Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book-Themed Baby Shower

As many of you know, I LOVE hosting.  I probably could have made a pretty nice career being an event planner :) There is only one thing that I like more than hosting parties; it is when I get to host a party for someone that I really care about. 

Today I was lucky enough to host a baby shower for one of my closest friends, Julie Barnwell.  When Julie asked me, I couldn't have been more excited.  Immediately (as anyone who has ever spent 5 minutes with me can imagine) my brain went into super-drive coming up with ideas for food, decorations, and a theme.  I decided on a book-themed shower for a few reasons... 1) Julie is neither girly nor sporty, 2) Kids now more than ever need actual paper books in their lives, 3) it gave me an excuse to decorate with other colors besides peptobismol pink... yuck.

So armed with this idea, I started brainstorming... and pinteresting.  I found a cool idea to have people bring their favorite childhood book to the shower along with a gift:

Then came the food and decorations... that was the fun part :) I decided to pair children's books with food, and after gathering some ideas from pinterest and coming up with a bunch, the shower was finally here:

Hop on Pop: Chocolate Cake pops... first attempt at Cake pops... I made a chocolate cake and cream cheese icing, then mixed the two together.  I then put them in the freezer for an hour or so then dipped them in candy melt (first the stick and stuck that in, let that sit for a few min, then the whole thing).  It is very hard to get them to stay cold enough to not fall apart, and the candy melt warm enough to coat them, but I am not complaining too much (the ones that fell off I just got to eat ;) )  I am sure there is some secret that practice reveals :)  My food labels are corner bathroom tiles that I got at Home Depot.  They are amazing!  Stand up on their own and reusable (with dry erase markers).  If they get messy with food etc, they wipe right off.  I only have 8 and I had SO many ideas for food I ended up doubling up on a few of them :)

Cat in the Hat: Vanilla cupcakes and blue (dyed) vanilla frosting.  I used red cupcake paper and then cut out quarter sized circles and wrote "Thing 1" and "Thing 2".  I thought these were exceptionally cute.  Props to my sister Natalie for making the frosting spiky like their hair!!

3 Little Pigs: As I said before, this was a group effort.  Matt had originally suggested doing "Wilbur in a Blanket" for Charlotte's Web... While funny, it was a little morbid.  So we picked the 3 little pigs.  
One Fish Two Fish: Goldfish come in so many flavors we just filled the lazy susan with 6 different flavors: 1 fish, 2 fish, cheddar, white cheese, pizza, pretzel, BBQ, and sour cream and onion fish! 

Julie had specifically asked for me to make my cheese dip.  Easiest cheese dip ever: Small block of white cheese velveeta, 1 can Rotel (I like the lime, cilantro), 1 block cream cheese, a few spoonfulls of sour cream. Melt the cheese first, then add the Rotel and cream. DONE.  Then you can get creative with it... I have added shredded chicken, ground beef/turkey, and bacon.  All are amazing... but then, it is really hard to mess up cheese... mmmm :)

Green Eggs and Ham: I made guacamole deviled eggs... basically guac (avocados, green onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice - pour this on the avocados FIRST before adding the other ingredients and it won't turn brown on you, cholula, Worcestershire sauce, salt, paprika), the egg yolks from hard boiled eggs, then stuff the eggs like deviled eggs.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: I made caesar pinwheel sandwiches... Use the Dole caesar salad kit and mix cream cheese with some sun-dried tomatoes and the seasoning packet in the kit, then crush the croutons and mix that with the lettuce, dressing, and cheese, then wrap it up in spinach wraps (to look like the caterpillar).

 Clifford the Big Red Dog: I made lemon puppy chow and put it in "doggie bags".  melt white chocolate and add lemon juice and zest, then pour it over chex and shake with powdered sugar.
Curious George: I made individual serving banana pudding... cool whip, condensed milk, whole milk, vanilla jello instant pudding,  cream cheese mixed together, then layered with bananas (dipped in lemon juice) and crushed wafers.

Peter Rabbit: Simple - Mr. McGreggors veggie garden and dip.
Blueberries for Sal: Again, simple - fruit tray and dip.


Several people had used the actual books as decorations on the table with the food it was paired with... I was worried 1) about the books getting messed up, and 2) space, 3) MONEY.  I had a LOT of food (which limited the amount of space and increased the number of books I would need to buy) and at $10 or so per book... it would get pricy.  So I printed the covers of the books and glued them to cardstock and hung them from the pot rack above where all the food was displayed. 

Make Way for Ducklings: This fit really well with the drinks (you know, water... ducks...).  I made cucumber and blueberry water, and punch - Random combination of blue Hawaiian punch, white cran-peach juice, sprite, and peach/mango sherbert... tasted pretty good!!

 Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs: Easiest meatball recipe ever! Frozen turkey meatballs, Heinz chili sauce, and grape jelly. Dump it all in the crock pot, cook for 4-6 hrs stirring occasionally.

I came up with the idea of having a "Giving Tree" Gift table (sticking with the theme).  Naturally, the Giving Tree HAD to be on the table!! So I made one!  I used a block of foam, cut it into a cylinder and used the edges I had cut off to make the roots.  After carving a wood/bark pattern into the trunk (as well as Baby Cora's initials in a heart- like in the book!), I spray painted it brown, then painted over with a lighter color brown.  Then I glued on some soft foam (what you used to put flowers in vases) to the top, and stuck branches in.  I finished it off by gluing apples to the branches.

Nothing would be complete without a wreath for the front door! When Saskia (aka my partner in crime for most crafty projects) and I raided Michaels, we found these ceramic letters that were just ADORABLE.  So we wreathed it up:

Good looking group!

 Because I am not a huge fan of shower games - some are ok... most are dumb and make people feel uncomfortable because no one really knows each other well, and they are forced to talk, plus the issue of trying to get everyone together to participate and corral them into the same room... SO I like to do ACTIVITIES.  The last shower I threw we decorated onsies.  This worked alright, but it required people to actually have drawing/artistic ability.  This time (again, sticking with the book theme), I decided to make an alphabet scrap book for Cora.  I (with my LOVELY assistants Natty and Sas), pre-made the scrap book pages with letters A-Z and numbers 0-10, and got a TON of stickers and other scrap booking items.  Then everyone picked a letter and decorated the pages however they wanted with that letter!  We had SO much fun doing it, we got the entire scrapbook done!!!  I think Cora is going to LOVE it!

Nurse Natty did the letter "N"

I LOVE THIS GIRL!! Julie, I can't wait to meet baby Cora Mae!!!

 I was so honored to throw a shower for one of my best friends!  What a wonderful day!!!