Welcome to Missionary Farewell Week here at the Missionary Mama’s Guide. All week, we are going to feature ideas, photos, and even a few downloads, to help you plan your next missionary open house. Today, I’m going to kick off the week by sharing what we did for my son’s farewell open house.
When McKay left on his mission, we asked him what he wanted to do for a farewell party. He is a pretty easy going kid, and simply wanted a chance to visit with friends and ward members before leaving for the MTC. He was happy as long as there was food involved, and left the details up to me.
I tend to go overboard when throwing parties, but tried to keep it simple for this one. None of what I did was extremely expensive, though some of it was time consuming. But for me, it was a great way to occupy my nervous energy that week. I was a wreck, and it was nice to have something to focus on and keep me distracted.
The first thing our friends and family were greeted by was a spot near the front door to sign up with their email to receive my son’s letters. I made this chalkboard sign using a cookie projector (look for a tutorial coming soon) but you could easy hand write a note or type up a sign on a piece of paper and stick it in a frame.
We opted to have a dessert bar for my son’s open house, and featured several of his favorite sweets. These chocolate cupcakes were simply boxed cake mixes that we fancied up with drizzled chocolate ganache and a peanut butter buttercream frosting. They took maybe 35 minutes start to finish, but were delicious. I made the ganache and frosting while the cupcakes were baking. Putting the cupcakes together took less than 10 minutes, though they look like it took much more time.
We also made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream:
With the colors on the Chilean flag being red, white and blue, we ran with that as our color scheme. I found colorful cupcake papers at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. I periodically checked until I found them on sale, and bought them well ahead of time.
In the corner of the above photo, you can see Rice Krispy treats that I made and dipped half into melted white chocolate. We made these at the last minute as a filler in case we didn’t have enough food. We had very little leftovers, so I was glad I decided to make these.
I also made missionary shirt sugar cookies (recipe and instructions here). My son’s farewell was on general conference weekend, so these cookies were a great project for me to work on as I sat and listened to each session of conference with my family.
[Also, if you have a sister missionary, here is our tutorial to make darling cookies for your sister.]
And because I’m crazy like that, I made sugar cookies of the Chilean flag. Fortunately for me, the Chilean flag is incredibly simple. I would not have attempted it otherwise. The star was melted chocolate that I melted and chilled in this mold.
I found a recipe for Earth Day globe cookies that I thought were perfect for a missionary farewell. Recipe and tutorial can be found on our site here. These cookies were as delicious as they were cute.
For decor, I gathered a few things I had around the house, as well as picked up a few items at the store. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on things that I would never use again, so I tried to only buy items that I could use as home decor later. I found these globe ornaments at World Market and put them in a glass container I already had. They had strings attached to a loop that was screwed in. We simply removed the loop and cut off the strings. They were on clearance for about $1 a piece.
I made this chalkboard sign with the name of his mission and used a globe that I already had on a shelf.
I put out several photos from his mission photo shoot in various sizes in wood frames. The wood boxes and globe, I got at Hobby Lobby, again, for 50% off. Planning your party ahead of time can save you a lot of money if you are patient enough to wait for the right price.
We put out small water bottles to drink, and were able to relax and visit with our guests. I was so thankful that I took the photos of the food and decor before the party started, because I was too busy chatting with family and friends to have done much later. I think the whole party cost less than $100 to put on, and it was a wonderful time for my son to say goodbye to the people who mean so much to him.
Stay tuned for more farewell ideas this week.