Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How To Throw The Perfect Baby Shower

After reading this guide you will have a great start to throwing your baby shower! You will have recipes, games, decorating ideas, shopping lists and more.

Hello all, my name is Wendy. I am a stay at home mom of two beautiful children. I plan baby showers for friends and make unique gifts for them and would just like to share with everyone some ideas, tips, and points to remember when planning a baby shower. This guide is composed of ideas and recipes that I have actually used and done, so I am writing from experience, not just copy and paste off the internet. However, at the end of the guide you will find more ideas and recipes that I have researched for you. Planning a baby shower sounds simple at first, but as the day approaches, most people realize it is not as easy as it seems. In addition, many people go all the way to the day of the party only to realize they have missed something important.
First, you should decide what your theme would be. Something simple like It's A Girl would be easier to shop for, where a specific theme such as Winnie The Pooh will be a little harder to coordinate, but will still be wonderful. You do not want anything such as plates, cups, decorations, tablecloths, etc… to clash with one another. Below you will find a good sample of what you should get on your first shopping trip for the shower.

Cake Plates
Plastic Cutlery
Confetti, if desired
Any Snack Trays And Punch Bowls You Will Need, If Any
Don't Forget The Ladles And Party Picks
Crepe Paper
Door Banner
Yard Sign
Inside Decorations, if needed
Guest Register
Thank You Cards

