Jen’s “In the Woods” Baby Shower

I don’t know if I can explain how much I loved this baby shower. I know I say this about every party I host, but seriously – this is my favorite shower I’ve ever thrown. And while the theme was *amazing*, it’s my favorite because it was for my cousin’s / best friend’s / essentially second sister’s baby boy. Baby Cole makes his grand entrance THIS MONTH, and I am positively giddy!

When Jennifer told me she was pregnant, I knew I was going to throw her a shower. There wasn’t any question about it. I only had one problem: what theme? I had plenty of my own ideas, but none of them were quite right. Jennifer didn’t have strong feelings about a special theme, but she finally decided on Dr. Seuss, and I started planning. But while Pinterest-ing one night, I came across this:

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.

I took one look at that gorgeous mountain shelf and it was love at first sight. I couldn’t bring myself to do a Dr. Seuss shower after finding such a perfect theme for an outdoorsy, mountain-loving couple, and I texted Jennifer just that. I spent the next hour lost on the Internet and found a wealth of adorable ideas. But none as special as that mountain shelf. So I called my brother-in-law, Sam, who immediately agreed to make me one of my own, and it turned out SO great! Just look at it!! ⇓⇓

I can’t wait to use this thing again – thank you so much, Sam!

I also owe HUGE thanks to my mom for all of her help and advice, and to Vicki Branstetter for opening her home and letting me host the shower there. It was the perfect place to celebrate with the Briggs’ families and friends, and I’m so happy with how everything came together!

The apple bar was a personal request of Jennifer’s, and easily my favorite part of the menu! For the dips, we melted chocolate, white chocolate, caramels, and peanut butter chips in mason jars and kept them warm in the crock pot.

*Tip: soak your apples in 7-Up right after slicing to keep them from turning brown!

As far as the decorations, my favorite pieces (besides the mountain shelf) were the “Crown Yourself” chalkboard and the Mama Bear balloons. The woodsy theme was very easy to find decorations for, and a lot of the things I used came out of my own home!

Jennifer isn’t the kind of person who enjoys being the center of attention, so I kept the games very low-key and fun. We played “Who Knows Mom Best” and Baby Shower Bingo as she opened gifts. At any point during the shower, guests could write a message on a diaper for Jennifer to read during late-night diaper changes. I also picked out a baby book for guests to sign as the guest book, and the shower invitations encouraged guests to bring a book instead of a card to help build up the Briggs library!

Guests also wrote their addresses on envelopes to make sending thank-you notes easier for Jennifer, and as they left the party, they took home mini s’mores kits to “fuel their future adventures.”

What an amazing afternoon! The only thing that would have made this party better would be if people had eaten more food so we didn’t have as much to clean up. Haha!

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Grandma’s girls. :)

I’m so thankful that we got to shower my new nephew (and my oldest friend) with so many cute and useful gifts. I can’t wait to meet him, and I can’t wait to watch my best friend become a mom.

jen and stace

Seriously, how perfect are they. ♥

The next time I talk about Baby Cole…….he’ll be in my arms! Eeek!! I hope you’ll join me in praying for a healthy mama, a healthy baby, and a calm daddy.  And if you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”).

Up Up & Away Co-Ed Baby Shower

How’s that for a throwback?? This picture is from 2010. 2010. Say hello to the skinnier, baby-faced, dating versions of Daniel, Laura, Tiffany, and Cole. :) We share a very special kindred-spirit kind of friendship with the Newtons, and it’s been wonderful to watch them go from friendship to dating, to engagement, to marriage, to ministry, and now to parenthood. I’ve known for years that I would throw Tiffany a bomb.com baby shower, and I FINALLY got the chance last month!

Originally, the plan was for Tiffany to come to the shower with her baby still swimming around in her belly for another month, but baby Éowyn surprised us all and came 5 weeks early! There is NOTHING like going to the hospital to see some of your best friends with their new baby, exhausted but glowing with love for that little life they created. We got to praise God together for a safe, easy birth for Tiffany and the fact that no extra oxygen was needed for Éowyn, even though her lungs were and are still developing. The Newton girls are both warriors. Baby girl is so, so tiny, and getting to hold her made my heart burst!

I don’t remember when exactly it happened, but several years ago, Tiffany and I started talking about babies. Up until this point, we did literally everything else within months of each other – dating, engagements, finishing school, weddings, new jobs, new homes, even getting dogs – so it was just natural to imagine our future kids and arrange their marriages. I have a vivid memory of her saying she wanted to decorate a nursery with hot air balloons, and from that moment on, I always knew that whenever I threw her a shower, it would be hot air balloon-themed.

