Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Three more Bridal Shower Games...

Here are the last three bridal shower games that we played at the party on Saturday. Two of these I concocted for this shower and they ended up being two of my favorites! We'll start with a standby that is a favorite of mine...

20 Questions
Before the bridal shower interview the groom by asking 20 questions. Make sure he doesn't talk to the bride about the interview. During the shower ask the bride the same questions and see how many they agree upon. The guest that guesses the closest number to the number the bride gets correct wins the prize. This game affords the guests the opportunity to get to know the bride and groom a little better. You can make up your own questions or use the following: 1.) Where did you first meet? 2.) Where did you go on your first date? 3.) On what date did you get engaged? 4.) Groom - What first attracted you to bride? 5.) Bride - What first attracted you to groom? 6.) What is the bride's least favorite food? 7.) What is the groom's favorite food? 8.) If the bride could live anywhere after the wedding, where would it be? 9.) If the groom could travel anywhere, where would he go? 10.) Who kissed who first? 11.) Groom - Name a character trait that you love about the bride. 12.) Bride - What spiritual trait do you most admire in the groom? 13.) What is the groom's favorite season? 14.) What is the bride's favorite holiday? 15.) Groom - Aside from spending time with the bride, what is your favorite pastime? 16.) Bride - Aside from spending time with the groom, what is your favorite pastime? 17.) What is the bride's favorite color? 18.) What is the groom's favorite sport? 19.) Groom - Where were you when you first realized you were in love with your bride? 20.) Bride - Where were you when you first realized you were in love with the groom?

Rings & Rocks
This next game turned out to be one of my favorites. Before the shower purchase some big blingy "diamond" rings at a hobby store. Also buy some small 1 inch polished pebbles and arranged them both in a vase. At the shower bring out the vase and direct your comments to the bride by saying something like this, "You'll notice there are some beautiful diamonds in this vase and some rocks. Occasionally as you travel along the road of marital bliss, you may happen upon a boulder or two that could mar your happiness and contentment for a time. It's important to learn how to avoid, traverse, drive around and remove these road blocks." Then direct this comment to your guests, "Do any of you have any advice to share with the bride about how she can avoid these obstacles or help her marriage when these obstacles arise?" I'll have to admit when I made up this game, I thought maybe 2 or 3 people would chime in with a little advice. Not even. Every single one of the ladies had a word of wisdom to share with their little sista! Some of the advice given was serious and reflective. Some ladies had us laughing with their comical antics. After the advice giving, I had the ladies try to guess how many items were in the vase. The one closest to the actual amount won the prize. (Variation for Baby Shower -- Put little plastic 1" babies that you find at hobby stores and rocks in a clear baby bottle and continue to play the game asking for advice for the mother-to-be.)

Create your Bridal Bouquet
Here is the last game! Before the shower make a poster with photos of common flowers found in a bridal bouquets. Some suggestions might be: iris, mum, lilies, roses, rununculas, carnation, orchid, freesia, calla lily, hydrangeas, stephanotis, peonies, hyacinths, lily of the valley, etc. To find the photos, just google "rose photo" or "hydrangea photo" and you will get a myriad to choose from. Save the photos on your computer and print off copies of each flower, then mount them on mat board. During the shower the guests are asked to "build" their own bridal bouquet from three of the flowers shown on the poster. The bride does the same. The guest who chooses the same flowers (or closest to the same flowers) as the bride wins the prize. If there is a tie -- break it by guessing numbers between 1 & 100!

Bloomin' Tuesday

This morning I wasn't sure I'd have time to take photos and post a Bloomin' Tuesday, but I'm glad I made the time. It gave me a moment or two to smell the roses -- literally. They were lovely. Heaven's to Betsy I've been busy lately! Seriously, I hardly know which way is up. I feel like my life has been hijacked by the wedding brigade. I think in a week or so things will calm down. I'm looking forward to greeting my long lost friend and sewing up a tote or two or three. The idea of sitting for a few hours, listening to the radio, and running some fabric through a machine is very appealing at the moment!

Today I took a few photos of some beauties that have appeared within the last couple of weeks. First we have a few shots of our clematis -- I love its purpley goodness...

Our cherries are ripening. I can usually count on making a cherry cobbler around the 4th of July, but they are a little late this year. I hope I can pick a bundle of them before the all the birds in the state of Colorado snarf them up. They are greedy little things, and after a week of plundering this tree they are each as fat as a beached whale. It's hard to blame them too much though when you take a look at these ripening beauties... yum.

My thanks to Jean who makes Bloomin' Tuesday possible. Mosey on over to her house to see what's blooming in her yard and other yards around the country today!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bridal Shower Game ideas...

