How to throw an awesome dinner party.

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at


My kids are freaking awesome.  Most of the time.  This is one of those times.  
My daughter Maddie with the help of all the sibs and my dear friend Clara put together a 'Jane Austen' inspired evening for Chris and I.  

Here's what went down:

"Cocktails of light wines and waters"

Delish h'orderves

Everyone mixed and mingled and enjoyed the ambience.....me with daughter Maddie and my friend Cheryl.

Chris and daughter Kristen

Daughters Grace and Maddie, dear friend and hostess Clara, and 'butler' Aaron (Cheryl's son)

Maddie set up a corner with our wedding memorabilia, complete with  a photo collage by Clara, 
and balloons to fill my wedding gown in the appropriate places *wink*

Dinner followed.  My girls had met with Clara to choose dinnerware, menu, etc. earlier in the week.  Remember, Clara is a PRO at dinner parties.  Everything was perfectly in it's place.  
I'm told it took 2 hours to perfect this table setting, and I don't doubt it.

Everything perfectly lined up.....

Maddie designed the placecards and menu card.

Preparing for the feast!

All the kids pitched in to make the meal....first was a FANTABULOUS cream of garlic soup garnished with rosemary sprigs (no picture, wah!) made by my wonderful daughter in law Andrea
 It *will* be going in the Online Harvey Girls are Cookin' recipe site.

Next came the main course of Kristen's tossed salad and Clara's Crepes Manicotti with Italian Sauce:

Lastly came the fruit course: Oranges in lime syryp.  Oh. My. Goodness.  
Words fail me.

After stuffing ourselves, the women retired to the den to enjoy "coffee and liqueurs", Ghiardelli chocolates,
 and laughter....the silver service belonged to Clara's mother.  Gorgeous!

I might have had a bit too much Amaretto in my coffee.  Not sure.

Here's my posse: Clara, me, Sheila, and Cheryl.  Dang, we look fine. We're a bunch of hotties.

And with my gorgeous girls: Andrea, Kristen, me, Gracie, Maddie.  
And when did they outgrow Barbies again?

In the meantime, Aaron served the men their after dinner brandy and cigars:

My son C.Ray enjoying his stogie.

You basically couldn't see or breath in the dining room (drawing room?)
 I'm told my hubs blew some mean smoke rings.  But I can't be sure. 
 I think this is something that's supposed to impress people.  

Eventually we moved into the kitchen to prepare for the Raspberry Cordial Cheescake 
made by my son-in-law Josh.  
Too bad 'puter screens aren't scratch and sniff.

But first, Chris and I exchanged our new rings we got for each other...Looks painful, eh?

And played a *leeetle*  kissy-face.  

Then each of my kids toasted us, and I was blown away. 

Just when I thought I was a complete failure as a parent, my kids swoop in and bless me with the most honest, heartfelt thanks (and tears) I have ever heard. *sniff sniff*
 I will cherish those moments forever......

We opened cards and gifts (the kids pitched in and got us a new set of Nautica luggage with engraved '25th anniversary' tags!) as we enjoyed our divine cheesecake, 
then several of us sat down for some good old fashioned poker with Clara's vintage chips.  
Others of the party went to enjoy the football game.

Son in law Josh....cheesecake-maker extraordinaire. BTW, Josh's younger bro (and my student) stayed with my two boys at home that night to entertain them with pizza and video games :)

Learning Texas Hold 'em.  Still don't get it.

We were a bunch of drinkin', smokin', gamblin', (and a wee bit o'cussin') middle age goofballs.  
Way fun.  Way.

Now then, before I let you go, let me show you some behind the scenes shots of how Clara, Maddie and the crew carried this off. 
 Here's Clara's pantry room (I've shown you before here) which worked 
as a holding area for all the courses.

Here's the manicotti....Clara made 60 individual homemade crepes the day before, 
then my girls came to help stuff and roll them up the day of the party:

Carafes of wine ready to be served with dinner.

Plates stacked and ready for Aaron to pile on the goods.

Clara prepares the 'cocktails and waters':

Butler Aaron, who did a magnificent job serving everyone thru-out the evening 
spent a day at Clara's learning the art of butler-ing.  What a trooper! Thank you Master Aaron :)

Everyone worked so hard to make it a perfect evening (except for the Colts, but we won't talk about that).

Thanks Clara and Herb for opening your home and helping my kids throw us an amazing 25th party.  
We love you.

And of course, thanks C.Ray & Andrea, Maddie & Josh, Kristen, and Gracie for throwing yourselves into this undertaking and blessing us with your gifts, talents, your words of love, and your lives.  
We are blessed.

(All pictures 'cept for the last one in this post were taken by Maddie, Andrea, C.Ray and Kristen)


kara@elements-interiors.net said...

