Thursday, March 3, 2011


Two big events have happened since my last blog:  our housewarming party and Verena's 30th birthday.

Housewarming party
Most of you know I love planning parties: party buses, pub crawls, wine parties - you know it!  Over here I am without my party planning partner in crime (Rachelle) so Kelly had some big shoes to fill (I couldn't believe she's never thrown a party before!)

We have been in our apartment since the beginning of December and my shipment arrived at the beginning of January so we have had plenty of time to decorate and get our apartment ready, but of course we waited until the very last minute which caused several unexpected problems (and lots of laughs!)

Our first problem was hanging pictures.  We haven't had anything hanging on the wall since we moved in because we couldn't figure out how to hang anything.  There were several hooks left behind on the wall when we moved in but most of them are in random places.   For example, there is a hook about 6 inches above the back of the couch.  What could the former tenant have had hanging there?  Even if she didn't have a couch here before, that hook is still in a strange place. It makes no sense!  I tried to put a nail in the wall to hang a picture calendar that my mom gave me for Christmas, and I realized that we have these strange hooks because nails do not go into the wall.  I then googled "how to hang pictures on a brick/cement wall" and the first search result was a picture of the hooks left behind on our walls.  Problem solved - I picked up some hooks at Big W and we now have pictures hanging on the wall and displayed throughout the apartment.  Amanda and Dave K - I don't want you to worry, pictures of both of you are proudly displayed in our living room!
Next problem - Ikea furniture.
It was the Friday night before the party and we still hadn't put together the TV stand we purchased.  Kelly started on the TV stand while I made the food (more on that later).   In the time I made pumpkin dip, taco dip, and pickle rolls, Kelly still only had half the TV stand together - and then realized that part of it was put together backwards.  She has much more patience that I do - I would have given up and sat on the couch way before she did!   The TV stand finally got completed Saturday morning.  Note to self - Ikea furniture with shelves and 40+ steps to complete are not easy to put together.  I think next time I'll buy one already assembled.

Problem #3 - Food.
Although I love planning parties, the food part is not my strong suit and none of my specialties include baking of any kind.  However, because we didn't have our American Thanksgiving we decided that we would make pumpkin pie.  We had to show the Aussies what pumpkin in a can tasted like.  Sadly they never got to taste the pumpkin pie.  While Kelly was putting together the TV stand I attempted to make my first pumpkin pie.  After following the recipe EXACTLY from the Libby's pumpkin pie can, I thought the mixture looked pretty runny.  Having never made pumpkin pie before I wasn't sure what it was supposed to look like, so I poured it in the pie shell and put it in the oven (after making Kelly look at it several times).  The directions use US measurements so I had to convert the oven temperature to celsius - and I know I calculated it right: google would never lie to me.  After setting the timer on my phone I went back to preparing the rest of our food.  I was so focused on making pickle rolls (and eating all the ends) that I never checked on the pie.  Suddenly it hit me that I had almost forgotten about the pie and I checked the timer to find there were two minutes left.  I opened the oven to see a half burnt pie.  What happened?  The outside was burnt and the inside was mushy.  I still have no idea what went wrong, but I knew for sure that I wouldn't be serving that pie at our party!!  We still had enough to make another pie but decided not to try again.  Instead we made pumpkin dip (thanks to my cousin Jennie for introducing me to that!).

The final problem was how to buy alcohol for a party for 30 people without having a car.  This would have taken several trips to the bottleshop on Fitzroy Street, but luckily Verena graciously volunteered to drive us to get alcohol.  We owe her big time!

Finally it was time for the party to start!  We had invited our neighbors to our party (as a courtesy since we figured it would be a bit loud and we did not want to upset them). When no one showed up to the party at 7 we were a bit nervous that the neighbors might be the first to arrive and having never really met them except passing in the hallway we were worried about having to make small talk with them until others arrived.  As it happened, none of the neighbors came and our apartment quickly filled up with friends from EY, PwC, and "the Aussies."

Our final menu included pumpkin dip, taco dip, pickle rolls, pineapple and cheese (idea stolen from the Rockey's) and crackers and cheese.  The taco dip and pickle rolls were a big hit.  I think people were not sure what to make of the pumpkin dip.  If only John Powell was here - he would have eaten it all!  Sadly we forgot to put it back in the fridge so Kelly and I couldn't even enjoy it the next day :(

I hope everyone had as much fun at the party as we did.  A few highlights of the party:
  • Seeing Trevor stand by the table with Jello shots and take about 8 in a row.
  • The netball book housewarming gift from Graham and Steph
  • Having 30 people crammed into our apartment and realizing how many amazing people we have met in such a short amount of time!
  • All the leftover drinks!!!!!

Before the party started I put my camera "somewhere safe" so I would know where it was.  Turns out I forgot where it was until near the end of the party so I only have a few pictures of the night:
Judy was so happy to have some friends to drink with!

Part of the extended EY group

Verena's Birthday
Verena was the first person in our group to have a birthday in Melbourne - and it just happened to be her 30th!!  It seems like birthdays are much bigger events here than at home.  I always hear people saying they have a 30th, 21st, etc. party to go to at the weekend.  So we wanted to make sure that Verena had a 30th birthday to remember!

The night started with dinner for 18 people at Basque on Chapel St. in Prahran.  Verena arranged all of the food and it was amazing!!  Endless tapas and paella.  We were all stuffed even before dessert.  Although Verena had ordered dessert I asked her to cancel it "because we were all so full."  Little did she know - I had actually brought a cake to the restaurant and dropped it off before everyone else arrived.  The kitchen staff decorated the cake with the 3-0 candles we brought and sparklers and the band sang happy birthday to Verena as the cake was carried out from the kitchen.  Verena was very surprised!  I can't take the credit here though - it was Emma's idea to get a cake for the birthday girl.  We also surprised Verena with a charm bracelet from Pandora.   Emma picked out two charms for Verena - one with her birthstone and a kangaroo.  As a side note - I really like these bracelets (in case anyone reading this has been searching for a present for me!)
Verena's 30th birthday cake
A big thank you to everyone who helped make these two weekends so great.  Can't wait for lots of more memorable moments!

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