Thursday, May 30, 2013

Graduation Party!

I'm baaaack!  Whew!  What a whirlwind month this was!  I'm sorry I haven't blogged much recently, but between wrapping up things at school for the end of the year, meetings, family gatherings, and getting ready for Kelin's high school graduation party, I was meeting myself coming and going.  I plan to do a lot more blogging this summer, so get ready! :)
The highlight of this month though was my youngest son graduating high school! Woot! Woot!  We had an open house Memorial Weekend.  If you live in the Midwest, I'm sure you are well aware of all the rain we had over that particular weekend.  We had flooding here in Galesburg worse than most people can ever remember around here.  I'll do a post later on some of that.  Today though, I want to focus on our soggy, but wonderful, graduation open house that we had for Kelin.

Let's start with a few brag pictures of my graduate!
My two handsome sons (proud mama alert!):


Officially a high school graduate:


The Fab Five!  These five guys are always together!  I'm so going to miss seeing them having so much fun together when they all go their separate ways for college :(


Ok, so now for the open house - which was actually the day before graduation.  We had a very low key, informal party in our garage and I recycled some of the decorations that I used for Kenny's two years ago.  The school colors are silver and gold, but black is always present in the mix so those are the three colors I used in decorations.  
Tables decorations were pretty simple...silver table coverings, black 12x12 scrapbook paper in the center with a silver centerpiece (purchased at Dollar Tree!!!!).  I also sprinkled some silver and gold "congratulations" confetti and Hershey's Kisses and Rolos in silver and gold foil.  
Simple, yet festive:


                                     


Also on the tables, I place two "success" quotes.  I just looked up random quotes about success, printed them on 3x5 cards and mounted them on gold scrapbook paper, then I placed them in acrylic frames.  


There are quotes from Michael Jordon, Dr. Seuss, and many others!  I think they added a nice touch to the tables.  



I have to take a minute and apologize for the quality of some of these pictures.  I took them in a huge hurry because I was working very last minute to get everything ready!  That is very unlike me, too!!!!!  Somehow, time just got away from me and I was putting the finishing touches on things when the first guests started to arrive.  I have to say another HUGE THANK YOU to my SIL, Bobbi, for her help in setting up the party!  I would never have made it on time without her help.  She also did a fantastic job on the cake table, which you will see soon! :)

Food!  The most important part of any party, right?  Our menu was simple:  pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, veggies and dip, and Bobbi made some delicious cream cheese pinwheel wraps  (have I mentioned how much she helped me that day?????).  

Ya, we have a ton of pork left over!  Pork sandwiches, pork casserole, bbq pork pizza - which was actually VERY good!  You can also see the cream cheese pinwheel wraps in the background here.




The big, white mini-pool is a blow up cold buffet server.  You simply blow it up, fill it with ice and place your cold items on top to stay cold.  I ordered it from one of those catalogs that have odds and ends gifts, like Harriet Carter or something.  I think I paid $30 and it has been worth it!  We've used it often for cook outs and parties in the warmer months.   


I pre-wrapped the silverware in silver and gold napkins.  Then I made paper napkin rings in black and white and added graduation cap and diploma stickers.  I just taped the rings in the back.  Sorry about the random chip in the basket.  I didn't notice it when I took the picture.  


And now for the cake table:  (actually, it was a cupcake and cookie table)


I saw this smartie/dum dum idea somewhere online but can't remember where.  I just bought two clear glass vases at Dollar Tree (L.O.V.E. that store!), printed out the sayings, mounted on gold paper then taped to the vases.  Kinda cute. :)



Yes, I baked and decorated the cookies myself with some help from my mom. I actually enjoy the cookie decorating.  I'd like to get better at it and maybe sell them!


Cookie bouquet!  For some reason, I really wanted cookie bouquets on the table.  This is the first time I've ever made a cookie on a stick.  I'll do a post later on how that works.  The vase is just a tin container I got, where else???, at Dollar Tree!!  I cut floral foam to fit down inside then wrapped it in black tissue paper and topped it with silver paper shreds.  Then I stuck in the cookies and tadaaaa!  Cute, no?  


We did simple chocolate and yellow cupcakes with buttercream frosting and multi-colored sprinkles on top.  I don't have close up (because I forgot!) but there are also molded yellow candy stars on some.  I used Wilton candy melts and made a bunch of yellow stars.  Those Wilton candy melts are super easy to use!  In case you haven't noticed, I also had somewhat of a "star" theme going.  Star cookies, stars on cupcakes, gold and silver stars hanging from the ceiling, etc.


As for his personal displays, I created a photo board and tried to lay out some memorabilia that gave guests a glimpse into his school career.



If you look really closely at that newspaper, it says "Obama Surprises Streaks."  During my son's junior year of high school, during football practice, President Obama stopped in our town on the way to a speaking engagement.  He came by the football field and talked to the players.  We had no idea he would be stopping.  It was all very exciting!  Kelin got to shake his hand, too!  Even if you're not an Obama supporter, it's still VERY cool to be able to shake the hand of the President of the United States!!!!



This is his gift and card table.  Nothing fancy since most people bring you cards with money. :)  I also had black scrapbook paper out with metallic colored pens for people to sign so I can put them in his scrapbook later.   

Here's a closer photo of the candy card I made him.  I've made a few of these now and they are always fun to do!

I think that's the highlights!  It was such a fun day, in spite of the rainy weather!  I love celebrating these milestones with my family and friends!  We just don't take time out of our busy lives often enough to get together unless we are celebrating a birthday or holiday it seems.  
Graduating high school is a big accomplishment and we are so proud of Kelin!  He'll be attending Monmouth College next year and I can't wait for him to start the next chapter of his life!  Hopefully you found an idea or two here that you might use in your next celebration.  

Happy graduation, Kelin!

~Dawn












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