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The Bibbidity Bobbidity Boutique. Dumbest name ever.

For J’s 5th birthday I took her on a surprise mother-daughter trip to Orlando, Fl–the dream destination for a princess lover like her.  You can read about our adventures getting there and at the Magic Kingdom here.

J loves the Disney princesses, having her hair done, getting makeup on and doing her nails.  So what better birthday present for her than a spot at the Bibbidity Bobbidity Boutique in Orlando!  Basically it’s a princess salon.  A “fairy godmother in training” does your hair, makeup and nails like a princess.  And if you feel like spending $200, your child can also pick out a Disney Princess outfit.  I decided to take the cheap way out and get her the Elsa dress she’s been talking about for months, bring it with me and give it to her the morning of her appointment instead.  Considering the fact that I spent $30 on the Elsa dress, shoes, wand, tiara, “hair” and gloves total, I’m happy with my decision.  And she was super excited to open her present that morning and wear her outfit so she couldn’t have cared less that she didn’t get one there.Js 5th Birthday Trip 6But I’m skipping way ahead of myself.  First things first:  score an appointment.  In the high season it’s damn near impossible to get in.  You can book 60 days out and spots for that day are gone within minutes.  I lucked out since I was going at a good time of year and was able to secure her an appointment at the Downtown Disney location for Monday morning (her actual birthday!  Bonus!) 35 days out.  Whew.

And then with all of our flight mishaps (long story short:  we arrived in Orlando 23 hours later than we should have) we didn’t have time for everything that I had planned for that weekend.  Something had to go.  Obviously we were doing Magic Kingdom, so that left either Sea World or the Boutique.  Although I was 95% sure what J was going to pick, I still wanted to leave the decision up to her.  As much as I hated to ruin the surprise, I told her the two choices.  To her credit, she did think about it for a few minutes before deciding wholeheartedly on the salon.

The morning of she opened up her Elsa dress and immediately put everything on.  A few hours later we headed to Downtown Disney for the appointment.  As we wandered around the Disney store the Boutique was located in waiting for it to be “Princess Jordan’s” turn, I was even more grateful I had pre-purchased the Elsa dress.  They were asking SEVENTY DOLLARS!!!!!!!  And theirs weren’t even as nice as the one I bought her (and by that I mean it was only knee length.  J will only wear “dresses that cover my feet”).  I mean I know Disney ups the prices of everything but you’ve got to be joking!

It was finally her turn!  And this is where we were both disappointed.  She only had 3 choices of hair styles:  a high bun that was very slicked back, a bun with a “colorful hairpiece” or a ponytail with “colorful hair”.  I had seen the girls walking around MK with the high bun yesterday and I’m not going to lie, that hairstyle didn’t look good on a single one of them.  It just looks uncomfortable!  And too beauty queen/pageant princess for me.  I like individuality.  J wasn’t too happy either.  I was under the impression that they would be able to pick a princess and have their hair styled similarly to her.  I mean I guess it makes sense, but for $60 you’d think the “fairy godmothers in training” would have a bit more hair styling expertise.

She went with the traditional princess bun…thank God.  I hated that style, but I don’t think I could’ve handled the other two.  I could tell how disappointed she was and how much she didn’t like it though.  But her fairy godmother was great, doing all kinds of things to make her laugh and asking her all kinds of questions.  So that helped to save the experience.  And she got to keep the makeup and nail polish, which she was happy about!Js 5th Birthday Trip 7Js 5th Birthday Trip 11Js 5th Birthday Trip 8Js 5th Birthday Trip 10Don’t let the smile and appearance of being happy fool you.  She was miserable for the rest of the day.  Well, I shouldn’t say miserable…disappointed is a better word.  She told me that she doesn’t want to do anything like that again, unless she gets to choose the hairstyle.  And that she wished she had chosen Sea World instead.  I felt so bad..mainly because I know J.  If I would’ve realized that she had practically no say in the matter I wouldn’t have booked it to begin with.  She is very particular about everything; especially her hair.  Had I known, I would’ve called around to kid-friendly salons and found a stylist who could do whatever she wanted and then just add glitter and makeup to it.  Probably would’ve been cheaper and she would’ve enjoyed it.  Oh, well…as they say, hindsight is 20/20.  At least we know for next time!

