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My sister Sue and her girls arrived on Thursday night. After picking up some groceries we got back home and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (first movie) in preparation for the party on Saturday. But before then, we had a full day on Friday.

In the morning we headed out to Andrew’s Scenic Acres, a local farm in Milton, Ontario. It was my first time going and we had an amazing time. We spent some time picking raspberries and blueberries, enough to fill 4 small baskets, then did some shopping in the shop (picked up fresh apple pie, butter tarts and homemade jams). We had hot dogs at the BBQ area and the girls played in the small playground and fed the goats. Before we headed to our next stop, we enjoyed a yummy fruit ice cream cone. A perfect summer day:

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After swinging by home to drop off our purchases, we headed to the train station to head downtown to Ripley’s Aquarium. Since we got there at around 6pm, there was no line to speak of (they closed at 11pm). I was so impressed with everything here  from the gorgeous displays to the interactive activities to the amazing Dangerous Lagoon. A must-see for anyone in the area – fabulous.

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My favourite things were the jelly fish, the anemones and the Dangerous Lagoon – it was so freaky to be on the slow-moving walkway going through a tunnel inside the tank and seeing sharks swimming above us. Awesome!!!

To me, one of the best parts of being a new student at Hogwarts was to acquire all the necessary school supplies required to learn how to become a wizard. Since they’re not traditional, I wanted to include that part of the experience in the party. My husband picked up the girls and when they got back to the house, they saw this sign on the garage door. They had their tickets ready to be allowed in. Their first stop was Diagon Alley.

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The girls’ first stop was at Madam Malkin’s to be measured for their robes.

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Once properly dressed and ready to go, they picked out their owls, spell books and potion jars:

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When letting the wands choose the wizard, I handed different wands and made various comments like “No? Ok, let’s try this one…”  and when nothing happened, “No, no. That’s not the right one…let’s find another…”  For each wand, I told them to give it a wave. When they had the right one, I blew air behind their ear. :)

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Next up was the sorting ceremony! I got an actual Harry Potter merchandise sorting hat online. I couldn’t resist. During the ceremony, I was making comments like “Hmmm… I see a lot of bravery here… A sense of adventure… Very courageous… It can only be… GRYFFINDOR!!”

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Sienna being sorted into Gryffindor!

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She was happy to be in Gryffindor lol

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Maddie crossing her fingers, hoping for Gryffindor as well…

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Next was the beginning of classes. I asked all students to follow me to the Gryffindor Common Room and to bring their wands and potion jars with them. We headed down to the basement for our first class: Divination. Incense was burning and the Harry Potter 1 soundtrack was playing throughout the entire party to create the atmosphere. :)

This was the area for Divination and Potions classes:

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I was explaining to the girls what Divination class was. “The ability to see the future! Only very special students have the gift of Sight. Let’s look into the crystal ball…can you see anything?”

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My predictions included:  “I see a big dog in your future…”  (knowing they would see Fluffy later on in the party).  “I see cake in your future!”  “Something bubbly will surprise you today…” (knowing Potions class would be coming up) The girls even got into it by making some predictions of their own.

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Then we practiced our first spell to change something into another color: Multicorfors!  I had them practice their swish and flick motion several times while saying “MultiCorfors”. Once they felt ready, we headed to the table with the cups that had Sprite, a drop of food colouring in the bottom and full of ice cubes. For each one, we assigned a cup to someone to tell their fortune (from the colour chart), then on the count of 3, I poured while they performed their spell. It worked!

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They were very excited. They kept checking the colour chart to see what each colour meant. :)

Next stop: Potions class. They brought their jars over to the Potions table and I instructed them that we were going to follow a recipe for a Good Luck potion and to follow the steps very carefully.  (Notice I put towels down as their placemats and underneath the table in case things went drastically wrong…lol which of course they did, as planned!

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The girls were very excited about making their first potion.

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Ok – ready – let’s follow the steps!

