It’s August in Shreveport. It’s hot. It’s humid-triple digits people. No woman in her right mind wants to turn on her oven; and after cooking a whole turkey for Christmas in July – in July, I wasn’t making that mistake again. My house was 80 degrees y’all. You know what Santa brings you for Christmas in July when the house is 80 degrees? Pit stains. I’m not sure if I’ll ever forgive Marissa for cooking it at my house instead of hers; but, I digress…
My motivation for oversharing the above with you folks is my reasoning behind choosing Mulan for August. With DMN: Toy Story in July we did pizza so I wouldn’t have to cook and heat up the house and I needed another good to-go food that would go well with a Disney Movie. I thought about doing Greek for Hercules but that’s Jeff’s second favorite Disney movie so I’m saving that for March of 2015. Yes, people, I do have DMNs planned out till August of 2015! But as I said in DMN: Origin, I am Planny McPlannerson. It’s just what I do, y’all. Don’t judge, if you’re reading this you’re either amused by my madness or think I’m cool; either way- made you look.
One of the easiest things to order-in is Chinese food, and so that paired perfectly with Mulan. I never saw Mulan in the theaters and saw it for the first time with Jeff after we’d been married almost 4 years. Of course, after I saw it I loved it; and knew it would be a modern classic. I’m happy that Jacs has female Disney characters like Mulan and Anna to look up to and see that having heart is half the battle, and to never give up on yourself or those you love.
Since I didn’t have to concentrate on food, and the décor would be my total focus, I knew I wanted to go all out and do something unique. After looking up various searches on Pinterest I came across Patricia with Festive Enchantments and loved the awesome Mulan party she did for her daughter Zoe. She created a cherry blossom tree across her wall and it was beautiful! I knew as soon as I saw it I wanted to use that same concept over my sideboard. Patricia said that she used tissue paper for her blossoms but with me having a cricut I knew that I needed to use cardstock. I also thought that cardstock would be great cause I could possibly reuse them depending on how hard it was to get them off the wall. As you regular readers know, the emphasis in the dollar store in dollarstoredisney.com is to do things as frugally as possible. I’m also working on a project with Shreveport Princess Parties that I’m super excited about sharing when we get that fleshed out, and thought that saving the blossoms might come in handy later.
When I was looking for a petal shape to cut out the blossoms I looked at google images of the cherry trees and noticed the blossom has a bright center that fades out through the petal. After cutting the blossoms, while they were still on my cricut mat, I took a fuchsia stamp pad I had and dipped my finger in it and dabbed the center to recreate the bright center; I thought this did a good job of getting depth in the blossoms. I also used two different colored pinks for the card stock so that it would be more reminiscent of the tree with its various pink colors. After pulling the cardstock off the mat, I pushed the blossom down into a medicine cap (hey, it was the perfect size so whatever works, right?) to make the blossom more 3D.
Once I had the blossoms all cut out I took my dollar store black crepe paper and taped it to the wall for the trunk and branches. After I had that in place as the frame I took the blossoms and placed them on the wall with glue dots. I made sure to over lap them so it would resemble a full tree and not look sparse. I also placed a few to look like they were falling or had fallen onto the branches and trunk. Jacs loved watching me create the tree and couldn’t wait to show everyone at the party. (When you’re 2 and you decorate and have people over it’s not just a movie night, it’s a party.)
One of my favorite quotes from Mulan, besides “Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow…”, is “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” I cut it out of vinyl and used my transfer tape to get it on the wall as straight as possible and not, as Jacs would say, caddywhompus. Back at Christmas time the Disney Store had the Disney Animators Collection on 40% off and I had a free shipping coupon, so I bought up the ones that Jacs doesn’t have and have them in my closet to give her as various gifts throughout the year. I thought I would use this DMN as a good excuse to use it as décor and give her a prize. Y’all know I’m just really jonesing to get them all up and in her princess room, right? Don’t tell.
