Category Archives: Birthday

Summer’s Mermaid Birthday Party

Last weekend my little girl turned FIVE years old!

We went back and forth a little on what type of party she wanted, but ultimately settled on a “Mermaid  Birthday Party”.

Thankfully Pinterest is always my friend and guides me to the best of the best crafters with awesome ideas to create a great party.  Here are some shots from the day. And by “some” shots, I mean, I am sorry for an extremely picture heavy post.

Welcome Mermaid sign for the front door.

Summer helped me “design” her very own birthday shirt. She did a pretty good job.

One of my favorite things in our house has always been our chalkboard wall. The kids play on it all the time and it always gets used for birthdays and holidays.

Our party was mid day so we just did some finger sandwiches, and snacks.

I was going to make my own rock candy, but for real, after reading how to do it and that it can take a couple of weeks for the crystals to grow I decided to bag it and just buy them!

How fun are these marshmallow pops? They are super cute and the were really delicious!

The clam shells were also a big hit. It is just frosting in between two nilla wafers and a sugar bead for the “pearl”

Love my sweet birthday girl!

Everyone loves mermaids– What is your mermaid name? Mine is Mara Aqua Rain

I got these hula hoops on clearance a while back so I grabbed them for “party gifts” for the girls!

Last minutes I decided I didn’t want to make cupcakes myself. I was swamped with other things and was just running out of time. Walmart to the rescue and the colors were exactly what I wanted. I made these adorable little cake toppers to go with them.

A pinata was really the only “game” I planned and the kids all left with bags of candy!

Look at all these sweet girls (and one boy!)! I am so grateful for all of our amazing friends that gathered around my girl to celebrate!

After presents and some cake and lots of playing with friends it was time to wrap up our day of fun!

This little Mermaid was as happy as a clam! Happy Birthday sweet girl!

San Diego Getaway

About a month ago Travis and I headed to San Diego because Travis had a work conference. Perfect time for me to tag along and enjoy a few days away.  I was only staying for a couple of nights but I was planning to relax and enjoy every minutes of it! (And I have a ton of pictures to prove it!)

Grandpa was with the kids, meals made and in the fridge and activities to do, they were set and Travis and I headed out.

The day we left was on Travis’ birthday. We were up at 4 am and out the door shortly after to catch our 6 am flight! So early but we really wanted to make the most of our day once we were there. Flights went smooth and in no time we were in beautiful San Diego.

After our hotel check in we had lunch down the street at Hard Rock Cafe then grabbed an Uber (our first time ever) and headed for the San Diego Zoo. It was the only day we could do it where we could go together. We enjoyed the beautiful weather and all the beautiful animals.

That night Travis and I went out for a pizza dinner at a mom n pop restaurant, where our jalapeno poppers were still frozen/cold in the middle and Travis watched our waitress licking her fingers….

The next day Travis had a day of pre-conference training. I spent the morning browsing local shops and then after meeting him for lunch I took off for the USS Midway. I went back and forth on going there because I was thinking to myself that how long could I really spend there….  but I am so glad I went. It was way more emotional than I thought I would be and it was a great experience. And after 3 hours there, I’m sure I saw less than half of what there is to see.

That night Travis and I were looking for some sea food and ended up at Joe’s Crab Shack. I think I was hoping for something a little more local and had no idea this was a chain, but it worked!

The next morning Travis started his conference and I had an entire day before I had to head off to the airport for my flight home. One thing I needed to check off my list was Chick-fil-a. I know, how silly is that? But we don’t have them where I live and I love chicken strips so I really wanted to finally go.  I spent the morning wandering near the hotel and the local shops in the area, then I took a Lyft to Balboa Park where I spent hours wandering through rose gardens, cactus gardens, botanical gardens, museums and listening to local artists play.  I even bought a cd from a guy named Nathan Olesen, who has an amazing voice.

After wandering around at Balboa Park I got a Lyft and headed for Chick-fil-a. My driver was nice enough to take me through the drive thru and then bring me back to my hotel.

Once I was back at the hotel I had that awkward amount of time where I really didn’t have enough time to go do anything, but I had a lot of time to just sit there in the hotel. So I did what I love to do most, grabbed my kindle and read my book in a kid free, quiet room.

After an hour or two I headed to the airport. There was more than enough time to spare so I took the time to relax and enjoy more my the book I was currently reading. Last minute they were asking for people to check their carry ons. I decided to go ahead and do that because I didn’t need anything from it. I grabbed a couple things from my suitcase and took it up to the front counter to check it.