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DISNEY!!!!!!

So my baby girl turned 5 on the 14th of September.  Awhile back I started thinking about what we were going to do for it.  She has a ton of toys and she’s relatively spoiled by grandparents and family so I knew there’d be a ton more on the way.  Her absolute favorite thing in the world is the Disney Princesses.  One of my best friends lives in Orlando (she works at Sea World) and I make an annual trip to see her every year, sans kids.  Best time ever.  I went down with my other best friend in April and while there decided that was what I was going to do for J’s birthday–Disney.  And it would be a girls trip:  just her and I.

Once I let some more time pass to think about it all (which was actually pretty difficult since we had the busiest summer ever and it felt like I was planning ten tons of other things!) and ran it by Hubby, it was the end of July before I decided for sure.  I decided on the weekend (fly down sometime around the 11th and return around the 14th, based off of prices) then called for a spot in the highly coveted Bibbidity Bobbity Boutique (can I just say how much I despise that name?!?!).  I got an appointment for Monday the 14th (her birthday!!) at 1130 am at the Downtown Disney location.  You can read more about our experience there in my next post, here.

The flight was next.  I was able to find us super cheap plane tickets through Allegiant, flying both of us down there and back for less than $200.  I’ve flown with them a couple of times before and enjoy their airline.  They may nickel and dime you for everything, but when you don’t need luggage, seat selection or priority boarding it’s a fantastic deal.  We flew down Friday the 11th and returned Monday the 14th.  The only thing I was hesitant about was school.  Her first day of school was that Tuesday and then I would have to pull her out early on Friday, miss Monday and go in late on Tuesday.  Whatever, it’s kindergarten.  This is DISNEY.  For CHEAP!

My Orlando connection, Noelle, used to work for Disney.  I was hoping that she would be able to scrounge up a ticket or two for free since Disney is EX-PEN-SIVE.  She tried her hardest, but was unable to find us anything.  We were able to stay at her place though, so that made a huge difference in price at least.  Both for lodging and food.

I figured out a general itinerary for us:  Magic Kingdom Saturday, Sea World Sunday, and Downtown Disney/fly home Monday.  Perfect.  I used the phenomenal My Disney Experience app to book our three Fast Pass+s for Cinderella/Rapunzel, Ariel and Belle.  My priority was to get in to see the Princesses…rides be damned.  We can do those anywhere!  For autographs I vacillated between getting a photo frame from Michaels and having everyone sign it (like this) or bringing a book so each Princess can sign her story.  In the end I opted for the book–mainly because I didn’t feel like running to the store, haha.  It worked out well because Auntie Amanda sent J the Disney Storybook Collection for her birthday so I gave it to her as an early birthday present.disney-storybook-collection

All of the princess signed their story, which I love.disney-princess-book-autographs

Well, except for Merida…Brave wasn’t in there!!  Which I didn’t discover until we were standing in line for her.  I was shocked!  So she signed the inside cover instead.

I also researched the best places to sit for the parades and screenshoted any other relevant information.  Kenny the Pirate was the most amazingly helpful website ever!  I spent hours browsing all of his tips and advice beforehand!

I decided to do a little something extra for the character greetings.  I wanted J to color a picture for each princess to give them to keep.  Twofold:  just a little something “special” to make her stand out a bit more and (more importantly) it would kill time during the flight.  I used my Silhouette program to print off cards for each character.  I did Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle, Tiana, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa and Tinker Bell.  I didn’t think we were going to see Aurora or Snow White, but I made one for them as well, just in case.  I put two on a page, downloaded a picture of each princess and wrote their name.  I printed them off and cut each page in half, and voila!  Cheap idea!  And worked very well for keeping J occupied.  And the princesses loved the fact that they got something!diy-princess-cards

diy-princess-cards-2The trip was a surprise for J.  She knew that we were going somewhere, just her and I, but had no idea where.  Or how we were getting there.  Once we were on our way to the airport I told her we were flying, which she was super excited about.  She’s been on a plane once, when she was about 15 months old, but obviously doesn’t remember.  She’s been begging to go on an airplane forever, so this was a real treat for her.

Once we were sitting at the shuttle stop I told her where we were going.J 5th Birthday Trip

We were ready!

