Archives For On a Personal Note…

I’ve got a history of collecting close girlfriends. I guess I just get along really well with other women. I’ve been the maid/matron of honor in four weddings in as many years, and as a result I’ve hosted my fair share of showers. This weekend I hosted my first ever baby shower, and I dare say it was my best yet.

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Every other shower I’ve ever hosted has been just me and maybe 1-2 other people, but having four hostesses for this shower really made such a difference! I wasn’t nearly as stressed as I normally am and we were able to do more (many hands make the work light and all that). From left to right: Jen, Tarah, Cassie (the guest of honor), me, and Amanda.

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Over the years I’ve slowly developed a standard shower menu: cucumber sandwiches, strawberry cake from Ambrosia Bakery, chicken salad served on croissants (this time we got them from Calvin’s Market but my mom swears by Sam’s chicken salad), hummus with pita wedges and vegetable spears, and my signature tea punch. We also served caramel apple bites, spinach pastry puffs, and this pasta salad that’s definitely getting added to my menu in the future (Jen made it and it was crazy delicious)!

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Tarah brought over vintage dishes that belonged to her grandparents to mix in with more modern pieces. It was a really sweet touch, especially since Tarah and Cassie met working together in a vintage boutique years ago.

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Amanda got the flowers at Whole Foods and arranged them herself in mason jars that she already had. We got lots of compliments on them, and after the shower we sent them home with Cassie, her mom, and each other. I kept a really pretty bouquet of pink roses to give to my mom for Mother’s Day.

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We set up a drinks station in the kitchen pass-through with punch and cucumber infused water. I had this punch at a shower years ago and I emailed the hostess afterwards to get the recipe. At the time I didn’t even like tea, but this stuff is delicious! Even Nick likes it. I’ll share the recipe at the end of this post.

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None of us are into cheesy shower games, but this one was so darkly funny that we couldn’t resist. I got a bag of plastic king cake babies from a local party supply store (I think there were about 30 in the $2 bag) and froze them in ice cubes. We distributed the cubes to everyone’s drinks and the first person whose melted was to shout,”My water broke!” Cassie’s nephew won, haha. He said he was going to give the tulips he received as a prize to his mom for Mother’s Day.

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We set up the gifts in a corner of the living room (so glad I finally finished reupholstering that chair!). Do you see those cute little lollipop flower looking things? Tarah made them from washcloths and baby spoons! She says she saw it on Pinterest. I love it when decorations can be repurposed as a practical gift for the guest of honor.

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Yes, there are cats on that onesie. Hilarious, especially if you know how Cassie is about her cats.

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How beautiful is this handmade afghan? I want one for myself!

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And just as a note, I was worried about having enough seating for everybody but it worked out just fine. A couple of ladies squeezed onto the bench in our entryway, folks dragged chairs in from the dining room, and here you can see three girls seated comfortably on the chaise lounge. I’m soooo glad I got that secondhand Ikea chaise instead of a loveseat. It’s definitely much more practical. You can also see Amanda and her mom perched on ottomans in this photo. I was totally worried for no reason.

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Overall, it was a great party and such a wonderful way to honor my dear friend. All of the guests were so sweet. It truly was a joy. I’m feeling much more confident now about hosting Jack’s birthday party next month, even though I won’t have my team of hostesses!

Here’s that recipe I promised:

7 Family Size Luzianne tea bags
4 cups cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 of a large can of pineapple juice (or 4 small cans pineapple juice)
1 medium sized can concentrated frozen lemonade
2 bottles ginger ale
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh fruit

The night before:
Fill a mini bunt pan (or any other container well-suited to the purpose, such as concentric tupperware bowls with a weight in the middle) with fresh fruit and mint leaves. I like to use chopped strawberries and pineapple. Fill with gingerale and freeze overnight.

A few hours before the party:
Place the 4 cups cold water in a pot and add tea bags and some mint leaves
Bring to a boil and remove from heat, let steep.
While it’s still warm, remove the tea and mint leaves and add the sugar, stirring until it’s dissolved.

Just before guests arrive:
Pour tea into punch bowl and fruit juices and remaining gingerale.
Taste and add additional water if too sweet.
Garnish with ice ring.

