Sock Monkey Baby Shower

I’m not sure when baby showers became competitions.  All I know is that my friends and I are in it to win it.

We recently threw a shower for my sister-in-law.  She has a few loves: her husband, her boys, God, football, her giant TV (direct quote: “I want to be able to read the player’s tattoos!”), couponing and, of course, monkeys.  She loves monkeys.  If it’s her birthday and you find a monkey card, you’re golden.  It doesn’t even have to be a birthday card – it can be a retirement party or a second birthday card.  If there are monkeys, she’ll love it.

When it came time to throw her shower, we made the theme sock monkeys, polka dots and lots of vintage embellishments.

On Amazon.com, we bought cupcake liners, red and white paper straws, and red and white lollypops.  One of the hostesses made themed pinwheels, which were amazing!  I raided the dollar bin at Target when they featured Paul Frank bins and marker boards, and all the hostesses brought every stuffed monkey we had for decorations.  It takes a village to throw a shower.

First was the invitation – monkeys, white linen paper and Rockwell font.  Have I ever told you how much I love linen card stock?  I love it.  It is classy, it adds a special touch, but more than that, ink just seems to stick to it.

The back of the invitation is red polka dots, and the invitation was complete with craft paper envelope with a red envelope liner.

The food was amazing.  Fruited water and frozen coffee punch in glass bottles with red and white straws.  Fruited water sounds so fancy.  I love it.

The lollypops and the twizzlers were so festive and color coordinated!

We had two kinds of cupcakes: vanilla with strawberry lemon filling and cream cheese frosting and chocolate with espresso buttercream.  Both gluten-free!  I made them, and if you want the recipes, I’ll try to find them, but here’s the reader’s digest version:

Vanilla strawberry cupcakes:  Two boxes of Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix, made in cupcakes per the instructions.  Make really thick strawberry compote with the juice and zest of a lemon – put some corn starch in there to make it good and thick.  Use one of these (which Amber gave me for my birthday) to core the cupcakes and fill with the compote.   Make cream cheese frosting and ice.  Top with a strawberry slice and look like a hero.

Chocolate cupcakes with espresso butter cream: Make chocolate cupcakes.  I used King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix.  Make buttercream frosting, but add about a tablespoon or so of instant espresso that has been dissolved into a bit of water.  Top with a coffee bean.

If you’re wondering how I got the icing so pretty, I was given one of these as a wedding present.  It’s the love child of a caulking gun and an icing bag, and I love it with my whole heart.

Now you know all my secrets.

Here is the menu we put together:

Savory:
Tortilla roll-up sandwiches with flavored cream cheese and lunch meat
Chips and homemade salsa (gluten-free)

Sweet:
Cupcakes (gluten-free)
Chocolate-covered pretzel rods
Chocolate-covered pretzels (gluten-free)
Lollipops (mostly for decoration)
Cherry Twizzlers
Fruit rainbow kabobs (gluten-free)

Drinks:
Fruited water
Coffee punch (gluten-free)

When planning a shower where you know there will be people with food allergies, don’t worry about making the entire menu safe.  Your allergy-suffering guests will appreciate if you have at least one savory and one sweet item they can eat.  Always have the safe items labeled and always be extra careful that they are indeed safe.

Happy party guests, bunting flags, cupcakes, polka dots, tortilla roll ups and monkeys.  It’s sort of like heaven.

Presents!

We held the shower in our church gathering hall, which is about two stories tall.  The balloons gave a lot of decoration bang for the buck and extended the decor higher, which made it feel like it took up more space.

Cupcakes!  We have a lot of gluten-free friends, so gluten-free labeling was a must at the shower.

The table decorations were done in an innovative flurry by the some of the hostesses, who are insanely creative.  Paul Frank bags (from the dollar bin at Target), leftover wrapping paper from the dollar store, shredded paper from the dollar store, homemade pinwheels and monkeys from people’s homes.

I love showers.  It is a time for the community to come together and tangibly bless someone in preparation of big things – babies and weddings and adoptions.  We shower with love and presents and advice.  And monkeys.   Always monkeys.

A big thanks to MacKensie who made the pinwheels and some of the yummy treats.  She also was our official photographer of the day!