Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Comfort

Monday Morning Sunrise over the Wayback Backyard


It has been a little stressful at my house this past year.  

Many of my  friends have had more than their share of pressure filled moments, too.   Some of us have lost family members and friends;  some of us have struggled  with health issues; and some of us  have dealt with job insecurities.

We are all okay, but we are just a little frayed around the edges. We need some TLC!

So this year, at my annual I'm Thankful For My Girl Friends Get Together...it's all about comfort!  Comfort food. Comfortable clothes.  A sweet get together of good friends, eating good food and laughing. 

The email invite said: Wear whatever makes you feel comfy~~
 
JJ, J and J in JJ's garden  in jammies and slippers

jammies and slippers, dress and makeup or   jeans and sweater.  Bring your favorite comfort food to accompany the entree. 

You know, everyone has their own comfort thermometer....For me, it's lose fitting pants, a warm sweater and my Haflinger boiled wool slippers.  As you can see my friends are also comfortable dressers!

The Get Together started a few years ago.... as a way to simplify holiday scheduling with half a dozen people.  It has grown into a very fun evening.  I serve the drinks and make the entree and everyone else brings the side dishes.  It always works out just right.  No matter what the entree, the sides are perfect!  Of course,  there is dessert.  Chocolate~~ it's the most comforting of all foods!

It's always been an informal and relaxed  party... But this year I wanted everyone to be even more comfortable and at ease. So, we'll have dinner in front of

a  fire.  I'm borrowing a big round folding table, so we can all  see each other easily.  I love sitting at the table and telling stories over coffee and dessert.  Have you ever noticed that there is something about leaving the dinner table that signals an end to the  party?  We'll have none of that! I want folks to stay as long as they wish.  No rush...I'm not going anywhere and no one needs to worry about the dishes...that's my job.

What a treat to be with these incredible women.   To laugh, to share and to open a few presents! 

Doesn't it sound like a good time? I am so excited!

I wish you all could be here!  You have listened to my stories, laughed at my silliness and appreciated my seriousness. How can I have a party celebrating my friends without you...

So here's what I am going to do...I will set a place at the table for you. ....Just remember, dress comfortably and bring your favorite comfort food.

By the way what is your favorite comfort food. Me? I love potatoes!

Warmest wishes,

Gail



80 comments:

  1. Sounds like you have a lovely time planned for your friends. Especially at this time of year when everything is getting to be so hectic, this is a great idea that will let everyone relax and unwind.

    Jan
    Always Growing

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  2. Thanks for the place at your table, I am sure I will enjoy myself Gail. Comfort food, I think a nice hot, gooey chocolate pudding!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

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  3. Hi Gail, how wonderful, but don't work too hard trying to make everyone else comfortable! Enjoy your friends and we will be participating from afar at your round table of comfort!
    Frances

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  4. Gail ~ what a sweet and comforting post. For comfort food I would have to go with pierogies sauteed in butter and onions. Yum!

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  5. I like Chili on cold days and Hot chocolate with marshmallows at night.:-)-Randy

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  6. Sounds like a wonderful tradition Gail! How thoughtful of you to set a place at the table for your garden blogging friends.

    Comfort food. . . hmmm. . . it would be hard to name a favorite. Top contenders for me are potatoes cooked just about any way, stir fry, fried rice, chicken soup with matzo balls, cinnamon rolls, and of course, almost anything chocolate.

    Have a great time - I'm sure you will!

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  7. Gail .. Girl, that sounds wonderful ! All of you are very lucky to have one another .. and yes ! your idea of not getting up from the table, but just relaxing and talking until when ever .. that is the European method too ! : )
    I will be there in thought ? .. red penguin pajamas .. fuzzy pink socks, and maybe a big fluffy pink robe .. with lots of chocolate for everyone .. haha
    Have a great time !

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  8. Gail, thanks for the invite. Such fun! I'll be wearing sweats and bringing spaghetti.

    This is a great way to spend some quality time during the holidays. Being wih girlfriends always improves my mood and lessens the stress. And it's a good way to catch up on all the gossip!

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  9. Gail,

    You've planned such a perfect party. What can be better than a theme of comfort and friendship?

    I'm sure the warmth of the friendship will outshine that fire.

    Thanks for the place at your table. I'll bring my lavender scones.
    Cameron

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  10. Gail, Thank you for inviting me to the "girls in the round". A most cheerful endearing group no doubt. I am thrilled to be a part of it even if I am only there in spirit.

    I would bring some escalloped potatoes. That is a treat as well as one of my favorite comfort foods. I could eat only that.

