Thursday, September 11, 2014

Surprise, Nana!

This past weekend, we surprised Scott's mom, Leah, with a party to celebrate her 60th birthday and also hers and my father in law's 40th wedding anniversary!  With such a big family, and lots of texting, emailing and calling back and forth, it was very difficult to keep the secret under wraps, but it ended up that we pulled it off, she was completely shocked, overwhelmed, and yes, surprised!!

My brother in law, Grady, designed the invitations and all the banners for the party.  My sister in law Lindsay used lots and lots of old pictures to hang and frame as decor.

Leah has Celiac's Disease, and has a very severe gluten intolerance.  Like rush to the ER if she ingests gluten kind of intolerance.  Even if someone held a piece of bread and then handled her food, she will have a reaction to it.  So, she doesn't get to go out to eat very often, since it's hard to control the kitchen and what they're handling when you have such a dire sensitivity.  And parties and get togethers are hard, since no one is very vigilent about not touching bread, or not putting the knife back in the peanut butter after you've spread it across the bread (she can't do that either!), so she has to plan ahead to bring snacks, or eat before she goes, or something else totally inconvenient but totally necessary.  Well for this party, this even honoring her, we didn't want her to have to worry about the food, and what she could have or couldn't have at all!  So every single piece of food, from the chicken wings, to the pretzels, to the dips, and even to the birthday cake and cupcakes, was ALL gluten free.  So the guest of honor could have any and everything she wanted!!

My sister in law, Lindsay, ordered the most delicious gluten free cupcakes and birthday cake from a little bakery in Fort Mill, South Carolina.  You would have never known that they were gluten free had you not been told!  The birthday cake, which was toasted coconut, was especially delicious, but all of the flavors were yummy!

I made all the other party foods, with some help from my other sister in law, Chrissy.  We worked so quickly that we even had an hour to spare after we were done before the guests began to arrive!

We served Shrimp Salad on Cucumber Rounds

We sourced out the chicken wings and got take out, and they were delicious!

I made 4 dozen Classic Southern Style Deviled Eggs, and they were GONE!

This Rainbow Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing was a hit with the kids.

Probably one of my favorites, and one of the easiest things to make, were the Antipasto Skewers!  You just take marinated mushrooms, bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls), cherry tomatoes, olives, chopped artichoke hearts, and thick slices of salami, thread them onto skewers, and put them on a plate!  We drizzled an Italian Dressing over the top since we knew it was gluten free, but a balsamic vinaigrette would be good, or even just some olive oil and a little splash of vinegar.

Nutella Cheeseball: 1 jar of Nutella.  1 black of cream cheese.  Mix and roll in chocolate chips.  Serve with graham crackers.  You're welcome.

And behind the main table, with the plates and napkins, were three dips in a triple crockpot: Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Cheesy Hot Corn Dip, and Hot Vidalia Onion Dip, and we served them with tortilla chips, pretzels and crackers.

We waited for her to arrive in the driveway, so we wouldn't have to cram into the house (it was HOT!), and when they drove into the driveway, I think she was really shocked!!

We were all able to catch up with family, we watched a wonderful slide show that Scott made for his mom, and we enjoyed the beautiful afternoon outside with the kids.  

And one of the best parts for me, was what I was working on leading up to the party.  We wanted to give her a special gift, and I found the idea of making a handprint family tree quilt.  SO...we all traced our hands (all 6 adults and 8 children!), and I made a quilt, and appliqued a tree and all our handprints as leaves on the tree.

I think she liked the quilt and will use it in the future, and will be able to look back on all the sweet hands of her children and grandchildren!

I wish I had more pictures from the party, but we were just having too much fun! :)  Happy Birthday, Nana!  We love you and hope that you had a wonderful time at your party!

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