Welcome back, friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on here. So long, in fact, that I’m a bit embarrassed by it. But can I also be totally honest here and say that there’s a small part of me that’s just a teensy bit proud of that? The overachiever in me can’t stand to not do something 110%, but the downside of that is I
sometimes a lot of the time get hyper-focused and forget to chill. Last year was such a busy year, and the last few months in particular felt like we were going at a break-neck speed, so this year, I’m endeavoring to exercise a bit more restraint. I’ve come to the realization that I’m the type of person who’s always going to be busy with one project or another, so instead of saying “After this project, I’ll slow down” (which obviously never happens)—I’m working on establishing periods of rest in the midst of the projects. Anyone else relate, here?
This is all somewhat new to me and I’m trying to figure out what works. And what this means for the blog exactly, I don’t really know. I certainly want to keep growing and sharing; I just may not be doing that quite as aggressively as I initially planned when I first got this up and going.
But I think that’s enough of that. Let’s get to what I’ve been dyyyying to share for ages now: The CinderEtta Party.
I knew well before Etta’s third birthday that we were going to do a Cinderella theme for several reasons:
- The name. I mean, CinderEtta. It speaks for itself really.
- At the time, Disney’s live-action remake was by far her favorite movie. She called it “The Butterfly Cinderella movie.” We watched it a lot. And I was totally ok with that because it just may be my favorite movie ever. The costumes, the characters, the actors, the sets, the cinematography, the message. Really, what more timely and universal message can a movie have besides to “have courage and be kind?” Everything about that movie speaks to me.
- When I was a little girl, my mom threw me a Cinderella party too, complete with my own Prince Charming and a carriage in the middle of my living room.
Now, believe it or not, I started planning this party by saying “let’s just have a simple Cinderella party.” Go ahead. You can laugh. I’ve laughed at myself many times. But really and truly, that was the plan: a handful of girls in princess dresses and a pretty backdrop and cake.
But everything changed when I found a Prince Charming costume on eBay. It wasn’t high quality by any means, but as soon as Etta saw it, her eyes lit up and she begged for my younger brother to be her Prince (Mr. Kit). He said yes because he’s a good uncle like that and then the entire scope of the party changed.
Owen had to be a Prince too, of course.
And Edmund was obviously meant for Gus Gus.
My wildest and favorite idea was to turn Aaron and my Dad into the coachmen and footman.
Yes, the men in my life are amazing.
For myself, the fairy godmother was the obvious choice. Helena Bonham-Carter’s dress in the movie is quite outlandish and I had no aspirations to recreate that, so I was more than happy to settle for an outfit inspired by the original animated movie with some leftover purple fabric I had lying around. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out but……..Etta was underwhelmed. The conversation went something like this: “But Mommy. I weally weally weally want you to be the white and sparkly fairygodmother.” Now who can say no to something like that? I can’t anway. So I passed my original costume onto my Mom and got busy whacking away at an old wedding dress I found for $10 a local thrift store. And when it was all said and done, the boss was pleased.
As ever, my family and friends took up the theme with gusto and added an even greater depth of characters to the party.
With all the hullaballoo over the characters, we couldn’t just leave it at a simple cake and ice cream party anymore—-we needed to tell the story. Now this is where I say that on my own, I can overdo it a bit. Adding my mom to the equation takes everything up a notch certainly, but together we can add balance to each other. But once you add my daughter to that mix, forget it. We’re done for. All checks and balances go out the window and things keep getting more and more larger than life. The three of us together make for a dangerous combination.
So as I said before, our goal was to recreate the entire story for the girls. When they arrived, they were given an apron and headscarf to keep as a party favor. I made these from some spare curtains.
Of course they had to complete all sorts of chores before they could go to the ball like sweeping and scrubbing the floor (tissue paper and dry erase marker), putting away the laundry, and taking care of the various whims and wishes of the stepsisters and stepmother.
Then they were taken to “the fairy godmother room.” First they had to find the mice, lizards, and goose (we had hidden these toys and figures around the room for them to search for).
Now, at last, they could get ready for the ball. They spent a lot of time picking out their dresses and jewelry, and getting their hair and makeup done. When they were ready, they were escorted in the carriage by the coachman and footman to the ballroom.
The moment when Etta entered the ballroom and saw her prince was without a doubt, the most precious thing to watch. She was completely swept off her feet and the sparkle in her eyes and the look of complete adoration and happiness was obvious to everyone. I’ll never forget her face as long as I live. And if I had hated all of the preparations leading up to that (which I didn’t, obviously. I loved every minute of it), that would have made it all worth it.
Cupcakes, cookies, and punch followed. After that, we were able to go outside and re-enact one of my favorite scenes from the movie: the garden scene with Ella and Kit. It was another magical moment and each of the girls really enjoyed swinging on the flower-covered swing with a handsome prince behind them (I mean, who wouldn’t?).
That was pretty much the end to the party, although the official end was my Dad regaling us with his retelling of the story of RinderCella. If you haven’t seen the original, check out this link. My parents even made it into a book for Etta to keep.
It was a pretty magical day, to say the least. And going back through all of these photos, has me even more excited for Etta’s 4th birthday party coming up in just a few weeks. So stay tuned for those photos hopefully before too long. It’s going to be simpler. (No really, it IS.)