The flight, however, didn’t go so smoothly.  We had a scheduled takeoff of 455 pm.  After posting delays in half hour increments, we finally got on the plane at 730.  And sat on it until 815 when it was determined they needed to do more mechanical repairs.  At 10 pm they announced that we were ready to fly.  At 1030 we were still sitting on the plane on the tarmac when they made the announcement that we would no longer arrive in Orlando before the pilots were required to go off duty.  The flight would be rescheduled for 2 pm tomorrow.  After another two hours waiting in line for a hotel voucher, getting on a shuttle and checking into the hotel, we finally collapsed into bed at 1245.

J was a trooper.  There was no complaining, no whining, no nothing.  She was frustrated, but an absolute angel.  
J 5th Birthday Surprise 3We got to the airport the next day ready for our 2 pm takeoff.  We were loaded on, heard all of the schpeels, and headed to the runway.  We were first in line to take off…and then we stopped.  Apparently there was some “tornadic weather activity” in Florida and the pilot was unsure if we would be able to takeoff or if we would have to go back to the airport for another delay.  5 minutes later we got the go-ahead and we were in the air!  J 5th Birthday Surprise 4Since it was the same crew from the previous night, I bet no one was more relieved than the pilots and flight attendants.  They knew there was going to be a massive revolt if we had to turn around.  The crowd was…let’s say…antsy…

Since we arrived nearly 24 hours later than anticipated, plans had to be changed.  The Magic Kingdom was switched to Sunday.  Thank God it wasn’t high season so I didn’t have any problems switching our Fast Pass selections.  Although the Boutique was supposed to be a surprise, I gave J the choice of either going there or to Sea World.  I was 95% sure that she would pick the hair salon, and I hated to ruin the surprise, but I wanted it to be her decision.  And I was right, the salon won out.

We arrived at MK at 830 Sunday morning.  I was hoping to be there for the Welcome Show and rope drop.  And we would have been, except they opened the park 15 minutes early that day!  We did manage to catch the last 20 seconds of the Welcome Show at least.

We made a beeline for Anna and Elsa.  That was a good call on our part…the wait ended up only being about 45 minutes!  And it would’ve been a bit shorter except I got lost trying to find them, hahaha.  My sense of direction is non-existant.

She was completely star struck when she met Elsa.  And I’m not going to lie, I had tears in my eyes I was so excited and happy for her.  J and ElsaShe calmed down by the time we saw Anna and asked her if Sven was still trying to steal Olaf’s nose, which I thought was adorable.  (He’s behaving, just in case you were wondering.)J and AnnaWe had a slight mishap while standing in line.  J had developed blisters on both of her feet, even though I picked out a pair of sandals she wears all the time and never gets blisters from.  She was so miserable that she said she didn’t want to meet anyone else.  We had a bit of a disagreement then, our first one so far on the trip (which is amazing for us), and I told her either she has to suck it up or we’re going back to Auntie Noelle’s house.  After meeting the sisters we hiked it down to First Aid and got some bandaids, then over to the stroller rental.  I was planning on renting a stroller regardless, I just didn’t want to waste precious time getting it at the beginning as the Anna/Elsa line got longer and longer by the second.  Those two things solved the problems and not another word was said about the blisters the rest of the day.  Minus me rubbing it in her face later that she would’ve missed all this if we had skipped it like she wanted to.  A grown-up face rubbing, of course 😉

