Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

We were lucky enough to host Christmas Eve again this year- I love having everyone over that night, and NOT needing to take my kids anywhere!  (And, by correlation, not needing to convince them to leave anywhere to come home.  Hallelujah.)

(Oh, and I have to tell you that once Wonder Daddy opened up the NORAD web page, Ernie was kind of obsessed with checking it during the day.  Naptime?  Got to check the page first.  Dinner time?  Snack time?  Potty time?  DITTO.  And OMIGOSH, I'MSOEXCITED, SANTA IS IN BUENOS AIRES!)

I made a simple dinner this year- Ivar's, a local fish and chips institution, makes a killer clam chowder...lucky for us, it's sold in a frozen concentrate at our local stores!  One crock pot of clam chowder, an armful of bread bowls from my aunt, and a huge tossed salad from my sister made our meal.  We also had the red Jell-O that my kids request from my aunt at every family celebration, a DIY italian soda bar, a whizz-bang cheese platter from my dad (have you ever had Wensleydale studded with dried apricots?  DO IT.)  and an amazing bouche de noel from my sister.  My candied cranberries made an appearance, and were joined by candied ginger.  There was something for everyone to eat, it was easy, and we spent hours just gabbing and noshing and gabbing.  Grandma read books to the kids, the girls disappeared downstairs to play kitchen, and it was just perfect.

After the extended family had gone home, we caravaned with Aunt LoLo's family around the neighborhood to look at our favorite Christmas displays one last time.  My parents stayed behind, in the blessedly quiet house, to tidy up the kitchen and  :)

Christmas Eve always brings certain things to our house, once the guests have gone home.

The Christmas jammies (sent by Nana this year- thank you!!)


(His first EVER present.  Awwww, bless his little heart, look how hard he's trying!)

The new Christmas story book, with its gold wrapping.
the annual book

This year's addition was Redheaded Robbie, by Bill Lutrell.  Please PLEASE go look up this book- I get a little misty eyed each time I read it.  It's the story of a little 2nd-grade boy, Robbie, who can't seem to speak properly whenever he gets nervous or excited.  All the kids in his class are anxious to see whose name will be drawn from the hat, to write a Christmas story to read in the school assembly...and of course, Robbie's name is drawn, much to everyone's dismay (and Robbie's most of all.)  He goes to all his friends to ask for help with his story, and it's just the sweetest thing I've read in a long time.  It teaches kids how to help others and how to stick up for your friends.  It teaches what Christmas is about.

Of course, Santa can't be forgotten this night- Grandma helped the girls leave him and his reindeer a little treat.

I think Ernie was worried he'd be confused, she wrote up these labels a few days before hand.  (I know it says meringues....she wrote it when we still HAD meringue cookies :)  It was the only word she asked for help with.  She left a darling note for him, too- I found it when I was tidying the table before our guests came.

Christmas Eve
December 24th





On the back she drew my husband and my stockings, to make sure Santa knew whose was whose, since they're not labeled like the kids' are.  Oh my goodness, I love that girl so much.  Santa wasn't sure what the question actually was, but he wrote "yes" and she was thrilled!

We all read Luke 2 together, took the necessary "jammies in front of the tree" photo shoot, and scooted the kids off to bed.  Then all we had to do was wait an hour or two for the girls to fall asleep (!!!!), welcome Santa to our living room, and turn out the lights to wait for morning!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Mama and Baby Doll (Birth Doll)

I have a friend who teaches sibling classes at the local hospital- just a little course to prepare kids for the new babies who will soon be coming.  A new clinic opened up, and a new teacher aid was needed!

I had so much fun making her- I call her Mireya.  Kids don't all come in one color, and I tried to choose a color scheme for this little mama and baby that many children could identify with as they learn about birth.  She's gone to the clinic now, and dressed in a hospital-issue gown.

