Idea No.


Surprise Party -60yr- Signed Memory Quilt



April 2008


Jenine in Smithtown, NY USA

Special Mention

Surprise Party

For my mom's 60th birthday this year, I threw her a surprise party. I started planning about one year before her actual birthday by sending out Save the Date" flyers and asking people to send me old pictures of my mom with themselves and a paragraph of either a funny story or simply why they love my mom.

For the invitation I uploaded one of her baby pictures to I used their old photo album invitation template to put the baby picture on the cover. It actually looked like a page from an old album with the four black corners holding the picture in place. Underneath the picture it said "What do you get when someone was born in 1948 and it's now 2008?" Inside it said "A retired math teacher turning 60 followed by the pertinent information: date, time, location, RSVP, as well as the facts that it was a casual dinner and it was a surprise.

For decorations, I had 2 standard banners saying Happy 60th" as well as a balloon bouquet held by a birthday teddy bear weight since my mom loves teddy bears. I also had a poster size collage made up at ofoto of pictures of my mom growing up. I decorated the walls of pictures of "Remember this" such as the avon lady aluminum Christmas trees and many other commercials and products from the past. I had actually recieved that as an email forward. On the tables which I had covered with table cloths I had bought different color tin pails at Target. I placed a name card holder in the bottom filled them with shredded paper (from my own shredder-may as well recycle) and put 60th birthday mints on top-wrapped with saying like "How Sweet it is" and "Happy 60th".

In the place card holders I put different signs. Each one was printed on different color card stock so it would stand above the pails. One was famous people born on her birthdate another was famous deaths on her birthdate. One was people turning 60 the same year another was imporant events of 1948. One was entertainent news from 1948 such as number one song inventions Best Picture etc.   One was holidays on her birthdate another was 1948 Year in review (such as a teacher's salary in 1948) another was sayings my mom is famous for and the last was "Telltale signs you were born before 1957 another forwarded email I received. On a table when people walked in was the memory book I had put together using the pictures and stories people had sent her.

Everyone got a kick out of looking through that. I also had a memory quilt, which I bought at Joann's Fabric Store. It was readymade with 25 white squares bordered by crayon material (since she was a teacher). I enlarged a baby picture and the date of her party and printed it onto an iron on trnasfer which I put in the center square. I had another pail set up with directions asking people to sign it with laundry markers I had there. Also in the pail were 60 sucks" lollipops. I also had a trivia contest set up. There was yet another pail with pencils and directions asking people to fill it out.  The memory book trivia contest quilt and all those pails set up with things to read made quite a few ice breakers. We held the party at our local VFW hall since I knew restaurants would not allow for all the activities I had planned. I had CDs made with songs from my mother's teenage and young adulthood so people could dance as the night went on.

For appetizers I had 2 trays of cheese and crackers 2 trays of vegetables with dip 2 bowls of dip with chips and pretzles and 2 bowls of tortilla chips with salsa. I also had the food catered so we had a full tray of baked clams. I made sure to keep some appetizers to the side so there would be some for my mom when she arrived. When she did arrive she was presented with a bouquet of her favorite flowers by my twin 4 year olds.

Then we did speeches. My brother and I each had a speech and other people also made speeches at their request. Then dinner was served. I had gotten a bottle of my mom's favorite wine which was nearly impossible since it was from a winery. I had that on the side for her. We had an open bar. I had the food catered. There was salad garlic knots penne a la vodka meatballs eggplant rollatini chicken marsala fettucini alfredo and chicken parmesan.

After dinner we had some activities. We had dancing the results of the trivia contest and two other games. I did the Price is Right with prices from 1948 such as a pound of butter a pound of coffee a pound of chocolate a gallon of milk. People won those prizes. I also did Name that Tune with songs TV themes and old commercials. For that and the trivia contest I gave nostalgic candy as prizes. We also did a Power Point slide show set to music using the old pictures people had sent. We had to show that a few times everyone loved it so much.

For dessert I did a lot. We had mini cannolis (my mom's favorite) and of course I had a full size one for her chocolate fruit salad 2 kinds of cookies crème puffs cupcakes that said "Happy birthday Linda" chocolates in the sahpe of teddy bears which I had made using molds chocolate babies a nostalgic candy I had a hard time finding and of course I made a 3D teddy bear cake using Wilton's 3-D cake molds. For favors I gave CDs of the songs I had played at the party and bags of nostalgic candy such as Pez smarties and Sno Caps all introduced in 1948 candy buttons candy cigaretts sugar daddies chocolate babies and Dots. The CDs had labels on the with all the information of the party.

For my mom's gift I made a basket of her favorite wine a huge lollipop that said "60 sucks" a book called "1948 Year in Review" a Vermont teddy bear that was dressed like a grandma wearing a shirt that said "World's Greatest Grandma" tickets to a broadway show and of course thank you cards already addressed to the guests. I even remembered tupperware so she could bring leftovers home.  The party was such a success that her friends were calling me for days telling me what a great time they had.     "

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