My friend Julia teaches health for a local middle school. Did you hear me?
SHE TEACHES HEALTH…also known as SEX ED….to MIDDLE SCHOOLERS. It’s hilarious. Every time we get together she tells me how she googled STD photos so that she could scare the little guys sexless. And she has no problem saying words…ANATOMY words…in front of anyone. at any time. And of course there are the priceless questions from the sweet children who haven’t yet sat down with their folks for the birds and the bees talk.
Anyhoo…I thought that such a great girl deserved an extra great celebration. She and her husband Jade are expecting a little boy in the middle of August. So our friend Brook and I decided that we would love to throw a teacher-themed baby shower. You remember Brook, right?
I know I’ve said it before – but my number one party-throwin tip is to join forces with someone else. It helps everything go soo much smoother…everything from the invites to the main event to the clean up is way easier when sharing the burden with a partner. And speaking of the main event, we were able to find some really great inspiration from lots of different sources – Whitney‘s baby shower, Martha’s wedding and Jen’s retirement party. Which leads me to my second tip for party planning…google. It helps to have a plethora of information on the internet…plus you can connect with other bloggers who have creative brains when yours is running low.
So that is the background on our very teacher-y shower. But you want to know what our notebook said when it came to Jule’s throw-down? Well, we jotted down a bunch of different ideas –
- red, white & blue
- blackboard agenda
- apple cupcakes
- school subjects
Our brainstorming helped us focus our efforts in one general direction. It is especially useful to jot down keywords for parties especially if you are working with someone else. It really allows both people know what road you are going down. And we were able to work in every single one of our keywords to make it a reality. Ok. So are you ready for the main event? Welcome to Julia’s Teacher Themed Baby Shower.
First up is the decor. All the red, white and blue items were centrally located in our dining room. We first picked out the serving sedishes for the food items that we were going to prepare and placed them on the table the night before. Then we arranged a centerpiece. We knew that we wanted to include the homemade invitation in the centerpiece and also some apples. It’s always a good idea to add your height to the middle of the table too…so we decided that a tiered effect would do just the trick.
The highest part of the centerpiece was a dress-me-up plate from Southern Living at Home placed on a candlestick. All I did was add some double sided tape to secure it and then we added layered apples for a pyramid of fruit (the middle apple was given a boost with a mini bowl meant for soysauce turned upside down). The second highest “cakeplate” was also just a white ruffle-edged plate on a smaller candlestick. It held our invite that boasted an apple stamp and font that hinted at the teacher theme. Lastly, we have a small stack of hardback books that I wrapped in some packing paper and tied up with a bit of twine. We even added a tag that said Ethan William – a cheeky nod to the unborn. And on top was an apple dish (picked up at TJMaxx clearance for $3) that was actually a prize for the winners of one of the games. It’s such a great idea to work in your prizes into your decor. Especially when they are super cheap! The entire display was flanked with two milk-glass candlesticks I picked up as a Valentine’s Day momento long ago.
On the dessert table (which was actually the buffet in the back of the room), we used another dress-me-up plate as a way to announce our menu. Don’t ya love our silly school-themed names for the dishes?! Gotta love a little randomosity 🙂 The menu plate was held up by an apple plate stand which I scored at a yard sale for only 25 cents. I love how the ribbon ties into the little red, white and blue pennant banner I made for draping over the mirrors. The whole arrangement ties into the dining room table not only with it’s color scheme but also because we used the same matching runners (ones I scored long ago at Crate & Barrel for cheap!)
Brook and I decided that we would only use red white or blue dishware. And when it came to the desert table, we had some appetizer dishes that were the perfect size for a single cupcake. And we were sure to provide an additional napkin – just in case they dirtied up their brunch one.
And for the main course – brunch – we provided navy dishes that you may recognize from the baby shower dinner party. The silverware was rolled up in various red, white and blue napkins and casually placed in a red casserole dish. This arrangement made it easy for guests to hold all their silverware, their plate and have a free hand to dish out the yummy food.
