With 10 days until December I need to get started planning a party for the first day of the new year.
Even before I create and send invitations I have to decide what kind of party it will be. A few years ago we had an early morning party where we only served popovers and beverages. We couldn’t believe how much fun it was for everyone.
I think this New Year we’ll have an Open House from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. That means we can have brunchy foods as well as something more substantial.
My next task will be to create a fun invitation which I can both print and send by email and text because we’d like to invite a large guest list. I like to have them designed by the end of Thanksgiving weekend and printed by the first of December.
On January 1st the house will still be decorated for Christmas so I will probably just edit some of the items and hang on to anything that is sparkly.
Finally I want to work on a varied menu that will certainly include the turkey and whole ham that I receive as a gift from my job. I have already made 50 tiny meringue shells for my signature dessert: Pavlovas.
I really love planning parties. What makes it especially fun is that I have a great team, Charlie and Sug, to help me pull it off.
The question is: Did anything get done in October? I had very specific plans.
Charlie brought down 5 boxes of books, mostly children’s books, from the attic. My goal to donate at least 50 to a rummage sale was not accomplished.
The only thing I did was to salvage my baby book from the pile. How pathetic! I must simply box them and deliver them.
I planned to stain the interior doors that have not yet been stained. This just never happened. Again — pathetic!!
Finally the door to the entrance of the laundry did not get hung.
Consequently I did not make any progress on my 101 in 1001 list.
Entertainment is the area where I did have a lot of success.
Charlie and I have went to see the newest remake of A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
I thought the film and the music were very good. Bradley Cooper played his part well and can actually sing also.
Sug and I went to going to see a touring company production Les Miserables. This production was not as good as the other two I had seen. The turntable on the stage had been omitted and I felt it hurt the performance.
Then Charlie and I went headed to the Baltimore Symphony to see hear Tony DeSare playing the piano and singing.
He was loads of fun and could really, really play the piano. So much fun.
We did host a costume party in October.
The invitation suggested guests come in an international costume.
There were lots of ladies in kimonos.
The three of us have joined a choir for Christmas comprised of members from a number of churches in our area.
We have been rehearsing and listening to our audio files so we’ll be ready for our performance early in December.
Finally the most successful task was Sug’s trip to Guatemala where she painted classrooms and built a swingset.
Sug is planning to spend more and more time in Guatemala working to improve the mission school near Antigua.
While we didn’t actually get a lot of projects completed last month we did have loads of fun. So much fun in fact that I’m making a master calendar so we can plan some more get-togethers.
I’ve been reading the lovely blog Stone Gable and read a list of ten items to do now for Christmas. Number one on the list is to pick a color scheme. I don’t think mine will differ much from last year but I’ll think about it.
My idea was to plan the entertaining we’re going to do in the next 2 months.
Last year we had an advent-wreath-making party. I didn’t think it was really successful so we’ll still have advent wreaths here but not invite others to join in.
I also can’t decide whether to invite a lot of people all at once or have smaller, more intimate get-togethers all season long.
I’d like to have a baking weekend. I want to try baking polar bear cookies again but this time with a different recipe.
I’ll start by filling in our calendar with the commitments we’ve already made.
I made a baklava and I can heartily say it would be difficult to ruin it.
I started out badly by thawing puff pastry instead of filo dough so I had to wait a number of hours before I could actually get started.
The recipe called for a pound of nuts so I used a half pound of roasted and salted pistachios plus another half pound of roasted and unsalted nuts. These I ground in a small electric chopper then mixed with 1/3 cup of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Instead of cloves I used cardamom.
Following directions I layered filo and melted butter.
I sprinkled the nut mixture over the filo and repeated until I had almost run out of nuts (about 4 layers). I saved a bit of the nut mixture to sprinkle over the baklava after it had been baked.
Baklava is cut into squares, diamonds, or triangles before it is baked.
While the baklava baked I made the sugar/honey syrup substituting a vanilla bean for lemon juice.
I sprinkled the baklava with extra nuts and poured all of the syrup over and let it set until cool.
This is incredibly sweet but very delicious and would taste wonderful by itself or with ice cream.
Sug placed the individuals pieces in small cupcake papers and arranged them on a platter for the buffet. She’s our food stylist.