Tag Archives: Birthday

The Follow-Up to 30

Last  year my hubby turned 30 and I celebrated big, throwing him a party and giving him 30 gifts. So as his 31st birthday has approached this year, I’ve struggled with how to follow up on all the hype of last year. Really, there’s no way, so I settled on a “normal” birthday of dinner out, cake, and a “normal” number of presents. I think my favorite present to him was the one Oliver gave him- a package of deli sliced chicken meat. They both LOVE it but I don’t buy it much because I prefer turkey. So Oliver bought him a package for them to share. Adorable.

2014-08-14 (11) michael's 31st birthday

2014-08-14 (32) michael's 31st birthday

Michael requested a lemon cake. Yuck. Delicious. A few years ago I was given the book The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn but haven’t gotten to use it as much as I want because Weight Watchers. So I turned to it to search for a good lemon cake recipe. If you don’t know about the Cake Mix Doctor, she doctors up box mixes to make even better cakes. I decided to use the recipe for her Lemon Lover’s Cake (Though, slightly altered because the grocery store was out of lemons. Of course.) (Also, this was definitely not my best decorating effort. It was SO. HOT. in the kitchen and the icing wasn’t cooperating and it just didn’t go well. Please excuse the decorating disaster this one time).

2014-08-14 (14) michael's 31st birthday

Lemon Lover’s Cake (from Anne Byrn’s The Cake Mix Doctor Returns, page 53)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 box (18.25 oz, though, that doesn’t exist anymore, so….) plain yellow or vanilla cake mix (I used yellow but I think next time I would just use white. The yellow taste came through kind of strong)
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) lemon instant pudding mix
  • 1 container (6 oz) lemon yogurt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray and flour the pans (I used 9 inch squares, but the recipe calls for round).
  2. Mix all the ingredients together on low for 30 seconds, then 1 and a half minutes longer on medium, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans.
  3. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. (I baked mine 22 minutes since they were square and they were almost overbaked)
  4. Let cool completely before icing.

In the book, Byrn includes a recipe for lemon cream cheese frosting, but I’ve never had much luck making my own frostings so I bought a can of cream cheese icing and a can of lemon, added a bit of lemon juice and mixed it all together in the mixer. It turned out great!

I think the 31st birthday went well!

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30 Presents for 30 Years

In addition to loving birthdays, I LOVE giving gifts. Especially to my husband. I ran across this post on Pinterest (where most of my ideas come from…) and decided to do a similar thing- give him 30 gifts on his birthday! It definitely took some effort first coming up with thirty items that weren’t just junk, and then going and purchasing them all. But when he arrived home after work on his birthday and saw them all on the table, it was so worth it! He was in awe.



I wrapped them in different papers to create a more “festive” feel. I love how they all came together. It looks like SO MANY presents!! I made those cute number tags so he would know there were 30 total, and so he would unwrap them in a specific order (just because I’m OCD).


It took a long time for him to unwrap them all, which was fun. Usually it doesn’t take long to unwrap presents and then it’s all over with! He opened half before dinner and half after. So if you’re wondering, here’s the list of all 30 gifts:

  1. A card
  2. His memory book
  3. Gummy candies
  4. Flossers (y’all, he likes this specific kind of flossers that I feel are expensive, so he doesn’t get them on a regular basis.)
  5. Old timey sodas (from Cracker Barrel)
  6. Otterbox for his new iPhone my parents got him
  7. Slim Jim
  8. Special shampoo (Again, the shampoo he likes is not in the regular budget…)
  9. Cedar grilling plank
  10. Moon pies
  11. Gum (If you do this, buy more than one pack…. I only bought one and it seemed a bit paltry)
  12. Soap on a Rope
  13. Czech cookbook
  14. Whataburger Spicy Ketchup (This was by far his favorite of the presents. I probably could have just bought 30 bottles of this and been done with it)
  15. Hershey bars
  16. Taco Bell gift card
  17. A DVD of eight Westerns
  18. Reese’s
  19. Brylcreem (Another expensive product….)
  20. Altoids
  21. “Take a day off work and let’s go to the Blue Bell factory”
  22. Shiner beer
  23. A John Deere puzzle
  24. Peanuts
  25. Subway gift card
  26. T-shirt
  27. “Take a day off work and let’s go tour the Shiner brewery”
  28. Polka CD
  29. K-cups
  30. A small frame to put on his desk at work with pictures of me and Oliver


He was very happy.

See Related Posts:

30th Birthday Party

30 Letters for 30 Years

Anniversary Presents

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30 Letters. 30 People. 30 Years.

I knew I wanted to do something really big and really special for my hubby’s 30th. After running across this post on Pinterest, I knew it was the perfect idea. Have thirty people each write a letter about my husband sharing memories about him and aspects of his character that they notice and admire.

In June, I typed up a note to send people:

As you may know, Michael will be turning 30 in August this year! I have been pondering something special to do for him, to let him know how much I love him, and how much others love and appreciate him as well. I know this idea is usually reserved for later years, but I thought it would still be fun now, and will really mean a lot to him.

