Monday, December 15, 2008

Ornament Party

We had a ball yesterday hosting a Christmas party for elementary-age children from our church. Our youth minister planned for the children to make ornaments to place in fruit baskets for our shut-ins, so this set my theme for the day. Plastic tablecloths and rolls of gift wrap gave the children a stress-free place to eat and craft, while ornaments hung from the chandeliers and clustered in vases added sparkle to the tablescape. Fresh greenery and berries finished off the tables.

I had planned to make ornament cupcakes for the occasion, but the past week has been so busy that when I bought groceries for the party, I realized that I was too tired to even shop for the ingredients. So I bought mini-cupcakes. Yes, I did, and what a relief! The children still loved them and my husband said that he had never been more proud of me.

Other parents contributed sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks to our meal, and I served the spinach-tortellini soup pictured above. Although many of the children were afraid to try the soup, the ones who ventured a taste seemed to like it. And this recipe met rave reviews from the adults who ate it.

Spinach-Tortellini Soup

This tasty soup is a quick fix anytime, but I thought it would be fun to serve for the holidays since it is red and green. And if you're in a festive mood, the tortellini might even look like little wreaths. Yield: 34 cups

32 ounces organic chicken stock
8 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach, unthawed
4 (14 1/2-ounce) Italian stewed tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
26 ounces three-cheese tortellini (boxed or refrigerated)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach, tomatoes and garlic; return to a boil. Stir in tortellini and cook 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and serve warm. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. (Note: I made the soup the day before the party, and the flavor was good but the tortellini was soft. I suggest serving the soup as soon as you make it if you prefer pasta al dente. Plan to thin the soup with chicken stock when you reheat it if you need to prepare this dish ahead.)

Our dining room chandelier got special treatment at the party today with 24 ornaments hung from its branches. For this look I cut lengths of ribbon, tied an ornament to each end, and draped the ribbons over the arms. I tied a cluster of ornaments to the center of the fixture, and played with the positioning of all the ornaments. Fresh greenery fashioned loosely into a wreath finished the design. The resulting look was easy, inexpensive and festive.

Happy faces from today's party. I hope you kids had a ball!

P.S. Happy birthday to Hannah! I wish you could have joined our party!


Sandy Toes said...

I love the ornaments hanging...looks like a wonderful time!!!

Question, are you the blog that posted about the snowmen cupcakes. I saw them on family fun but I thought you had them too....I can't find them on your blog!
-sandy toes

Becky Welch said...

Love this!! How cute and what a great idea!

Leah said...

This was beautfiful!! I'm sure the kids loved it!

edie said...

Hi Melissa,
Sooo nice to meet you and so thankful to Sandy for introducing us. I live in Morristown!!! Were you originally from here? How long since you were here? I love your pictures and the chandelier is to die for. Can't wait to snoop around some more!

Live.Love.Eat said...

It all looks so festive and fun. This soup sounds awesome, I am putting it on my list of stuff to make.

sweeter and the bubbas said...

We had a ball, thanks for hosting!!!

Sarah said...

Oh, now I want to do that to my chandelier too!!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Another fun party! You really should write a book. Your ideas are the best!

I love that recipe you gave us. I printed it out and I'm going to make it for sure.

It's raining here today and the rest of this week so it's a perfect time to make it.


new mom in law said...

Everything looked beautiful! Love your party posts!!

Sandy Toes said...

I had made the snowmen this weekend. I saw something similar on Family Fun but I also thought I did see them on your blog. Anyhow, even though you took them off..I am linking and talking about you at the end of my post tomorrow! I love your blog!!
-sandy toes

maryanne420 said...

what a beautiful memory created for all those adorable children!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said... took off the snowmen? They were cute! (sorry, just me eavesdropping on someone else's convo)

LOVE the mini cupcakes. You go, girl! I love how you are human and knew when to say when.

Big Hugs, M!

edie said...

It's me again! Tara's Tea room is out of business... that particular spot seems to be cursed. Did you know Donna Habeggar? They went to the church of Christ. I'm also friends with Amy (Hurst) Gurley. I think she graduated in '90 or '91. So nice to 'meet' you.

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

Hello Melissa...

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my BATW day. :)

I really love these photos you have here! Especially the ones of the Christmas balls! I love Christmas balls! And they are just hanging all over the place and everywhere! How lovely!

I am glad that you enjoyed my Christmastime photos, as well! :)

Say, how in the world do you make those perfect collages and put them together and upload them, like that?

kittens n kisses,

Gramma 2 Many said...

I made the soup tonight. Since there are just the two of us, I cut the recipe to 1/4. With the measurements it was very easy to do. I served it with some herbed bread. My husband really liked it. We have enough for his lunch at work. Was a HIT!!
I love the chandelier idea also. Will have to give that a go next year.

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

That soup looks so good! I think I'll make that for dinner tonight!

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