Bringing Back 80s Birthday Parties

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My sweet V had her eighth birthday this month.  She had been speaking of a Mickey Mouse birthday party for well over five months.  One of her ideas included a Mickey Mouse birthday cake.  I already knew I was not going to buy a "use only once $30 cake pan."  Instead, I would be creating my own copy of Mickey Mouse using my rather less than perfect copying skills.  

In my attempt to avoid using artificial dyes with ADHD issues, I used leftover ganache in my fridge to draw Mickey and color his skin.  I used turmeric for his shoes, and cherry jam for his shorts.  It created a bit more of a challenge needless to say.   

After I finished drawing and filling out Mickey, I laughed at this image which lay before me.  His head was a bit larger than the rest of his body with a sinister look on his face.  The image in my brain didn't quite transfer onto the frosted brownies.  Still, in making these brownies and decorating it with Mickey made me think of my sixth birthday party.  

My cake was white with pink frosting and sprinkles everywhere.  Deliberately, I placed my Strawberry Shortcake figurines on the pink frosting to replicate my version of a store made Strawberry Shortcake cake.  We played charades, ran around the house and opened presents.  There weren't any party favors, or fancy decorations.  I had a blast.  

Birthday parties of old remind me when life wasn't overcomplicated.  Maybe it's because I was a carefree kid; yet,  as a mama in an age of social media I often feel a struggle between two worlds of birthday parties.  

One faces a time when all cakes were in a 9x13 pan accompanied by a scoop of ice cream, when food allergies & sensitivities were scarce, and kids played outside a lot.  Back to a time when decorations were scarce and party favors were a treat, not obligatory.

The other faces the current time where Pinterest showcases a world we feel we need to buy into.  Where a birthday party is successful when the streamers, balloons, opulent cake pops constructed with matching party favors, and thank you notes already written handed to guests on the way out.  The world where money has no bounds it would seem.  

Can I ask---where did this world come from?  Does it buy more joy?  Does it buy happiness?  How did perfection get misconstrued as beauty?  

When I woke up on the morning of V's birthday party, groggy and in desperate need of coffee, I got plummeted by THE BIGGEST HUG and a "Thank you Mama for making the best Mickey cake! I love it!" 

As I went to bed the night before thinking, "Oh I wish I could have done a better job," I was met with gratitude from one of my biggest fans.  

Mamas, can we bring back birthday parties of the 80s, or whatever that means to you? 

Let's pull out our 9x13 pans, leaving the cake in the pan to serve (as if there was ever another option).                 Let's serve a scoop of ice cream to accompany it.  Let's play charades, or pin the tail on Mickey or some other ridiculous game kids love.  Let's get rid of feeling we have to give party favors out.  Let's ignore what Pinterest, Martha Stewart or some blogger showcases as "normal."  Let's not spend our time replicating perfection for perfection sake. Rather, let's embrace simplicity at its core. One where we aren't dipping into savings for a birthday memory. One where our kids are introduced to a carefree childhood of friends singing "Happy Birthday" as candles flicker in that ole glass Pyrex pan, and a simple "Thank you for coming to my party," is sufficient party favors. 

PS: I am starting a monthly newsletter, At the Breakfast Nook, where I will be sharing recipes, kitchen fare, hospitality and life on our farmhouse, etc.  Signing up will be like your at my breakfast nook sharing a cup of coffee or tea. You can either put your name in the email below or follow through on this Breakfast Nook link.

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Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.

My Table's Prayer (Grace Table)

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I stare from across the table wondering when dinner will be done just to clean up the mess. “Use your napkin..and your fork too! Manners please! We chew with our mouths closed. Oh no, I’ll get it. Preese, Preesy, PREESY, we are eating dinner, would you like to eat dinner with the family or go to your crib?”

Exhausted. Drained. Lukewarm. Up & down, up & down. (Read the rest over at Grace Table)

Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.

Raise my Ebenezer

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Walking away from that weekend I knew I was standing on holy ground.  Under the rock lie the ashes of my older brother Willy.  Bright with beads of sweat dripping from our brows, next to a metal cross in the Arizona desert.  The month leading up to his memorial turned out to remain one of those hard seasons where somehow in the midst of it all, God in his tenderness kept me close to him.

Ben, my dad, and Rick, Willy's friend and pastor of Teen Challenge in New River broke rocks to find enough depth to bury Willy.  His cremated remains were in a black box, the one given to us by the funeral home.  We lay these in the freshly dug hole, said a few words, and piled dirt upon his earthly body.  We sang '10,000 Reasons' & 'Amazing Grace.'  Tears replaced the sweat.  

Yet, I did not cry then.  I saw this act as a job.  I was simply burying my brother, releasing him and allowing us to move forward.  I was waiting for him to come out of one of the buildings, or find him recording music in the recording studio he created at the Ranch.  I could feel his presence there.  The taste of dirt and sweat, maybe that's what Jesus tasted in Gethsamane?

The weekend was met with a whirlwind of getting programs printed, going over music, arranging the church to reflect Willy.  Sometimes in life you simply take charge like you always have, in order to give your family a gift.  You don't do it for accolades; but, merely out of love for a brother who died much too soon.  

September 27th marked the day we would celebrate his life.  As I got ready for the memorial, I had an angry cry with God, pleading to bring him back.  Talking to Willy asking him why he did this?  Why didn't he see how much life he had left?  And still, I would go to the church to speak, sing and converse with family & friends.  

Seeing old friends broke my heart.  I saw them and wished Willy could be there.  That night after everything was over, and I was getting ready for bed with Ben, he said, "It was a really nice day.  Willy would have loved being here."  

That's the bit about a funeral or memorial for someone you love so much.  You see these pockets of joy interspersed with such grief.  Walking down memory lane of old church friends stirred up all these stories and images I have with Willy by my side.  Pictures surrounding us of the healthy Willy, his bright smile, his compassionate heart, and his eclectic sense of style.  

On that day, I dangled on the edge of heaven on earth.  This is what it means, this is what our hearts were created for--to long for something more.  It's why we ache when life is taken, and rejoice when life is born.  We put to rest my brother with stories, songs, and memories of who God made him to be.  I breathed it all in.  Every last drop.  I didn't want the day to end for fear of losing more of Willy.  

Now we sit in this new year.  I sit in a new year and many more after it (God willing) awaiting the day to see my brother again.  That day in September and this day in January is marked by the words in this hymn,

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

But for now, I reside in making my home in the here but not yet, while preparing my heart for the not yet.

Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.