I awoke at 4am but forced myself to stay in the bed until 5:30…it was torture. But when I got up, it was off to the races! I needed to complete the items for the gift bags, go to the store for final groceries, pick up a few things for the table set up, and pick up the table and chairs that my mother let me use.
The gift bags that I made for everyone this year included wood and glass boxes that I stained and polyurethaned & placed a felt insert of each girls favorite color on the bottom to be used as bedside jewelry boxes for everyday jewelry – like rings or watches. I added homemade truffles (the easy Oreo ones – thank you Kraft), chocolate and caramel covered pretzel rods, homemade granola, and an assortment of homemade cookies (a chocolate filled caramel creme, cranberry and pecan shortbread, and christmas shaped sugar cookies). I had made the granola, one of the batches of cookies, and the caramel pretzels already so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I put the felt inserts into the bottom of the boxes while a batch of the sugar cookies were in the oven. Made the cheese grits and placed in a glass Pyrex dish to cool and set to be cut into cakes for dinner. This was all done before 7:30 am.
When I got to Stan’s on Friday, I knew I needed to pick up my china (the green and gray set), the table (I was going to use a plastic resin patio table) and a few other things for my table decor. As I’m pulling out my china I realize that some the coffee cups were missing as well as a few of the dessert saucers. I look on the patio for the table and it’s not there either. What the What!!! I started to panic! This year I had done a lot of prep work ahead of time to alleviate the need for panicking, but dag-on if a monkey wrench wasn’t thrown into the game to cause it anyway. Luckily my mother, who had already graciously allowed me to use some of her chairs (actually she had just bought new ones and I got to use the old ones) came to the rescue by allowing me to use her round table that was the same size as the plastic I had intended to use. The misplacement of the china pieces was another thing all together. I had clients (four to be exact), so I had to concentrate on them, but boy was I steaming in my mind. I had to use the green set, because my table scheme was green and black. I couldn’t use the white or blue china. I had to use the green set! I expressed my frustration to Stan about the missing items, I mean if they’re missing I can’t go to Wal-Mart or Target and get replacements. Sure I can go online to find replacements, but not the day before my event. Then after much meditation and breathing decided to leave the saucers and coffee cups at the house and take everything else. I made up my mind to go to my spot – Goodwill with hopes of finding some good pieces that I could use as replacements. When I left the house I gave myself a time budget of 2 hours to go to grocery, Goodwill, Big Lots, & The Dollar General (they were having a sale on Tide and I couldn’t let that deal slip by regardless of the dinner party). I ended up being 10 minutes over my budgeted time, but I think that was good AND I found some great cups and plates to use for dessert and coffee/tea and four tea light holders that I only paid $10 for. I couldn’t find a green candle that wasn’t scented to save my life. I slowly realized my dream table scape was being changed up before it even had a chance to spark.
Now to the party…Appetizers and drinks were to begin at 6pm and I have a strict rule that I adhere to that states: “I do not get dressed until my guest begin to arrive. I have drinks and appetizers ready, when the first guest arrives I show here where everything is, pour her a drink, then head off to get dressed. Whoever is there first opens the door for the rest of the guests and sets them up.” This allows them to mingle without looking for me to lead the conversation and I get a chance to prep until the last-minute without getting my clothes sweaty. 🙂 Imagine my angst when one of my guest called me at 5:20 and said she was approximately 10 minutes away. I know, I know that should not have been an issue, but I hadn’t done my final vacuum yet. I still needed to stuff my chicken breast. Who arrives to a dinner party 30 minutes early? I could stand 10 or 15 minutes, but come on guys…30 minutes is a huge chunk of time. I stopped what I was doing, grabbed the vacuum cleaner and began the final swipe of the carpet. I finished up just as the knock on the door announced her arrival.
So, on to the menu…
Girlfriends Dinner Menu
Appetizer: Warm Spinach & Broccoli Dip w/Pita Chips (homemade)
Sharp Cheddar cheese with Bacon
Soup: Pear & Broccoli Soup
Salad: Simple Waldorf Salad (made with Romaine lettuce, celery, apples, bacon, small tortilla strips, bleu cheese, and Poppy-seed Dressing)
Main Course: Dirty Rice Stuffed Chicken Breast, Toasted Cheese Grit Cakes w/Shrimp Gravy, Sautéed Green Beans w/Shallots & Garlic, & Homemade Sweet Potato Rolls
Dessert: Pecan Pie Cheesecake w/Caramel Sauce
Drinks: Gallo Family White Zinfindel / Coffee or Tea for Dessert
Everything went according to plan with the exception of the omission of the bacon from the salad (I remembered it once everyone’s plates were clean. :() I like to make everyone’s plates for each course and serving them to them while they sit and converse. It is all part of the experience and I truly love to do it. The dinner party was awesome…we laughed our butts off & we were loud at times but it was great. No male bashing, just a lot of love flowing around and as always some of us even learned some things. It’s the way of things when a group of women get together.
My guest started heading out early this year, 11:30; but a few hung around to help with the clearing of dishes. My sister looked at the “borrowed” chairs and asked where I got them. I told her that I needed to get rid of them and she enthusiastically asked for them and I enthusiastically gave them to her. With a little strategy we got all four chairs into her two-door Focus (her husband had the bigger car). I came back into the house and finished up loading the dishwasher to capacity and washed up all of the pots and pans; then looked at the counter-top and realized I still had another load of dishes that would have to be done the next day…it was 12:30 and I had been up close to 24 hours.
Another successful dinner party. I can’t wait until next years party…I will have a much bigger house with the possibility of serving 10 instead of 8. I need to start thinking about next years menu.