  • I didn’t post yesterday! I always feel a little like something is missing from my day when that happens. I work on Tuesdays and sometimes I’m just not able to crank out a blog post on those mornings. I don’t know how mamas who work full time manage to ever get anything done.
  • There’s a lot going on this week. I’m hosting a baby shower for my friend Cassie on Saturday and since there are three other co-hosts taking care of most of the food and decor I’m focusing on getting the house ready. Today’s goal: to finally finish upholstering the wing chairs in the living room! The remaining unfinished chair has been sporting exposed stuffing and staples for over a year. It’s time. Also! I got a groupon for three hours of housecleaning! So excited!
  • Also this weekend is my first Mother’s Day! What should I do to celebrate? I really want my car to be detailed, but I’ll settle for a quiet day at home and Nick changing all the diapers.
  • I’m working on a few things this week that I can’t wait to show you. I’m hoping that with the house all clean for the shower maybe I’ll have time to snap some updated photos for the house tour page. And hopefully I’ll remember to take some photos at the shower itself so I can blog about it! (I completely forgot to take pictures at the shower I hosted for my sister a few months ago) I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately with blog content so I’m excited about some of these upcoming posts.

I hope that this week is treating you well so far. I’m busy busy busy but looking forward to Sunday when I can hopefully lay around and cash in all the lives people have been sending me in Candy Crush.

Eating out is not nearly as fun as it used to be. Turns out dining with a baby is a whole lot of work. I’d rather just stay home. Unless, of course, we go without him! That’s something we’d never done until last night. People are always offering to babysit left and right, but I’m pretty sure what they mean is that they want to play with him when what I really need is for someone to sit on the sofa while he sleeps. So I turned to facebook to see if I could recruit any volunteers!

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Within an hour I had not one, but TWO nights of free babysitting lined up! Brandi is a single girl with no cable in her condo, and Turena is a mom of two kids under two years and just wants to sit in a room by herself that she doesn’t feel obligated to clean. Nick and I had set a goal to minimize meals out for the month of May, but we cashed in our rewards points from our debit cards and got $77–enough for two modest nights out. I’m on day two of swigging pepto to combat some sort of stomach bug I must’ve caught, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying my steak dinner last night (bonus: my digestive situation felt too delicate to eat more than half, so I’ll have leftovers for lunch!). My parents are hosting their annual crawfish boil tomorrow so I sure hope I’m feeling better by then! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and if you’re not in crawfish country hopefully your weather will at least be warm enough for you to enjoy the great outdoors a bit.

It’s so cliche and I know I probably say it every month, but geez louise how is my baby almost a year old already?

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Jack has never been the most ambitious of babies. He took his time learning to roll over, sit unassisted, and he doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to crawl (which is a-okay with me), but lately he’s pretty insistent on being on his belly whenever possible. I lay him on his back and he flips right over. He can pivot all around in circles and even scootch backwards a little, though I think the latter is more a side effect of pushing up on his arms and sliding rather than an intentional mode of transportation. This morning Nick sat him in the crib for a moment and when he came back Jack was standing! Time to lower the mattress, I suppose, though I’m not too alarmed because he has yet to pull himself into a sitting position on his own. It’s so fun to watch all these big motor skills unfold, and I’m a big believer that they should be allowed to develop naturally instead of taught or encouraged by parents.┬áHe has two teeth on the bottom and two coming in up top, has been sleeping through the night for a month or two, and eats a LOT. Last week we went to lunch with several other moms and babies and he ate another baby’s cheerios, the sliced avocado I ordered for him, a couple of my sweet potato fries, the last little bit of my hamburger, and two of the other babies’ leftover avocado! I don’t know where he puts all that food because there’s not a fat roll to be found on him. Maybe he’s got a tapeworm, haha. Just kidding. I know where it all goes because I change his diapers and they are disgusting. Yay cloth diapers!

This is a really sweet age in that he’s old enough to sit up, play, eat, etc., but he’s not yet mobile enough to be into everything. I’m definitely savoring every moment. The days are long but the years are short.