Our Seventh annual Kid's Christmas Party was the largest and best ever!!! 

Roxanne and I first conceived the idea of a little party for our neighborhood kids, after learning that it was common for them to only receive a piece of candy or some fruit for Christmas--and that's all!

For our first party in 2008,  we asked Agripina to invite some of the kids from around our few blocks, and figured that maybe 20 kids might show up.  We had packed up some gift bags consisting of a small toy and lots of animal crackers and Christmas candy.  We were shocked when we were greeted by 47 smiling faces.  Yikes!  What to do?  So we scrambled back into our house and frantically filled up 27 more baggies of goodies.  It was just luck that we had bought a little more than we thought we would need.

It turned out that the kids just loved the surprise visit from Papa Noel, and they told everyone!

So...fast forward to this year...we are now printing tickets and stamping hands, in a valiant attempt to limit the number of attendees to 625!

As you have seen from our previous posts, we begin to purchase the toys and candy in October, and we continue to add to the process,  until the day of the party, when we take delivery on 625 hot dog buns, which were so close to the deadline, that they were still hot from the massive stone over where they were born.

There are a million details to work out and rework.  Roxanne  wakes up in the night to rewrite the "to do" and the "to buy" list, almost every night!

On the day of the party, we have ten strong men borrowed from construction projects all around town, and 10 women who all pitch in to make this a smooth operation.

For Example:  We need eight guys for two hours to receive the seating for 600 people...here they are unloading the freight--the table and three stools are made of one inch thick hardwood, and the load is over 50 pounds for each trip!

This is how they look all set up...

Here's Roxanne posing with less that half the gift bags...

And the ladies are already slicing the 625 hot dog buns...

The boxes contain 160 liters of Coke...the guys are emptying 400 pounds of shaved ice into the soft drink crates...

This is a shot of the crowd just a couple of hours later...



Keeping everyone happy is our main job, and it really helps when Papa Noel goes out into the crowd!!!


Of course, the highlight of the show is when each child sits on Santa's lap and gets his or her own gift bag...here are some of the 400 photos that we took for printing later for each household...

















This is Manuel and his son...Manuel and Papa Noel grew up together...Manuel also does a fabulous job as MC of the event...

This young boy looks to be 8 going on 30!!!  Probably a future CPA!


A little  break after taking all the tickets, delivering all the food, and stamping all the kids hands...


Papa Noel taking a deserved break, after spending over 2 hours handing out gifts, talking to each child, and posing for a ton of photos...

Of course, when it's clean up time, and the music changes from Christmas music to good ol' rock and roll, everyone gets a second wind!!!


Here's a few shots taken by Ace Photog Robert...















These wonderful ladies made dozens of trips with these trays to deliver 600 hot dogs.  The chips and Cokes were delivered by more waiters...







Manuel just announced that we were the party hosts...


A couple of shots showing how the place looked before it filled up...


 We want to thank Shell and Marsha and Ami for letting us borrow these huge blowup figures...many, many amature photos shot here all afternoon!



 In the upper right you see Robert (ace Photog), and wife Jilleen (fabulous gift distributor working with Rox to get every present just right into Papa Noel's hands.)


Isidro is our chief of security today...but inside, he's just a big teddybear!!!


When all the kids have gone home, and all the tables and stools are loaded on two trucks, and the whole place is cleaned up, there are  well deserved  beers passed all around... 

Again this year, Roxanne and I wish to thank all of our friends, family, blog readers, and guests, for their generous support for this really fun party.

As you can see, it takes a lot of wonderful folks to make this event come off perfectly, and we all did it again this year.  So thanks everybody--you done good!!

 Rox took this shot of me and Coquita mellowing out the day after all the fun!!!

Posted on Sun, December 21, 2014 at 06:25AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Blastin' down the home stretch to a HUGE Kid's Chirstmas Party...

We're in the last few days before the Kid's Christmas Party, and Zowiee, it's going to be BIG!!!

The only way for these big deals to come off right, is to start planning about three months ahead, make a ton of lists about all those necessary details, and remake those lists again every morning!

