How to plan a perfect Cinco de Mayo fiesta

Margaritas. Nachos. Friends. Sombreros.

What’s not to love about Cinco de Mayo?!?

We throw a fiesta each year to avoid the crowds at local Mexican restaurants so I thought it was only appropriate to document everything this year and share with fellow party planners (pro and amateur)! Enjoy!

  • Plan your party and be prepared to re-plan because we all know nothing goes perfectly the first time.
    • Start thinking through your party details early including¬†the day and time of event and what all you want included. This year I decided to provide all food and drinks and just asked friends to show up and have a good time. I’m usually stressed out by the time party starts because everything isn’t in it’s place (yes, I’m that OCD) and then when people bring their designated items I have to (or rather, like to) find a dish to put it in and find the right spot on the table for it. So this year I’m handling it all in advance so when people arrive I can drink my margarita and actually enjoy the party with friends.
    • Have a plan B for weather. We finished our patio project earlier this year and I’ve been waiting to host a party on it to celebrate! But of course it’s going to be 50 and rainy on Cinco de Mayo when only one week ago it was sunny and 80 by 9am! So plan accordingly and get creative with the space you have to keep people occupied (see engaging ideas below).
    • One to two days prior to the event day set everything out where you want it go. This allows you to visualize the space you have (or lack of) so you can replan or reorganize or even see what you may be missing. I usually set out empty bowls and pitchers with little pieces of paper noting what they’ll contain. My husband gets annoyed every time I do this because it looks cluttered when all the bowls are empty, but I remind him it’s only going to be out another 24 hours and through the event, and really, just get over it ūüôā
    • Let friends¬†help if they ask. I know I said above that I told everyone not to bring something but sometimes friends really feel better helping. So if they offer, suggest something small they can do that’s convenient for you both. One of my friends really wanted to bring juice boxes for the kids so I asked her to drop them off the night before so I had them on hand and could put them out when I was ready to, on my own time. Another friend had supplies I needed to complete the DIY photo booth backdrop so I suggested she bring those earlier in the week. Another friend was home during the day and offered to help prepare the food the day of which was a huge help to me to have another set of hands. If no one offers, that’s perfectly fine, just keep in mind that people ask to help for a reason and you’re allowed to take advantage of it!
  • Keep people engaged and give them something fun to do while waiting for the food line to shorten. And give the kids something fun to occupy their time other¬†than¬†destroying your playroom. Especially if the weather is not cooperating for an outside fiesta.

Photo Booth

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$10 DIY festive backdrop

Chalk board designed by Chalk It Up Occasions

Mustaches

Small sombreros

Maracas

Large sombrero

Kids activity: Make Your Own Maraca table

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Kids activity: Coloring Stations

Using butcher paper, cover a table (or makeshift table with cinder blocks and a piece of wood) and let the kids go to down all over it. When they’re done, apply another layer of butcher paper or rip off and throw away.

Another quick and easy coloring station idea is to print black and white copies of pictures and let the kids color them in. Google “black and white coloring maracas” or something similar, select a free image, and print!

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  • Prepare tasty¬†and¬†creative¬†finger food so people are satisfied¬†but don’t require a table and chair to finish their plate. This save so much space in your house and eliminates the need for additional plates and cutlery. Plus, with finger foods, people can quickly fill their plate then leave the kitchen to keep the line flowing.
  • Serve a few different drinks people can grab and¬†enjoy

I hope this works for you as well as it does for me! Head over to my Cinco de Mayo Pinterest board for more ideas!

Cheers!

 

How to Make a Festive Photo Booth Backdrop

For less than $10 and only about an hour of out my day, I made this festive photo booth backdrop for my upcoming Cinco De Mayo fiesta! I would say I can’t even explain how easy this was to make, but actually I can! So, here you go!

Supplies:

  • Six white poster boards- Dollar Tree– $3.00¬†(.50 cents each)
    • I used 6 poster boards to make my backdrop 44.5 inch x 78 in (~3.5ft x 6.5ft)
  • American Greetings¬†tissue paper, multi-color 40 count- Walmart– $3.98
    • I used 27 pieces of tissue paper: 3 pieces of each color per row, 9 rows total
  • Scotch Shipping Tape- Walmart– 2.88
    • I used 95% of a fresh roll of tape
  • Scissors- already had at home– $0

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Instructions:

1) Tape the poster boards together.

Tip:¬†Be sure put¬†all the price tags on the same side so they don’t show through¬†your fringe tissue paper

Tip: I layered the poster boards slightly so I could fit exactly three pieces of tissue paper per row to avoid having to cut a forth piece to cover all the white on the poster board. I did this by laying out three pieces of tissue paper folded length ways across the poster boards then layer the posters to fit perfectly

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2) Fold each piece of tissue paper length ways then lay out the order in which you want them to appear on your poster board.