Since we were in the vicinity, we swung in to see Tinker Bell next.  She loved how sparkly Tinker Bell was!  J asked how Wendy was doing.  Since Tink spends most of her time in Pixie Hollow and Wendy is usually in Mermaid Lagoon, they don’t see each other very often.J and TinkerBellWe also saw Ariel.  For some reason J started asking the princesses to sign the picture she made, the one that was for them to keep, which confused them.  Understandably.  I had to keep interjecting to confirm that the picture was indeed for them.  J and ArielWe also saw Cinderella and Rapunzel.  Rapunzel is telling J her favorite part of the story, which I can’t remember what it was for the life of me! J and Cinderella J and RapunzelAnd Merida, who is my favorite Disney princess, so I had to jump in this picture.  She cracked J up, telling her that she was going to eat 500 cupcakes in celebration of J’s birthday.J and MeridaTiana and Prince Naveen were together.  She adored him.  I have no idea what he was saying to her, but she was in stitches the entire time.  She couldn’t remember what was so funny, but for the next few days all she could talk about was how silly he was.J and TianaWe did the Enchanted Tales with Belle and loved that too!  It’s a shame she doesn’t sign autographs, but luckily I knew that ahead of time.  I also knew that the only way J would get to interact with her was if she volunteered to be part of the show (thanks Kenny!).  I forced her into it and I’m glad I did!  She was at least able to give her the picture she made.J and BelleWe stood in line two times at the same spot, once to see the Fairy Godmother and once for the Tremaine family.  J and Fairy GodmotherThe Tremaine family was amazing.  They interacted with each guest for about 10 minutes and were hysterical the entire time.  Drizella made fun of Anastasia because she didn’t have a picture in the Cinderella story, so Anastasia made sure to add that she’s “so pretty” when she signed her name.  J happened to have the Evil Queen from Snow White with her, so she showed her to them.  They were thrilled that J likes “mean people”.
J and TremainesWe met all of the Princesses who were available for autographs except Jasmine.  J opted to go on Big Thunder Mountain instead of standing in Jasmine’s line, which I think was a good idea.

We watched the Fantasy Parade at 3 and the Electrical Parade at 8, both of which were phenomenal.  We also watched the fireworks show, which completely blew me out of the water.  And to think we would’ve missed both the Electrical Parade and the fireworks if we had done MK on Saturday like I originally planned since there was an event in the park and it closed at 7 that night.  See, things happen for a reason!  That and waking up Monday morning all I could do was thank my lucky stars we didn’t have anything going on for a few more hours that morning and that it was very low key.  How on earth people get up and do that all over again for days in a row is beyond me.  And with more children.  And when it’s a helluva lot hotter (we really lucked out weather-wise.  It rained for about 2 hours, but otherwise stayed cloudy and wasn’t too humid or hot).  They’re insane.

All in all I was very impressed with Disney.  I’m not a big Disney person…I can take it or leave it.  And when I go to an amusement park I want to go on roller coasters, not the spinning tea cups or fantasy rides.  But we had a phenomenal day together.  J was so well behaved.  The park was clean.  The cast members were all above and beyond friendly.  J had a button on that said it was her birthday and I was blown away by how many people wished her happy birthday!  Not just the characters and their “helpers”, but anyone we passed!  It was well worth the money we spent on it.  And I would do it all over again.

Maybe.J 5th Birthday Trip 5

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Kindergartner in the House!

Well it finally happened.  The day I’ve been both extremely excited and yet dreading for the last (almost) 5 years:  J’s first day of Kindergarten.  One of my friends put it perfectly the night before school started:  “When she’s awake and sleeping or somewhere else I’m all nostalgic and thinking about how little I’ll see her and I start tearing up.  And then she wakes up or comes home or throws one of her constant I’m-4-years-old-and-learning-my-independence fits and I’m back to counting down the minutes until school starts.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself!

I had a difficult time deciding whether or not she should take the bus the first day.  Before orientation I had already decided that I was going to drive her.  And I made the mistake of telling her that.  Why a mistake, you ask?  Well, at orientation they stressed the importance of your Kindergartener riding the bus to school on the first day if they will be a regular bus rider.  Parents are more than welcome to put their child on the bus, hop in their car, follow the bus to school and meet your child there, but please please please let him/her ride the bus.

That put me in quite the conundrum.  J’s school is 25 minutes away in the middle of nowhere.  There was no way in hell I was going to follow the bus there.  But since I had already told her I was going to drive her, she had her mind set on that and started crying when I told her she was going to ride the bus instead.  So then I had no idea what to do.  Sure, I could pressure/bribe/flat out tell her that was the way it was going to be and she would eventually agree, but how hard did I want to push?  The day was already full of so many new things that I didn’t want to pressure her too much.  But think about how much easier it would be for me if I could just wave goodbye to her at the bus stop??  There’d be an awful lot less tears on my part, that’s for sure!  Plus I didn’t want to be “that parent” who couldn’t follow rules on the very first day of school and put a bad taste in the teacher’s mouth.  Not that I would be the only one, I’m sure, but still.