Here are a couple of lists Rox is using this week, one in English to us, and one in Spanish to the folks that really count.

There will be a new revised list tomorrow.

Today, Agripina and I ordered 625 specially made buns to be ready on the day of the party.  We made sure that many boards and saw-horses would be available to hold 450 kids' presents, and 625 lunches being prepared.

We requested the ingredients that Agripina will need to feed 30 helpers and workers for lunch on the day of the party.

Roxanne is busy mapping out the 450 wrapped gifts, so that when it's time to hand them off to Papa Noel, there will be a smooth transition, and no mistakes.

Here is a shot of just the girl's presents along our hallway.  All 200!

Each child's gift bag contains a neat doll or macho truck and a huge baggie filled with animal crackers and Christmas candy...

Here's is a shot of all of us filling baggies, and then filling all the 450 gift bags just yesterday.  For the last 6 parties, Rox and I did all this by ourselves, but this year, it is just to big for just two of us.

This year we loaded up 550 baggies with goodies.  We make 100 extra, because many people show up from other towns and beg us to let them in without tickets.  We have always stressed to everyone, that our party is for the kids of our town of Manglaralto.  To keep people mollified and in line, Isidro and our other three security people hand out over 100 full baggies to the crowd.

We keep count of our baggies by stacking up the empty baggie boxes.  Take a look at 550 empties...

Here is a shot of me making another fill up.  I emptied 88 pounds of animal crackers, and 176 pounds of Christmas Candy, into those bowls.

After we filled all the 550 baggies, it was time to change hats and fill up each child's Christmas bag.

Well, that's what we did yesterday and this morning.

Tomorrow, we pick up 625 hot dogs, Agripina passes out 450 tickets to households in our town, we take delivery on our borrowed saw horses and planking.

The next day we receive all the seating for 625 people, with little tables to match.

So, folks...you can still be a big part of our party, by sending off a contribution to help us make the smiles on these deserving kids a lot brighter.

We still must pay our staff, pay for the chairs and tables, and pay for over 500

5" x 7" matte prints memorializing each child's visit with Papa Noel.  

Our PayPal account is bobnrox@gmail.com 

And...we will stress one more time, Every single dollar contributed, goes directly to the Kids!

Thanks to all of you who have kept us going so far, and thanks in advance for any who might wish to chip in!

Bob and Roxanne,  and all the Kids!!!

Posted on Tue, December 16, 2014 at 12:44PM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

No Christmas Trees available on the Coast, Sooo..., Roxanne creates one out of bamboo--and more!

This year, we could not buy our usual live Christmas tree.  In addition, the local stores did not carry fake trees either!

We had an artificial tree for several years, and when it became a little weak, we passed it on to Agripina.  She almost cried, since she had never had a Christmas tree of her own.  She and Isidro lovingly restored it, and now it is blinking merrily away each evening.

Rox drew up a plan showing the kind of tree she wanted, and then asked Fernando, our neighbor craftsman, to craft up the stylized tree out of bamboo (cana).  She reasoned, that it might last several years, that would be good.  Here's a shot of him delivering the bare bones tree...

Fernando even carved out the slots for the "branches"...

Here's a shot of Roxanne, as she decorates the tree...

Later in the day, we got Fernando to pose with Rox.

Although, the tree is really pretty during the day, it knock you socks off at night!

Rox's bamboo tree floods the living room with good vibes...

She also commissioned Fernando to cut and sand up several sizes of bamboo rings.  

These looked pretty nifty when glued together into a Christmas tree wall hanging!

The plan today, is to provide red felt as backing to complete the Christmas look.

Rox will continue to be on the lookout for little goodies to add to the remaining cubby holes...

Here is a shot of how the red backing adds a new dimension to the overall effect...

The camera was slightly tilted, but you get the idea...

Posted on Wed, December 10, 2014 at 05:01AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments1 Comment

They just let us loose in the Candy Store!!!