Similarly to DMN: Lion King, with the background of the sideboard as the focus, I wanted to keep the actual sideboard simple. I thought it would be cool to display the Mulan animator versus just giving it to her as a straight gift. Usually I am a big fan of the Animators but Mulan looked less like her character and more like something you’d find in “it’s a small world®” in Magic Kingdom, but, again, I digress. To fill out the sideboard I took a dish that matched the tablescape and put the bar snacks in it and displayed the sake bottle we bought in Disney during our 2008 trip. I had used all our sake cups so I turned espresso cups around to look like sake ones. Hey, it worked for me and I’m all about repurposing and using things on hand with dollar store additions. I was going to cut out Chinese characters for the sconces but I found these clear stickers at Hobby Lobby on 50% off so I grabbed 4 packages of them to use in my decorating.
For the tablescape I used my black chargers with my white dollar store plates, dollar store napkins and dollar store wine glasses and our Mickey flatware. To give the wine glasses extra pop I mod podged a red napkin on the bottom and used a sticker on the side. I love using the clear glasses over and over again and dressing them up in different ways. It’s definitely been worth $1. Using the stickers came in handy since there were 4 ladies drinking wine and we had 4 different characters so we could keep track of our glass with ease.
My in-laws love sushi (thanks to yours truly) and have a couple of sake and sushi sets including one from Epcot’s World Showcase. When I knew I was doing Mulan I asked if I could borrow them to fill in the things I had on hand and my mother-in-law happily boxed them up for me. Another great tip for party and DMN planning – always ask if someone has something you can borrow versus spending money, Facebook is a great tool for that when decorating. Having Donna’s sushi set brought some great color to the table and really brought an elegant Asian feel to the tablescape. It was also cool to have things bought in Disney World to add to the purpose of DMN. For a simple centerpiece I used dollar store takeout containers, Styrofoam, and some fresh flowers to brighten the table. I used my candle-chargers and dollar store candle holders and candles to round out the table.
To round out the dining room I took dollar store black poster board ($0.69 each) and cut them in half to look more like Chinese banners. I cut out red Chinese characters out of cardstock and glued them to the poster board and used dollar store clear packing tape to hang them. The characters I chose were love, strength and honor. I thought those were appropriate for multiple aspects of Mulan. I also cut the logo out of black cardstock and placed it on the fireplace. We also found a station on Pandora that played Asian music so it really felt like you were in a cool Asian restaurant.
The dessert for DMN: Mulan has to be one of my favorites of the DMNs so far, so I wanted to have that be a part of the tablescape and the reveal. I used dollar store takeout boxes and put stickers on them and placed my dessert inside. It ended up really looking great and bringing some good height to the table. Plus the story of my father-in-law, Senior, trying to eat paper thinking it was coconut is going to be one to chuckle at for years to come. Courtnei almost died from laughing, and I did, too.
Along with the sideboard and tablescape I try to decorate or bring the theme to the island in the kitchen where we have our apps and drink our signature cocktail. Similarly to the DMN: Sword in the Stone, I wanted to highlight another great quote from the movie so I typed it up on Word and printed it on red cardstock. Then I just placed it in a dollar store frame and placed it on the island. I had flowers left over and an extra takeout box so I made an extra flower arrangement and placed it by the frame. I also took clementines we had and made a sign explaining they represented friendship and luck.
Since I knew we would be drinking our cocktail while we waited for the food to arrive, I had some themed bar snacks to munch on. I used Donna’s soup bowls that came in her set to serve the snacks in. We had fun at World Market picking out some neat snacks, and they were all $1.99 each so it wasn’t too expensive. Jeff also found some wasabi-soy almonds while he was out so I used them as well.
If you’ve visited this site before, y’all know I love me a signature cocktail. This one was fun because we used a bottle of raspberry sake we brought back from Disney from our 2008 trip. We had started a collection of wines from around The World Showcase and I thought it would be neat to open one and use it for DMN. We added club soda to it to make it less sweet and add a bit of bubbly but Ivy liked it as is. Lush. Just kidding!
