Surprise Birthday Party!

April 19, 2016


Leslie Anne TarabellaThis week, both my Daddy and eldest son have birthdays, so this past Sunday, we transported a surprise party over to my parent’s house in Fort Walton Beach, FL.


Setting up for the party - Leslie Anne TarabellaThis is my Mother helping me put the finishing touches on everything that afternoon. Poor thing, her foot’s been in a cast for a few months now. She’s the one that really needs a party!


My brother came in town from Georgia and took my parents to church that morning so my crew could sneak in and set it all up. When they returned, we said, “Surprise! You’re going to have a party!” Daddy thought at first we were the only part of the surprise, but when he saw everything set up outside, he was truly excited.

Biscuit Bar, A great idea for a Southern party.We put the food on tables on their back porch, and seating in the back yard. I’ve been wanting to do a biscuit bar at a party, so in addition to my “famous” homemade biscuits, there was also baked ham, basil butter, orange blossom honey, and an assortment of jellies and marmalades. The gravy boat held sausage gravy . . . mmmm.


Leslie Anne Tarabella - Birthday partyI made the marinated cucumber salad and potato salad ahead of time and picked up the chicken strips and cakes from Publix. Even though the party was held in-between lunch and supper, we still put out lots of food, because what’s a party without food? (a meeting).


Birthday PartyWe told Daddy to go change into casual clothes because it was going to be a relaxed afternoon with his friends — some from his hometown of DeFuniak Springs, others from his church and some of his neighbors. It was a good mix of really nice people, a crowd of around thirty or forty in all.


Birthday partyThis is Daddy looking very happy and surprised. The other birthday boy is the red head closest to the camera. One of Daddy’s brothers is in the plaid shirt.


Men talking under the treesThe weather here on the Gulf Coast has been a typical spring, alternating between torrential rain storms or gorgeous, picture-perfect days. Thank goodness, the party was on the prettiest day of the year so far!


Leslie Anne TarabellaMy two boys were a big help setting everything up. Here’s their conversation:

You look like a hippie. 

     You look like a republican. 

I like hippies.

     Well, I like republicans. 

Sigh . . .


Assorted cakes at the partyInstead of one cake, I pulled out my tiered plate stand which I’ve had for years and love using at parties because it saves so much table space, and this time loaded it up with an Oreo Cake, Coconut Cake, Lemon Pound Cake and Chocolate Creme Cake. We had candles on all four cakes!


people talking in the yardWhen you get to be a certain age, the party game you love most is called, “sitting in the yard and shooting the breeze.” Everyone was a winner. The other party game was walking to the other side of the yard and admiring Daddy’s garden. I don’t have a photo, but he’s growing a little bit of everything there. I’ll soon have enough tomatoes to open a ketchup factory.


Birthday party Leslie Anne TarabellaDaddy was truly surprised and everything turned out perfectly. Happy Birthday to both of my good men!


    • Leslie Anne says:

      You would have been welcomed!

  • Aww! What a nice party! Love the biscuit idea. HAppy birthday to both birthday boys.

  • Leslie Anne, you got that Southern party thing down…a biscuit bar and GRAVY, and 4 cakes! I loved the photo of your Dad, his brother, and another gentleman, so typical of our seniors! Your sons are good-looking and funny! I had a biscuit and cornbread bar at our son”s wedding, it was a big hit! Happy Wednesday, Pam @ Everyday Living

    • Leslie Anne says:

      A cornbread bar too? Oooo! Good idea!

  • Wait…. did you say BISCUITS??? Oh yum!!! What a great idea. The food looks positively delish including your cucumber salad. I would only have a small sampling though – I would have to save room for a piece of every one of those mouthwatering cakes!!!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      If someone wanted to taste all four cakes, we did not stand in judgement.

  • Biscuit Bar! Great idea and I need that pickled jar salad recipe, please! Such a great idea and everyone looks so happy and having so much fun! Even the hostess with the mostess!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It was a relaxing, fun party, for sure! If you want to see how to make the salad, click on the highlighted words that say, “marinated cucumber salad” and it will take you to the recipe. It’s delicious!

  • Arlene Cocke says:

    Ms. Leslie
    When you do IT girl, you REALLY do it! What a beautifle memory you created for all that attended.
    Have you considered catering as a side gig!!
    Enjoyed viewing your beautuful party!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I was wiped out the next day. I don’t see how caterers do it! Thanks Arlene!

  • So sweet! Those boys are almost grown-up men! Brendan went from being a “young Republican” to a rock star with hair down to his waist and weird piercings to a Hollywood guy to a professor-type. They have a long way to evolve to get to who they will be.

    Belated birthday wishes to your daddy, and hope your Mama’s foot gets better soon.

    I never heard of a “biscuit bar” but I probably don’t get out enough. Sounds sinful, especially the sausage gravy.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Brendan sounds like he could be my third son. They are fun to watch grow up and as I’ve always maintained, men aren’t fully ripe until around 30, so I have a long road of entertainment ahead!

  • Now that’s a proper party! 4 cakes and a biscuit bar!! Everything looks picture perfect Leslie Anne, and happy family times are the best. Your sons are adorable, loved the conversation!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Jenna. As you know, if you throw in some pickled okra and a jug of sweet tea, there’s always happiness in the air!

  • Laughed out loud at conversation of son 1 & 2 . What a joyful sweet day you and your brother gave your parents.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Carrie. Those boys are knuckleheads and it was totally my pleasure to treat my parents.

  • I think my invitation must have been lost in the mail! Those biscuits look delicious and maybe a little of the sausage gravy to start, yum. I’ve never been to a biscuit bar party but I think I want to have one now. What a cute idea and I know your daddy was thrilled. Really sweet and to have your birthday boy there too was super nice. You are good girl Leslie Anne for treating your Daddy……………

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It’s the only kind of bar we could get away with!

  • Oh, and that pocket filled with phone, glasses and pens is so much like my step dad. He didn’t want a shirt if it didn’t have a pocket to hold his stuff.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I noticed that in the photo too! Men like to have all those things handy. And there was most definitely a pocketknife in his pant’s pocket next to the handkerchief.

  • It looks like a fabulous time was had. You were a sweetie to do that for your dad. That picture of them sitting in a circle is priceless. I understand totally about boys. It was a beautiful day Sunday, so I know everyone enjoyed the outdoors.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      We were holding our breath, because even the day before was a bit overcast and chilly. But it couldn’t have been lovelier for the party!

  • What lovely photographs! Your sons are adorable! Great job and I know your father absolutely loved it!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      He said it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for him. Not sure if that’s true, but it was nice of him to say it.

  • What an awesome celebration of Southern Love. BTW I want your recipe for biscuits!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Click on the link where the words “homemade biscuits” is highlighted in purple . . . you’ll see the sad story of me trying to learn my Grandmother’s recipe. These were done (for time purposes of course) by my friend “Mary B.” I would have had to bake all day long to get this many biscuits in time for the crowd!

  • My birthday is in two weeks…just saying!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I’ll be right over with the Biscuit Bar!
      Happy early birthday to you!

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