Tuesday, December 22, 2015

donut night...too much fun!

After all of the years that we have done donut night with Carol, this year, we continued the tradition, but not with Carol's family.  Carol was attending a large progressive dinner with her sisters and over 40 family members.  We decided to carry on the tradition and invited Alan and Jill, all four of their kids and their spouses or significants and Layne and Julie and their family.  Alan and Jill have spent a lot of time with Layne and Julie, renovating their home, as well.  Layne and Julie only bought their home and moved in six months ahead of us, so we have made a "new neighbor" bond like none other.  Oh my, what fun we had!

We began with dinner.  Jill brought homemade chili, Julie brought a fabulous potato leek soup and I made white chicken chili, frog-eye salad and four giant loaves of homemade bread.  Dinner was delish!  I'd asked the Alan's and the Layne's to bring drinks, as well.  Alan and Jill brought about ten bottles of different drinks, being quite creative in their selection.  Layne and Julie brought four bottles of sparkling cider.  The kids all thought the drink selection was even better than dinner!  I'd set two tables in the den and the kids were seated at the round table.  The marrieds and one nephew with his darling girlfriend joined us at the big table, although nephew Adam thought he should be at the "Grown-up" table because "technically", he's been dating his girlfriend two months longer than his big brother, Alec has been dating his. 

Plasticware for faster clean-up... and as Doug says, "I'm still alive!"  I'm actually getting quite spoiled by the fun paperware at Hobby Lobby!  Why wash dishes?!

Dinner was filled with story after story... lots of teasing of Layne over his government job, which I know nothing about because it's very secretive.  I call him 007 and insist that everytime he leaves, he's going to meet the president of some foreign country.  He loves it and I dish it out more.  Nephew-in-law, Kevin, was quite intrigued and asked as many questions as I do.  Dinner was the beginning of a night filled with the most laughter this home has yet to see since it's been the Corbridge home.

Following dinner, everyone pitched in and cleaned up dinner, then set the chairs up around the edges of the den.  The teens went outside and had a snowball fight, then came back in and gabbed.  Oh my, they were loud!  There was much teasing about the volume level of certain teens, which brought more laughter along with the mocking!  Zeej was the youngest one there, and it occurred to me later in the evening, we are at the point that parties are so much more fun because we aren't dealing with little ones and trying to keep the small ones entertained as well.  I love this stage of life!

Layne and Julie have a foreign exchange student, Lasse, from Germany, this school year.  Our hearts all have grown quite fond of him and my girls just adore him.  At first, Zeej was a bit "twitterpated", but they have become like brothers and sisters.  It will break our hearts to see him leave in the spring and Zeej is already saying that she doesn't want him to go back home.  He's awesome and we love his soft German accent in his perfect English!

In the kitchen, donuts were happening.  I had made the dough in advance.  We made about 200 donuts and over half of them were eaten before the night's end.  Snitching, platters served on the table and lots of donut holes.  I rolled, Julie put them in the oil, Alan cooked, Jill sugared and we all kept pretty busy for about an hour.  At that point, we wanted to play!  We left the kitchen without finishing the donuts, which we have never done, but not one of us cared.  We had had our fill of donuts.  Actually, I only ate one hole and one donut, but that's plenty... I always have to taste to see how they turned out and beyond that, I'm good for the night.

I asked Jos to take pix through the night.  She kept my camera closeby and took some fun shots.

 Alan is sporting a great winter beard, which I love!!  He truly is my brother and bestest guy I know, besides my good husband, his big brother!

We gathered in the den and I began to explain the games.  Oh my.  This was the beginnning of non-stop laughter for the remainder of the evening.  Oh my gosh, we laughed.

Our first game was the paper plate game, which has been a favorite this season.  Everyone followed my instructions and drew the Christmas scene while holding the paper plate over their heads.  We got some pretty great drawings...and some pretty funny ones!  ZJ actually won the prize, a chocolate orange, for that game. 

Following the plate game, we played Christmas Taboo and had a great time.  I think that the second biggest laugh of the evening came when it was 8:45 and nephew Adam had to take his girlfriend, Kim, home by 9, so they left. Kim had been the timekeeper for their team in Christmas Taboo.  Each player got 45 seconds to give their clues and get as many cards answered in that time.  Kim and Adam left.  Jocilyn got up to give her clues.  She was bolting through the questions!  Normally, a good player would get about 4 or 5 answers in the allotted 45 seconds.  Jos was on number nine when her brother Alec asked, "Who's keeping the time?"  NO ONE!  No wonder Jos was cranking out the points!  We all laughed for two or three minutes!  Candace, Alec's girlfriend, however, actually caught up with points on the final turn in the 45 seconds!  I love this cute girl!  She's a great fit for the family!

After Taboo, we played the oldest party game ever, "Charades".  The girls and I had made a list of fifty Christmas songs, typed it up, printed it and cut them into tiny paper strips to be drawn from the bowl.  This was HYS.TER.I.CAL!!  Oh my, we laughed until we cried.  We laughed until our cheeks hurt.  And then, we laughed some more. Oh, my, it was fun!

"All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"

Doug, who hates these kind of games, was a good sport and made us all laugh!

Quayd felt the pressure of being a "Thespian" and putting on a great performance!

Poor Grace got the most difficult song of the night. She spent ten minutes trying to act out, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".   Wonderful is a hard word to act out!

Our reserved nephew Alec did a great "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies"...fairies not to be confused

Julie, who is usually pretty reserved, had her own version of the fairies.  I think that this was the biggest laugh of the night!

Nephew-in-law, Kevin approved of all the laughter and fun!

 Layne was gooo-oooood!

 ZJ's "Grandma got Ran Over by a Reindeer" brought us to tears!  We even asked for a repeat performance from her!

My favorite niece, Jocilyn...could she be any cuter?!

Jos needed a drink and this is what her brother, Adam, brought her as "a service".  She asked, "Aunt Sophia, may I drink out of this?"  And she did! 

We decided that there is a reason that it's the oldest party game of all time... it is the most fun game of all time!

Really, the evening was perfect.  Grace said yesterday, "Last night was one of the best nights of my whole life!"  Before family prayer, I asked the kids if they'd had a good time.  On a scale of ten, it got a 9.75.  Awesome!  That was the goal!  We loved it!  Layne posted, "Just had a greatilicious party with the Corbridges!  Thanks!  You're the best!"  Greatilicious describes our relationship with these awesome neighbors!  We'll definitely be doing more parties with the Alan's and the Layne's. This was just too much fun!

Gathering is my favorite part of the holidays, without a doubt.  We love having friends and family in our home.  As Doug and I were settling into bed that night, I was wired... just plain wound up, feeling such gratitude for having a home where we have enough room to spread out, to entertain large groups, to spend so much time with so many of those that we love.  This literally is the happiest time of my life.  I'm loving it! I'm loving having three teens in the home again.  I'm loving having such great friends and family that are so close.  Life is so so good!

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