Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Finds

Photographer Kim Klassen just started a new link-up idea, Friday Finds.  Kim searches for treasures, bought or found, everywhere she goes.  Her treasures can be anything from antiques to pretty posies, a heart shaped stone, a rusted old tin, or a beautiful new book.  The idea is that we share and celebrate our finds on Fridays with pictures that show and stories that tell.

In a stack of tossed and tattered books outside a local Thrift store, I found a hidden treasure, Betty Crocker’s Parties for Children.  Among the sad little pile of books, this book with its bright and cheerful cover shouted “Food, Fun and Games.” 

Published in 1964 by Golden Press, the book was written by Lois Freeman, “a well-known authority on party counseling and child psychology.” The book opens with a sweet letter addressed to Dear Party Giver.

Betty Crocker's Parties for Children

“Children love parties – and they are such eager and enthusiastic guests.”

“But successful parties don’t just ‘happen.’ They require careful thought and planning in advance. What invitations and decorations shall we use? What games shall we play? What favors shall we give? And, very important to any party, what shall we serve to eat?”

birthday cupcakes

Chapters include the who, what, why, where and how of parties; themes; invitations; decorations; prizes; refreshments; games; and recipes. There is even a Party-Giver’s Check List to show the steps needed to ensure a successful, smoothly run party. The colorful and graphic style of the book, illustrated by Judy and Barry Martin, makes parties for children look like fun.

Parties for Children book pages

Going through our shoe box of old family photos, I came across a few pictures of my first birthday party.  I was born in 1960, so this party was planned without any advice from the 1964 Betty Crocker party book. I can tell from the picture that the party was on our window-lined back porch.  I am sure that my mother picked this room because she did not want all those kids traipsing through her house making a big old mess.  I don’t know if we played any games, but I’m sure Mom provided favors.  I see a huge bowl of marshmallow ice cream cones on the table, a beautiful cake, and lots of presents in the background.  I was something worth celebrating, and even at 53 I am still grateful for the love my Mom has put into family.

scenes from my 1st birthday

marshmallow ice cream cone candy

Betty Crocker’s book of Parties for Children is such a find because it reminds me of simpler times when giving a child’s birthday party didn’t require spending lots of money, decorating was about making use of what you had, and being a kid was fun.  I am not nostalgic for the 60s when socially acceptable behavior also included discrimination of every sort, sweeping family problems under the rug, and establishing household order according to “father knows best.”  But I do appreciate the book’s gentle reminder that celebrations are important and only require a grateful heart and a little effort.

“Next time you’re planning a children’s party, reach for this book. You’ll enjoy hearing the boys and girls exclaim that 'the best parties happen at your house.' Cordially, Betty Crocker"

Scavenger Hunt instructions


  1. I love the graphics from that book because that is my era--that art reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons and eating cereal.

    Marshmallow ice cream cones! They are still out there? I loved them!

    Your first birthday party looks like most first birthday parties--kid in the middle wondering what the heck is going on, older kids can't wait to eat cake and ice cream, pile of presents that look like mostly clothes. But first birthday parties are also very special and it shows in your snapshots. haven't changed a bit.

  2. As usual, your description of a first birthday party is funny and poignant and true. I look at the picture and think, "Hmm . . . here's a birthday party for a chubby little girl who doesn't look that happy." Thanks for putting words to my images that make me and my life seem like some kind of special.


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