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Welcome to Motorcycle Manor

posted by admin on November 13, 2017

Twenty-five years of creating a Halloween experience for the neighborhood families, and we still came up with another idea.  This year we transformed the front yard to represent a manor house which specialized in motorcycles.  A decorated urn with sign welcomed the trick-or-treat guests.

The skeleton boys were getting ready for a night ride although it was going to be a chilly one.  The ghoul was happy to stay at home.

Other attractions included a spider web with rat waiting below if the spider should drop; a cemetery with skeletons coming out of the graves; and every manor house needs its own pet menagerie with a dragon named Dorfuss and beagle dog, Bonz.  The dragon and dog were a hit with the littlest ones.  After dark fire torches illuminated the night.




The owners of the manor house were on hand to greet the children as well.

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The Fischer Family Freak Show – Halloween 2015

posted by admin on December 7, 2015


Our neighborhood trick-or-treat this year was a multi-generational event with eighteen of us gathering under the big top for The Fischer Family Freak Show.  The youngest family member was six months; the oldest was eighty-eight, and there was even a family dog.  Each person was in charge of selecting their own costume and treats related to their character.


Everyone gathered before for a group photo behind the pumpkins carved to say “Fischer Family Freak Show.”


The atmosphere was set with circus music playing all night along with the smell of popcorn from the popcorn wagon wafting through the air. DSC_5581DSC_0789

The barker warmed up for the crowd with the snake charmer and strong man.


Kit and Kat, the Siamese twins,  sat on the steamer trunk which had traveled to lots of places.


Claire Voyance, fortune teller, had her crystal ball and fortunes in front of her.


The eighty-eight year old Fischer father was the perfect Uncle Fester.  In tribute to his wife of sixty-four years (now deceased) the clown skeleton sat next to him.  DSC_5561

Close friends also joined in the fun as Trixie, the dog trainer with her trick dog, and her sister who ran the duck pond game dressed no less as a duck.



The amazing athletic acrobats also kept the littlest lion tamer and baby lion under control.


The littlest lion tamer needed to take a break from all the festivities.


Serena charmed all the children with her snake, and children got rubber snakes as their treat from her.


Mr. Joe Elephant provided security at the elephant tent.


It wouldn’t be a circus without a clown who worked the crowd outside the tent and surprised some of the children with his camera which squirted water in their faces.


After the lights were extinguished outside, the family gathered inside to eat and enjoy each others’ company.



We all would have left with good memories of the weekend, but thirteen got hit with a flu bug within forty-eight hours.  It still was good that the show went on without a hitch.  Thanks to all who shared in this Halloween Happening!





Posted in Blog

32,923 Days of Life

posted by admin on August 3, 2015

All those thirty-two thousand days and more added up to ninety years for Grandpa Hansen, and his birthday was an occasion for a large celebration for over one hundred guests.  (At the end he called it “a production.”).  My sister was the master mind behind the affair for her father-in-law, but I was there to help in the execution.  The guest of honor arrived in a 1930 Chevy Coupe and was soon seated at the welcome table so he could greet folks as they came.

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The event was held under a pavilion in a local park, but with a bit of creativity the place was transformed. There was a banner above the food table; flowers filled the fireplace area; tables were dressed in red linen tablecloths with vases of flowers on each; another poster was placed so people could look at while waiting in the buffet line; and drinks were served in colorful tubs, rather than in coolers.  There were fans with grandpa’s picture on, and they were needed on a hot July day.

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After the picnic lunch my nephew had composed a poem with stories collected from the family about his grandfather.  He is carrying on the tradition of writing a poem which has been a signature of Grandpa Hansen. A choice of chocolate cake or angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream (following the red/white color theme) was served for dessert.

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Then it was time for the clan to gather for photos. His eight children who have always been known as the “Dirty Dogs” were seated around him followed by photos of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (Everyone had been told to wear red, the Wisconsin colors, but there are always a few who can’t follow directions.)


Roy with Greats and Grandkids

There was a photo booth area with props  set up in one corner of the pavilion, and at the end of the day my sisters and I gathered there for a couple of pictures with our dad whom we hope makes it to ninety in two years.  Then we can have another party!

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Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, Ashley is ready to say, “I do.”

posted by admin on July 20, 2015

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Bridal shower on Saturday,  July 11 had a chalkboard look along with a touch of blue and white.  A chalkboard sign in the yard welcomed the bride-to-be and her guests to the shower.


The posts on the porch were decorated with white delphiniums and silver sprays.


The letter “A” was a door decoration.


The table centerpiece consisted of white flowers and silver spray along with a large diamond ring on a pedestal.