Here are three bridal shower game ideas...

Kitchen Gadget Memory Game
Beforehand, attach with embroidery floss a variety of kitchen tools or gadgets to a heavy-duty apron. For example: whisk, measuring spoons, spatula, tongs, kitchen towel, serving spoons, etc. When it is time to play the game, take the bride into another room and put the apron on her. Bring the bride back into the room and have the guests look at the items on the apron for about 30 seconds. The bride then leaves the room. The guests are given a minute to try to remember and write down as many kitchen tools or gadgets as they can recall. After the time is up the bride comes back into the room and the guest who had the most correct answers wins a prize. All of the items and the apron are given to the bride as a gift. (Variation for Baby Shower: Attach baby items (rattles, bottle, ointments, etc. to a baby blanket.)

Door Prize
I like fun, fast games as much as the ones that require a little time and thought. As the guests arrive ask them to fill out a piece of paper with their wedding date or, if they are single, their birth date. The person with the date closest to the bride's wedding date wins a prize. (Baby Shower variation: Have guests mark down their birthday. The guest who has the birthday closest to the mother's due date wins the prize.)

Who Am I?
Each guest is given a 3x5 card. The guest is asked to write down a memory they have of the bride. Do not include your name on the card. Collect the cards and then have the bride read each card and guess who wrote that memory. This is a wonderful game because it gives the bride a stack of memories and also allows "strangers" at the shower to get to know how others know the bride. This game also lends itself to tender moments as the guests share their sweet memories of the bride with the group.

More game ideas posted tomorrow!

Bridal Shower (continued)...

My daughter's bridal shower was held on Saturday. Good times! I'd promised that I would fill you in on some of the fun shower games that we played, and I won't disappoint but I thought I'd also set the stage a bit for the shower by showing you the invitation and telling you about the "theme" of the shower.

My friend, "M", is a whiz at card making. Seriously, she is the best. She makes the cutest cards and invitations around. This time she outdid herself. You might recall that my daughter's colors for her wedding are black and white. "M" kept with this theme and made this invitation...

It's hard to tell from the photo, but the card is folded in thirds -- the top flap folds up and the bottom damask flap folds down to reveal the invitation information.

The theme of the shower was "Around the Clock." Each guest is asked to bring a gift that would be used during a particular hour of the day. For example one guest might be assigned the time of 8am -- another 1pm, and another 10pm. The beauty of having an "Around-the-Clock" shower is that the bride gets an assortment of gifts -- rarely are there duplicates. For example, my daughter received towels, a griddle, bath fragrances, a waffle iron, and a beautiful robe for the early morning hours. For the afternoon hours she received a picnic basket, day at a spa, a gardening kit, and everything she needed to make a batch of cookies for the afternoon hours. The evening hours provided them with bedding, movies, a throw blanket, jammies, ice cream maker, place mats, candle holder, etc. Friends and family members become very imaginative with their time slots which makes it a lot of fun! For example, one friend, assigned the afternoon hours, gave her a sour dough starter that is purported to be 110 years old. (That's a good thing, for those of you who aren't familiar with sour dough starters!) She also gave her some spoons and a mixing bowl. Fun, imaginative ideas!

Because the shower started at 10:30 in the morning, it was suggested we have a brunch, which was a great idea. I baked a strata that is one of my all-time favorites. We also had fresh fruit and an assortment of blueberry and banana chocolate chip muffins.

Later today I'll give you three shower game ideas...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Time for a Shower?

I love showers. Bridal or Baby. It doesn't matter. I just love the idea of celebrating the happiest of life's moments with good friends and family. This weekend I'm helping host a bridal shower for my daughter. She's getting married in August and she's home for the weekend, so we are taking advantage of that time and having a partay!

I've been put in charge of the games for the shower, which is right down my alley. Sometimes I hear people groan when they talk about shower games. I'm a bit competitive by nature so generally games of any type elicit a positive reaction from mwaaa, but I understand the negative connotation a little. Often times the same shower games are played ad nauseam, with little thought of change or variety. I'm going to post a few ideas for bridal shower games over the next few days. These games can easily be adapted to baby showers as well. Hopefully, these will add a little diversity to some of your favorites.

