nourishing & unapologetic
One of my dearest friends, Rachel, just celebrated her 9th anniversary earlier this month, but I suspect the anniversary took the backseat because she and her hubby's dear babe turned 1 month old on the same day! Baby C made his grand entrance a few weeks early and has captured everyone's hearts from that minute forward. Okay, let's be honest, he had everyone swooning before he arrived.
I had the privilege of planning the baby shower for his dear momma with his auntie B. I love any reason for festive food and decor that's a little over the top but this was a special occasion. Initially B and I brainstormed a few theme ideas but one idea left the others trailing behind. This momma-to -be is a bookworm and movie buff so we had felt we must let one of her favorite book series inspire us. Thus, the very Harry Potter Party was born.
I hear J.K. Rowling celebrated a birthday semi-recently, so, in the spirit of "birth"days of all sorts, let's recap the shindig for you. And as the HP series is lengthy, so is this post.
And, in the interest of full disclosure, I've only read the third Harry Potter book and watched the third movie. Yes, yes, I know. I've missed out on a classic. I just missed the boat on this one and I've not made the effort to catch up. This party was made possible because of inferences, transfer knowledge from Rachel and B, and Pinterest research.
We introduced the guests to the theme with a custom invitation created in standard Microsoft Word with a few downloaded fonts from dafont.com, and a few free clipart images. If you've not checked out Dafont, you must. If you love typography and textual effects, it is a great resource. And they just so happen to have a Harry P font that is remarkably Potter like. I printed the invite on the parchment colored paper. I addressed in deep red ink and included a stamped white owl on the same colored envelope. Because I love all things themed, I created a House crest and included this verbiage.
The House of (Name) proudly announces:
A baby boy is on his way
bringing with him lots of
Mischief, Magic, and
snuggles for his Muggles.
Join us for a baby shower celebrating
Saturday, June 13, 2015
We hope you join us for what is sure to be
an afternoon of wizardry and well wishes
for the Momma to Be.
For decor, we wanted to keep it themed and fun, but not overdone. So we opted for some statement elements as well as some that could be used in C's room.
We scheduled the shower post-lunch on a Saturday so we didn't provide a full meal, but had lots of yummy appetizers and desserts. I continued the theme into the menu. We had some savory, sweet, and some shower staples.
Some of my favorite menu items to make for the shower were the golden snitches and the kettle corn.
While you might not have many occasions to make the snitches, they're easy and fun. There's no real recipe and Pintereset can provide you lots of ways to make these. I opted to use the gold-wrapped Ferraro Roche (hazelnut chocolates) as the base. Then I hot glued a large white feather folded into a "V" onto the bottom where the foil gathers. Warning, they do take a little bit of time and the feathers, of course, are messy.
Popcorn is an easy, cheap, and popular party treat. When I threw Nick's little sister's shower, we incorporated popcorn (because she was ready to pop, ba dum bum!) so I wanted to include it this time around too. But to make it a little more interesting, I wanted kettle corn. It was important that it could be made ahead of time AND use an air-popper. I found a recipe on another food blog, but since I stumbled across it, the blog domain has been vacated, it appears. So, I'll give you my interpretation of the recipe.
Air-Popped Coconut Oil Kettle Corn (aka Hufflepuff Popcorn)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
Place kernels in air popper and operate according to popper instructions. Once popped, set aside.
1/4 cup stick butter (unsalted or salted)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp water
1 tsp salt
1. Melt butter, oil, sugar, salt, and water in sauce pan. Let cook until it comes to frothy boil.
2. Once the mixture will begin to thicken, remove from heat.
3. Pour over the popped corn and stir well to make sure the gooey goodness is evenly distributed.
Now, you can enjoy immediately. Or store in an airtight container or package individually.
Neither Rachel, nor B or I are big shower game lovers so we opted for Movie and TV Mom trivia and a rendition of What will Baby C Look Like? To play, you need multiple copies headshots of each parent as a baby. Slice the photos at the forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and chin. Then ask each attendee, or a group, to use the pieces to build what the bundle of joy will look like. It's always interesting to see which dominant characteristics the family members predict.
We organized this shower during the time Nick and I were packing up our rental and moving into our new home. While I don't recommend managing such big events simultaneously, it all worked out wonderfully. It was an honor to host this shower with B and incredible to celebrate Rachel and Baby C!
Now Muggles, go forth. I challenge you to celebrate in wizardry ways!
Until next time--
Let's cut to the chase. I am not sure where May, June, or July went. This break wasn't on my blog calendar. It wasn't intentional. And, it's certainly not good for our relationship. Let's move past this. I'm still committed to you. And, I hope you'll return to our regularly scheduled programming too.
Frankly, I'm not sure where we begin to catch up. Though, we've not missed much in the way of food or life events. It's just been steady. You know we bought a house. I wish I could wax poetic about all the lessons and blessings homeownership has brought me, but I am not sure I am appropriately grateful yet. I do know so many people long for this milestone and the gravity of this opportunity isn't lost on us. We're trying to relish it. We're trying to soak up every ounce of the fresh paint smell and reel from the incessant hum of the air compressor oh wait, I mean... Seriously, our house in Middle America, the best of the Midwest, it is good. It's growing on me. We're making it ours.
I owe you extensive updates about our projects--the new floor, the painted trim, the refreshed walls, the leftover ceiling drama, my hodge podge decor tips...plus, we've got a lot left to do: tile floors, cabinet resurrection, a custom kitchen table and storage solution, and our backyard oasis. I guess it's swell that the mortgage is essentially like a lifetime commitment so we'll have plenty time to chat and compare notes.
I don't have a recipe to share this time around, but will share something delicious soon. In the meantime, let's chat about how awesome life is. I am a firm believer that people are put in your life at different points for reasons one can't even anticipate.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend my first Mortar Board National Conference in Phoenix (holy toledo, it's hot there!) . I give some volunteer time as a Section Coordinator for a handful of universities and colleges in Oklahoma. Mortar Board is a Senior Honor Society comprised of high-achieving individuals dedicated to Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. I received the privilege of membership when I was a first year senior (yes, I had a super senior year too) at Kansas State. The XIX Chapter at K-State has a rich legacy and the individuals I connected with because of MB totally changed the course of my life. As a bonus, during the conference, I was able to enjoy extra time with Wildcats from many generations and celebrate as the current XIX chapter was honored with highest award a chapter can win!
MB has given me more than I think I realized. Let's tally: a mentor, I am astounded and inspired by at every turn. Seriously, I am better just for her presence. A fearlessly authentic West Coast BFF. A like-minded, incredible food blogger friend (visit her at Life as a Strawberry, ASAP.) And, more uber sincere, amazingly talented, ambitious friends and acquaintances than I can count. Our time in Phoenix allowed me to reconnect with some of them. They unknowingly challenged me to reflect and reconsider. They shared their journeys and reminisced. They've reminded me of what brings me joy, what I've done, and importantly what I am and always have been. I left with bags under my eyes, a brain full of goals and wishes, and a pretty full heart. I can only hope the students I interact with through this organization will have the same type of experience I've had. Membership is what you make it and it can last forever.
So let's expect big things in the coming months. I want to grow. I want to achieve. I want to take the leap of faith. And more than anything I want to build an attitude of gratitude. Oh, and, I still want a built-in in my kitchen. We can have it all, right?