Thursday, September 4, 2008

party's over, shut it down

Last weekend we celebrated W's birthday and what a celebration it was. Bounce house, snow cones, swimming, tons of food (really, WAY too much food) and family and friends... it was awesome. I hope everyone had a good time. They better have had a good time because I didn't do all of that work for nothing! I know I had fun despite it being a crazy day. So crazy that about 90 minutes after people started showing up, I realized I didn't have a stitch of makeup on and that is seriously socially unacceptable in my book! I can't believe I did an entire party that way. I should have done everyone a favor and at least put on some mascara really fast. Oh well. There are worse things in life, I guess. At least I didn't give anyone food poisoning (I hope...).

Mad, mad props and thanks to everyone who helped me out to pull this thing off-- I clearly needed the help. I know you guys didn't intend to spend the first hour of the party running to the store for snow cone flavoring or cutting fruit or decorating but I could not have done it without you! Thank you so much to M's parents for opening your home so we could have a pool to use and space for the kids to run. Everything looked beautiful! And thanks to M's mom for making the cookies for the ice cream sandwiches and my sister for helping put the sandwiches together. I'm glad we figured out only 7 sandwiches in that putting them together when it was 104 degrees out was probably not the best idea.

Since everyone has been clamoring for the recipes, I'll go ahead and post them here because I'm lazy and don't have the energy to answer each email individually. But first, here are some pictures, for your viewing pleasure:





Blow the fire out!



Make sure all the cars are in a line!

W with his bestest friend T.

Beef, Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Beef Kabob Marinade
**note: I don't do measurements, sorry!**
I use Beef Sirloin cut into 1 inch pieces, with all of the fat trimmed off.
- equal parts Worcestershire Sauce and balsamic vinegar
- half as much soy sauce (low sodium, preferably)
- some olive oil
- minced garlic
- dried oregano, basil, thyme, celery salt, sea salt, ground pepper and red pepper flakes, if you like to spice things up.

Throw it all in a ziplock bag and turn the bag a few times. Then marinate at least 2 hours. I like to marinate mine over night.

Chicken Kabob Marinade
ganked from Bobby Flay's Veggie Kabobs with Herb and Garlic Marinade which he ganked from VegNews Magazine.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. The marinade can be prepared in advance and held covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Do not marinade chicken or fish in this marinade for more than an hour and an hour is pushing it. The lemon will start to cook the meat and will make it taste funky if it is marinaded too long.


Wild Rice Salad (I used a mixture of wild rice, white rice, red rice and brown rice instead of plain wild rice)

Mediterranean Salad (the couscous one)

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

Fresh Fruit with Raspberry Lime Sauce Dipping Sauce



Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies (cookie ideas shamelessly stolen from
Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Recipe from
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.
  3. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/8 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
From Retro Desserts, as part of a homemade Oreo recipe.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room- temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter [For oversized ones, I used a 1/8 cup scoop] and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
If you have any questions, shoot me an email. I can't promise a quick turn around time for a response, but I'll do my best to get back to you in the next few days. We are leaving very, very soon and I'm running around like a mad woman trying to get everything done and packed before we leave. After I'm done shipping everything I need to ship to Germany, the price of stamps should be going down because I've spent enough money with the USPS to sustain their 2009 fiscal year budget. How we have accumulated this much stuff over the past 11 months is beyond me. Funny how we only came over here with 6 suitcases and a stroller...


(fairy) Godmother said...

JoJo... everything looks fabulous! Exquisite!

The Smith Family said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are an amazing party planner lady, extraordinare!!!! That looked AMAZING--I truly can't fathom cutting all that meat/veggies for the kabobs and hand-making icecream sandwiches with HOMEMADE and the fairy godmother put me to shame! LOL! :) Hope it was a fantastic and perfect day for all of you!!! Happy Birthday, Weston!!!

Jenni said...

Wow Jo! What a party! I love all the pictures. That one of W hugging his friend is too precious! Glad his party went so well and that you had lots of help! The food looks DELICIOUS...especially the ice cream sandwiches! YUM!

TaraC said...

Yum! Looks like a great time had by all! And I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who uses the word "gangked"! Good luck with the move, I hope it goes smoothly for you!

Wilma said...

Happy Birthday to W, and for all of you a good journey back to Germany.

clanelder said...

It was the best and so are you!

Marie said...

You are amazing! What an incredible party you put together!

Michele said...

Jeez Jo! Your party for W puts the party we're having for Sam on Sunday to shame. I think I may steal your kabobs!

Angela said...

Wow! That looks like it was quite to party, yum!

kidletsmum said...

Wow. You are mom extraordinaire to the 100th degree!
Great party! Wow.

Ronette said...

What a party, Jo! The food looks incredible!

Happy birthday, West, and safe travels home to you all!


GINNY said...

VERY VERY NICE! YOu should be a party planner:).
It looks like he had a blast.
I am giving in this yr and doing Chuck E CHeese for Julia. She loves that guy!

Hilary said...

Hey, who gave Weston that AWESOME San Francisco t-shirt?? :)

It was such a fun party, JoAnna, and I loved having the opportunity to help decorate! Good luck with the move, and I'll miss you!

Cheryl said...

that looks so yummy! What a fun looking party! I still feel bad we missed it!