Miniature individual quiche, fruit kebabs, assorted yogurts, nut bread, blueberry muffins and Danish pastry were the items on the menu along with mimosa’s and other beverages.

While guests enjoyed drinks on the deck, they also took pictures with photo props.


Guests enjoyed themselves participating in several activities, and a gift tray was loaded with door prizes for everyone.


The bride-to-be requested that guests bring a brooch to be incorporated into her wedding bouquet.  They were pinned for the time being to a paper bouquet.


I said the following for the toast:   Getting married is easy.  The really tough part is ahead of (them) which is staying married. (They), no doubt, will have many good times together in the upcoming years, but (they) will also have some bad moments, and occasionally (they) may encounter some ugliness.  Hopefully, they will have a life filled with enough good things to sustain (them) when it is not going well.

For that day, however, everyone came to celebrate the goodness that awaits Ashley when she says, “I do.”



Posted in Blog

An Enchanted Evening

posted by admin on November 11, 2014

It was an enchanted evening this Halloween as my backyard was transformed for a Sleeping Beauty themed trick or treat.  Guests were greeted with a story board which set the stage for the event.



The guests walked along a twinkling lighted path to reach the enchanted forest where Disney music “Once Upon A Dream” set the mood.

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bird bath luminaria




The three good fairy godmothers were standing by star signs in the forest and passed out treats;  Mistress Fauna (in green) gave bubbles;  Mistress Merryweather (in blue) had done tulle wrapped kisses with a tag saying “Love’s first kiss can only break the evil spell,” and Mistress Flora (in red) passed out pixie stick fairy dust wands.



Treat buckets


After seeing the animals in the trees and Prince Philip’s cape and boots, the guests visited the cottage to see if  Princess Aurora was sleeping.  The raven peeked on to see if this baby was the one Maleficent was seeking.


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A large shadow of Maleficent illuminated in green was the finishing touch as the guests completed the event, and all was good!

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P.S.  Much love and thanks to my honored and exalted sister fairy godmothers.

fairy bubbles




Posted in Blog

A Fond Farewell

posted by admin on March 24, 2014

funeral final photo

Most people don’t think that event planning can include funeral services, but my mother’s death in early March gave me an opportunity to once again create a fine affair.  In fact, the directors at the funeral home said afterward that they had never seen one executed so beautifully.

We chose to call it a Service of Farewell as we were not saying goodbye to her as we know we will meet her again in eternity.  Everything in the service focused around the theme of farewell.   She had selected the color theme of pink and burgundy, and we contacted the local florist and asked that all arrangements be done in that color palette.  She was attired in pink, and it made a statement around the casket.

My mother loved chocolate so we gave out kisses favors at the guest book area.  The inscription on the tag read: Although our mom has left us, and our hearts are very sad, we cherish her love and kisses and remember the life she had.

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I think the typical picture boards at funerals are not particularly well done as usually they are done in a collage style with no significance if you are not intimately connected to the individual.  We chose to do a tribute table with black and white pictures in silver frames of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We also decorated inexpensive boxes with photos of her throughout the years and stacked them on several tables with flowers in the top box.

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My mother loved desserts so we had two Sweets and Savories tables open throughout the reviewal and after the service.  We served many of the sweets she enjoyed throughout her eighty-five years.

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All five of her children participated in the service as well as five of her grandchildren.  Her husband of sixty-four years walked beside her and held her hand until the very end when she reached the gates of heaven.  All ended well!

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My sister did a video from the family which was shown during the service.  It can be viewed on youtube tappa puppets farewell from the family.

Posted in Blog

Words and Wishes for the New Year

posted by admin on January 19, 2014

New Years


I hosted a New Year’s Eve party for two children (age 10 and 8) and their parents around the theme of Words and Wishes.  I pulled together a table setting of greens with silver picks focusing on the clock and a framed calendar.  Everyone received a party hat, and there were horns and party favor crackers which I made for the children.

Appetizers were followed by a meal of shrimp and cheese fondue which was a first experience for the children.  After the meal each person was given an envelope.  We passed a box of cards around containing a variety of words; each individual picked a card to keep with the intent of seeing how that word will echo throughout the year for them.  Then everyone wrote down their wishes of improvements they would like to make during this year.  Each person took the envelope with them with the direction to open a year from now.  We wrapped up with a game about 2013 highlights with the children playing against each other and getting help from the adults or the New Year’s fairy.   We wound down after dessert at 9:00 p.m.  as there is no need to celebrate with children until midnight.

The idea of having a word to focus on for the year was particularly meaningful for everyone, and we will all be eager to see how that word resonates in our lives.  Something simple as a word and a wish can make for a wonderful night which it certainly did.

