50th Anniversary Party

July 28th, 2010

I just want to first say thanks to my readers for being patient while I’ve been on vacation!  I’m glad to be back.

Part of my vacation was spend getting ready for and celebrating my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was wonderful! I was so glad that I was able to help put the anniversary party together. I was especially happy that I was able to be there for this special moment.

I wanted to share some of the things we did with this party for you all. I’ve been anxiously waiting to share these tips until after I had pictures to share as well.

The party was a little difficult to put together since it was out of state for mom and I. We were trying to plan something 7 hours away! We didn’t know what the room (we rented a room) looked like or anything – We just had to go on descriptions from my Aunts.  My Aunts were in charge of inviting everyone, and they made some phone calls to friends and family. They also put a note and picture in their local paper about it. Mom and I started thinking about the table decorations. We ended up borrowing white fabric table cloths from a friend – we’ve used these at many showers (she keeps them in pristine condition – I don’t know how she does it).  My Aunt was able to borrow hurricanes from a friend for the tables.

Once we had a basic idea down of what we wanted to do, Mom and I started bouncing ideas back and forth on what to put in the hurricanes. We wanted something inexpensive. We also were looking for something with maybe gold or white coloring. Ideas such as sand, marbles, and candles were mentioned, but nothing really stood out to us. Finally, we were somewhere looking around and we saw some packages of smooth stones and we knew we had found our thing. The stones just fit perfect with the my grandparents’ style. It also reminded me of river stones – the same ones found at the river they loved to canoe. Mom did some hunting and found medium sized bags of stones at a dollar store. Each bag was enough for one hurricane. Mom also found white pillar candles to go in the rocks for a good price as well.

I know Mom picked up things along the course of several weeks it seemed. If she found something that might help with decorating, she would get it. I know she found a couple plastic table cloths with gold designs – just in case we needed them. She also found some gold ribbon. Mom was in charge of the cake for the party. She decided to do cupcakes. We were going to have to travel with the cake, and these travel SO much easier! We wanted to have flower tops and a friend taught mom a really easy way to make marshmallow fondant roses. We sat down one night and make 122 roses one night and froze them. Then, a few days before we left, I helped her bake the cupcakes. We baked 12o cupcakes in 5 different flavors. Mom had gold foil wrappers for the cupcakes and before we poured the batter for each batch, she marked a single letter on the bottom for the flavor (V-vanilla, S-strawberry,etc). We borrowed a few cupcake caddies to help transport them all. Mom arrived at my Grandparent’s house before I did and she iced them the next morning. We used the “Plastic Wrap” Method to transport the frosting and make it easier to ice 120 cupcakes. You can see the method here. It worked great and I think it’s Mom’s new favorite thing. I saw the cupcakes when I arrived and they looked beautiful.

When it came time to decorate and put things together the night before the party, my Aunts, mom, and I all went to the rental room. We spend about 3 hours getting things ready. We had fruit, vegetables, sweets, and sandwiches to cut up, and a room to decorate! We started with the tables, moving them around and placing table cloths. We put together the hurricanes – which turned out beautiful. We twisted some gold ribbon down the lengths of the tables and it almost looked like a gold river running down the tables. My husband and I had taken turns typing the story, told by my Grandma – of how her and Grandpa met and their lives up until now. We printed one for every 2 tables and place it in a plastic protector.  For the front room, we had a sign-in table, complete with a family tree with Grandpa and Grandma at the top on down to great-grandchildren that my Husband put together. Placed on the table, there was the sign-in book (a leather bound book Dad had on hand – we decoupaged a copy of Grandpa and Grandma’s wedding picture to the front), and several take-home cards of “What Happened In the 1960s” (put together myself – you can search for the year online and print a copy of what happened – I printed several and pasted them to scrapbook paper).

After signing in, the visitors of the party would come into the room to see the tables and off to the left, they would see the DVD playing. The DVD was “Through the Years”, put together by me. There were over 252 pictures and at least 5 different requested songs. It really turned out beautiful and it was the highlight of the party -along with the story papers. Everyone stood around and talked about the pictures for a long time. I’m  glad – it was a joy to put together!

At the back of the room on the left was the food table and drinks. To the far right, the cake table could be seen. It was decorated with a white table cloth on the bottom and a gold plastic table cloth on top – gathered at the edges and tied with a single balloon on each corner. Grandma’s punch bowl was filled with Cream Soda punch – which makes a beautiful golden color and is SO delicious. Then to the right of that, was the cake (well, cupcakes!). We borrowed a cupcake stand from a good friend. Her husband built it for her and it has been used many times – it’s perfect for nice parties. There are 4 wooden square tiers and then we put 40 cupcakes around the bottom tier on the tabletop. It held all 120 cupcakes. For the top, we bought the 50th anniversary topper (on sale!) at Hobby Lobby and placed it on an upside down cup to raise it up a little. It was gorgeous.

I can’t think of anything I’ve left out. Overall, the party turned out perfect, I think. Grandpa and Grandma were happy and everyone enjoyed it so much.

Enjoy the pictures!

~~”Party frugal, party fine!”


Question & Answer Session

July 5th, 2010

Between blogs and friends, I get asked for suggestions and ideas fairly often. I thought it might be nice to share some of those with you.

QMy daughter is getting married soon and wants to give her hostesses an inexpensive but nice gift. Do any of you have any ideas or what you gave?

A: I would think a good gift for someone willing to be a hostess would be something to use at future showers. For example, a unique crystal serving dish (if you have an old time pottery nearby, they have stuff like this), pretty serving spoons/forks, small serving spatulas,nice tongs for odd shaped appetizers, or a gift certificate for a kitchen store nearby.

Q: We are having a combined diaper shower for TWO of the women at church. One had a girl and the other a boy. I am doing ONE invitation for both. I need ideas of how to do that.