A few hours later I arrived back in chilly Spokane! I was freezing and instantly covered in goosies as soon as I stepped off the plane! I headed for baggage claim where I waited and waited and waited…. And when the baggage wheel stopped and my bag wasn’t there I knew it wasn’t a good sign. After checking with the airline they said my bag was in Salt Lake City! Whaaat!?! She said they would drop it off at my house the next day! I was so thankful I grabbed out my car keys!! I would have been furious! Around I walked into my house and was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!

And my luggage did come the next day!

Thank you San Diego, you were good to me! (even though I was jealous that Travis was there for a few more days and had amazing 70 degree weather!)

2016 Year in Review

You guys, January isn’t getting off to a very good start as far as blogging going. I have every intention to blog and I have many posts semi ready to share, however, I just cant seem to make/find time do actually do it. So here we are.

I thought I’d start with a quick 2016 recap.

January we spent a lot of time inside because it was soo old outside! We we to Trav’s work dinner, so I had to go before hand to try on dresses and we spent time with friends. Oh, and worked out.

February warmed up a little and we hit the park several times. I turned 33, We attended friend’s birthday parties, we grew grass just because we can, we did math and I won tickets to a Justin Bieber concert. (And Yes, I was super excited) #noshameinmygame

March we headed to Grandpa’s house for a long weekend, saw a HUGE herd of elk along the way. We went fishing and enjoyed the sunshine, but didn’t really enjoy the crazy wind! We picked buttercups at Papa’s house, we celebrated Daddy’s birthday, celebrated Easter, and I took my niece to Justin Bieber. And yes, I took pictures of him shirtless. (See above hashtag.)

In April we attended Zachary’s track meets, Summer and I had a girls weekend while the boys went to Montana, we spent a lot of time at the park, celebrated Zachary’s birthday, and went to a fun day at Daddy’s work.

May was spent outside a lot! We played at the park with friends, lunch dates with friends, Tyler played T-ball, Zachary ran track, we sent birthday balloons to Grandma in heaven, celebrated Papa’s birthday, ran through the sprinklers and Tyler graduated preschool.

June I got to have a girls night with my best friend, kid less, which never happens! We had a play date with cousins from Seattle, we picked strawberries, we finished up the school year, Summer caught her first fish, I made “best friend” shirts for Summer and I. We celebrated our bestie Haidyn’s birthday, Summer got her ears pierced, We celebrated father’s day, we had a huge storm make it’s way through and we watched my sweet niece Kaylee graduate from high school. We played outside on the slip n slide, saw Finding Dory, we swam in the river a ton, and had a big BBQ with our friends.

July was spent almost entirely at the lake, river or pool. Sometimes with friends, always with family. We watched fireworks with our besties, celebrated a sweet girls first birthday, watched many beautiful sunsets, colored Zach’s hair green, went fishing, picked and canned an insane amount of cherries, went to the local theme park and took a fun ride on a boat with friends.

August was another month outside. Lots of time at a beautiful lake, sprinklers and water fights in the back yard, we make bird feeders, we visited the sunflowers, went to the movies with friends, and spent a ton of time at the park. Tyler got to go to his Kindergarten open house and meet his teacher! Zach and I went to Watershed, which is a big Country music festival. We saw some of our favorites, like Chris Janson, Travis Tritt, Brothers Osborne, Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Keith Urban. It was three days for of amazing music, fun food, rides and interesting people!

September was another busy month. Zach started high school. Tyler started Kindergarten. Summer started preschool.

That’s enough for any mom, right?

We also celebrated Summer’s 4th birthday with a fun tea party full of fun girls. We finally got a new dishwasher after ours went belly up, so we changed out our stove and put in a new microwave while we were at it. We went to the fair, where we rode the rides, ate fun food and fed the animals. Plus, Tyler rode a sheep!

In October Summer and I got to have another girls weekend while the boys went to Montana. (where they caught some huge fish!) Summer went on her first field trip to the pumpkin patch, then Tyler had his first field trip to the pumpkin patch. Zach went to his first high school dance and my little Batman and Cowgirl enjoyed Halloween. Tyler turned 6 and we celebrated by having an awesome Batman birthday party. No superhero party is complete with out capes and masks, right?