The hair is Lion's Brand fisherman wool yarn- it's soft and warm and squishy.  The body is a sturdy cotton twill, with a stretchy lycra womb (a kangaroo-style pouch on her stomach.)  I stitched the face by hand, with two-tone eyes (caramel and chocolate floss.)

mama doll face

The baby has a snap belly button, to attach to the umbilical cord/placenta.  (Funny little aside, Ernie stuffed the placenta for me, and spent the rest of the day rolling that word around in her mouth.  Placennnnnta.  Placennnnta.  Is it "La placenta?"  It sounds Spanish.  I don't think I'd call MY baby Placenta.")

baby doll belly button and umbilical cord

He has blue eyes, and a fuzzy head full of newborn hair.  I love newborn hair!  Mine never have any :)

(I added a mouth after this picture- just a little blip of pink lips.)

baby doll face

baby doll hair

Mama and baby.
mama and baby doll

I had so much fun making these- it was nice to get back into doll work after a  year or two hiatus.  I'd still like to open my doll shop one day.  Some day :)

(Scroll down for a full shot of the dolls, if you'd like.)

mama and baby doll

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Make an Advent or Count Down Candle

Advent candle

Materials Needed:
1 taper candle
permanent, fine-tip, marker
a festive sticker

This was such an easy thing to put together, but the kids have really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd throw the idea out for anyone who'd like to have their own.

Lay your candle out next to a ruler, and measure from the top tip to about an inch and a half from the bottom.  Divide this number by 25, and mark off each section with a permanent, fine-tip, marker (I used a colored Sharpie.)  Label each mark with a number, and put a festive sticker at the bottom to mark the big day.

This has been such a big hit, we might do these for other events- counting down to birthdays, the arrival of relatives, last day of school..... if you can't find a sticker you like, you could use a pressed flower or picture on a thin piece of tissue paper, and use melted bees wax or paraffin, painted under and over, to secure.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas is exploding all over in here!

I don't know why, plastic and lights and fiber optics all just make me so, so happy this time of year!

The girls decorated the tree Saturday night- what a great job!  Wonder Daddy did the lights, I helped with the garland, and then I sat on the couch and just watched :)  Way to go, girls!!  We have such a collection of ornaments, it's funny- my childhood, his childhood, their childhood.... just so many little, colorful, things :)
building the gingerbread house

The girls and I went on a special trip to the store this morning for a gingerbread kit, while Cocoa slept.  (Have I told you that there are definite perks to having an unemployed husband??  Gosh GOLLY we love having him around!!)

building the gingerbread house

building the gingerbread house

I figured out the trick- you need to decorate all the walls and roofs BEFORE you assemble the house.  Yes.  Let those suckers dry, then glue them all together.  No more suicidal gum drops.

building the gingerbread house

building the gingerbread house

Cocoa was pretty pleased to sit back and watch his sisters- he sure loves those girls!
building the gingerbread house

It helps that he hasn't figured out how to put anything in his mouth, or why he would want to!  (Is that weird?  That nary a toy or cracker ever goes from his fist to his mouth??)

This past weekend was the annual Festival of the Nativities at our church.  It's an enormous undertaking- the gym has hundreds of nativity sets displayed, all on loan from church members.  One large classroom is filled with pictures of Christ, another room is set up like a child's room with activities and a little video about Christmas.  Another is set up as a photo studio....

Festival of the Nativity

Pretty cute, right??  I'm partial to those angels....  my family helped with music too.  The vocal mics weren't ready at our start time, so I punted with a handful of piano pieces for about 20 minutes.  That was actually pretty funny- talking to my dad afterwards, he mentioned that we didn't get to start on time, because "they had some piano stuff going on."  Heehee, mea culpa!  Soon as the mics were up, I sang through a piece my sister and I worked up, and then we were joined by our husbands to sing Christmas carols, and Mom played for us.  I love doing music with my family- we all blend so well :)  After our time slot was up, I accompanied some wonderful sopranos for another hour.  Nearly two hours on that stage....this is MUSIC SEASON!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1st

I haven't felt much like writing the last few weeks.

I turned 30.  Something about that seems so final.  It's easy to impress people when you're young, and doing big-people things on occasion.  Now, I'm not young, and I supposed to be able to do Big People things all the time!  The socks next to the bed and crumbs on the counter seem rather incriminating- definitely not feeling like Big People material over here.  But, I had a beautiful birthday.  My kids each got me a slipper and a package of candy- my feet haven't been cold in a week!  Mom and Dad ordered lots of books off my wish list, and wrapped up a Kindle Fire for me.  SO fun!  I've read 4 books in the past week.  I'm totally spoiled.  My brother found a really great glass work pendant necklace, and my husband's family sent the cutest Thanksgiving decoration, a wooden turkey head and feathers on metal spikes to latch into a pumpkin.  Instant holiday gobbler for the porch!  We couldn't find a big enough pumpkin this late after Halloween, so they hung out in my door wreath for a few days.  My sister's family found "gardener's therapy" lotion- awesome for this girl who always forgets to wear gloves in the garden.

