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Eating Guacamole at Midnight

Despite my best efforts we ran out of food. I'm told that if all of the food is gone after a party that's a good thing which is a small consolation. As such, my guests were reduced to eating the packaged guacamole, albeit good packaged guacamole, at midnight which struck me as very funny indeed. More on that later as it's been so long since I blogged, and so much as happened, a little recap to follow:

Following last Sunday's market, Jonathan and Alissa arrived safe and sound around 11. During the next few days we did what most folks do before Christmas, including some gift wrapping by Alissa,
some lounging by Bruce, and some laughing by Jonathan. All very cozy. Mostly my shopping was complete, however, I still had one gift to buy for Lucy, our niece Elizabeth's youngest daughter. A trip to Hot Topic (gasp!) at Fashion Square Mall was in order. We were all very happy to see the shopping crowds as the last time I visited it was dead, dead, dead. The Christmas decorations were what some might call very weird. Jonathan adding some levity to our shopping trip:
Coincidentally he is wearing one of the t-shirts he purchased while on his honeymoon in Japan. Seriously, I could not get over the tree...

Then, it was Christmas morning with the small amount of gifts under the tree. I convinced Bruce not to get me much of anything as I do have new windows coming which will be a gift that keeps on giving.
All of the pretty bows were fashioned by the bow master in our home--Mr. Peck and I don't mean the young one! Eventually we were all up and decent in time to have a lovely chat with our extended family in England. Matt and Tom joined Ray and Jane this year in Melton Mowbray where they celebrated the holidays in relative calm, unlike us!
It was so very nice indeed to be having our chat on Bruce's new iPad! Coincidentally, I had been thinking that some nice old-fashioned paper chains would have looked cute on our tree,, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but old-fashioned paper chains at Ray and Jane's lovely home??!!

We did our first gift exchange with Jonathan and Alissa who bought us many thoughtful gifts, including a signed copy of "The Book Thief," one of my favorites! There are other equally as lovely gifts, however, with the events of the last few days, I'm forgetting most everything. Next Bill, Fallon, Dave and Michelle came over for a bit. More wonderful gifts ensued, including a William Sonoma gift card from Bill, which I can't wait to spend, and a very generous gift card to one of the best restaurants in town from Dave and Michelle. "The Ravenous Pig" if you are wondering...

A trip to the Northside Pecks next...Katie and Joe's house, formerly her parents, in Altamonte Springs. What a super gathering it was with Katie, our hostess, cool as a cucumber, after spending literally all day in the kitchen. Oh to be young again! Here's Jon and Alissa with their Aunt Judy and cousin Jessica:
Of course Judy, above is a Mrs. Peck, and below are three more:
Not entirely true as Alissa has yet to change her name, but as far as I'm concerned, she's a Mrs. Peck to me.

Lisa lives in Longwood, a few miles away which was next on our agenda. Isn't it nice to have a big family? Of course I don't know it any other way...

Pretty much everyone has gathered at Lisa and Danny's house for years now, where Danny does some of the cooking. A retired fireman, he spent years perfecting cooking for a crowd in the firehouse.
That's Sam in the forefront, the boyfriend of our niece Emily, pouring the olive oil. Danny who has had some health challenges for the last few years was in very good spirits which made everyone happy. A cute photo of the twins with him:
Following his shoulder surgery David has lost quite a bit of weight bringing him closer to his brothers', although Bill just can't help himself, he loves having longer hair.

I can vaguely remember a time when there were a lot of children running around, including the two pictured above. There is a whole batch of cousins born in the same year, 1979, within months of one another. Rich, Maureen's son is about two months older than the twins. He has two darling boys including his oldest Spencer shown here opening one of our gifts, a set of charming little children's books illustrated by one of my friends, Leah.
I "Yuv" these books was his charming comment!

Exhausted, Bruce and I came home while J & A met some friends at a bar for drinks. By golly, it was nearing party time so a big Costco run was what Bruce and I did early the next morning. Now that I had the food I made a game plan which was helped enormously by having the house to myself on Friday. J & A met friends at Disney, and Mr. Bruce went to Miami for the day. Perfect, let the cooking begin.

