January 2, 2011

Bryan's Graduation Party...We Made It! (Also my WWU w/CanadaGirl)

OK, I admit it...I'm kind of glad this one's over!!! Oh, btw...Happy New Year!

I "decided" 3 things as a result of this party, at which (if you haven't been here reading before) I single-handedly prepared dinner for 130 people (notice I didn't say that I also "served" dinner to 130 people, you'll see in a bit):

  1. At this point in time, I am blessed beyond measure with the dearest and best friendships that I have ever known in my life, and I cannot praise God enough for filling my friendship cup to overflowing.
  2. I do not want to single-handedly prepare a dinner for 130 people again soon (or ever...I would do an hors d'ouvres open house, but not a dinner unless it was with a team of people).
  3. I think that anyone who wants to cater big meals for a living has to be nuts!
I went to bed on 1/1/11 at about 1:45 in the morning, after I finished all the breads. First I made the cornbreads. They didn't bake long, and I was able to cut them quickly after they came out of the oven and place them on racks to cool, which they also did quickly. While the first batch cooled, I refilled the 3 baking pans with more corn bread batter and baked the 2nd batch. Then I loaded up my biggest trays with it all:
Next up was pumpkin bread, which I mixed up in my giant dough bowl:
I was able to bake 8 loaves all at once...it baked for just over an hour, and did my house smell good!!! We rang in the New Year as they baked!
 Once they had cooled a decent amount, I covered each rack of 2 loaves with plastic wrap over the top (not the sides) so they wouldn't dry out, then left them to cool overnight while I went to bed. Unfortunately, though I was bone-tired, achy (my arthritis had flared up something fierce with the radical weather changes), and sick-exhausted, I lay awake for over an hour in bed, unable to fall asleep. I finally came downstairs, had a cup of herbal tea and immersed myself in Psalms for about 45 minutes, finally falling asleep on the comfy couch at about 3:45am. I was up again at about 8:30am, and the Lord was gracious to give me what I needed to get it all ready! At 2pm, the guests began to trickle in, with most arriving around 4pm. Dinner started just about on time...we had it ready at 5:20pm (the invite said 5pm, so I was pleased!)! The wonderful women of our church did as they always do...they arrived, greeted me and each other with a hug, then said, "What can I do ? Put me to work!" This is a well-practiced group at getting a buffet line together!

A highlight was at  just after 4pm, when a dear young friend (I believe she is 20 years old) arrived with her family...and the cake! She has been, during her younger years, the 4-H Cake Decorating Grand Champion multiple times, and attends the same community college that my Nathan (age 17 now) takes classes at, where she is learning more about the artistry of being a pastry chef. Here name is Keren, and here is her creation, a lemon-flavored cake with buttercream frosting:

The cake weighed 30 pounds!!! That according to her dad, who carried it into the house for her! What a masterpiece! Keren's mom and older sister, Ruth (in the pink shirt and jean-jumper, below), helped to cut the cake up as the dinner was coming to a close, and set out over 100 plates of the delicacy, which were happily gobbled up by everyone. Ruth happens to be Bryan's piano teacher!
We've known this family for a number of years, and it's really neat to see all these "little kids" growing up and into such wonderful young men and women of God!
Here is a glimpse of the rest of Bryan's party, and our home filled with wonderful friends, both young and old, enjoying an evening of celebration:
The big yellow dough bowl gave service during the party as the cole slaw vessel!
Bryan is the tall guy with the blonde crew-cut hair, wearing a red turtleneck shirt
One of our church families loaned us 30 folding chairs, what a blessing!
This gentleman had the best seat in the house! He is one of our church's teaching elders.
Our young adult's choir director...and my sweet friend!
This sweet young lady on the left is the daughter of one of my dearest friends! She also worked for a couple of years with us at Kline Creek Farm. She and Bryan have shelled a lot of feed corn there! Her brother, now in college, also worked at Kline Creek with Bryan, and they are good friends :-)
This last photo is of two more dear, dear friends, who blessed me soooooo very much that evening! Rittu and Nan asked me for aprons, which I gave them, and then those two happily (and I do mean happily!) started washing dishes...they washed all the crockpots (there were 6 of them), two HUGE pots that were on my stovetop, all the lids, all the serving spoons, bread trays, cutting boards...at the end of the party, all the dishes were DONE. Wow. "Thank you" just isn't big enough for that gift they gave to me!!!

Today (Sunday) was a wonderful day of a little bit of putting the house back together (there's still more to go), but mostly just a day to rest and enjoy some quiet time as a family after church. Bryan opened all his cards that our guests brought yesterday, and read each one out loud to us, and we relished the warm wishes and soaked in the words of wisdom from the Scriptures shared in each card's message.

It was a very exhausting but very worth-it event, one that we will all remember and cherish over the years to come. The next graduation party that we'll be involved in will be a double-graduation - in May 2012, Lord willing, Nathan will graduate high school, and Bryan will receive his AAS degree. What a celebration that will be!


maria said...

It looked like everyone had a great time! Wow...130 people! What an amazing blessing - to have a large house where you can fit so many people :) When it comes time for my boys to finish...I think I will use our fellowship hall in our church...we can only fit 4 people at a time here - hehehe!

But seriously...what a great party! And congratulations again...

Now, what are you going to do with so much time in your hands ;)


Christine said...

Oh, Lori, it was wonderful! And I didn't even wash a single dish... :( Your kindness in letting me rest on Friday was a blessing, but you know I would've been there in a heartbeat had you called. I love you.

In Him,

Illinois Lori said...

thank you, Maria, for stoping by! Yes, we are blessed. A church fellowship hall would be my choice, too...but we rent a space in which we worship, so there's no such hall available to us! Hmmmm...time? I'm still not sure what that is, life doesn't EVER seem to stop swirling around like a hurricane here, LOL!

Dearest Christine, I was just delighted to see you able to join us. I know you'd have helped if I'd asked you :-)

Blessings to you both!

Tina said...

Totally Amazing! And a blessing for all. Blessings and Happy New Year!

Katia said...

Wow, congratulations to you son gain, dear friend. What a beautiful celebration! Lots of labor of love went into this. So happy many people showed up for it.The cake is gorgeous! I am sure it tasted delicious! And Wow! another double graduation in May? What a busy lady you will be!

Illinois Lori said...

Hi Katia! Thanks for stopping by and commenting :-) Yes, it will be busy, but not til May of 2012, so I have a year and a half to get ready for that party! I think just an Open House, with hors d'ouvres, and NO dinner!


Kympossible said...

Looks like a great party, but I totally agree with you on not ever wanting to single-handedly prepare dinner for 130 people! I don't really like cooking for just our six. LOL Beautiful cake!!! Congrats to your son!

Kari said...

Congratulations Lori on getting your wish for your sons party completed! What is an AAS degree?

Illinois Lori said...

Hi Kari! Thanks so much :-)
AAS stands for "Associate of Applied Science." So it's an Associate's Degree, which is a 2 year degree. His will be in Agriculture Production and Farm Management. He hopes, Lord willing, to own and operate an arganic, 100% pasture-based sheep farm where he will raise and market meat lambs. I have an ebook (free to download) that tells his story, if you click on the "ebooks" tab at the top of my blog menu bar. It's called, "I Wish I Could Go To A Farm."


Annie Kate said...

Wow, wow, wow! You ARE superwoman, with the help of the Lord and some dear friends.

Congratulations on the graduation!

Now, go rest and rest and rest.


Annie Kate


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