Oh so crazy and oh so fun...how we survived the birthday week

On the menu for this week:  Mini Shrimp Calzones, Chicken & Corn Chowder, Green Chile Pork Tacos/Quesadillas, and Spaghetti Pie

This week was oh so crazy and oh so fun.  The big finale was the PINK first birthday party, but we'll get to that.  As far as the rest of the week went...

A friend of mine needed a meal more than my family did on Monday night, so the chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole that was left over in the freezer from a couple of weeks ago went to them, and we ate sandwiches.  Actually, it was a nice change of pace since we very rarely eat sandwiches and chips for dinner.  It was so fast, everyone was happy, and I may just start making sandwich night a staple around this house...probably not, but it's a nice thought.

Tuesday night, we had the Baked Veal...I mean Chicken...Parmesan.  This was really easy and everyone loved it.  This one would be difficult to make ahead because the breaded chicken goes directly into the hot butter when it comes out of the oven, so I suppose I could've breaded the chicken earlier and pulled it out when I was ready to cook, but I don't think that would've saved much time, and dirtying extra dishes just isn't worth it sometimes.  Like I said in the notes, the sauce was a little sweet for my taste, but everyone else thought it was great.  The arugula salad is super fast and easy, and a nice addition to any pasta dinner.

Later that night, things got interesting as one of my children got sick, which meant a day at home on Wednesday.  I had planned on the kids eating at church and feeding my husband the tomato tart after the kids went to bed for a little date night in...well, we clearly weren't at church, so that plan went out the window.   Luckily I had ordered Dinners on the Porch on Tuesday and saved it for Wednesday...it was delicious and we had PLENTY to feed our family and probably another one too!!!

My extended family arrived for the party on Thursday night, and I made the tomato tarts for my mom and my grandmother.  These are seriously so easy and yummy.  You will need to give these a little forethought as there is time involved for thawing the puff pastry and letting it set in the refrigerator.  My grandmother had never seen such a thing ;) so it was really fun to introduce her to something new and simple.  She's planning on serving it to her church Circle group the next time they meet.  I love grandparents!!

Earlier in the week, I made the menu for the birthday party and ordered my groceries online with a pick up time for Friday morning.  I assumed I would have pretty much all day to prepare with my mom and grandmother while the baby slept and the boys were in school...well, you know what they say about making assumptions.  As we were waiting in line to get the groceries, I got a phone call that my child's elementary school was under lock down.  It was short lived, and thank The Lord that everyone was safe.  It was a VERY long morning waiting to hear something, and to say I was a frazzled mess would be quite an understatement.

Luckily, I had my mom and grandmother here to hold everything together, we recovered, and resumed our party planning activities.  We went ahead and prepared the ham appetizer sandwiches, boiled and peeled the shrimp, sliced the fruit, and laid out all of the serving pieces.  That night, we needed a break from the kitchen...my grandmother had picked up Maurice's BBQ in Columbia, SC on her way up to Winston-Salem. It is right off of I-20 right before I-77 (well, the one location we frequent.)  Totally worth stopping and getting some the next time you're headed that way.  We whipped up some coleslaw and some rice, and this fed all of us, my aunt, uncle, mom, grandmother, and dad for dinner Friday night and again for lunch on Saturday...and again for lunch on Sunday.  It's a good thing we love it so much!! 

Saturday, we were all in go-mode for the party.  My mom (who is an excellent baker) had baked the smash
cake and about 60 mini cupcakes before she came up here, so we spent the morning making the frosting, trying to get the perfect shade of pink (we had to toss one entire recipe of frosting because I made it a lovely chartreuse, and we were going for baby pink...clearly I need some lessons in tinting icing!) and icing the cupcakes and the cake.  I must say, they turned out pretty well!  The asparagus and the cranberry brie tartlets were really the only things we had to make at the last minute, which was great because it gave us time to get the tables decorated like we wanted them, put the flowers all in their spots, set up the bar (I found a banquet table at Target for $35 which worked perfectly!) and get the food right where we wanted it.  This would not have been possible if it hadn't been for my family...mom and grandmother helping in the kitchen and with the baby, my aunt and uncle running to get my dad from a golf tournament in Greensboro, my dad making a trip to ChickFilA to pick up the nuggets, my husband and uncle raking and blowing leaves, my mother and father in law entertaining kids, ironing, and helping set up tables.  Thank you to each of you!!!!  It was a great party celebrating with close friends and family, and it was so much fun to watch my daughter prance around in her little pink dress!  Side note...evidently she did not want to mess up her party attire, because she would have NOTHING to do with the smash cake!  Ha!  We even tried again on Sunday, and she wouldn't touch it!!

Sunday night, my mom, dad, and grandmother were still here, and I made the black bean pumpkin soup, which was satisfying and delicious on a cool, rainy evening.  It truly was such a special weekend with family and friends, and dinner last night was the perfect way to end a happy, chaotic week.

Happy Cooking!

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