I debated about it all day.  After bringing it up with J several times (and each time receiving the same response:  a tearful “but you said you were going to drive me!  And adults don’t go back on their words!”) I finally realized what the problem was.  She thought the first day of school was going to be the only day all year that I would drive her and go into her classroom.  That was why she was so stuck on the idea!  I explained to her that there would be doctors appointments or times when we’re running late or have other stuff going on and I would need to drive her.  “For example,” I told her, “we’ll bring a special treat into your class on Tuesday for your birthday.  And I’ll need to drive you then.  So why don’t we plan on that instead!”  And then she was perfectly fine.  Not another word said about taking the bus.

And I turned about to be right about the lack of tears on my part this way.  It ended up being so hectic that morning that we barely made it to the bus stop on time.  At orientation they hammered home that the first few weeks the buses were apt to be about 20 minutes behind as they got used to the new schedule.  Not ours–he was early!  Which would have been fine, except once we got to the bus stop (the first time) J realized we forgot to put on her name tag and we had to hoof it back to the house to grab it.  The bus pulled up to the stop at the same moment we did.  Then I was so flustered that I completely forgot to give her a hug and kiss goodbye and tell her to have a good day at school and that I love her!  Stellar mom right here.

And that was that!  I proceeded to have the best, most productive, peaceful day ever!  Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter to death but it’s amazing how much I was able to accomplish that first day, and every day since.  I was able to clean, organize, pick up clutter, waste time on Facebook and craft.  And that was all just during C’s nap!  I’m going to need to line up a whole bunch of projects for the next 9 months…

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It’s a good thing that the important words (princess and kindergarten) are legible at least!

j-first-day-kindergarten-2J’s still on the fence about school.  It’s funny because she’ll come home and tell me about her day and how much fun she had doing this and that, but when I ask her “So do you like school?” she tells me, “No, not really.”  She seems excited every morning as she picks out her clothes and gets ready and again when she gets off of the bus in the afternoon and chatters away, but apparently that message hasn’t completely reached her brain yet.

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DIY Chalkboard Wine Glasses

My little sister got married three weeks ago (aaah, I can’t believe it’s been that long already!!).  Since I was the matron of honor I was automatically put in charge of planning the Bridal Shower.  Fortunately B had seven bridesmaids in her wedding so the planning/work/decorating/cost was much better than I could’ve hoped for!  I went into details about the beach-themed shower itself in my last post, here.  This is where I’ll give instructions on the Chalkboard Wine Glasses we handed out to the guests as favors.

Since there was obviously going to be alcohol at the bridal shower (it really is the only thing that makes them bearable isn’t it??), I figured that we’d kill two birds with one stone and have the favors be wine glasses.  And we could jazz them up/make them even more convenient by dipping the stems into chalkboard paint so there wouldn’t be any confusion as to whose was whose at the shower.  I’m brilliant, I know.

First step was securing the wine glasses.  Although the Dollar Tree sells nice large ones for $1, the guest list was in the 30s and I didn’t want to shell out that much money for favors.  We were headed to the DC IKEA to check out some furniture anyway and I saw these online, 6/$4.  Once I got there and looked at them I decided they were way too small, and purchased the SVALKAs instead; 36 glasses for 79 cents each.  Not quite as cheap as I was hoping to go, but still decent.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-7I already had chalkboard paint at home from J’s Art Activity Center.  I purchased it off of Amazon about 2 years ago and still had 3/4 of a can left.  diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-3Last but not least:  some clear cut instructions.  I headed to my go-to, Pinterest.  This tutorial from Scissors and Spatulas had all of the information that I could possibly need.  Armed with some Scotch tape, 36 wine glasses, chalkboard paint, some leftover cardboard, parchment paper, a “paint stick” (which was just an actual stick I found laying in the yard) and an old towel I was ready to rock and roll.

I started by wrapping Scotch tape around the bottom of the cup, where it and the stem meet.  diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-8I taped the first 6 glasses there, and then decided that was using up entirely too much paint.  The next box of 6 I taped at the bottom, where the stem and flat part (??) meet.  After dipping that box of 6, I decided tape was completely unnecessary.  It was easy to just dip it in and leave it as is.