This will also help you determine how many pieces you need to cut to cover the white poster boards. You can use any color, any order of your choosing

3) Cut 1-inch strips on the folded tissue paper leaving 2-3 inches at the top uncut.

Tip: Use paper weights to hold down the paper to make it easier and quicker to cut. My friends Pappy and Willett were very helpful ūüôā

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Tip: Place your tape measure at the top of the tissue paper so you don’t have to keep remeasuring

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Tip: I got bored cutting each paper one by one so I used little clothes pins to hold all the tissue paper together so I could cut all pieces at the same time. This was by far the most time efficient. I was careful enough to make sure all the pieces of tissue paper were aligned appropriately so the strips (fringe) were about the same width

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4) Tape fringe tissue paper to poster board one row at a time starting at the bottom. Repeat until complete.

Tip: Tape one piece of tissue paper at a time then add the next piece of that row to ensure it’s all even. Repeat.

Tip: Leave 4-5 inches of “fringe” showing per color

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Tip: I taped the top layer by folding the tape over the top of the poster board

 

Viola! You have your very own festive photo booth backdrop!¬†I’d love to see your creations. Tag @BubblesAndDenim on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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BONUS TIP: Use 3M wall hooks to hang the backdrop rather than push pins or tape to avoid holes or ripped paint off the wall. With a hole punch I made two holes on the top left overlapping one another to make it big enough for the hook and did the same thing on the right side. Follow the 3M instructions to attach the hooks to the wall.

Kid Craft: Make Your Own Maracas!

Cinco de Mayo is possibly my favorite holiday of the year. You can’t go wrong with margaritas and tacos. Really.

For the past few years we’ve hosted a party at our house on May 5th because our favorite Mexican restaurant, Acapulco, is always slammed much more than their typical busy night. So to avoid the hassle, we have our friends over for a fiesta!

Today, the weather¬†is perfect, 75 and sunny. In three days, on May 5th, it will be 53 and rainy. WTF, right? So that means moving 50+ kids and all the adults inside. Not cool. Rather than having all the rugrats tearing through the playroom, I’ve decided to make some fun distractions to keep them occupied. The funnest activity (in my opinion) is the MAKE YOUR OWN MARACAS table! It’s crazy simple, super cheap, and puts good use to the Easter eggs I’ve been holding on to for the past three week.

Enjoy!

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Supplies:

  • empty plastic easter eggs
  • popcorn kernels, rice, or aquarium rocks
  • plastic spoons
  • masking tape (you can also use decorated tape to eliminate coloring the plain tape)
  • markers
  • optional: containers to put each of the above in

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Pick your egg
  • Step 2: Fill your egg with a few rocks (it does not take many)
  • Step 3: Pick two spoons and place the egg (filled with rocks) between them
  • Step 4: Wrap your egg and spoons with tape
  • Step 5: Decorate your maraca!
    • TIP: washable markers wipe off easily. I suggest using fine-tip dry erase markers or sharpies

Top 4 Disney Trip Tips

Top4DisneyTripTipsDisney really is the happiest place on earth.

Everyone is so friendly and you can’t help but smile while reminiscing in your memories and looking forward¬†to making new ones.

My husband and I took our two young daughters¬†(5 and 2.5) to Walt Disney World in March 2017. It was magical. We met princesses, got front and center to Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire (live show in front of Cinderella’s Castle), rode rollercoasters, and fought Darth Vader!

With¬†this trip under my belt, I made a “lessons learned” list and here are the top four¬†tips I think all parents should know prior to your Disney trip.

1. Don’t do it all in one trip. If you don’t know me yet, you should know I’m a project manager by trade and event¬†planner by heart. So trust me when I say I put a lot of thought and research into this trip. This first tip¬†sounds so cliche and I read it over and over from other bloggers prior to our trip… but of course me being the type A go-getter that I am thought I could plan it perfectly and do everything on our list. I was close, and at some parks we did do it all. But looking back I wish we would have cut out some of the rides/attractions¬†and just relaxed at the hotel pool. While we were in line waiting for rides, food, or meet and greets, my girls would ask¬†if we could go back to the hotel pool (which we enjoyed on the first day in Florida). I told them we’d go back on the last day when we didn’t have park passes¬†because we were at Disney to be at DISNEY, not to be at a pool that really wasn’t any different than any other pool. But in hindsight everything is 20/20, right? I wish we would have cut out the mid-day or evening hours at the park to relax pool-side for the kids to play and for mommy and daddy to catch a break. I noticed even when the girls got 10 hours of sleep they were still just exhausted in the morning because we were running literally all day. I think they would have been able to soak up more of the experience if they had some down time, too.

