Fireworks & Fun 2009!
I had already planned less menu since I wouldn't have an oven until right before the party, plus my patio was still kitchen overflow, but at least my friends all knew the kitchen remodel was underway. Actually the "entertainment" besides the fireworks all evening was kitchen tours! "You could bathe a small child in that sink! - Hey, I bet *I* could fit in that sink!" etc etc... The electrician & cabinet guys were finally gone at 4:30pm on Friday, less than 24 hours to party start time, but since I had been standing constantly for 2 full days plus I hadn't eaten all day, I took a break for dinner at Margarita Friday, then came back at 7pm to start party food...the first use of my stove was the custard base for the ice cream! :) I had 4 salads prepped for last-minute assembly & the ice cream made by 1:30am, when my feet just couldn't stand anymore, so I packed it in, early for a party eve! Ah well...I got up around 9ish, decorated outside so at least it would be festive, then cleaned up the patios as much as I could, jumping in the shower while the brie was baking (first use of my new oven!), thankfully cool enough weather to put on makeup around 2ish, still running around cleaning up right up to party start time.
All night I kept saying "I now have extra deep counters, and I promptly filled them ALL up with party mess!" Rob showed up first at 3:59 when I was still trying to get the patio table cleared off to be able to throw on the tablecloth & put food out, then he went to Safeway & got ice while I ran around doing the last cleanup. Dave & Wendy were next, then Jen & John and Sheila, who ended up being my sous chef team! It worked well, since we had enough space everywhere that I felt like Dinner Impossible or Iron Chef, giving tasks out to people to do to get the food out...haha! Sheila kept saying "I'm done, I need another job!" Even with the brie baked by 2pm & my salads pre-prepped, the food wasn't arranged & out until closer to 5:30pm! Most people were trickling in until 7pm, so that was fine. Not too long after that, I made sure to grab some of Sheila's deviled eggs along with a full plate and actually sat down to eat, which everyone was marveling at since I so seldom sit during my own parties!
Nathania made gourmet ice cream Friday night, Mexican chocolate for one gallon, and another gallon of Thai chili coconut, both delicious but there wasn't space in my freezer, so stored in just their ice chest they were softer than mine. They ended up taking the vodka bottles out of the freezer to help chill their ice cream! haha... The weather was perfect...I was even able to put makeup on in the afternoon & curl my hair without melting, but I had the fan still blowing in the kitchen. I had to put jeans & a jacket on for the fireworks since my tank top & shorts were fine earlier but not after dark. We use the firepit but everyone was too full for s'mores. The fireworks were AWESOME...best yet! The finale was just totally blinding white in my camera & totally filled the sky! Everyone agreed the total show might have been a little shorter, but the finale more than made up for it! It was over about 9:55, and Dave & Wendy left right then, but others stayed around chatting for at least an hour as the traffic cleared a bit.
About 10:15 MJ called from Louie's phone that they just landed at San Jose airport from Chicago, but if people were still there they'd stop by on their way home. The UCD Alumni crew agreed to wait for them to arrive, and that was the group that stayed the longest chatting in the living room. The last ones outside were Kevin, Nathania, Ellie & Cyd, since Cyd was staying the night, but Kevin kept roaming inside to chat with us, since the girls were all sacked out on the big fluffy blanket they always bring to movie nights. I asked if they were just going to camp out overnight! Cyd came in to sleep in the guest bed about 12:15 then they left shortly after, but the UCD alumni chatting group didn't break up until probably 1am...and because of a car key snafu, finally 2am the party was over!
Bar menu: Most people just mixed their own concoction from the bar, but I had these set up:
Brittahytta Brewery Hard Apple Cider on tap in fancy new half-gallon growler bottles
Raspberry Cider Punch - 1/2 gallon raspberry concentrate, 1/2 gallon homebrew dry hard cider, 4l lemon lime soda, but don't think I'll make it again
Sugar-Free Lemonade in the jar
Mojitos (but no one made any this year!)
Patriotic Pastry Brie with Smorgabritta Spiced Loquat Preserves
Aged Manchego Slices with Smorgabritta Quince Preserves
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
sweet potatoes, peaches, red onion, red pepper, lime juice, olive oil, cinammon and nutmeg, steamed on the grill
Apricot Cashew Rice Salad
dried apricots plumped in white wine, wild rice, green peas, garlic, onion, olive oil with cashews for crunch
Old Glory Green Salad
greens with strawberries marinaded in raspberry balsamic vinaigrette, dried blueberries, with star croutons
add your own dressing and feta cheese if you like
Festive Fruit Salad
fresh pineapple, fresh loquats, white peaches, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries & strawberries
Homemade Old Fashioned Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
Ready for fireworks!
When the last guests had left around 2am, I didn't even soak any party dishes, since I used Sunday as the true test of my new dishwasher...even the baked brie platter and an unrinsed gooey jam jar got sparkling clean, so it really is as good as they told me! I also enjoyed my new giant copper sink, since I was able to wash my big punch bowl and my tall lemonade jar without splashing! :D
I see now that I was bad at taking photos of people this year, and there are no photos of me at all, but that was because I was actually sitting down enjoying myself instead of roaming! The full photo album is here if you'd like to see. I hope everyone had a fabulous Fourth!