Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Friday, do you know where you brain is?

Cuz I'm not quite sure where I left mine.

I told my husband last night I was going to start doing Farmhouse Tales since I'm so busy with this party and he said "WHAT!!!!???? You're not going to write about your insane party planning methods?"

At first I was offended but then I realized the man spoke the truth so Farmhouse Tales is gonna go back on the back burner until I really and truly need something to say...

Which isn't right now!

Because perhaps you will find it interesting to learn how sparkler-brained people plan a big event.


My Dad's party is next Friday.

I'm the "event planner" in our family. Why throw a Birthday party when you can throw a "Birthday Experience"? (remind me about that some of the coolest and easiest birthday party ideas ever! See what I said about sparkler brain?) Which means I keep setting the bar higher for myself.

For my Dad's 75th Birthday we had a big carnival in our front yard. There were about 125 people and we had pony rides, carnival games, a party-bouncer thing-y (which my Dad would not get off of) face painting, a balloon artist, cotton candy, snow cones...the whole deal! Our kids dressed up in carny vests and I made these awesome giant carnival tickets for invitations. It was a wonderful, wonderful event and my Dad laughed the whole day walking around with a hot dog and a balloon hat on his head. I think he kept his silly balloon hat on even on the pony rides!

That's a pretty high bar to top. I mean, this was a cool, cool party!

About six months ago some health problems I've had for a long time really flared up and laid me pretty low. I wasn't feeling extremely imaginative and had zero energy and my husband and I talked about Dad turning 80 and then decided it would be a low key party - cake and maybe some music in our great-for-entertaining back yard.

My Dad had other ideas! He casually mentioned several months ago that his brothers and some other people were asking what we were planning for his 80th! Being certain there was some big secret event in the works he kinda/sorta started inviting them.

And I panicked. Because I was not in a creative mood.

But my husband came up with this wonderful idea to have a 50's style of party in an airplane hanger close to our house. He said we'd do catering and it would be easy. And I felt all excited and inspired!

So we checked out the hanger which was amazing, got a list of service providers and thought to ourselves "yup, we're all set!"

But you know that saying about "the best laid plans"? Of course everything went awry.

Because I got sicker.

Too sick to care about a party of any kind. For anyone.

But one morning when I was writing in my blog and blog-hopping like I do every day I ran across an amazing blog with the coolest James Bond childrens birthday party and was super impressed and I thought "A-HA!" I wasn't too sick to realize I needed help so I contacted Lisa, the lady of the blog, with some stupid e-mail asking if she ever did long distance party planning? And she didn't. But she said she was intriqued and would like to give it a try!

So we made a little deal and she started using her non-sparkler, incredibly creative brain to come up with party concepts.

And one of the first ones she came up with was this! Using telegrams for invitations! Brilliant Lisa! Well done!

Then Lisa sent me e-mail after e-mail of ideas for food, decor, cakes, etc. and I took them all to heart.

I asked wonderful Coralie over at Charming Vintage Recipes
for some recipes from the era and armed with her input and Lisa's I talked to the caterer and came up with a heavy hors d'oeuvres menu which would allow people to wander around and look at all the planes with a drink and something yummy in hand. The caterer is going to do about 25% more food then usual to compensate for not serving a full meal and for the fact that our sons are going to be there! Here's what they will be serving.

Miniature Pigs in a Blanket (Cocktail Sausages) – Smokey cheddar cocktail sausages wrapped in pastry and served with mustard

Hawaiian Meatballs – Mini meatballs with sweet and sour and pineapple (served hot)

Finger/Tea Sandwiches – Assortment of finger/tea sandwiches to include: deviled ham with sweet relish; tarragon chicken salad with sour cream; cream cheese and tomato concassé with bacon; and smoked salmon salad with Devonshire cream, capers, lemon and chive garnish

Shrimp Cocktail – Peeled and deveined shrimp served with creamy cocktail horseradish sauce, fresh lemon wedges and cocktail crackers

Pimento and Nippy (Sharp Cheddar) Cheese Pinwheels – Pastry biscuits rolled with grated nippy cheese and pimento, sliced into rounds and baked

Crudité (Vegetable Tray) – Fresh celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower served with Thousand Island dressing

Fresh Fruit Tray – Pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries and fresh red and green grapes served with marshmallow dip

Ritz Canapés – Ritz crackers served with nippy cheese and deviled ham spread

Chips and Dips – Plain potato chips served with buttermilk ranch and clam dip




Lisa even contacted bakeries in my area and came up with some really amazing stacked cakes! But because our granddaughters are so determined to have Great Grandpa blow out 80 candles I had to go with a regular sheet cake. The caterer will bring it and it is going to be chocolate mousse cake with some kind of whipped cream (my Dad's favorite) icing! Lisa's cake ideas were cooler BUT I am using her vintage candy idea!

