We were blessed to be asked again to host the annual end-of-summer leadership team dinner for the Impact Team of Harlow. It's hard to believe we are already to that place. I asked if they wanted us to serve the same meal we'd done in the past, and it was agreed that that would make folks happy. Works for me as I've taken a few notes (and thanks to former blog posts) that it's just a matter of work putting it all together vs. having to rely on creativity or trial and error. It also helps that this meal is "gluten-free" friendly. Four of the ladies on the team require this special menu, so having everything be so "corn based" helps.
I'm not sure if this might not be our last year for a while. The location is supposed to be a "surprise" and I wonder if the same meal at the same house might not be ruining that element, but we definitely worked to please while it is still at our home.
The fruit salsa has been a huge hit in the past, so this year it was 12 cookie pans of baked cinnamon-sugar flour tortillas to go with it. (The gluten-free corn tortilla versions were gross last year, so we went with the Kettle Corn flavored Pop Chips....I was told that was excellent from those that opted for that route).
12 nectarines, 15 kiwi, 6 cups of fresh blackberries, and about 3 pounds of strawberries....yeah, that's a lot of fresh fruit to cut and dice up, but it makes for one fantastic taste combination.
Did you know that Monster Cookies are gluten free? Always great to find something you've always loved that just happens to be GF compatible.
Not my favorite pic (by a long shot...but it proved I was there). I was fixing the cornbread muffins.
This was the most efficient and least conversational event of the three we've hosted. It wasn't a bad thing, they just got down to business quickly as they were only set to be at our house for 2 hours before moving on to another surprise destination to continue their awards in the more "subdued and honorable portion" of the evening. For our house, it was all about silly. They had each person write a random fact on a piece of paper and then folks tried to figure out who it came from. Whoever it was then received their "Inside Joke" award - stuff from Goodwill that summed up silly anecdotes of each of them or recurring themes of the summer.
Dave rode a moped to camp this summer, so his gift was special adornments for his moped.
This gal was new this year - her name is Claire - isn't she a cutie?
Danielle was Womens' Dean this year, so her and Matthew Busse (the Mens' Dean) were the ones in charge of handing out and determining the awards.
This guy (Nate) received a story book as he was good at telling long stories during cabin time. At a point Danielle had to run out to her car for an additional gift, he read aloud his story book.
"Safe Hand" gloves for Kimmie (inside joke with Claire who both worked in the Information Gazebo this summer).
The Mens' Dean - Matthew - received a Mullet Hat as he is described like a mullet, "all business in the front and party in the back". He's loosened up and gotten sillier in the three years that we've done this - he's a very extraordinary guy.
Of course, got to add a pic of Leah as she also looks so pretty. I'm glad she got the opportunity to serve out at Harlow this summer.
Since we didn't get any group shots, here's a couple of shots of the guys and gals dressed up before Friday's banquet:
Indeed, the crew were gone and out of our house by 8pm, and with some super-helpful assistance from the kids, the house was almost back to normal within 15 minutes. It seemed like kind of a whirlwind given all the work throughout the day, all the jobs I gave the girls to complete, the food to be prepared, but it was all definitely worth it.