As you may remember, we were running severely behind schedule. Luckily for us, our trusted pals MT (whom I shall dub “Little Lamb” after her cell phone ring tone) and Mr. WoW (that’s World of Warcraft, people, for his MMORPG prowess) arrived on time and were quickly enslaved…I mean enlisted to perform kitchen chores. Some of you may remember my New Year’s Eve disaster of having clumps of semi-solid chocolate sauce slowly slurp down the chocolate fountain as a result of adding too much heavy whipping cream (to this day, Smelly still has some colorful words to describe the image, but I digress). Even though my beloved chocolate fountain performed beautifully at my 3rd aunt’s opening party, none of my friends were there to witness it. So Miss Little Lamb and Mr. WoW busily washed, sliced and hulled strawberries and prepared other accompaniments in preparation for another debut.
I really have to be thankful for AK’s culinary talent. For this dinner party, he made braised beef ribs and polenta, homemade macaroni and cheese (as anyone who has tasted it would attest, it is night and day compared to mac ‘n cheese from the box), and shrimp and grits – the slow-cooked variety, of course, my favorite! Yes, three years in D.C., which is not even the real South, has turned me into a big grits fan. I still fantasize about the greasy yet mouth watering country fried steak and grits at Bob & Edith’s Diner in Virginia to this day – oh so fulfilling after a late night of, ahem, studying (or partying for those, um, other people).
As more guests rolled in, the main dishes started making their way over to the dining table, which is also laid out with cheese and crackers, the Acme breads and a selection of beverages from Trader Joe’s (“fancy” drinks, according to Mr. Raggedy). We also had a bottle of cider from England that Miss Little Lamb had brought back from London, a bottle of German Riesling that Mr. WoW gave us, and an Argentinean (Tapiz) Malbec from Miss Escape, plus a few others that we could not identify the gifter (who gave us the nice bottle of Estancia Pinot Noir? Please let us know!). Unfortunately for our good friends and neighbors the Runner (we’re talking sub-6 minute mile run) and his affable wife, dinner was not ready before it was bed time for Speedy (their baby boy who crawls lightening fast and can make it across a room with the blink of an eye), so we had to send them packing with just a few cupcakes. We still feel terrible and hope to serve on time next go around.
As the adults ate, drank and chatted in the dining area, the kids ran amok, gaining strength in numbers – there were Princess M and Dinosaur P, who had apparently adopted our house as their new playground, leading the pack. They slid down the leather couches using the cushions as make-shift “sleds.” These two were soon joined by the two T sisters (the younger one was too small to really cause havoc). Then, AL (my prior co-worker) and his wife KT’s older son, the Ring Bearer (he really performed that role at our wedding) quickly became initiated into the gang, though thankfully his younger sister Little Miss Bewitched remained quiet that night. So, although there were really only 6 kids that night, 2 of whom were too young to partake in the follies, the house definitely felt (and sounded) like a pre-school on recess. I guess this is a good lesson/practice for people to experience temporary parenthood, haha.
At the insistence of the kids, I blew out a single candle on a cupcake for my birthday, thereby signaling that the adorable cupcakes (made by Sibby’s Cupcakery) were up for grabs (all the kids cheered with glee and rushed in). At this time, I also got ready to showcase my pièce de résistance – the chocolate fountain! As everyone gathered around, holding their breath in anticipation (ok, maybe it was just me), I flipped the switch to turn it on and…massive chocolate splatter!!!! The fountain was shooting out chocolate sauce to the crowd as it begun spinning faster and faster. Mr. Raggedy and I were in the line of fire, so we were both covered in chocolate, and all the kids shrieked in excitement at the comedy unfolding. It was definitely not the opening that I had imagined (we eventually did fix the loose piece of machinery and got it working, but not after enduring another round of ridicule).
It was such a fun and exciting evening, but alas, AK and I may both need a bit of recovery time before planning such a big event again. Special thanks to everyone who helped out (especially E, who stayed behind late to clean up) – couldn’t have done it without you! (Or, could have been cleaning and washing dishes all night!)
Finally, check out the photos from the party streaming to the right side of the blog for now (before they get replaced by the next batch of 10 photos – although you can aways click on the Flickr link to see all of them, even if they are no longer displaying on the blog).