Monday, March 23, 2015

13th Birthday Party Prep

At long last, the post about the birthday party that never seemed to happen. But it did. The birthday boy, Joel,  turned 13 on Valentine's Day; his party was rescheduled several times for snowy weekends. Finally my daughter had the brilliant idea that we celebrate on a mid-week evening,  and so we landed on St. Patrick's Day. 

I had bought the blue and white partyware in February, per Joel's choice. It fit the snowy theme back then but felt a tad odd on March 17th. Oh well.  Most people wore green, so that worked. The red heart cookie cutter was my nod to February 14th.  Those wooden numbers from Michael's are leaning against two cups supported by glass votives inside. Simple, simple. 

Normally I fix Mexican or Italian fare when the extended family come over because we have three vegetarians .But I was so tired of that; had to break out of my mold sooner or later, so why not when my son becomes a teenager? A lot of things change at that magical age, right? 

I made the mistake of asking  tossed  my menu question out to my quilting chat board friends as to what I could serve that was different, easy, and still accommodating to the restricted diets. "That's easy," said one of the ladies, who is a gourmet cook. Beware when that type says "Easy." What they mean is "looks simple but takes all day."  She suggested Florentine stuffed portabello mushrooms. But of course.  She said I could also butterfly the chicken breast, wrap them in Saran wrap, pound them thin, and stuff them with the same filling.  Umm, yeah. No.  I decided to do chicken Marsala in the crock pot so it could slow cook while I got other things done. 

You know--SOMEONE has to clean bathrooms, sweep floors, decorate,  and take a shower  ,not to mention pick up the boy after school. 

People coming after work would be HONGRY, perhaps even HANGRY, so I needed a sweet/salty/protein/colorful appetizer to hold them over.  Something easy to put in these Valentine cupcake papers (that I've had for three years). 

Strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts. A big hit. 

No sooner had everyone sat down than my baby niece decided it would be fun to scoop up all the silverware as fast as she could. Like a competitive sport, except she had no competitors, just spectators. 

And she loved dangling asparagus from her mouth to make us laugh. 

I'll have to try that next time things get too serious around here. 

Joel had chosen a red velvet box cake--no icing. He didn't even want me to 
dust it with powdered sugar which I desperately wanted to do. 
I had to be content with the fact that honoring someone means 
doing it their way, not yours. 
My dear friend Bonnie asked how she could help on the day of the party. I asked her if she'd be willing to make the cake, and she did. It turned out perfectly. What  blessing to have friends who really mean it when they say, "I'd like to help." She lives one street over and we bail each other out all the time.  Now I wish I'd asked her to do the Florentine stuffed mushrooms. The store didn't have 6 big fungus steaks, only small, so I was scooping the gills out of 24 baby bellas with the handle of a spoon.  While wilting spinach on the stove and shredding carrots and chopping mushroom stems and 
dicing red pepper and wondering why the heck we didn't just go to  a restaurant. Come on, if you've hosted anything and your feet are hurting, your heart is heavy, and your clock is ticking away, you've
thought the same thing. 

My heart was heavy because of who was missing. See the lady wearing the scarf? That's Valeria. Her husband Andrey died from liver cancer last April. He was a precious friend. She happened to be here 
on furlough from Birobidzhan (far east Russia)  staying with my parents. This was really the only smile I saw all night from her. The light has gone out of her eyes. 

But back to the birthday boy. 

Mr. 13. 

 The hair. Oh, my, he loves it longer than I do.  The fights that ensue when I say it's time for a haircut are worse than PMS, believe me. 

The joys of teenagers, right? 

He says his hair is his confidence.
His confidence shows in his face, huh?  But oh, I love my boy with a fierce passion, regardless of his stubbornness .  He is so much like his father his mother his oldest brother his mother.

Well, hair isn't the only thing getting long, so I'll save the Blessing portion of the party for tomorrow, in which the grandfather, grandmother, father, and brothers speak. 


Joyce said...

I just love love love family birthday dinners. Even when they're late, and the prep is more than what we'd envisioned. I do think our kids appreciate and cherish these times too. I love the hair : ) Happy birthday to your son!

Susan Kane said...

Kids love food period. The party sounded lovely! I also love red velvet cake, but covered thickly in cream cheese icing.

Lea said...

Well, looks and sounds like the party was "worth the wait." And, the "uniced" cake looks delicious. Yes, entertaining is so much work but when everyone enjoys it then it sure helps to forget all the work. I'm hosting a late 50th b'day dinner for my baby brother tomorrow evening. He's in from Iowa and he was 50 on St. Pats day so we're going to celebrate.

April said...

Sure looks like a perfect celebration to me, Zoanna. I'm sure you'll boy will remember it for years to come!