First though, I want to let you in on what I believe is the best part of shower games ... the prizes! (Yup, I'm that shallow.) I find it really disappointing when someone works really hard to win a game, only to be tossed a piece of gum as a reward. There's no thought in that. This is what I like to do when I plan the prizes for the shower games. I like to wrap the prizes nicely in bags or paper that reflect the bride's colors. My daughter has chosen black and white for her wedding colors, so I bought wrapping papers and bags in black and white. Then I like the prizes to reflect "What Women Love" -- especially if it is a bridal shower. (If it's a baby shower, then the prizes reflect "What Mothers Love.") For example, women love diamonds, so I might purchase some cute "diamond" (crystal) earrings for that prize. On the outside of the package I will make a little tag with the word "diamonds" on it. That way the women in the group will have a hint as to what is in that package. Another package might say "affection" -- and I'll have Hershey's kisses inside. All the prizes and tags will fall under the catagory of "What Women Love."

Here are some more suggestions of "What Women Love" and some prizes that might be associated with each category:

"Men" - CD of Il Divo
"Get Aways" - small travel case with toothpaste, body fragrances, and lotion
"Memories" - picture frame
"Romance" - favorite chick flick with 'theater' candy
"Day Spa" - small case with manicure/pedicure items
"Chocolate" - you guessed it
"Flowers" - packets of flower seeds
"A Night Out" - gift card to a restaurant
"Perfume" - fragrances
"Soft Glow" - candle

The list could go on and on. Obviously, the sky is the limit with creativity here. What's important is that the prizes look like you've spent some time and thought on them. Making the prizes "special" is one way of letting my guests know that their attendance is appreciated.

In the next few days, I'll share some ideas for shower games...

Thankful Thursday (on friday...)

Typically in my Thankful Thursday posts, I answer three questions that help me focus on blessings that I'm particularly grateful for that week. This week I'm not going to stick with the usual format, because this week has been anything but typical. Three experiences this week made me profoundly grateful. I'll share those with you...

  • The first experience happened on Monday afternoon. I was getting ready for a wedding shower that we're going to be having this weekend for my youngest daughter -- doing a little gift wrapping with my radio turned on. Suddenly the news came on with a breaking story about the metro accident in Washington DC. My heart dropped because they mentioned that the accident was on the "red line, " which happens to be one of the lines that one of my daughter-in-laws takes to work daily. I quickly called her to see if she was alright, and she immediately answered her phone. Her sweet voice was music to my ears. My son had picked her up from work that day. I was so grateful that she was alright and so sad for the many others that were not.
  • Monday evening our eldest son called. As soon as he said, "Hi, Mom?" I knew something was not quite right. He and his wife were in the hospital. Their car had collided with a deer and my daughter-in-law had felt the impact the most. The passenger side windshield, where my DIL was sitting, had been completely shattered and bowed in by the deer. It is a miracle she wasn't seriously hurt. At the time my son called, they were examining my DIL, but aside from a few little cuts on her face and a very sore and bruised body, she has no other side effects. My son and their three children were spared of any injury. Again, I was so grateful.
  • Wednesday found us at Denver International Airport, awaiting the arrival of our son. For the last two years he has served a mission for our church in northern California. During that two year period we received weekly emails and letters from him and an occasional scheduled phone call, but we weren't able to visit with him in person. Can you imagine our excitement as we waited for him to deplane? Words can't describe. I'm so grateful that he is home and that he had such a wonderful experience while he was away. His mission was a life-changing experience for him and a blessing for our family. I'm so grateful that he is home, safe and well. (Here's a photo of him with my husband and our daughter.)
My gratitude has run the emotional gamut this week. Sometimes gratitude takes on the form of extreme relief for grace given and lives spared. Other times it is an offering of happiness and praise. I've felt all that and more this week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday... "In the Pink!"

It's Bloomin' Tuesday and we're in the pink! I can't get enough of this delectable color this year. I'm loving it in clothing, totes, decor and in my garden -- especially in my garden! Here's a sampling of some blushing blossoms that are currently adorning our flower beds...

Top left, clockwise: Nicotiana, Million Bells, luscious pale pink rose, Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens, lovely rose.

To see more Bloomin' Tuesday posts,
go to Ms. Green Thumb Jean's.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Almost missed it...

