwiches, personal bags of chips, Aunt Nancy’s quinoa salad, and goldfish cracker packets and applesauce pouches for the little ones.

12 feet of sandwiches

Drinks. Since it was at a park, and 11 a.m., we decided to make Michael’s party nonalcoholic. We had a delicious hot cocoa bar and juice boxes for the kids. We offered toasted marshmallow syrup, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips to customize their ideal cocoa.

Drink station: hot cocoa bar!

Dessert. I made these s’more cookie bars but the real star of the show was the Costco cake. Thankfully Costco makes a cake that was perfect for our party. We got the “over the hill” design minus the over the hill language.


We had such a wonderful time celebrating our little guy, ONE happy camper!

ONE happy camper!

A couple of other favorite photos from Michael’s big party:

Cake table & Michael’s weekly photos

52 weekly photos of Michael with the same bear in the same chair

Warming himself by the fire


More snuggles! Also: the pants that inspired the party!

Post cake chocolate coma

Michael turns one!

Last week we celebrated a very special holiday on the Island: our sweet baby Michael turned one!

Happy birthday Michael!

Happy birthday Michael!

It’s been a crazy, wonderful year. We’re so excited to watch our little one grow into a boy!

We celebrated with cake…

Baby's first cake: Praline Dream from Bakery Nouveau. Delicious.

Baby’s first cake: Praline Dream from Bakery Nouveau. Delicious.

Cake? Yes, please!

Cake? Yes, please!

"Oh yes, this is good."

“Oh yes, this is good.”

"How have I not had this before?! It's so good!"

“How have I not had this before?! It’s so good!”

"I. Love. Cake."

“I. Love. Cake.”

"Best day ever!"

“Best day ever!”

And a balloon wake up…



Channeling his inner Bill Clinton...

Channeling his inner Bill Clinton…

And birthday pancakes…

Best morning ever: pancakes, whip cream and sprinkles!

Best morning ever: pancakes, whip cream and sprinkles!

And a special cake from daycare. He loved it all. What a great week!

More birthday cake!

More birthday cake!

"Candle? I prefer the cake"

“Candle? I prefer the cake”

The happiest one year old that I know!

The happiest one year old that I know!


Happy birthday, Washington!

The wonderful state of Washington turned 125 today! Happy birthday! (Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, 1889.)

We celebrated with a bottle of Washington wine: the 2009 Cave B XXIV Merlot. It needed to breathe a bit but is drinking wonderfully as I type this post. (We paired it with a big bowl of “pasta:” spaghetti squash, chicken Italian sausage, kale, mushrooms and onions. Now that I think about it, we totally should have made something more “Washington”… Maybe next year!)

Celebrating Washington's birthday  with some excellent Washington wine

Celebrating Washington’s birthday with some excellent Washington wine

Back to Washington. Here are some fun state facts for you Washingtonians (and those out-of-state readers interested in our fine state):

  1. The state of Washington is the only state to be named after a United States president. Before it became a state, the territory was called Columbia (named after the Columbia River). When it was granted statehood, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn’t confuse it with The District of Columbia.
  2. Seattle is home to the first revolving restaurant, 1961. (The Space Needle)
  3. Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.
  4. Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined and eighty percent of the glacial ice in the contiguous U.S is found in Washington State. (We love you, Alaska!)
  5. Washington flagEverett is the site of the world’s largest building, Boeing’s final assembly plant
  6. The oldest operating gas station in the United States is in Zillah.
  7. Washington’s state insect is the Green Darner Dragonfly.
  8. Washington’s state gem is petrified wood (We have a piece at home!)
  9. The world’s first soft-serve ice cream machine was located in an Olympia Dairy Queen.
  10. Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world was founded in Seattle.
  11. Puget Sound’s many islands are served by the largest ferry fleet in the United States.
  12. The forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rainforests (such as the Hoh Rain Forest) in the continental United States
  13. The percentage of non-religious people in Washington is the highest of any state, and church membership is among the lowest of all states.
  14. United Airlines was originally owned by the Boeing Airplane Company.
  15. Popular games Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all invented in Washington.
  16. Famous Washingtonians include: John Elway (football great and Brandon’s hero), Macklemore (musician), Ryan Lewis (musician/producer), Bob Barker (TV host), Ray Charles (singer/musician), Fred Couples (golf), Bing Crosby (actor/singer), Bill Gates (Microsoft Founder), Jimi Hendrix (guitarist), Quincy Jones (music producer), Gary Larson (cartoonist), Kenny Loggins (singer), Steve Miller (musician), Ahmad Rashad (football & TV host), and Adam West (actor).
  17. Washington’s state motto is Al-Ki (Indian word meaning “by and by” — Also a neighborhood in West Seattle!)
  18. We have six National Forests and 215 State Parks.
  19. Washington is number one in the country in the production of hops, apples, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries.
  20. Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest dam in the United States that my Grandpa helped build!
  21. Up to 5,000 wild horses roam the Yakima Indian Reservation.
  22. Washington is home to four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and Homer M. Hadley Bridge over Lake Washington, and the Hood Canal Bridge connecting the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas.
  23. Seattle was the first city in the world to pump Muzak into stores and offices.
  24. Seattle was the first American city to put police on bicycles.
  25. Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock (the state tree!), ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar.

Read more about Washington and our state symbols here.

Happy birthday, Washington!!

Happy birthday, Washington!

Happy birthday, Washington!

Happy birthday, UW!

Today is a very special day for the University of Washington: birthday number 153!


In honor of the UW’s birthday and tomorrow’s homecoming game against Arizona State, I put together a collection of blog articles as a tribute to my alma mater…

Goooooo Dawgs!


Happy birthday, UW!

Happy birthday to me!

I’ve been celebrating my birthday month and over the weekend celebrated the actual day of my birth. We had friends over for a pizza party on Saturday to watch the Huskies win (yeah!), spent some quality time relaxing on Sunday, along with brunch at Roux (I wasn’t as impressed as I had hoped to be) and my annual family birthday dinner at Voila.

Here are some photos of my (first) weekend of birthday fun. I’m looking forward to continuing the celebrations this week and into next weekend!

Beer ping for the Husky game

Beer ping for the Husky game

My personal pizza chef hard at work

My personal pizza chef hard at work

Cupcakes from Stephanie & Parker

Cupcakes from Stephanie & Parker: Delicious!

Birthday cupcakes!

Birthday cupcakes!

Homemade focaccia

Homemade focaccia

Our first skillet cookie: so good!

Our first skillet cookie: so good!

Scallops and beet risotto from Voila! Seattle

Scallops and beet risotto from Voila! Seattle

More desserts for this happy 32 year old!

More desserts for this happy 32 year old!