Thursday, July 12, 2012

Party for Baby J

Hopefully you've seen by now that I've done several sets of birthday invites for kids, had a birthday luncheon for my gran and baked and decorated a few yummies.  But for the first time I got to do all three for one party.  Can we say EXCITED?!  I gave a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Tiffany, who is expecting their second child, a boy, my nephew, in mid-July.  (As of the shower date, his parents hadn't chosen a name, so he will be referred to as Baby J.)  He will be welcomed home by big brudder Matthew -- you can see his birth announcement here.  At first, my mind was running in circles with ideas, and once I settled on a theme and did my research on what all I would need to pull this shower off, I quickly got overwhelmed.  But I got myself a spreadsheet and lists and lists and lists, and felt a little less overwhelmed.  But just a little.

I decided on a nursery rhyme theme.  I like to think of myself as a little bit old school and I wanted to do something a little more classic, but give it a slight modern twist.
Instead of working with just one rhyme, I decided to focus on six {because I can rarely just pick one thing!} and chose ones that were a little more boyish.  And for each rhyme, I had an invite, a food and a game.  I also started with the idea of having a centerpiece for each rhyme, but as details grew and grew I quickly realized it would make things a whole lot easier if I just had 6 of the same centerpieces.  But I'll get to all that later.

First things first, my six featured nursery rhymes:
Humpty Dumpty
Little Boy Blue
What Are Little Boys Made Of
Old Woman in the Shoe
Hey Diddle Diddle

The Invitations

I designed six different invitations, each featuring one of the rhymes.  I keep seeing chevrons everywhere and knew I wanted to incorporate them somehow.  Be trendy and all, ha ha.  I thought that would give it that modern twist that I was hoping for but I still wanted it to lean a little towards vintage.  I found these great drawings of each rhyme that were perfect for that vintage flare.  I printed the invites on white card stock, then layered them on varied brown card stocks.  In keeping with the theme, I cut out squares of Kraft paper and folded them into envelopes.  I also designed address labels that coordinated with the invitations.

Each invitation included a map to the party's location, a note to bring a pack of diapers to be entered in a raffle for a prize (a game inspired by Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Three Men in a Tub -- "Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Fill Up the Tub With Diapers"), and the guestbook card.  I asked each guest to sign their card and then write down their favorite nursery rhyme.  My plan is to take these cards and compile them into an interactive reminder for Tiffany of the shower.

The Party

There aren't many options in my small town to hold a nice party, and my house is too small for the number invited, so I opted for our local Chamber of Commerce meeting hall.  The space was the right size and, except for the paneled walls and past Presidents' pictures hanging on the wall, it wasn't bad.

I placed six tables in a U-shape, covered each with white tablecloths, then diagonally layered blue and green tissue paper as a runner along the entire U.  Each table had a centerpiece of a mini-galvanized bucket filled with mints.  The bucket's ribbon handle had three balloons tied to it.  A picture frame featuring one of the six rhymes sat next to each bucket.

I also used glass milk bottles as vases filled with Baby's Breath.  The bottles were wrapped in burlap ribbon, then overlaid with a satin ribbon featuring a toile-like nursery rhyme design.  How perfect!  That was probably my most exciting find!

The welcome table featured a simple arrangement of Baby's Breath and white Peonies.  The vase was also wrapped in the burlap ribbon then overlaid with a simple blue ribbon.  The "guestbook" was a bulletin board covered in brown fabric then edged with the same blue ribbon.  I then strung twine across the board and provided mini-clothespins for guests to hang their "favorite rhyme cards."  It was a great display to see everyone's favorites.  I also provided a book of rhymes, just in case anyone needed a reminder.  :)

See that awesome easel?  My hubby made it (:
The welcome table also featured the first game, inspired by "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe."

"Just How Many Children Does the Old Woman Have?"

 Other games included:
Inspired by Little Boy Blue:  "Don't Wake Little Boy Blue!"
Each person that brought a gift was given a whistle.  One of the whistles had been disabled.  As Tiffany opened each person's gift, they were asked to blow their "horn."  If their "horn" sounded, they had unfortunately woken Little Boy Blue.  But the one person who's horn didn't blow claimed the prize as the person who didn't wake the sleeping boy.

