I should clarify, the Harlow Impact Team (Elite Staff Team) have been having end-of-season dinners for many, many years, but this is the fourth year that we've hosted it.
And, since we seem to keep getting asked (this time, just a week prior...good thing I had it in the back of my mind), I tend to use the previous year's blog post as my template on how to set-up, what to prepare, and how to decorate for future reference. That's why this will start with a lot of "set-up" pics.
That fruit salsa in the corner doesn't seem like as much fruit as it is - nor does it necessarily hint at the hours it takes to peel and cut all that fruit. But, paired with the homemade flour tortilla cinnamon sugar chips, it is soooooo good. If I wanted an easy way out, I did myself a big disservice by serving this the first year we hosted - as it was the first thing to run out. Okay, I guess I ought to keep preparing this - definitely a labor of love.
This was new. At the last minute, I decided to use this table for all of the platewear, cups, and cutlery. I wanted to clarify the difference between the two plates and where to find the beverages, and in a moment of inspiration, decided to use my "Dry Erase" marker to write directly on this vintage metal table. It worked! And yes, it wiped right off. =)
Every year, I offer to make something different, and every year I'm told that they want the previous menu repeated. I'm thankful - as I know all that it takes to make it happen and don't have to reinvent the wheel. But, I wonder if some of the members of Impact Team that aren't the decision makers as to where to go or what to have for this dinner are getting tired of the Chicken Enchiladas.
And corn on the cob.
And corn on the cob.
I shamefully pulled the "guilt card" on Michele to get her to come up and help me. I was so overwhelmed with getting it all done on this Thursday of the week with it being such a hectic week already. Once she arrived, she went straight to work on any and every bit of cleaning that was done. SOOOOOOOO thankful. I think her help and attendance will have to be a part of the tradition each year too.
The above pics were ones I wanted and took with my phone - these are the more creative taken by John with his big camera.
Then, everyone showed up - we prayed, and they dug in with both their meals and their program. This year, being a little "zapped" socially, I hung out with Carrie Mertz (Dave's wife) and Michele by the trampoline. So, John took these pictures and listened in - therefore, I don't have any captions to offer. I do know that the evening goes from fun-time - where they do the silly awards, and then as the evening progresses, things get more sincere and deep.
It wouldn't be an Impact Dinner post with a picture of Danielle laughing with joy.
Oh, here I am....proof!
Dave, his son, Logan, Micaela, and Brayden tore it up on the basketball court during some of the down time.
And Traig and Sam Seno tore it up on the trampoline.
I wish I could say this was my favorite year - but my mindset was just too rushed and overwhelmed to engage in the joy of the actual evening. I was glad for the one on one talk time with Michele and Carrie, though - exactly the intimate conversation I needed vs. the group small talk that I'm not a fan of. But, I think, after all the help from Mikayla and Michele (HUGE) it was probably the best food and presentation we've had.