More details if you're curious...
As Melanie commented around 3pm as she was helping me get things ready, "I think this is the most ready you've been for any party yet!" I had all the food prep I could do ahead done by midnight Friday night, including the king cake, and didn't even begin decorating the house until then. The rain & wind altered some of my decorating ideas, since the paper lanterns from last year didn't seem like such a good plan in that weather. Glad my Mardi Gras flag is that weatherproof plastic canvas! Since I knew kids were coming, after a full year delay I finally hooked up the DVD & VCR in the guest room. I even got my 2nd batch of cider into gallon jugs, carboy sanitized and racked the 3rd batch from the bucket into the carboy! I decorated until around 4am or so, took my shower, french-braided my hair for under my wig, printed out voting ballots, to do list & menu, etc, and finally got to sleep just after 5am, setting my alarm for 10am. Much better than the 1hr nap I had in the 24hr before my Halloween party this year! Granted the house was professionally cleaned recently, so that helped a lot, plus I had tried not to let the clutter return since Christmas, and I've done okay. It of course helps immensely to have a garage where you can just stash things out of sight! ;) The brie was baked, the patio decorated, fruit & veggie trays done AND photographed, and I was getting my makeup & costume on by 6:40! Due to the copious white talcum powder in an attempt to get as pale as 18th century French court fashion, plus the corset lacing on my stomacher just takes time, I wasn't ready until about 7pm, but there were still only a couple people there. It's always the last rush with the rounds of oven space to heat up the warm appetizers, plus making the punch, getting out the ice, etc, that causes the stress, but I had a lot of help so that was fairly smooth. Aside from the old-school webcam giving up only 50 minutes into the party (why does it work days & days before the party & only craps out during? hrmph!), the only party casualty seems to be my glass tabletop outside the front door, which lasted fine through the December winds that blew down my gate arbor, but was shattered by the time people left. Who knows what happened, but at least it wasn't inside!
Mardi Gras has always been an easier party, which is nice to have! The decorations are just overlays on my normal house decor, and can be mixed & matched from year to year to keep it interesting. The food is fun but not intensively decorated aside from the cool mask cookies that take 3 days to decorate! The only "scheduled events" for Mardi Gras are voting for masks & costumes for prizes, then cutting the King Cake to see "who got da baby." Since I had found those cool silver plastic forks that look like real flatware, but not from the back side, instead of putting them in a vase or basket as I usually do, I had them arranged on the plates/glasses/napkins table, so I told everyone to grab a fork & a plate & come to the living room for King Cake! My new petticoat under my skirt made me look like a mushroom, or that I made my own tuffet! haha...Nathania got the baby, and I served large pieces since I didn't have to stretch the cake to feed a larger group. ;) Since we were all assembled, I moved the inside wifi webcam to point at the living room, passed around the pens & ballots & told everyone to start voting. That was good timing for the premiere of the latest "Britta Parties" DVD, painstakingly edited by Tracia. Great job, very clever! So many guffaws that many people suggested she make subtitles next time so the audience laughter doesn't cover the great comments! ;)
Who Got Da Baby? Nathania did!
Best Mask - Noelle in a beautiful sparkly purple number complete with feathers
Most Creative Mask - Robin braided her own hair - still attached to her head! - into a mask! Awesome!
Best Costume - Ben in Red (even though I got a couple more votes, but I am ineligible to win!)
Most Creative Costume - Doug & Tracia as Johann Sebastian & Anna Magdelena Bach
Since everyone was gone by midnight, I quickly set up some gallery albums in hopes of others uploading their photos soon - there were at least 5 cameras going all night! - then put food away & did all the dishes except handwashing the hurricane glasses which will be later today. I just couldn't stand up any longer by the time the rest of the dishes were done!
Here is the main gallery that will contain everyone's photos. Only Ben's and mine are up so far, but I'll post again when more people have theirs up. :)
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!