Each of my guest bloggers are local friends or family who have graciously agreed to share a little bit on my blog this week. I am so thrilled Leanne is sharing about her fun St. Patrick's party. I have an extra special place in my heart for her and Alan. When I worked at the County Clerk's office, theirs was one of the first Marriage License I was trained on and when I met her later through the theater, I remembered her because she and Alan were super sweet when they got their license. She blogs irregularly at Teacht Duigan - and I'm saying that because I'm always encouraging her to blog more!!
My name is Leanne.
I am married to an Irishman (Alan)– like, he came from IRELAND to marry me.
He left his gorgeous, green country sides to move to Texas. Brown grass, crazy weather, ‘Everything’s Bigger’ Texas. That’s love my friends! When we got married, we decided that we would have a St. Patrick’s Day party. I mean – he’s Irish…we kind of HAD to. I make traditional Irish dishes, we teach traditional Irish dances, and have good ole international fun.
Last year we moved into a smaller house. I worried for months about the party and we even talked of cancelling it. Then we decided that what better way to celebrate one of our favorite days than with our friends…in our small house. We invited everyone we could think of, thinking some would come. My friends – we
opened our doors crammed about 50 people in our house. The line for food wrapped around the living
room, down the hall, and into the kitchen!
People ate in the living room, front yard, back yard, and in the
hallway. You know what I didn’t hear one
time? No one said anything about the
cramped situation. They came anyway!
*I was there, this isn't even 1/4 of the people*
Each year we decide on a budget of what we will spend for the party. This includes any new decorations and all the food. The first year we did the party I struggled to stay on budget because I was going to do it all. Last year I decided that I would provide the main Irish dishes and asked people to bring desserts and sides and drinks. And bring these things they did! We had so much food (which was good due to the number of people!). I worried that people would think it rude that I asked them to bring things, but you know what – no one complained. In fact, I think they enjoyed helping out.
At our party, when everyone has eaten we teach two Irish dances. My sweet husband plays his accordion and I teach the dances. This year we were excited to find out some friends brought their own instruments knowing Alan would be playing. They jumped right in with the music making a little band. Because they had brought their things with them, we were also able to introduce our friends to some of our favorite traditional Irish songs! (I am hoping to purposefully add this bit to the party agenda this year!) You’d never believe it – but I had worried about the dancing, as our house didn’t have anywhere to teach the dances. We ended up dancing outside. In the dark. We had a ball – and the only thing one could hear was laughter and conversation – no complaints!
*I have to interject and say how much fun this was, not one thought to any of her worries as a guest*
All of this to say, March is coming. Oh, I know it’s only January – but my head it already reeling with ideas for our party this year. I’m already planning menus and bands and dances. I’m looking forward to inviting friends and
deep cleaning decorating the house. My advice to you (and myself)? Relax.
You don’t have to be Martha Stuart.
I mean, she’s nice and her things are beautiful and I WISH I had her
kind of budget. But I don’t…and I don’t
So your house is small? Invite everyone anyway…cram them in and let them spill out. Let them join in the fun when they bring things (their instruments) - you never know where it will lead!
So your budget is small? Choose your focus dishes and invite your many friends to have a part in the party. Assign everyone a kind of dish…or let them use their creative juices. They’ll be glad you let them have part.
Most of all – have fun. Don’t try to be perfect…be YOU!
Oh – and DON’T forget to wear something GREEN!
…an Irish recipes for you to try this year…
Irish Soda Bread:
Ingredients:4 cups all purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon baking soda1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour 4 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add baking soda and salt and stir with a fork to combine. Add 2 cups of buttermilk and stir with a fork until well blended.
Sprinkle remaining 1/4 flour onto work surface. Pour dough out onto work surface. Knead dough, working in flour as needed, for about one minute until dough is no longer sticky and forms a smooth round ball.
Cover baking sheet with a piece of non-stick aluminum foil and shape into loaf. To shape into shamrock as pictured: break dough into 4 pieces. Shape 3 pieces into hearts and the 4th into the stem.
Brush remaining 2 teaspoons of buttermilk over the surface of the dough. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning of the bread. Bake for an additional 18-22 minutes until crust is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool for one hour before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Please be sure to go enter the giveaway, only 3 more days!!