In all honesty, this is probably my favorite shower I’ve ever thrown. I put months of thought into the little details, and I’m over the moon about how great it turned out. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my co-hosts though – I owe a huge “thank you” to Brittany, Lenzie, and Pamela for their hard work, and to Nancy at the museum for helping me pull this thing off!

The Three Valley Museum was an absolutely wonderful place to host this shower. The exposed beams, brick walls, and vintage accents created the perfect atmosphere for a fun, adventure-themed party! Nancy made my job so much easier – all I had to do was set up the decorations and the food. The tables, chairs, coffee, and GORG antique wagon that served as the food table were all provided by the museum. I love discovering new event venues, and this one will definitely stay on my short list.

When guests came in, they were encouraged to sign the globe guest book and write pieces of advice to the new parents. I put pieces of paper with individual alphabet letters printed on them on each table and asked guests to color a picture of anything that started with that letter. The pages would later be turned into a homemade alphabet book for baby Eowyn. And I got everything from nice things like “Y for Yellow Yak” to a bizarre drawing of nothing but eyeballs as “A for Albino.” Thank you, Jeremy Burns.

THE MENU: 

Snack bags on the guest tables
Cupcakes
Individual veggie cups
Chips & snack mix
“Babies” in a blanket
Coffee bar
Fruit-infused water
Hot air balloon cake balls

The cupcakes had a special twist. Before we knew baby Newton was a girl, my original plan was to create a mini blue cake and a mini pink cake, and fill one of them with colored frosting. Cole would cut into one and Tiffany would cut into the other, and whichever one was filled would be the supposed gender of their baby. Instead, I just made two pink ombre cakes, and I filled one of the cupcakes! I created a sign to display next to the cupcakes with a caution for guests to choose wisely – whoever chose the sprinkles-filled cupcake would be the next to get pregnant. And, of course, it was hilarious when Tiffany’s younger brother Kevin discovered he had picked that special cupcake!

All of the decor was DIY. I was really nervous because I hadn’t ever worked with giant balloons before, but they turned out great! I ordered the balloons and nets online, and got most of the baskets from Hobby Lobby on sale. The banners were individual triangles…cut out and painstakingly taped on string…by me. (Labor of love.) Because the museum was already decorated, I didn’t have to bring anything with me besides tablecloths, the hot air balloon centerpieces, Mason jars for the paper pinwheels, my giant chalkboard, and little odds and ends like sequin table runners and stuff for the guest book table.

mom and dad

This was the only picture I got of the sweet parents. Seriously – she does not look like she just had a baby, am I right??

And I had to take a pic of two of my favorite guys! :) This little dude made me an aunt. I can’t believe he’s already two years old.

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Honest to goodness – could not be happier with how this shower turned out. I’m still really proud of myself and so thankful to the co-hosts for everything they did. Thanks again to Pam, Brittany, and Lenzie! And happy parenthood to Tiffany and Cole – you’ll probably never sleep ever again. ;)

 If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). Hope you have a lovely week!

World’s Okayest Party Planner: Part II

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I realize I haven’t thrown THAT many parties, but this will probably always be one of my favorites, no matter how many more I plan. I started planning this party the moment I found out Daniel had passed his first CPA exam. I didn’t know when I would get to bring it to life, but I knew it would happen eventually! I never doubted that he would pass every exam, and this party was the perfect way to celebrate his hard work.

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I also realize that camping and lumberjacks aren’t really a “new” party theme, but I thought it would be a fun theme for a manly celebration. The best part was that pretty much all of this party was DIY! The main way I kept costs down was by borrowing and re-purposing most of the decorations. My mom is one of those party-planning, quilt-making, dessert-baking, basically-everything-domestic creative geniuses, and she always adds such perfect touches in her own decorating. I knew I could count on her to have some cute camping/outdoors-themed stuff. The main pieces I borrowed from her were the red/white tablecloth, the red lantern, the silver campfire coffee pot, and the big wood slices (LOVE these). My favorite big decorations, though, were the burlap and plaid strip banner behind the food table, and the “YAY” backdrop with the gold CPA balloons!

