I say a long, long time because for a year we lived in Scotland, then for four and a half months we lived with friends in the Houston area while searching for a house, then in December we moved in here. And it was glorious. There's just something truly wonderful and grand about having a home of your own. Be it an apartment, town house, big house or small house, or simply a room that you can claim, it's nice to have that space. It's where your personality can be free, where whims can roam uninhibited and where we build our foundations. Some people claim they do not need a home, that their roots are the world's and they soar like gypsy souls wherever the breeze may take them. But I like to put down some roots every now and then and sort of tether myself to a dwelling that I can call my own.
Even when we lived overseas, our little flat that was only ours for the year still became a home to us. We brought a few decorative items with us to Scotland and they made all the difference in transforming a strange place into what eventually became a landing pad for some amazing adventures. But even then, despite our happiness in traversing Europe and exploring lands unknown, every time we walked back through that door, we still longed for home.
Now that I've established my thoughts on having a home, you can understand how excited we were to finally have a house party several months after moving in and more than a year and a half since moving out of our last home! We love to entertain, to cook, to interact. So we wanted to serve up a feast and simply have friends arrive without the burden of having to prepare any food or drink. Which we did, for just over 30 people. It was a push to get all the food cooked or heated and placed on the table at once, but after we accomplished that it was all smooth sailing from there! I had (with the help of the ever so patient husband) cleaned our back patio and decorated with red Chinese lanterns and lights strung across its width. The effect, in my opinion, was fun, charming and party-centric all in one. Then we set out some tables (everyone brought their own camping chairs) and I threw together some quick centerpieces of lemons or fake mini apples in various glass vases with colorful table cloths from Walmart and a zebra-print bandana square from Hobby Lobby. Done!
We also fired up our brand new grill for the first time! The husband was an expert grill master, serving up perfectly barbecued chicken legs, brisket and sausage. He got rave reviews for his cooking skills on the outdoor set. And those fancy LED lights elicited a few "oohs" and "aahs" when the sky went dark. :)
There was a lot of hard work - aka blood and sweat - that had been poured into preparing our home and yard for so much company. It was the first time for many folks to see our house and we wanted things to be the best they could. I lament I didn't take more photos during the day, but I was so busy prepping the food it completely escaped my mind. You're lucky I got in the party snaps that I did, it was a close call and I even had people helping me with the camera to run around and take pictures before the moment passed! The animals were all quite patient with the husband and I during our crazy clean-up work week. But I don't intend to ever unload an entire truck bed full of mulch any time again soon. I may or may not have decided to freshen up the landscaping in the entire back yard by removing a yard (which weighs a few hundred pounds, y'all!) of old mulch and replacing it with new, darker mulch (which also weighs a couple hundred). Plus, I trimmed all the bushes, raking and bagging the aftermath, cut down our monkey grass plants, and mowed and weed-eated both the front and back lawns. Yeah, it was a
At last it was time to set things out for the party. I made custom wine labels for all the bottles I purchased (which are the Little Penguin brand and we love it, so tasty and so affordable at $5 a pop!). Each label stated the type of wine, like merlot or pinot grigio, and had a different saying on it. My favorite was "If you can read this, you need a refill." And I refilled a lot.
I put plastic cups on a zebra-print tray I decoupaged and dropped those on the countertop where I had all the drinks available, which was also next to the keg. Which we drank to within about four beers of its life. I couldn't believe it! The shot of the food table is our masterpiece - it all turned out great. *Gratifying sigh of relief*
Well, that's it folks! Our first big house party in our new digs. We're already looking forward to hosting another get-together in early summer, with more barbecue action and lots of fun distractions. Hope you and yours had a fun weekend and don't forget to come back for some recipes and a look (at last) in our master bedroom!