Archive for April, 2011

27
Apr
Shower Time!

Afternoon Tea

Naturally as someone who loves to plan parties, I was all about the prospective baby shower when I found out my sister was pregnant.  I wanted to do something small, intimate, and classy (with a few stupid games thrown in for fun).  I am a huge fan of afternoon tea (a brilliant concept – let’s all take a break in the afternoon to relax, eat, and drink tea.  What could be better? It is an afternoon snack perfected!), so i knew right away that the general concept for the shower would be an afternoon tea in my home (that part saves a lot of dough).  Being a list maker to my core, I started with a checklist of everything needed to plan the shower:
Baby Shower Checklist

Color Scheme
My sister is having a girl, but is not into girlie girl pink so I chose to go with a neutral green and yellow palate.  I used this palate with the table setting and linens, the balloons, and other various accents like prize bags and favor bags.

Theme
Themes can get really cheesy really fast – not that that is a bad thing, but like I said, this was going to be a classy afternoon tea, so I went with a mild sprinkling of rubber duckies (rubber duck to top the diaper cake, little duck stickers to seal the favor bags, and little duck chocolate candies).

Rubber Duck Chocolates

Tea, Teapots, and Teacups

Obviously the tea and the teaware are the most important items at an afternoon tea, so this was not a decision to be taken lightly.  I enjoy tea, but I would not consider myself a tea snob, so I was thinking about quality, but also about looks when making this decision.  I was debating between several different options for the tea.  There was Upton Tea Imports. They have an unbelievably large selection of tea (overwhelmingly large).  I love their tropical chai spice tea (thanks to the recommendation of a friend), and they have great sample size bags, which is great if you have no idea what you want.  The sample bags also make great gifts, but for this I decided that loose tea would be too messy since I wanted to offer people different teas to accompany different foods.  Another option was Adagio Teas.  They had really nice options, but in the end Tea Forte won for design.  I love the little leaf that comes out of their teabags:
Tea Forte Teabags
I also liked their teaware options, and they offered a bulk purchasing option that made their price the best.  I decided it would be unique and fun if everyone got their own pot of tea at the table instead of just a cup of tea, and Tea Forte’s Solstice option was perfect. I wanted to go with white teapots and teacups because white dishes are easier to mix and match, they provide a blank backdrop for the food and beverages, and with tea, I think it is nice to be able to not only enjoy the flavor of what you are drinking, but also the color.  I also liked the modern twist that the Solstice offered with its square handles, bottoms, lids, and saucers.  I continued the square theme by using square plates for the food.  I was so happy when the teapots arrived and I tested them out for the first time. They poured beautifully with no dripping (good for my white linen tablecloth)!  This is not an easy thing to accomplish.  I used little white bowls to serve the jam, clotted cream, lemon curd, honey, and sugar, and I got raw sugar for the tea because it has a more interesting look than white sugar.

Table Linens and Decor

I knew I wanted something in light green or yellow to go with the color scheme, and I ended up getting a great deal for a table runner at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  It was sitting, unwrapped with no tag in the clearance bin.  I took it to the register to find out how much it was, and the cashier called over the manager.  He said, “Let’s play the price is right” and the cashier said, “$3.99″ and I am thinking that is ridiculously cheap, and then the magical words came out of the manager’s mouth” Sounds good to me.”  Score!  $3.99 for a table runner.  That was the deal of the day.  Overall it was a good shopping day because I had just come from Michael’s where I got all the craft supplies for the shower and I had a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase there. Under the table runner, I put down a white tablecloth (I loved this tablecloth when I bought it – I got a great deal on it at the Crate and Barrel Outlet), but have been too scare to use it since it is white linen.  I decided that I needed to take the plunge sometime, so I just went for it with the afternoon tea.

Tea Table

To add a pop of color I placed 3 small square glass vases filled with bright green glass stones and yellow miniature carnations down the middle of the table.  Whenever I have people over for food that involves sitting at the table, I like to make small, short flower arrangements so they don’t get in the way of people talking or eating.

Each guest also got a menu previewing the upcoming meal and listing the tea choices.

Menu

Music

I put together a compilation of children’s songs to play throughout the shower.  Of course the mix included “Rubber Ducky” to go with my theme. :)  The music played softly in the background, with occasional excitement from the guests when they recognized songs from their childhoods. Once the shower ended, I gave the cd to my sister to take home for the baby.

Games

This was a small shower so I tried to keep the games to a minimum.  I included a game with baby trivia, like “How heavy was the heaviest baby ever born?” Answer: 23 lbs. 12 oz.  Yikes!

I also included a game where guests had to right down the baby name for each adult animal.  I never knew there was a difference between a hare and a rabbit until I found this game (in case I have you wondering now, check out this website: http://www.orcca.on.ca/~elena/useful/bunnies.html).  I also learned a lot of new baby animal names. For example, did you know that a baby ant is an antling and a baby raccoon is a kit?  This was a very educational baby shower! ;-)

I also had guests try to guess the number of diapers that were in the diaper cake.  Guesses ranged from 60 to 120. Who knew that my sister is some kind of math genius and actually calculated based on the number of diapers on the outside and was only off by 2 diapers – the answer was 72 and she guessed 74.

The final game involved hearing a bunch of stories about my sister when she was a baby and people had to guess which ones were true.  I got the false stories from other people I knew, which was great because they included things like a 2 year old screaming for beer in a restaurant and taking one bite out of every piece of fruit in a bowl before her parent’s had a dinner party (I’m sure that was a fun surprise).

Prizes

I tried to do nice prizes for the guests.  They included various gifts from Bath and Body Works like their stackable line of fragrances, lotions, and soaps…

Bath and Body Works Prize

as well as body butters from The Body Shop (thanks to a fabulous Groupon!).  All of the prizes were wrapped in identical yellow bags with cute baby tissue paper, and guests were allowed to pick a bag when they won a game.

Party Favors

The party favors consisted of little green bags filled with bath balls from Me!Bath, and sealed with little yellow ducky stickers.

Party Favors

Diaper Cake

Okay, so this is at the cheesier end of the baby shower spectrum, but a secret part of me loves this because it can end up looking very nice, it is very useful for the mom-to-be, and it can double as decoration and a game.   For those who do not know what a diaper cake is ( I was only aware of the concept because it was featured on the episode of Sex and the City where Miranda has her baby shower), it is a cake-looking structure made from diapers that are rolled up and placed in tiers and tied together with ribbons to form a cake.  A picture is probably better than a description, so here is my first attempt (and probably last) at a diaper cake:

Diaper Cake

Finally, The Food!

Pictures speak louder than words when it comes to food…

First Course: Sandwiches

Honey Infused Goat Cheese, Watercress, and Pear on Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Honey Infused Goat Cheese, Watercress, and Pear on Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I also served egg salad on whole grain bread, and vegetable cream cheese and cucumber on miniature rye bread.  I couldn’t bring myself to serve butter and cucumber sandwiches, but I also did not want to completely get rid of that option since it is found at so many afternoon teas, so I opted to replace the butter with vegetable cream cheese.
Second Course: Scones

Apricot Almond Scones
Apricot Almond Scones
Third Course: Dessert

Miniature Cheesecakes

Miniature Cheesecakes

Miniature Strawberry Cupcakes

Miniature Strawberry Cupcakes

Making Ducky Chocolates

Making Ducky Chocolates

Putting together this tea party for my sister was so much fun.  Everyone had a really good time, and it was great to spend some time with my sister before this baby rocks her world.  I can’t wait to be an aunt, and have tea parties with my niece and all of her stuffed animals.

Category : Entertaining | Food and Drink | Blog