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Party Planner

Our home in Alabama is where we have had many dinner parties, our home in Indiana is famous for our Wednesday night dinners, but I have never thrown a party at my parent’s house before…that was until last week. My daddy came up with the great idea that we should have a party for my mama for retiring from teaching after 18 years. We of course had a surprise party. And you know how much I love surprises….that is if you can keep the surprise from me! But after months of planning the day had finally come.

I flew into ATL that morning from Indy at 9 am. Daddy picked me up and we went grocery shopping. If there is an Olympic sport ever made for grocery shopping I want to try it out. I am pretty methodical when I get in there…well as long as I know where the items are. Then we went home and then the cooking began. Originally, Daddy and I had planned to get the party catered because we thought it would end up being around 10-15 people well the list actually turned into about 25-30. So I put on my party hat and did about 70% of the cooking.

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I made my Black Bean, Corn, and Feta Dip, Fried Ravioli with a Creamy Vodka Sauce, Hot Crab Dip (new recipe that I had never made before – turned out great), Baked Mexican Dip, Twix Bars, and Salted Butterscotch Pretzel and Chocolate Chip Cookies. And thanks to my wonderful aunt and uncle who brought a vegetable & fruit tray, shrimp, mozzarella & tomatoes, sandwich platters, drinks and especially all of your help getting everything set up. Also a big thanks to Andrea, one of Mama’s teammates/friends for helping us figure out who to invite and handle everything on the school end!!

One thing my daddy realized is I am a machine in the kitchen when it comes to cooking for a party – I didn’t take a break from 11-2:30 and that includes me not having breakfast or lunch. But he also realized if I ever open up some kind of food business I will need to hire some people to clean up after me. Because boy do I make a mess. I don’t know if he was more tired from cleaning my dishes or doing work around the house.

So I left my family to finish setting up and I went and picked mama up from school – we had to work on all these elaborate stories to throw her off any track that something was going on today. She just thought it was a get together with our family since John and I were in town. But I picked her up and we went shopping for about an hour so everyone could get to the house. And there was a lot of stalling involved on my part because I could tell she was ready to get home and relax. We pulled up to the driveway and everyone was waiting for her outside. She is not big on surprises but she definitely got a little emotional as did I. And as I do now as I write this. I am so proud of her and seeing all of her hard work pay off. I know how many lives she has blessed over the years. Not just kids, but their families and seeing it at the party, her team as well.

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Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Lauren, You did an awesome job! What a tribute to your mom! We were all so excited to celebrate her career as a teacher. She has made such a difference in so many children's lives - some that no one else will ever know about. You did a great job and I know it meant so much to her. You are the daughter everyone wants to have. I am blessed to know your mom, your dad, and you - Andrea

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