Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last Night's Dinner

A simple transformation it was, but it worked for all of us. The tables and chairs we have had on hand for many years, for this exact purpose. The little clear lights were in place since last year's same celebration. The paper supplies were purchased in bulk from Ollies for only a few dollars. The red glass globed lanterns were from our oldest daughter's wedding almost six years ago. The clear votives were odds and ends I had on hand. The heat came from a little floor heater that we ran all day Friday, making it warm enough for comfort. The Christmas spice candles I burned all day, in old crocks on the floor, leaving the garage smelling just like a Christmas kitchen instead of gasoline.

I host this extended family dinner once a year. This is our third year for this garage dinner event. Tradition has been on this evening, to have a container filled with numbered items(such as a jar of pre-counted candy, or this year pre-counted by me, Reese's Puffs cereal in a clear glass cannister). Everyone is given the opportunity to guess how many pieces are in the clear glass cannister...this year it was 935 pieces. Seated on this make-do shelf are five prizes that I created or baked, with bows...my caramel popcorn, a plate of my orange tea rolls, a plate of old fashioned sticky buns... The one who comes closest to the correct number gets first choice of the gifts, the second closest, second choice and so on. It is a fun competition for a highly competitive family. This tradition suits me fine, since I love creating small gifts.

A small table and chairs beside the long one was were two of our grandchildren sat for the dinner. The wooden nutcracker stood guard on their table.


We celebrated the birthdays of those with November and December birthdays. My neice and her husband helped celebrate their twin daughter's first birthday, with their great-grandma.
Here are my two dear neices. The one on the right celebrating her 20th birthday, which just does not seem possible to me. It seems like only yesterday, I held her proudly as her new aunt.

Two more of my sweet neices, holding my new twin grandsons. I feel so blessed to have the best neices and nephews in my life.
The table looked so long from this end, and it seemed like a huge group of people to feed. I kept the meal as simple as possible, and my mother provided all of the desserts. As a tradition at this dinner, she makes her vanilla pudding pies, in graham cracker crusts, with whipped cream on top. They are delicious!


We covered all the garage type backgrounds with old white tablecloths. This table was used as the guessing table, the coffee table(at the end of the dinner), and the candy table.
Traditions continue...this one, my mother provides a big bowl of gummy lifesavers for everyone. In this family, it is the candy of choice. The red glass stones I scattered on the white tablecloth, to add a bit of colorful pizazz.

Here is the little one's table I told you about earlier...with Sesame Street placemats making it complete.
Here is the close-up of the red glass lanterns I used for the center of the tables. I added some twigs of holly from the bushes at our backdoor, once again to add some green to the tables.
You just paid a visit to one of our simple, but fun, family dinners. The colors, the decorations, the food, the Christmas music are all secondary,to the people who are together on an evening like this one, in a transformed garage on a quiet street. Today...it is back to the garage it was originally, but thankfully the memories will always be there.













































21 comments:

Stacey said...

Hi Judy! Just rolled in from Texas and had to check on my friends.

Your garage gathering spot is perfect! Great way to use space and you succeeded in making it look festive. :)

Liz said...

Wow, I was waiting for this post, as I couldn't wait to see the transformation. You had a huge group, I'm impressed. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time and you made the space really work and look pretty and festive...well done!

Thanks for sharing!
~Liz~

Country Dreaming said...

Judy--
It looks wonderful! I especially like the "candy table."
Your Mom's pie sounds yummy too.
Glad you had fun!

Queenmothermamaw said...

Well Judy, you did a great job. I had not even thought to try to heat a garage for a meal, but my family keeps getting bigger and bigger and that could work. With that many folks around it would not take long to get the garage comfortable, at least at this time of year. In the warm months we do eat in the garage, but I see another opportunity here, thanks to you.
QMM

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Why am I not surprised that you know how to turn a garage into a banquet hall...in the blink of an eye? Great ideas...once again. I love your method of giving away prizes...I'll be borrowing that one.

It looks like a grand time was had by all!

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Your amazing gift to host truly shines through my friend. Your attention to detail is AMAZING, and I can only imagine how graceful everything feel into place.

You are so right....all of the decorations, place settings, etc...pale in comparison to the guests who partake.

Thanks for sharing just wonderful details my friend.

Blessings to you.
Kim~

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Your amazing gift to host truly shines through my friend. Your attention to detail is AMAZING, and I can only imagine how graceful everything feel into place.

You are so right....all of the decorations, place settings, etc...pale in comparison to the guests who partake.

Thanks for sharing just wonderful details my friend.

Blessings to you.
Kim~

Rach said...

What a lovely "homey" feel!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

That was just beautiful! What a wonderful tradition...the guessing games, the decorating, the little one's table is so cute. Having those babies too would make any holiday special.
Wonder how many more chairs you will need in a few years with those pretty nieces adding the clan via wedding bells...

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

PS: Once LDS families hit around 50 they rent ballrooms at hotels or resorts. You might start checking around...you could be at 50 in no time!

Charli and me said...

Good morning Judy. Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to you and your family. I had tears in my eyes reading your posts. So many of the things that are important to you are also important to me. I think we would make great friends :>) I love all of your family traditions. Our family like yours love to play games. I think it's a fun added touch to any party. I like you treasure my neices and nephews. All of our parties are family parties and very kid friendly like yours. I collect nutcrackers and my grandchildren used to love to play with them when they were little. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family celebration with all of us.

Tracy said...

Hi Judy!
This looks lovely! I remember your post about this last year and had just showed my husband. He and I are talking about having a combined family Thanksgiving next year (which would equal about 35 people). This is something we'll definitely need to do in our house. You made it just look lovely and I'm sure the joy of togetherness made it even moreso.
Thanks for sharing such a sweet occassion with the rest of us.

Blessings,
Tracy

P.S. I made your caramel apple pie this morning to take to breakfast with Breezy's family. Everyone loved it and very quickly the pie dish was empty! ; )

Christine said...

Wow! You thought of everything from the decorations to games, from food to seating!
Your family is blessed to have you give them family memories.

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Judy, this is so special and just perfect.

Thanks for sharing this special time with us.

Barb ♥

lglessner said...

Hi Judy-

It looks beautiful as usual!!! The candles look familiar!!! I am sure it was a lovely evening...missing Ashley though!!! Enjoy the holidays!!!

Love-
Lisa

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What fun, Judy! I do believe your garage is as long as the first floor of my entire house :-)

You have a lovely family and nice traditions.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What fun, Judy! I do believe your garage is as long as the first floor of my entire house :-)

You have a lovely family and nice traditions.

Wanda said...

How fabulous! What a wonderful tradition! Love it! You're so creative!

lindsey said...

Wow, what an amazing transformation...you did a great job and what a lovely family. So glad you had a wonderful time!

Chad, Linds and the Twins said...

What an incredible evening Aunt Judy! The food you made was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!! I enjoyed every bite!!! Thanks for having us all over. We had such a wonderful time and didn't want to leave! Love you! Linds

Sara said...

Oh my...looks familiar....we do the same with Randy's family for Christmas. We transform our garage into a huge room where we eat & then open gifts.... I at least know - once a year my garage gets a good cleaning!!!
I'm sure you had a great time...anytime with family is good!!

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