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Okay, you've listened to my crankiness about how awful I've been feeling lately.  You also heard how it is just the beginning of birthday season in our family.  Now I'm going to tell you how this year, my annual birthday party turned out to be one of our best and it didn't add to my pain.

First, as I mentioned Sunday, I trimmed the guest list.  I told the kids-sorry your friends can't come.  Since our son was kind enough to take care of me during 24 of my 48 hours of riding the porcelain bus-he had already told his friend and his fiancĂ©, as well as a few others who always join us that the annual birthday dinner was off.  Our daughter and son-in-law delivered the news to their best friends (who now have a kid of their own).  There went 8 off the list right there.  

My parents weren't going to be able to come-Mom had surgery a month ago and hasn't been doing very well herself and Dad is not supposed to be driving.  My sister and her family completely understand my health problems so there went 6 more off the "need to prepare for" agenda.

Now we were down to 8.  

Remember my favorite caterer-Costco?  I already had a lot of paper/plastic products in the garage, so I had hubby bring them in.  I went into the warehouse and bought 2 roasted chickens, Kirkland tortilla chips and salsa, a bag of spinach, a box of tomatoes, feta cheese and dried cranberries.  I also bought a package of rosemary garlic La Brea bread (the grandkiddoes aren't too good with the chips and this way if anyone wanted to go the sandwich route they could).

For dessert-Costco had some very nice and huge cupcakes.  Bought some flavored water and some caffeine free diet coke and called it PARTY.

I enlisted everyone's assistance in setting the table and bringing in the extra chairs and booster seats.  Everyone bussed their own disposable stuff and the leftovers were packaged up and either taken home by our daughter or put away into the waiting fridge.

And you know what?  After it was over-everyone said it was the easiest and best time they've had in several years!  We could all hear each other talking; I wasn't trying to get things done with over 20 people in my kitchen standing right where I needed to be.  I wasn't running back and forth to the BBQ with heavy platters or trying to gather all the birthday people and get dessert and singing taken care of!

Lesson learned-sometimes the best thing you can do to celebrate, is tone it down to the mere basics.



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