party favors that answer the question “what’s for dinner?”

cooking, design, just a thought

I’ve written before about my wonderful quilt group who’ve cheered me on and given me valuable, candid feedback when I need it.  We meet once a month in our studio and have a year-end brunch in our dining room to discuss our plans for the New Year.

Our daughter Sophie loves these women and occasionally asks if she can play in the room while we visit and look at each others’ quilts or finds. “The Ladies” as she calls them, are like a roomful of doting aunts who have, over the years, smocked dresses for her, brought fun books and special gifts and greeted her warmly every time she walks into the room. Last year she asked if she was old enough to join us for the brunch and enthusiastically decorated the table and made place cards for everyone. We knew that this year would be especially fun because our daughter invited the daughter of another member of the group to the brunch as well. I think that it’s really heartwarming when two friends have children who are also friends. How great is that?

Anyway, this group really takes care of one another and I wanted to make them a little care package for them to take home with them this year. A non-quilting friend had given us a wonderful jar of curried lentil soup mix for Christmas in 2008 so I decided to mix up a jar for each person in the group as a party favor.

Our daughter couldn’t wait to set up the assembly line of lentils and spices for the soup. This child loves to assemble things. She loves using Allen wrenches so much that she actually said to me when she was 3 or 4 and we had just returned from purchasing some bookshelves from Ikea, “Will you promise to wait until I get up from my nap to assemble the bookshelves so I can help?” She assembled the whole set of bookcases herself with the Allen wrench with us just holding the parts in place. It’s amazing how some kids take to certain things.

At any rate, while we measured ingredients, Bill designed a cute tag for the jars. Sophie wrote names on all of the lids of the jars and lined them up down the center of the table so each person would know where to sit. We had a lovely morning together and I once again was reminded of how grateful I am for the wisdom and friendship of these women.

get a clue

cooking, design, experiences, family, good laughs, inspiration, paper arts


Well, we all survived the Nancy Drew Mystery Birthday Sleepover. No tears and no trips to the Emergency Room.

We decided that the secret to the party would be in having a series of clues that the girls had to decipher in the dark. Each had a flashlight or headlamp and scurried around the house looking for clues. Bill and I discussed the clues in advance and of course we couldn’t just write them up. Bill had to design a logo for the activity and print up little cards for each girl to fill in. “Do we get to keep them?” they asked with great excitement. The little sleuths carried pencils and clipboards filling in each puzzle as they solved it.

The clues involved adding the street numbers together and going out into the driveway to copy down license plate numbers and add them together to come up with the Secret Number that had to be whispered to get the next clue. You get the idea. For the clue shown below, the girls had to stick their hands in a bucket of ice water to fish out individual letters that when unscrambled spelled “pillow.”


Sticking their hands in a bucket of ice water in the dark made quite an impression on them and added to the mysteriousness of it all.


Once they solved all of the mysteries they discovered the embroidered pillowcases in the fort they had built earlier in the evening.

pig pancake

When the girls woke up the next morning we served Amy of’s Sweet Little Piggy Pancakes with blueberries added. At 47 years old, I still enjoy playing with my food.

The party was such a good reminder of how you don’t need much money to throw a really memorable party. Just maybe a willing spirit and a little planning.