Friday, April 25, 2008


A week has gone by since “the big event” and I still haven’t finished putting away all of the party ware or returning the borrowed chairs, benches, tables, platters and coffee urns to their rightful owners.
Over ninety people turned up to celebrate Ruth’s 90th birthday.

They came from next door, across town, and across state lines (New York, Long Island, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California), and across the Atlantic (England.)

The guestbook boasts ninety-two signatures.
The birthday girl had a blast, and from the photographic evidence, so did our guests.

To paraphrase Garrison Keiler: welcome to my garden party-- where all the food was above average, all the flowers were good-looking, and all the children behaved better than average.

The gala weekend started with Friday night services in our synagogue (Temple B’nai Shalom), where our rabbi called our family to light candles and gave Ruth a birthday blessing.

Saturday morning was a whirlwind of cooking, plating and setting up.

Fred supervised on the hot hor d'ouevres
Family and friends arrived early to pitch in. Michelle was in charge of serving utensils.

Jennifer and Andrew made lemonade.

Friends brought veggies, sushi and desserts.

In addition to the dozens of scones...

and fruit galore...

the dessert course included Ruth’s birthday carrot cake...

we had a French cream and fruit cake to celebrate Fred’s graduation from UCLA...
a chocolate mousse cake to note Ev becoming retirement eligible...

and a mocha cake for all of the folks with April birthdays.

As guests started to leave, you might imagine it was time for our family to kick back and relax. No way! Unlike most luncheon parties, over 51 guests stuck around (or came back) for dinner.

The week-long Jewish holiday, Passover, was about to begin and Saturday night called for a festive meal.
I had cooked a mountain of traditional foods -- brisket and kugel, tzimmes and charoses -- anticipating a crowd, but until the last minute I had no idea how many folks were staying or where I would set up the tables.

Again, everyone pitched in and in no time at all, tables were moved to the only level ground, my driveway. We kept adding tables, chairs, and place settings as more folks returned.
By the end of the evening, we were dining under a full moon and candlight. It was a truly memorable event. About midnight, an hour after the last guests (my cousin Bruce and his son Ian) headed back to their hotel, it started to rain. It continued to do so for nearly 48 hours!

Both Bruce and Ian's photos, along with mine, Fred's, Michelle's, and Ronnie's photos are shown here. Unlike the rest of us who documented the party, Ian shot mainly close-ups. I’ll be posting photos of Ian’s unique view later this week.


Alison Gibbs said...

Looks like a fabulous time was had by all, especially the smiling birthday girl Ruth.

Beverly said...

I was so glad to come here this morning to find this post. I had been checking in for a party update.

First of all, Ruth looks wonderful. Surely God has blessed her life.

And, the party looks as if everything is perfect - almost magical as the day wore on.

I believe the rain was God ending the celebration with showers of blessings.

You accomplished a fantastic celebration.

fifi said...

Wow! What a beautiful birthday girl and what a great party! Sooo much work and sooo well done. Just think, you are going to have to do it all over again for Ruth 100th! Thank goodness it's in 10 years because you are going to need that much time to recuperate!!!
You are such a wonderful daughter, wife, mother, and FRIEND.
xoxoxoxo Fifi

NeereAnDear said...

OH my .... it looks like a HAPPY PARTY!! was had by all... the food .... fun.... can't get any better than that....!! your mom ...Ruth looks stunning .... I can tell she has a lot of "chutzpah".....

I hope I can look as good and be as spunky when I hit 90

You are going to share a few recipes?




GeorgiaPeachez said...

Oh Barbara, the fabulousness of this party does not disappoint! Can't wait to see more pictures! So wonderful!! xo, suzy

Kathryn Bechen said...

Congrats on your wonderful (parties!) Your yard is gorgeous and what a celebration for your mom and the others. Blessings to all of you on Passover. :)

The Desperate Diva said...

Oh what wonderful memories made with your beautiful Mom. The day seemed to be filled with love and fun even as it ended with candlelight and more cherished time together. I know your Mom was proud of her sweet daughter for all the hard work and details put into each and every detail.
Hugs to you,

Barbara said...

Looks like it was a wonderful party and glad it went so well.
What a beautiful setting to have it in too. I know that amount of organising is tiring but how worth while it musthave been for you.

