May 17, 2011

The Spring Baby Shower {Naptime Simple Tips}

Baby cake

The Baby Shower Cake I Did Not Make

 

Last weekend my Mom and I hosted a baby shower for my friend Meghan who is expecting her first baby this summer. I have thrown a lot of baby showers in recent years — it was bridal showers before that! — and have learned a thing or two in doing so. Celebrating the impending birth of a baby should be exciting and fun, not stressful and exhausting. When I host these events I am no trying to out-do Martha Stewart, I just want to create a vibe that is warm and welcoming for the guests and mother-to-be. Whether throwing a baby shower next week or next season, here are my tips for throwing a fun, delicious party that everyone will enjoy!

Planning the Menu:

When selecting dishes for a baby shower choose a few things you know can be made ahead of time. Large casseroles, quiches or cold salads are excellent choices, they can be made up to a day or two in advance and reheated right before the event. Be sure to take any food allergies and dietary restrictions for the mom-t0-be into consideration before finalizing your menu. Generally speaking pregnant women are advised not to eat unpasteurized foods, raw fish, shellfish and a host of other items. Check with the guest of honor to see what foods she might be avoiding and do your best to oblige.

A week before the event determine the amount of food you will need based on the RSVP’s. Then make a shopping list for the groceries you will need to prepare everything. If anything has been delegated to co-hosts check in with them to make sure they are on track. There is always room for adding or subtracting dishes at the last minute!

Prosecco

Prosecco at the Entryway

Preparing the Food:

Since our shower was luncheon buffet Mom and I elected to serve quiches, salads and a cake. We whipped up the quiches the night before the shower when my daughter was asleep. They chilled overnight and we rewarmed them in the oven prior to the guests arrival.

The grandmother-to-be, an excellent cook herself, got in the action by volunteering to bring a terrific green salad and a beautiful sweet fruit salad. She prepared most of the ingredients ahead of time and completed the final assembly in our kitchen right before the festivities commenced.

My Mom decided to order a custom cake for the event. We knew I wouldn’t be home in time to make one from scratch, and she has been preoccupied helping Dad recover from should surgery, so it made sense to pass this responsibility on to a very talented local baker. Ordering a specialized cake can be a great idea for special occasions like showers and large parties. It saves a lot of time and a professionally decorated cake can easily double as an exquisite centerpiece.

quiches warming

Warming the Quiches in the Kitchen

Setting the Table:

We arranged the food on my parent’s large dining room table that the guest could access from all sides. At the top of the table was a set of luncheon plates, napkins and forks. From there the guests fanned out around both sides of the table to select a slice of quiche and scoops of salad. Having the food accessible on both sides minimized a lot of clumping around the table, everyone was able to serve themselves quickly and easily before sitting down in the living room to eat.

quiches

Ready to Dig In!

The beverage station was set up with flutes of Prosecco with raspberries, a large pitcher of fresh iced tea and pellegrino with lemon wedges. We set it up in the entry hall so guests could help themselves to a little bubbly the moment they walked in the door. It is also nice to have the beverages away from the food table since it is too hard to juggle a plate of food while pouring a beverage.

Pacing the Event:

For this casual luncheon buffet we decided to let the guests mingle and chat before serving the food. We kept the quiches warming in the oven for the first half hour of the party while everyone sipped some bubbly, patted the baby belly and placed gifts in the towering pile at the back of the room.

Once everyone ate their quiches and the plates were collected we served slices of cake and asked Meghan to sit in the gifting chair. She gamely opened gifts in front of everyone while I recorded the inventory for thank you notes. We all oohed and aaahed as she opened everything, doling out baby tips (use cloth diapers for burp clothes! freeze that toy for teething relief!) left and right. When everything had been opened and the last crumbs of cake finished off, tea and coffee was served. Everyone mingled for a touch longer to sip their warm beverages before heading off for the afternoon. The cake was wrapped up and given to Meghan to share her her husband. We can’t wait to hear their news this summer!

 

Some Great Recipes for Baby Showers:

Summer Vegetable Pie

Farmer’s Market Quiche

Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Blueberry Muffins

Savory Ham & Cheese Bread

Baked Pasta with Cheddar & Leeks

Caprese Pasta Salad

Blueberry Thyme Bundt Cake

Perfect Lemon Bars