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2. Don’t make meal reservations outside of your normal meal hours. We didn’t do the meal plan because my girls don’t eat a lot and we thought we’d save money by only paying for what/when we ate. Instead, we made reservations at a variety of places. We planned our trip under¬†the 180 day mark so we took what we could get in terms of openings, most of which were late lunches (2:30) or late dinners (as late as 9:30 one night!). We probably still saved money compared to purchasing the¬†meal plan, but we ended up spending so much¬†money on food that my girls never touched. These reservations were flat fee buffet reservations (around¬†$20-30 per child and around $30-40 per adult) and¬†every person must pay because you’re not just paying for the food, you’re paying for the experience of the character meet and greet, too. Most of these meals my girls never touched a bite simply because the reservations were too late so they snacked too much leading up to it. Yes, my fault, but here’s my reasoning… I gave them snacks to avoid Ms Fussy Pants and Ms Whiny McGee coming out¬†at the parks. Then when it came to lunch/dinner, they were full on snacks. But sure enough we’d be one hour after the meal and¬†they’d be hungry again. It was a never ending cycle.
NOTE:¬†There are staple restaurants¬†that you should try to get reservations for (Tusker House at Animal Kingdom, Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom). The 9:30 dinner I mentioned was the Be Our Guest reservation. My five year old was passed out on her chair and my two year old was happy as long as she had “The Gray Stuff” (which I recommend by the way!). But the experience let alone was totally worth it, if even only for me and my husband!

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3. Start planning¬†your trip more than 180 days in advance. Give yourself more than a 6-month buffer so you can identify¬†which meet and greets, meal reservations, and rides you want to do while on your¬†trip. Download the My Disney Experience app. Then at the exact 180-day mark you can make¬†reservations and schedule¬†fast passes to (hopefully) capture the time slots you desire. We booked our trip just under 6-months in advance and had the help of a Disney Travel Agent but¬†still found it a little stressful to continuously try to find openings for¬†Best Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table. We did get all the fast passes we wanted because we kept checking availability¬†prior to the trip and even the day-of. You really need to be flexible while at Disney because a street show could pop up in front of you or you could get a new fast pass that deters your plans for the remainder of the day. If you plan your trip with your “must do’s” in mind then¬†let Mickey take the wheel while you’re at the park, you’re sure to have a good time!
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4. Drink the beer. A Disney trip is exciting but also stressful. It’s hot. It’s packed. It requires patience. You’re¬†dodging toes and strollers. And overall, as a parent, you’ll feel like you need to make it perfect¬†for your little ones so you’re constantly looking on the My Disney Experience app to get better fast passes or find the coolest swag. So that leaves me to my last top tip. Drink the beer! Sit down on the curb and throw back a cold one to 1) cool down and 2) chill out. Allow yourself to take a break and reflect on the great memories you’ve made so far. Let the kids run around aimlessly to get more energy out because trust me, they somehow come up with twice the energy they do at home. Hollywood Studios and Epcot serve alcohol throughout the park while Magic Kingdom only serves it at sit-down restaurants.

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I could go on and on about our Disney experience and things I’ll do differently next time, but I hope these top four¬†tips help you have the best best¬†on your trip!

Cheers!

 

How to Make Your Mornings Easier with a 3-ingredient Breakfast Burrito

Mornings are tough. At least for me. Here’s one thing that has helped to make it a little easier.

breakfast-burrito

Without fail, every morning I hit the snooze button (at least twice) before I drag myself out of bed, get myself ready, tag-team getting the kids ready with my husband, kiss him goodbye, then I’m¬†running out the door with the kids¬†to¬†make it to school on time. Daycare provides my¬†kids¬†a healthy breakfast (thankfully!) but¬†then I’m left to try to¬†find¬†myself something (somewhat) healthy to kickstart my day. I don’t have the patience to cook a big healthy breakfast if it’s just for me, so this is the perfect alternative!

Now, this does require pre-work. I usually take an hour a week to prepare 12-20 breakfast burritos. Then when I want one, I take it out of the freezer, heat it up for 30-60 seconds, and enjoy– all in less than 5 minutes!

Another reason we love these breakfast burritos is you can enjoy them at home or grab it on the way out the door and it’s still frozen by the time you get to the office.

