The sun finally came out in Northern Virginia making the throwing of a baby shower most delightful. We hosted a Jack and Jill Baby Shower in our home last night for one of my hubby’s associates. Jack and Jill Showers are hugely fun as the men are invited into a world that is usually experienced by women only. When the men are invited we women behave differently as we do not tell our labor stories, mention words like breast pads, nipple guards, or Tucks and the oohing and aahing is more subdued when we pass those cute and tiny garments around upon gift opening. We do not play the usual shower games like who can put the most cotton balls on their head or who can name the most baby things on a tray that they stared at for 20 seconds. Nope none of that. With men we get to well um hmmm….we get to eat more guy-ish fare, make predictions and develop office pools on the date and time of the baby’s birth and place our bets (only after Monday’s March Madness ends of course), and help the couple decide on their next vehicle that holds baby and all their gear. Men do not just run to the dessert table squealing in delight over the cute cupcakes, they are cool about it, a type of saunter via way of the TV and basketball scores before the sly approach to the sweeties table. I love Jack and Jill Showers, I think the guys make them so much fun! Try one some time.
My favorite entertaining decoration is fresh flowers. I own a few glass block type vases so that I can create my own center pieces. I enjoy sending the flowers home with the guest of honor too. Most flower purchases are done at Trader Joe’s or Costco. I also love the clean and crisp look white table cloths lend to a party whether formal or not. It is fun to be spiffy once in a while. I purchase my cloths from Sam’s Club or a restaurant supply store. They usually come in packs of three and are a 50/50 cotton-poly blend. You want that blend for the crispness of the cotton but the washability and wrinkle-free look that the poly gives. The cloths are affordable and wash up beautifully. I like cloth napkins but this time chose a quality paper napkin matching the square paper plates I found in Target.
For the food everyone from the office pitched in. These Chicken Enchiladas were made by Jon and Kristen and were out of this world yummy, I will be hounding them for the recipe. Sally brought the chips and salsa and helped me with setting up. Other items were guacamole, pepper jelly over cream cheese with crackers, chili and fixens, and corn bread. Yup you guessed it, a Tex-Mex dinner as per request of the pregnant one!
A word on fruit salad- I love them just can’t stand making them. Washing the fruit, peeling the fruit, cutting the fruit, blah. So I like a nice berry salad. A gentle bath with the fruit and veggie cleaner and a quick hulling of the strawberries, done. Layer the berries starting with the strawberries, then blackberries, followed by blueberries and some roughly chopped fresh mint, tossing is unnecessary, and look how vibrant the colors are.
Everyone pitched in and contributed to the beverage bar. We had Corona and other beers, fantastic white and red wines chosen by our resident sommelier, Marjorie, sangria (“Reál Sangria” has to be the best bottled sangria I have ever had), Italian sodas, and bottled water. This is the first time I used large containers filled with ice to display the drinks and I quite liked it. Very convenient. A note on bottled water- at the end of the party do not throw away the stray half drank or drunk water bottles, use them to water your plants.
It is usually my policy to not have dishes in the sink when guests arrive. My sink is usually filled with warm soapy water but I got side tracked by this guy. My littlest child came to me while I was prepping the fruit salad and said that there was a snake in the house. I asked her if she was teasing mommy but then she started to cry so I knew she could not be that creative to get my undivided attention. Sure enough there was a snake in my foyer. After shooing it out I got some neighbor men to take it away, hubby was at son #2′s baseball game. Yes it is Springtime in The Den! I think the snake really wanted one of these…..
I love, love, love chocolate covered strawberries. I think I would take wages in chocolate covered strawberries. When I was in High School the boy across the street paid me in chocolate covered strawberries to drive him to and from school every day. Deal! For a whole school year I had a fresh dozen chocolate covered strawberries paid to me weekly. The cupcakes are Chocolate Mocha with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and chocolate piped “baby” words on them. According to the guests they were delectable. I also entered them in Martha Stewart’s Cutest Cupcake Contest. I do not think they are so much cute as they are elegant and sophisticated. My mother taught me about improvising when baking and improvise I did with these cupcakes. For some reason the cupcakes “fell” when I removed them from the oven causing a great well in the center of each one. To improvise I filled each well with a bit of butter cream and topped each with the chocolate decoration. The best part was that the cupcake to frosting ratio was just right. All things work out for the best in the kitchen, don’t they?
Now for the potty. I like to make sure this little place is clean for my guests. Checking for enough TP, air freshener, and clean towels. But I have added something new to the repertoire, a touch of feng shui and spa to my little bath haven. I got the idea somewhere, can’t remember where, to place river rocks in the sink. I like the look, so earthy. Just be sure to use round smooth rocks so not to scratch your sink and be sure the rocks are large enough not to go down your drain or you will have the plumber at your shower too.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at and reading about the shower as much as we ALL did in throwing it for our ready to bust pregnant friend, Laurie.
PS- A huge thanks to our office spy, Kristi, for her sleuthing to find out what the happy couple needed, purchasing and wrapping that monstrosity of a gift as I’m sure it took a football field of paper to cover it.