Instead of pouring the paint into a disposable container and dipping the glass in, I just dipped it straight into the paint can.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-4I held the glass over the paint can for several minutes, waiting for the paint to drip off.  I also used my finger to wipe a bunch of paint off of the underside of the flat part since a bunch of paint gathered in the crevice.  Not only was that a waste of paint, but you don’t look at the bottom of the glass anyway.  That helped the drying process quite a bit.

I was having a lot of problems with bubbles.  Like a lot.  After I pulled the glass out of the paint I looked at it immediately.  If there were a bunch of air bubbles on it, like below, then I would grab the towel and wipe off as much paint as possible.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-2As you can tell by the state of my towel, I had to wipe off quite a few glasses before I finally got the bubble situation under control.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-6

I stirred the paint vigorously with a stick for 25 seconds (it took a lot of trial and error to find the exact number of seconds to stir) and then dip the glass in the paint immediately.  That seemed to do the trick.

After enough paint dripped off I placed the glass right side up on sheets of parchment paper.  diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-5I let them dry for about 30 minutes and then moved them to a different part of the paper so they wouldn’t stick to it.  I shifted them to different spots 3 times before they were dry enough to flip upside down to dry the rest of the way without dripping.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-8See how some of them are super messy around the bottom?  This is the reason I started wiping the excess paint off of the bottom.  Otherwise there was way too much and it pooled while drying.  That and I probably left a couple in the same spot for a bit too long, haha.  After they were completely dry I just took some sandpaper and smoothed around the edges.

I ended up doing the wine glasses in 6 batches of 6, which ended up being a brilliant idea.  I learned so much from each batch and was able to make the changes so by the time I got around to the last box I had it down to a science.  These are the things I learned:

  • no need to dip up the whole way up the stem.  It’s a waste of paint and I think the ones with just the bottom done actually look nicer.
  • no need to use tape, especially if only dipping the flat part.  Eyeballing it worked perfectly fine.  And peeling off that tape was a pain in the ass.
  • Bubbles!!!  Swirl swirl swirl, then dip immediately.  And if they do appear, it’s simple to just wipe the paint off with a towel really quickly and redo the glass immediately
  • wipe off the excess paint from the underside of the bottom.  Since the glass kind of tapers up in the middle where the stem is, the paint tends to pool there.  And not only does it take longer to dry, but it drips everywhere.  And if you wipe it off with your finger the paint spreads out thick enough and you can’t even tell it was wiped off.

That was it!  We picked up some paper umbrellas from Five Below to go with the beach theme, threw a baggie of chalk down and the favors were finished!   And they turned out nice enough that people assumed I bought them like that and were astonished when I said I made them.  There’s no bigger compliment!diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-1

 

 

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Beach Bridal Shower

My little sister, B, got married about three weeks ago.  Since I was the matron of honor I was in charge of planning the Bridal Shower back in June.  Luckily since she had seven bridesmaids this actually wasn’t too overwhelming or difficult!  It came in handy when dividing up all of the duties, but not so much when making decisions.  That part was actually pretty painful because no one had much of an opinion about anything.  But we eventually got it all figured out…once I sucked it up and just started making decisions myself (which I hate doing!).

The first thing we all agreed on was that we wanted to do a beach theme.  Invitations were first.  After browsing etsy.com and other websites, and being completely and totally unwilling to pay $40+ for invitations, I finally decided to just design my own.  I found a nice sunset picture I took while we were in Hawaii a few years ago and made that the background.  I added all the pertinent information and bam, done!  I was able to put 2 on a page, emailed my proof to the closest UPS store and picked up my invitations later that day.  Less than $20.  Much better.
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(They did not have the grids on them, FYI.  I made the cards in my Silhouette program, and then saved the file as a PDF to send to UPS.  For some reason the grid appears in Preview on my Mac, but not when actually printing them out.)

Before I could make the invitations we had to decide on food.  For awhile I was floating around the idea of doing a “potluck” type shower.  Each guest would bring her favorite entree/appetizer/side dish/dessert, along with a copy of the recipe for the bride to keep.  I liked two things about it:  one, it would give B a recipe foundation; and two, it meant a lot less work for the bridesmaids the morning of.  The one thing holding us back was that when we originally landed on the beach theme we were excited about doing tacos, chips and salsa, etc.  We had to decide ASAP, because if we were doing the potluck I’d need to put it on the invitation.  After a lot of teeth pulling (seriously, all I wanted was a yes or no vote!!) it was finally decided that we would stick with the original menu.

