Mum's 50th Birthday Picnic

This year I wanted to give Mum a really nice birthday that she would really like, seeing as how we're born on the same day and she's always given me nice parties and seeing as it was a "milestone" year! And I thought rather than just saving up for a fancy present, she'd like to have a nice day, an experience.

After thinking about various grandiose part plans for months, in about September when everything I had thought of failed, I told Pa that I was at a loss of what to do for Mum's 50th. She didn't want a party, she didn't want a big deal and everything I came up she's somehow find out so nothing was a secret. I was beginning to get really dejected, why was it so hard to plan a surprise anything? So we went onto Plan C, which was just to have a surprise picnic in the park on the weekend of her birthday. Which isn't really special because it's just a picnic with the usual us, but maybe the only difference is that instead of Mum preparing all the food, we do it this time. Well, Pa said Plan C sounds fine and since I'm not much of a cook, we'll buy stuff (HAHA) and all Mum wants is just a day together with the family. So we agreed that certain family members would be on a need to know basis only so it stays secret and I told Pa that his job is to entertain Mum so that she doesn't snoop. 

So PLAN C: Picnic in the park. 
Ultra fancy picnic so that it's special.

In mid Nov, I was talking to mysy about my attempts to bring the entourage to a shop to pick yummies to buy for the picnic and how it descended into an argument of who knows what Mum likes better and how it seemed it bit pricey for things Mum would not even like to eat. And so I told her that I think we'd better make the food and I was rambling on about vauge ideas of what we should do and generally not being very productive. So luckily for me, she then took charge of all the planning all the way on the other side of the world. So now all I would have to do is follow the instructions in the email she sent me! YAY! 

So two weeks before the birthday, she sent me email Phase 1 (Finalizing Plans) had details about the food, cake, drinks, decorations, menu and invite look and a list of items to pack. We told Mum that she's having a picnic before she filled her weekend with church cleaning and buffett dinners. 

Half a week before the birthday she sent me an email Phase 2 had a detailed supermarket shopping list, duty roster and timetable. On Wednesday I texted mysq to pack everything I would need to borrow from Mum such as cake pans and the mixer. On Thursday we emailed the shopping list to Pa, got us a bi-folding table from Officeworks and we collected the stuff from Mysq. On Friday Pa had bought all the stuff and dropped it off at my house. He proudly got NOTHING low fat for maximum flavor. Since it was a very hot week I then faffed about trying to decide what time we should start the picnic so that everyone doesn't melt which caused confusion for everyone. But the weather turned out lovely, we even needed a scarves.

On Saturday morning, we went to pick up the last few items we needed such as red gel coloring from My Delicious, pink napkins and cups from Spotlight and flowers from Just a Bunch Florists. We originally went to the other florist but they were on holidays. I think the florist we went to were really helpful but unfortunately because we had not booked flowers in the colour we wanted, they didn't have a lot of stock. I know that if I had not wanted all the flowers to be the same colour, it would have been much cheaper to get flowers just from Coles or Woolworths. But these florist were very helpful with suggestions and gave extra ribbons and cellophane paper. 

Then we started with the cooking, did the macarons, and I did the cake and the choc tarts on Saturday. We also did the flowers and mysy emailed across the menu and invitations from an ancient computer while she was in her holiday destination in the middle of the night! had his hands full all day occupying the 2 crazy boys. Our fridge was so full!

Then on Sunday we did the meatballs, the 3 sandwiches, sandwiched the macarons and did the finishing touches and picked up the black car from Mums so we'd have enough space to pack everything in. Lyyh had finished his exams the day before and met us at our house where he was handed a list and was in charge of packing everything and putting the flowers on the cake. Meanwhile Mum called twice to ask lots of questions and at about noon, mysq printed out the invitation and presented it to Mum!

We managed to get to the park in time and luckily enough got a great spot underneath two beautiful trees. And finally everyone was there and we called mysq to make sure that when they come, to make sure Mum's had her eyes shut! Poor mysq had to deal with lots of haphazard instructions all week!

Mum said she really liked it and it was a really nice relaxing day of munching and chit chat. The boys got to put their feet on the sand and in the grass. We even got visited by a black swan!  So here we go, here's the menu, links to the recipies and a few extra details:

Semi-Traditional Afternoon Tea

Smoked salmon & cream cheese finger sandwiches

Egg & mayonnaise finger sandwiches

Smoked wagyu beef finger sandwiches
Little meatballs with yoghurt dip

Fresh scones with strawberry jam and double cream

Chocolate tartlets & strawberries

Hand-made macarons

Other nice things and a special cake!

1. Food
Typically, each person gets 2 triangles of sandwich, 1 scone, and a selection of 3 pastries/desserts. You may like to either make slightly larger quantities, or make extra 'tummy fillers' or desserts. Please remember this is not lunch, it's afternoon tea - don't attempt to do too much on your own. Please choose certain items to buy from supermarket if it is easier and not much more expensive. 

Scones made by Mum
Accompanied by: Doublecream (ready bought) and strawberry jam (1 jar)
Ingredients:  1 loaf of white bread (crusts cut off), 1 loaf of brown bread (crusts cut off)
Filling 1 (for white bread, to be made in advance): 6 hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise
Filling 2 & 3 (for brown bread): store-bought rare roast beef, horseradish, sour cream, spinach
AND smoked salmon and cream cheese  
Notes: Sandwiches to be cut into triangles, bread to be sliced thinly
Mini pizzas (tummy filler) made by Mum
Meatballs with Greek yogurt 
Macarons (pink) sandwhiched with white chocolate
Other brought by Mum and 3ku
Cheese, Pate & Crackers
Pineapple Tarts

2. Cake
Suggestions: Possible to make two layers, and make an extra quantity of cream cheese to put between the layers as well as to ice the cake. Decorate with red ribbon and place flowers on top. 

3. Drinks
- 2 bottles of Iced lemon tea
- 2 bottles of water
- a tiny bottle of champagne/sparkling wine 
- 2 jugs of punch (alcoholic and non alcoholic) brought by UBS
- 1 flask of hot tea brought by Mum

4. Decoration
-  tablecloths and napkins
- Flowers 
- 3 glass jam jars/old bottles with flowers in them

5, Menu & invitations

- A simple menu in cursive writing (see for inspiration:
- Invitations in similar style. 

6. Things to pack

1 x roses tablecloth
1 x white tablecloth
- Bin bags
2 x  Tables
5 x stools
2 packs pink Napkins
- 9 plates
-9 dessert plates
9 dessert forks
1x pack of pink cups
1x pack of plastic wine glasses
Serving dish(es) – wicker baskets and jars for creams and sauces
Serving tools – knives spoons for sauces, the rest fingers?
1x cake knife
1 x birthday sparklers
1 x lighter
1x camera – check batteries are in
ipod of music
Baby bag with jackets against wind chill and nappies

7. Transportation
We transported the cold things in the kiddie's lunch box, and packed a large box with all the food in Mum's wicker baskets and cling wrap. Someone hand carried the cake. 3 ku also brought some chairs and ice and picnic blankets.