My dining room table is covered (sorry, dead camera battery but I'll share a picture in the next post) with candy...necco wafers, bazooka bubble gum, dots, crows, hershey kisses, butterfinger bars. I am trying to avoid that room at all costs. Whenever I see the box of 24 (ok, ok! 22 now!) Chuckles I can hardly resist. At Lisa's recommendation I also found a bunch of old-fashioned candy jars and gathered every clear glass container I can find to display all the candy in.

And just to be funny I got my Mom's old war rationing books and I am going to Kinko's to make tons of copies to lay all over the table! Sugar rationing coupons on table covered with sugar-y treats just makes me laugh!

I think this is enough for now but after I take Morgan to preschool today I am going to do a walk-through list and write down every single thing I need to do to finish up.

This is a tool I've used before when we are throwing a party and it works great for my sparkler brain.

I make myself go to quiet place with no distractions and I think to myself, "we are getting dressed to go...uh oh...where are my shoes?"

And then I write:

1. Buy black shoes because the ones you thought you were going to wear had the heel chewed off by the dog a long time ago and you never replaced them, idiot!

And then I think, OK, we are at the party and the first person I see is my Dad!

And I think to myself "uh oh, why didn't I get him a red carnation boutonnière?"

So then I write:

2. Order a boutonnière for Dad!

I'm sure by the time I'm done today my list will be a mile long!

But that's the fun of party planning!

Or perhaps it isn't when you are a sparkler brain! Sigh.

PS. Don't be afraid of Alphabe-Thursday just cuz the instructions are so ditzy. Just look at the picture above, sigh, and try it! I think it's going to be wayyyy fun!


Unknown said...

Wow! I'm glad your hubby made you post that. What a read! What a party!

Okay, okay, I'll try to read the directions for AlphabeThursday. I'm not making any promises.

Vicki/Jake said...

Good morning sparkler brain! You're just too fun...lists and all. First, I hope whatever it is that ails ya is better now? And second, what did you decide to wear? I can't wait to see all the fun stuff (and hear your Mom's reaction to it all) Your dad is so lucky to have you for a daughter! Good idea to go with Coralee, she knows All the fun food stuff and what a great find Lisa is. Wow, if I ever decide to throw a big bash, YOU will be who I call (O:
I'm so happy you've done all this and ever happier that you're sharing it with us. I'll be watching.
Can't wait to hear how the candle blowing goes...


Deb said...

I can't wait to see how the party turns sound like so much fun....I love the way you tell a story...

Amy said...

have a great weekend.

KCSherri said...

What wonderful, creative ideas! You Dad is going to love this - what a wonderful gift you're giving him!

I LOVE planning parties - started way back when I was the Social Chairman of my sorority - and I've never stopped planning....isn't it fun?!

Have a wonderful time - and be sure to post pics!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Wow---When Jenny throws a party, well---that's a REAL party... Can't wait to hear more about it--and see pictures.

You are one creative lady---plus those who have been helping you.

Better be thinking of Dad's 85th soon!!!!! ha


Amy said...

O great Sparkler brain Jenny - I wouldn't want you any other way! All your parties are glad you had some help with this one and I cannot wait to hear ALL about it!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Sparkler brain? I love it. That is how all the artsy people think. This is why they invented medication, but we don't need no stinking works for us!!
The party will be amazing!!!

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

It sounds like you do more when you are feeling under the weather than most people do at full capacity. I know this is going to be an awesome party, just be sure to give yourself a big hug and a vacation when you are done with it!
Birthday hugs to your dad!

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

1) I'm glad you are feeling better. 'Cause you certainly sound as if you are peppy.

2) I'm glad you are so creative. With or without your usual pep.

3) I'm not glad that I'm all tired out now, just reading all your plans. :-))))))))))))

Viki said...

Wow, that's going to be some party. Can I be related to you and you can throw me a birthday party - it's in October. You would have a lot of time to prepare LOL.

Paula ~ castleandcottagesigns said...

oh! I'm exhasted. That's alot of party planning Jenny! It sounds sooooo fun! I'm thinking of my husbands upcoming 50th this summer and I might just have to go for it...I was going to keep it quiet but you've inspired me:)
can't wait to see more!

laterg8r said...

that sounds like the coolest party ever!!! you rock, i hope your dad realizes it!!!

Martha's Favorites said...