My husband, after much thought and prayer, said good bye to his business partner, employees, and tax practice he's spent two years building.  Our marriage will be 8 years strong this year, and most of those years have been spent with him in college, studying madly for a CPA exam, or working 100 hour weeks building this business.  It was time to come home, and be with his family.  Get some house projects done.  Be here for family meals.  Play with the kids, and have time to play guitar.  We've been blessed in a lot of things, and this is no change- his business partner was perfectly amenable to this plan, and other financial constraints have changed so that we have some flexibility.  But wondering what we're going to do next wears me down!

Holiday preparations are ramping up- the kids are so excited!  We have everything but the tree put up.  We've entered our yearly negotiations of whether or not to get a fake tree.  No needles on the floor, no long drive every year, no driving on the freeway with a tree tied on top.  Downside?  No pine smell, not as magical, when the lights start failing the whole thing needs to be replaced, need to store it all year.  And if we get one, we couldn't possibly get one NOW- we'd wait till after Christmas, for the sales right?  And by then we're so totally DONE with everything having to do with Christmas decorations, that we don't even look at the sales!

Our two fish, Stella and Hazel, have passed quietly on.  The first was buried in the yard, the second (a few days later) was flushed.  My poor kids- when they asked where it was, I said it was with their cousins' fishies.  Swimming in the great sewer system in the sky.  They thought I meant I'd taken the fish to live in my sister's aquarium.  I actually feel really terrible about these fish.  Until I brought them home and started reading, I had no idea it was a bad idea to stick two goldfish in a little 1 gallon bowl.  I guess they need 10 gallons EACH.  I think the second fish might have been eating the first one, too- seemed awfully hungry and listless once she was removed.  If we try fish again, I'll get a bigger tank.  Maybe set up an aquaponics system.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day

Alright folks, Black Friday shopping is here!  If you're looking for some pretty little things, here are some great deals.  Some of these are even free shipping, but those offers end tonight!  (Full disclosure- I would receive a portion of any sales through these links.  Over and out.)

Baby Signs DVDs

Elle Decor Magazine

Owl Pocket Watch Necklace

Leopard Print Hard Case for IPhone

Subscription to American Girl Magazine

Eiffel Tower Pocket Watch Necklace

Pandora's Box Necklace

Freshwater Pearl Earrings

GameBoy Style IPhone 4 Case

Mini Car Charger Adaptor for IPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4G

White Silicone Band Watch

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19th

I don't expect great things today- it's nearly lunch time, I'm in bed with crunchy cereal, tissues, and marmalade toast, and I'm only getting up to feed the baby. I'll have to do something outside of this room eventually, but for now I'm playing nursemaid to myself, because I can!

Wonder Daddy is marching the kids through their chores today (mwah!!), and they'll spend the rest of the morning present shopping. I'm supposed to go Zumba this afternoon, and my friend's birthday party is downtown tonight. It's happening 8 pm till 2 am....just a titch past my bedtime, eh? We shall see, I'm thinking I'm not partying today!


Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18th: My Next Project


Meet Anna.  She came to visit me about a week ago, for a little photo shoot.

Anna lives in a hospital in the city- she's a big helper in the sibling classes, helping the kiddos get ready for their mom to have a baby.


Anna needs to clone herself, so she can ALSO be at the hospital clinic in our little town.  My friend teaches these sibling classes, and offered me the chance to make a Mama doll for them.  Since dolls are something I love to make, I have some extra help around the house right now, and the holidays are always a great time to take in a little extra cash job here and there...sure!  Everything will be pretty straight-forward- she's a four-foot rag doll, with pretty yarn hair and a pretty little face.  I get total license as to how she's made and what she looks like, since she'll never be in the same building as Anna!  Under the gown, she has a little rag doll body, but there's an upside down pocket on her tummy to tuck a little baby in.  Think kangaroo pouch, but facing down.

We went to the store tonight to get supplies- I have tracings from Anna, and everything I need to get started!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pocket Watch Necklace (Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day)

I adore this necklace so much, and for $9.99 with free shipping?  DO IT.  Details are below, but I think this would make a perfect gift for grandma, mother-in-law, friends, or anyone that likes vintage jewelry!  Any steam punk loving friends??  They need this too!