Originally I'd planned on borrowing some crock pots, however, after asking me how much a new one cost, Bruce made the executive decision to buy three at Target, telling me I could donate them to charity after the event. I did not argue. Otherwise I'd borrowed a cool tool from Dana; basically a hot plate with three pots on top which also worked beautifully. I spent the day from 7:30AM to 8PM working in the kitchen. I told you above about my best efforts! It's too long and involved, but one thing that was a must for the menu was vegetarian chili for Alissa, which is where I began.
I thought you said you had new crock pots Gail when what you are showing is a version from the 90's? Good observation folks--this is the one I've had ever since Bill gave it to me for Christmas way back when. I still remember crying when I opened it, why I did so I can't tell you, however I think it must have been because I thought it was so sweet of him. All these years later he's still giving me kitchen gifts.

Although Christmas day was lovely and sunny, after that the weather turned gloomy with Saturday being no exception. Bruce got the back yard all ready with the tables, chairs, setting up the ice and the like. He even set up a tent for the dj to have a little cozy spot on the pool deck. Then it rained which made none of us too happy.
Actually I took this prior to the rain mostly to show off little Mr. Baxter. I covered the fire pit with a plastic garbage bag and he set up my market tent off camera to keep the chairs dry as we didn't know how long it would last. Fortunately, not too long.
The basket on the left is filled with cowboy boot bubble containers, which if you need some, I have plenty left...

I picked up Nancy from the airport around 2, and am I ever glad I did. She was an enormous help, keeping me cognizant of the clock! Earlier in the day I'd even made a list of what was left to do,
in a new notebook Bruce gave me for Christmas. I know folks love their phones for this, but if you didn't know it before, you do now--I'm old fashioned--I like crossing things off a list.
It's always interesting to figure out how to serve a crowd, but somehow it has always worked. Opening all the packages of paper goods I was very happy how things coordinated.
Aside from the real glasses, most all of this stuff went on the counters adjacent to the chilis, of which there were three types, chicken, veggie, and beef.

With Nancy here I even had time to get myself together, which is pretty rare as I'm usually running around like a crazy woman, never getting the time to think about what I'm wearing or fix my hair. Sisters are good like that. And then it was 6:00, and guest began arriving, and what a time we had!
Out of focus in the background that beautiful girl is our niece Katie. :)

Ha arrived bringing with her the most beautiful French macroons and red velvet cupcakes. Yours truly is in the mirror..
The truth is I took very few photographs, instead I just had fun dancing, chatting, and enjoying the moment. You may have noticed in the photo of Christmas morning, the cowboy boot stockings which I have to thank Angela for. Everyone was crazy for them! Here she's chatting with Bill about his upcoming house purchase:
By golly, there they are again.

Our dj, Scott Thompson was wonderful! It is no secret I like to dance and am never shy about getting other folks to do so as well. In this instance it didn't take much convincing. Lest you think Dave goes around at parties with his shirt open, I'm quick to point out that it was very warm!
Both Michelle in the hat, and Jenn, Rich's wife, are wearing my shirts, having ditched their adorable plaid shirts and boots due to the heat! Ever the clever one, Rich picked up a Texas Longhorn jacket at a thrift store, leaving it in Jon's suitcase when he left for the night. He's an accomplished dj himself, and if I were to guess, he's talking shop with Scott.
It seemed to me like everyone had a super time,
whether they were just talking or dancing. Most all of the cousins were there, including Laura and her boyfriend Jerry from St. Pete. As well, Alissa's Mom and her husband Laz, came up from South Florida,
Apparently, while students at FSU, these three guys were called the Three Amigos,
now either joined by their wives, or fiances. Baxter was having no part of the festivities, demanding to be held by Bruce as I ignored him completely!

Which leads me the guacamole episode. Scrounging for food after hours of dancing seemed like just the way to end a night of fun. Except for Ryan, Stacy, Danny, Jonathan and Alissa, the rest of us were all partied out.

While planning the party, more than anything, I wanted it to be a night to remember, and so I hope it was. I accepted thanks from folks, but the truth is my role was only a part of it--without Sue, Kathy, Bruce, Angela, Ha, Nancy and more, it would have been so, so much less. Thank you my amigos!

And now, tomorrow, I turn 60.......
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