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Baby Shower Guide

MamaSpeaks.com

Come on, you know you groan at the thought- all the cutesy fluff, the awful games, the funky food, the general awkwardness--but we do it because it's a right of passage, it's needed and lets face it, teeny tiny baby socks make up for all the shortcomings. If you haven't figured it out yet, we're talking baby showers. And mamas, I am happy to say that there is hope. We recently threw a SURPRISE! shower for our contributor Steph who is pregnant with her fourth babe (and her first girl!) so we've put most of this to task and the ideas/suggestions that we haven't, well, we still think they're pretty great ideas.

Where to start?
Just relax, ok? Rule number one is that there are no rules. But if there were, rule number two would be to delegate what you can, spare everyone the cheese and show up with a smile. No worries, it will go beautifully.

Think about who you're throwing your shower for and where she is on her journey through motherhood. Is she your friend, sister, co-worker? Is she a new mom, adopting, pregnant with multiples, first boy, first girl, age gap, etc?

Showers aren't just for first time moms anymore. Throw out that notion with Grandma's darned socks. Babies are costly, they wear things out and above anything else mama's need some special attention every now and then.

If you're stumped we found a couple of great books to get the ideas flowing. Baby Showers by Jennifer Adams [$10] is more on the traditional side but has some awesome ideas and recipes. Best of all it's a quick, easy read so you can glean some ideas and get going. We also loved Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood [$17] which is a great guide in taking the focus away from a traditional shower which focuses on the soon-to-be-born child and instead "honors, pampers and celebrates the mother-to-be by creating a circle of strength and support around her as she prepares to give birth"

Get help!
Party planning is a lot of work, recruit a partner in crime to share the workload and gush over the details. If it's not a surprise, of course, the guest of honor can be in on it but please don't make her lift a finger!

Theme it
We're not talking ducks and baby bottles ladies. Cut the cute and think outside the box. Start with a simple color scheme and think of something fun to focus on. We chose a pink and espresso scheme and had a spa theme.

Come one, come all
Think about who the mama to be wants to share her special day with and do your best not to leave anyone out. We went the way of the evite which helped in keeping our event hush-hush but you might also want to have some printed invites on hand for some of those that aren't so glued to their computers. Hit up Etsy for some great finds.

Where?
A rented space may be tempting but your home or a local caf&eactue; might be more cozy.

Decorate
Of course your where can help you dictate here but we opted for some sunny windows and colorful fresh daisies. The food and piles of gorgeous presents added some more flair. Once again keep it simple. If you're looking to follow suit we'd highly recommend placing an order from Organic Bouquet. Not only are all of their flowers 100% organic ours were grown in California and VeriFlora® certified. Our daisies arrived protected in their signature eco-packaging with vase included, they lasted for.ever. and were beyond beautiful. And if you're looking for a last mintue gift head over to Organic Style for some awesome eco offerings for baby and mom. We're partial to the Eat Your Veggies! Teething Toy Set [$50].

Let's Nosh
What's a party without some good eats? Again we implore you to keep it fresh and simple. Of course the time of day will dictate whether you need to serve a meal or stick to snacks. Whatever you do try to use in season foods that are easy to eat with your fingers. Fruit and veggie trays, hummus and other dips are great stand ins. And sure it's a breeze to pick up a fluffy sheet cake from the grocery store but think about it a little further cupcakes, lemon bars or cookies (or all of the above) can be way more fun. Another great moment to delegate, ask everyone to bring a dish or drink and spare yourself some work. Cookies by Design baby assortment [$36/dozen] will add the perfect sweet treat, and everyone loved having their own individually wrapped yum to take home.

Greenpartygoods For plates and cups and all of your other party needs Green Party Goods is the place to go. Green Party Goods set us up with Bamboo Serving trays and utensils, cornware plates, paper cups and sustainable napkins. They are also a great place to shop for decorations and favors to keep your party hoping with the earth in mind.

Do something
We find when you get a bunch of women together there aren't to many lulls in the conversation whether they know each other or not but it's nice to have an activity or two to keep everyone busy. This is where we must say, STEP AWAY FROM THE BABY BINGO! We made custom onesies at our shindig and while we were adventurous in creating designs to be screen printed you can use simple stencils, markers, paint or felt cutouts to create some cute gear that doubles as an extra gift for the baby to be. We also asked guest to each bring a bead to be used to create a birthing/nursing necklace.

If you have a more intimate bunch you might want to share some motherly advice or do a blessing way ceremony. Maybe some spa pampering, mini massages for the guests and mother to be? Or henna and belly painting [$25] or a belly cast [$32]? Belly painting and cast kits are available from Proud Body.

Capture It
Designate someone to take photos and video, because the mama will likely miss some of the silly going on as she tries to take in all the love. Send the photos to Flickr, or any site where everyone can easily view them, and the video can be uploaded to NewBaby.com (generous sponsors of our shower) where it can easily be shared with family and friends.

Favored
After all the fun you don't want to send anyone home empty handed. The guest of honor will of course have her haul but it's nice to honor your guests as well. In sticking with our spa-centric theme we sent our girls home with custom made pouches stocked with a handmade candle, lip gloss, nail polish, a lotion bar from Bee Simple [$6] and a cookie for the road.

Win it!
Of course we want to give you all you need to throw the baby shower of the century. Our gift basket will include: A copy of Baby Showers and Mother Rising, streamers from Green Party Goods, Eat Your Veggies! set from Organic style and one of our party favor pouches! To enter, email giveaways[at]mamaspeaks.com with Baby Shower as your subject. Let us know one of your favorite Baby Shower activities. Giveaway ends 08.15.08



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