Deal can be purchased here.

Product Details:

Bronze color, retro style, round case
12 Arabic number hour markers
Precise quartz movement for accurate time keeping, one button for time setting
Normal water resistant, NOT for showering or swimming
Case back is engraved with flowers carvings
Watch cover is made of thick mineral crystal glass
Battery is loaded
Material: Alloy

Color: bronze color
Watch size: (D x T) 4.7 x 1.4cm
Screen: 36mm in diameter
Necklace length: 39cm

*Deal ends on Wednesday, 11/23/11 at 11:59pm MST (while supplies last)
*Orders open to US mailing addresses only
*Due to the holidays approaching please allow up to 3 weeks for delivery.

November 17th (Tomato Jam)

I'm sad I can't smell a darn thing today, because I've been told my kitchen smells AWESOME.

This tomato jam is simmering on the stove- lime juice, tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and chili flakes?  For sure.

Clementines and limes are soaking for tomorrow's marmalade canning session.  Doesn't clementine and lime marmalade sound amazing?  I hope so- I'm making it up, and can't smell.  Hmm.

Yesterday I went through the salsa, so today I'm going through last year's marmalade- it seized up when I added some last minute sugar, but a big spoonful stirred into hot water?  Fantastic!  Cold and flu season is not for sissies...unfortunately, I'm a sissy :)

I still need to make a pie today- I invited a friend for dinner, and then had to bail at the last minute, something came up for tonight.  Did she want to have dinner with me after the kids go to bed?  Because I won't say no to eating a meal with an that won't pitch a fit over who gets the pink cup, or whether the sauce touched her noodles, and can I please cut everything??  She's bringing the salad, I'm making dinner...and there must be pie.  On girls night, there MUST be pie.  I think I'm going to give a pumpkin mousse pie a dry run- it's on the docket for Thanksgiving, but I've never made it before.  But, I haven't roasted my pumpkins yet.  So it will probably be apple cranberry...because I have 45 pounds of apples...

(Watch for another post today- I have a deal on a steam-punky pocket watch necklace that I LOVE.  Sigh.)

What I made today?  Tomato jam.  Lots of marmalade.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16th

One of the perks of having Wonder Daddy at home this week is that when the kids take their naps, I can LEAVE.  Like, by myself.  It's kind of beautiful.

Yesterday I abandoned my cooling milk to the yogurt-making-ministrations of my husband and took a long walk. We had a surprise gorgeous day- not too cold, bright sun, and gorgeous leaves.  I walked past a chipper truck...and backed up to ask the man running it if he had any plans for those wood chips?  No?  Well then, here's my address!  3 hours later we had about 7 yards of (free) bark mulch in our driveway.  AWESOME SAUCE.

It was too late in the day to get a start on it, but this morning Wonder Daddy and I went at it, gonzo style.  Aunt LoLo invited my three kiddos to a playdate at the church.  I've been pregnant or holding a baby for so long, it was really nice to get out and use MY muscles in a yard project, instead of just directing traffic.  We made a good dent before I had to pick up the kids, and he finished up all but the very last bit by himself.  Wonder Daddy!!  Maybe 15 more wheelbarrow loads tomorrow, and we will be golden.  Love it.

In other news, I have a head cold.  I'm currently medicating it with Tylenol, and copious quantities of salsa.  I'll let you know how that works out!

Made today: New mulched pathways.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15th


Life is about to get more interesting: My son has developed a super power.  He has super suction.

He can't crawl, and only waggles like a beetle if he falls over.  He can roll onto his belly, but then wails for rescue.  Yet, anything within three feet of him ends up in his lap!  His massive thighs splayed on the carpet, he uses them as ballast to bend and stretch, and then bounce back to an upright position with his prize in his grasp. (His sister really needs to learn to put away her school books, he's tried to destroy them three times today!)


Mimi's fancy hair-do last week- I was rather proud of myself for fitting every pink clip we own, onto her tiny head!

In other news, I have four loaves of bread cooling on the counter, half a gallon of milk cooling for yogurt, two kids in bed, and it's sunny outside.  The kitchen is clean, school is done for the day, and my husband is at home today.  We have friends coming for dinner tonight, and my friend is coming for a jewelry night on Thursday.  Friday I get to SEE MY HUSBAND for hours at a time, without the big kids...and life is just looking up.

