When I told my dear friend Julia I wanted to host her baby shower, I knew it would have to be a very special event. Julia is one of the most unique women I know. In the six years since I’ve known her, she has participated in an array of activities that have convinced me she is a rockstar, and one tough cookie. Let’s see, there’s the competitive boxing, the volunteering at the Iditarod, the tilapia raising, the professional pastry making, and the traveling to African countries on a much-coveted scholarship, to name a few. And somehow, in the midst of all these activities, she has managed to meet a great guy, fall in love, get married, and start a family! There was no way a run-of-the-mill, girly girl baby shower would be appropriate for this mommy-to-be and her little one. As I spent a little time thinking about Julia, it didn’t take long to settle on an idea. To celebrate someone who owns an undisclosed number of stuffed raccoons and spent the first six months of her married life working as a dog musher in Alaska, a Woodland Creatures Baby Shower was pretty quickly my top choice. I have to say I had a super fun time planning this event and it seemed to go over extremely well with the many family and friends who joined us at my home yesterday.
Here are some of the highlights of this special day, from food to decor to games!
I’m a big believer that an invitation is the first opportunity to set the tone for an event. Given the choice and the means, I always choose a mailed paper invitation over anything electronic. Cause who doesn’t love getting real mail? And perhaps invitees will actually save a paper invitation as a keepsake from a special occasion. I found these adorable critter baby shower invitations here on Zazzle. P.S. Never pay full price on Zazzle. Wait a few days and they will always have a coupon code prominently displayed at the top of the site.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but allow me to say that if you’re throwing a Woodland Creatures Baby Shower, make your life easy by re-purposing any pinecone or pine tree-themed items you might have in your Christmas decorations! Also, if you have kids, looting their stuffed animals for decor is totally okay.
I found these lovable woodland creature wall stickers online at Target. They doubled as a gift for Julia to put in baby’s room.
Pictures of baby animals are simple to print off the internet and frame.
I didn’t get any photos of the brunch spread in its entirety (waaah!), but the menu (pictured above) included:
Woodland Berry French Toast Casserole
Ham and Asparagus Quiche (made with major modifications to this recipe)
“Little Critter” Cheese Ball
Squeee! It’s a hedgehog-shaped cheese ball! I genuinely think this was people’s favorite menu item. Let’s see more pictures of it, because this may be my one and only chance to ever use the hashtag #hedgehogcheeseball, and I want to make it worth it.
Not only was this little critter a big hit for its goofy look, it was also delicious! I mixed 16 oz. cream cheese (8 oz. full-fat and 8 oz. Neufchatel), 1 1/2 c. cheddar, 4 sliced green onions, 4 crumbled strips of bacon, 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 1 tsp. dill, shaped it into a vaguely balloon-shaped mound, and adorned the exterior with sliced almonds and pecan halves for feet.
Always a go-to for parties, especially a brunch like this shower, fruit trifle is an excellent way to make a plain fruit salad look extra fancy.
Owl-Shaped Crudites with Ranch
“Stop,” they all said. “NO MORE ANIMAL-SHAPED FOODS!” But I could. not. stop. This owl-shaped veggie tray was just too whimsical and fun.
Birch Log Chocolate-Caramel Cake
I wish I could claim credit for this idea, but it was inspired by this impressive post on The Cake Blog. Following their instructions, I made “birch bark” by painting the striations of a birch tree with melted semisweet chocolate on parchment paper, then brushing melted white chocolate over it. Once hardened, I think it made for a pretty good imitation of the lovely birch trees found in our woodland creatures’ homeland! The cake underneath was chocolate with caramel frosting.
I think the mommy-to-be liked it!
Newsflash: most people do not like cheesy shower games. I know I don’t, and I knew Julia wouldn’t. So my goal in coming up with games for this shower was for them to be 1. actually fun and 2. result in something of value Julia could keep after the fact. Cause if you think about it, we’ve all done the belly measuring or the chocolate bars in diapers, and after all was said and done, what did we really gain? Not much. And what did we lose? Our dignity.
When I stumbled across this idea, it was love at first Buzzfeed article. The concept: pass out unprinted diapers and markers to guests and have them decide what funny messages or pictures they’d like the future parents to see during diaper changes. Yes, I realize we were taking perfectly pristine, dye-free diapers and putting dye all over them, but I tell you what, it was awesome.
I loved that this activity gave guests the chance to be creative and also sent Julia home with two packs of usable diapers.
Each guest was also given a clothespin to hang her decorated diaper on display for all to see on a tulle banner. Some of them were so funny!
Baby Animal Names GameTo go along with our baby animals theme, the classic “name that baby animal” matching game seemed in order. I couldn’t find any online that I really liked, so I made one myself. Here’s a free printable version of it if you like it, too!
Click here for free printable: baby-animal-names-game-free-printable
Wishes for Baby
The gift opening portion of a shower can get a little long for everyone except the honoree, especially when the pile of loot is as big as this.
To give guests something to do while Julia opened her many wonderful gifts, I printed off these Mad Lib-style “Wishes for Baby” sheets from Pop Sugar.
I confess, I read a few people’s responses after I collected them. Some were tender and sweet, some were random and hilarious. I hope they end up in the baby book or somewhere special, because they were such a neat outpouring of love for this little person and his or her parents.
Julia, it was an honor (and tons of fun) to throw this shower! And Little Critter, we can’t wait to meet you soon!