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  11. Have a great evening! I have to agree with you on potatoes! Mom has this great recipe for potatoes with Yukon gold and sweet potatoes all mixed and mashed together and topped with cheese. It's hard to beat that for comfort food!

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  12. Comfy sweats for me, nice big pot of beef stew and Big Red soda will do it. Have a super great time with your get together and thanks for setting a place for us too:)

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  13. I am so coming, wearing my pink pajama pants with white polka dots, my pink slippers, my oldest most comfy gray sweatshirt, hair in a ponytail and bringing homemade chocolate chip cookies!! What a time we will have.

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  14. I'm sorry we can't be there but it's fun sharing thru your blog. I would wear an oversized sweatshirt and jeans (with my Cuddl Duds underneath;)and my shearling slippers. I'll bring some homemade macaroni because pasta and potatoes are my favorite comfort foods.
    Marnie

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  15. I'm with you on the comfortable part Gail. ;) I hope you have a great time with your friends. Eat, drink & be Merry!

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  16. Jan,

    it is a relaxing good time...the first time I hosted it I was stressed! Then we decided to share the cooking and it was so much better and lots more fun! I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones, too.

    Sylvia, I am making sure I sit next to the dessert table! Gooey chocolate pudding sounds wonderful, glad you could join us!

    Gail

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  17. Cindy, I am glad you found it a comforting post...now about those pierogies...tell me more!

    Randy, Oh there is nothing like a good chili followed by dessert with hot cocoa! We have totally fallen for hot chocolate flavored with hot chilies!

    Keep warm,
    Gail

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  18. gardengirl,

    I wish you all could be here..(but I hope to be seeing so many of you all at Spring Fling!)!

    I like your comfort food choices...especially anything potato but...you know a good matzo ball soup is very tempting.

    Gail

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  19. Frances, I promise to take very good care of myself and be sure to have a lot of fun. Too bad you live over the mountain! These women are delightful and you would so like them...most of us are the beach group...so maybe you will get to meet them!

    Have fun in the garden today. The weather is very warm and very windy, but perfect for being in the garden. Speaking of gardening...I moved the Japanese maple this morning! The one we pruned this summer! It was just not right where I had
    planted it!

    Take care,
    Gail

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  20. joy,

    Are those the same jammies that you run out on the deck to catch those wonderful sky shots? I can see you now...we will be sitting close to the desserts and sipping tea/coffee and eying the chocolates! Keep warm and remember to put your shoes on first thing so when the sky calls you, you're prepared!

    Gail

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  21. beckie,

    You cleverly hit the nail on the head! That is exactly what happens and by the end of the evening who cares if the meatloaf is too overdone, or the decorations weren't perfect...besides the stories are delightful.

    I do wish you could be here! I comfort myself knowing that I will get to see you and Rose (and so many wonderful other bloggers) at Spring Fling!

    gail

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  22. Cameron,

    The warmth of friendship is a wonderful metaphor Cameron. Those lavender scones fill fit right in the menu! Glad you're joining us!

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  23. I'm all set with my comfy old jeans and nice soft sweater - I'll have some roast chicken, mashed potatoes & peas and probably a little gravy. Too bad there aren't any boys allowed - I saw one this a.m. in his comfy navy bathrobe, bare legs and baseball hat shovelling the driveway (no not my driveway). Men just know how to take comfy to a whole new level. Have a lovely evening!

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  24. You are a Sweet Heart! You will have a wonderful time. :-) (We're indoors up here... in our heavy winter coats, mittens and boots. A fire in the fireplace would be nice, though!)

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  25. Gail, that sounds like so much fun. What a great idea to set up a round table in front of the fire!

    Nothing is more comfortable to me than my fleece jammies. Don't tell anyone, but it's nearly noon and I'm still wearing them!

    As for comfort food... anything chocolate.

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  26. Gail.....you are my sort of girl....comfortable clothes are so important.....I am rarely seen out of jeans and jumpers this time of year.......
    comfort food for me is ......cheese.....I love all those nice English cheeses, stilton, chedder etc.......I wish I was coming, I am sure I would have such a great time....

    Enjoy your evening, I am sure you will have a wonderful time....I will be with you in spirit........

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  27. Gail, it sounds like a wonderful party--and I know I'm thin blooded (or is it thick, never can remember)--but the picture of your friend in shorts made me shiver! Still, I'm sure she was comfy. Me, I'd bring Italian lentil soup, wearing my Life is Good flannel pants and an oversized T-shirt. have a great time!

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  28. this looks like my kinda party thanks for the invite i am right there with you in my loose jammies and comfy shoes. have a fun time with your friends. it sounds wonderful.

