The Big Party…

Where has the time gone? I last left off menu planning with my brother for my parent’s joint milestone birthday party. Yep, our lives went into full on party planning mode and next thing you know, the party is now behind us and it’s a month later. Wow… Dear Foodiddy blog, I have missed you. xoxo

Let’s talk party…. My brother and I divided up tasks and got to work gathering items. I borrowed serving dishes and party supplies from two different girlfriends, combed through my own decorating supplies, placed orders through various websites and hit up every Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Dollar Tree and HomeGoods in the area. Honestly, my favorite part of decorating is hunting and gathering. It’s all about the search… I love the decorating rush when you score the perfect item and it’s a bargain. Yes, I’m a decorating nerd and it is my favorite hobby.

I chose a black, ivory and white color scheme. The Birthday banner is from Pottery Barn, as soon as I saw it on clearance, I knew how I wanted the cake/cupcake table to look. I wish I had gotten a better photo of the tissue balls hanging from the ceiling… I had originally bought a bunch of them to hang off market umbrellas outdoors, but the party quickly changed to an indoor party when the weather forecast projected a 108 degree day.

I gave my parents the task of selecting childhood black and white photos of themselves, but didn’t tell them what I was going to do with them. Photographs were used in the centerpieces and displayed in frames throughout the house. I pretty much bought every black and silver frame I could get my hands on from Dollar Tree. I even signed Dan up to help paint the black cardboard letters from Jo-Ann’s – they matched the monogram theme of the napkins.

I found all of the ribbon at Walmart and used it throughout to accent things. I had ordered cupcake boxes online, but they ended up only shipping the inserts due to the boxes themselves being on back order until September. Awesome…can’t wait for those babies to arrive, ha! ha!  I was able to find the adorable black and white polka dot ones at Michael’s. We didn’t even end up using them, the cupcakes were too good for leftovers.

My brother took care of ordering the cupcakes from a local cupcake shop. The flavors included:

  • 10K CravingRich carrot cake filled with sweet pineapple draped in decadent cream cheese frosting.
  • ChampagneWhite cake infused with champagne draped in glittery champagne butter cream frosting.
  • Chocolate FixMoist chocolate cake drenched in delicious chocolate butter cream frosting topped with chocolate shavings. 
  • German Chocolate WishRich chocolate cake topped with traditional German Chocolate Frosting. 
  • Lemon BoostZesty lemon cake loaded with creamy lemon curd covered in lemon butter cream.

My awesome neighbor made the cake. It was a last minute decision, but I wanted my parents to have candles to blow out and something to cut into when we did the champagne birthday toast.

The cake plate was borrowed, but I’ve since purchased one from HomeGoods for a whopping $12.99 – so much fun to change out the ribbon… a pain in the butt to weave it through the slots, but worth the end result. The cake was vanilla with raspberry filling.

It’s all in the details when it comes to party planning… I just love it!

I also love the above photo of my grandma Nonnie holding my Mom… adorable. The table runner is a paper one from Pottery Barn. I was worried that it would look cheap, but I honestly loved how it lightened the dark furniture in the room. My brother, Aim and I bought every bunch of white flowers from our local Costco. My girlfriend Carolyn and I sorted through the 10 giant bunches of flowers and got to work on the centerpieces and other vases.

The round black baskets were found at HomeGoods. I had originally purchased the mason jars from Jo-Ann’s – I wanted jars without the “Bell” label – they were $1.99 each. I needed 16 jars and ended up finding a case at Walmart for $8.00. Thankfully I was able to return the more expensive ones. I hadn’t removed any labels or even unwrapped them. Score!

The mason jars had different ribbons – striped, polka dot and plaid. Each basket housed 4 to 6 hangers from Dollar Tree that held more black and white photos. Party guests really had fun looking at all of my parent’s childhood photos. It was a great conversation starter.

I found fabulous black and white eco-friendly straws online – thank you Amazon… They really looked cute in people’s drinks. We rented tables, chairs, linens, plates, flatware and several different sized glasses – best decision ever! Rinse and throw back into the crates they came in.