In November Summer had career day where a Dr and Cop both came to speak in her class. She loved both and now wants to be both. Papa took Tyler to Dad’s and Donuts at school and taught Summer about birds. We did lots of crafts, celebrated Thanksgiving and Travis did a lot of fishing. He also found this awesome arrowhead! Plus the green in Zach’s hair is just about gone. (yeah, that is something to celebrate!)

December was a cold month! We got a new fridge to match our other new appliances, we went to Tyler’s school friends birthday party, enjoyed Summer’s preschool Christmas concert, had a wonderful long weekend at Christmas and rung in the new year with friends.

We had a wonderful year and I look forward to the amazing memories we are already making in 2017!

Pumpkin Poke Cake

Because of all the pumpkin puree I made, we have been eating all sorts of pumpkin desserts lately. One of my favorites was this Pumpkin Poke Cake!

It is one of those desserts that needs to sit overnight or at least all day. So don’t be like me and think that you can just whip it up and eat it right then!

One afternoon I decided I wanted it for after dinner that night. So not thoroughly reading the directions I started making the cake…. And realized I would be eating it the next day…. Bummer for me!


But it is definitely a cake that tastes better after you let it sit! So don’t skip that step because you are impatient! I really thought it was better even on the second and third days. Then I had to stop eating it because it was just a lot! It is so rich but amazingly delicious! So make sure you make this when you can share with your friends or family.


With the cake mix, you do NOT add the ingredients from the box! I was a little nervous but trusted the recipes and it worked perfectly.



After your cake is done, let it cool to room tempurature.


Once it is cooled down use the handle end of a wooden spoon and poke all over the cake.


Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, making sure to get some in each of the holes.



Next you will spread on the cool whip. Sorry for this terrible night picture!


And add on teh Heath bites


Now drizzle the caramel all over the cake and let rest in the fridge over night. You really do want to let this sit for as long as you can. Mine sat for about 24 hours before we dug in.


I loved every delicious bite of this Pumpkin Poke Cake!


Pumpkin Poke Cake recipe from Something Swanky

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 C pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. container cool whip
  • 1/2 bag Heath Bits
  • Caramel Sundae Sauce


  1. Mix together the cake mix, the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until a batter forms. (Do NOT use the other ingredients from the cake mix instructions!!!)
  2. Put your batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes. You want to insert a knife and make sure it comes out clean.
  3. Let the cake completely cool. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake
  4. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, filling each of the holes. Refrigerate for 60 minutes to let the sweetened condensed milk soak into the cake.
  5. Spread the cool whip over top of cake. Add the Heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top. Refrigerate at least 5+ hours but overnight would be ideal.


Have you ever tried Pumpkin Poke Cake? Or any other poke cakes?

Tyler’s 6th Batman Birthday Party

Last week Tyler turned 6. I don’t know where the time goes but he is so big!

This year Tyler and Summer wanted separate birthday parties and because they have had joint parties for the last couple of years (farm party, carnival) I thought we’d go with it.

And since practically every little boys is obsessed with Batman, that is what he chose.


It all started with an invite I found online and attempted to make my own.


I found all sorts of cool ways to arrange balloon on Pinterest…. and then I ran out of time and thankfully my 14 year old son helped me put them up…. at least they’re up!

Everything had to be Yellow and Black and was EASY to put together.



We had lots of fun and this kid was so excited about his cupcake! He picked out the blue frosting because it was “so cool”


I wanted to make a light lunch/snacks and it all worked out great. It was the perfect amount and I think the kids enjoyed the treats!


Bugles = Cat Woman Claws


Sandwiches = Bat Wiches


Pigs in a Blankets = Robins Roll Ups


Boneless Wings = Bat Wings


Hawaiian Punch/7up = Joker Juice


I wanted to make masks and capes as well. I attempted to make these masks with my Cricut but I had some trouble with it cutting felt! That is a setting I have never tried before and I should have practiced before hand! I also made THESE CAPES that turned out great and the kids loved them!


Cutest little bat girl around!


I used poster board and attempted to make a Batman. Don’t judge! haha! I painted it up then I used my cricut to cut out little bats that the kids used to “Pin the bat on Batman”. Sorry for this terrible grainy picture! Tyler’s party day turned out to be a rainy mess of a day and I was glad that I had planned for it to be mostly inside!



Love all these little Bat kids! So grateful for friends taking time from their day to celebrate my Tyler turning 6!!


And I made this fun picture to put in a frame on the table! And it is a PRINTABLE! Click the picture to get the downloadable link!


Tyler had such an awesome 6th birthday!