Lisa said...

What a wonderful celebration. Your grounds look so beautiful and inviting with all the pretty trees and bushes in bloom. Great driveway too-lol.

You should get serious about doing some scrapbooking.

Have a great week.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What an undertaking Barbara! It looks like it turned out wonderfully! Ruth looks amazing!

And of course the rain waited until the last guest was a magical time indeed!

Brook said...

What a very special gathering for the birthday lady! Thanks for sharing the pictures with us.


Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Wow that looks like a fun party and your garden looks so beautiful!

Flowerchild Clay Queen said...

I found your blog..and had to comment on your lovely passover, and the adorable birthday girl! I celebrate passover too...but not that many people showed up...Look like you had a wonderful time!

Natasha Burns said...

Well your family sure do know how to party!!! How fabulous, I think that looks like the best party ever! And that it went on way into the night says a lot about your wonderful party-planning and beautiful scenery. Your Mom must have been so excited, I'm so happy it all went really well for her and for you. Wow what an effort on your part!

celestina marie said...

Hi Barbara, What a wonderful party for a grand lady. To be surrounded with family and friends sharing in such a special birthday. She is beautiful. Blessings to her always.
La Rea Rose

Brenda Kula said...

Looks like you had a lovely celebration. And Ruth looks truly happy about it all!

daisy cottage said...

Wow and WOW!
Your beautiful mother is just glowing - EVERY little detail was so thought out and beautifully executed - what a wonderful gift of love from you to your family. You should be very proud.


Susie Q said...

Doesn't everything look just wonderful? And so many happy events to celebrate! Your mother is such a special lady...she raised you right? *smile*
Such a beautiful face. You can see happiness radiating...
Such a lovely holiday celebration as well. Even the Heaven's held off until the very end to shower everyone with blessings.
Magical and Memory making...happiness!


FrenchGardenHouse said...


What a truly spectacular way to celebrate your spectacular Mom! You are a great daughter.

Ruth looks so happy and blessed. She truly looks like she totally enjoyed it, Barbara. I know it was soooo much work, but you know that everyone will remember this day for the rest of their lives. It all looks wonderful.

The Passover meal looks so special, again a memory making time for your loved ones. Go rest some more, dear, you deserve it!
xo Lidy

Adla said...

Cake for every celeberation super wow... What a lovely turn out the party was, Glad everyone had fun especially the birthday girl!

P.s : Thank you for the well wishes,I'm excited!

chat soon, Adla

Trisha said...

Blessings to your sweet Mom on her 90th!
What a happy family celebration! So nice of you to share it with us.

Trisha Evans

Joy said...

That is absolutely amazing! What a wonderful way to celebrate - you outdid yourself. :)


Sue said...

Looks like the party was a huge success. Great pictures!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

That was a lovely post. I have never had the opportunity to enjoy a Seder outside. If the weather is agreeable, I may try that next year. There is nothing better than family parties and milestones. You really had your share! Susan

Shabbyfufu said...

Wow Barb.......what a crew! Happy Birthday to Ruth and may she continue to have many blessings in the years to come!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Oh those leeks totally crack me up!! Love them !!

You make me laugh :-)

M.KATE said...

what a party!! wow.. so nice

KimberlyRyanDesigns said...

All that wonderful food is making me so hungry! Looks like so much fun glad I stopped by today,nothing better than food and friendship on a spring day a special day at that! Hugs, Kimberly

Niesz Vintage Home said...

My, That was quite a shindig you put together!

Such a lovely setting for your party. I'm sure everyone had a great time.

Kimberly :)

Vintage Rose Collection said...

What a gorgoues garden party Barbara! I loved all the photos especially of the beautiful birthday girl! Your are an inspiration for sure!

annechovie said...

Looks like fun! Happy Birthday to your mom! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. I will visit you often!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

You did an outstanding job! I'm sure Ruth felt very blessed and loved!

Happy day,

So Shabby Pink said...

I have been following your blog for awhile. What a great party and what a kind thing to do. We should all have friends like this.

A Romantic Porch said...

Your celebrations look so fun!xoRachel

P.S. Happy Birthday to the birthday girl!

Kathy said...

WOW-how fabulous!! I loved being on the mini journey of this heartfelt party!