How to Plan an Autumn Birthday in the Park

Last week in southern Oregon, the weather was stunning. We’d already had one big rain, but the warm days were back.

I had planned a small surprise 16th birthday party in the park (Lithia Park, in Ashland, OR) for my daughter with her friends, and a few moms came along to help make the party go easier. Honestly, the weather could not have been more glorious.

I so appreciate supportive friends in my life–always there to help one another out–everyone just finds their role and does their job.

Most people want to be hospitable, if given the chance!

This time I asked each mom to “bring a salad.”

I ordered the main dish across the street; we enjoyed salads and appetizers, then dessert. Easy!

I brought a fold-up Crate n’ Barrel table, one mom brought blankets, chairs, even a gorgeous bouquet of roses. A perfect touch!

We spread the appetizers out.

Keepin’ it simple by just popping off the lids, and then serving.

Sitting back and just taking it all in.

And then, Abby’s favorite dessert = cheesecake. Plain ol’ cheesecake for her; tart cherries on top for us.

We couldn’t say enough about the warmth of the sun, the yummy food, oh, and the characters in the park. (Who we offered to join us for dinner.)

Mamas having fun. (You had to be there.) :)

Ending at dusk, with jackets, cheesecake, gifts, and big hugs.

As from me, a hug and a straight look into each girl’s eyes, thanking them for being “in” my daughter’s life!

And to the moms, a thank you for being another “role model” and friend for my daughter, when I’m not around.

All for a lovely “16” year old.

Who’s blessed beyond blessed.

This mom is indeed thankful, as the idea started with “Can you just bring a salad?”

Good food, sunshine, the Autumn hues–and 16 years–a beautiful reason to celebrate.

When’s the last time you planned a low-key birthday that turned out spectacular?

17 comments on “How to Plan an Autumn Birthday in the Park”

  1. My relatives every time say that I am killing my time here at web, however I know I am getting know-how everyday by
    reading thes pleasant posts.

  2. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do believe that you should write more about this topic, it might not be a taboo
    subject but usually people do not talk about these topics.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

  3. I have mentioned this to you before, Sandy, and I will say it again; many of your posts make me all misty! Just like this one. I love the way you write, your photos, your family, your friends, your food! You capture ‘warmth’ perfectly. I am very happy to read your emails each day and thank you for sharing moments of your life with us.

  4. Pingback: Bush's Beans One-Pot Citrus Chicken Chili | Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  5. You simply rock! This birthday post has inspired me and given me so many ideas. I have 2 little girls (10 and 6 yrs old) and their birthdays can be a bit stressful. Well, not anymore, not after reading your post and seeing how special it is, specially when kept simple and fun. You have great friends too. That always help! Happy birthday Abby!

  6. Glorious is the perfect word for such a sweet celebration. Such a great idea to include both mothers and daughters. Sweet 16… such an amazing passage of life for every girl. And every girl’s Mom. Many happy returns to Abby!

  7. What a sweet party! My daughter turns 16 on December 1st and she too wants something low key to do on her birthday! What a great Mom you are!

  8. What a beautiful birthday party. I bet Abby loved every second of it. Thanks for sharing her day with all of us. You are truly amazing.

  9. This made me teary, Sandy! What a beautiful and FUN post and party! Love it…and tucking it away in my brain for kiddo’s 16 in 2.5 years. :)

  10. I love every single thing about this post Sandy!! I love this simple little celebration, it is exactly how I would want to celebrate my birthday. Abby is so special, I love you girls!

  11. Sandy, I hope that funny picture was taken after a few drinks… otherwise, well, it’s a little sad :-)

    Just kidding! Looks like a fabulous birthday celebration!!!!! :-)

    • We were imitating the girls above. Ashland Park always brings out the goofy side, I’d say! But fun!

  12. can i have your daughter’s hair? she is seriously stunning, just like her momma!

  13. Love all of the goofy photos and I also want your silver shoes. :)

  14. This is the sweetest 16th birthday party I have ever seen. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter. She and her friends look so happy, and their moms do, too! Sandy, I know you (and your readers-me included) shy away from the word “perfection” when entertaining, but to me, this Autumn birthday party in the park is perfection! :-)

  15. Haven’t planned a party lately but couldn’t miss the chance to wish your daughter a Happy Birthday. She and I share a love for (plain) cheesecake I see. You are a great Mom and she will remember these things always.


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