Happy 2014!



Posted in Blog

Still Up Above Ground

posted by admin on November 4, 2013


The Halloween theme for our trick or treat this year was from the Disney movie, Up.


Signs like this one led the children from the front yard around to the back where they saw the garden house with a bunch of balloons above it.


They received a balloon from the old man with his four prong cane and candy from the old lady who was waiting inside the garden house.


Word came back that as the children were walking through the neighborhood with the balloons, they would ask others if they had been to the “Up” house yet.  I guess that makes it a success.


Posted in Blog

A “Look Back” Party

posted by admin on October 13, 2013

Here is a good idea for a party for an elderly person!  My sister had the idea to do a “Look Back” party for my mother who is eighty-four years old.   Family and friends she has known over her life span were invited to an afternoon lunch at her home.

We picked a color theme which incorporated fall colors (yellow and orange) along with turquoise so it did not look too autumnal.

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Boxes were covered with black and white photos of mother through the years and filled with flowers.

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A welcome table greeted guests who were dropped off right there which eliminated long distance walking for the elderly. Valet parking was available.

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Lunch consisted of a hot meal of German potato salad, turkey or pork, rolls, Minnesota Waldorf salad, three bean casserole and relishes.  Lots of attention was paid to serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres; assisting those on walkers and accommodating to guests’ needs.

All of the guests were introduced, and their relationship to mother was noted.  Three of the guests had known my mother since she was a young girl, and there were four who were over ninety years of age.   A short program to go with a well-done poster occurred in the afternoon followed by cake and coffee.

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Three of the great-grandchildren posed for a picture as if they were delivering flowers to their great-grandmother.

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People commented on how much they enjoyed the party with its focus on looking back while the person was still alive.  Many felt this was better than waiting until the individual was deceased.  We felt so as well because there was a feeling of celebration without the shadow of sadness which accompanies death.   For all who attended, this party became a part of their memories too.

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Top Ten Thoughts

posted by admin on October 12, 2013

Time and time again I have been involved in events, especially weddings where the individuals did not want to hire an event planner, and I have thought how much the services of an event planner would have helped.  Therefore, these are my top ten thoughts why using an event planner is a good idea.

1.  Headache relief:  There are always things that go awry at the last minute.  People could save themselves a huge headache by being able to pass the problem over to someone else.

2.  Sleep:  I repeatedly hear of those involved in an event who got only a few hours of sleep the night before because they were still working on things.  One mother of the bride was so wiped out the day of the wedding because of no sleep, she did not even have time to wash her hair.

3.  Maintain your friendships:  Friends may think there is something glamorous about event planning, but when it comes down to the last minute, they may not come through as hoped.  A friend was told she would have the help of two friends in decorating the tables for her wedding; at the last minute they each had to leave for their own commitments.  She was left with all of it.  Fortunately, I was available and came to the rescue.

4.  Money saving:  An event planner can save you extra expense by giving you advice and/or putting you in contact with vendors.   For example, I have seen too many programs and favors tossed because of inaccurate planning which adds to one’s budget.

5.  Last minute running around:  A recent bride was picking up her flowers two hours before the wedding.  This could have been put in the event planner’s hands.

6.  Expertise of the event planner:  As David Tutera,  event planner says, “Brides have a vision, and I come in with revision.”  One does not need to hire the celebrity event planners to get exceptional expertise, but planning ahead of time can make a big difference.

7.  Treasure your time:  If you want to be involved in the event,  see yourself as one of the guests and leave the details to the event planner.  People often forget that the event has to be “broken down” at the end, and this is one aspect of the planning which is not considered, or if so, one hopes that people will be able to step in.  A recent bride was upset because relatives threw away some items which she had wanted when the evening was over. 

8.  Avoid tears or tantrums:  Things often don’t turn out the way one wants, and it is nice to have an event planner who can do therapy as well.   I also have credentials as a psychologist and believe this competence has been invaluable in my business.

9.  Use of rentals:  I have many items which can be rented for your event which gives it a personal feeling, rather than your event looking like everything came from the nearest party supply store or company.

10.  Make a positive memory:  Pulling off a party may appear to be fun, but it is hard work and requires considerable creativity, planning, orientation to detail, and hours of work ahead of the event plus hours of work the day of.   It would be much better for the average individual to give this job over to an event planner and have a positive memory of the event.

I hope that you will give A Fine Affair consideration when you are planning an event.  My business is about exceptional personalized events and being mindful of these top ten thoughts.





Posted in Blog

Exceptional Personalized Events