Groundhog Day 2018...

by - Thursday, February 01, 2018

This weekend will be famously celebrated for Super Bowl Sunday. But before the big kick-off, America’s most legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, will emerge from his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania on Friday. As lore goes, if the only “official” rodent meteorologist sees his shadow, the result means six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, it indicates an early spring. February second was carefully chosen back in 1887 when the tradition began. In regards to weather, the date marks the exact midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. 

This year, we will gather here at Chez Fitz to celebrate Phil's customary weather prediction!

With so many obligations and family ties tugging in different directions during Christmas and New Year, picking a date further out was a better option for all. Most of the clan were available this weekend, and since we scheduled it for Saturday, football fans will still be able to observe Sunday's festivities. Entertaining both adults and children, I wanted to have fun with this off-beat gathering, so we picked up three different fuzzy Phils to snazz-up the decor. If you think the mini top hats look familiar, you are correct! The few we had left from Brenna's Steampunk Sweet 16 party came in mighty handy.

Planning the menu is always the fun part. Taking into consideration any dietary requests, selection starts with numerous options, and the running is narrowed by simple criteria - what can be made ahead and how much needs to be made the day of. I always begin to prep a few days in advance, baking biscotti and the decided dessert. For Saturday, I made my chocolate brownie bombe with a cookies and cream ice cream filling. The ganache will be done day-of, just before it's served. 

Color is important, so when selecting dishes for serving, I like to coordinate with the theme. Brown, green, white and linen, with a touch of wicker will keep Phil feeling right at home. 

With a larger crowd (over twelve), I opt for paper tableware and cutlery. Though it is hard to find actual Groundhog Day themed supplies, Party City had a perfect pattern to shadow the motif and mood.

Anyone who has dined at Chez Fitz knows they will leave with a token of appreciation for the visit. For adults and children alike, I picked up individual boxes of Crispy M&M's and printed custom wrappers to cloak them. While one side endorses the treat, the reverse is a new year's wish.

How to keep the kids engaged? Read a story! Here are a couple of titles to keep the little ones busy. I gift wrapped them in craft and printed birch papers with assorted green ribbons. The invites are consistent, cute and convivial, serving as reminders for this celebrated annual gathering. 

Tomorrow we will hear from Phil and know our climate cast. In the meanwhile, let me get back to preparing for Groundhog Day 2018... xoxo-Sonya

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