Mardi Gras 2007

 

Mardi Gras season is here!

How did this become a trend to be out of town or busy with after-work events right before my parties?!? ;) I think it started with Halloween 2002 when the Choral Project sang at the National Cathedral in October, plus I was moving out of my apartment & into the duplex at the same time! For Mardi Gras 2005, when our work kickoff event was local but required me out at events every evening & back for early meetings the next morning, I’d come home around 11pm & do party prep until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Then NANOG in LA was the week before Halloween 2005, but that was only a week so I worked around it, decorating before I left, working on mad scientist tags on the flight, etc. This past Halloween it was my own fault for going to Oktoberfest when I was invited, and I only planned to stay after Oktoberfest vs. before so I’d be in town for our concert, which was moved to when I was gone anyway! ;) Now we have kickoff in Vegas this time, plus I’m staying the weekend after to see a highschool friend who lives there, so I’m missing both pre-party weekends, leaving me only 5 days when I get back before the party! Perhaps some might say that the parties aren’t enough and that I have to create extra excitement for myself…? ;)


Mardi Gras party prep so far

4 dozen creole chicken skewers done – seasoned & underbaked on sticks then frozen
9 dozen spinach balls done – this time underbaked then frozen vs only frozen raw
double-batch crab triangles done (192 bite-sized wedges) – in freezer
11 dozen sugar cookies baked, but not iced or decorated yet
2 cream cheese fleur-de-lis formed – in fridge
bought brie & pastry
bought sliced cheese
bought crackers
bought grape juice for punch
bought everything for shrimp mold
bought everything for king cake
updated Mardi Gras recipes page with new content & photos, plus Google AdSense
new elaborate white curly wig complete to go with 18th century French court lavender & white lace dress
house is CLEAN & ready for decorating!!!

Does this make me a slacker? ;)

At my mom’s urging, plus she paid for the initial 3 hr cleaning as a birthday present, I’ve committed I will now have my house cleaned professionally once each month. This means I have to have surfaces clear, clothes put away, etc, for them to be able to clean! My house has been pretty presentable since I took the Christmas decorations down, since I’ve been trying to keep it picked up, but I’m bad about putting away clothes, and leaving stuff on the kitchen counter…so with the multimedia frantic frenzy plus packing & clearing surfaces, I didn’t get to bed until 5:15am and had to be up at 8:15 since the housecleaners were scheduled for 8:30-9am so they could be done before I needed to leave for the airport. That forced me to have so many things done that while they were cleaning I could relax a bit, clean out my wallet, purse & laptop bag for flight use, make sure I packed eveything ($25 extra for 9lbs over weight and I didn’t bring an extra checkable bag…doh!), and even weed through some webcam captures from Halloween 2005 & 2006, since those are being edited by a friend who volunteered…whew! I have to say that leaving my house sparkling & smelling clean, including my bed made, is a very nice feeling. :)

Mardi Gras party prep still to do

I won’t get back until Sunday night before the party, plus I’m working all day the Friday before the party, so there is plenty to do! Decorating should be just one evening since it’s just Mardi Gras, the cookie decorating takes two evenings because the royal icing must set completely before painting the gold luster dust on top. Since everything is cooked & mixed that can be before the night before, I think it’ll be fine, but I don’t think I have the time for a Wednesday alto even that week…darn!

still need to
set up the webcams & test upload & broadcast
decorate the sugar cookie masks & fleur-de-lis
take in lavender dress to fit
new mask hopefully
possible matching shoes that were originally planned for the dress but ran out of time
BevMo to buy Hurricane mix, maybe rum – still need to check inventory
check cider – hopefully next batch will be ready for drinking by the party?
need pineapple juice

Fair warning – no more Mardi Gras party progress until I get back from Vegas! :)

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Mardi Gras party progress

Whew…I’m even more tired this week than in Vegas! Back to my old habit of staying up all hours but still having to get up for work in the morning…ugh! 3:30am bedtime last night which was the worst this week, but I’m getting there!


Mardi Gras party prep so far

Mardi Gras party prep before I left for Vegas:

  • 4 dozen creole chicken skewers done – seasoned & underbaked on sticks then frozen
  • 9 dozen spinach balls done – this time underbaked then frozen vs only frozen raw
  • double-batch crab triangles done (192 bite-sized wedges) – in freezer
  • 11 dozen sugar cookies baked, but not iced or decorated yet
  • 2 cream cheese fleur-de-lis formed – in fridge
  • bought brie & pastry
  • bought sliced cheese
  • bought crackers
  • bought grape juice for punch
  • bought everything for shrimp mold
  • bought everything for king cake
  • updated Mardi Gras recipes page with new content & photos, plus Google AdSense
  • new elaborate white curly wig complete to go with 18th century French court lavender & white lace dress
  • house is CLEAN & ready for decorating!!!