The three-ingredient breakfast burrito instructions

breakfastburritos-steps

  1. Lay out 6-10″ slips of aluminum foil
  2. Place 1 tortilla on each foil slip. I use regular size tortillas to eliminate the extra carbs from the larger/burrito size tortillas
  3. Cook eggs, add to tortilla
  4. Cook sausage, add to tortilla
  5. Add salsa to tortilla
  6. Wrap tortilla into a burrito. This can be tricky if you’re using regular size¬†tortillas… see my video below for help
  7. Wrap in foil
  8. Place in freezer

Get creative and add cheese, mushrooms, or anything else! I’d love to hear of other ingredients you’ve tried and enjoyed!

From start to finish this takes me less than an hour to cook and wrap all of them. By the next day they’re ready to grab, heat, and eat!

How I wrap my tortilla to complete the breakfast burrito:

 

enjoy

Today I feel like a good mom

Most days I feel like an “ok” mom or sometimes even a bad mom. I keep my kids alive, sure, but sometimes¬†I feel like I don’t make a difference in their lives that day.

But not today. Today I feel like a good mom.

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It all started this morning at 6:15 when my oldest, Aria (4) came into our bedroom. About six minutes later I hear another bedroom door open followed by pitter-patter of the feet of my youngest, Ellis (2) running toward our bedroom. Both girls hop in bed with me and my husband while I’m still half asleep. I finally fully wake up and get to enjoy a few minutes of family cuddles. This never happens with both girls for more than a minute. It was so cozy and seemed picture-perfect (expect for my¬†messy hair and unmatched PJs).

Then my alarm goes off.

And the day must begin.

I feel like it’s always a rush to get everything done. You see, I’m one of those type-A, OCD, anxiety-prone people who think there is more time in the day than there really is. But of course I do not like to be late. So naturally we rush. We rush to school. I rush to work. I rush leaving work to pick them back up to get them dinner before rushing to ballet/ musical theater/tumbling/you name it.¬†¬†We rush home to get Ellis to bed at a normal time. We rush to finish homework and piano lessons. And if we’re lucky, we can get through 3 kind-of-not-so-short books (almost always Star Wars). And then it’s Aria’s bedtime. Which, by the way, since she transitioned to the toddler bed almost three years ago has not been an easy task. Then I sit down to hopefully have a glass of wine (or a bottle) and a conversation with my husband to realize that it’s already our bedtime.

So needless to say, I don’t often feel like a good mom with all the rushing around we (I make us) do. But I can’t help it. I want them to experience all that they can and I want to fit everything into one day because I’m an optimist who will (by the definition of insanity) keep trying the same thing that yields the same results just to see if I can do it better.

Ok, so back to today.

I got the girls to school EARLY. Whaaat? Yeah. We hop out of the car and my 4-year-old starts drowning in silent crocodile tears. She left her lovies at home. Her pink baby and white blankie. Both that she’s had since she was way little and takes them to school to hold during quiet time. I didn’t notice she put them down on the way out the door.

“Great,” I think to myself. Most days she can get over it quickly and we decide they’re at home keeping her other stuffed animals company. But not today.

After dropping Ellis off at her class, I walk Aria¬†to hers and she’s not happy. Not pouting or whining, but truly sad. I look at her and I totally get it. After offering up a school puppet to take¬†her lovies’ place for the day and her not liking that idea, I tell her I will try to bring her lovies¬†before quiet time if I can pull away from work. She seems relieved even at the thought of me offering even if I can’t make it. I¬†give her a big hug and kiss, she says thank you then joins her friends for breakfast.

Man did I feel good. I mitigated the situation, she was happy, I was leaving feeling like a good mom, and it was only 7:45am. BOOM!

So I go home, get settled in my office, and log-in to work (I work remotely for a healthcare and technology company). Once I get a few hours of work done I look down at the clock and realize it’s almost noon. Crap, quiet time starts in 30 minutes!¬†I had to keep my word to Aria. I scramble to wrap up a few things and think to myself, “I bet she doesn’t even remember she forgot her lovies… I’ve got so much more work to do.” I caught myself off guard for even thinking that. Then I think, “Is that the mom I¬†really want to be?” NO!

I grab her lovies and jet out the door¬†to school. When I walk into her classroom, she looks at me, surprised, and a huge smile appears on her face. She, in fact, didn’t remember she forgot them, but man did it feel good to keep my word even to something as small as this. She gives me¬†big hugs and kisses and I head out the door.

As the door is almost shut I hear her yell, “HUG!” I turn around and she’s standing at the door with a huge smile wanting another hug. I go back in, she hugs me, then she happily runs over to the lunch¬†table with her friends.

#MomWin!

It’s not always about the big gestures but rather the follow-through that matters.

Today I feel like a good mom.