This year we decided to buy locally, all the candy and animal crackers, for the Kid's Party.  There are lots of tiendas which sell small packets of treats, but we only found one outlet that was devoted to selling every kind of candy imaginable...Take a look...Here's Rox with the goodies in the background...

A couple of shots more...

This store is just loaded with goodies!

We  bought 88 pounds of really fresh animal crackers, and eight 22 pound cases of Christmas Candy (176 pounds total candy), take a look...we only took two bags of candy out of the cases for this photo.

This year we will be filling 600 baggies with all these goodies.  The baggies will help bring a smile to kids who get virtually nothing for Christmas--no computers, no boom boxes, no tablets, no play stations...maybe a piece of candy or some fruit.  When we see kids playing at the beach, many times we see a child having a great time just pulling a plastic bottle along with a piece of twine!  Or, a group of youngsters sticking a couple of twigs in the sand and batting around a two dollar soccor ball...

Yet, they are always smiling and caring for one another!

Each year, we hope that our Party will bring some Christmas Joy to these deserving kids...

We do the preparation for the party ourselves, but need a lot of help on the day of the party.

So far this year, the wonderful support we have received from friends, relatives, and our guests and blog readers, have kept us running pretty even.

However, with the cost of toys more than 40% higher this year, we could still use some help buying 600 hot dogs, 600 buns, 600 bags of chips, and Coca Cola for 600, and plates, glasses, and napkins for 600.

We will need to pay for the tables and benches that we rent for 600, and the ten hard working guys who help set up the party, act as waiters for 600, and then break down the whole thing at the end of the day, and clean up.  We take them off construction jobs for this day.

We also need 10 ladies who will cook the hot dogs, set up the plates for the waiters to deliver.

During the party we take a photo of each child with "Santa", and give them each a 5 x 7 matte photo.  Last year we printed 425 photos.

So...we could still use a little help!  If you would like to make a lot of worthy kids smile brightly, please send a few bucks to help us pull this off again this year.

Please use our  PayPal account which is bobnrox@gmail.com

Don't forget, that every penny you send goes directly to the kids!

Thanks in advance!

Bob & Roxanne



Posted on Sun, November 30, 2014 at 08:56AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | CommentsPost a Comment

A Couple more celebrations this week...

Well, time surely does fly when you're having fun!!!  Our 47th wedding anniversary just sort of snuck up on us this week...  As we've done in other years, we chose to stay home, cook our favorite meal, and reminisce about all the adventures we've shared.

We have a long history of loving the center cut of the Filet Mignon loin.  We also love Rox's stuffed baked potatoes.  We have discovered this combination in the Sixties before we even got married, and have shared this meal from Berkeley, San Francisco, Grants Pass, London, Berlin, Garmisch, the Canary Islands, Quito, Montanita, and of course, our own kitchen.

We also served hundreds of filets in our Steak House restaurant in Mendocino County.

So...here we are posing by the fireplace before our anniversary dinner...

Rox sent me to the store for baking potatoes, and of course, you can't just buy two, so here she shows off five large bakers already "once baked" and ready for the "twice baked' part of the recipe.  We don't eat them all at one seating--the others are "money in the bank"!

These two Filets come from a little less than have the loin roll. 

The food and conversation for this evening was perfect!  We even surprise ourselves recounting our adventures...

And...earlier in the week, Isidro, had his birthday, so we invited him and Agripina over for presents, nibblies, and Cuba Libres...

In addition, to ice cream and a huge cake for later with his whole family, Isidro received a really neat shirt, 8 cell flashlight, some beers to go, and a motorized TV antenna, all the better to reel in those variable TV transmitters.

We also printed him a bunch of business cards.  In addition to being invaluable to us, Isidro also has a fish route where, 6 days a week, he travels by bus to Palmar 18 km away, buys fish from the main market, and travels back by bus with his large crate full.  He then puts the crate on his bike and peddles it all over Manglaralto and Montanita, selling to his restaurant customers, and special families.  "Pescado Fresco" means fresh fish.

So...all in all, a very nice week!

Posted on Thu, November 20, 2014 at 08:31AM by Registered CommenterBob & Roxanne | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference
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