There are few things I enjoy more than planning a party like this! Basking in the sun on the white beaches of Cancun — sure. I’m afraid that my “basking in public” days may have passed however, due in no small part to the fact that “cooking ” is ranked neck and neck with “basking.”
So it is with enthusiasm that I start the planning of this Giant Baby Shower. Never one to do things halfway, this should be the PERFECT size group for me. FINALLY a crowd capable of eating my vat of potato salad!! We get together with Maria, her oldest daughter Betty, and Jose. It is decided that they will provide all the food (YUM) and I will provide the decorations, the cake, and a large fruit platter with a fruit dip (recipe coming up!).. They also love potato salad and I quickly offer to make my typical recipe which just happens to serve about 100. They will get the table and chairs and linens, and I will get flowers and all the decorations. We know it is a boy by now, so we decide on pale blue and a pale sage green for our color theme.
Now I have a fairly extensive supply of party goodies…. and I am no stranger to baby showers. I have four miniature baby buggies that I have decorated with ribbons and flowers for other showers. I have vast supplies of ribbons and silk flowers and vases and all manner of party goodies in what my husband fondly calls the “Crap Room”. I do not throw things away except at gunpoint. NOT only that, I am now the proud owner of my new “CRICUT” scrapping tool, which the kids pitched in and got me for Christmas.
Now, you scrappers out there KNOW what a cool machine this is. You either have one or you WANT one. Let me tell you, THEY are great additions to your scrapbooking repertoire! The things you can make with this litttle machine are endless!! And it is very easy to learn to use. For an entire week I sat in my den with my little Cricut on the coffee table and pumped out banners of all sorts to hang around the house… Big blue letters on backgrounds of various patterns that I strung together with small satin ribbons….. Cut outs of storks and babies and little ducks and teddy bears were strewn from one end of the house to the other. I was unstoppable. And the more I played with this machine, the more crafty I got. So I kept going until I had miles of banners and piles of baby-shower-ish decorations. I was the Mad Scrapper. “What’s for dinner, honey”, asks the work-weary husband. “Can’t you see I am busy here?”, the wild-eyed woman replies. ” I am crafting a 40 foot banner of adorable little baby silhouettes on all different kinds of backgrounds made from very expensive card stock paper that I bought with your hard earned money. Food? I’m sure you can find something to eat.”
In addition to the miles and piles of clever little cut outs, I also have to decorate the additional miniature baby buggies, as we have 8 tables and only four buggies. You have to love Google, when you can type in “miniature wire or metal baby carriages” and UP comes exactly what you are looking for — PLUS I can have them in three days. How did we SURVIVE without this? If memory serves, we drove miles in search of such unusual things and now they are but a click away. Either that or we actually lived WITHOUT miniature wire baby buggies. Could that possibly be it?
So then I start thinking about the centerpieces for the tables. Flowers are great but they are also very expensive and famous for dying immediately. So I consult with a very nice woman that I recently met who does events — BIG TIME events — as a business. I email her for a suggestion for centerpieces. She suggests that I do trays with little baby necessities and perhaps a small vase of flowers or flowers sprinkled around the tray. A great idea!!
Off I go to Michael’s Crafts (one of our best crafts stores) and JoAnn’s Fabrics, another great source for scrapping supplies. Lucky for me, Easter approaches and so they have little felt easter pails that are blue with yellow duckies on them. Also they have stuffed animals on sale. Walmart is perfect for all the baby paraphenalia, so I buy baby bottles, tons of bibs, pacifiers, sippy cups, rattles, baby socks, and rubber duckies.
Off to Smart and Final, as they have really nice quality plastic serving pieces. “Smart and Final”, if you are not familiar with this store, is a warehouse-type store with discount prices on food and a variety of restaurant supplies. They are smaller stores than Costco, and you don’t have to buy everything by the gross. Not that I have anything against buying by the gross– but sometimes I don’t want a 5 gallon jar of capers, and there are times when a 10 gallon drum of olive oil just seems excessive. So I find the perfect platters – white plastic, about 18 inches square.
Now it is time to bring out the trusty hot glue gun. You are not REALLY a crafter unless you own one of these and an ample supply of hot glue cartridges. You can literally attach almost anything to anything else with this little invention. I have attached my own fingers to any variety of things, as a case in point. “Elmer’s” stock must have plummetted when these little babies hit the craft stores! Horses are no longer coveted for their glue-making parts now that we have advanced to the far more dangerous, but effective, HOT glue process. I think I have made my point.
So now I am planted again on the couch, hot glue gun in hand, surrounded by silk flowers, boxes of ribbon of all widths and colors, and my new wire baby buggies. These buggies are about 8 inches tall, and now must be decorated with pale blues and greens with some yellow. I cover the hood part with parts of hydrangeas, put daisy heads on each wheel, and weave small satin ribbon around the top edge of the buggy. A large bow made of wired one-inch ribbon goes on the back of each one. I have to say, they are ADORABLE. As a finishing touch I put a little fluff of pale blue tulle in each buggy, where the baby (were it not so giant) would go. These buggies are now proudly displayed in the kitchen on the island, making cooking dinner for “he who paid for all this” out of the question. He is looking gaunt and weak, but swears that he is thrilled at my little creations and marvels at their beauty.
All that is left is to assemble the trays. I line each tray with four baby bibs, overlapping. Then I place one blue & yellow ducky pail on the tray. I put little baby onesies in the bottom of each pail, and top with little stuffed animal. Next I add my baby buggie. I put blue marlbes in the bottoms of eight plastic baby bottles (for weight) and put a small bunch of blue and white daisies in each bottle. The finishing touches are little baby socks, pacifiers, sippy cups, rattles, and one rubber ducky per tray, scattered around on the bibs. Besides being really cute, and each one is a little different, ALL the items on the trays are for the Mom-to-be to take home. Socks, bibs, baby bottles, onesies, pacifiers, sippy cups, and even a bottle brush on one tray.
So the decorations are all made, and the party is four days away! If only I managed the remainder of my life with the gritty discipline that I apply to party planning!! All that remains is to buy my groceries for the fruit dip, potato salad, and fruit platter.
SO as promised, here is a recipe as a reward for wading through a Tolstoy-esque version of shower planning.
MARSHMALLOW YOGURT FRUIT DIP
This recipe is so easy it is embarassing. It came from my dear friend Patti Christy, of stuffing sage fame (see Thanksgiving posts). Patti made this for her daughter’s graduation party. I attended that event and stood greedily by this dip, snarling at other guests who dared approach. I ate nearly all of it myself. I have been making it ever since and I still could sit down and eat it with a spoon. The fruit is but a vehicle for the dip.
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 – Yoplait yogurts… I use low fat red raspberry, but any berry flavor would work
1 jar of Kraft Marshmallow Creme
With an electric mixer, blend a small amount of yogurt with the 8 ounce block of cream cheese. Gradually add the remainder of the yogurt to the cream cheese, mixing until no lumps remain. Add entire jar of marshmallow cream to mixture and combine until smooth. Serve with fresh strawberries, apples, pineapple, grapes, melon, — any fruit that is in season.
Stay tuned for the final installment of the Shower Saga , with the delicious “Birria” recipe that Maria made for the main dish and actual pictures of the party!