Loved these cute Hobby Lobby paper goods for making a fun and festive table! My striped pumpkins were a perfect match!
The cupcakes were apple-spice with cream cheese frosting!
We did spread the tables apart a bit when the kids arrived. I am so excited to have room for 32 people to eat comfortably! My birthday gift request was banquet tables! It's all I needed or wanted! I ended up getting twelve chairs, as well! Happiness!
Look at that fun table! THIS is why I love Halloween! The colors, the table potential, decorating, what's not to love about October!?
On Monday, I got a text from a friend that said, "I'm sorry that you have to spend your birthday preparing a meal for 41 kids!" I responded, "Are you kidding me!? I couldn't be more excited!" I loved every minute of the day!
I began the morning by being at Sam's Club at 7AM when their doors opened to pick up a few items, followed by Lee's MarketPlace for the most of my ingredients needed for the meal. Carol and I met and took our first walk-through of the new Logan Taipan before an early and quick lunch of lettuce wraps on the patio by the riverside at Elements! My favorite! It was a great way to celebrate before getting busy!
I had decided to make Weanie Beanie Delight and Cornbread. (There are four YSA Home Evening groups. We rotate groups each month. This month, we hosted group C, next it will be D, then A, then B.... so that each group gets to visit the homes of the Bishop, both his counselors and the Stake High Counselor twice during the year.) We've been instructed to try to keep the meals simple and similar to the others each month, so this month, the menu was soup and bread. I opted to add frog-eye salad and made cupcakes for dessert. A totally simple meal!
When I began cooking before lunch with Carol, I realized that I had 37 cans that needed to be opened and I had tossed my electric can-openers when we moved! So, Carol and I made our first stop at K-Mart to buy a new can-opener! My hand has been in a brace for the past week because of some carpal tunnel issues and there was no way I could have opened all those cans! I had the Weanie Beanie cooking first, made the frog-eye salad then ZJ made the cupcakes after school and I frosted them. Doug helped with clean-up and lots of prep for the last minute things that needed to be done. It was a team effort and a fun way to spend my birthday afternoon.
The kids arrived just before 7. We had a fun visit in the living room, a most humorous message and discussion lead by Doug and then came into the den for dinner. We'd set up the den for 32 kids. (I was thrilled that we have a room large enough to seat that many comfortably!) There are 41 in Group C, but we figured we'd get half. We had 21 here. I still prepped for all, because I'd much rather have too much than not enough! (We've eaten a lot of beans this week!)
We had a great time getting to know the kids. Doug and I split up to be able to visit with more kids. While at our table, I asked one of the boys where he'd served his mission. NYC!!! I said, "I was in NYC a year ago today. It's my favorite city in the world!" He asked what I was doing there? I told him that I was celebrating my birthday at the Rock! He was pretty estute. "A year ago today? Today's your birthday?" They were immediately apologizing, "And you spent it cooking for us!?" Then, one of the gals said, "You guys, it's Sister C's birthday!" and they sang Happy Birthday right in the middle of beans and cornbread! Fun stuff!
After dinner, we went back to the living room and played a fun "getting to know you" game. I had typed up a list of questions... three questions for each color of M&Ms. I also bought a bag of mint M&Ms and added a dozen mint green ones to the bag. I cut a tiny slit in the bag and told them that they were to squeeze out an M&M from the bag, then they answered the three questions that went with the color of M&M they'd drawn. If you got a Mint M&M, you could choose your color PLUS ask anyone in the room any question you wanted. We had some seriously good laughs at some of the questions and answers!
Doug was a riot all night long! He had us all laughing so hard. It was fun to watch him, for the first time, not being nervous or anxious about doing things a certain way. We were in our home, relaxed and just having a good time getting to know them. The kids were really surprised to see him cutting up, after seeing the nervous shy guy conducting the meeting on Sunday!
I was super impressed by their willingness to help us clean up! They did dishes, put away tables and chairs, really got into helping, but my favorite part of the evening was having my piano played by several kids who were thrilled to be able to just "cut loose" on it. One girl asked me if she could come and practice on our piano. (They sign up by appointment to practice on the pianos at the LDS Institute because there are so many kids who play and want to practice.) I welcomed them all to play our piano anytime!!! It was great to hear their music! That's one of the things I've missed the most since Liza left home!
It really was a wonderful birthday. I got to entertain, cook for others, set fun tables, spend time with family and friends... what more could a girl ask for on her birthday!? Life is good!