It was great. We had cross cut short ribs in teriyaki, grilled chicken (we'd cooked 'em Wednesday and reheated them with BBQ sauce), roasted sweet corn, and hot dogs for the kids. Last minute additions included a couple quarts of strawberries, half a cantaloupe cut into cubes, and a beautifully ripe pineapple that I'd seen at the store and had to have. I cored, peeled, and cut it into a container. We had juice boxes, pop, water, and a dozen different kinds of micro brew beer, as we just hadn't had the energy to brew beforehand, either real beer or root beer, or I would have done it.
We made ice cream. Hand-cranked ice cream, and everyone gathered around, curious as to the process and the results. I didn't add enough sugar to the mix, so I noticed that the ice crystals were bigger than they should have been and the mouth feel wasn't quite right, but no one really complained, and Brian, the teenager next door ate a good pint of the stuff. My. I need to get that right, especially since we now have another vanilla bean.
People brought a wonderful array of salads, fruit, breads, appetizers, and yummy stuff. So the food was absolutely fabulous, and everyone nibbled and ate constantly. Yay!
The climber was a real hit. The water cannon was on constantly, and all the kids slid, got really wet and cold, and ran around in the sunshine, got too hot, and slid again. Sunscreen was everywhere. The moms and dads occasionally got hit if they were Too Close, and the water balloon station was a big hit as well. John bought four bags of water balloons and we had fillers stuck to a couple of hose areas, so the kids could fill their own. Wow. :-) The basic rule was if someone says no, you can't hit them with a water balloon, but in the mid-afternoon it was hot enough nearly everyone amiable to a hit or two. That was pretty nice, though the whole backyard is now dotted with little brightly colored bits of rubber. We had plenty of shade for the parents, as by three, the house was providing a good shadow for a big portion of the patio and a bit of the back lawn.
The mix of people was Just Right, too. Pretty much all the kids had someone their age to play with, and the one that didn't had brought along a friend, so they were set. It was pretty evenly mixed between neighbors, church, and work, so everyone had someone they knew and more they didn't, so lot of folks really enjoyed seeing new people and getting to meet others. The kids enjoyed each other a lot, and even some notoriously shy kids figured out it was more fun to be swinging and throwing water balloons at each other rather than sticking to Mom and Dad. So that worked out really, really well. Pretty much all the parents were of the opinion that their children had had a blast. No one got hurt, no one fell off of anything, and the only ground hitting was in a few too-tired tantrums as parents decided to go home. To be expected, and on the most part, with all the fruit and color and fun, most of the kids did great.
We partied from 3 until about 9:30 pm. :-) And we didn't even get any complaints from the neighbors! Yay! I guess that's an advantage of partying with little kids, they all go to bed earlier rather than later.
I did grill duty as I love doing it, and John did the coordination of the ice cream. It's been a long time since we had a good party, so I was feeling a little rusty and tired from work. But it went well enough, I think. The ribs went a lot faster than I thought they would. Next time we'll have to get more than four pounds of them as no one ate the chicken until the ribs were gone. We'd bought three chickens, thinking it might be too much, but everything but one thigh and two breast quarters (I cut the halves in half) got eaten. The corn worked out well, as we could just start it well before dinner, and the cobs, in the husks, stayed good and hot for a long time afterwards. We'll have to remember that for later in the summer.