I am asking 30 people/families that have been important to him to write a note to him in celebration of this big birthday. Rather than be purely focused on him turning 30, it would be great if the note included a funny story, good memory and/or a way he has impacted your life. I want to celebrate moments in his life that he may or may not remember, and I want him to know what he has meant to others.

I have included a sheet of paper for you to do this on. I will put them all in a book and give it to him on his birthday. Feel free to also include a photo if you would like. If you don’t want to participate in this for whatever reason, please let me know as soon as possible so I have time to ask someone else.

Please return this to me by August 1. And of course, this is a SURPRISE for Michael!

Thank you!! I am so excited to see what everyone writes and I know this will mean so much to Michael!

I knew I wanted to book to have a John Deere theme so I purchased green and yellow scrapbook paper and sent a sheet to each person/family. In total, I asked 36 people/families to participate. I wanted to make sure that I received at least 30 back!

I sent them out and gave people six weeks time to return them. And I waited. In just a few days the first letter appeared in the mailbox and as I read it I knew I had made the right decision to do this. It was amazing! And then as the weeks passed more letters came, each one bringing more memories, and for me, insight into this man I’ve only known for four years, but these people had known for much longer. What a treasure it was for me to read how all these people feel about my husband! Checking the mail became my favorite part of the day, eagerly anticiapting what new memories I was going to read and new character traits pointed out. So moving. I could not believe people were actually taking time to sit down and think about Michael and express what he meant to them. Amazing.

I ended up with 32 letters total. Pretty good percentage! I was so pleased. I had purchased a scrapbook to put all the letters into. I alternated the pages so it would be green, yellow, green, etc. And I made a cute decoration for the cover. On the first page I printed out the note I had sent to everyone so he could better understand what this was (and he could see how controlling I was about it….haha).

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I chose to give it to him at his party because everyone there had taken part and it just makes it all the more special for them to get to see him receive it. He tried reading some at the party, but was so moved that he stopped and waited until the next day to really sit down and absorb all these special words.

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I am so thankful for everyone who participated in helping to create this lasting book of not just his 30th birthday, but the many memories that have led up to it. I know he was so encouraged by everyone’s sweet words of love and affirmation.

IMG_2533 Even Oliver wrote one!


See Related Posts:

30th Birthday Party

30 Presents for 30 Years


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Hubby’s 30th Birthday- The Party

I LOVE birthdays. Love, love, love so much. It’s so important to take that one day a year and celebrate someone and make them feel special. I try really hard to make sure my friends and family feel loved and cared about on their special days. This week, my husband turned 30! Thanks to Pinterest, I have been planning this big birthday for well over a year. Kind of crazy, I know. But I have just been SO EXCITED.

This past weekend I threw him a party. In my original plans (like, a year ago) it was going to be a massive party with all his friends and family. But, when it came down to practicality, that was going to be really expensive and a lot of work. So, we chose to have a gathering of his closest family and friends. And I was still able to use some of the ideas I have been gathering.

My husband is a tractor guy. Ever since he was a little kid he has loved working on, restoring, and driving antique tractors. His favorite day of the year is the annual local tractor show. He currently owns six antique tractors, two of which are fully running and restored. He owns a John Deere, an Oliver, a Farmall, a Ford, and two Cases. I had planned to do a “classy” antique tractor themed party, but it eventually turned into just John Deere themed. That’s what most people think all tractors are anyways.

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For decorations I did simple crepe paper and balloons. And I loved the John Deere banner that I found at the local party supply store! My in-laws had the great idea to make a photo display of pictures from when he was younger. Everyone so enjoyed looking at all those photos and reminiscing!


I bought some mason jars and put ribbon around them and used those to hold the knives and forks. I chose to put them on the tables so they could play double-duty as centerpieces and functionality!

I am really into baking and decorating cakes. So that is always my favorite part of any birthday/gathering. I had thought about how to do the cake for this party for a long time. Since my 4th of July layer cake, I have been into doing layers of different colors, so I thought it would be neat to do chocolate, green, and yellow layers. I used cream cheese icing in between the layers and for the crumb coat, and chocolate icing for the outside. (I used a total of six cans of icing! Maybe too much?).  The little tractors I added were some that were used on Michael’s groom’s cake at our wedding and now reside in our John Deere bathroom (I cleaned them really well!!).

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I wanted to have some games on hand to help make it a more “party atmosphere”. I didn’t know if the group of adults would really be into games, but it went so well! Everyone seemed to be enjoying the games. We played 1983/Michael Trivia and Tractor Bingo. I used an online bingo card generator to make the bingo game.

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For food we had bbq from one of Michael’s favorite places, along with cookies and cake. Everyone must have been having a great time because most stayed for over five hours! I’d say that’s a successful party.

See Related Posts:

30 Letters for 30 Years

30 Presents for 30 Years

John Deere Bathroom

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