Surprise!!!

A few months ago my mother called me and told me that she would like us to have a 60th birthday party for her and she wanted all of her friends to come (she would give me the list) and she let me know what she wanted me to prepare for her meal.  I talked with my siblings and we agreed it could be done.  Later she retracted he wish and said that she was having a day and that it really wasn’t necessary.  I talked to my siblings again and my father and decided that we would do it anyway, it would just now be a surprise party.

The thing about this party was that it occurred two weeks after the babydolls party and one week after my trip to Cincinnati for the Lori Foster Get-Together.  I love my siblings dearly and it is what it is; so I will say that usually I plan and they execute my plans.  Not to say that they don’t help, they do…I just usually feel a lot of the pressure (unless my sister is hosting).  My sister helped picked up some of the decorations and my brother arranged a venue, for that I was very grateful. 

I called my mother on her birthday early and gave her my birthday wishes and told her that I will cook her dinner as my gift to her on Saturday at 7.  That was my decoy. 

I usually talk to my mother daily…and I knew that I would not be able to do so that week because I if I talked to her I would feel the urge to tell her about all of the things I needed to do during the week and since all of those things were for her, I couldn’t tell her.  Then when my mother would call me and comment about us not conversing I always felt a little guilty. 

Three weeks ago, my brother and I talked to my dad and asked him to get me the names of my mothers friends so that I could mail out the invitations.  I didn’t even need the addresses if he couldn’t find them, I thought I could find them from the phone books.  I learned from this event that my father is a BIG procrastinator (my mother has been saying this for years – I just didn’t believe her) and a week before the scheduled party he had not given my any names.  My oldest brother ended up getting a hold of her phone and texting me the numbers to her friends.  I sent out a mass text the next day (the Monday before the party) and SURPRISE my father calls me and said, “oh, I need to get you some names and numbers huh?” I had included him in the text to everyone.  🙂  I then spent the next couple of days making follow-up calls to everyone and contacting (or attempting to contact) all of the friends that I did not have a cell phone number for.

The menu requested was very simple: Baked Spaghetti, Spinach salad with mandarin oranges, candied walnuts and cranberries (served with Raspberry vinaigrette) and the finale was the Red Oven Creations Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Chocolate Mousse.  I also added a Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna with Alfredo Sauce for those who attending that do not eat beef or pork (my brother is one of those people).

I didn’t begin cooking until Friday, just because for me Italian is relatively easy to make.  I had to make pasta sauce (that takes maybe 30 minutes to put together and ~3 hours to simmer), and then put it all together.  The cake was another matter – I was making a three-layer 14″ round.  I measured all of the dry ingredients out Friday morning before heading out to work.  I went to the grocery store on Thursday during lunch (when you have a great list and concise plan you can do major shopping in less than 30 minutes :)) I roasted chicken breast and browned meat for the pasta entrees, baked two of the three cake layers, as well as made the Chocolate Raspberry Mousse on Friday.   I got up early Saturday finished up the errands I needed so that I could get home to finish it all up before heading out around four.  Did I mention we are also leaving this weekend for Florida?  This necessitated a trip to the stores so that we could purchase some summer gear for the babydoll (that childs legs are growing like weeds) and us. 

I finished putting the cake together by 11:30 am

and the pasta sauce had simmered for 2 hours by noon.  I then took some time out to sit on the porch and have a cup of tea with my babydoll.  My niece came over about 30 minutes later and then we put everything together my 2:30.  I took a break and went clothes shopping for my babydoll.  Packing up the car was a job within itself.

The problem arose when my parents arrived 15 minutes before we were supposed to.  My brother told my father 6:15, but the invites said she would arrive around 6:30.  You know how people typically wait until the last-minute to arrive and with a surprise party every minute counts.  We had my father make up a reason to detour and of course my mother was upset thinking my dad was not being efficient with their time and she was trying to get to my house by 7pm for the dinner I was making. 

She was soooo totally surprised when she came in the door.  My mother has never had a birthday party, let alone a surprise party, so she was very humbled by all who attended. 

My mother reading one of her cards.

The food was excellent (thank you very much) and the company was better.  I believe I said after the last surprise party that I would never do this again, and I did another party – so I will say that it’s ALOT of work and I think I’m getting better at it, so I know I can handle the next one that comes along.

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Filed under Cooking, Entertaining, Family

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