Erin’s Golden Birthday

So my sister was complaining that I didn’t include even one picture of her in my last post, 2012-Year In Review. I told her it was because I had only seen her for one week this past year until mid-late December. Sad face. She insisted that we had some good photos together from this year. I’ve got this one…I think it’s a great photo:). Hipster stache

Well, I decided I’d dedicate this whole post to her instead and tell you all about her Surprise Not-So Surprise Golden Birthday Party.

My sister, Erin, celebrated the big three-zero birthday last week. It really seems impossible that we can be this old. Her and I are only 15 months apart, so that’s always a little reassuring that I don’t have to get old all by myself. But geez…30?!! It really does seem just like yesterday that we were riding our bikes up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. Stopping at all of the power lines, pretending they were actual stoplights. It seems just like yesterday we were driving down the road singing along with N’sync and Plus One at the top of our lungs (oh wait…that wasn’t me, just Erin. Let’s be clear here). Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were cramming as many friends as we could possibly squeeze into my little green Malibu, opting to spend hours studying and hanging out at Starbucks when they kicked us out of the dorms for church? I feel like it was just yesterday that we spent 10 months barely an arms length away from each other when we traveled the country working for Camfel Productions. Yesterday I tell ya! Yesterday! I guess that’s what happens when you grow up, the old folks warn you about it all your life. It’s finally sinking in. Life really does just fly by, I’m ready for it sllloooowww down.

Well, I didn’t come here to get all sentimental and freak out about being old again, really I came here to share with you the 30th birthday celebration that we had for Erin’s golden birthday. What’s a golden birthday you might ask? I hadn’t ever heard of it myself until my friend Natalie turned 27. A golden birthday is when you turn the age of the day of your birth. Make sense? My birthday is September 10th, so my golden birthday would have been when I turned 10 years old. Erin was born on December 30th and she turned 30 this year. You’ve got it now.

In my opinion your 30th birthday isn’t something to mess around about. It’s kinda like 16, or 21….you’re 30! So we wanted to do it up, we decided to just go with the whole golden theme for her party. We asked the guests to wear something gold or sparkly. The blingy-er the better! We also tried to keep it a surprise, but that proved really hard to do. My mom runs a coffee shop/cafe here in Michigan so we decided to have the party at the coffee shop in order to accommodate enough people and to keep it on the down low. We picked up some 50% off Christmas decorations to help with the decor. We bought a few tubs of gold and sparkly bulbs, strung them on fishing wire and hung them like garland across the ceiling. Above each table we hung a gold balloon.bulbs erins bday

For the tables themselves, we glittered and then spray painted some mason jars gold and put a battery operated tea light in each.  Then placed them on top of a little piece of gold tulle and sprinkled the table with rolos and Hershey’s Kisses with Almonds.

Around the windows and on the fireplace mantel we hung gold tinsel  (also on sale in the Christmas decorations) and pinned old pictures of Erin at different stages in life. picture garlandpicture garland 2picture garland 3

One of my favorite ideas was my Mom’s. She suggested that we pull all the shelves out of the display case and fill it with the gold balloons that we bought. I only got light headed a few times…totally worth it. We did come up a little short on balloons, but I think it was close enough.balloons

Now that we’ve got the decorations out of the way, let’s talk about  food. We were looking for something that would feed around 35 people without a lot of work. We decided on a grilled cheese bar since it was December in northern Michigan and all you want to eat is warm and comforting food. We set up the bar with 4 different choices of bread, several different kinds of cheeses and a plethora of grilled cheese toppings. At the end of the bar we had a flattop griddle and one of our friends was kind enough to also grill sandwiches on the coffee shop’s panini grill. You can’t have grilled cheese without tomato soup right? So we also served up some tomato soup and white chicken chili. Goldfish crackers worked well as both an appetizer and crackers for the soup. Other sides included Crunch and Munch, pretzel rods, Golden Teddy Grahams and chips and salsa.

//I’ve yet to host a party where I’ve had time to take pictures of the set up before the guests actually arrived. Maybe someday I’ll get there, but in the mean time you’ll have to excuse the less than perfect pictures of the half eaten food//grilled cheese bargrilled cheese menuIMG_3651


We served Boston Coolers for the drinks. It’s one of my sister’s favorite treats and it also happens to be gold! I didn’t get a decent picture of them, because I was too busy drinking them. Oops.

When each guest arrived we had them take a craft stick with a photocopied picture of Erin’s face from one of her childhood pictures. I think this was one of my favorite things. Erin’s…not so much:).IMG_8956

No birthday party is complete without a few games right? I found this 1982 trivia game online and printed one out for each guest. We put them on the tables so they could fill in the blanks while others were arriving and also while they were waiting to get in line for the food.

This is also the only picture you can see the gold centerpieces in at all

This is also the only picture you can see the gold centerpieces in at all

We also played a game of True or False. We complied a list of statements about Erin, some true some false. When we read the statement each person had to hold up a piece of paper that said either “True” or “False.” Surprisingly Grandma didn’t win.truefalse gameI know what you’re thinking…where’s the cake?!? We served chocolate cupcakes with golden, peanut butter frosting and gold sprinkles topped with a Reese’s minis. These cupcakes were delicious if I do say so myself!

IMG_3738IMG_3865And last but not least, the highlight of the evening was the photo booth that we set up in the corner. I know, I know, photo booths are SO last year (although this was last year, does that count?) BUT you can’t deny their ability to be quite entertaining. With some good props and the right people photo booths can actually be lots of fun. We found a cream colored fabric that had little gold specks in it in the fabric center at Walmart. The wreath was a clearance Christmas find as well and then I just cut out and painted the sign that says “cheese” and the number 30 out of poster board. Here are just a few of the many pictures from the night.IMG_3677IMG_3707IMG_3719IMG_3747IMG_3801IMG_3866

We've affectionately given my sister the nickname Louiseezy, or just weezy for short. That's what the "Weezy Gang" sign is about.

We’ve affectionately given my sister the nickname Louiseezy, or just Weezy for short. That’s what the “Weezy Gang” sign is about.


Okay, I got a little carried away there. Here’s just one more picture though of a group of us that have been friends for somewhere around 20+ years now. Crazy! I don’t remember the last time we got a group picture, our lives span from Illinois to Texas and all the way to China. I feel so lucky that most everyone happened to be in town this year to help us celebrate!IMG_3916

Happy Birthday Erin! 30 years later I’m still proud to call you my sister. I hope you have the best year yet.

//In case you’re wondering where I got my awesome sweater…I found it the day before the party at a thrift store up here in the middle of nowhere. Be jealous.//

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