Along with the raspberry sake we also bought a traditional bottle of sake so the guys had that and hot and made sake bombs. For those of you unfamiliar with sake bombs, it’s a glass of cold beer with a shot of hot sake dropped in and chugged, similar to an Irish Car Bomb. I also bought a bottle of cold sake at World Market so they would have a plethora of sake options.
Along with always having a signature cocktail, I always have crafts or activities for Jacs to do while we are eating our apps. I was going to do a panda craft I saw on Pinterest, but when I saw these panda plates at the dollar store that looked so much easier. I took google eyes I had left over from DMN: Monsters, Inc., and let her glue dot them on to the plate and she got to make a craft for everyone. Girl loves her some glue dots (wonder where she gets that from) so she enjoyed making the panda face. She also found some Panda chocolate filled cookies while we were in World Market, so for $0.99 I let her have them. My brother-in-law loves the pocky when we are in the China pavilion in Epcot so I got Jacs some for her and Uncle Chris to share. I also found a red chopsticks set at the dollar store that was connected like a clothes pin so she could be like us. Took her about 5 mins before she broke it apart just to “be like daddy’s” so I guess that was a fail. At least they were only $1.
Being from a theatre family we will use any excuse to dress up and DMN is the perfect time to dress-up or at least themed. If you haven’t discovered Disneybound on Pinterest then you most definitely need to, it’s our inspiration for a lot of outfits here at dollarstoredisney.com. It’s really helpful for using clothes on hand, but making them fit a theme or character. For DMN: Mulan, Jacs was, of course, Mulan. Jeff was Shang. Donna was Ping (Mulan’s male alter-ego). Chris was Mushu. Senior was Khan. Ivy dressed in her kimono, and Courtnei and I wore our best Asian inspired shorts and top, respectively. Not bad for it being things from our closets. Everyone was pretty spot except for Jeff looking a bit like Russell from Up (DMN April 2015.
Although I didn’t cook the food, Jacs and I did make the dessert that morning. I found an idea on Pinterest and just couldn’t resist using that for dessert. I know I could’ve just done fortune cookies but where’s the fun in that?! I took my traditional coconut cupcake recipe and then transformed them into
They were so cute! I took Rice Krispies and dipped the cupcakes in them to make the rice part and took green and yellow candies left over from my Mr. Potato Head cake-pops from DMN: Toy Story, and used those for the peas and corn; then I took orange starbursts and quartered them to use as carrots. I took off the candies to eat mine, but I the Rice Krispies pared well with the fresh coconut in the buttercream. To make it look like actual “fried rice” I served them in the dollar store takeout boxes and sat them on some white paper shred so they would be closer to the top and filled in the gaps with extra Rice Krispies. They really looked like boxes of fried rice at first glance and in Senior’s defense, the paper could have looked like coconut; two-inch long crinkled pieces of coconut, but it was white so I’ll give it to him.
Besides the cupcakes I did have another signature dessert that I made for Jacs. About two months ago I saw these at Dollar Tree in the candy section.
Who in the world would ever want to eat a fried egg gummy?! I still have no idea who would actually want to eat them, but I sure as heck knew I wanted to use them. Everyone loves Mulan’s smiley face porridge on her first day of training and these fried egg gummies were perfect for that. I couldn’t get my hands on some candied bacon but I used the gummy slices left over from the DMN: Toy Story Hamm cookies and used that for the mouth. Fried egg gummies and a “bacon” smile over coconut gelato was a perfect themed dessert for Jacs. She liked the gelato part but as for the gummies, I’ll let the pic speak for itself.
Fun decorations, themed cocktails and food, great desserts; I think it’s safe to say we didn’t bring dishonor on our cow and everyone enjoyed the evening.
Stay tuned next month for “The best day EVER!” when we do DMN: Tangled.
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