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After a few gross ingredients and potions changing color and foaming a bit, the big finale:

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LOL They freaked out. :)  Nothing like the old standby of vinegar and baking soda to keep things interesting. :) (See my Planning posts for the recipe and ingredients). They got a kick out of the ingredients and the different coloured liquids.  We dumped the potions down the sink, washed our hands, then Professor Snape interrupted classes with an important message: The Golden Snitch was missing! But we had a clue to start the Hunt: Professor Snape saw something suspicious in the Girls’ Lavatory. Off we went!  Where we found…a Mountain Troll!!!! After subduing him, we found the next clue (you can see it stuck behind the top right corner…)

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Clue #1:

To Diagon Alley you must go

To find out what you want to know

Be careful not to lose your way

Look for a clue behind a vase

We went to the living room (Diagon Alley) and sure enough, there was another clue behind the big vase!

Clue #2:

Inside a book you will find

The answers that will ease your mind

The Golden Snitch is what you seek

Something similar is where to peek

We headed to the basement where our bookshelves were:

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They found a gold-coloured book and inside was the next clue.

Clue #3:

Hagrid says music makes Fluffy fall sleep

The Gryffindor Common Room is where to seek

Now they had to find something that played music – some form of musical instrument hidden in the common room. I had hid tambourines and they found them. Next we had to locate Fluffy the three-headed dog in the house and I mentioned that I think I saw him upstairs. Up we went!

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After playing music and successfully putting Fluffly to sleep, they checked the trap door and found the next clue:

Clue #4:

The Mirror of Erised shows what your hearts desire…

Off to locate the mirror!

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We each took a turn peering into the mirror. I was asking “Do you see anything? Do you see the snitch? Any clues?”  Then when it came down to Professor Snape’s turn, Sienna said if he doesn’t see anything, it must be me. (She was right since I’m the only one who knew where it was lol). At my turn, I peered in and said “I see it! I see the Snitch!! It’s in a drawer nearby!” Off they went to the closest drawer and opened it to find a small chest – they opened it to reveal the golden snitch!

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The Hunt was a success.  The reward for finding the snitch was a trip to Honeydukes but first they had to provide their signed permission forms, which they had on hand (thanks to Mom aka Filch).

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And that was it – I made supper and we enjoyed a feast in the Great Hall! I must say the ceiling turned out really great. The girls were fascinated with the “floating candles”. It looked even better as it got darker outside too.

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Diner was pork chops, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, a tomato/mozzarella salad and Caesar salad. for dessert, Hagrid had dropped off a cake earlier in the day and it was a lemon drop cake (lemon mousse cake). All very yummy.

While I was making dinner, the girls continued to practice their spells…

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Sienna wanted to be Harry Potter so we drew a scar on her forehead (with eyeliner).  Maddie was Hermione. Everyone called each other by their proper names throughout the party. :)

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Some other décor items:

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It turned out very well – the girls had lots of fun (and so did the adults!). :)  I’m already planning the next one next year (if they’re still into Harry Potter at that time).

Check out the Planning posts for all the details about how everything came together:

Part 1: The Invitations

Part 2: The Timeline

Part 3: Some decor

Part 4: The Great Hall, décor and more

For the past few weeks, my dining room has been m “party prep area”:

Prep Station

Luckily, we have a dinette area in the kitchen for meals and it’s just my husband and I. :)

I did a test run of the Divination Class décor. I found a dark purple double fitted sheet (still in package!). I used a set of white Christmas lights and laid them on the coffee table, then draped the sheet on top. I found a “crystal ball” at the dollar store – it’s really a clear plastic ball with sparkles inside it – it looked perfect! Once I got it home, I found out that if you bounce it, it lights up. Ha!  There will be no bouncing during Divination class (so as not to take away from the mystique of the crystal ball..lol). I put up the colour chart since we’ll be referring to it when we do our colorful magic soda spell.

