Our family-friendly affair brought out a lot of kids. Families from our circle of Opera Moms, to the families we have made into our village in Collingswood. I loved seeing the children who had never before met play with each other, make new connections and just run with wild abandon. I like to say that I know a party at our house is a success when I find the kids in the area behind our garage digging in the dirt and with faces and bodies covered in so much dirt that they look like they are young chimney sweepers! The kids played, ran, dug and had a ton of fun. When it came time to straighten up Nate's room, I found crumbs and sprinkles in his bed! The kids had FUN!
Our adult friends enjoyed themselves too. I set out a feast for the occasion - cooking all night for the meal. Cider brine roasted turkey; Coca Cola braised ham; sweet potatoes marshmallows; string beans with sauteed peppers and onions; cucumber salad; home-made guacamole. Guests brought watermelon medley; panzanella salads; ramen noodle salads; home-made tortillas and sweet empanadas. I made a huge pitcher of 100% proof Southern Comfort Manhattans and 3 gallons of slamming red wine, brandy and fruit sangria (I'll be drinking this for weeks, there is so much left!) Looks like enough for another get-together will have to be organized!
While I enjoyed myself very much, it was a lot of hard work for 3 days straight. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating the house with holiday lights and garb. Then a full day of undoing it all and putting all the stuff away. I am filled with awe at our friends' generosity. So many people, from so many various aspects of our worlds came over to hang out and to donate to our charities. We are donating the food to The Food Bank of South Jersey. I think we collected over 200 pounds of food to bring to them! The toys will go to PegsPresents, a charity run by my friend, Lee Romano. She and her husband, Andrew, bring gifts, toys, gift baskets to kids who live in shelters. They do this periodically throughout the year, not just at Christmas. We received great things, games, puzzles, a skateboard! I know that there will be many happy kids and well-fed folks thanks to my friends!