It's sometimes challenging to take good pictures of things as you're rushing around pulling a party together. Here are a few shots from late night cake pop preparation and alphabet cookies to the crazy hot pink and orange deviled eggs my mom made; the result of cake pop delirium and too much wine! They were something! It was a beautiful sunny day and we were able to have the party outside on my mother's deck overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Lanterns, sparkly letters strung and hung, a 'Baby Mama' banner which I found and fell in love with while searching on etsy, balloons, bright tissue paper flower garland, hot pink roses in blue vintage mason jars and orange marigolds from the garden, bright fabric, and modern fun blocks were among the decorations. The cake pops were inserted into styrofoam blocks that I wrapped in bright crepe paper and set upon the dessert table with the alphabet cookies and baby food jar cakes. The sunshine made the bright colors all the brighter!
We had an alphabet theme for my sister's baby shower (in case you haven't caught on to that by now!). One day, while at Michael's, I came across a made-for-teachers bulletin board alphabet with green polka dotted trim. It was super cute and I liked the idea of bringing it back to elementary school and learning to write. Especially since my sister is a teacher. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do with it when I purchased it but then it came to me.
I was going to make a book!
A book where guests can share their wisdom with the new parents in an A-Z format.
It is not only a great activity for the guests but a keepsake for the new mama.
Here's what I did:
Cut out each letter and pasted it onto a piece of lined writing paper, color photocopied each page to make it seem more finished otherwise the heavy cardstock of the letters was to weighty for the lined writing paper, made a front and back cover which I laminated, and then had the whole thing spiral bound. Pretty simple.
On the back page we all wrote in our name and our guess for the baby's birth date and weight.
I think it was a pretty good idea!
A lot of times a shower invitation will contain a card that asks you to write something and bring it with you to the shower. I always forgot mine. Doing it right at the party seemed like a better idea. It's simple one word or short sentence format makes it an easy thing to do even as the presents are being opened.
Two other variations of this would be:
A photo book for a more finished version. Take pictures of all 26 letters, maybe from signs that you see around town or even from books or stencils. Make a photo book online putting only the letter photograph on each page and leaving the rest of the page blank for writing. You could mix in prego pictures of the new mama or the happy couple. Or even photos of the couple from when they were a baby!
Or for a more home made scrapbook feel, just paste letters to a pre-bound white page sketch book or small scrap book, heck, even blank pages in a three ring binder would do the job!
Pass it around and see just how clever your guests are!
A while back I saw rainbow cake baked in a mason jar and fell in love.
At that moment I knew for my sister's baby shower I would attempt to bake cake in baby food jars. How appropriate!
Bright Pink, orange, and blue are her colors and with the help of the new neon food coloring on the market (gasp! sorry all-natural food coloring, you just didn't work for this party!) I was able to achieve just that. It was actually quite easy. Spray the jars with a non-stick baking spray and fill with batter. I layered my colors but didn't pay too much attention to being perfect. I wasn't looking for stripes just colorful fun cake. It's important to fill the jars just shy of the halfway mark to ensure that it doesn't rise up and leak over the sides while baking. That wouldn't be so pretty. I used 4oz jars which is the perfect snack size equivalent to a cupcake. After filling the jars, place on a cookie sheet, or in a cupcake pan, and bake. After they have cooled completely top with a dollop of frosting.
I like that the whole sweet treat is contained in the jar. You could even put the lid on, cover it with a coordinating piece of fabric, tie a ribbon around it and use it as a cute baby shower favor!
Ours were placed on the dessert table next to a pile of bright orange spoons (you need a spoon to eat the cake out of the jar) to enjoy while watching the big present-opening-event.
My very talented mom has made it her "thing" to transform our baby shower invitation into a quilt for the new little one. She did it for me back in 2009 with an owl quilt that is fantastic and bright and really outdid herself this time around, too! Look at this quilt she made for my sister. We hung it up at the shower as part of our decor. Amazing!
She changed the cat to look like my sister's cat. Very clever, mom!
I searched everywhere for the right invitation for my sister's baby shower. I knew what I was looking for and I just couldn't find it.
I wanted to make it myself but I lean more towards cutting and pasting of actual paper and that just wasn't going to work in this case. I needed computer design skills.
Sadly, it is a language I do not speak.
Then I thought to myself, hmmm, hold on a second here, I have a super cool graphic designer lady living right next store. Maybe she can help.
Yay! I am so lucky to have Bethany Ng as a neighbor!
She turned my general sketch of a tree with the alphabet "growing" from it with a few cute critters into a sweet reality that was even better than I imagined. It was so nice to work with her.
Check out her website and blog here.
This was the top portion of the back side of the invite. The information for the party was listed underneath.
It's next Saturday, so I'm geared up for my east coast trip and getting all of my baby shower ideas together:
Alphabet theme (as you can see!) in bright hues of pink, orange, blue and green, cake pops as favors, colored cupcakes in baby food jars, A-Z necessities for the new parent, cookies, a fantastic party decoration that I found online that has to be kept top secret until the big day, and a few other treats for my very prego sis.
These images belong to Bethany Ng. Copyright 2011. Be nice. Don't steal. And be sure to give credit where credit is due!
I've made my share of new mom mistakes. I forgot to pack a change of clothes in my carry-on bag on our first flight together at three months which resulted in a blow out of the smelly kind, a onesie that had to be peeled off and thrown in the trash and a baby wearing only bloomers and a zip up hoody. I've gone off to meet a friend for lunch and forgotten to pack a bottle resulting in me scarfing down half of a sandwich and racing home. I learn from my mistakes; there is an extra onesie in my bag at all times and I never leave home without my little cooler packed with a bottle and a teething treat.
Yesterday, after music class which ends at noon, we decided to go out for lunch. We being my husband, who was the only dad at class, and my friend and her daughter who is ten days younger than Clementine. The adults sat in the booth and two high chairs were placed at the end of the table. This sounds risky but it actually was fine. Both girls sat like little eight-month-old-ladies throwing one toy on the ground after another (why don't those high chairs have a built in net under them to catch everything?) and watched us eat.
Clementine is at a stage where she stares at us and our food and gives us looks like "Hey, I love steak. What's up with all of these pureed fruits and vegetables? Have you tasted this rice cereal?" There happened to be two thick round carrot slices on my plate next to my panini. Oh, a little color on the plate, I thought to myself, how healthy.
Why not? She can gum the carrot and feel like she's eating with us. It will be fine.
Happily, she took the carrot and started sucking. I was listening to my friend's story intently when my husband interrupted to ask what was wrong with Clementine. I looked over at her and her face was bright red and her eyes were all watery as she kept right on licking that carrot. What's going on?! Is she allergic to carrots? No, she eats them all of the time! What is it?! My husband picked up the other carrot on my plate and took a bite.
It just so happened that it was a pickled spicy carrot.
She had a little water and forgot all about it. That's the best part about babies. They still love their parents even after they do something stupid.
As for me, add it to my list of rookie mom mistakes. Taste food before giving it to your baby. Noted.