Celebrating a milestone.

June ended on a high note -- 80th birthday party for my sweet mother-in-law. It would be the first real birthday party she'd ever had. No pressure.

The Players: My sister-in-law Sharon (husband's sister), sister-in-law Kathy (brother-in-law's wife), and me. The guest of honor is Barbara.

The Plan: We started planning in April, and I had one condition: I couldn't do the food from three hours away. They both live locally to Barbara, so they were forced convinced that they could do the food part. I'd handle the decorations and serving details.

The Menu: After discussion, we decided on cupcakes. There was some thought given to having a chocolate fountain, until we realized how big a mess it can be. So cupcakes, nuts, mints, tea, water and punch was the final menu. 

The Decor: Pinterest to the rescue, as usual. I wanted something simple to dress up the church's fellowship hall. Six foot tables, folding chairs, kitchen area right there...this wasn't going to be formal, but we wanted pretty. I pulled some options together:

Thank you, Pinterest, and all the credits are on my board. Don't sue me.
I knew I wanted flowers, but finding something that would work for long tables, seating for maybe 100, AND survive the heat on the drive down there was a consideration. Costco to the rescue. I ordered a set of assorted mini-bouquets -- 10 bouquets of 15 stems each -- to be delivered on Thursday. I got an email saying they had shipped on Monday, so I'm thinking they better be refrigerated on a FedEx truck or I'm screwed. When they showed up Thursday, I noticed the box was NOT chilled, and it was sort of caved in on top. I also noticed the customs label, as the shipment originated in Ecuador. I had my camera ready, prepared to do battle with Costco if this totally sucked. Opened the box: no water, no chill packs -- and absolutely gorgeous flowers. There were roses in every bouquet, and there were assorted colors that would work great with the rest of the decorations.

The Night Before: We got there late Friday afternoon, and the decorating began. We'd banned Barbara from the scene, so after a quick hello, we headed up to the church to get as much done as we could.

Brown paper covered the tables, then a strip of white-on-white polka dot cloth ran down the center of each. Mason jars with burlap and polka dotted ribbon were assembled. Clusters  of mason jars (2 large, one small) sat on each table. End result:

The small mason jars held mixed nuts and mints on each table.
The Morning of: Kathy and Sharon had made three kinds of cupcakes - chocolate, white (birthday cake!), and lemon with lemon curd filling. They were all frozen, waiting to be iced. Saturday morning, the icing-making began. What should have been an easy cream cheese icing-making event turned into "Let's make a guess on how much more powdered sugar we need" experience. Kathy made icing for an hour, not exaggerating. There was a film of powdered sugar everywhere. Bug had sifted 6 pounds the night before, and I think Kathy ended up using almost 10 pounds for the three batches she was making. I don't know what was happening at Sharon's, where she was making chocolate cream cheese icing, but I can imagine it was the same scene.

Anyway, we got to the church, and the icing commenced. Three of us had bags or icing pumps, and we were going with a simple swirl. Cousins showed up shortly after and began sprinkling the colored sugar and placing the cupcakes on trays. When we finished, we counted 309 cupcakes total.

Lined up, ready to be added to the serving table as needed.
We had about 100 of the cute paper liners,
because that was originally how many cupcakes we planned to make.
The bakers got worried about having "enough."
And here's the first tray of birthday cake flavor, out on the serving table.

Everything on the serving table looked so pretty!
We had so many cupcakes that, by the end, we were putting them on plates and basically shoving them into people's hands as they left.

Notice the blue hydrangeas -- those came from Aunt Frog's garden (Barbara's sister).
Over the two hours, we had about 75 guests stop by, and Barbara had a great time. The next morning she said she was still awake at 3am: "I don't know if it was excitement, or what!"

Eighty years is more than 29,000 days -- I think it's about time somebody celebrated this awesome woman with a party just for her! So glad it was us.


  1. Everything was so pretty. I'm sure she enjoyed the day very much!!

  2. Wow!!! Girl you did an AMAZING job on the decor!!! Way to go!! What a blessing you were to your MIL!!

  3. Beautiful! Sounds like a party that everyone will remember fondly for a very long time! Families are such a blessing!♡

  4. what a lovely spread! i'm sure that you MIL loved it!


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