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I also finalized the bottles, jars and labels for the potion ingredients for Potions class:

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Here are the ingredients:

  • Gillyweed: Grass (just for fun)
  • Boomslang: Powder detergent  (changes potion color)
  • Mandrake Juice: Mix of water, yellow food colouring and baking soda (changes potion color and makes potion bubble up)
  • Beetle Eyes: Dried red lentils (just for fun and sounds gross)
  • Dragon Blood: Water and red food colouring
  • Acromantula Venom: Mix of white vinegar and blue food colouring (changes potion color)
  • Griffin Claws: Pieces of twigs/branches (just for fun)
  • Phoenix Tears: Water and pink food colouring (just for fun)

The potion recipe I’ll be following is one I found online – I’ll be testing it out before the big event.

Recipe:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup Dragon Blood into potion jar.
  2. Stir in 1 tsp Boomslang.
  3. Add 3 Beetle Eyes and stir 3 times.
  4. Add one shake of Phoenix Tears. Stir 2 times.
  5. Add 1/2 cup Acromantula Venom. Stir 5 times.
  6. Stir in 1 Griffin Claw (use tongs).
  7. Add 1 pinch of Gillyweed.
  8. Carefully stir in one 1/4 cup of Mandrake Juice.

I may have to tweak that depending on how the test run goes.

I made Spell Books as well (I still have to staple them together):

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First page:

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First spell page – I found the definitions of all the spells online with the pronunciation and meaning of all the spells:

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I also included a Potion Ingredients section:

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And a Potions section:

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I downloaded the fonts for the Spell Books, signs and Invitation materials from this site (Lumos, Hogwarts Wizard and HarryP) and used Blackadder (standard in Word).

 Great Hall

And now for the Great Hall floatin candles. After a few attempts to tackle these, I’ve decided to go with the below process. I’ll be hanging navy tulle from the ceiling and decided to hook on some LED tealights to recreate the magical enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall. This was one of my favourite scenes from the first Harry Potter movie and there was no way I was hosting a HP-themes party without these floating candles. Here’s what I did:

Start with an LED tealight (I got the warm white ones that flicker – for authenticity). Test it to make sure it works. I bought two boxes of 24 and will likely only use one box and they all worked (yay):

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Turn it on its side and wrap a piece of double-sided tape all the way around it:

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Next, take a piece of wire (I used 22 gauge brass wire – it was the thinnest I could find) and shape one end into a loop large enough to fit around the base of the flame:

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Slip it over the flame, tighten it and shape the long part vertically:

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Cut the wire to the length you want and make a hook at the top (to hook onto the tulle later). I cut them at varying length to create that random effect:

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Next, get a piece of white paper (I cut 1/3 off the bottom of one regular sheet of printer paper for each candle) and roll the candle (remember it’s wrapped in double-sided tape) enough to make a tube:

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Roll until the seam overlaps a bit (I didn’t want them to be too heavy since it would be hanging from tulle so I didn’t use the whole sheet):

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Next, trim the sheet and tape the tube closed along its length (again, to keep it as light as possible, I just used three small pieces of tape instead of one long strip). And there you have it:

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Now, since this is all pre-party prep work and you’ll need to turn the lights on the day of the party, make sure you have something on hand that’s long enough to turn on the candle from inside the tube – and adjust the length of your paper tubes accordingly. I used a chopstick:

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Once it’s time to hang them, you can adjust the wire so it hangs straight. This is what it looks like lit (…just imagine it flickering…)  :)

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I’m ready to hang them, which I’ll only do the day of the party – I’ll post pics!

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2 weeks until the party!

More to come!

Here are some of the items that will make up the décor of the Harry Potter party.