Hi Jenny: You were not kidding about planning a party! That is an event! It sounds like so much fun. What a wonderful memory for you and your father. Blessings, Martha

GardenOfDaisies said...

Wow, that is going to be one party! And someone turning 80 certainly deserves it!!
Hope you are feeling ok for the big day.

Valerie said...

This party sounds AMAZING!!! What a wonderful tribute to your dad!

You've given me a lot of food for thought (pun intended!) as my sister and I are planning our Grandmother's 90th birthday party in Detroit, MI (from long distance!).

Since she was born in 1920, I might have to consider some kind of Roaring 20s theme!!!

Have a great weekend,

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This sounds like a WONDERFUL party, Jenny! Your dad sounds like a terrific man, too, and so much fun! :-)

I hope all goes well for you. Will be thinking of you. I'm the party planner here, but you have me topped with that carnival theme and now James Bond!


Sheila :-)

A human kind of human said...

Hi Jenny, I do not know why I have not landed on your blog ages ago but I am here now. I will not take part in Alphabe-Thursday as I do not blog often enough, but I will be following it.

Unknown said...

I love theme fun...I am a great party planner too.....I can just picture your dad at his carnival sounds like you just made him feel wonderful and that is what it is all about...sparklers or no sparklers.........

Rita said...

You sure know how to throw a party; everything sounds fantastic.Have fun!

RNSANE said...

Jenny, your dad's party sounds absolutely wonderful and your blogging buddies helped to make it really special. I can't wait to see the pictures after it is all over. I'm glad you are feeling better and will be able to enjoy all the fun. You are a very special daughter.

Sue said...

Oh my gosh, I thought I went over the top with planning! What a lucky dad. This sounds like such fun. I hope you are feeling better these days.


MaryB. said...

Hey there sparkler! Well I would love to be a fly on the wall with you and the planning! I just know it will be a great success. You never fail to amaze me.

Unknown said...

what a funnnnnn party! you better gut busy planning his 85th. it sounds like you do such an amazing job each time. that raises the ante each 5 years you know. you have to outdo yourself with each party! i know i would crash and burn, i'm just not imaginative! have a great time and take lots of photos!

Melinda said...

How much fun and the sugar rationing thing was hysterical!
Hope you will have pictures of this "shingdig."


Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Jenny, I would say that a "sparkler brain," is a good thing. I love the idea for your Dad's 80th BD party, he's going to love it.

Unknown said...

Your Dad sounds like a pretty cool guy at 80. He'll be around for a long time, so you better get thinkin on the next one after you finish this big bash!
Have lots of fun!!!
Hope you feel better soon too!

Brenda said...

We always have the family gatherings at our home. Even when we had a house 1/4 the size of the one we live in now we were always the planners. Jeff and I do that well together and every time I think I wish someone else would take over I'm glad I didn't because in the end we always have a blast. But never anything so big as what you are planning.

Rustique Gal said...

Jenny, Just finding your blog and digging it. I love Sparkler Brain! I have Monkey Brain at night when I'm up too late blogging and cant sleep. What a party!! is it this weekend? Hope you're not too pooped to enjoy it! Keep up the fun!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Oh Jenny how fun will this party be!!! I will be turning 60 in June and I'm going to pick your brain for ideas later after all this is done. I will have to throw my own party but oh well. You are doing great!

mrs. c said...

Jenny we share a common ideal, if you are going to do something, do it up really, really, big!!!! I think that sometimes I have as much fun before the event as I do at the event! I love to watch the faces of all that are at a party I have worked on because they mirror how I feel. I do these things up big because i love the folks Im having the party for. I have a big family and they mean the world to me! It's an expression of love!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

What an incredibly detail shindig, Jenny! I love every single part of it, down to the sugar rationing coupons! BRILLIANT!

I am the event planner in my family too, but I have never planned anything on your scale. I believe I would be intimidated and stressed and then more stressed.

I can't wait to see the photos. YOu did assign the picture taking to someone, right?

Bits-n-Pieces said...

what a cool party idea! I love it. I wish my family were into big parties. We do big family celebations for all events, but not to the extent of this!! I love it!! I'm gonna save it in my brain-party file. I'll probably will never find it again, but it'll be there nagging at me the next time I start thinking about what kind of cool party to do!

Moore Minutes said...

Jenny, you have a gift at making people feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD! Your dad is so blessed to have you.

And in the small capacity that I know you, YOU have made me feel SO SPECIAL. Thank you. Your words mean a lot to me...truly.

You are incredible. And this party is going to be a huge hit. BUT don't give away all the credit!!! This is all YOU!! You're the one making this thing go....take some credit for yourself, you deserve it. ;)