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New Year’s Eve Open House

Happy New Year!

Each year, our family invites 50 or 60 families to join us at some point in the evening for a New Year’s Eve Open House. We are never quite sure who will be able to make it so there is always an element of surprise. 🙂 This year about 75 people of all ages came throughout the night and we ended with about 20 ringing in the New Year. We watched (the recording) of the ball dropping in New York, and then the children and young adults ran out front to pop the poppers. Then, we did a little cleaning with our good friends, the Smiths, who were staying the night. We were grateful that our party continued into the morning as we played Settlers of Catan until 2:30 am!

When planning for a party where there could be up to 200 people, the food prep could be daunting, so this is how we keep it simple. We serve 2 or 3 soups, my husband smokes a turkey for sandwiches, we have ham for sandwiches, all the fixin’s, and some chips, crackers and dips and a variety of desserts. Our friends often bring some side dishes, desserts, and snacks to contribute. When planning the menu, I consider these things:

1. What can be made ahead?
2. What can be simmering that day and is easy to keep warm? (soup!)
3. What can be kept for future use if not eaten?
4. What uses normal ingredients that I will use throughout the month?

Here is this year’s line up:

1. My Crockpot Chili
2. The Pioneer Woman’s Corn Chowder (Corn was out of season so I used frozen sweet corn)
3. My husband’s smoked turkey (maybe he can write a post on this another time) 🙂
4. Ham, prepared in our oven.
5. Vanilla Bean Cupcakes, with Fluffy Strawberry Frosting (sorry, no frosting recipe! Worked too fast for writing down the recipe and taking photos!)
5. Chocolate Cupcakes, with Peanut Butter Frosting
6. Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies

There was more, but sadly, when I am moving that fast, I don’t take the time to write things down. 🙂 In years past, when there is a larger turn out, I also have used the turkey bones and made a homemade turkey noodle soup right there on the spot for a third soup. This year, just in case, I cooked the ham bones during the party so I would be ready for split pea soup or beans. I also had a few recipes up my sleeve for a few desserts if they were suddenly needed. 🙂

We have found that an open house is such a great medium for seeing friends that you may miss seeing on a regular basis throughout the year. We get to treat our friends to a meal and hear how their lives are going. There is a steady flow throughout the evening giving you ample opportunity to talk with others and giving others ample opportunity to talk with each other. We are also grateful to have a rec room detached from our house where there were hours of darts, ping-pong and Foosball played. We enjoy it so much, that this is our 5th annual. Thank you those who are reading this that were able to come and be a part of our welcome to 2013! Our open house, and our lives, wouldn’t be the same without you!

I hope all of you reading this have a wonderful 2013 and that you create opportunities to be surrounded by those you love and who love you!

Blessings & Happy New Year!

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