Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Party On!

It's late, I'm pooped, but I'm waiting for my kids to fall asleep after a fun-filled day celebrating my mom's birthday.  The kids had so much fun preparing for the "party" and are now sugar-filled, overtired little beasts.  Perhaps they'll sleep in tomorrow.  (This was said with sarcasm...I know better!).

One of the great things about being so close to family is the ability to host gatherings for life's little celebrations.  Thus far we've hosted a Father's Day bbq, the big family birthday party, and now my mom's birthday dinner.  These are moments that can easily be taken for granted, but living far away has made me appreciate them so much more.  No advanced planning required!  This is great!

My kids each made Grandma a homemade card.  I love to do this with each of them and record their narrative about what they've drawn.  It is fun to see how they've grown, too.  Their people have more features, there's more "drawing" than a few scribbles, and now we even have an inventive speller on our hands.  The grandparents love these cards so much more than a store bought card.  I'm pretty sure my mom is keeping them all!  

We made some cupcakes to enjoy after dinner and all of the grandkids sang "Happy Birthday" to Grandma.  Our little guy had been practicing all day and by the time it was showtime he had his version down:  "Happy Birthday to Grandma, Happy Birthday to Grandma, Happy Birthday to Grandma, Happy Birthday to Grandma."  So adorable (and I'm pretty sure he told her "Happy Birthday" at least fifty times today).  My mom loved it!  

We just did a little bbq for dinner.  I ask everyone to bring whatever they want to grill and we provide the sides.  Tonight I made baked beans, cheesy hash brown casserole, and a mandarin orange salad.  My husband laughs at the idea that this is a salad, but as a non-lettuce lover it's a salad in my book!  I'm sure many of you will agree with him as well, but if you're looking for a sweet side, this is it.  My niece could not get enough of it and begged for the recipe to take home.  This is best if you make it shortly before your event.

Mandarin Orange Cookie Salad

1 cup buttermilk (not the mix)
3 oz. package instant vanilla pudding
8 oz. Cool Whip
15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
2 sections Fudge Stripe Cookies

Combine buttermilk and pudding.  Whisk until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip, drained mandarin oranges, and one section of the cookies.  Top with the rest of the cookies.  

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