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  29. Marmie,

    Hi! Comfy shoes are almost as important as comfy clothes! I do love my boiled wool slippers! Have a good day and keep warm and dry, I think the rain is coming down sideways..that wind is strong!

    gail

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  30. Sounds very comfy and relaxing! They had a culinary open house here at our university last week and they had to best potatoes ever - I wish you could have tried them!

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  31. Cosmo,

    The soup sounds delicious and at this time of year....perfect, all it needs is a crusty bread! I don't remember when the photo was shot, but it was a chilly day and I was cold. J is a paddler and seems to tolerate the cold very well! Me, I need warm socks and clothes!

    Have a good day!

    Gail

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  32. Phillip.

    Potatoes...yummy most anyway they are fixed...even as chips! A culinary open house sounds perfectly delightful...how come you couldn't try the potatoes?

    Gail

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  33. Cheryl,

    I wish you were coming, too..I wish that all of you wonderful bloggers across the pond could come to Spring Fling in Chicago...

    Comfort is important...corduroy pants and sweaters are for me! The soft fibers feel warm and wonderful!

    Have a good day...I hope it's sunny and dry in your garden this week.

    Gail

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  34. Robin,

    If I didn't have clients today...I would be in my flannel jammies, too...it's chilly and raining outside and a perfect day for blogging and catching up with friends. I just haad a delicious piece of chocolate!

    I love flannel jammies! Keep warm!

    Gail

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  35. Shady,

    I think you're pretty special, too! Please tell me you mean outside in your coat, mittens and boots! Yeah I know the photo of the friend in shorts throws one off!

    It is very wet and chilly today...so we are keeping close to the house and computer!

    You keep warm and have a great day...that is so cool about your daughter!

    gail

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  36. Barbara,

    Oh he sounds an interesting boy...out in his robe with bare legs shoveling snow..Have you gardened in your jammies; you might have been on your way to get the paper whena weed or two grabbed your attention and an hour later you realize your pj's are grass stained and the hems are wet?

    Your comfort food meal sounds delicious...when's dinner at your place?

    gail

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  37. Oh Gail, how I long to be there! It's a sign of real friendship when the clothes can be comfortable! I'm imagining a room filled with laughter as you all get toasty by the fire :)

    I'm off for a spa weekend with my girlfiends in January - 2 days of swimming cossies, pampering, wine and the Mamma Mia DVD. I can't wait!

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  38. BTW I'm answering your hoarfrost question on Thursday :)

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  39. VP,

    Your 2 days with girlfriends at the spa sounds wonderful...come January we will all need more pampering. My friends are the best...very kind and a fun to be with...wish you could be here.

    Gail
    ps can't wait to read about hoarfrost!

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  40. Dave,

    Aren't yukon gold potatoes delicious...it's hard to beat any potato as a comfort food!

    Well the winter rains are here! We just had a huge thunder boomer with lightening...it passed very quickly but there will be no more gardening or cleanup today!

    Keep dry!

    gail

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  41. Lisa,

    Glad to have you here! We'll laugh and tell stories. You would like these women and they you! I wonder if you polled Americans...do you suppose potatoes would be the most popular comfort food? It makes me smile!

    Have a good week!

    gail

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  42. Tina,

    Here's another take on potatoes...stew! This may be my favorite meat and potato dish! Yummy. Tina, you are always welcome here...I do want you to visit soon!
    It's rather brown out there since the leaves have all blown out of the trees and I didn't get to them all yet!
    Isn't that what January is for! Take care...this rain is so winter!

    gail

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  43. Darla,

    I think your enthusiasm and ponytail is just what this party needs...the chocolate chip cookies would be a bonus! Take care out there!


    Gail

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  44. Ha! Did you hear my guffaw all the way down there? I just re-read what I wrote this morning! :-) Well, I did crank up the heat in the house just now, but I'm not to the point of donning coat, mittens and boots in the house. ;-)

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  45. marnie,

    You are welcome to join the party! I also love macaroni...especially with cheese! We lived off that stuff when we were kids. I am pretty sure my mom used velveeta and while the remembered taste is extraordinarily wonderful and comforting...I do like the versions with real cheese better! If we are having rain are you guys having snow? Keep warm and safe.

    Gail

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  46. Racquel,

    This is an eat, drink and be merry crowd...which goes quite nicely with comfy in my book! Keep warm and dry and have a wonderful day!

    gail

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  47. Oh Gail, leave it to you to think of the perfect holiday tradition. The evening sounds absolutely blissful. I'd love to come in my pj's too!!! I also share your comfort food ~ potatoes! I love them mashed, scalloped, baked, boiled, any which way at all! Have yourself a merry time. You're such a thoughtful friend.

