Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
With cards and supplies for Mother’s party shipped to California, it was time for us to follow them! We left Philly mid-morning on Sunday and arrived around 6PM in Ontario, California to a greeting via the pilot “welcoming Blaine’s father back home!” Yup, our son was on duty at the Tower and had been the controller guiding our plane to it’s gate. Perfect start to our two week stay in Southern California! Blaine came to see us at our hotel when he got off work and we made arrangements to visit the family the next day to go over plans for the following Sunday. Thanksgiving interferred with doing anything during the week since we were heading to Tehachapi to spend time with Paige and her family. But that’s already on another blog!
Naturally, we didn’t do too much on Monday, since there was a 4 year old anxious to play with Pa and Grandma, and we felt that was more important. The most important thing we taught our grandson was how to write his name in dust! My mother had sent a set of nesting tables and we were going to transport them to Tehachapi. They had been in the garage for quite a while and we found the dustiest one to teach Ellis how to do this. Being a grandparent is fun!!
Our chores would begin on Saturday, with the filing of cake boxes, and figuring out the logistics of transporting everything from Riverside to Lake Forest. On Saturday our assembly line was in full swing. Ellis was, of course, a big help and really enjoyed helping. He’d count cookies and put cookies, confetti and a package of macadamia nuts in each container, just like Mommy and Grandma did. We filled 70 of these since it took 10 to make a cake and we had seven tables.
It was decided that Jim and Linda would meet Blaine and Elaine at the home around noon. They would take the “cake pieces” and drive to El Segundo to pick up the cake. Since the icing was whipped cream, it would need to be refrigerated immediately and J and L would arrange for that in the cafeteria.
We went to the arranged meeting place made the arrangements and set up the tents that had been made for “Guest Book” and “Cards” to fit over the basket we had purchased for the cards. Everything was right on schedule. Their car was unloaded and we started to set up the tables. Freedom Village furnished the tables, chairs and burgundy table cloths. We furnished the personality.
Each table looked the same, with a cake, two balloons and one or two sets of trivia cards. A special table was set aside for the cake and two vases of flowers flown in from Hawaii for the event. Mother’s sister, Pat lives in Kona and sent the flowers as a gift for mother and the occasion. Elaine had arranged the table beautifully, but one guest seemed to think the antheriums and orchids should be switched and walked up to the table and without asking, just switched them!
Guests started arriving and Ellis and Daphne got to meet for the first time! Ellis and Daphne are 2nd cousins and are 5 months apart in age. Ellis was born in July, Daphne will be 4 in December. They were the entertainment for the day, dancing, making “snow angels” on the floor and doing everything 4 year olds love to do!
Since Daphne was wearing her “party dress,” Ellis had on his “party shirt.” Hallie asked Ellis where he got his “party shirt,” and he matter-of-factly answered “at the Party Shirt store!.” Well, Duh!
Although we had planned for 7 tables, in reality there were only 6. I labeled them by who sat at them. The one shown above is the “Cousins Table.” Blaine and Elaine with Ellis, Cherrie (Bud’s wife), April (Bud’s daughter) and her husband Matt with Daphne. Bud and Cherrie actually sat at the “Head Table.” Cherrie was “just visiting” in this picture.
The next picture is what I termed “The Family Table.” Dan, Paige, Hallie and her boyfriend Peter, sat at this table along with my cousin, Jack and his wife Gale. Jim joined this table.
Moving to the next table is the “Fallbrook Table.” These were friends of Mother’s and Paul’s from Fallbrook United Methodist Church. One of the couple had an exchange student from the Philippines and Mother was delighted to meet her since Mother had spent several years in the Philippines.
Bud, being the eldest, and whom I used to call, Heir apparent to the Throne, was appointed to be the Master of Ceremonies. He arose, gave a little speech about Mother and then each of the three of us got up and told a special memory of our Mother. Mother seemed to enjoy being the center of attention and remembered each one of our tales!
It was finally time to watch the Birthday Gal blow out her candles and more importantly, taste that cake!! The cake had three layers, guava, strawberry and mango, with fresh fruits on top ~ mango, kiwi and strawberries on a whipped creamed frosting. It was light and absolutely delicious!!! This cake topped off the Hawaiian Theme to a T without being tacky hula skirt, coconut shell Hawaiian!
Does it look like I am upset? Everyone of the family group pictures has the same look on my face. Reason? While the pictures were being taken I was watching several people load up all of the unattended centerpieces and walking out with them. One person had at least FIFTEEN little cake slice boxes, so many that she had to take one of the round disks we had bought to balance them on! Made me wonder if she would have done that had the party been in my home!! There were several people loading them for her! I was appalled!