My peony bushes are tucked away in the corners of our lot -- stashed between aspen trees, junipers, and pines. They are in an obscure spot, not readily seen from the back door. What with our traveling, the wedding planning, and life, I almost missed their peak. Fortunately, I caught sight of them yesterday and picked the whole lot -- on both bushes -- for a beautiful, massive bouquet. Oh how I love their ruffley goodness!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

What moved me this week?
I hope you all have a neighbor (or two or three) that you can count on -- someone who will be there when you are in need (or not). We have several, but the two we feel closest to live across the street from us. A couple of years back Trace Adkins recorded the song, "Find Out Who Your Friends Are." The song chronicles the type of friend we would all like to have (or be). F&J are not your run of the mill neighbors. If we were in need at 2am I wouldn't hesitate to call them, and I know they would be at my door 30 seconds later. It's wonderful to have that kind of friend in a pinch or in an emergency. What's even better is to have that kind of neighbor in your every-day life. Last week my husband and I went out of town. We've done that a lot this year. In fact it seems as if we are habitually going out of town. F&J keep an eye on our house, and, more importantly, watch our cat, Freckles, when we are traveling. I'm so grateful that they make sure Freckles has enough to eat and drink, but being the animal lovers that they are they do more than that. They spend quality time with her while we're gone, giving her attention and love. I'm fairly certain that Freckles looks forward to our departure, just so she can get some tender loving care from our good neighbors. F&J do all this without thought of compensation and with a slight shrug of the shoulder when I thank them. They are such good people. I am moved by my neighbor's good works and their willingness to serve others so cheerfully.

What surprised me this week?
Yesterday I placed an order via email for the invitations for my daughter's wedding. When the printing consultant called me back to review the order, she gave me the cost of the order. To my surprise it was almost two hundred dollars less than I had expected. Oh, how I love surprises!

What inspired me this week?
I've mentioned several times lately that we are in the process of planning our daughter's wedding. While in Idaho this last week I came across another couple, B&J, who is planning a wedding reception for their son. The newlyweds were married several months back at a beautiful wedding in Kentucky. The festivities were held at an exclusive country club next to a beautiful golf course. Apparently, it was an extravagant affair with many luxurious perks. To give you a sampling of the event, as the bride and groom got ready to leave the reception a helicopter swooped down to transport them on the first leg of their honeymoon. Apparently, it was a dazzling wedding and a reception long to be remembered.

B&J don't have the resources or the inclination to host such an ostentatious affair. They live in the country outside a small farming community in northern Idaho. Although they live a modest life, the scenery surrounding their home is anything but plain. Their home is situated on the banks of a huge lake that is surrounded by lush vegetation and pine forests. Against the sky, surrounding the lake is a timbered mountain range comprised of back-country wilderness that stretches to the Canadian border. It is an idyllic setting. B&J have decided, with their son and daughter-in-law's enthusiastic approval, to have the wedding reception in the hay field bordering the lake next to their home. They will set up a beautiful tent, in case of inclement weather, and have several boats parked at the lake for guests to enjoy. They plan on roasting a pig, bales of hay will serve as benches, and wildflowers in mason jars will adorn the tables. Instead of a helicopter as transportation, the bride and groom will arrive in a tractor. I'm certain the newlyweds will have another memorable day.

I love the fact that these two events are so very different, but equally charming. The bride's parents, no doubt, wanted to honor their daughter and future son-in-law with an extravagant flourish that reflected their lifestyle. The groom's family will host an informal, relaxed affair that mirrors their circumstances. Both are wonderful! I am inspired by people's creativity and individuality!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday

It's Bloomin' Tuesday at the foot of the Colorado Rockies. We returned Sunday from our trip to Sandpoint. While there I took a few photos of the beautiful flowers in my mother-in-law's flower beds. It was so lush and green in northern Idaho...

We have had unusually wet, unsettled weather in Colorado recently. As a matter of fact when we flew into DIA on Sunday, Denver was under a tornado warning. Trust me when I say Disneyland has nothing on the ride you get when you fly into Denver during a summer thunderstorm! Anyway, all this moisture has made this corner of Colorado a veritable Garden of Eden. This week I'm featuring a few of my roses that started to bloom while we were gone. I'm sorry that I don't have the names for them. I don't pay much attention to names when I select roses. I let my nose and eyes do the talking. If a rose catches my fancy in color, shape, and fragrance -- she's in! Here's a sampling of these beauties...

I can't help but show off my bougainvillea. She's in heaven with all the humidity we've had in the air...

To see more Bloomin' Tuesday posts, travel on over to Ms. Green Thumb Jean's for a look-see!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Odds 'n ends...

Today is another packing day. This week we're heading off on a short get-away to northern Idaho. Sandpoint to be exact. Beautiful scenery! I'm looking forward to it. We've been traveling a lot lately, and we've had a lot of fun, but I'm ready to settle down and stay home for awhile. We have a busy summer planned. This trip -- then our son is coming home from a 2 year church mission the end of June -- then a grandbaby due to arrive the beginning of August -- and a daughter's wedding the end of August. Sounds like a full summer with lots of planning and preparations. I'm thinking I better put my feet up, enjoy the beautiful lake and forested surroundings of Sandpoint, and start taking my vitamins, because when I get home I'm going to have to hit the ground running. The rest of the summer is going to be bizzzeeee!