Note: The mother-to-be is going to be very busy getting ready for baby's arrival. Make sure to have someone jot down all gifts received for the mom for the thank you cards. Another good idea is to have everyone who brought a gift write down their address on one of the thank you card envelopes. The mom-to-be will be very grateful! You could even make a game out of this, putting all the envelopes in a bucket with one marked as a winner and have everyone draw an envelope. :)
This is a good list to get the basics out of the way. Now that you have all that and can get a general idea of what the area you will be having the shower in will look like once decorated, you can think about the favors, games, and centerpieces.
For the party favors, think about how much time you want to spend making them. You can get kits where all you have to do is take everything out of the box, assemble, add candy or confetti and you are done. Alternatively, you can make your own, a much more thoughtful, but more time consuming task. You can choose to wait until either the guests have RSVPed to make them so you will know how many you need, or you can go ahead, make enough for everyone who was invited, and just keep the extras as mementos. :) A good, easy way to make favors is to buy a bunch of tulle circles, a filler, such as baby themes keepsakes (small plastic rattles, pacifiers, etc..), some coordinating fabric ribbon, and some cupcake picks and just lay the tulle circles flat, put a pile of the filler in the center, wrap it up and tie it with the fabric ribbon and stick a cupcake pick in the top. If you would like more ideas, do not hesitate to contact me.
Now, about the games. I personally think five is a good number of games when it comes to baby showers. Some of these are played throughout the whole shower, while some are more focused. Below I have listed some game ideas for you. Do not forget to get some prizes for the winners as well. The most important thing to remember when picking prizes is it just has to be fun, not extravagant. Small gift certificates are great, and so are lotions, candles, books and more! Be creative with the prizes but do not go overboard because these will not be a main point at the baby shower anyway.
My Water Broke! - Get some small plastic babies (found in the baby shower section of Wal Mart) and some ice cube trays. The night before the shower, put a baby in each ice cube hole and fill the tray with water and freeze as normal. When you are ready to play the game, give everyone a paper towel and one of the ice cubes. Whoever can get the ice to completely melt first and get the baby out says "My Water Broke!" and they are the winner. Players can put the cubes in their mouth, rub them, whatever they would like to make it MELT, but may not break or bite the ice.
Guess How Big Mommy Is! - Many stores sell ribbon especially for this, but any string or ribbon will do, as long as you have a lot of it. Each guest will cut a length of the ribbon to guess how big the mom to be is around her belly. After everyone has their ribbons cut, guests take turns putting theirs around mom, whoever is the closest wins!
Collect The Favors - Buy a few bags of small baby themed favors (again look in the baby shower section of Wal Mart, they have tiny bottles, pacifiers, even candy will do), a bag or two of rice (depending on how many people you have), and some Dixie cups. The day of the party, dump all the rice and favors in a big bowl and mix it all together. Everyone gets a Dixie cup, and while closing their eyes, scoops out a cupful of rice. Everyone then counts how many favors they got in their cup and whoever has the most wins!
Don't Say Baby - As everyone comes in the door, give them a something they can wear through the shower (some ideas are a novelty pacifier tied to a string as a necklace, or some of those small pastel clothespins, which can be clipped to your shirt). Let everyone know it is for a game, and that they cannot say the word "baby" through the whole shower. Anytime someone hears someone else say the word baby, they get to take their [necklace, pin, etc..] and add it to their shirt or neck. At the end of the baby shower, whoever has collected the most wins! If someone has collected more than one, and is caught saying baby, whoever hears them say it gets ALL of their [pins, necklaces]!! :)
Baby Bingo - This can be found at many party stores, but if you want it and cannot find it let me know, I can get it for you
Baby Food Tasting - You could play this a couple of different ways. One way is to put a small amount of five different baby foods on a plate for each person. Write on the bottom of the plate which food is in which spot so you will know. Make sure not to use the same combination of foods on everyone's plate, that will make it harder for everyone to guess what they have. Whoever guesses the right flavors of the most amounts of foods on their plate wins. Another way to play this game is by elimination. Everyone gets a small amount of one type of food (not all the same, but they do not have to all be different either). Everyone who guesses right goes on to the next "round" of taste testing. Keep going until you have one winner (or two, however you would like to do it). Make sure to have extra prizes in case of a tie. A tip with this game is not to get easy to guess foods like apples or bananas. Do not get multi ingredient foods though, that would be too hard. Some good foods that I noticed are hard to guess are squash, green beans and peas (they look just alike), peaches (not as easy as it sounds when you do not know what you are eating), sweet potatoes, and the meat purees. This is especially fun for the guests who do not have babies.
The Guessing Game - Get a large plastic container and fill it with colored cotton balls (you can find baby blue, pink, purple, and yellow in the cosmetics section of Wal Mart - in case you haven't noticed, I shop there a lot!). Each guest guesses how many balls are in the container and whoever is closest wins!
The Guessing Game Version II - Get a diaper cake (which also makes a great centerpiece) and let the guests guess how many diapers are on it. I make diaper cakes in all sizes; contact me if you would like to know more.
Animal Babies - Make a list of Momma animals and print enough copies for each guest. Have your own copy, complete with the answers. Each guest will then write down the names of the animal’s babies and whoever gets the most right wins! Some challenging and helpful examples are as follows: Alligator - Hatchling, Bear - Cub, Beaver - Kitten, Cow - Calf, Deer - Fawn, Dog - Puppy, Donkey - Foal, Duck - Duckling, Eagle - Eaglet, Eel - Elver, Elephant - Calf, Fish - Fry, Frog - Tadpole, Giraffe - Calf, Goat - Kid, Horse - Colt, Hummingbird - Chick, Kangaroo - Joey, Lion - Cub, Llama - Cria, Monkey - Infant, Owl - Owlet, Sheep - Lamb, Spider - Spiderlet, Swan - Cygnet
If you need any more baby shower game ideas, let me know. I can also help you if you cannot find anything listed above.
For the centerpiece depending on how many tables, you need them for you could get one big one or a few smaller ones. Many party stores have paper centerpieces that fold out or have ribbon fountains atop them, but that is not your only option. Consider using a diaper cake, or a baby sock bouquet. These are not only beautiful but also very useful for the Mom-To-Be after the shower. I make both of these for friends, much fun! Other centerpiece ideas could be baby gift baskets (I have made as well), a handmade centerpiece, or even the actual cake.
