Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's My Turn!

 One of the things I love most to do is entertain.  In the good 'ol days--the days before our nest became empty--we hosted many gatherings in our cozy little house, from occasion related parties to casual cookouts just to have fun with neighbors, friends, and family.

The cookouts were just like the ones you've seen in movies and even commercials.  A gathering of adults and children- the grill smoking with burgers and hot dogs; sprinkler blasting water in all directions as the kids run, laughing and screaming, through the jetted streams, pulling each other in the wagon, swinging and hanging upside down on the swing set; adults with drinks in their hands, talking and laughing, cooking and getting all the necessary items out on the picnic tables for the Norman Rockwellish summer feast--buns, condiments, watermelon, baked beans, homemade french fries, cups, plates and napkins decorated with a summer theme of beach umbrellas and flip flops.  No special occasion needed--just spending time with each other.

There were the occasion supported gatherings, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, bridal and baby showers, etc.  And then there were the holiday gatherings from dinner parties where we all actually dressed up and prepared fancy five course meals (where our next door neighbor, at the time, would make her homemade French Onion soup--DELICIOUS!) to parties for the purpose of collecting toys for children of the local migrant workers and creating Christmas crafts.

Ah, yes.  Those were, indeed, the days my friend.  But then--and is almost seems suddenly, now--the children got older, some of the adults grew apart and divorced, and others moved to new neighborhoods, towns, or even states.  This, coupled with a now empty nest, led me to the realization that we had better come up with some holiday plans that would accommodate everyone being able to attend which led to our Annual Christmas Oyster Roasts!

My thoughts were that we have this gathering the weekend before Christmas and include friends and family.   That way, should anyone not be able to make it the actual day of Christmas, we will still be together during the season.  I know this kind of thing happens with an empty nest, especially when one daughter is married and another one lives nine hours away and has a job and then there's the one who is attending grad school in Texas (20 freaking hours away from home).

I quickly became aware that the preparations wouldn't be as much fun as they used to be when our girls were little. When I roll up the cheese and olive balls and the sausage balls, for example, they will all be uniform in size and I won't have to say something like, "We're not rolling up basketballs here girls." (and very few to none will be dropped on the floor.).

No one will be here to get covered in icing while decorating the Christmas cookies. No one will be here to lick the mixing bowl of cake batter and icing. No one will be here to lick the cooled pot that was used to cook the homemade fudge. No one will be here to ask if I would please just go ahead and cook a few things right now just for a taste. No one will be here to help decorate the house or the trees. No one will be here to shake every single present under the tree to try and guess the contents (and YES they STILL do this.).   

HOWEVER, they will be here to enjoy the fruits of my lonely labor!  Plus, it's an OYSTER ROAST!  Who doesn't love an oyster roast?!  There will be oysters outside and Christmas goodies inside (because, although I love to throw the party, I HATE oysters) and the warmth will be provided by the gathering of friends and family

Excitement is now mounting for the SECOND ANNUAL EMPTY NEST/CHRISTMAS OYSTER ROAST. Food preparation has commenced. The order for three bushels of Bulls Bay oysters has been put in. The house is nearly decorated- just one more tree to go and a few village pieces. Hubs has transformed our neglected back yard into a just right place for an oyster roast.

So, what does one serve at an oyster roast- besides...OYSTERS?

Inside I will have Irish Potato Soup and Low-Country Boil plus Christmas goodies such as cheese and olive balls; sausage balls; cream cheese candy; homemade fudge; spicy artichoke dip; crap and asparagus dip; crabbies; a cheese spread topped with homemade cranberry sauce; homemade Chex Mix (made by my mother who is the only one to ever get even close to making it as good as my grandmother did). What to drink? My Christmas punch and, for the oyster eaters- beer, of course!

I leave you with pictures from last year's oyster roast. This year's gathering is next Saturday so I'll post new pictures for y'all next weekend!

OH, I'll try to put the recipes in an upcoming post.

Down the hatch!


 This is my post for:


  1. Man I thought that post was so sad I was going to cry but then you turned it around! I'm going to be so sad when all this chaos in the house dwindles down to nothing...right?

  2. Sounds like fun!
    I remember that my parents loved having family and friends over for holiday celebrations or cookouts in the summer. That just doesn't happen anymore...
    Makes me want to host a holiday party! Can't wait to see pictures!

  3. As Jennifer said, I was all ready to cry when you suddenly turned up the lights and music and got the party in full swing. You are a 'born to it' hostess for sure, Pam and all the happy gatherings you've shared on these pages look so relaxed and well organised, with everyone clearly having the best of times. It is a gift to be able to pull these occasions off so successfully, time after time, to get just the right balance. I wish I were like that. I'm not. I end up finding all the planning and preparation so stressful and the build up to and on the actual day just never seems to be worth the effort in the end. What a sad soul I am!

  4. And you make alllll those dishes yourself??! That´s a clear sign of a gifted hostess.
    The pictures show how much fun this fest/feast is and I wish I could be there for it.
    I´m so happy your daughter from Texas will be there for it too!!

  5. Betty- We do enjoy our gatherings! Especially during the holidays.

    Jennifer- It is somewhat sad. But, mostly, it's different. And it does take some time to adjust. But they do still come home for things and there are many things that you'll find to do that you couldn't do when you were so busy with the little ones! Just another one of those phases of life.

    Laura- It is such fun! My parents used to host parties when I was growing up which is probably where I get my love of hosting! Hubs likes it too and so do the lovelies!

    Desiree- You just need to come over here and join in our fun! We would LOVE to have you!

    Betty- Yes! I make them all- just like my mother and grandmother did when I was growing up! Even the prep can be fun! I wish you were going to be here too!

  6. OK...that sounds like a PARTY coming up!! Love your list of food and all those oysters...yum!

    I had to laugh at the Chex Mix - we haven't been able to duplicate mom's either. I think she had a secret ingredient that Chex never thought of.

  7. I know what you mean about Chex Mix - I make it the same way my Aunt Martha does, but it never comes out as good as hers!

    Loved all the pictures Pam! Thanks for sharing (and ew to the oysters too!) I'll take a bowl of potato soup though. :D

  8. Pam, what a wonderful hostess you must be my friend! It all looks wonderful in the photos and I'm sure your oyster roast will be equally as special next Saturday. Enjoy everyone being together again. Your home looks a haven of fun and love - what more could anyone ask for?! Hugs.

  9. Recipes - please please please!
    Especially for cream cheese candy, and cheese and olive balls!

  10. You all certainly do know how to have a great time! Looks like a blast. Not so sure about the oysters, but love the 'roast' part. :-)

  11. We've done clam bakes but not oyster parties. Looks like oodles of fun.

  12. Your oyster roast looks like such great fun! You are blessed!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It makes me feel connected to everyone even though we may live far apart! Have a wonderful day!

Design by Imagination Designs
Illustration by MerryLittleDoodle
Background by CinnamonDove