Our town has an annual Christmas carriage parade. Ever since we moved here I have thought it would be fun to have some sort of party afterwards.
Step 2: Plan, print and send out invitations.
Step 3: Plan the menu, decide on a timeline for preparing food and shop for ingredients.
I planned two different chili recipes, Cincinnati Chili and Vegetarian Chili. I consulted with Mr. Dreamy and he indicated an interest in making three of the appetizers we had tasted during cooking demonstrations on our recent cruise. Since it was a 'Chili' party, I also made cupcakes with a little Ancho Chili powder in the cake and in the frosting.
Step 4: Clean the house.
I started the process over a week before the party. Our dining room has not been used for ages and had collected a lot of dust from our recent flooring repair, so that was my starting point. Over the week I tackled odd jobs, like washing windows in the public areas and putting things away. Oh, and I also brought out Christmas decorations.
Step 5: Prepare food and beverages.
The baking was completed 2 days before the party. The chili was prepared the day before the party. Serving dishes were laid out as well as plates, cutlery, napkins and glasses. Mr. Dreamy and I talked about what 'cheer' to serve and determined what spirits or mixers needed to be purchased.
Step 6: Last minute cleaning and food prep.
I vacuumed one more time to tackle our ever-present problem of dog hair. Mr. Dreamy helped, too.
Gypsy says, "I never leave dog hair around!"
Tucker looks guilty.
Step 7: Take a quick trip to the Christmas carriage parade
I hurried down to the parade staging area to visit with friends and help the Colorado Driving Society, since I volunteered to do so. There were 50 'units' in the parade. Three of those were marching bands, 8 were mounted groups, and the rest were carriages drawn by 1, 2 or 4 horses. The horses came in all sizes and colors. And even one horse... that wasn't really a horse!
Step 8: Enjoy the party, in the clean house.
Since the house looked so wonderful for the party, I was inspired to clean up later, and put the house back to tip-top shape. So... I will have a clean, pretty house for the holidays! You can do it, too!
We had a wonderful day for the parade. In spite of earlier weather predictions for cold and snow, the day dawned sunny and warmed up to the 50's by parade time. I took only a few photos before the parade. The sun interfered with my getting any good shots of the horses and carriages. Once the parade began I had to 'work'. My job was to make sure the carriages were in the right order and to instruct each carriage driver who to watch for the signal to begin the parade route. Half way through the line up I gave my list to another volunteer and rushed home to heat up chili and get food on the table. The party was great fun. After everyone left I cleaned up a lot of the dishes, ran one dishwasher load, and this morning I'll tackle the rest. The rest of the house looks wonderful and I am set for the holidays... well, except for additional vacuuming and cleaning doggy nose prints off the glass doors!