Of course, you should not forget about the food. Party trays seem to work best for baby showers; they are easy and quick, giving you more time to worry about other things. Try having a fruit tray, a cracker tray, and a meat and cheese tray. For showers with many guests, maybe have a few chips and dip trays and a vegetable and dip tray as well. Some other good, quick shower foods are cocktail smokies, mini sandwiches, or my great tortilla chip dip! To make this, just throw a pound of browned hamburger meat, a block of Velveeta cheese, and two jars of salsa into a crock-pot and cook until melted. This is not only easy, but also filling and delicious, and it will be a hit!
Please remember the following tips when planning your baby shower menu:
Many expecting mothers have a few foods that they can hardly stand to think of, much less eat. Before you have your menu set in stone, be sure to run it by the mom-to-be to make sure she will be able to stand seeing and smelling all the items.
Of course, never serve alcohol.
Try to stay away from soft cheeses, items that contain nitrate or nitrites (hot dogs, lunch meats) unless they are cooked very thoroughly, fish high in mercury (king mackerel, tuna, tilefish, swordfish, and shark), and any raw ingredients that could harm an unborn child.
Make sure to ask the mom-to-be if she is allergic to any foods before starting.
Now for the punch. The baby shower punch I use is a big hit. You may have heard of it or you may not have, but it is awesome!! Get a box of lime sherbet ice cream, a bottle of ginger ale, and a can of pineapple juice. Mix it all together in a punch bowl. No need to chill, the sherbet keeps it cold. This is the best punch, and I personally promise it will be a hit. Be sure to have extra ingredients on hand as this stuff goes fast! You can also make this with raspberry sherbet, making the punch pink, which would be cute for a girl. (But for what it's worth I think the punch tastes better with lime in it, and I don't even like lime sherbet) After making the first bowl, you can adjust your input of ingredients to your taste, sometimes a little more of this or less of that makes it even better!
Make sure to have a place for the food, a place for the gifts, and a place for the games. Also, be sure to have someone to take pictures and write down all gifts received so the mom to be can send out thank you cards after the shower. Make sure to get the guests to sign the register, Mom-To-Be will cherish that for a long time! If you are serving drinks that require ice, be sure to have plenty of it on hand. Make sure the Mom-To-Be has a comfortable place to sit as well.
Now that you have got the perfect shower planned, pat yourself on the back! When the shower comes, everyone will be impressed and you will be beaming. In addition, if you have any questions, or need anything mentioned above please do not hesitate to let me know. Good luck and happy planning!
Additional recipes:
Melon bowls: Summertime showers would be a perfect opportunity to use this idea! To start with, get a large watermelon, a cantaloupe, and a honeydew melon. Cut each fruit in half lengthwise and, using a melon baller, scoop out the insides. Put all the melon balls in the refrigerator to chill. For the bowl(s) you will be using the emptied out fruits. You can either make sure the edges are smooth or cut them jagged for a more fancy look. As the shower time nears, mix all the melon balls together for a colorful festive look and fill the melon halves with them. You can add ingredients such as nuts, mini marshmallows, or raisins if you would like. This is much more fun than a plain ole fruit salad!!
Tortilla rolls: This appetizer is always popular and can be made in a number of ways. Some people will choose to offer tortilla rolls in place of finger sandwiches although they also make a great additional treat. To make this food, you will need large flour tortillas, chopped green chilies, chopped green onion, soft cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Mix all of the ingredients except the tortillas. Spread the mixture on top of the flour tortilla, making sure it is the same thickness all around and spread out to the edges. Then, roll the tortilla up and slice in one-inch pieces. Arrange the tortilla rolls on a plate, adding a small dish of chili power seasoned sour cream and another dish of salsa for dipping. The nice thing about tortilla rolls is that you can make them of anything you like. For instance, you could use sour cream, dill, and salmon, chicken and chesses, humus and vegetables, and even fresh fruit and cream cheese rolls.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
10 ounces of fresh baby spinach leaves
1 quart of fresh strawberries
poppy seed salad dressing, use the recipe below or your favorite store bought brand to save time
Wash spinach leaves if you did not buy them pre-washed. Pat dry with a towel or spin dry with a salad spinner.
Wash and hull the strawberries. Then, cut the strawberries into slices.
Combine the spinach and strawberry slices in a large serving bowl and toss gently.
If making your own salad dressing, prepare the dressing using the recipe below.
Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and lightly toss to coat. Do NOT add the dressing very much in advance. The dressing seems to pull the juices out of the strawberries causing the dish to turn into a soupy mess after sitting for a couple of hours.
An egg slicer makes quick work of slicing strawberries, but be warned the strawberry seeds could sometimes damage the wires on the egg slicer.
Chill the strawberries and salad dressing before combining the ingredients to create a more refreshing dish.
Recipe alternatives:
Add any of the following ingredients that you desire:
Toss in mandarin orange slices
Toss in toasted walnut pieces
Toss in almond slivers or slices
Top with toasted sesame seeds
Recipe - Poppy seed salad dressing
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
Add the sugar, salt, and vinegar to a blender.
Start the blender and gradually add the vegetable oil through the hole in the blender lid. Blend until smooth.
Stir in the poppy seeds.
If you do not have a blender, whisk together all ingredients instead.
Additional Game Ideas:
Who is That Baby? - This is a hilarious baby shower game that allows guests to see each other in a completely new way. For this game, the baby shower host collects photographs of all the guests from when they were babies and/or young children. The photographs are displayed on a board and labeled with either a number or a letter. During the baby shower guests can try to match the photographs to the correct adult at the party. Each guest is given a sheet of paper to record their answers. A helpful hint – nametags worn by guests can help avoid any embarrassment over forgotten names. The winner is the baby shower guest with the most correct answers. This game is sure to elicit ‘awwws’ and laughter as guests marvel in how much (or little) everyone has changed through the years.
Dress The Baby - This game requires a doll that resembles in size a real-life baby, a diaper, a baby outfit, and a timer. Veteran moms and dads have the advantage in this hilarious game where the object is to diaper and dress the doll in the shortest amount of time. The person who properly diapers and dresses the doll the fastest is the winner (and one to remember when you need a babysitter!).
Bottle Race - Fill several bottles with a pulp free juice and see which guest can finish the bottle first.
Diaper Game - Fill a box with many diapers, take one of them and put a bit of either peanut butter or some chocolate syrup and fold it back to its original shape. Each guest picks a diaper out of the box; the person to get the ‘dirty’ diaper is the winner.

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