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I first read about the Fair Oaks Children's Eater Bonnet Contest on the Real Housewives of Northern Virginia blog a couple of days before the event.  I'm not for last minute things like this, but given we had just watched the "Max & Ruby" episode where Ruby enters an Easter bonnet contest--an episode that Sweet Girl just loves--how could I NOT take the girls?  So, I thought I'd leave it up to Sweet Girl to decide.  I asked her on Friday if she wanted to do an Easter bonnet parade and contest.  Sweet Girl's eyes got really big and a she said "YES!"

We looked at some ideas on-line and then got to work before lunch.  Both girls painted their "bonnets" and we sat them aside to dry until after quiet time.  After quiet time, I helped the girls put the finishing touches on them.  They had a lot of fun with the foam Easter stickers.  Love Bug would not take her "bonnet" off once it was completed!  Sweet Girl really liked wearing her "bonnet" and even picked out special blue ribbon (just like Ruby did) to tie it on.

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Top view of Sweet Girls' "bonnet" creation.
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My "bonnet" and yes, I was the only adult there with one. :)
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Love Bug's "bonnet" creation.
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Love Bug playing peek-a-boo with the mirror.
It was hard getting the girls to bed Friday night because they were excited about the contest.  My plan was to eat breakfast before leaving on Saturday.  Fair Oaks Mall was offering a continental breakfast, but I had never been to this event and wasn't sure if their would be enough or if the girls would like what was available.  I packed some snacks and went to bed--later than I had planned.

I woke up at 9:30 a.m.  Fifteen minutes before I actually wanted to leave.  I'm not real familiar with Fair Oaks Mall and wanted to allow plenty of time to get there.  We all got dressed, grabbed our snack bag and "bonnet" bag and headed out the door.

We made good time getting there and finding out where we needed to be.  The girls ate a cereal bar on the way in because again, I didn't know what to expect once we got to the Grand Court of the mall.  I was surprised that there were not more people there, especially given that there were three $100 Fair Oaks Mall American Express Gift Cards up for grabs!  We registered and then were off to see the judges.  The judges included Sharon Vulova (Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman), Andrea S. Khoury (Real Housewives of Northern Virginia founder and blogger) and Jeanne Sanders (Volunteer Fairfax Executive Director).  They asked Sweet Girl a couple of questions and I told the judges some details about how the girls made their bonnets.  I kind of felt like one of those pageant moms bragging on their children!  The girls even spun around to show off their "bonnets" for the judges.  Then, we got to have some of the yummy breakfast that was provided from the 
Corner Bakery Cafe.
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Registration table.
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Breakfast table.
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Judges table. Andrea Khoury (L) and Jeanne Sanders (R)
Next, everyone gathered into the "spring gardens" to have a group picture taken with the Easter Bunny.  The picture of the girls waiting to go into the "gardens" is one of my favorite of the day.  It's just too precious!  (The other is the one when Sweet Girl is being handed her prize bag.)  I had to laugh when I saw one of the group shots I took since neither one of my girls' faces is visible! (pictures are below)
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Waiting to go into "the gardens" for a group picture. <3
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Group shot of contestants.
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The girls checking out "the gardens."
There was a little down time before the judges announced the winners.  Then, they called everyone together for the announcements!  We were sitting in the front of the group eagerly awaiting to hear the winners.  I reminded Sweet Girl what number she was and told her to listen if they said her number.  

There were three categories:
  • Best international theme home-made Easter bonnet creation - This was won by a boy who had decorated a sombrero-type hat.
  • Most humorous home-made Easter bonnet creation - This was won by a little girl who  had a real marshmallow Peep on her bonnet.

And then, came the last category....Most original home-made Easter bonnet creation. When they announced Sweet Girl's number, she jumped up and walked over to the announcer to get her prize.  She told me she thought there was going to be a present in the gift bag.  I explained to her that there was "money" in there that she could spend.  I was so excited for her!  I didn't think either one of the girls would win when we first thought about entering, but our odds were pretty good with about a dozen contestants.

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Ed. Cassidy, Marketing & Sponsorship Director, announcing the winners.
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Sweet Girl getting her prize.
As if winning the bonnet contest wasn't exciting enough, I took the girls to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny "by themselves" (as Sweet Girl said).  Sweet Girl wanted to take some candy for the Bunny since "there's a person inside who might want a snack."  It wasn't easy getting both of them to look at the camera, but we got a cute photo.
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Our view while waiting in line.
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Sweet Girl liked looking at the creek with real running water while we waited.
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Books from the Easter Bunny.
We ended up staying at the mall a while longer and the girls played in the play area before we had lunch.  Then, we went to the Family Christian Bookstore to look around.  Sweet Girl wanted to pick something out to buy with her prize.  So, I let her and Love Bug pick out a stuffed friend and a little toy.  Sweet Girl is so thoughtful, she even picked out a little something for Shaba Girl.  We also scored the VeggieTales video on sale.
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Bought with Sweet Girl's prize!
I had such a great day with my girls.  The Fresh Beat Band's "Great Day" kept playing through my head.  Even if neither one of my girls had won, our day would've still been great!  Sweet Girl winning was just the icing on the cake!  I'm very thankful for the time spent with my girls and for us all to get to try something new together.  I am very blessed!









**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  

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