Saturday while Michelle and I grocery shopped, Kara began baking desserts and Jessica watched Kara's son and my kids. Saturday night Diane and JB joined me at the church to wash the stem ware and the china while Ryan was at home marinating pork loins and making raspberry vinaigrette.
Sunday after church we dropped our kids off at my parents for a movie and popcorn party and began the rush to get things done. Tracy and Ali peeled 15 pounds of potatoes before I got back to the church. We then were joined by Diane, JB and Jessica for set up. Between the six of us, we got the tables set up, covered, and set for each guest. M&M's were an added touch which seemed to be a great snack for those of us settting up.
Meanwhile Ryan peeled the rest of the potatoes and moved outside to cook potatoes and pork loin. By this point I'd made multiple trips to the store: grab lunch, back to get batteries for the grill starter and something else. Kristen showed up and some time in there they began candying the pecans for the salad and did LOTS of stirring. It all kind of blurs together but I think JB and I were setting up the lighting while Michelle was doing dishes. The church was out of dish soap and I made trip #3 to the store while Jessica ran home to get her slicer. Ryan came in with the finished potatoes and I heard him say he didn't think he had enough. Seriously, it was 20 pounds of potatoes. Apparently cooking them in the turkey fryer (it was clean people) got nice and warm and they disintegrated into the water. His potatoes looked like potato soup and were reduced to about 5 pounds of potatoes. To the store again and this time I drove. More potatoes were peeled, Ryan was grilling, Michelle was doing dishes and we were right on track.
I went to the bathroom to change out of my grubby clothes but had forgotten a camisole to go underneath. Great. Asking Ryan if the shirt was too low cut, all of us ladies got a realistic lesson in how guys think. Kendra ran home and got me a camisole and I headed back to the bathroom to get ready. Back in the kitchen Spenser and Kendra were there to get the salad ready. It looked super yummy and I realized much later when I sat down to eat that I forgot to have them put the crumbled goat cheese on! Oops.
Shortly after that, our drivers (Kendra, Pastor Lee and Spenser) headed out to get a few of the ladies. I headed outside to greet the ladies as they arrived at the church.
We had 25 women join us for supper. They were thrilled to be there. Down the steps they were again greeted by some friends who took their coats. As they removed their coats, in front of them was a table full of roses donated in secret - one for each lady that came.
They sat at the tables and began chatting away with their neighbors, friends, and those who were there to serve them. I welcome the ladies and prayed before we served them. Salad was served first. Organic greens from the local food co-op topped with crumbled bacon, purple onion, candied pecans (they will stick to wax paper if you bake them - we found out), and home-made raspberry vinaigrette.
While they were enjoying the wonderful flavors of the salad, we were preparing the main dish. While some cleared the salad plates, others refilled drinks and served the main dish. We enjoyed Pork Loin grilled by Ryan, green beans prepared with bacon, garlic and spices by my folks, and mashed potatoes prepared by Ryan.
While ladies were enjoying their food, and servers were clearing plates and chatting, Shane and John were providing background music. Considering my lack of communication with Shane, this was perfect. Shane and John were amazing as they played guitar, mandolin and even the harmonica. It was lovely.
After supper dishes were cleared, the guys took a break to eat and the ladies each had a chance to share their favorite thing of the year. This sounds really corny to me and I wish I could come up with something better. But honestly, I think they love sharing so it works out well.
By time we were done with sharing, dessert began coming out of the kitchen. Kara is wonderful at baking. She prepared two kinds of truffles, "X", "O", and heart sugar cookies that were amazing. Nothing simple from Kara. By time dessert was served, I think us volunteers had the extra desserts polished off!
After dessert, we did some more visiting before the ladies picked their rose and got ready to go home.
It was a lovely evening. I'm so incredibly thankful that I could serve in such a small way in my community. I'm blessed beyond measure for my friends who helped out. Many hands make light work! For those who helped out financially, those who shopped, watched kids, set up, cooked, baked, served, photographed, cleaned-up and whatever else people did. I can't wait for next year!!!