So, I'm going to go ahead and make this my post for the day.  What have I made to be creative today?  Bread and yogurt.  And now I'll go enjoy it.



Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14th (Recipe: Browned Butter-Buttermilk Pie)

I'm back!  Honestly, I was kind of shattered, emotionally, after that reception.  Do you ever get that way after a big project finishes?

browned butter- buttermilk pie

Saturday was a driving day for me.  I can't remember the last time I drove that much in a day!

  • 8:30-10:00, receive produce at the co-op site, divide it into basket.  Go home and see my baby.
  • 10:30-11:30, take the girls to the library.  Go home and see my baby.
  • 1:00-2:00, use my two-day coupon at Michael's for loads more wire.  I cleaned them out, actually.  I took E with me.  Go home and see my baby.
The rest of the day was chores, and shooing Wonder Daddy out the door to his last dress rehearsal.  Oh yes, he's been a busy boy- rehearsals were once a week, and then twice a week, and this past week they had him Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday.  Plus a two-hour curtain call before the show on Sunday.

BUT.  His show, He Is Jesus Christ (a cantata with soloists, choir, narration, and FULL orchestra written by Rob Gardner) was Sunday evening.  It was amazing.  Eight years of marriage, and I've never seen my husband perform.  Do you know any performing artists?  If you've never seen them on a stage, you've never seen them.  

My husband really, REALLY doesn't like to dance.  When he was in high school, his dad got an electric guitar for Christmas- Wonder Daddy took it to his basement bedroom, and didn't come out for weeks, except to eat.  He lived and breathed guitars when he was in high school.  While everyone else was building gun racks and boxes in wood shop, he built a new electric guitar.  When everyone else was dancing at the church dances, he put together a band and performed the music!  (Remember?  Loathes dancing?)  

Wonder Daddy sang the part of Pilate, the Roman governor who gave the Jewish citizens permission to crucify Jesus.  He made me bawl like a baby- luckily for me, a show about the Savior, in a church building, makes a lot of people bawl like a baby.  I didn't stand out too much :)  I was so very, very proud of him.  And so very tired from everything that's going on.  And so wrapped up in the message of the show.  And so happy for him to have this chance.  And so sad I wasn't on that stage.

That last part sounds ugly.  Yeah, I tried out.  Yeah, I didn't get one of the soloist parts.  (The ladies who DID get them were phenomenal!)  But.... you know, I feel the same way at most concerts.  Is that bad?  That I can be at a Johnny Lang, or a Trans-Siberian-Orchestra, or a Farm Aid concert...and think "Hey!  I wish I could be on that stage with them!"  I absolutely knew going in that I wouldn't have time to join the choir- they've been having nigh rehearsals since September, and that wasn't going to happen with a busy husband, and three small kids who need to get to bed on time.  I'm pretty sure, now, that I wouldn't have been able to do a solo part either without a looot of difficulty, and a lot of stress on my  kids.  I'll have time later.  I think.

browned butter- buttermilk pie 

Anywho.   I really came here today to talk about pie.  You need this pie, but if you eat this nothing else.  With three eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 3/4 of a stick of butter, there's no messing around here!  BUT (and this is a big but.  Ahem.) You need this pie.

 I cook a lot.  A lot, a lot.  And this is the best thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time!  Crispy pie crust.  Soft custard.  Nutmeg that floats to the top.  Add this to your Thanksgiving line up, folks.

(If you don't subscribe to Martha's "Everyday Food" magazine, PLEASE do.  It's that good.)

browned butter- buttermilk pie

Brown-Sugar buttermilk pie
from Everyday Food originally, in my own words

3 Tbsp flour
3 large egg eggs, plus two more large yolks, beaten
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Press your favorite single-crust pie crust into a glass pan, and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes.
  2. Put 6 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan on the stove, over medium heat, for 8-10 minutes and let it melt and cook.  It's going to froth up, and it's going to turn brown.  Swirl the pan occasionally, especially towards the end.  When the froth subsides, and it's nut-brown, it's done!
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, eggs, and brown sugar until smooth.  Whisk in buttermilk, nutmeg, and cinnamon until combined.  This pie, with such small amounts of spices, is already heavily spiced.  I wouldn't recommend increasing them at all.
  4. When the butter is done, immediately whisk it into the buttermilk mixture.  It will foam up dramatically, be prepared!  Pour mixture into baked pie shell, and bake at 425 for 25-35 minutes, until the custard is set but still jiggly.  This will continue to cook a bit as it cools.
  5. Let cool completely, 2 hours, before serving.  Can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
(If you use this pie crust recipe, you won't be sorry!  It mixes together with a fork, IN THE PIE PLATE.  Then you just smash it out with your finger tips.  No rising, either, so it's perfect for this.  My  mom has always, as long as I've known her, left her pie crust behind when she eats pie.  It's just wasted calories, when she could be eating more filling! She ate this crust, and relished it :)  