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  48. kathleen,

    Thank you for the kind compliment....I do like this party and it is a lot of fun...Even the gifts are pressure free...Think comfort and you can come up with any number of wonderful ideas!

    It would be fun to have you all here...goodness we would b overflowing with potatoes...I am not complaining!

    Keep warm!

    gail

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  49. From the first picture to the last, this was an absolutely wonderful post, Gail. What lucky women your friends are to have you! Y'all have a wonderful time honoring your friendships ... your cyberpals will enjoy being there in spirit.

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  50. Gail .. I had to add another comment so the count would round off to 50 comments .. I think the OCD is rearing its ugly head ? LOL
    I really enjoyed this post and all the comments with it : )

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  51. Aw, thanks Gail, for the invite! I bet it is a great party!! I actually love winter for the opportunity to dress snuggly and sit by the fire...

    hope you have a great holiday season and a happy new year to you and your friends!

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  52. Cindy,

    I wish you could all be here in person...the fun we would have! Imagine all those gardeners here...the ideas they would have for the GOBN!

    gail

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  53. That sounds like my kind of get-together! I hope you all enjoy it.
    My favorite comfort food used to be polenta, but lately I've been wanting pastina.

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  54. What a lovely invitation to a great party. I'd be wearing my sweats and leopard houseshoes and I'd bring something starchy! Potatoes, man n cheeese or cheese risotto ... yum. It sounds so relaxing (unlike a party for 156 - the current RSVP count!) Enjoy!

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  55. What a wonderful way to spend the evening with friends :)

    Amy

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  56. Gail, What a wonderful idea! There is nothing like spending time with old friends to relieve stress and just generally feel better. I have a group of good friends that get together as often as we can through the year. I notice that the topics of conversations have changed--instead of toilet training or kids' sports schedules, now we're discussing health issues and taking care of our parents. Several have a parent with Alzheimers. It's always so comforting to have a caring ear to listen to you.

    Thanks for including us in this--my favorite comfort food has to be mashed potatoes:)

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  57. What a cool bunch of friends, Gail - and actually getting to spend time with them sounds like a real holiday.

    The Divas of the Dirt also get together at one house with everybody bringing sides. Because all year long we're dressed in old clothes for working together on landscape projects, it's fun to be mud-free and a little dressed up.

    I hope the affection of your special friends will help you all through the rest of the holiday season.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    (Baked pasta or pizza, jeans and a T-shirt)

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  58. What a lovely, comforting sunrise, Gail! A great idea with cozy friends ... I belong to a similar circle of love with similar issues. We meet regularly (book club, birthday lunches, cookie swap ~ embracing our 35 year friendship). Me, I'm a cozy sweater gal and as much as I enjoy cooking, I love Campbell's Tomato Soup & a grilled cheese sandwich!

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  59. Hi Gail, Our hearts join yours in this beautiful season. Make a toast to us, your blogging friends, when you sit before the fire, and we'll all be there in spirit too.~~Dee

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  60. Dee,

    I will...you folks are dear!
    Gail

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  61. Joey,

    I am glad you have your crowd~~they help when times are ough! I am with you! I love grilled cheese and tomato
    soup. I use a George Forman grill and add apple slices or pear slices to the drilled cheese! Have you tried that?

    gail

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  62. Gail what a beautiful way to get together with friends! I love this idea of sharing and caring and just being you! I am here in my PJ's and sandles..of course they're faux fur lined because here we have snow..and I'm bringing chicken soup..homemade..my all time comfort food!love and light girlfriend..NG
    Hope there is chocolate..because that's my all time fav.!!

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  63. Annie,

    Dressing up is fun, too! I do hope that you and your Diva friends have a marvelous party and that you and Philo have a joyous holiday season.

    (Every time I hear about the Divas of Dirt I feel a little tug of wishing we could have a group like that here! It's possible I might have to start one instead of just wising!)

    Have a wonderful week and let's hope the temperatures get back to normal!

    Gail

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  64. Rose,

    You can't go wrong with mashed potatoes, good friends and a party atmosphere! I love these women...they sustain me! I am thinking your friends do, too! Aren't we fortunate to have good friends!

    I am so looking forward to hearing about your trip to Arizona! I know you have some terrific photos of ubiquitous cacti. Did you notice the Oleander everywhere?