We had lemonade, iced tea and water at the drink station. Carolyn was whipping up Arnold Palmer masterpieces  for guests. I think my Uncle sliced over two dozen lemons. He took on the fruit like a champ, prepping everything for the platters. Everyone really pulled it together. Dan and his Dad got balloons and extra ice – we were all scrambling at the last minute before guests started arriving.

Aim made sangria the night before. It was sparkling mango juice and pinot grigio with fresh plums and mango pieces from the farmer’s market.

My brother and I made all of the food – except the Hawaiian rolls… I mean really? Nothing beats a good King’s Hawaiian roll – just ask my niece. We spent the weeks leading up to the party testing salad recipes, marinades, meat rubs, etc. Pretty sure my bro, Aim and my niece were all sick of eating meat leading up to the party.

Rob started grilling right when he got to my parent’s place in the morning. We decided on beef, chicken and shrimp skewers. They were out of this world… he did an amazing job with the flavor profiles and guests kept raving about them. The chicken was my favorite by far.

My corn, asparagus and grape tomato salad was a true labor of love. I shucked and cut the corn from 30 cobs. I had picked them up from the farm stand the day before. My kitchen looked like a disaster. I’m still finding pieces of corn silk weeks later. I didn’t follow a recipe. I just sautéed the raw corn pieces in garlic and olive oil in huge pans on the stove. I cooked them at medium temps for about 8 minutes. I then cooled the corn down for an hour in the fridge. I started cooking at 6:00 a.m. – the party started at noon… I wanted my salads to be very fresh. I steamed 5 bunches of thin asparagus and got those into an ice bath. After they had chilled, I sliced them on the diagonal and started cutting my grape tomatoes in half. I used a champagne vinaigrette and fresh flat leaf parsley, salt, pepper and garlic gold flakes. The end result was delicious, so refreshing on a 100 plus degree day.

I also made my Pearl Couscous Salad because I knew my parent’s liked it the first time I made it for a family gathering. It was kind of cool to already have it on the blog, I ended up sending the link to several party guests.

By the end of the party the memory and card boxes were filled with warm wishes from family and friends. Carolyn was in charge of people photos… still need to get those from her so I can create a memory book from the party.

My brother and I honestly could not have pulled this off without the help of our loved ones and our dear friends and family. Moving the party indoors was the best decision we could have made. It allowed for guests to actually enjoy themselves and their meal in the comfort of air conditioning. It was well worth the extra effort that included moving all of the furniture out of my parent’s upstairs great room –  the night before the party. We needed space to accommodate all of the 5 foot round tables and chairs.

The after party cleaning went very smoothly too. So many people stepped in to help… dish duty, table clearing, furniture moving… we got everything back to normal before the night ended.

My Mom and Dad are two of the most incredible people I know. They mean the world to us and we couldn’t think of a better way to honor their milestone birthdays. Plus… my Mom did mention these words – I want a big party! 🙂 Done and done… We did it bro! We hosted a magnificent party that will be etched in memory forever. Happy Birthday Mom and Dad – We love you!

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    • Dave2 on August 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm


    Beutiful job. 🙂

    • Elinor on August 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    To my taste, this is a hugely successful WOW party design as eye candy.
    And I’m with Dave2, me wants all the cupcakes too.

    • Mommers on August 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Dad and I are so blessed to have such fantastic kids and their mates. We couldn’t be happier with the party results. It was a spectacular day all around and ever so much nicer to celebrate with good friends and a wonderful family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts………..Love you…………

    • Amy on August 29, 2012 at 4:25 am

    AMAZING job. Wonderful planning and everything you shared in pictures is absolutely beautiful, Kath! Loved all the details!!! Your parents are so lucky to have you and your brother 🙂

  1. So beautiful! Love the color scheme and the use of the photos. I should have asked you to help decorate my wedding, lol. Doing that stuff myself and not being very crafty isn’t the best thing, ha ha.

    • Sizzle on August 29, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I should have hired you to do my wedding. 🙂

    Everything looks amazing! My future MIL raves about HomeGoods. I have never been but I saw a commercial for one coming near Seattle. I should get over there!

    I love your memory box. I’m trying to come up with an alternative to a guest book at the reception. That might be the ticket.

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