This is what our basement playroom looked like in the aftermath of our third annual New Year's Day brunch.
I guess that's what happens when 47 people--half of them under 8 and the other half sleep-deprived and/or hungover--cram into a 3 bedroom house between 10 and noon.
Believe it or not, we had the house back to rights in under 2 hours, and it was all worth it to kick off 2012 with so many friends.
I served pumpkin muffins, praline french toast, vegetarian sausage links, cinnamon coffee cake, two quiches (I riffed on Mark Bittman's instructions), a winter fruit salad and Bruegger's bagels with cream cheese and lox. And of course we were able to put the giant, 42-cup coffee percolator I bought at a yard sale years ago (for $5, best purchase ever) and serve juice, juice boxes and mimosas. Many of our guests contributed to the spread--adding more Champagne, pumpkin muffins (including a gluten-free variety), quiches, squash bread, brownies, a lemon tart and a noodle kugel.
The timing was right, too, as our modest living room rehab/redeco had reached a hospitable spot; in fact I finished knitting the floor pouf just the day before, stuffing it with an old toddler bed quilt and two $6 pillows from the dollar store. Needless to say, it was a hit with all the kids, especially the littlest ones, who took turns rolling across it.
Speaking of DIY projects, I followed up on two tricks I read about somewhere online that totally worked. First, I used a raw shelled walnut to fill in scratches on our hardwood floors. Amazing the difference it made--especially on the more superficial marks.
The second DIY project was fixing the ratty, tangled hair on the girls' American Girl Dolls. I mixed together 1 part liquid fabric softener (a horribly fragrant substance I had to buy special for this experiment) and 4 parts water in a spray bottle (another dollar store purchase). I spritzed the dolls' hair throughly and brushed with a metal doll brush (I've heard wig brushes work, too, but, um, I don't own a wig brush). The transformation was instantaneous and the girls were thrilled with their girls' silky locks. It's a little hard to see the results from this picture, but trust me--it is an easy fix and the dolls' hair looks great.
And any locals can feel free to come pick up a bottle of fabric softener from me--I'm sure I'll never use it for its intended purpose.