Surprise!  It’s a Party

Surprise! It’s a Party

I have been planning and throwing parties most of my life. My mother encouraged us to invite friends over for games and goodies regularly. I have tried to do the same for my own children.

Sweet Sixteen

I have found myself in an interesting predicament. For the first time in my life, I am unable to throw a party. At least, not without help. So, after repeatedly trying, and failing, to put together a sweet 16 party for Youngest, I finally asked for help.

I called J, who is the mother of Youngest’s bestie. I asked if Bestie would be willing to help me plan a surprise Sweet Sixteen for Youngest. J and Bestie were excited to help.

After that, all I had to worry about was the food and getting Youngest to the party. We worked out a date and time and then I sat back and let the fun happen.

Surprise Party

The day before the party I sent Youngest to spend the night and the next day at her grandma’s. I then cancelled harp lessons telling Youngest it was a scheduling conflict.

I rested and slept as much as I could that night because I knew I had a lot of baking to do the next day.

On the day of the party I slept in (on purpose) and then got up slowly. Knowing that I only had a small amount of energy and no stamina I planned my day carefully.

I started with the kitchen. I emptied and loaded the dishwasher. Then I turned it on and wiped down the counters. While this only took about 15 minutes, I was feeling unsteady and nauseous by the time I was done. I took a 30 minute rest.

bakery baking cake chocolate

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The cake was her favorite. Chocolate fudge cake with chocolate fudge frosting. Making a cake is fairly easily, but I was breathing hard by the time I got it into the oven. I spent the 35 minutes it was baking resting with my feet up.

After the cake came out of the oven, I started the pizza rolls. They are like cinnamon rolls but with cheese and pepperoni. After baking you dip them in pizza sauce to eat.

I always make bread dough by hand so that I can make it in a large flat bowl. This allows for easier kneading. I made a double batch so that I would have enough for the party and to put into the freezer.

I knew it was going to be a struggle when I forgot to double the milk and had to work the second cup into the stiff bread dough. It took extra effort to knead the dough until it was smooth and elastic. With shaking hands I set the bowl on top of the warm stove, covered it with a clean towel and let it rise. I was in an anxiety sweat.

I had an hour to rest so, I drank a large glass of water and took a nap. I was starting to worry about myself. I still had to drive to my mother’s and pick up Youngest.

bake bakery baking bowl

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A double batch of bread dough made more than I remembered. A sheet of 24 pizza rolls about 4″ across and 3″ deep were ready for the party. Another 24 were split into 4 foil pans for the freezer.

All I had left now was the frosting for the cake. After another rest while the rolls were cooling I got to it. I made a chocolate fudge frosting and frosted her cake.

I had an hour to get dressed and rest before I went to pick up youngest. I took another nap.

Getting Youngest to the Party

So, I packed all the food into our ice chest and put it into the back of the car. I was able to drive to my mother’s. By the time I got there I was toast. I knew I was done driving for the day. Luckily Youngest has her driver’s permit and was able to drive.

“What’s the ice chest doing in the car?” Youngest asked.

“We have to drop it off at S’s house for an activity they are having.” I responded.

Youngest drove us to S’s house without any questions. I asked her to knock on the door while I got the ice chest out of the car. She was confused when she was invited to come in. Then her friends jumped out and yelled, “SURPRISE!”

lighted happy birthday candles

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Youngest screamed, jumped, and covered her mouth.

I was given a questioning glare and I smiled at her.

A Pool Party

photo of man jumping in the swimming pool

Photo by Jonathon Burton on

So it was a pool party with about a dozen kids. We set up the food on a table on the patio. J had brought soda, chips, candy, and other party supplies.

Youngest wanted to know how long we had been planning this (about 3 weeks) and who else knew (Oldest, grandma, S, J, and Youngest’s friends). She couldn’t believe that there had not even been a whisper.

I spent the evening visiting with J and S while the kids played water volleyball, held diving board competitions, and hung out in the hot tub. It is good to see how much Youngest laughing and playing.

I Be Toast

By the end of the evening, I was toast and it was showing. I was feeling unsteady on my feet and my hands had started to shake. The smile on my daughter’s face was worth it.

Watching the kids say good-bye while J and S clean up I felt such a warmth of gratitude for good friends. I told them how much I appreciated their help with the party. They were happy to do so.