A Surprise Party

I love, love, love surprises, especially when I can pull them off without a hitch!
We had told Madeline that there wouldn’t be time for a birthday party this year, and she accepted it with no complaints.  In the meantime her sisters and I utilized the wonderful world of technology and invited her closest friends and family for a surprise celebration on Saturday evening.
Thirteen is a very special year in a young girl’s life, and with our move just days away, we thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for Madeline to enjoy time with her friends.
While planning any surprise party you will hit obstacles, but when you are trying to surprise a daughter who is very nosy observant, it made planning this party quite a challenge.  We had to work hard to keep our little secret.  I’m a list maker and the kids get a kick out of making fun of reading them, so I had to keep my lists a little more guarded as we planned.
 I’ll be honest, coming up with a theme was a challenge.  It came to me about 2:30 one morning as I was sleeping.  I jumped up and grabbed my notebook that I keep next to my bed (don’t you keep one on your nightstand?) and began jotting down ideas and a easy menu.
On Friday after I dropped the kids off at school and took Granny to the beauty shop, I set off with a stack of lists in hand:  grocery store, Party City, HomeGoods, & Michaels.  I had about four hours (including the 35 minute drive to Chattanooga each way) to get it all done.  Hiding my purchases in the van, the family attended a basketball game together before dropping off Madeline at her grandparents for the night.  Audley & I, along with a couple of friends began decorating the multipurpose hall at our church building we were using for her party about 10:00 Friday night.
When deciding how to decorate, I wanted something bright and cheery, as well as something that represented Madeline’s personality.
Daisies are traditionally a spring theme, but I couldn’t help but choose them to brighten up the space.  With all of the bright colors available, using daisies kept the room from being too girlie, which is important since Madeline claims that she hates pink.


Tablecloths were available for the tables, so we topped them with burlap we already had to keep it from looking so formal.  I raided my stash of canning jars to use for vases as well as drinking glasses.  My only expense were the paper plates, napkins, balloons, and faux daisies.
{While hand washing glasses & forks may seem a little much, it is very economical & green.}




Saturday morning I was up at 7:30 and had until 4 to bake and decorate cake to serve 50, make chicken salad, and set up an attractive buffet table, all while keeping Madeline occupied elsewhere.
The menu was simple….
Chicken salad finger sandwiches, hot ham & swiss sandwiches, chips & dip, fresh fruit, and of course birthday cake.  For drinks I chose pink lemonade, sweet tea and water.
{Simplicity goes a long way in planning a party.}
I knew this would be satisfying for a late afternoon party, as well as easy to assemble and serve.  By 4:00, with the help of my amazing hubby, the buffet table was decorated and set up, ready for guests to arrive.
The happy birthday banner was made using scrapbook papers and ribbon from my craft closet.  We purchased our own small helium tank for the balloons which saved money as well.



A bouquet of lollipops!


The cake made the centerpiece of the table.
I had other plans for decorating the cake, but the kitchen was too hot.  Instead of ruffles, I had to settle for swirls.  Cupcakes were the perfect accompaniment to the cake for the children who came.





By the time a girl reaches thirteen she has outgrown Pin the Tail on the Donkey, so we favored more entertaining options…. karaoke and dress-up.  When you have teen-age girls there is no shortage of nail polish, hair spray and curling irons to go around.  And girls love to look pretty!



It’s funny that you have televisions shows that depict these elaborate birthday parties that cost thousands of dollars making children drool over the excess, yet this budgeted soiree was so full of laughter, happiness, and love; something money can never buy.
Never too big for Nana to hold.

7 thoughts on “A Surprise Party

  1. The look on her face says it all! Love all the details and everything looks just perfect for Madeline. Love the parting photo, too…Nana is strong!

    May I also say that you are one incredible mother to plan this for your darling girl when so many other things are demanding your attention?!


  2. Pingback: A Look Back at 2012 | Fiddle Dee Dee

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