I guess no party gets by without a glitch, and if this was the only glitch at least it wasn’t by our hand! Since I’ve received several thank you notes and phone calls since I’ve arrived home, I would term this a success! The most important thing after all was Mother, and she was teary, happy and appreciative.
Happy 90th Birthday, Mother! What do the next 90 hold for you??
Monday, December 7, 2009
As many of you know, I tackled the challenge of planning a 90th Birthday Party for Mother, rather hesitantly. Mother lives in California; I live in Pennsylvania. How on earth could I possibly do this? I procrastinated, I hemmed and hawed around and I had no idea what I was going to do!
I finally called Mother and told her I was going to give her a party and all I needed from her was a list of guests, keep it minimal and don’t include everybody she had ever known or ever wished she had known! Mother, being Mother, wanted to know all the details. I told her it was none of her business, all she needed to know was there was going to be a party!!
. . . and the party plans started!
- First of all, I want to emphasize that I could not have done this without my son, Blaine and his wife, Elaine. They are the perfect “Party Planners!” I asked for a little help, and I ended up helping them! They picked up the ball and ran with it!
We needed a place to have this party, and Blaine suggested the complex that Mother and Paul had moved to last spring. Bingo! and they would even cater it! Place reserved and Meal plans in place. Step one complete.
Next step was the invitation. I looked online for various samples so I could order one and nothing I found quite fit with what I had in mind. I finally decided I would create my own with my own theme. . . Mother!
This was easy to create on my Mac. This picture of my mother was taken next to a pond when she was in Junior High School and I thought the picture would be beautiful on the front of the invitation. Then came the chore of printing them. The price for having them printed was astronomical, so I decided to print the invitations myself. Might as well have had them printed! By the time I bought ink, card stock and more ink the cost was pretty well up there! I did save since my costs included envelopes and enclosures, too, which a printing company would not have included.
But after a careful review of printing them myself vs having them printed, would I do it again? Yup, in a New York minute! I enjoyed every minute of the creation process and the satisfaction of knowing I had done it myself.
- Total invitations sent out = 54
- Total responses received = 31
- Total people attending = 43
- Actual people attending = 36
With the invitations printed, folded, RSVP cards, SASE and sheet of stationary for “Memories of Catherine” enclosed in each envelope, they were ready to mail. Jim found stamps that said “CELEBRATE” at the post office and bought them. Only problem was they needed extra postage due to the size and weight of each one!
Invitations were sent and it was time to start on a Memory Book for Mother. I put each one I received in a mylar page and those that were e-mailed to me were printed on the same stationary and enclosed in a mylar sleeve. In some cases, if I had a picture of the sender and the honoree, I printed it and put it on the page.
The Memory Book was a work in progress since I couldn’t do anything until I got something to put into the book and I had decided a good icebreaker would be a set of trivia cards with multiple choice questions about my mother. On each one I put a picture of Mother in some stage of her life. I made ten sets of 25 cards so I could set them on each table for an icebreaker.
The last little detail to iron out was a guest book. The only guest books I could find were for weddings, so I decided to make my own. I found a litle birthday photo album the size of a guest book and decorated it up with scrapbooking stickers, etc. I did end up gluing each invidual letter on since, as you can see, the letters did not stick very well. This was the cover.
Meanwhile on the other coast, Blaine and Elaine kept coming up with ideas for decorations, the cake, and party favors. Since Mother was born and raised in Hawaii, we decided the theme of the birthday party would be, naturally, Hawaiian! Blaine and Elaine had ordered little cardboard cake wedges that fit together to make a cake. Each one had a lid and in it we would place one little pack of Macadamia Nuts and three chocolate dipped shortbread cookies from Big Island Candies. They would be nestled in a bed of colorful confetti with 2 balloons coming out of the middle of each “cake.” In addition, Elaine had a lead on a cake from Kings Hawaiian Bakery, so they went down there to have a piece of it and ultimately ordered it.
The only idea they had that didn’t work out was for the candles. Elaine had found a place to order a musical birthday candle that opens up to reveal 8 lit birthday candles that spin while playing “Happy Birthday!” Only problem was that the candle sometimes exploded and the candle was recalled! That would have added another dimension to the party! We decided to put 3 candles, one for each 30 years, on the cake instead. That would work!
Bags packed, books, trivia cards and extra supplies shipped ahead, we were ready to head for California and start the party!
Follow it on the next blog later on this week ~