Brook had the good idea to place extra napkins under the dishes…and in my opinion, it makes the entire display look even more casual and refreshing. Sortof like a fourth-of-july picnic.
Ok – so now that you got the lowdown on our decor – let’s get the my favorite part…the food!
We served an egg casserole that had loads of cheese, ham and eggs.
And because we wanted to serve a light vegetable – we created some cucumber sandwiches with fun little garnishes. Yeah – it’s just one of the strips of cucumber peel pushed through a toothpick but I thought it was pretty genius 🙂
And of course, it wouldn’t be brunch without a giant bowl of fruit. We picked fruits that were in season to cut down on costs and served it it up with decadent fruit dip.
Since we had healthy fruit, we decided that the perfect partner would be some sticky, gooey, nutty bread for adding a little beef to all the ladies’ hips. Monkey Bread did just the trick. Oh gosh…just looking at it makes me salivate.
Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.
And to drink we had an entire tea/coffee bar plus some ice cold water and a big bowl of punch. Recognize the punch bowl? I thought you might 🙂 1000 points to you if you do!
Lastly, we had those yummy apple inspired cupcakes. Aren’t they adorable? Perfect for an apple-themed shower, or back to school parties or even graduation shindigs. Brook found the recipe in a magazine I think. But they are super simple to replicate. Just make a white cupcake in a red liner and top with a wee bit of red icing. Then slice a mini donut in half (lay it on the counter and cut it parallel to the counter). Lay 1/2 of the round donut onto the icing and then ice the whole thing. Dip the top in red sugar sprinkles and add a chocolate leaf and a half a tootsie roll for the stem.
As soon as everyone got their food, we were able to sit and relax for a bit before games began. Thankfully Brook borrowed these trays for everyone to sit and eat. I need some of these. I decided. Like 40. You know. Just in case.
By this time, we had gotten way past our first activities. So let me rewind a bit.
Our first activity was Handwriting in which we prepared note cards with the months of the year on them. These were for each person to write a personal note to Julia for each of the 12 months following Ethan’s arrival. We figured that this would be something nice for her to look forward to when she is up to her elbows in dirty diapers and bottles.
Then came our Math game. We cut out an apple from red paper and asked each person to guess how many apples it would take to measure the circumfrence of Julia’s baby belly. Then we had to calculate the width of the apple and her bump and divide.
Snack Time was eating. Duh.
Then came creative thinking – it was a flashcard game in which we partnered up and game each person one minute to name baby items beginning with the flash card letter. It was a lot harder than you might think. But the flash cards were super cute.
Then came gift time. This was my favorite. Mostly because I got to sit down. My dogs were barking.
And then Brook’s mother in law insisted that I read the book I gave Julia. It was “Love You Forever”. Let me just tell you…there were enough tears in that room afterward to drown a cat. And the hormones? Yeah. It was out of control.
We finished up with a little game that we had explained as English. Whenever Julia opened a present, the giver jotted down the exclamation that she said…it could have been like “OH how cute!” or “Yay! I wanted one of these!” or “Butt Paste? Ok. I can work with this.” and then we opened the little card they wrote it on to explain the meaning of the exclamation. Some were really funny. Like the butt paste one was “What Julia said the night she conceived Ethan”….and the cute comment was perfect when it paired up with “What Julia will say when the doctor clears her for hanky panky”. You gotta love funny little games that totally embarrass the guest of honor 🙂
We rounded out the shower with little lunch bags that contained an apple juice box and a bag of chocolate chip cookies. We also slipped in little magnets that announced Ethan’s due date and a prayer card with Julia’s requests. Overall, I think it was a definite top two of showers in my mind. I loved the overall theme and the fact that we didn’t really worry about the entire thing until the night before. Gotta love it when you don’t lose sleep over an event!
So what did you think? Do you love the apple theme? How bout the games? Any one of them strike your fancy? Or maybe you are still drooling over that monkey bread or those apple-inspired cupcakes? One of those a day would probably not keep the doctor away. In fact, you would probably get to know your GI guy pretty well 🙂 Anyhoo…I’d love to hear if anything really wiggled into your heart.