A 40th Birthday Celebration

After months of planning and daydreaming, Honey’s 40th soiree went off without a hitch. It was the perfect party for the man, with all of his favorite things making an appearance… cheese, beer, moscow mules and yard games. I still relish a mailed invitation, so I designed these for the big event.

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The forecast for the whole ten days prior called for rain, rain and more rain. As luck would have it, the meteorologists were wrong again and it was an absolutely stunning day for an outdoor soiree.


I rented just a few round tables for extra seating and we set everything up outside, using the front yard, entire driveway and back yard spaces.

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The main event was a make and griddle your own grilled cheese bar. Honey made the two chalkboards for the porch and John’s room a couple of years ago, and they were repurposed as menu boards.


A variety of breads were served up in tubs from the dollar tree. I also used dollar tree hot dog baskets and checkered paper liners in lieu of paper plates. They were great to load up with chips and sammies!


To keep the meats and cheese cool, I set the platters atop dishes of ice at the last minute. There were loads of cheeses, meats and toppings to choose from. After putting together their sandwiches, guests cooked them on Honey’s hibachi style gas grill. It was interactive, unique, easy and FUN!


These were the building blocks:


  • sourdough
  • pumpernickel / rye
  • wheat
  • italian
  • good old fashioned white
  • cinnamon raisin (for dessert)


  • goat
  • sharp cheddar
  • american
  • french blue
  • brie
  • marscapone (for dessert)
  • cream cheese
  • pimento
  • fresh mozzarella


  • turkey
  • ham
  • bacon
  • smoked salmon
  • soppressata (and two other) italian sausage
  • prosciutto


  • red onion
  • tomato
  • caramelized onions
  • red onion
  • mustards (dijon, coarse grained, honey)
  • Pepper Jelly
  • Pear Honey Jam
  • Nutella (dessert)
  • bananas (dessert)
  • capers
  • strawberry preserves
  • butter
  • basil
  • arugula



Our friends had the best time concocting their eats! Here’s how it goes down:
1. Bring on the Bread
2. Choose your Cheese
3. Match with Meat
4. Take a Topping
5. Slip it on the Sizzler


The other table served as the drink station. Honey has developed a love for the Moscow Mule and this was a late add to the wish list. But I’m SO glad it was as it turned out wonderfully and people loved it!

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I almost used mason jars for glasses but decided last minute that the red solo cup was way more Honey’s style and really went with the party theme. Oh, and the fact that they require zero clean up was not a small factor in the decision :-)


There were fixings for four different simple and yummy cocktails on the bar.


I had the Moscow Mule Mix (ginger beer+lime juice) in one jar and Simply Lemonade (my fave) in the other. Garnishes included lemons, limes, mint and basil.



The regular vodka was used for Moscow Mules and Lemon Drops, while the delish honeysuckle vodka was for the Mississippi Mule and Honeysuckle Lemonade. Both are from Cathead Vodka.


We had mini Cokes, Coke Zero, bubbly water, wine and coolers of beer as well.


When I was rooting around in the garage earlier in the week, I uncovered the stack of red buckets that used to be in John’s nursery. As luck would have it, not only did the match the party, but Honey and the boy share the same monogram!! I filled them with inexpensive pots of vinca that will now get planted in the yard.


Outside the eats and drinks, we had all of Honey’s favorite lawn games set up. Croquet, bocce ball, ladder ball, corn hole and beer pong. I’m not sure how that qualifies as a “lawn game”, but it was on the list so who am I to ask questions.



Speaking of beer pong, I was DYING over these shorts from Andy Cup. They are SO Honey!




I was a terrible photographer once the party started, which I totally regret the next day. Honey had some of his oldest friends there – from childhood, high school, college through today. I guess I was having too much fun myself!













The cake was made by my same friend that did the darling baseball cake. And it was ah-mazing! We filled the little mini solo cups with real beer… Honey was dying!

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A couple of my besties braved hot wax and burns to help me place and light FORTY candles on the cake!

