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

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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?