I hope everyone had a happy New Year’s Eve doing what you like – sleeping, playing games, going to a party, whatever. Us? It’s not only New Year’s Eve, it’s also Ian and Tim’s birthday. For years and years and years we’ve ended up hosting a combination birthday/New Year’s Eve party. I’ve learned over the years that it is just better to anticipate people showing up and to plan accordingly.
This year, my approach was decidedly relaxed. Danny has been home for a few weeks and has been getting increasingly restless. I sent him to the store for some food and “some balloons.” (In years past, I have usually grabbed ONE bag of balloons from the grocery store.) Well, Dan, who was clearly not using his own debit card, appears to have developed a love of balloons. He came home with light up balloons, and about 200 white, black and gold balloons.
Fortunately, Dan was home for the day, Andy, Ian and Tim were home too. And, as an added bonus, Tim’s friend-that-is-a-girl showed up to help. I had undecorated the tree the night before, save the gnome. We (read, the kids) wrapped the tree in streamers (Danny hit that aisle too) and then covered it top to bottom with balloons. It was kind of crazy and excellent at the same time. At midnight, I broke out my pin cushion (yes, I have a pin cushion) and everyone ran around popping balloons.
We made balloon chandeliers for the two food tables. There were balloons and streamers festooned from the trees. As usual for our house, it was complete and total overkill. While I admire and appreciate those who are capable of pulling off the understated and beautiful, overkill seems to work for us. Everything looked festive and fun and I’m sure you’ve never seen a house like ours last night.
Food? Thanks for my real and imaginary facebook friends, I managed to come up with a good assortment. We already had a ton of cookies and chocolates left from Christmas. My parents supplied a ginormous and delicious birthday cake for Ian and Tim. I made stacks of mini grilled cheese (good cheddar and Irish cheese mixed) and mini reuben sandwiches (thanks for the tip on the reuben dip). I also made a giant batch of this sauce and these meatballs. I had little rolls to go with the meatballs, but I like them plain – you can eat way more meatballs if you skip the bread. ;)Friends and neighbors rounded things out with pickled cucumber slices, cheeses, sausage balls, bacon wrapped sausages!!!!! and more.
This was one of our smaller parties. As everyone’s kids get older, they travel in smaller groups. I think we had about 30 people ranging from 7 on up. There were some fireworks, but mostly tame – funny how kids are not nearly as firework crazy when they have to spend their own money. I did spring for a big pack of these Chinese Sky Fire Lanterns. We had a couple last year and they were a huge hit. This year, everyone took time to write a message for 2013 before we lit them and sent them hurtling over central Florida. They are quiet and beautiful.
Never fear, though, early in the night, a neighbor a couple of houses down lit one of his good fireworks before heading off to a party in a location where police don’t go (he had a truck full). I kid you not, within 10 seconds, the police were there. See the picture? As a courtesy, the officer stopped by our house. Lucky for us, it was Officer Baker! We’re cousins or something. We promised to behave and he promised not to come back. He did come back, but never with sirens and he never stopped at our house. Score one, sort of for us!
Overall, the party was a lot of fun. I am pretty sure there were a few people who woke up with headaches this morning, but they were sure fun while they were here!
And, now, I’m off to undecorate (who put all this stuff up anyway) and find the rest of the dead balloons and streamers.