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Posts from the ‘Entertaining’ Category

the making of his 40th

The hot man in my life turned 40 recently. He wasn’t melodramatic about it, didn’t request large unwieldy gifts, or a party, or even a day to mourn his 30s.  He never asks for things and much prefers us not to spend too much money, or time, or money, on him… and is, as a result, so hard to figure out how to please.

So of course, we needed to make it big.

cam 40 sign

It began with his awesome friends, who surprised him with a day at the whitecaps – boys day out. I took that opportunity to clear out some of his “list” of to-dos.  The following weekend I whisked him to Vegas for some sun, good food, and fun with my best guy.  Then we ended the month of “40” with a party…not going to lie – this one has been simmering for over a year – but it turned out very differently than I’d imagined – and every bit as “him” as I’d hoped.

It was supposed to be a sun drenched backyard bbq adult style – with all of cam’s favorite things from slurpees to icecream, bocce tournaments, a singer in the background, and food truck in the driveway.

In ended up a crazy rainy day with all of cam’s favourite things – but once I let him in on the plan the CMA in him came out and the food trucks and singer were quickly dashed aside in favour of me cooking for 50 people and him setting up an apple play-list.  The results made him super happy – and the night was incredible – all because of our wonderful friends and family who came from near and far and found childcare (not easy!) for the night to party with us.

I wanted to set the tone right for the evening – not to be confused with one of those parties you attend for an hour and leave, this was to be a par-tay.  So – the invites were key – I made drink coasters as invites – I found a great website called Evermine  and was able to create awesome coasters for invites, and with pics of cam from his childhood for throughout the event.  Also sent evites from paperless post out so people had a reference point to look back to for the event when the coaster was turfed or lost.

We took the theme of Cam’s favourite things and ran with street food (one of his favs) which led us to tacos – and the opportunity to make halibut tacos and chicken carnitas.

We had help from our neighbour building a super cool taco stand and the kids and I painted it, and some old pieces of wood with chalkboard paint to make the taco theme more authentic, and the signs for the bar/food/directions stand out. I ordered bamboo taco plates, cutlery and dessert plates through Bio & Chic and wooden planters, galvanized tubs for beer and pop shop drinks, and manly burlap table runners through save-on-crafts.  

We had tacos a few nights in May, trying to perfect the recipe for both versions – and I got more and more excited as the party items started to roll in.  His favorite pops from lime soda to orange crush to old fashioned root beer, a bunch of local beer from Vancouver breweries that came highly recommended from colleagues and friends, a rented slurpee machine for slushy gin and tonics, containers for individual ice creams for dessert that my daughters and I would make, labels for the ice cream, water bottles, and more…


On the day of the event the rain was … powerful.  The tents we bought/rented for shade became rain canopies in our shifted plan from the main house to the “beer garden” garage set up.  The long tables we’d rented with 50 white outdoor chairs were changed the morning-of to high-boy tables and inside chairs. The games I had planned slid away with the mud down our eaves.

cam 40 rain

And then the time of the party came and the clouds broke and despite the weather networks’ 90% call for rain – the sun shone through for the whole evening. huh. My love/hate relationship with my weather ap continues …

…did I mention there was a candy bar? I think that was the girls’ favorite thing to help make happen 😉

I said that the party was a success because of our amazing friends and family and that is very much true.  From my sister and mom who were guinea pigs for appies and various tacos to my mother-in-law who came in early and helped chop, cook, saute and broil, to friends who lent crock-pots, warming dishes, and mad tart and cake-making talents – to the relentless friends and neighbours who cleaned up as the night progressed and made the end of the night a breeze for us.  Most of all though, it was the fact that people came to celebrate Cam.  People we haven’t seen in months or years, made the effort to get out to see him, share a few laughs, and celebrate this incredible guy.  When I looked around throughout the night I just felt … lucky and blessed.  So many good people.  Such easy laughter and conversation. Such a great smile on cam. Such a good night.

cam 40

celebrating art

I hope you’re having a fabulous summer so far.  We can’t get enough of this gorgeous sunshine – and it seems everyone we run into is alarmed at how fast summer has flown by this year.  In the effort to try to soak up every last moment of it – my next couple of posts are dedicated to  summer days, and nights.

Together with my brother and sister-in-law we had a great opportunity to celebrate my mother-in-law’s (Gloria) birthday while we visited her in the interior at the beginning of this month.  It was a blast to meet some of her friends, and to have an evening sitting under the stars in the hot (hot!) weather, enjoying a some wine, some memories … and some art.  Gloria is a very talented artist.  In a small tribute to her passion we challenged guests to paint her a picture at some point in the evening in a 4×6 canvas.  The only question we asked her was to name her five favorite colours.  Those colours were what we set out to use throughout the evening…

It took some time (and for some of us a few glasses of wine) but pretty much everyone got in to it at some point and we ended up with a series of prints that we put into a frame to help remember the day, and the good friends she has.

paint a pic

Before going to visit, we set our kids up with bigger canvasses in the yard.  With the only rule being the use of  their Grandmother’s five favorite paint colours as ammunition – they each set out painting their masterpiece.  They used brushes, sponges, fingers… and a foot at one point!  It was so cool to see how different each of them was in their approach.  With no fears of making a mess (who cares? we hosed them off after) or of rules of what or how to paint – they each took their own – very different path.

painting matt

Matthew thought about the colours for a while and decided to paint a sun set on the water – then painted an octopus and a sea turtle in the water and made sure it looked like an ocean by adding the coral reef.  It was thoughtful, and filled with a story about what each of the animals in the ocean was doing and there was no more paint than was required.  It dried almost instantly and Matt was happy to continue on painting sea creatures on paper after he was quickly done with the canvas.

paint matt

Kate decided she was painting a red butterfly – and then loved using the water on her brush and then loved the look of mixing colours, and she just kept painting layers and colours until every tiny spec of the canvas was covered.  She looked at it when she was done and noted that it was a butterfly in the blue sky above the trees with the sunshine.  Completely satisfied in her creation – and the last one to put down her brush.  Her masterpiece took three days to dry.

paint kate

Charlotte listened carefully to Kate and also decided to paint a butterfly – but her image was true to form with big colour blocked wings and a huge influence of her favorite colour: purple – she wanted to be sure we knew it was a butterfly even though she too, almost filled her canvas with globs of paint – and you can really see that it is – she can point out the blue body to you and the wings and the sunshine in the background if you like … (it is upside down here)


paint charlie


My brother and sister-in-law did most of the work of arranging for rentals and the catering so it left me with the very happy job of just making the table look pretty.  One small art project was painting small ikea vases with her favorite colours, and then painting tags to match each one.

painted vases painted vase with name tag

On the night of the party everyone took home their vase – which doubled as their take-away and a place setting … and held the flowers for the place settings.


We even got the kids in to the celebration and the art theme by baking mini cupcakes in solid coloured mini cupcake holders – which we then matched with icing and set out on artist boards to supplement the amazing dessert provided by the caterer.


It was a super fun day – and the prep for it was just as fun (as you can tell) … but one of my favorite moments of the evening was watching our girls with their little cousin – just hanging out in their own creative little world…cousin hang out