It's party time at our house! Saturday is our 3rd Annual Holiday Open House. This is the first year I've prepared for it while working full time. All I can say is the making of lists has kept me sane (or proved I'm crazy)!
In the initial planning stages there was the Master List. This is where everything I could possibly think of that needed doing was put. It was long and unmanagable, so I made sub lists.
There was the Baking List is where I kept track of what I needed to bake.
The Baking List list birthed the Shopping List of everything I needed to get to in order to cross things off the Baking List.
The Shopping List lead to the Places to Shop to Get it All List.
My least favorite was the Cleaning List.
Sunday morning I made the Countdown List. It included all the days of the week leading up to the party and what needed to be done on each day. Star Wars Son cleaned the downstairs bathroom today. A full 3 days ahead of schedule!
I've been taking a pad of paper to bed with me in case I remember something I need to add to an existing list, or worse if I think of a new list I need to make.
The "Basement Breakdown" at our house on Friday night was a huge success! All the furniture, tv, stereo speakers and Pearl Jam posters were moved out to make room for amps and other equipment.
We ordered some pizzas for the bands to have before the show, during soundcheck. Luckily they had soundcheck because there were some issues with the equipment that had to be taken care of.
The crowd of about 50 who showed up to rock out was not disappointed.
We might have gotten some water sprayed on the ceiling
and there might be a huge hole in the wall
But it was worth it! Seriously!
Kids danced moshed
and one kid even crowd surfed, which is a very brave thing to do in a basement.
There ended up being 7 "grown-ups" in attendance. Can you see a couple of us in the background?
First Inamorata played. I LOVE their music. I especially love the drummer, he is a cutie patootie. The base player is actually pretty cute too. Star Wars Son goes to school with those two. The guitar player is my favorite Trader Joes employee, and boy can he play!
Up next was Buried on the Shore, they are a great band too. Their lead singer is really charismatic and he really gets the crowd going. He also goes to school with SWS.
Then it was the first ever performance of Act of Bravery. They were nervous, but very excited to finally be playing for a crowd. SWS has some equipment issues but the other drummers loaned him some pieces parts and all was good.
We have known the bass player, Casey since he was 4 years old! You would never know that he had his tonsils taken out about 2 weeks ago! He wasn't allowed to sing back up yet.
Tyler has probably been the most nervous about performing in front of a crowd, but he really had no reason to be! He was amazing! Act of Bravery is lucky to have them as their front man!
I'm not sure how Roy ended up in the band, I think he knew Tyler... He's been in a band before, so he was used to performing.
The other guitar player, Skyler, answered an ad SWS put up, either on craigslist, or on myspace. He has been a great addition, really adding to the music writing.
As they were getting ready to perform their last song, SWS took the mic and said... "this is it, our last song, (disappointed sounds from the crowd) but I want to invite everyone to go to Denny's with us after the show (cheers). When the song was over Tyler thanked Handy Man and me... The crowd cheered and that was a really good feeling.
Here is the crowd gathering outside to head out to Denny's... (Handy Man took this through the upstairs window)
After the show was over, as I was walking up the stairs, I thought, "tonight we are the coolest parents in the world"! I really think this might be something we do again, with a little more wall protection and a "you must keep your feet on the ground" request. It was a total blast!
If you would like to see all the pics from the show I posted on Facebook, here is a link and while you're there request to be my friend if you are not already.
This has been a big week of milestones for our family. So many changes and celebrations.
10:00 am job interview for me
2:45 pm phone interview
4:30 pm we got word that the sale of our Des Moines house was final.
11:30 am a big old bunch of cash was deposited into our credit union account.
1:00 pm the very large 9% HELOC loan on our primary house was paid off!!
2:45 pm Star Wars Son presents his speech for the senior project graduation requirement. (More on this next week where I will hopefully have a link for you to watch the documentary he made)
5:15 pm Went to Dancing Daughter's student led conference. She totally rocked her power point presentation. (More on this next week too!)
6:15 pm Went to the Pub for dinner to celebrate the sale of our house, SWS reaching all of his graduation requirements and Dancing Daughter being a confident amazing student.
7:00 pm (doors at 6:30) Big concert at our house!! Yes we are crazy! Yes we might regret this! We are hosting three amazing local hard core bands in our basement tonight! This will be SWS's band, Act of Bravery, debut concert! The two other bands have played venues around the city and we are thrilled to have them playing at The Basement Breakdown!!
Any local facebook friends reading this are welcome to come! Message me for the address! We need all the grown ups we can get.
This is the one time of year we invite a large number of people into our home. I send out 40 - 50 invitations to our holiday open house. Some years we get a large crowd, some years much less. This was a year when less people stop by, but the people who did come made it unforgettable!