One of the stops for in the Hunt for the missing Golden Snitch will be playing music (tambourines) to Fluffy the 3-headed dog who will be guarding a trap door. See my cutout below I Googled “three-headed dog” and sketched out a larger version on 9 sheets of brown construction paper taped together, then drew over my pencil with black marker, then cut it out. I made a small envelope/opening in the door to hide the clue. :)

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Once the girls find the Snitch, the reward is a trip to Honeydukes. A shelf in my dinette area in the kitchen will be a candy bar. Dumbledore will put aside some of the Harry Potter themed candies along with a note:

“To thank you for your hard work in helping to find the Golden Snitch, I’ve put aside some of my favourite treats just for you: Chocolate Frogs, Jelly Slugs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. While visiting Honeydukes, be sure to try all of their delicious treats! Thanks again for returning the Snitch – your wizarding skills and clever minds have truly saved the day!”

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Below is the colour chart we’ll be using in Divination class when we practice the “Multicorfors” spell and see what colours the girls’ sodas change into. I found this chart on another blog – it’s such a great idea!

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And here are the signs for the various shops in Diagon Alley where the girls will pick up their school supplies. I just printed out the shop logos, cut them to size and slid them into picture frames.

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The note from Harry (which I’ll include in their invitations) will read:

“Dear Sienna and Maddie,

I was delighted to hear that you were attending the summer term at Hogwarts! I’m sure you’ll have a great time. As a special welcome gift, I’ve bought all of your school supplies for you. You can pick them up in Diagon Alley on your way to Hogwarts. Pay close attention in Potions class and take good care of your owls. I hope you get sorted in Gryffindor House like Ron, Hermione and I. Have fun!

Harry”

More details to come!

I did lots of research online and read about tons of party ideas, what worked well and what didn’t. Finally this is my plan for the party. Since my sister and nieces will be arriving Thursday night and the party is on Saturday, my husband will take them out for lunch on Saturday to give me time to put up the decor and setup everything. I’m planning on doing all the prep beforehand so all that will be left are putting things out, hanging things up and putting my costume on (I’ll be Professor McGonagall). :)

Here’s the timeline and general idea of what will take place (more details of each “event” will come later):

Arrival through garage door (equipped with Platform 9 3/4 sign)

They will have to hand in their Hogwarts Express tickets at the door and once inside, they’ll enter Diagon Alley (the livingroom)

In Diagon Alley, I’ll be setting up different shop areas:

  • Ollivanders: They’ll get to choose their wands (or vice versa: the wands will choose them!)
  • Flourish and Blotts: They’ll pick up their spell books
  • Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions: They’ll pick up their robes
  • Eeylops Owl Emporium: They’ll pick up their owls
  • Potages: They’ll pick up their potion jars (Unable to locate plastic cauldrons in June for the life of me, even online, so they’ll use jars – it’ll be cooler to see through anyway)

Once they’re dressed up in their gear we’ll have the Sorting Ceremony (yes, I have a Sorting Hat). Once we sort them into their houses and everyone is ready to go, let the classes begin!

First Class: Divination held in the Gryffindor Common Room (aka the den)

  • Fortune telling with crystal ball
  • Practicing a change-color spell with magic sodas that will tell the future (more on this later)

Second Class: Potions held in the cellar (aka the basement)

  • Make a potion (I found a recipe online that will change the potion’s color a few times and make it bubble up – I think the girls will love it)

Third Class: Transfiguration — this class will be interrupted by Snape (my husband) bringing a scroll from Dumbledore announcing that the Golden Snitch has gone missing (gasp!) and any student that aids in its recovery will get a reward.

Scavenger Hunt for the Golden Snitch

  • They’ll go from clue to clue in the various areas of the house including looking for Moaning Myrtle in the girls’ lavatory, playing music to Fluffly the 3-headed dog to open the trap door, and peering into the mirror of Erised for the next clue.
  • After finding the snitch, the reward is a trip to Honeydukes (as long as they have their signed permission form!)