A: A sweet boy/girl theme could be a knight and princess theme – with a castle and all the works. Maybe you could make a diaper castle (instead of a diaper cake – it seems like it would work in my head – haha!) Another one could be an Under-the-sea theme since that’s pretty unisex.
Are you wondering how to word the invitations?
Here’s an idea:
With Babies These Two Families Are Blessed
Help Them Celebrate As a Guest
We Invite You To A Diaper Shower,
For (insert mom name) and (insert mom name), the Moms of the Hour

Q: We will be having a play room in the new house and I want to do it in some sort of theme with hand painted murals. I want it to be something that my daughter can grow with and I also want it to be gender neutral in case we had a boy sometime down the road. So far the ideas I have come up with are under the sea, farm animals, the zoo, jungle. Any ideas?

A: We had (well.. have – but it’s covered now) a Curious George mural in our nursery (now my daughter’s room).. it’s CUTE!
Ideas for you –
Island of Misfit Toys, A Toy Box and “old timey” toys, Outer Space, Treasure Map, Castle with Knights and Princesses, Noah’s Ark

Q: Any suggestions on planning a simple fishing themed party for a 4 yr old?

A: Sure!

Cake ideas – Fish (make two layer 9×23 and cut out fish shape), Hook & Worm (same concept, cut out shape)

Decor Ideas – Buy cheap lures and hang them from strings all over the room, Find fish cut-outs to hang

Game Ideas – Let’s Go Fishing (Get a thick dowel rod and attach a string and a clothespin. Have a large board set up (like a wall) and then stand in front of it with their “fishing pole”, You (or another adult) will be behind it and when they put their line over behind the board, you hook a prize onto the pole and then give a tug and they pull it out. The prizes can be anything fairly lightweight from dollar store, stickers, or even just paper fish cutouts and have different sizes or something

Favors – The dollar stores often have this magnetic fishing pole and fish. It’s cute, but I don’t remember the “age limit”

Food – Cut sandwiches to a fish shape, Goldfish crackers to munch on.

Q: I need suggestions for a Star Wars party for an 8 year old, please!
A:  My son had a Star Wars party on his 5th birthday.
Here are some ideas to help you along:
1) Yoda Soda – lime sherbert with sprite
2) Home Made Light Sabers – buy funoodles (the kind for the pool), cut them halfway on length, cover one end with silver duct tape.. Voila… Have the kids knock over stuff or fight each other with them
3) Pretzel Sabers – get those long thick pretzel sticks, dip them in colored yogurt or white chocolate, cover one end with foil . Yummy and cool!
4) Get into Character – print out Star Wars character masks and put them together for the kids to wear when they are ‘fighting’

Q: I’m hostessing a baby shower, and I have NO idea what to do. I need your best baby shower ideas – from your shower, ones you’ve hostessed, or ones you’ve attended.
Food, Decorations, Games, Invitations, Other Ideas?
A:Food: BBQ Weenies, sausage balls, fruit tray with dip, veggie tray (spice it up by layering veggies including some ppl don’t usually use like the green onion stems, those little corn cob looking things, and okra), cake or cupcakes – of course, punch, Real ham on biscuits (nom nom)
Decorations: Depends on sex of baby and/or colors. We typically don’t decorate much but the table.
Games: Melted candy bars in the diaper (guess the candy bar – gross but fun) ; guess the baby food (overdone sometimes); guess size of mothers belly (use either toilet paper or string); name the animal baby (ex: cow/calf, goat/kid)
Invitations: Depends on colors/theme. I’ve done a bear shaped invitation. We’ve had invitations with a clothesline holding baby clothes and it had REAL tiny clothespins on it. We’ve had a diaper cover invitation. Simple ones with ribbon.
A. My favorite thing to do is have a door prize. Buy thank you notes and pass out the envelopes for everyone to put their name and address on. Draw an envelope for the door prize. This is a great game AND helps the mom when she has to send out thank yous!
B. I’ve done scrapbook pages for the mom. I supplied paper, scissors, glue, ribbon, and stickers and each team (of about 3-5) made a scrapbook page (with blank spots for pictures) and the mom chose a winner
C. Have a baby hooded bath towel and let everyone sign it with a sharpie. I got one of these at my first shower and I STILL use it! (and the names are still visible! – 5 yrs later!)

Q:  I need some ideas! I’m helping a friend’s little girl for our Homeschool Fair- she is doing a table setting and her theme is Charlotte’s Web.
We can make stuff for the table, or buy it. We need to make figurines, decorations, come up with items for the menu, etc.  It needs to stay in line with things from the book.
A: For the menu: dessert could be vanilla ice cream with Runts sprinkled on top because wilbur was the runt; spaghetti resembles a spider web or hay and
a stew resembles “slop”
Decorations: A mini pitchfork would make a cute fork for your serving utensils, as would a shovel for a spoon. You might be able to get a cheap fork and bend the prongs to match the pitch fork shape. you could wrap the handle with “wood” colored fabric or even black electrical tape , or craft foam would work as well. You could have a “bucket” shaped glass. Your placemat could have a picture of a barn, the plate can look like a spider web and a coaster could look like Charlotte

That’s all I have to share for now. I hope you enjoyed the ideas and suggestions here. Maybe something here will be useful to you in the near future. I hope so. I invite you to send in your questions! Just visit my contact page to send them. I love sharing tips and ideas with other frugal party planners.
  • About

    Blue Willow is our homeschool name, chosen for the beautiful willow tree in our yard and the Bluegrass state we live in. Homestyle is defined as "involving the home or family" and "domestic". Here you will find stories about our life as a family and tips from me, a mommy of four. I will talk about a variety of things that pertain to our family and other things I'm passionate about. I do hope you enjoy.