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And when Honey had to stop for a breath a few times while blowing them all out…


… he did the shots of beer.


It was a truly incredible, fun and memorable night. And, with that, I think I can safely cross “#30: Celebrate Honey’s 40th in a big way” off of the 40×41 list!

Happy, happy birthday, Honey!!!!!

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19 thoughts on “A 40th Birthday Celebration

  1. I am impressed with your photos even though you say you didn't take many pictures! We "hired" a friend's sister for my grandmother's 80th birthday because I knew she'd take pictures that I wouldn't think about while I was busy. She wound up taking TONS. (She's in the Atlanta area and came to my Dad's in Roswell in case you're interested. Her name is Kristin Bowen. I'll have to dig around for her info, but her sister reads here so maybe she'll see this and chime in. Kristin is an art teacher by day, so it wasn't her "real" job, but it freed me up and I wound up with an album full of pictures!)

    1. Love the pics and I want to come for a grilled cheese (and a drink and some cake)! Mmmmmmmmm! Happy 40th Honey! P.S. Can we also talk about your Mom walking the driveway to get her 10,000 steps in?? Totally something I have done a time (or three) before! Mine are circles around the living room. Hahah! Thanks Lauren for the shout out and Kristin loved hanging out with you and your fam! :) Kristin's email is [email protected] in case any party peeps ever needs her…better yet, her fiancé is an artist and does parties and does blind contour drawings of all guests! They are so fun! :)

  2. Yaay, Amanda! I must have checked your Instagram a thousand times to keep up on The Party! It was adorable, you looked darling and Honey's wishes all came true. The mini Solo cups on the cake were hilarious! Following you is like reading a great book….always full of fun surprises! Have a great first day of summer vacation with your new puppy! Congratulations to all! :-) Jane ~ San Diego

  3. PS
    Thank you for taking the time to share your lists and for the wonderful Moscow Mule bar idea! Love those Lemon Drops! ;-). Jane, SD

  4. I've been anxiously awaiting the details of this party; a good time was clearly had by all! Funny how sometimes the simplest things–grilled cheese and yard games–turn out to have the biggest impact. I have a tip for you to solve your lack of photos problem. I teach high school, and one of my responsibilities is to oversee the student newspaper. We celebrated my son's first birthday this weekend, and I hired one of my newspaper kids to come be the party photographer. Hubby and I were able to just enjoy the party and at the end of the day, we had more (wonderful) pics than I ever would have taken myself. Next time you throw a shindig like this, think about who you could ask to be your party paparazzi! Happy Birthday, JWW!
    Amber in NC

  5. Loved this party! Every detail was perfect and all of your extra little touches were amazing. I'm sure Honey enjoyed the night, as well as, all of your guests!

  6. You know, I like alot of your parties, but I think this one is my fav, for several reasons. Everything looks so simple. Grilled cheese bar…how easy is that? Even the bar looks simple. Love the buckets and tissue paper, even the solo cups. This was a great idea and theme for a man's party. I just pulled off a surprise 60th a couple of weeks ago, which I also kept fairly simple, and had partially catered (BBQ), but I am definitely keeping this post, as a reference for future parties. Love it!

  7. LOVE IT!!! All of it!! So stinkin cute!! I couldn't wait to hear all the details because I knew it would be perfection. Looks like Honey had a great time and I'm sure he appreciated all your hard work and creativity.
    Btw, you always look cute and festive but do tell where the pink toole looking skirt came from Ballerina gal? Cuteness!

  8. Everything was perfect. I must have told 5 friends about the honeysuckle lemonade today. Your skirt was just adorable too!

  9. Wonderful party for your hubby. I have a question. I've been in the market for an habachi grill. We had one and weren't happy with the unevenness of the heat so returned it. Are you especially happy with yours and if so, what brand? Love the colors you choose for the party and the yard games were a great touch. Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a awesome party! Looks like it was so much fun and totally blew the gametruck idea out of the water. I think I may have to borrow some of these ideas for my next big outdoor shindig!

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