Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Oktoberfest Housewarming Party!

Ever since getting settled in, I had been dying for an opportunity to have a great big party in my new house (you know how much I adore throwing parties).

Especially after Frank and I finished decorating the house with pumpkins and mums, I was looking for a chance to throw a fall-themed bash. I started planning it a full month in advance, and everything finally came together on Friday night.

We combined the party with a fundraiser for a DC charitable organization - you can see the poster and basket for donations on the left, next to the desserts table.

First... let me walk you through the food. I had so much fun getting everything ready - I was baking up a storm all week.

I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting...

The most amazing homemade oreos (these were so much fun to make! Now I'm a little obsessed and I can't wait to try making homemade versions of all my favorite foods).

And finally, the piece de resistance. I wanted to make something extra special for all my gluten-free friends, so I combined this delicious recipe for Symphony bar brownies with gluten-free brownie mix...

They came out amazing. I can't even tell you how fast they flew off the plate.

Frank bought a beautiful big fire pit for the backyard (but first he asked, "Would you sit in the back yard this fall with me around it?") and he used it to grill burgers, bratwurst, kielbasa and chorizo. We also had oceans of Oktoberfest beer, pumpkin ale, and hard cider.

I had decided early on that the party would be based around three main principles: meat, desserts, and alcohol (I strategize for my parties like generals prepare for war). The desserts were on the inside table while the meat and alcohol occupied the back porch.

By the way, at work I've been editing a lot of books about military history lately, so all of my analogies in the past few weeks are about Grant and Lee and Patton and Churchill. It's pretty hilarious. I never imagined I would know so much about all these military things.

Anyways, the party! Frank strung up "fairy lights" and Japanese lanterns on the back porch.

They were beeeauuuuutiful. One girl told me, "I was driving past the backyard and I thought, 'Wow, that party looks like fun!' Then I realized it was the house I was going to! I was so excited!'" That comment pretty much made my night.

One of the nicest little things about the night was that John and Eileen turned up, since they were in town for their cousin's wedding. They are old friends - John and I went to London and Israel together while we were students at Notre Dame, and Eileen and I met on a trip to Rome almost four years ago.

I was so happy to see them.

Frank's good friend from law school, Dean, and his wife Morgan came too. Morgan broke her arm a few weeks ago and this was her first social event since the injury. I was honored that she picked my party to come to!

Dean and Morgan are planning to enter the Catholic Church this Easter. We are so happy for them, and so grateful that we were able to help them learn about our faith as they reached the decision to convert.

Frank used to work as a barista at Starbucks (in fact, years before we met, he served me drinks at Starbucks - but that is a story for another time). He whipped out dozens of salted caramel hot chocolates for everyone which were quite the hit.

As the night wore down, my friends and I crowded around the bonfire. A few people roasted s'mores. We sat there until after 2 a.m., talking and laughing and warming our hands, and just being with each other. It was a good night.

The next morning, I went to the back porch to see how much beer and cider we had left. The following sight greeted my eyes:

Dang. And that's after the party.

Moral of the story: if you want to multiply your supply of alcohol exponentially, just throw a party and tell people to bring drinks.

I think we should be set til Halloween. :)


  1. Sounds like a great party--and tantalizing food!

  2. Looking forward to hearing the Starbucks story :)

  3. Thanks Sister! Vanessa, I can't wait to tell you the story THIS WEEKEND!!! So excited!