This is 40




I knew I wanted to plan a surprise party for Michael’s 40th birthday. It’s a big date! I wanted him to be surprised and I wanted it to be special. I started thinking about it a few months before his birthday and was feeling a little overwhelmed. I’ve never thrown a surprise party before. I did throw a “sort of” surprise party for Michael’s 35th birthday where I took him to his favorite pizza place and surprised him with a bunch of his friends also being there. That was a lot easier to plan.

But this time around there were more details to coordinate. I was throwing it at the house and at first I thought the kitchen remodel would be done beforehand but then some unforeseen scheduling things happened and I realized it wouldn’t be. Bummer. Oh well, going forward I still wanted it at the house. It’s cheaper than renting a location and easier to plan than trying to coordinate it at a restaurant (and I didn’t want people to be expected to go out to eat).

The hardest part was trying to figure out how to get Michael out of the house so I could get everything ready and everyone could arrive. Michael’s friend Jeremy came down from Seattle and he helped get him out of the house while I cleaned and set everything up!



I wanted to have a Star Wars themed party because that’s Michael’s thing (and I hate Star Wars and it makes him crazy that I won’t watch the movies). It was actually surprisingly hard to find Star Wars themed party stuff. I went to a bunch of different party stores and ended up getting a few items on Amazon. Then I discovered that Michael had a bunch of old Star Wars posters in the garage. Perfect! 😉


I had a Star Wars table cloth, plastic cups and plates. Then I got a Star Wars cupcake tower that I used for the donuts. I used the posters for decorations. I attached old photos of Michael as a child to the balloons and put them all over the house. I liked that idea (also from pinterest) and people seemed to enjoy seeing goofy pictures of Michael as a kid. 😀

I knew I wanted to get Michael’s favorite foods: pizza (of course), donuts from Krispy Kreme (his favorite), and other munchie things. Michael’s mom made her amazing blue cheese dip and a veggie tray.


I saw something on Pinterest that I wanted to make for the party: a PunchBox. It was pretty simple to make but it took a LONG time to do. I ended up doing it when I was in Seattle visiting family. My mom helped me do it and it turned out great. I got a bunch of fun and goofy items and then we went to Archie McPhee’s to get a few more items. Basically a PunchBox was for party favors but a fun way to do it instead of making party favor bags. It was fun to make and I got a bunch of crazy things! Several toy unicorns, a blow-up unicorn horn for cats, a Big Foot air freshener, some various candy and mini booze bottles. I think there was a pirate eye patch in there and some other kid toys that I thought would be funny for adults to play with. So I made it in Seattle and then had to sneak it into the house when I got back and hide it from Michael.




Everyone seemed to have a fun time with the game, so that made me happy! Thankfully the weather was nice so the kiddos could run around outside and play. They all got hopped up on sugar from soda, candy and the donuts. Sorry parents….!




Mmmm Krispy Kreme!

Most importantly Michael was SURPRISED and he had a great time and I’m so glad so many of his friends and family were able to come out for it. Our house is pretty small, but somehow we managed to fit in about 21 people. The birthday boy:


We did presents and some of the people had to leave but a bunch hung around for awhile longer and we hung out outside while the kiddos played with a ball until it got dark.





I would call the party a success! Happy birthday babe!

Sunday Festivities

Sunday was a mixed bag. The not so fun part was having to take all the animals to the vet. It was for their annual exam but the cats were going to be under anesthesia for their teeth cleaning. It’s important, especially for Maya because she had to have two tooth removed a few years ago, but it still makes me nervous!


It was weird not having the pets in the house. It felt very empty without them. Bella did well and got a bandana from the vet when we picked her up. I think it was the equivalent of getting a lollipop from the doctor’s office. Bella wasn’t a fan of the bandana and kept trying to bite it to get it off.


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I was so glad when all the beasts were back home! Everyone had a good checkup. Fat Kitty has actually lost about a pound since his last visit. I don’t know if that is due to running away from Bella or the new “interactive” feeder I got the cats that is supposed to slow them down and make them eat less. Either way, I am happy that everyone is healthy!

After all the pet stuff was done, I took Michael out for dinner for his birthday! We went to Iorio. Partly because I had a Groupon for it and partly because it’s one of our favorite restaurants. Great service and great food every time. I goofed and didn’t make reservations and when I tried, they were all booked up for days! 🙁 Thankfully, we still got in. We went early (they’d just opened up for the night) and were able to snag some spots at the bar.

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The bar seating was nice and not too bad. There was a lot of space and it still felt intimate. We were also right by the live entertainment. There was a guy there playing flamenco guitar and he sounded fantastic! Michael remarked that he was a really good guitarist (and Michael would know). Look at the birthday boy being goofy:

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So we dined at 5:30pm with the other blue hairs. Exciting life, eh? Anyways. One of the things I like about Iorio is that have a LOT of gluten free options. Most of their pasta can be made gluten free and they have GF beer options, too. I got a glass of a a Sangiovese-Cab blend that was sweet and smooth and Michael got a gluten free beer. We skipped the appetizers because both of us had a large lunch.

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Michael ordered the hand-made pasta with spicy meatballs. He said the dish was delicious, but the meatballs weren’t spicy. He also tried to figure out what the spice/herb was in the dish he couldn’t place. He thought maybe it was mint. I had a bite and agreed, the meatballs weren’t spicy but they tasted great. I tasted a hint of lemon zest in his dish.

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I struggled with deciding what dish to get. At first I was going to get their soup of the day — butternut squash bisque topped with candied walnuts. It sounded divine!!! I love butternut squash bisque! But in the end, they won me over with their Ravioli of the Day. I think it’s what I get every time we go there because it always sounds good. This time it was filled with braised short rib meat and caramelized onions. It was topped with a marinara sauce, lots of fresh parsley and basil and pecorino cheese on top. My dinner was outstanding! I ate very single bite and didn’t regret it at all (ok, maybe a teeny tiny bit later when my pants felt a little tight).

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Michael and I shared a dessert. Flourless chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice cream, crunchy chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce and fresh blackberries. It was magnificent.  Small enough not to overpower but also small enough to make you wish you’d ordered two. I was glad we’d split it. It was very rich—melting into a pool of chocolate sauce when you forked into the center of it. Like molten lava chocolate. Mmmm so good!

I’m so thankful that I met Michael 6 years ago (has it really been that long?!?!) and that in a few months we’ll be married. I can’t wait to celebrate many more birthdays together. 🙂 Okay, enough gooey stuff. We left the restaurant full of good food and chocolate and it was still light out. Yep, we were done with dinner by 6:45. Man, when did we get so old? Back home to let Bella out and then we just chilled for a bit. I think we might go see a movie tonight for Michael’s official birthday.