Easter with Eighteen

This weekend set out to be one of a lot of preparations, cleaning, planning, and culminating in a fantastic Easter dinner party success.  After our email invite went out to our friends early last week, every single person invited RSVPed “yes” to our Easter dinner.  Originally thinking that we would do a formal sit down dinner we stuck to our guns and tranformed our house into one big enough to accommodate a total of 18 people.  Not an easy task but our creative side got going and we pulled it off!

It all began on Saturday.  After Bryan fueled us with our long-missed banana pancakes and bacon we got to work.  Bryan immediately set out to the backyard to clean up the moss on the stone patio, the algae on the wood deck, the weeds in the beds and our patio furniture, table top and chairs.  Not an easy or clean task at all.  While Bryan worked outside I got the inside ready.  With Bryan’s help we moved our dining table to our living room and our living room couch to the dining room.  We repositioned our bar and wine rack for it all to work and Bryan brought in his footlocker to use as a table for peoples’ drinks.

Saturday late afternoon we took a break from the work to go for a run in the sunshine and nice weather around Seward Park.  It was a good run for me (and I haven’t been having good runs) but a tough run for Bryan.  The mix of countless hours worked, work in the backyard, and stress for the past couple of weeks surely played into it.  But he persisted and we finished the run together.  We stopped at Lowe’s for some mulch and moss killer, stopped at Cash & Carry for 15 lbs of leg of lamb, and then stopped at Stitches in Capitol Hill for a 15 ft long piece of fabric that we planned to use as a table cloth.  We finally returned home, made a quick meal of Thai curry and rice and watched Rogue One from the floor of our living room using cushions from the couches.

Sunday morning was another beautiful morning and we dressed up for church.  We made darn sure we arrived on time for this weekend’s service in order to get a seat downstairs, which we did and service was a full house.  We left church, heading home to complete the final arrangements for our dinner party.  Bryan’s remaining tasks were to finish up the back deck.  He scrubbed that baby clean!  We brought the patio table in to lengthen our dining room table and set the table for 16.  We managed to have enough place settings and cloth napkins for everyone.  I sure wish I had a picture of it!

I spent the entire afternoon cooking.  I first prepped the strawberry almond cream tart.  Once that was in the fridge I cleaned, peeled, and sliced 5 lbs of carrots and 5 lbs of potatoes.  I put the 11 lbs of leg of lamb in the oven to begin roasting at 3 pm (we ended up freezing the 3rd leg of lamb).  I assembled two potato gratins and got those in the oven.  I then started the honey and thyme glazed carrots on the stove.  I made my own parsley butter in the food processor and then prepped 5 lbs of asparagus and made a salad dressing.  Lastly, I made a dozen eggs for a deviled egg appetizer.

Over an hour before guests were to arrive Bryan’s finished masterpiece of the back deck was finished and he set up the wine bar, vacuumed, and picked up all remaining loose ends around the house.  I quickly spread three bags of mulch around our front beds and cleaned up the kitchen.  We both changed and voila…we were ready for company.  Everyone came and everyone was there by around 6:30 pm.  We had people drinking in our front lounge area as well as those that had found our patio furniture and heat lamp on the back deck.  Around 6:45 pm we sliced the roast, finished up the bread and called everyone to the table.  It was a kick to see everyone sitting at the long table with Bryan and I sharing the shoe bin on the end of the table.  I would say we made just the right amount of food and everyone was very much enjoying themselves.

We followed up dinner with my strawberry tart plus two other desserts that we set out as a buffet and let people head back to our lounge area in the house and on the back deck.  Desserts were demolished and at least five bottles of wine and a lot of beer were finished throughout the night.  Our last guests left around 9:30 pm and Bryan tried to clean up as much as we could and did a pretty good job.

The tart was a hit!

We were so pleased with how everything came out and truly feel great that so many people came out for our dinner.  We definitely plan on keeping the dinner parties going, though in a less formal format that doesn’t require swaps of room furniture, although it was fun for this weekend.  A truly great Easter that I will remember for a long time, even if I don’t have any pictures of it.


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