    Gail

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  65. Blossom,

    It is and I hope you have a tradition with your girlfriends that is as much fun! I wish everyone did!

    gail

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  66. Naturegirl,

    I am so glad you decided to join us! Of course there will be chocolate.. But, just in case the friend who volunteered to bring dessert messes up, there are 5 or 6 chocolate bars in the cabinet and Java Chip Ice Cream in the freezer! Your soup sounds wonderful and fur lined slippers with jammies are perfect...I have hardwood floors and they might be chilly! (Chilly being relative...this is Nashville!).

    You take care and keep warm ... and can you keep that artic air up there, too? It is too cold down here;-)

    Gail

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  67. Diana,

    I meant to ask who are all these people coming to your party??? That is a huge amount! Did you make enough appetizers? I remember something from a post that said 1500?
    You do need to come to the Nashville party in your most comfy clothes and slippers! Breath deeply and think Sunday it will be over!

    Gail

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  68. MMD,

    It's a great time and pastini would be perfect as would having you here to swap Italian stories with the twins; they're Italian, too. Are you keeping warm?

    Gail

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  69. Anne,

    Sitting by a fire is a joy...I hope always to have a fireplace...Merriest Christmas to you, too!

    Gail

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  70. Joy, I am tickled that you wanted to inflate my comment numbers really and I think I might have already answered your comment so now I am inflating my comment numbers! I wish blogger would make it possible for us to answer comment the way wordpress does!

    Any way...take care!

    Gail

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  71. Shady,

    Inside or out...keep warm my friend!

    Gail

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  72. Gail - oh my, not 1500! You'll make me faint! It's 150 ish. We're up to 161 RSVPs. And while it's a lot of work to make all those appetizers (maybe that was teh 1500 count - that's about right) and decorate and all, we've been doing it 8 years and it's been slowly growing from about 40 the first year, so we've got it down. Spreadsheets and lists and recipes all in folders ready to go and I take good notes at the end so we know how much and what people ate and liked. And I love when we open the doors to our friends and family and celebrate.

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  73. Diana,

    Not a detail person...I meant the 1500 appetizers you posted about! But even if it's 161 people that is one big party! I am trying to imagine 150 people in my house! it might be fun! Have a great time!

    Gail

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  74. Gail,
    Thanks for setting a place. The food would be scrumptious & the company beyond compare. What a swell time we would all have.

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  75. Hey I'm here and I brought the front porch swing--and the back porch swing--and the master bedroom porch swing---and hung them all around your yard! Looks like everyone is having a swinging good time!

    I brought all my southern stories with me. But the absolute best story is being stuck in the driver's seat of your car with two kids that have poopy diapers.

    I am wearing crocs, capri sweat pants in black of course, and a green long sleeve cotton shirt from the Tangers outlet in BR. Have you girls been there?

    I had to drive a u-haul here so the mudslide brownies shifted from the rough drive and ended up sliding. It's not pretty but it's still got the same calories.

    The fire feels good but could you turn on the AC?

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  76. Thanks for the invitation, Gail. I'm new here, so it'll be so nice to meet everyone! We all will be in our jammies or sweatpants and just hanging around, swinging, and eating gooey chocolate. I'll bring marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey's chocolate bars so we can toast marshmallows over the fire and make s'mores. See ya there! Jan

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  77. Hi Gail,
    This post struck a chord in my heart, especially after the last week or so. I'm still having a very hard time accepting Pepa's departure, and this post reminded me of her, because she loved playing hostess when we had people over. She could really work a room and suck up the attention and bring smiles to everyone.

    I love your party idea and wish I could have been there ... comfort food sounds great to me right now. I don't think there will be any entertaining here this year, because our hearts just wouldn't be in it. We'll probably have my sister and her friend over on Christmas eve to exchange small gifts (she's getting the new Ina Garten cookbook from me, though I want to keep it, lol), but mostly we just like to share a couple of bottles of wine and some good snacks. Simple and quiet.

    Enjoy your party, my friend.
    IVG

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  78. Hej Gail, wow that sounds like a great tradition, warm and lovely post. Wish you all a lovely time! / Tyra

    New Post from Tyra - Leufstabruk

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  79. Hi Gail, I'm not sure how I missed this lovely post but when I saw it on the top list of picks over at blotanical I had to come over and see what I had missed.

    This event sounds perfect. Comfort. We all long for it and find it in many different ways. A good group of friends is a great way to help get through the good times and the hard times.

    Thank you for setting a place for me. I can imagine myself being a part of your circle of friends and I'll enjoy the chocolate and after-dinner chat around the table. You are a most lovely hostess!

    I'll be wearing jeans and flops and hopefully drinking a very hot cup of coffee (does that count as comfort food?).

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  80. What FUN!!!! Definitely save me a place!
    Marie

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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