    Mardi Gras party prep since Vegas:

  • last Costco trip before party – fresh fruit & some veggies
  • bought hurricane mix & Meyer’s dark rum
  • bought chain, clasps & jump rings & fixed the necklace for my costume
  • took my lavender dress in 4″ – was too loose!
  • made matching bows for the new white wig
  • ironed everything so ready to wear – it doesn’t fit in the closet very well!
  • (no time for new mask or shoes, so costume is ready for the party!)
  • 11 dozen sugar cookies have base layer of royal icing, plus purple on masks
  • set up & tested both webcams, including cron jobs & ftp uploads for image captures
  • created Stay Tuned webcam broadcast page
  • created webcam live broadcast page

    Mardi Gras party prep still left to do

  • finish unpacking from Vegas! my suitcase is still full & in the kitchen – doh!
  • DECORATE! – ack! nothing is decorated yet except the cookies :P
  • candles, faux & real
  • place webcams in final locations
  • finish decorating the cookies – they need gold & green still
  • make shrimp mold
  • slice & arrange cheese
  • make king cake
  • make pastry brie
  • fresh food prep, including slicing fruit for punch & ice ring
  • figure out if I want to use the fondue fountain or not
  • final cleaning

    I think I can get it all done well enough by 7pm on Saturday, but boy do I need a nap right about now…! ;)

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    Mardi Gras Masquerade 2007

    Another Mardi Gras Masquerade is over! This year it was 22 of us including 3 kids, which was a small crowd compared to many of my recent parties, but not a record low…that was only 17 back in 2005. The horrible blustery weather probably had a lot to do with it. As I was still running around doing party prep, the rain was so loud on my roof a few times I could barely hear myself think! The lesser amount of people was good for being able to talk, and I was ready enough I got to socialize aplenty, but I still didn’t get to eat or drink during the party much! ;)


    More details if you’re curious…

    As Melanie commented around 3pm as she was helping me get things ready, “I think this is the most ready you’ve been for any party yet!” I had all the food prep I could do ahead done by midnight Friday night, including the king cake, and didn’t even begin decorating the house until then. The rain & wind altered some of my decorating ideas, since the paper lanterns from last year didn’t seem like such a good plan in that weather. Glad my Mardi Gras flag is that weatherproof plastic canvas! Since I knew kids were coming, after a full year delay I finally hooked up the DVD & VCR in the guest room. I even got my 2nd batch of cider into gallon jugs, carboy sanitized and racked the 3rd batch from the bucket into the carboy! I decorated until around 4am or so, took my shower, french-braided my hair for under my wig, printed out voting ballots, to do list & menu, etc, and finally got to sleep just after 5am, setting my alarm for 10am. Much better than the 1hr nap I had in the 24hr before my Halloween party this year! Granted the house was professionally cleaned recently, so that helped a lot, plus I had tried not to let the clutter return since Christmas, and I’ve done okay. It of course helps immensely to have a garage where you can just stash things out of sight! ;) The brie was baked, the patio decorated, fruit & veggie trays done AND photographed, and I was getting my makeup & costume on by 6:40! Due to the copious white talcum powder in an attempt to get as pale as 18th century French court fashion, plus the corset lacing on my stomacher just takes time, I wasn’t ready until about 7pm, but there were still only a couple people there. It’s always the last rush with the rounds of oven space to heat up the warm appetizers, plus making the punch, getting out the ice, etc, that causes the stress, but I had a lot of help so that was fairly smooth. Aside from the old-school webcam giving up only 50 minutes into the party (why does it work days & days before the party & only craps out during? hrmph!), the only party casualty seems to be my glass tabletop outside the front door, which lasted fine through the December winds that blew down my gate arbor, but was shattered by the time people left. Who knows what happened, but at least it wasn’t inside!

    Mardi Gras has always been an easier party, which is nice to have! The decorations are just overlays on my normal house decor, and can be mixed & matched from year to year to keep it interesting. The food is fun but not intensively decorated aside from the cool mask cookies that take 3 days to decorate! The only “scheduled events” for Mardi Gras are voting for masks & costumes for prizes, then cutting the King Cake to see “who got da baby.” Since I had found those cool silver plastic forks that look like real flatware, but not from the back side, instead of putting them in a vase or basket as I usually do, I had them arranged on the plates/glasses/napkins table, so I told everyone to grab a fork & a plate & come to the living room for King Cake! My new petticoat under my skirt made me look like a mushroom, or that I made my own tuffet! haha…Nathania got the baby, and I served large pieces since I didn’t have to stretch the cake to feed a larger group. ;) Since we were all assembled, I moved the inside wifi webcam to point at the living room, passed around the pens & ballots & told everyone to start voting. That was good timing for the premiere of the latest “Britta Parties” DVD, painstakingly edited by Tracia. Great job, very clever! So many guffaws that many people suggested she make subtitles next time so the audience laughter doesn’t cover the great comments! ;)

    Who Got Da Baby? Nathania did!
    Best Mask – Noelle in a beautiful sparkly purple number complete with feathers
    Most Creative Mask – Robin braided her own hair – still attached to her head! – into a mask! Awesome!
    Best Costume – Ben in Red (even though I got a couple more votes, but I am ineligible to win!)
    Most Creative Costume – Doug & Tracia as Johann Sebastian & Anna Magdelena Bach

    Since everyone was gone by midnight, I quickly set up some gallery albums in hopes of others uploading their photos soon – there were at least 5 cameras going all night! – then put food away & did all the dishes except handwashing the hurricane glasses which will be later today. I just couldn’t stand up any longer by the time the rest of the dishes were done!

    Here is the main gallery that will contain everyone’s photos. Only Ben’s and mine are up so far, but I’ll post again when more people have theirs up. :)

    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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