Another tidbit... My birthday was a couple of weeks back and my mother gave me some money to buy something I'd love. (I love having money in my purse just for me. It's a heady feeling!) Anyway, the money sat tight in my wallet for a couple of weeks (somewhat unusual), but this week I found just the right thing to spend it on. When I locked my eyes on this comfy rattan bench, it made my heart sing! What's more -- it was on sale at my favorite go-to store. She looks like she's rattan, but she's actually made of polyester, so she'll hold up for years to come. Practicality and beauty -- a wonderful combination. Love the snazzy red cushion and pillow. Thank youuuu, mother!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday...

This week for Bloomin' Tuesday I decided to make a mosaic of sunshiny colors... lots of yellows and oranges in the mix. There's so much blooming in my garden right now -- this is just a little sampling, but it'll have to do!

For more Bloomin' Tuesday fun, go to Ms. Green Thumb Jean's!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

one of summer's little gifts...

I thought I'd share with you what summer was kind enough to bring to our doorstep. We have a patch of strawberries surrounding a little rock garden by our front door. I had to pick these scrumptious berries today before all the birds in our neighborhood heard the news that they were ripening. It only takes one bird with a big mouth beak to get the word out. Tomorrow those plants will be picked clean. Tonight, however, we'll be enjoying these on our ice cream.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thankful Thursday (a day late)

What moved me this week?

This last week we visited our son and his wife in Washington D.C. It was the first time I'd been there and it took my breath away. On Monday we spent the morning at Arlington Cemetery. I imagine a visit to the cemetery at Arlington means different things to different people. For some, walking among the gravestones might be a time to glimpse fragments of our nation's history; for many, it's a time to pay homage and honor to many of our nation's military heroes; and for others it takes on a much more personal note as they visit the grave site or attend the funeral of a loved one. As I walked around that beautiful cemetery and looked out upon row after row of headstones, I was moved. I knew I was walking on sacred, hallowed ground. At that moment my gratitude for those individuals (and their families) that have served and are serving in our military encompassed me.

What surprised me this week?
So many things surprised me this week, but one in particular has stuck in my mind. The night we flew home from D.C. a thunder storm rolled into the city. We were all buckled up, and the plane had taxied out of the gate when the heavens opened and it began to pour. Big, round drops of rain became a deluge with thunder rumbling in the background and lightening dancing all around us. We were grounded -- as were all the flights ready to leave at that time. The runways and taxi strips were littered with planes waiting out the storm.

A mother and her 15 month old daughter were situated in the middle seat across the isle from us. The flight was packed, so the mother and her little one were hemmed in by two strangers -- a young man on one side and a older woman on the other. It looked to be a long night for that baby and those surrounding her. ;o) Almost immediately, the young man came to the rescue. For the two hours we were waiting on the tarmac and the four hours we were in flight, I watched as that young man help with the needs of that baby girl. He held, entertained, and soothed her for hours. The kindness of others is such a welcome surprise.

What inspired me this week?
So many things inspired me this week. One cannot go to our nation's capitol and walk away without being humbled and inspired, however, one thing in particular caught my attention over and over again. From our nation's earliest beginnings and throughout the first 150 years of its history there was constant and repeated reference to Deity by our nation's leaders. God was not only a part of their individual lives, but He was acknowledged repeatedly as the source of strength and inspiration for our developing and fledgling nation.

On the last day of our trip, I stood in the Lincoln Memorial and read the four paragraphs that comprised Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address. Those words are carved into the marble of that beautiful structure. I was struck by Lincoln's humility and his constant reference to "God." I am inspired by great men and women, both past and present, who seek to follow God's will and openly pay tribute to His hand in our lives.

Lil' Girl Cupcake Tote Give-Away Results...

I'm back home again after a week in Washington D.C. We had the time of our lives. There is so much to see. Anyway, I might get back to blogging in a couple of days once I've washed the piles of laundry and caught up on a few other things! Did I mention we have another wedding in the near future? Yes indeedy, the end of August will find my youngest daughter married. Lots to do and plan for around here!

Anyway, on to the winner of the Lil' Girl Cupcake Tote Give-Away contest. Thanks to all those who had the courage to sign up for the give-away after my rule-toting tirade! I just reread my post and I must have taken the "chip on your shoulder" pill that morning. Yikes! Ah well, thanks for forgiving me and signing up anyway!

Hope she's hungry, cause Jan has won the cupcake!

Congratulations, Jan!