Monday, July 24, 2017

A Dreamy Hot-Air Balloon Themed Baby Shower

"A baby dances with its feet in the air." ~ Ruth Krauss

Last month we celebrated the impending arrival of our nephew with a party for my sister-in-law Shana. This new little brother will join two older sisters, so we hosted a "sprinkle" for the family. This new trend offers a low-key alternative to the traditional shower -- giving loved ones the opportunity to pamper a new baby with items the parents might still need, especially if there has been a gap of several years since the last sibling was born or if the family is welcoming a different gender.

Read on to see how we got carried away with hot-air balloons!

We held the sprinkle in the reception room at our church building -- a wonderful option that allowed us to use the congregation's white tablecloths, as well as tables and chairs. Fresh hydrangeas added soft touches of blue and white, and leftover bunting from my custom-made hot-air balloons added festive touches, draped here and there.

I placed a framed copy of our invitation at the entrance to the room. I loved this Hot Air Balloon Clipart and allowed its storybook charm to set the mood for our other decor.

In lieu of a guestbook, a beautifully illustrated children's book offered a place for loved ones to record their sentiments. Reviewing their comments may one day be a treasured part of reading this book with the baby. (Look for book suggestions later in this post!)

Custom-made hot-air balloons hung from the ceiling seemed to float. See this tutorial for all of the details!

They also served as candle-lit centerpieces in areas that were carefully attended. My brother commented that seeing the flame, he kept expecting to see these balloons gently rise and float away!

Plastic cutlery and napkins from Hobby Lobby echoed the soft shades of blue and green that I used in the hot-air balloons. Find our clear dessert plates here.

To make the large reception room seem more intimate, we divided the space into zones. The center of the room offered a conversation grouping where Shana could open gifts, with a trio of tables nearby, including one for displaying packages and two for food and drinks. On the right side of the room, we set up tables where the adults could linger. And on the left, we offered a casual space for cousins and their friends. Read on to see our kid-friendly ideas!

I knew that my girls and our nieces, along with children of attendees, would be spending most of the afternoon at the party. To keep them entertained, we covered two rectangular tables with plastic tablecloths and offered coloring sheets. This Coloring Cafe design was perfect!

Washable markers and colored pencils ensured easy clean-up. Each kids' table included a hot-air balloon centerpiece, but we did not light the candles in these. (Battery-operated pillars would be a safe option here.) Tufts of pillow stuffing looked like fluffy clouds on our tables.

The girls seemed to enjoy having an activity that tied into our theme.

This pair of award-winning books -- a gift from my mother-in-law -- also added interest to the scene. Since they fit our theme, I tied gossamer blue and green ribbons around the front covers and displayed the books on the coffee table in our conversation area. My nieces can enjoy reading And Away We Go and Hot Air to their little brother someday soon!

Simple party fare was perfect for an early July celebration.

Hot-Air Balloon Sprinkle Menu

Cucumber Water

Sky Blue Ice-Cream Punch

Corn Salad with Tortilla Chips

Mini Quiches

Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Cake

For an easy summertime treat, add cucumber slices to ice water. Chill for at least an hour, and serve for spa-like refreshment.

This frothy concoction, which I am calling Sky Blue Ice-Cream Punch for the purpose of this post, was my favorite menu item. About thirty minutes before the party started, we mixed one bottle of white grape juice, one-half bottle of Blue Hawaiian punch, and one 2-liter of lemon-lime soda. Mary Ashley swirled in scoops of vanilla ice cream, and as the punch began to froth, it took on the appearance of a blue sky filled with clouds. Perfectly lovely and delicious!

For savory bites, we offered mini quiches (picked up from Costco and baked at the church building before the party) and Corn Salad with tortilla chips. Corn salad works equally well as a dip -- find the recipe here.

The night before the shower, Mary Ashley and I made dozens of dipped strawberries. I melted Wilton Blue Candy Melts, dipped the fruit, and set the strawberries on a plate; she added pastel sprinkles from Michaels. We refrigerated the berries until the coating set, then placed each one on a cupcake liner, turned inside out to showcase the pattern. My sister-in-law loves chocolate-dipped strawberries, so something along this line was a must for our menu. And the extra embellishment provided a nod to the idea of the sprinkle.

Chocolate cake from Costco offered a delicious culmination to our menu. Overall, the party was a delightful way to spend an afternoon celebrating the precious little one who is actually scheduled to arrive today. We can't wait to meet this bundle of joy!

"Babies are such a nice way to start people." ~ Don Herrold

Some photos in this post by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.
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