It’s 11:55 a.m. on Sunday morning, and looking around my house right now you’d never guess we had 35 people hanging out at some point last night, enjoying good food, great conversation and a really raucous White Elephant game.
To be honest, at 3:15 p.m. yesterday when I dropped a Fiestaware bowl filled with melted butter onto my hardwood floors, I had a moment of panic, thinking we weren’t going to make it. At 4:30 p.m. Denis felt we were in good shape to finish food prep by 5:30 p.m. But at 4:31 p.m. he dropped an entire tray of freshly-made bruschetta on the garage floor as he was putting it into the fridge. His calm demeanor and “yeah, we can be done by 5:30” attitude was gone. *lol* We trudged on, watching the clock tick each minute closer to 6:30 p.m. At 5:50 p.m. I threw in the towel and went to take a shower and get cleaned up. By 6:05 p.m. I was back downstairs to do a bunch of things I realized during my shower hadn’t been done yet. We began to vacuum the kitchen floor (which was covered in crumbs and bits of junk that we had given up cleaning up at some point in the day). About a minute into it, it immediately dumped a bunch of dust on the floor. We cleaned it up and started again, only to have it dump more dust. NNNNNNnnnnoooooooo!!!! I was about ready to throw the vacuum across the room. *lol* At 6:25 p.m. we were old-schooling it. Denis was brooming the big bits and I was swiffering along behind him.
In the end, we didn’t have time to put together a cheese platter (we now have about 6 pounds of cheese in our fridge – want some?), and we were still going around turning on lights and lighting candles even as our guests were pouring themselves drinks or helping themselves to some chips.
It was a great party. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and we didn’t run out of food (always a plus). We had a few last minute cancellations, but even with those we ended up with our highest attendance ever (I think everyone just wanted to see the new kitchen).
The menu was mostly gluten-free, which our GF friends appreciated. Denis and I attempted to use rice paper in replacement of phyllo cups. I don’t know that we’d ever try that again though – I’ll have to find out from Kelly whether that was any good or not. But we did use GF bread for our bruschetta, used GF tortillas for our quesedillas, and GF cornbread for the crab cakes. And I don’t think anyone noticed the difference, to be honest.
My cousin brought my grandmother, who promptly inspired everyone with her charm and personality. No one could believe that she had just turned 99 years old. At the end of the night she told my friend Dana that she wanted to run away with Dana’s husband. Apparently he wooed her and won her heart. *lol*
This year we let the kids stay downstairs the whole time. We didn’t originally plan it that way. Originally we were going to have them stay with us for an hour then head upstairs to watch movies and stay up until midnight. However, CootieGirl quickly became indispensible as a food server, and CootieBoy was enjoying his self-appointed job as deejay for the night (which amounted to playing with Spotify on the laptop in the kitchen). Then when it came time for the White Elephant game we agreed to let them stay for one round, but they were having such a good time we let them stay and watch the whole game. CB provided some hilarious comments from his perch near the tree. At one point he accidently spilled the remants of someone’s drink, so I sent him to get paper towels. He came back with one small half-sheet, so I sent him back and instructed him to get the whole roll. A minute later he came back into the room, trailing yards and yards of paper towels behind him. We all immediately cracked up while he protested, “You said the WHOLE ROLL!!!” as if it made perfect sense to UNROLL it all first.
The best part of the night was definitely the White Elephant game itself. We had some returning gifts (a singing bass fish on a plaque, a mannequin head), but a whole bunch of new stuff, too. The running commentary about each gift was priceless and it really capped off a perfect night (which made up for the not-so-perfect afternoon).
Without further ado, here are a bunch of pictures that were taken: