Real Parties: A DIY Backyard Birthday Party

Local author and blogger Kyran Pittman not only knows how to write a great story – she can also throw a fabulous party. Kyran and friends Pearl Rodgers and Charis Cook recently threw a 40th birthday bash in celebration of close friend Lennie Dusek.

Pittman and her co-hosts drew inspiration from the fresh greenery and cottage-like surroundings at the private residence where the party was held. Decorations consisted of vintage linens and an abundance of fresh-cut flowers. Tea candles, a handcrafted antler and candle chandelier and a cozy yard fire provided the perfect mood lighting once the sun set.

Guests were greeted at the door with a signature cocktail: spiked lemonade in mason jars (see recipe below). Instead of a traditional guest book, friends wrote birthday wishes on slips of paper and placed them in a jar.

The dinner was a buffet of rustic sandwiches on sliced baguettes, with dips and crudités. The centerpiece consisted of a vase of natural branches, onto which the hostesses clipped photographs of the guest of honor. For dessert, guests enjoyed a chocolate espresso torte decorated with rose petals and served on antique glass plates.

The spring weather, shared love for the birthday girl, and thoughtful planning of the co-hosts made this real party unforgettable for all who attended.

Mason Jar Spiked Lemonade for 30


30 pint-size, wide-mouth mason jars with lids and collars

1 pitcher or measuring cup with spout for pouring

1 shot glass or jigger for measuring

2 coolers for storing/transporting

1 galvanized tub for serving


2 10-lb bags clean filtered ice (plus 2 more for transporting and serving)

6 cans frozen lemonade concentrate

vodka (amount depends on strength of drinks–for a standard ratio of 1.5 oz liquor to an 8 oz drink, you’ll need 90 ounces. One 1.75 l bottle = 56 oz)

4 lemons


Working in small batches to keep everything chilled, pack 30 pint-size, wide-mouth mason jars to the brim with fresh filtered ice. Into each jar, pour 2 oz of thawed lemonade concentrate and 3 oz of vodka (give or take). Fill each jar to the neck with water and float a slice of lemon on top. Screw the lids on finger-tight and shake each jar gently to blend before storing them in the freezer until time to serve. These transport easily in coolers filled with ice and can be displayed in galvanized tubs.

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