Baby Q: A Couple’s Baby Shower

Last weekend, Dave and I threw a Baby Q for our friends, Britt and Nate. They are the anti-baby shower type of people, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to celebrate their little one like everyone else (and reap all of the benefits that a shower implies). I can’t say that I blame them. I was never for the cheesy games and frilly finger foods either. Since a lot of their friends are women and men, a couple’s shower made sense. And since we know them so well, an evening of barbeque, backyard games and craft beer made even more sense. Needless to say, Mama sat out on the beer sippin’ this time:)

Baby Q Invitations

I’m usually a fan of Evites, but when it comes to showers, I think paper is in order. I was amazed to find so many Baby Q designs on Etsy. It didn’t take me long though to decide on this one from PuzzlePrints:

$13 for your customized version of this design.

They responded quickly and offered great customer service. If you haven’t had a broken printer on your to-do list for two years, you could print these out yourself from the final PDF or jpeg. I had it done at a UPS store on cardstock at a very reasonable price and bought invitation-sized envelopes from Staples.  I can’t tell you how many compliments I got on these!

The Setting

Our gracious guests of honor actually offered up their home for the party. It worked out well, with their flat lawn for table and games, a nice partially covered deck, and no hauling loot post-party back to their place. Win, win!

The Baby Shower Menu

This was not your typical baby shower food. We also had to keep in mind that this would be outside in August, so we didn’t want anything too hot n’ heavy. And being in the South, there was a definite Southern, local flare to our fare:

Appetizers:

  • Cheese Spread Duo: Pimento Cheese (my mom’s famous recipe) and Three Graces Dairy goat cheese from right down the road in Marshall, NC, served with an assortment of crackers.
  • Veggie Tray with Ranch dip.

Beverages:

The etch-it labels for claiming cups were a huge hit with kids and adults!

The Main Event

Watermelon, blueberry and feta salad. Photo from readbreathe.com.
  • Pulled-pork barbeque (Dave smoked it for 12 hours and made his own two sauces to go with it: Piedmont and Eastern. YUM.)
  • Zesty Slaw
  • Potato Salad, recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker. We left out the eggs. I’m not a potato salad person, but was thinking of the greater good. It went over very well!
  • Watermelon, Blueberry and Feta Salad, recipe by Kath Younger. She shared it in the August 2011 issue of Breathe Magazine. I used fresh basil rather than mint.
  • I recruited help from a friend to put together a garden salad. She created her own crunchy topping and a homemade dressing.
  • The dessert table: mini cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate, Guinness brownies a la grandma-to-be, and a bouquet spray of fruit twists in various colors and flavors from Fresh Market. I love their candy section!

Activities

  • We busted out the root ball, cornhole, and Kan Jam (although by the end of the evening, boys big and small were using the “Kans” to just roll down the hill)
Guests could write advice, words of wisdom and well wishes for the parents-to-be. I love the Denyse Schmidt fabric I found!
  • And, okay, it is a baby shower, so I had to do one crafty baby showerish thing. I made my first memory board using a mix of a few tutorials I found online, and I learned a couple of things:
  1. Nothing makes me feel better than hearing how easy it was for a group of seventh graders to do something in ten minutes that took me two trips to the fabric store.
  2. One of the women said she’d tried this with both a regular stapler and staple gun. She said a regular stapler worked much better. I beg to differ.

The Set-Up

  • We had a buffet inside with a separate dessert table.
  • Appetizers and drinks served on the deck.
  • Tables and backyard games on the lawn. (Guests were prompted to bring their own lawn chairs.)
  • I used burlap fabric for table covers and small mixed bouquets from the farmers market (bought that morning) in everyone’s favorite party accessory, mason jars.

Favors

  • We bought three types of barbeque sauce by the quart from Asheville’s famous 12 Bones Smokehouse. We redistributed them into mason jelly jars and gave them cutesy baby names: Western Carolina Girl (tomato), Sugar ‘n’ Spice (blueberry chipotle) and Temper Tantrum (spicy mustard).
  • Kids got bubbles, but they got their favors when they arrived:)

The Flow

  • Guests arrived at 5-ish.
  • Drinks and apps, 5-6:30pm.
  • Dinner
  • Open presents at 7pm. (We opened their new pack n’ play to use as the gift “table”. Kept it inside, then it rolled out easily onto the deck when it was time.)
  • Folks with kids (with bedtimes) could see their gifts opened and still be home at a reasonable hour. Some stayed a little later. When I left at 9:15, the Mexican Lager was kicked, but the Pale Ale was still flowin’. A good time was had by all.

A special thanks to our elves Jennie and Michael. Lesson learned: even when there aren’t a lot of games planned, there’s A LOT to do between sending out invitations and making the food. The devil is indeed in the details!

Mother’s Day Gifts for the Mom Who Wants Nothing

This is not to be confused with the mother who wants for nothing.

