/ / / / {real} audrey is a classic

{real} audrey is a classic

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I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s already Mother’s Day. The last few weeks and months have been a whirlwind. It feels so good though to be back hanging out with you on Oink! For the next couple of weeks we’re going to take a lil’ break from our normal schedule—Market Monday, Tipster Tuesday, etc. The Piggy Bank Parties Crew has been working on a special project which we’ll reveal tomorrow. Stay tuned for lots of inspiration, tutorials…and tons of fun!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a birthday party with you in honor of a very special lady in my life…my mom! It’s actually been over a year since we celebrated her 80th birthday. A number of our party photo files were lost due to a series of equipment failures which was pretty devastating for us. (Yes, we backup but those were lost, too!) We lost two of my own birthday parties and a number of photos from my mom’s birthday. Fortunately, my sisters finally found a photo of our cute lil’ mom and I was able to pull together enough photos to finally share her party with you!

Audrey is a Classic!

My sisters and I tossed around a few themes for my mom’s 80th birthday. In the end, we decided that our mom would really enjoy a classic birthday party—cake and ice cream surrounded by family and friends. Our mom, Audrey, is the quintessential “classic” mom. When we were growing up, her hair was perfectly set, her outfits were color coordinated and she sewed most of our clothes to keep the family budget in check. She had a home-cooked meal on the table every night even though she worked full-time as a teacher for over 30 years. I don’t remember her ever missing a choir concert, band concert or play and she was always waiting at the curb to pick us up after an activity. She wasn’t perfect but as near perfect as a mom can be!

My mom’s birthday is at the end of October so I took inspiration from classic autumn colors and icons—jewel tones and fall leaves. The invitations included a photograph of my mom and the pertinent details. In lieu of gifts, we asked guests to shower our mom with birthday wishes. She was thrilled to receive cards from dear friends and family who couldn’t join us!

My mom requested that we have the party at her home. When my daddy was alive, he wasn’t big on having company over so a lot of her friends had never visited her home. She lived in a 3 bedroom ranch at the time so hosting 75 guests was going to be a challenge. Fortunately, her daughters love a challenge!

It was a beautiful day so banners were hung along her front porch railings. It let unfamiliar guests know which house the party was at and where to enter.

We placed the dining room table against the doors to the back deck which served as our table backdrop. The table was covered with a lace tablecloth layered on a chocolate cloth from our wedding reception. I found a set of baskets on sale at Michael’s which were almost a perfect match to the party décor I designed. I made a cardstock divider for the smallest basket to use for silverware.

Hank’s Hint: When serving a large crowd, utensils should be easy to grab. Wrap silverware in a napkin, lay out the silverware for small events or place them in a basket or vessel with the prongs, spoon or blade facing down. Grabbing the handle is easiest and prevents the eating portion of the utensil from being touched by other guests.

Cupcake flavors included banana and dark chocolate fudge with vanilla buttercream and pumpkin with cream cheese frosting. It was my first attempt at using a fancy tip for frosting the cupcakes. A guest asked where we bought them, so I guess I did a pretty good job!

My mom loves carrot cake! It has to have the perfect balance of sweet and spice though…with a heavier accent on the sweet part! I topped the two-layer cake with a mini banner and served it on my mom’s fostoria cake plate. We cut the cake at the end of the party and Mom said it was just right!

I wanted to serve a few other classics on the side—sliced ice cream, nuts and mints. We found ice cream slices at Gordon Food Service which were popular when I was a kid and are perfect for serving large crowds—no scooping! I can’t remember a wedding, graduation or birthday party back home without a bowl of nuts and mints on the table. It wouldn’t be a family event without them!

My lil’ second cousin, Jessica, thought the table was so beautiful! She had a hard time deciding which flavor of cupcake to pick.

The biggest challenge was finding a place for more than 10 people to sit at one time during the month of November in Michigan. We decided to set up tables in the garage and use space heaters. My sister, Nora, used to sell scrapbook supplies and would host scrapbooking nights so she had a bunch of small folding tables. We rented chairs from a local vendor and covered the tables with tablecoths from our wedding.

Centerpieces included coordinating striped paper topped with strip pumpkins—made by my mom and sister, Dorothy—and bowls of nuts and mints or a mosaic candle holder (also from our wedding). To cover up the garage storage shelves and dress up the garage door, we hung leaf banners vertically. It was surprising how such a simple lil’ touch really did transform the room.

The joy on my mom’s face that day was infectious! It was so fun to make her feel as special as she has always made us feel!

Besides having the most incredible mom in the world, I am blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law, a bubbly stepmother-in-law and the sweetest sister-in-law ever. On this special day when we honor mothers, I wanted to tell them how special they are to me…and to J. We love you! 

For those of you who have been blessed with children, we wanted to wish you…

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  1. What a great party! Love how you kept it simple and used a lot of items you already had. I bet your mom just loved this party :) The invitations were so pretty and I love the colours.
    Tiffany @ Fizzy Party

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