Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party

The day after St. Patrick's Day, we had two families (bringing 9 children with them) over for a nice little dinner party.  Saturday was cleaning and shopping day...

Here are the kids on the real St. Patrick's Day

And the girls shopping at HEB with me, had to try on this hat :)

I'm so glad we found that new kitchen table last week, because we were able to use the old one, along with one of the school tables, to fit the 10 kids in the schoolroom (babies sat with the parents).

Here's one of the tables for the older girls.  We bought one green plastic tablecloth, which was big enough to cut for both the kids' tables.  Also bought the cute little green flowers and some tulips!  It was fun to be able to set places for everyone.  Usually our big meals and parties are just buffet-style, find a spot around the house!

I printed out some pretty St. Patrick color pages (I think they were from this link to CHC, down on the list of coloring pages).  My girls also made the shamrock place cards, and we happened to have some little Holy Trinity shamrock foam crafts from Oriental Trading which had been passed down from someone.  The kids enjoyed making those later in the evening.

Here's the adult table set for the 6 adults and 2 toddlers (there was also a small lap baby).  I bought the tulip plant on clearance.  Tulips are my favorite!  My orchid from our last dinner party/house blessing is still alive back there on the counter!

The wonderful Chef Steven, working on his pork loin and mashed potatoes!  We had a bit of a rush getting the food ready since we'd forgotten that Steven Joseph had t-ball practice right before the party.  Steven took the boys to that while the girls and I decorated, but the cooking part was running a bit behind.  This is when it would be nice to have a kitchen that was open to the living room so you can still visit with guests while they sit and have drinks and appetizers and you finish cooking.  Maybe one day!

Here are the some of the girls working on the coloring pages!  They actually spent a lot of time working on these, while Steven Joseph ran around with his Nerf gun.  I was laughing about how unique it was to have a party of nearly all girls, except SJ and the babies. Definitely a different dynamic!

I made my own green punch, it's just lime sherbet and Simply Limeade.

I made this Irish Soda Bread.  It was delicious!  I made two loaves and we had some leftover (I ate the last scraps with butter just now!).  Just FYI if you haven't made this before, it ends up being a batter you pour in the loaf pans.  The girls and I were confused at why it didn't form a dough and kept adding flour, until I read the recipe enough times to realize it was meant to be poured.  My loaf pans overflowed, so maybe the extra flour was really too much...or I need bigger loaf pans!

Steven made his tasty pork loins.  He uses a hickory rub and sears them in the cast iron skillet, then puts them in the oven for about 20 minutes, I think.  After that he puts Pineapple Habanero jelly on top, usually saving one without the jelly for the picky eaters like Mommy :-)   Not sure why my camera continues to take fuzzy photos...Still haven't learned how to use it well.

I made a rainbow fruit tray (was going to put whipped cream "clouds" at the bottom if we used it for dessert, but a friend brought dessert).  I also served our potato chips and ranch dip, which is usually done with sour cream and the dry ranch dip packet, except that I didn't have enough so we ended up using dry Italian...didn't taste as good.  Paper plates for appetizers and for the kids :-)

So our menu wasn't quite the traditional Irish dinner, but I did make a good Shepherd's Pie tonight, braving it without the Cream of Mushroom soup, so maybe we'll try that next year!  Listing all the foods, we had the pork loin and these raved-about chicken thighs (which I thought tasted too mustard-y, but were much better chopped in a stir-fry last night as leftovers!), our favorite roasted broccoli, mashed potatoes (wanted to try the Colcannon Irish ones but couldn't find good cabbage at the store), Irish Soda bread, green punch, rainbow fruit tray, potato chips/ranch dip, and our friends brought beer, french bread, and a chocolate "dirt pie" for dessert!  

The fun evening was capped off with some great time visiting and getting to know the other two couples (one who's also new to town and both are transplants from other parts of the country and go to our parish and homeschool group).  The kids had a blast and the girls were thrilled to be the "ballet teachers" and put on a show complete with costumes where 4 of the younger kids danced...even Steven Joseph participated, as you can tell in the fuzzy shot below!

Hope you all had a fun St. Patrick's Day!  Anyone have a special meal or craft activity you'd like to share?


Andrea said...

Blair this is lovely! I bet your new friends had a blast!
You have such a gift for hospitality.

Mary said...

So, so fun! Love it!

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