Our May party

Erika's GraduationI’ve mentioned before that May was going to be a big month for our family. The first big event was our daughter Erika’s graduation from Boise State University.  She graduated with a double major in Spanish and linguistics, and managed to stay on the dean’s list even after having her first baby in the middle of her last semester.  We’re so proud of her!

The day after her graduation, she and her husband Israel had their little son baptized at our church, another very big event that we were privileged to witness.  Here they are with the wonderful Pastor Tjelta, who has know Erika ever since she was a teeny girl.
Zechariah Ranger's Baptism

On the very same day three of our teenagers were confirmed along with 6 other young people in our church.  Confirmation is a tradition practiced by the Lutheran church, where a baptized person affirms Christian belief and is admitted as a full member of the church.  The kids in our church go through two years of instruction to prepare, and then answer a series of questions that are based on Luther’s Small Catechism.   Here’s a picture of the whole row of nervous kids that day, just before being questioned.  They all did great and we were really proud of them.  (Counting from the left side of the photo, our kids are #3- Josh, #6- Ben, and #7- Zeytuna.)
Confirmation Day

Also in May, we of course had a brand new grandbaby arrive.  And then the last big event of the month was our son Daniel’s graduation from homeschool high school.  Our local homeschool group has a really nice ceremony for the occasion, which is always fun to attend.
Daniel's Graduation

We decided to celebrate all those events in one big party, which happened last night and filled our house to the gills with wonderful people.  I think we had somewhere in the range of 80 people there.  Thankfully the weather was lovely and let folks overflow into the yard.  We also had tables set up in the family room and in the big bedroom upstairs, and it all just worked really well.  Kids played badminton and tetherball and had a huge old waterfight.  The grownups visited in clumps everywhere.  The whole evening left me feeling very thankful for all the great folks we have in our lives.  Thanks, folks, for coming to celebrate with us!

I realized that Pinterest helped me quite a bit with my party-planning, and I thought it might be fun to share the pins that inspired some of the details of the party.  PUNCH was this pineapple-lime-raspberry yumminess. Many people went back for multiple servings. Definitely a win.



The menu included barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, guacamole and chips, potato salad (thanks Aunt Barb!), fruit salad (thanks Marcia!), and this Asian Pasta salad recipe from Pioneer Woman.


I made some with rice noodles for gluten free family members.  I also made this recipe for BAKED BEANS, except I used dry beans instead of canned.

Source: cheeseslave.com via Mary on Pinterest



We did many little DESSERTS served in little jars like the ones shown below. Flavors included:

Dirt Dessert (made by my sis in law– thanks Jen!)
Butterscotch Pudding
Vanilla Pudding Cake (a layered trifle)
Flourless Chocolate Cake (very much like this recipe)
Caramel Creme Cheesecakes
Lemon Poppyseed Cakes

The last three recipes were from the cookbook Desserts in Jars


We set up a couple of these mini-barbecues on a picnic table outside so that kids could roast marshmallows and Little Smokies.



And just in case there wasn’t enough dessert, we made a bunch of these little graduation hats, minus the sticks. Aren’t they fun?

Source: skiptomylou.org via Mary on Pinterest



Whew! I’m not sure I want to cram this much fun into one month again anytime soon– I am sitting around like a wet noodle today and feeding my families leftovers for every meal. But it was a wonderful, memorable month!


  1. Wow! So much to celebrate. And your family is growing up so much :-). It’s a new season for you, alright!

    God bless

  2. Bummer! I didn’t get a chocolate hat! Didn’t even see them! I guess I was too busy talking and googling over babies! 🙂

  3. grangramma says:

    So funny, Jen made those little graduation hats too. She loves cute little things like that too.
    Have you seen the pictures on line of Mya’s great dives? She is awesome.

  4. A many-fold congratulations!! I always approach months like that with trepidation but, in the end, they are always fun and so grounding. Makes us realize what is important in life.

  5. Looks delicious! Congrats to Erika on all accounts! (My husband just got his PhD in Hispanic linguistics.)

  6. Sooo awesome! Mary, you rock–I’m exhausted after just reading this. But what a wonderful month of celebration for your family. 🙂 Congrats to all!

  7. Oh, Mary….I love those ideas! I don’t get on Pinterest much because I’m trying to do as much as you do….ha! I can’t wait to make some of these darling treats!

  8. Heather Mason says:

    Such a heart-warming post. So many blessings. Your party must have been very memorable for all- so many special touches! Thank you for sharing!

  9. It all looks so fun and yummy! What a great family you have 🙂 Neat to hear some names of your kids, besides the oldests. How do you pronounce Zeytuna? Does anyone else have such a unique name? Oh of course I understand if you want to keep them private. Just curious!

    • Our older-adopted daughters (Lidya and Zeytuna) kept their Ethiopian names as their first names since they had many years of using them and were used to them. We named the younger-adopted ones ourselves and kept their Ethiopian or Korean names as their middle names. Zeytuna is pronounced pretty much as it looks, with the emphasis on the first syllable: ZAY-too-nuh. She definitely has the most unique name in the house. 🙂