Since the bachelorette party and bridal shower were rolled into one weekend we didn’t have much time to prepare everything.  Instead of doing the traditional “go out and get wasted” thing, we took the bride-to-be up to a nearby lake and spent the weekend at one of the bridesmaids cabin, out on the boat.  It was perfect.  However, we didn’t get to my parents’ house to start preparations until 9 Sunday morning and the shower was kicking off promptly at 1 pm.  Thank goodness Mexican food is quick and easy!

We served hard and soft tortillas, chicken and beef fillings, Mexican rice and the necessary taco toppings:  cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, onions, and jalapeños.  We also had bowls of mango salsa and tortilla chips at each table for the guests to munch on.beach-bridal-shower-food-2beach-bridal-shower-food-4I had two ideas for dessert:  either make a “wedding dress” cupcake cake (like this) or just decorate your own cupcakes.  After a lot more teeth pulling, it was finally decided to go with decorate your own cupcakes.beach-bridal-shower-food-3The next thing we decided on were the decorations.  This was where having a huge bridal shower came in really handy–dividing up the tasks!

Two of the bridesmaids put together the most amazing sign.  They handprinted it!!!  And down in the bottom left corner is a chalkboard square so the bride-to-be could change the countdown.  They didn’t put any specific information on it so that way she can pass it on to future children if she wants to!  What a neat idea.  They also made a sign to cover the bottom board so she could use it at the ceremony as well.  I didn’t take a picture of it, unfortunately, and of course I can’t remember exactly what it said.  But I remember seeing it at the ceremony so I’m sure once she gets her pictures in I can update it.  beach-bridal-shower-sign-2Another bridesmaid was in charge of the “take home gift” for B.  She bought two bottles of champagne, painted them and brought markers to the bridal shower for the guests to sign.  Then the bride could save the bottles for the wedding night or honeymoon or just a random Thursday…whatever!beach-bridal-shower-bride-favorThe next two bridesmaids were put in charge of centerpieces.  One took mason jars, put pictures of the bride and groom inside, then filled them with sand and seashells.  They looked fantastic!  She also took a large piece of twine and used clothespins to hang pictures of the bride and groom throughout their relationship.  I don’t have a close-up of it unfortunately, but you can see a bit of it in one of the photos below, going across the garage door.  The other one decided to do a two-for:  part centerpiece/part prize for the guest who won the bridal shower games.  She bought a few buckets and filled them up with beach type things–shovels, sand toys, beach scented lotions and candles, etc. beach-bridal-shower-tables-2I was in charge of the party favor for the guests.  We I decided on chalkboard wine glasses.  You can find more information about how I made them in my next post, here.  I figured that since we were going to serve alcohol (the one and only way to make a bridal shower actually bearable), the wine glasses would go well.  I added paper umbrellas I found at Five Below, filled them with Strawberry and Mango Margaritas, tossed some chalk on the table for the guests to decorate them and they were a hit!beach-bridal-shower-chalkboard-wine-glassesFor tablecloths, silverware and balloons we just stuck with simple:  grey and pink, the bride’s wedding colors.  I picked up a roll of burlap from Michaels and we spread it out on the tables to make them look more “beachy”.  J, my daughter, has an entire bucket of seashells saved throughout the years that I meant to bring with me to spread out on the tables as well, but I forgot them.  Oh well.  I also found leis at the Dollar Tree–2 pink ones for $1 for each of us and a colorful one for the bride.  Score!beach-bridal-shower-tablesbeach-bridal-shower-giftsThe final decision to be made were the games.  I didn’t want to do the stupid cliche bridal shower games that everyone despises, so I found a few that were slightly different.  First we had “Guess B’s Age!”.  I used my Silhouette to cut the letters out of card stock, bought a fishnet from the Dollar Tree, found 7 pictures of B at varying ages and used clothespins to hang them.  I designed a quick scorecard.  Which I could’ve saved a lot of paper and ink on that one if I would’ve done the same thing for it that I had done with the invitations, and shrunk it down so two would fit on one page.  Oh well.
beach-bridal-shower-age-game-1beach-bridal-shower-age-game-2We also did the “Bubble Gum Game”.  Earlier I called the groom and asked him these 29 questions and wrote down his answers.

