New Year’s Eve–Family Style!

ny eve

Since having my first child almost nine years ago, I haven’t had much desire to stay up till midnight.  I’ve been awake at midnight, of course, many times–but rarely for, uh, “partying” purposes.

It took Mike and me a few years to realize that with a little creativity, the fun of welcoming the new year could still be enjoyed by people who like to collapse into bed long before the Cinderella lost her slipper…

Five years ago we hosted a New Year’s Eve countdown party–and counted down with Brazil.  Why?  Because when it’s midnight in Brazil it’s 7:00 pm in California!  We invited some other friends and family–many with young children and babies like us–to a pot-luck soup and sandwich party.   None of us was in a stage of life where we wanted to throw a big party single-handedly, but together we could combine efforts and put on quite a spread.

That year we decorated our house with Brazilian flags and colors. Then, at 7:00 pm local time we all gathered together and counted down to “midnight” (thanks to the help of our computer) when we cheered, kissed and blew our blowers and yelled “Feliz Ano Novo!” in Portuguese of course!  And then, thanks to our Brazilian time-line, everyone got to bed before the kids (and adults!) turned into pumpkins.

By the third year we’d moved to Puerto Rico, which celebrates at 8:00 local time.  Puerto Rican flags and colors adorned our home as we all cheered “Feliz Ano Nuevo” in Spanish together.

I had thought that by this year we’d be celebrating with New York, which is 9:00 pm locally.  Only problem is that our list of guests has grown so darn much that we actually had to move the celebrating further east–with England at 4:00 pm local time!–so we can be outside and enjoy the December Pasadena-day-time weather which should be in the low sixties  (please, please, please!) this afternoon.  The nights turn chilly and unfortunately I cannot fit 60+ people (including roughly 40 kids) inside my house for very long!

It is Monday, December 31st, 2012 and soon my stove top and counter will be a gorgeous pot-luck buffet of fabuloso homemade soups which we will sample and sip until our hearts and bellies are full.  I sincerely hope our afternoon indoor/outdoor gig works out so we can invite even more friends next time.

By the time many Californian’s will be ringing in the new year, my family and many friends will already be dreaming of confetti, blow horns and hangovers, and the very-awesome-and-just-a-bit-ahead-of schedule New Year’s Eve party we all celebrated together!



There’s something you should know about me before this relationship goes any further. I’m just gonna come clean, I guess…

I, Michelle Calva-Despard, love to scrounge.

Some people get a kick out of restoring old cars or antique furniture. Me? I get a rush out of taking a bunch of “what the heck could you possibly make out of these?” ingredients and creating a masterpiece of a meal. When I go to someone else’s house and get to see what treasures they’ve got in refrigerator drawers and pantry (I know. Seriously. Who does this!?) and then, if they let me cook it up!? Well (insert sigh here,) that’s my weird slice of heaven.

I get this from my maternal grandmother, Millie. Grandma Millie grew up in the Great Depression and although my grandparents literally died millionaires, still wondering of the bottom could fall out again, my grandma dutifully cut open her toothpaste tubes to scrape out the last of the paste before tossing the tubes in the trash.

Honey; that’s “scroungy” like no one’s business. Me combing through a bunch ‘a random food items barely compares with Grandma, but I’m still young. 😉

Making something out of what someone thought was nothing. Man do I love it.