The camping-themed menu included:

  • Pretzels and caramel corn
  • Apple cider
  • A chili and hot dog bar with lots of toppings
  • S’mores cupcakes
  • Candy corn and candy pumpkins

The cupcakes didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but my meltdown only lasted about 3 minutes, and then I got over myself and made it work. GIANT shout out to my mom and my mom-in-law for helping with everything from food to serving to helping clean up!

I think I mentioned this before, but I find beauty in little details. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big impact. For example, for this party, we ate off of metal pie tins instead of plain old plates! (Sidebar: I wanted to get wooden silverware, but I ran out of time. Boo.) Mom also made the cutest tiny tree confetti to sprinkle on the tables, and I used other little things like my wood candle holders, my mustache mug, and the blue speckled spoons (also from my mom) to reinforce the woodsy, manly vibe.

The best part, of course, was the people who came. Their love and support was overwhelming, and it was so much fun to celebrate with a group of people who love Daniel genuinely and prayed faithfully for us during that season of our marriage!

If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). Hope you have a lovely week!

World’s Okayest Party Planner – Part I

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Sometimes, I wish that I could just do nothing but plan parties for people I love! It brings me such a unique kind of joy, and it’s one of the only talents I have that I’m genuinely confident about. I’m okay at the piano and I’m an okay singer; I’m barely okay at decorating my house; and I guess I’m okay at writing? But give me a party to plan and I truly feel like I’m in my element.

Last fall gave me two opportunities to share my gifts – (1) a rain-themed baby shower for my dear friend Kelli, her husband Blake, and their son Elijah, and (2) a woodsy, lumberjack bash to celebrate Daniel passing the CPA exams. First was the shower for the Moore family!

Whenever I plan a party, one of my consistent goals is to stay away from anything that is done too often. I like unique themes and little details that make a big statement. My inspiration for Kelli’s shower came from this cute pin I found on Pinterest a few years ago – I mean, Babybel cheese umbrellas?? Come on. I had to.

The final menu included:

  • Chocolate chip and cinnamon streusel muffins
  • Rainbow fruit
  • Babybel cheese umbrellas
  • Cloud and raindrop sugar cookies
  • Turquoise punch (a fancier way of saying “I mixed lemonade and Sprite together, and then spent about 10 minutes trying to put in the perfect amount of blue food coloring”)

I was thrilled with how everything came together! I had a few mishaps, but nothing too tragic. Although I can definitely tell you that I never want to cut out a tiny cloud by hand…ever…again.

Hands down, these were my two favorite things – the ‘too cute to eat’ cookies made by the very talented Marissa Dodd, and the cloud straws (AKA my labor of love).

Cute little parents :)

I think the most fun part was the games. I created something called the Blind Olympics, which consisted of 3 different games that all had to be completed blindfolded. Some were done on teams, and some were completed alone, but all were hilarious. I wish I had taken more pictures of them!

The first game was called “Clean Up After the Baby.” We set up a line of chairs, and one member from each team sat down facing the rest of the group, blindfolded. They were given one bowl full of cotton balls to hold in their lap, an empty bowl to hold on top of their head, and a spoon. The first person to scoop all of the cotton balls out of the bowl in their lap and put them in the bowl on their head was the winner.

The second game was called “Draw the Baby” and was inspired by the game on this post! Instead of just drawing a baby blindfolded, the participants were given a ridiculously short time limit to finish their drawing. They were also given instructions while drawing, such as “Now give the baby an article of clothing” or “Now set the scene – is the baby outside throwing water balloons, or inside drawing on the walls…?” Kelli and Blake judged the drawings and picked two winners: Most Likely to Look Like Their Baby and Most Terrifying-Looking Baby of All Time.

The last game (the BEST game) was called “Feed the Baby.” I divided everyone in to teams of two, and each team was given a jar of applesauce and two spoons. Everyone blindfolded themselves and stood in two lines, each person facing their partner. When I said “go,” the team members fed the applesauce to each other at the same time. The first duo to finish their applesauce won! I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire time they played.

Even the prizes followed the ‘blind’ theme: winners from each game got to draw a random prize out of a giant mystery prize box! I wrapped the top of the box with wrapping paper and cut a hole in the middle, large enough so they could reach in but couldn’t see what they were grabbing. The prizes included cute kitchen towels, Cheese Whiz, movie theater boxes of candy, a top hat, a whoopie cushion, alphabet fridge magnets, an extra-large mason jar travel mug with a lid and straw…all kinds of nonsense.

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If you liked this party, you’ll definitely want to read my next post: Daniel’s lumberjack CPA bash! Coming soon! :)