We had the usual family, moms, dads, sister, niece, aunt, uncle, boss, bosses family... Word about the niece, I served her alcohol for the first time ever. Somehow she managed to turn 21 last January and I didn't know it... Last January?! Where does the time go?
We had two very special guests! First I have to give you a little back story, which is interesting because I was already planning to blog this story in the future. I guess the future has arrived!! One of my early childhood memories involves one of the guests who showed up at our party.
D and I used to walk to school together everyday starting in kindergarten! Our moms must have met at a school function and got to talking about how my mom doesn't drive and how she had to walk me to school everyday and how she HATES getting up in the morning (ok, that last part is me editorializing, but she might have said that!). D's mom probably mentioned that D walks to school and suggested since we only live two blocks apart we could walk together.
Each morning my mom would walk me to the sidewalk in front of our house and watch me walk two blocks down the hill to meet D. From D's house it was only a couple more blocks to school. The last block always seemed to be wet and full of slugs. We made a game out of walking on that block, a game of avoiding those slugs at all costs, jumping, skipping, walking around, you name it we did it, anything to avoid stepping on what seemed to be a million slugs. I seem to remember D maybe, possibly, poking sticks into the slugs and me being really grossed out. I'm sure, since he was a boy, he did that!
In the second grade he moved away and we lost touch. We found each other again in junior high and spent those years, plus high school, hanging out, saying "hey" in the halls and having a few classes together here and there.
Well that boy man D, who I walked through slugland with, showed up at our party with his wonderful wife P. D is the one person I'm still in contact with who I've known longer than anyone I'm not related to. Thankfully he showed up while my parents were there so they could see him too.
The other guest was a total shocker! We have a rental house in the next town south of us and our renter works with someone I went to high school with. That's not how she ended up being our renter, if was just one of those "small world" moments. She brought my friend N as a surprise and surprised I was!! N was one of those high school friends who I just connected with. She was one of those "girlfriends" who you pass notes, letters and cards to in the hall between classes. Who you talk about boys with endlessly. If we were teen friends today we would have thousands of text messages to each other. I'm sure you had one of those friends too! I didn't mention this to her when she was here, but I still have many of the notes, letters and cards she passed to me!
It was great to spend time with both D and N! I hope it's not 10 years before we all see each other again!
Why do my friends look so much better than me?! Thank goodness Asthmagirl got rid of the two inches of gray that was hanging out of my scalp! Man that would have been embarrassing seeing old friends like that!
Saturday was our annual family holiday open house. It's a very casual gathering of friends and family where one can get a cookie or three or ten and a cup of hot spiced cider. It's something I start planning for after Halloween. First I go through my recipes and decide what I want to bake and make a list. After the list is made I check my baking supplies and make another list of what I need to buy. If the list is long I make my purchases over a couple grocery shopping outings, so it's not such a strain on the budget. The baking begins before Thanksgiving and continues until just before the party. This year I ran out of freezer space so I made rice krispie treats and pumpkin bars the night before the party.
I try to bake one new thing every year. This year I baked four (!) new recipes.
The best Christmas cookie ever! These were a huge hit!
Cheesecake squares (This was Dancing Daughters pick)
Fancy Date Ball - While these look really yummy I didn't like them that much and there were a lot left over.
Heath Bar Bit Snickerdoodles - Wow were these ever yummy!
All the new cookies I made were hits, except the date balls. Last years new recipe was chocolate mint cookies that everyone loved! This year I made some with Mint M&Ms on top, they all went really fast!
I also served hummus, crackers, veggie tray, chips and salsa, salmon ball (which I made), and cheesy bacon onion biscuits (that I also made)... No one went home hungry that's for sure!
The Halloween party was a huge success, especially for the teens! Unfortunately I started not feeling well Friday night and continue to not feel well today. Here is a quick party recap post mostly in photos!
Dancing Daughter decided maybe she wasn't as terrified of the Scarecrow as she thought she was
The boys taking a break mid-set up. They were transforming the family room into a haunted clown cave.
The stairway going down into the haunted clown cave. (Sorry it's so dark)
This is what greeted you at the bottom.
The wolf had the funniest costume. Can you guess what he is?
Guess what we did last night?! We finally had a successful birthday party for Dancing Daughter. Six of her Dancing Friends came over and they all had a great time! I'll let the pictures tell the story.
I'm so glad the party was successful. Do you think next year Dancing Daughter will take my advice and schedule her party later in the month to attract more guests?!
I'm working on Track 2 of my Pearl Jam story and hope to have it up later today or tomorrow... It's taking a lot longer than I expected.