Inspired by Humpty Dumpty:  "How Many Humpties Does it Take?"
Guests were asked to divide into groups of two or three people.  Each group was given a bag of eggs.  Each egg was filled with pictures of essential parts to a nursery, i.e. crib, rocker, etc.  Each group was also given a pack of crayons, glue and blank paper.  Even though all the king's men and all the king's horses couldn't put Humpty together again, guests were asked to put together Tiffany's new nursery.  In 10 minutes, they had to design a nursery that Tiffany would choose as winner.

Inspired by What are Little Boys Made of:  "Baby Boys are Made of What?!"
Guests were asked to list as many baby things as they could using the letters from the words snips, snails, and puppy dog tails.
*Note on this game:  the preparer {i.e. me} should have checked to see what and how many baby words could in fact be made using those letters.  Apparently, not many.  But I think everyone had fun trying.  :)

The Menu

Each nursery rhyme had a corresponding food.  This most definitely took some imagination.  There were certain foods I knew I wanted to make because I knew the guest of honor really liked them.  So tying them to a certain rhyme was a feat, but I think it worked out well.

"Humpty Dumpty's Deviled Noggin"
*no Humpty's were harmed in the making of this dish*
{ranch deviled eggs}

"Snails & Snips Chips & Dips"

"The Candlestick Maker's Taper Crackers"

"Jumping Cow's Cheese"
"The Butcher's Best Cuts"

"Puppy Dog Tails Sandwiches"
{turkey and pesto jack cheese wrapped in mini crescent rolls}
*They kinda look like puppy's tails, right??*

The sweets called for quite a bit of creativity, but none so much as the strawberry dessert.  Tiffany had seen this idea on Pinterest and really wanted to have them at the shower.  So did I, ha ha!  But figuring out how to work them in with the rhymes I had made my brain really work.  

But I think I found a pretty good solution:

"Why the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon"
{strawberries stuffed with cheesecake, dipped in crushed graham crackers, and served on spoons}
And as good as these were, I can see why the dish took off with the spoon!

"Little Boy Blue's Haystacks"
{pecans & brown sugar finely blended together with butter, wrapped in pie crust}

"The Baker's Cream Delight Cupcakes"
{chocolate cupcakes filled with cheesecake, topped with whipped cream cheese frosting}

To quench our thirst, we had "The Old Woman in the Shoe's Sweet Broth," a punch recipe I've had nearly forever that we used at my wedding, parties, Tiffany's wedding and everyone loves it.

The food was yummy in our tummies, if I say so myself. :)

The Favors

As a parting gift, I didn't want to do typical favors.  I wanted to give something that wouldn't immediately end up in the trash can when the guests got home.  And I hope I achieved that.  I also struggled with a favor that coordinated with my selected rhymes.  But it occurred to me, maybe I could introduce one more rhyme, and maybe it should be that one obvious rhyme you think of with babies:  Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake.  So after some brainstorming, and a little Pinspiration, I came up with these:

The candles smelled sooooo good and so vanilla-y that I knew they would make the perfect "cake."  I think this was my favorite element of the whole shower.  But it took a lot of baby food to make these happen.  Good thing my other half will eat just about anything. ;)

Thankfully, I timed the shower just right.  Not even a week after the shower, little Zachary Robert made his appearance on July 5.  Welcome to the family cutie pie!

I really couldn't be more pleased with how it all turned out.  Of course, not everything went according to plan, but that's the problem with planning, right?

I hope you enjoyed this little shower "tour."  My Aunt Shirley asked me if I was going into party planning now.  Maybe.  :)

I'd also like to throw out an amazing THANK YOU to my dear hubby.  He was very much ready for this shower to be over with, ha ha, but he was also SO supportive of my random thoughts and bits and parts laying around the house and such a big help while I was going a bit crazy planning.  I really don't think I could have pulled this off without him!  Although I don't think he minded much being my taste-tester! ;)

ta ta for now...


  1. I love this and I love the shower. Jenni is amazing at anything she does. And couldn't thank her enough on throwing me this amazing shower. I love you Jen and thank you. I love this blog to.

  2. Jenni,
    This is so awesome! I am doing a Mother Goose shower for my friend and wondered where you found the artwork for the invitations?

    1. Great question! Unfortunately I can't direct you to one specific place. :( Because I was looking for more vintage-styled graphics {and black & white}, I searched each nursery rhyme individually until I found the "look" I was going for. Wish I could be more help! Good luck with your shower! I hope it's as fun to plan as mine was. :) Thanks for stopping by!


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