  • Who was Ty’s best friend growing up?
  • When was your first kiss together?
  • How many kids do you want to have?
  • What is the theme of your wedding?
  • One word to describe Bre.
  • What is Ty’s favorite holiday?
  • Which one of you is better with money?
  • Which one of you is better with kids?
  • Which one of you is better at cooking?
  • Which one of you is better at dancing?
  • If Ty could go anywhere in the world, where would he go?
  • What is Ty’s dream car?
  • What is Ty’s favorite movie?
  • What does Ty love about you the most?
  • What is Ty’s favorite meal that you make him?
  • French Fries, baked or mashed potatoes?
  • If Ty had to pick a number between 1-20 what would it be?
  • Where was your first date?
  • Ty’s favorite football team?
  • What’s Ty’s least favorite chore?
  • What year did he graduate high school?
  • Name one of Ty’s nicknames for you.
  • Name one of your nicknames for Ty.
  • Name something Ty is afraid of.
  • Favorite pizza topping?
  • What president is on the $5 bill?  Did Ty get this question right?
  • Does Ty still have his wisdom teeth?
  • Coke or Pepsi?
  • McDonalds or Burger King?

The bride had to guess what the groom’s responses were, and for every one she got wrong she had to shove a piece of bubble gum in her mouth.  When we first started going through them we were a bit worried that the questions were waaaay too easy, but she ended up with a rather large wad in her mouth by the end.  It was pretty funny.beach-bridal-shower-bubble-gum-game-2beach-bridal-shower-bubble-gum-gameYou’ll have to excuse the bride’s fat lip.  The day before one of the bridesmaids “misstepped” when trying to get into the tube from the boat and elbowed her right in the face.  It bled for quite awhile and didn’t exactly look pretty the next day (or the day after that…or that…).  This was one of many times that it came in handy that B is the most laid back person on the face of the earth, and she was like that throughout all of the planning and execution of the wedding.  I doubt she would’ve been so forgiving had it been the day before the wedding, but she took it all in stride!  I don’t think many women can say they would do the same…

Once the bridal shower started we realized that we didn’t have enough games where the guests participated, so we threw one together in under 15 minutes while everyone was eating.  We asked the group these questions, one at a time:

  • How old were they when they first got together?
  • What is Bre’s idea of a romantic date?
  • What’s Tyler’s idea of a romantic date?
  • Who would win in a boxing match?
  • Who can handle their liquor better?
  • If they had a booth at the Grange Fair what would it be?
  • If they could live anywhere where in the world where would it be?
  • Who would Bre say is Ty’s celebrity look alike?
  • Who is Ty’s best childhood friend?
  • What’s Bre’s favorite outfit?
  • What is Bre’s favorite ice cream?
  • What is Bre’s favorite position ;)? (This question was requested, and asked by, the groom’s grandmother, which was hilarious.  The answer?  “Head on the pillow…get your heads out of the gutter!”0

Whichever guest had the most correct answers by the end of the game would take home a bucket.  Worked well for a completely impromptu game!

The final game we played was hands down my favorite.  I was laughing so hard I was crying.  As my gift I bought the bride a suitcase.  We filled the suitcase with random items of clothing:  gloves; boots; sunglasses; granny panties; beach hat; scarf; and a robe.  We blindfolded the bride and she had to put on all of the items in the suitcase.  Freaking hilarious.beach-bridal-shower-suitcase-gameMy favorite part was when she made the colossal mistake of putting the winter gloves on first, and then was unable to pick anything up.  One of the bridesmaids pulled her out of her misery quickly, unfortunately, and told her to take them off.  My second favorite was the granny-panties-as-a-large-bracelet.  Brilliant.

All-in-all it was a success!!  It was as entertaining as bridal showers can possibly be (man, someone needs to come up with something for the gift opening portion.  That part is just painful), especially due to the Suitcase Game.  B seemed to have fun, we didn’t have any major catastrophes, it looked fantastic and we were all exhausted afterwards.