Trip to Honeydukes (aka the dinette in the kitchen)

  • The reward from Dumbledore will include authentic HP candies: Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Jelly Slugs
  • Other candies to choose from (I made up some and found some others online) will include: Acid Pops, Unicorn Horns, Sugar Quills, Hippogriff Poop, Dragon Eyes and Pixie Wands

Dinner in the Great Hall (aka the dining room)

  • I’ll be “enchanting” the ceiling with navy tulle and LED “floating” candles
  • Dinner will be simple – chicken, potatoes, salad
  • Cake for dessert (Hagrid will have dropped it off earlier)

And that’s the plan!

I’ll post more details for each event as well as pics a bit later.

 

As soon as I learned that my nieces were old enough to start reading the Harry Potter books, the creative juices started flowing with plans to host a Harry Potter-themed party when they came to visit in July. That gave me about 1 month to scour the Internet for ideas, templates and supplies and 2 weeks later, I’m happy to say I think I’m all set.

First step was the invitations. There are tons of sample Hogwarts Acceptance Letters out there, including the actual text from the book as well as various tweaked versions online for birthdays and other parties. I chose to use the following, printed on parchment with the Hogwarts crest at the top for authenticity:

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The text:

===

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

 

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,

Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

 

Dear Miss Sienna xxxxxxxx,

We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for an elective mid-summer session in Potions, Divination and Transfiguration. Classes will be held on Saturday July xxxx 2014 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm followed by dinner in the Great Hall.

Since the surrounding area is well-protected by Memory Charms, it will be safe to wear normal wizard attire, however if you prefer you may come incognito and arrive dressed in the Muggle manner.

We are looking forward to your arrival at Hogwarts. Please confirm your attendance by replying by owl. If your owl is indisposed, you may send a text via the Muggle telephony system at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Sincerely, 

Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Headmistress, Hogwarts Academy

===

Also being sent with the letter is the Uniform and Equipment list:

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The text:

===

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 

 

First year students will require:

 

Uniform:

1 set of plain work robes (black)

Other Equipment:

1 wand

1 potion jar or vial, size 2

1 ticket for the Hogwarts Express (included in this letter)

1 permission form for Honeydukes signed by a parent or guardian (included in this letter)

      

Books:

The Standard Book of Charms, Spells and Potions

 

Students can also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad.

 

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS!

===

Since the first phase of the party will be the girls shopping at Diagon Alley (aka my living room) for their supplies, this is mainly for information purposes. My plan is to send a separate handwritten note along with their letters from Harry himself saying that he was so excited when he heard they were coming to Hogwarts that he’ll be providing their supplies as a welcome gift and they can choose whatever they like in Diagon Alley. :)

I thought it would be cool to include a permission form for a visit to Honeydukes (there will be a visit to Honeydukes (aka my dinette area) at the end of the party).

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The text:

===

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

 

PERMISSION for VISIT to HONEYDUKES for

 

Sienna

 

This document hereby serves to state the aforementioned first year student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is permitted to visit the candy shop Honeydukes at such a time that the school organizes, and with the signature of the undersigned parent or guardian.

The student will abide by all such rules & regulations relevant to all such expeditions and set by the school as per article 528/Z of the 1714 Edict. 

 

Print Name: __________________

 

Relation: _________________

 

Signature: ___________________

  

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,

Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

===

For the envelopes, also parchment, I printed their address “The bedroom at the top of the stairs” and found some cool looking Owl postmarks (being careful to change their placement on each envelope so they don’t compare them):

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I’ll be shipping the envelopes in a larger envelope to my sister so the “real” post office stamps won’t ruin the effect. :)

These Hogwarts Express tickets will also be in their envelopes:

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Stay tuned for more posts about the planning process, prep and pics of the event!

Sh*t Chris Says

After the Habs’ awesome Game 7 win against Boston, Big Bad Bruin Lucic’s behaviour during the traditional post-game handshake was all everyone was talking about. I got home from work and this conversation took place while I was making supper:

Me: Did you hear what Lucic said during the handshake?

Chris: I don’t really give a shit about golfers.

:)
Hehehe

The man I married is very very wise.

Fore fu&#ers!

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