OMGosh!!! That is STUNNING and BEAUTIFUL and looks like a BLAST! Wish I had been there...That MIGHT have been wierd...You would have been like "Who is that girl over there!" LOL! Texas HOLD EM! Im a Texas Girl and I DONT GET IT either :0) I ABSOLUTELY ADORE your blog! Everything is Exquisite! Love for you to check mine out sometime...Im KINDA new, blogging since October...
Would love for you to see my Tuscan Grape Faux :0)

Blessings xoxokara

Cassie Bustamante said...

this is not news to you, but you have such an amazing and beautiful family. you have raised your children so well, and it shows.

Unknown said...

Wonderful evening! Wow, what a family you have. So sweet. Congratulations on a happy anniversary. You look stunning :)
Becky C

www.thewhitefarmhouse2.blogspot.com said...

Everything looks fabulous except for one thing....NOT ONE FREAKIN PIC OF THE NEW RINGS! I want to see! How nice of your kids to do this for the two of you. You did good raisin those thar younguns! Clara's hubby looks like Stephen King!

DanielleisNesting said...

Absolutely gorgeous! What a fun and memorable party.

Carol @ A Bird in Hand said...

What an incredible party!! I know you were floored. I would have been balling (some of the time). It was gorgeous. They did an awesome job.

Oh, BYW, I have those same pink glasses and love them so!!

Happy Anniversary to you both!!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

What a wonderful party! It makes me want to throw one for my friends who'll be celebrating their 25th this year! Happy Anniversary and cheers to the next 25 years!


Lucydesignsart.com said...

wow! what an amazing night, it sounds like you have a wonderful family. Is Clara a T4 by chance? LOL...everything is so perfectly organized!

Sara S. said...

Oh my! Looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time. Everything looked so incredible! Thank your kids and Clara from all of us for giving us so many beautiful ideas!

Something Nice and Pretty said...

Just beautiful and what wonderful kids you have to do this for their parents♥


NanaDiana said...

Cindy- This is my favorite post of yours ever. Your family is beautiful and the love that is there just shines through the computer screen. You did a good job, Mom and Dad...and you have been blessed. Happy Anniversary! Hugs-Diana bye now

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

Oh, wow, Cindy! What a great night your friends and family gave you! It looks like an absolute blast! What a perfect way to spend your anniversary.

You have such a beautiful family. I loved reading this.

Unknown said...

Happy Anniversary!!! It looks like a wonderfully, fabulous time!!! :) Thanks for sharing!

Designing Domesticity said...

Wow, what a great family. Clearly, you are loved dearly! liz

Tina said...

Cindy...WOW!! Your children are so beautiful in every sense of the word!! What a gorgeous party!! Lucky you to also have such a fabulous friend in Clara. Thanks for sharing, the photos are wonderful and you look GORGEOUS. Hugs ~ Tina xx

{northern cottage} said...

wow what a party - that was some smooching going on! It looks like it was a night to remember - aren't those memories just the best!!!

Brenda Pruitt said...

You are blessed! And your new haircut looks mighty spiffy too.

Kim @ Starshine Chic said...

That was so nice. What an amazing family & friends you have. You are indeed one lucky gal. Plus you have a mighty fine honey there as well. Happy Anniversary!!!

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Sounds like a wonderful evening for everyone! Well except your youngest :) It all looked perfect. What great kids and friends you have. Happy Anniversary!!

Restoration House said...

This is so awesome Cindy! What a wonderful family you have there! It looks like a wonderful time was had by all. You are truly blessed my friend!
BTW, you and your hair looked great.

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top said...

Happy Anniversary! This is an amazing party! You look fabulous (especially with your new 'do)! I love all of the pictures of your family. You are all too cute for words. :)

Catherine @ van Breugel Design said...

Wow! You are loved women! You have me cryin" over here.
Congratulations on your Anniversary and on raising a great bunch of kids! You know you've done a good job when they grow up and honor you in such a thoughtful way. You are blessed!


Heidi said...

My goodness, I would have been so emotional. What thoughtful and sweet kids you have! I love the dinner menu...everything in the pictures looks SO good! Happy Anniversary!

Funky Junk Interiors said...

Happy Anniversary you two! That was one awesome read! And you looked simply ravishing in your new do. :) Gorgeous! Everyone!


Gloria said...

Wonderful Party, Wonderful Family, Wonderful Friends! Happy Anniversary to you and your husband, and may you enjoy many, many more.

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

How special....would love to know how to make lime sauce! And what an extraordinary dining room...Lovely family you have there!

Kim said...

Oh how sweet! I'm so glad I came across your blog! That post just made my day. Absolutely beautiful all the way around~

TabbyKat said...

brought a tear to my eye. beautiful.

Jayme Goffin, The Coop Keeper said...

A bit speechless after this post! I do hope you realize how incredibly blessed you are in so many areas of your life...you do, right? I love you girl. Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!! Such a great family!!! jan

kelly said...

how lucky you are! kids really do appreciate their parents and their wonderful marriages it just takes a long time for them to "get " it, looks like your kids really get it!!

Kelley - a very JunqueyGal! said...

That is just the most wonderful celebration...wow! I'm impressed at how thoughtful it all was :)

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