40th anniversary feast + campout

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Last month we held an outdoor feast and campout for my parent's 40th anniversary. My little brother, Michael, and I (the two youngest of the five siblings) were in charge. Held at their farm in Eastern Washington the party was a small gathering of family and some country neighbors.


Michael is a carpenter so at the last minute, he built a 16 foot picnic table for us. I hauled my mom's china collection up there (because it should be used, right?) and bought some inexpensive goblets at thrift stores. The centerpiece was made up of basil plants, queen anne's lace in thrifted bottles, and herbs in old pewter. Calico and dishtowels (.49 cents at Ikea) were used for napkins.

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My family is sort of obsessed with food so that's what this party was all about. We knew we wanted to cook outside but there is always a burn ban on in that area, so we couldn't use a firepit like I imagined. So, Michael bult this awesome stove for $5 and it worked like a dream! He also slaughtered the lamb himself with the help of the neighbor.

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Here's the menu (everyone helped out to make these):

Uzbek Pilaf with whole apples, garlic, and lamb (Michael picked this recipe on his travels)

Homemade hummus + pita 

Green salad (made from the garden)

Lamb marinated in lemon juice, Greek yogurt + rosemary. 

Roasted carrots (from garden) with rosemary.

Rebar Chocolate cake with strawberries.

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During the feast, we presented them with a homemade book of memories and photos (see first photo).

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We strung up globe lights and set out lanterns for a dance after dark and then migrated to the barn loft, tacked up a white sheet, and had an an old fashioned slide showBlue Moon Camera rented us a slide projector when ours broke at the last minute. My parent's mostly took slide film while we were growing up so there were lots of old photos to laugh over. Some people slept in the barn or the cabin but we also set up tents out in the field.

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One fun thing: I bought a whole bunch of disposable cameras from Target (4.99) each and gave some to my nephews to take photos with. I just got the film back and some of the photos they took are really cool. Like this one taken from the loft in the barn while we were eating breakfast the next morning.


All the photos are a mix of digital and disposable and it was blaring sun, so be kind. Also Typepad is doing weird things with my photos so some look better when you click on them. More on Flickr soon!

Happy Anniversary to Mom + Dad! 🙂


  1. What a sweet anniversary party! Rebar is from my corner of the world (or across the water, but I lived in Victoria briefly)! I highly recommend their cookbook. My room mate had it and everything was so delicious.

  2. Wow, I’m so happy that the weather worked out for you, it’s been so cold lately! We are on opposite sides of the mountain though.

    What a beautiful event, I bet your parents are so grateful. And how amazing to have all that help from loved ones.

    Very cool.

  3. oh wow, this whole thing looks amazing. congrats to your parents and your very talented family.

    great table! how cool to have a brother who can just build a picnic table for 40 people at the last minute.

  4. Such a sweet and perfect way to celebrate your parents’ anniversary! And I love the slideshow idea… my grandparents always pull out their slide projector to look at old photos when we visit, so this made me smile. Beautiful job as always, Chelsea!

  5. All the best to your parents, I can only imagine a 40 year anniversary.. And what a beautiful celebration you guys threw them, I would love to have a secluded place like that sometimes, I’m utterly tired of living in the city right now. Oh, open fields. Cool thing about the disposables, I’ve never dared to try them just because the pictures so seldom gets good.

  6. At last! Linda M from Eugene had shared with me many of the details from the wonderful 40th anniversary feast. She said you would undoubtedly let the rest of your ‘blogees’ see photos of the event! The colorations you achieved (red of the calicos, tablecloth and strawberries, blue from the plates and the striking blue of the sky, the variations of brown from the Uzbek pilaf and goat to the rustic brown of the barn and the green from the trim on the door to the green of the Perrier bottles) make for gorgeous eye candy and memories. Oh, to be a member of your family must be heavenly…

  7. Wow – this is amazing Chelsea! You are very lucky to have parent’s that have been together for so long and they are lucky to have such talented children! I wish my family was this organized to do something like this – or better yet, I was this organized to plan something like this for my family. Thanks for sharing such a special moment in time.

  8. Your brother should be king of the world. You can be the official princess of parties.

    This was so genius I can’t stop wishing I could’ve been there!

    Well done. And Happy Days to your parents!

  9. What a fabulous party! It looks like it was a blast and that food sounds amazing. Oh, how I wish I had my own farm on which to host parties like this one!

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