Friday, March 16, 2012

Holiday Prep

What do you guys think of the new look? It's not as whimsical as the last, but I like the organization better, personally! Let me know how you like it!

I'm lucky enough to have my husband home with me for most of the day today, which means I got out to do some grocery shopping. I picked up the basics: flour, bananas, milk, Guinness... That's right - it's St. Patty's Day tomorrow! I mentioned some of my plans already and while I'm working on finalizing plans today, I'm sure that what I end up with tomorrow will still vary. For now, however, I am still planning on making Irish Soda Bread, Irish Cream Fudge, and now I'm adding Steak and Guinness Pie to the list. I've got some White Tail Deer stewing meat in my freezer that has been begging me to cook it, and while White Tail Deer isn't exactly Irish (Red Deer or lamb is more their pace), I'm sure the Guinness will more than make up for my lack of Irish meat. I whipped up the Irish Cream Fudge tonight, along with a Frozen Strawberry Dessert so with those two things out of the way I hope my plans for the Steak and Guinness Pie will go unimpeded.

I love planning things. Have you noticed that? I love having parties, making big deals out of small things, and using any excuse I can to make some fun food. Sometimes, however, I don't have to stretch too far to have a good reason to throw a party. Case and point: Gabe's upcoming third birthday. My darling boy will be turning three at the end of next month and this will be the first year that we're going to throw a real party for him! Since it will be his first big bash, I'm going to go all out! We're having a Pirate themed party, and are inviting all the kids from our weekly Play Date, not to mention some of our other friends of the family, and so we're expecting to have up to 20 kids, plus parents on top of that. We'll have eye patches for everyone, Walk the Plank games, and treasure hunts. For the food I've found some adorable ideas on Pinterest, including Sand Dollar cookies, Pirate Marshmallow Pops, and Octopus Wieners. I'll also be mixing up my own special POG Grog (Papaya Orange Guava) and topping cupcakes with pirate themed toppers and jolly rogers! I'm so excited to plan everything about this party! I have dreams of decorating my backyard with billowing sails (I've tried numerous times to have a backyard party, and it never seems to work, but it has to sometime, right?) and of 20 knee-high scallywags chasing our poor dog around the yard with plastic swords! Sigh... the sweet bliss it will be!

And somewhere between St. Patty's Day and the end of April falls one of my favorite holidays (in the strictest meaning of the word 'holiday')... Easter! The day of promise, hope and salvation is one of the happiest times of the year. I love the meaning, I love the season, I love everything that goes with it.
This year I plan on doing lots of teaching times with Gabriel and lots of fun crafts with him. We'll read bible stories, we'll decorate eggs, and we'll definitely eat chocolate. In fact, I may even make the chocolates that we eat. I felt a little inspired by Martha Stewart Living for April (I subscribe, so I got that issue this past week). The article that Martha contributes herself each month usually has to do with life around her house, and how she organizes, hosts, or crafts. This month it was about Easter dinner at her house and certain traditions that she always keeps up. One tradition for her was molding chocolates in antique tin molds. The beautiful little bunnies looked so adorable that I instantly went on Ebay and tried to track down some antique chocolate molds myself. While the average price was between $90 and $400, I haven't given up hope of tracking down an antique one at one of the stores in my city. But until that happens, I may order some new plastic molds and try my hand at tempering and molding. Who knows, maybe I'll like it enough to really have fun with it (remember that red wine ganache I made at Valentine's Day? Wouldn't that make a great filling??)
Well, my first batch of Irish Soda Bread is almost out of the oven, so I think I'll skip off now to do some tasting! Ta ta!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)
Until that sweet day, however, I suppose I'll have to be contented with

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