OK, despite the timestamp on this blog entry, the party actually ended about four hours ago... but I'm getting ahead of myself!
The day began with my uncharacteristically waking up about 6 am (you may recall my usual wake-up time is closer to 8 am, although Saturdays I'm up at 7 for Weight Watchers). I had a Diet Mountain Dew, checked the status of the veggie spaghetti sauce (which I think I left the crock pot set on "high" too long for -- I should've turned it down to "low" before going to bed Friday night -- but it worked out fine), read emails, and basically took my time getting ready for Weight Watchers.
I had briefly stepped on the scale when I got up, and it showed good news -- however, I wasn't dressed yet, wearing sweat pants instead of jeans (which is my usual attire for WW weigh-in, and I like to be consistant). When I came in to the meeting, and stepped on the scale there, I'd lost 1.4 lbs -- which was just over what I need to earn a new celebration -- 95 lbs. lost since joining! Huzzah!
While waiting for the official meeting to start, a few people we'd invited to the party let me know they weren't going to be able to make it (well, three of them). Our friends Dan and Amanda confirmed they would be going, and our friend Alysse also confirmed (although, strangely, she never showed, and we weren't able to reach her to find out what happened). Pam, our meeting leader, wasn't sure if she would be able to make it or not, so she gave me my birthday card at the meeting.
As it turned out, after my parents, Pam was the first to arrive, and Dan and Amanada arrived after she did... but again, I'm getting ahead of myself!
So, we left the meeting, and stopped by the store for ice and more whole wheat flour (because I needed it to make the rest of the cupcakes). Alas, I'd not double-checked to be sure I had enough Splenda (an artificial sweetner) for the second batch of cupcakes, to say nothing of the frosting! I discovered this problem when I got home and started making the cupcake batter while breakfast cooked. A quick call to my mother (who, as I suspected, hadn't gone to the store yet to get what she needed for the veggie and fruit trays she offered to bring -- so she was able to get some while she was there, sparing me another trip to the store. My nice Christi, who lives at my parents house, is diabetic, so Splenda is something they use there anyway).
An interjection here -- our friend Kathy, who wasn't originally going to make it to the party because of attending a family wedding, was feeling ill, but her boxer, Jaeger, was full of energy, so we offered to take him off her hands for an hour, figuring that he, Krypto and KO would tire each other out. It was a nice idea, anyway.
So, I got the cupcakes in the oven, and began working on the appetizer trays, which went along swimmingly. Once those were done, I pulled out the pizza dough I'd made the night before.
This ended up being the second disaster -- the dough had completely hardened the night before, and nothing I could do could soften it! So I whipped up a fresh batch, and pitched what I'd made. Oh, well... such is life. Once the dough was ready, I made up the pizzas, and put them in the fridge. Then I cleaned the kitchen, and grabbed a shower.
Post-shower, I started setting chairs up, as well as the table, transferring the crock pot to the table with the rest of the food, and doing other set-up. Mom and Dad hadn't arrived yet -- they were stuck in traffic -- but they did get there at about 1:30, half an hour before the party was to start. I had already started cooking the pasta for the spaghetti sauce by that point.
I made up the frosting according to the directions, and discovered that the yield was way, way higher than expected -- as it is, I have enough frosting left over to frost another whole cake, if need be! I ended up with 60 cupcakes, of which I left about a half-dozen unfrosted (so those who were lactose-intolerant, such as my mother, could still enjoy a cupcake).
I was going to wait until people started showing to make the first pizza and appetizer trays, but when nobody had shown up by 2:15 or so, I decided to go ahead and bake the first pizza -- a turkey pepperoni pizza. This came out of the oven about the time Pam showed up, and I popped in a batch of the pigs in a blanket.
Pam was very impressed with the range of food we were offering, not only with the different kinds of food, and not only the reduced calories, but also with the taste (she especially liked the pizza dough). Dan and Amanda, when they showed up, were likewise impressed.
The next to show was my boss, Serena, and her husband, Sean. They also seemed very impressed with the food, and of course, introductions were made all around. I believe the next group to arrive were my sister Sandy, her husband Bob, and their four girls -- and the youngest got Krypto a bit over-excited, and he had to go in his crate to calm down for a bit. I think the next to arrive were our friends Paul and Bridget (who also have a white boxer), followed by another co-worker, Chelsey and her boyfriend Greg, then my brother Jeff, and yet another co-worker, Lee (who bicycled there). I could have that order entirely wrong, not that it matters! Lee wasn't able to stay very long, and neither were Paul and Bridget. Actually, not long after they left, those members of my family who arrived had to head out, too -- my sister Debi's oldest daughter was involved with some school auction thing, which is why she and her kids weren't at the party, and everyone else had to go to that, too. Oh, and I can't forget Sybil (Jessi's "adopted mom") showed up with her daughter, whom I apologize to (even though she'll never read this) for forgetting her name.
Oh, actually, before everyone started leaving, I opened cards and presents. Dan and Amanda gave me these three huge helium balloons and the latest issue of Cooking Light (Krypto does not like those balloons -- he barked at them several times this evening). Lee gave me a combination lock for the bike (for when I ride it to work). Serena and Sean gave me a bottle of wine (which I'm not sure when I'll open it -- I actually have a bottle in the cupboard that I've had for over a year). All other non-family members gave me cards that gave me anything, which was fine -- I had said in the invitations to them no gifts (I also said to bring your own drinks, but nobody appeared to do that -- fortunately I'd stocked up on plenty of Safeway Select Diet Cola!).
My family's gifts were as follows: Debi, I probably mentioned before, gave me a JC Penney gift card in the amount of $30, and Jeff and his wife Kristi (she wasn't able to make it, apparently) did the same. Sandy and her family had $40 cash in their card to me, and my parents added $60 to that. Oh! Damn, I forgot -- Paul and Bridget gave me a gift card to Barnes & Noble!
Anyway... before long, it was Serena and Sean, Pam, Dan and Amanda, Chelsey and Greg, and of course, Jessi and I. Chelsey, Greg, and Dan joined me in the garage for a smoke, and then everyone left except for Dan and Amanda. We enjoyed a nice visit with them, and since it looked like nobody else was going to show, I started packing up the food and putting it in the fridge.
I ended up with two pizzas I didn't even cook, plenty of leftover chicken nuggets, popcorn shrimp, and pigs in a blanket, loads of veggies and fruit, enough veggie spaghetti to last us a while, and a tray of sushi I never even got out of the fridge. There were lots of green olives left over, too -- silly me, I got the kind that still had the seed in 'em, and I'll probably pitch the jar, to be honest.
The party went very well, overall, despite the large number of people who didn't show... there were still over two dozen cupcakes left, but I'd rather have too much food than not enough, you know? As was the case with Jessi's graduation party from last spring, I got oodles and oodles of compliments -- including a few comments that I should've been a chef, but I'm pretty sure this is something I couldn't enjoy doing professionally.
After everyone had gone, we invited our next door neighbors, Ned and Jane, to come over for some veggie spaghetti and cupcakes. They had been invited, but apparently their invitation, which I'd wedged in their door when they weren't home, got lost or destroyed.
Jessi and I then enjoyed a nice, quiet evening... we were tempted to go out and do a little shopping, but since I'd told people the open house was until 10, we kind of had to stick around!
For those who were invited but didn't show up -- well, they missed some great food!
Doctor Who #838: The Gift Part 2
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