Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Showers

The Frugal Hostess loves babies. In fact, she considers herself something of a baby whisperer. She has hosted many a baby shower in her day, and now she’s going to help with yours.

First, some notes on etiquette. (What? You know TFH is old-fashioned. In some ways. Namely, the ways that don’t exclude frequent dropping of the f-bomb.) Please don’t host your own baby shower. That is so extra tacky and random that The Frugal Hostess is struck speechless. If you are hosting a shower for a friend or co-worker, please ask her who she’d like to invite. And, at the risk of stirring up some controversy, don’t hold a surprise shower for a pregnant lady. Who knows what this will cause….

Next, if you are the guest of honor, remember these rules. Get a gift for the hostess(es). Be understanding when she asks you to limit the guest count; she’s not made of money. Remember that your registry, like traffic signals in Italy, is a suggestion rather than a law – people can get you whatever they want, and they really don’t have to get you anything, so take whatever you get and like it. As a wise man once said, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

Finally, all parties must remember that the arrival of a new life into the world is a miraculous, beautiful thing. Marking the occasion should be joyful and fun, not another hash mark to add to the Great Scoreboard of Life. So what if the guest of honor will never get you a baby gift or throw you a reciprocal shower?

Now that the lecturing is over, on to the party. There are all kinds of wonderful themes for baby showers, and hosting one is fun because you can indulge your love of tiny socks or whatever without looking like a freak. Here are a few to think about:

Miniature Baby Shower: Serve miniature versions of the mom-to-be’s favorite foods, like sliders, soup in shot glasses, and cupcakes. Use dollhouse furniture for centerpieces, and send out invitations on miniature cards (you’ll have to tuck these into normal envelopes to mail, but whatevs.)

Library Baby Shower: The Frugal Hostess did this one for a pregnant book-lover. Send the invitations on cards made from children’s books, and ask guests to bring a favorite book to start the baby’s library. Stack old children’s books (bought for cheap at a thrift store) as centerpieces, running pieces of pastel ribbon through the pages and across the table. Place vases of flowers atop each stack. For games, have guests match characters up with book titles. And for your menu, serve items inspired by children’s books, like green eggs and ham. TFH held this party in the restaurant above a famous indie book store, but it’s just as cool at home.

Monochromatic Baby Shower: For some reason, The Frugal Hostess finds monochromatic color schemes extremely soothing. For example, her clothes are lined up in order of color, so that her closet is a fabric rainbow. Thus, the all-pink, all-blue, or, for those parents who want a surprise, the all-white baby shower. Pink showers could serve ham finger sandwiches, pink champagne and lemonade, cupcakes with pink frosting, watermelon, radicchio salad, and radishes with sea salt. Blue showers could do sliders with blue cheese, arugula and walnut salad with blueberry vinaigrette, blue corn tortilla chips and salsa, and stuffed Peruvian blue potatoes. White menu ideas would include a mashed potato bar, clam chowder, marshmallows (roast your own is fun), white bean dip with white tortilla chips, and white pizza. Obviously, the décor matches the color you pick. Think beyond flowers by using scarves, paper, or Christmas ornaments in the correct colors.

OK, OK, these are good ideas, but The Frugal Hostess has one more for you. This is especially good if you and most of the guests are single girls unlikely to want or have babies in the next year. And the guest of honor must be very cool and have a great sense of humor. Or you must secretly hate her. It is elegantly named The Gross-Out Baby Shower. Here’s what you do:

Invitations: Make folded diapers from white card stock. On the inside, cut brown paper to fit, and write the details in white or silver ink. (Pictures and detailed instructions for this coming soon. It’s harder to describe in words than it is to make.) UPDATE: Complete templates and instructions available here.

Food: Split pea soup served in glass containers or baby food jars; cocktail wienies in sauce; veggies and ranch dip; milk punch served in baby bottles; and chocolate mousse.

1. Diaper Sniffing – Get six real disposable diapers and six different candy bars. Unwrap candy, place in diapers, and microwave for 30-60 seconds (you want a slight melt, not full-on runny). Guests must sniff each diaper to guess which kind of candy bar is in it. So gross!
2. Baby Food Tasting – Get six or so jars of different flavors of baby food. This works best if two are yellow, two are green, etc. Pull off the labels or cover them with your own (you can cut up brown paper bags for this so they aren’t see-through). Each guest gets a tasting spoon and has to guess what flavor is contained in each jar. Yuck!
3. Pinata – Get a piñata in the shape of a baby. Fill it with brown and yellow candy. Just kidding, this is even too disgusting for The Gross-Out Baby Shower.

Sounds like fun! Stay tuned for instructions and pictures, and feel free to subscribe while you’re at it so you don’t miss a thing.


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