I’m talking about the mom who feels guilty getting gifts from her daughter. She only feels comfortable on the giving end of the relationship. She can’t enjoy anything extravagant (read: more than a card) because all she can think of is how much money you’ve spent… even if it’s just $15 for a magazine subscription, forget a bouquet of flowers. This is my mom. And if it’s your mom, and you still want to show her your appreciation beyond Hallmark, try these guilt-free twists on traditional Mother’s Day gifts.

Instead of flowers, try MINT.

Photo by (and “borrowed” from) Nina Eve Zeininger at thingsimakeandfind.blogspot.com. Thanks, Nina:)

If you don’t have some growing in your own yard, ask a gardening gal pal to clip some out of her yard to share with you… trust me, she’s got plenty of this quick-growing herb. Get crafty and pot it in something like a coffee mug (sneaky double gift) or my favorite, a mason jar. Finish off with a ribbon or piece of twine tied in around it in a bow! Unlike a bouquet of flowers, mom can use the mint for cooking, in her tea or to help her headaches. Perfect on a window sill in the kitchen or planted along the sidewalk.

Instead of chocolates, make your own CHOCOLATE-COVERED PRETZELS.

Photo by Elly in Canada.

This super easy recipe over at Food.com got rave reviews:

Serves: 4

Yield: 22 pretzels

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

22 miniature pretzel twists

Directions:

1. Put chocolate in small bowl.

2. Microwave for 35 seconds.

3. The chips will still look whole, DO NOT MICROWAVE ANY LONGER! IT WILL BURN, instead stir for 20 seconds and all lumps will be smooth.

4. Lay out a piece of foil.

5. Dip pretzels with fingers in chocolate scrape off excess and lay on foil.

6. Wait 30 minutes to cool (Better if not put in fridge or freezer, they melt when they come out).

You can go organic with your ingredients, or substitute dark chocolate chips. Lots of room to play with this one!

Instead of a spa certificate, try this DIY SUGAR SCRUB.

Source: letbirdzfly.blogspot.com via Dawn on Pinterest

We found this amazing sugar scrub recipe via Dawn at Indigo + Canary’s Reader Pinterest Board (Thanks, Dawn!). Created by Bailey at Let Birds Fly, it’s quite simple to concoct. While all the ingredients might not be in your cupboard, once you gather them, you’ll be able to whip up this gift for birthdays and holidays in a snap. The perfect healthy indulgence, all natural, and SO pretty!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tbsp sea salt, finely ground

3 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted (refined = no coconut aroma)

1/4 cup refined safflower oil (or other mild flavored oil, NOT olive oil)

20-35 drops of essential oil of choice OR a few drops of extract of choice

a few drops of non-toxic food coloring

Directions:

Mix dry ingredients, then add coconut and safflower oil. Add in essential oil (or extract), and mix well. Scrub should be wet and thick. Add more safflower oil by the teaspoon if needed. Add food coloring, mix well.

Makes a little over 2 cups.

Tips:

– Do NOT used unrefined coconut oil. The aroma is too strong and will not go well with the scent you choose, unless you choose coconut, of course!

– Do NOT use olive oil. The flavor and aroma are too strong and will not go well with the scent you choose.

– Try not to use vegetable oil or canola oil. This is a healthy scrub, meant to add good oils to your skin. If you cannot find safflower oil, try grape seed oil or flaxseed oil.

– You might need even more essential oil than recipe calls for. I used about 35 drops (big drops), but I wanted the scrub’s aroma to be very strong.

What scents could you add?

Try these essential oils: almond, juniper, cinnamon, ginger, guava, peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, lavender, rose, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, or tangerine.

Or try these extracts: vanilla, pineapple, strawberry, coconut, banana, cherry, lemon, lime, orange, almond, mint, or root beer (hehe)!

LL NOTE: I do not have all the links in Bailey’s recipe that she has on her blog. To learn more about essential oils, etc, go to the full post on her website.

What are you giving mom for Mother’s Day?

Apple crate bookshelves.

We put these together awhile ago and have had the crates for even longer, but every time I think to snap a photo, it’s during nap time, and the shelves are in Jed’s room. But today I thought ahead!

I found these crates on Craigslist for $5 each and literally drove to BFE to get them (the guy lived in the township of Egypt), but it was well worth the beautiful country drive. The ad itself actually provided the inspiration for the shelving with pictures of all the different things you can do with apple crates, such as these amazing shelves (sold on Ebay from Australia):

I then got Pinterested in this project from Ohdeedoh:

In the end, I stuck with the natural wood of the crates, as mine are super old with lots of character that I didn’t want to cover up with paint. I was insistent on doing this project all by myself, but Dave really wanted to get involved. It was kind of cute that he wanted to help build his son’s bookcase, so I gave in and deemed it a family project. We fastened the crates together with wood screws in the middle and on the back so you can’t see them. Other than that, I wiped them down, removed any rogue nails and smoothed out potential splinter hazards. That was really all there was to it!