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Wedding Reception

SO, I catered my first wedding reception tonight- I was in charge of planning and buying the food, and getting it all set up.  The wonderful bride found volunteers to run the kitchen during the reception, and more to do the chopping before hand for the cheese and produce, and she came herself the night before to set up the buffet to look all pretty and fancy.  I just had to fill in the platters, make sure everyone knew where stuff was, and that was it!  Since there were so many hands, I had time to do a few extra things, like sugared cranberries and oven-dried tomatoes.  (My wonderful sister baked the bread for us, 8 loaves!  My brain goes haywire if I try and do more than 4 loaves at a time.)


Sugared cranberries- cranberries soaked in a hot simple syrup, drained, and tossed with sugar.
sugared cranberries

sugared cranberries


Funny story about brie.  The bride apparently REALLY loves brie, and wanted it at the reception.  I couldn't figure out how to have volunteers toting hot brie from the oven all night, with a reception held IN the kitchen.  The bride actually had no idea that brie should be served warm.  So, we scrapped the brie idea, but I needed a few more pounds of cheese when I was a the store and grabbed just one brie.  We'd serve it room-temperature, there would just be one, the bride would be happy, no biggie.  So almost everything was set up tonight, and a girl walks in with SIX brie cheeses, and maybe seven loaves of bread.  (I had 8 loaves of french bread already.)  I guess the bride REALLY wanted brie, she called this girl in at the last minute!  We had a lot of brie.  (And yes- that girl stayed all night, toting brie cheese from the oven to the buffet.)

Oven dried tomatoes.

oven-dried tomatoes

So, I found a case of tomatoes for $13.  My oven was running from Saturday to Friday morning, drying sheet after sheet.  Did you know that a case of tomatoes, once dried, fills half a gallon-sized bag?  True story.

Swiss cheese

Butter and Olive Oil whip, for the french bread

butter-olive oil whip

(Sorry, that pictures blurry!)

Vegetable tray- broccoli, carrots, baby bell peppers, sliced zucchini, and white button mushrooms.  That tray was ENORMOUS.  Like, over two feet long.  Very, very cool.

vegetable tray

Orange slices with pomegranate seeds, drizzled with cranberry syrup

citrus with pomegranate and cranberry syrup

Cheddar, pepperjack, and dill havarti cheese

cheddar, pepperjack, and dill havarti

The set up.  Those ladies did a great job making this look nice, and the home was gorgeous!

(Please note the CLEAR PLASTIC PLATES.  Having those was SO important to the bride, we had to order them from Amazon and pay $20 shipping!  The look beautiful on the buffet.)

Hot cocoa bar
hot cocoa bar

We had milk chocolate and french vanilla Stephen's cocoa, plus hazelnut creamer, half and half, whipped cream, crushed starlight mints, andes mints, chocolate sauce, pumpkin spice syrup, and vanilla syrup.  This was a big hit tonight!

Simple lemon water.  This monster held about 4 gallons- I wish I had cupboard space to store something like this, it makes parties so much easier!   (This belonged to the hostess.)

We had a "little" pantry to work in.
prep area

I was pretty nervous when I found out that the buffet would be in the kitchen- all the prep work and supplies needed to refresh trays, etc. are NOT pretty and are NOT calm.  This little room was off to the side and worked really well.

Which is good, because I brought a lot of food!
prep area

Oh, and I didn't take pictures of the meatballs- just simple meatballs in marina sauce, easy as pie.

I am so glad this day is over!

But, you know...getting feedback is nice, too.  Someone said recently "No one cares how well you changed that diaper."  In the work force, and in public settings, there's always feed back.   You do a good job, people notice.  If you go the extra mile, people notice.  At home, with the kids??  No, not so much.  I would never trade what I do, but every once in a while it's so nice to put effort into something and listen to others admire it.  To dress up, and be told I look extra nice.