Tips For An Awesome Baby Shower

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Babyshower

A few weeks ago I hosted a baby shower for my good friend Meg. Her baby girl is due any day and her name will be Rose! Thus, I knew a rose theme would be perfect!

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Here are a few tips that I took away from a fun and festive baby shower!

1. Bunches of Brunches. This is the second brunch baby shower I have hosted, and both have been wonderful occasions. Brunch is such a nice time for a ladies’ morning, and it’s a good time of day for a menu that is delicious but doesn’t require hours of preparation. I served egg casserole, bacon, three kinds of fruit salad, raspberry crumble bars, raspberry cupcakes, punch, wine and coffee. My girlfriends made the crumble bars and cupcakes (their specialties!), and I prepared the rest. Since everything was hands off once it was prepared, I was able to completely enjoy the party with my guests.

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2. Put some prep in your step. I have entertained guests enough to know that the hour before they arrive will be a hectic one. Since my shower was in the morning and I knew I had to take my son to his play date beforehand, I had to be as organized as possible. The night before I set the table, picked out my serving dishes, prepped anything that wouldn’t get mushy overnight, rolled napkins, filled the coffeepot, put flowers in vases, washed my dishes, planned for the game and wrapped the gift. The morning of I just had to assemble and bake the casserole, fry the bacon, put the finishing touches on the fruit salads, make the punch and flip the coffeepot to ON.

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3. Keep it glassy. I am a believer that a beautiful event doesn’t need over-the-top decorations. I could have spent hours making paper roses or sewing garlands, but what guests enjoy most is good food and good company. To make the shower feel fancy, I brought out my grandmother’s vintage champagne glasses (along with my own from my wedding), a crystal punch bowl, real plates and cloth napkins rolled and secured with washi tape.

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4. Punch it up. Man oh man, was the punch a hit!! I called my mom the week before and asked if she had any punch recipes. She told me about a cranberry punch that was equal parts 100% cranberry juice, ginger ale and lemonade. Sherbet floats on top to form a layer of sweet foam. The punch was a HUGE hit! Those women who were pregnant didn’t miss out on the fun of a champagne glass, and those of us who wanted a bit more fun mixed in some rosé wine, which added to the rose theme and tasted delicious!

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5. Guessing games (that people actually like). Candy-bars-melted-in-diapers game, I’m looking at you! I decided since all of the ladies in attendance were already moms we’d have a little “Price Is Right” game with some of the baby items we all love and use. We should all be familiar with the cost of things, right?! I picked up the follow items at Target the week before:

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Everyone got an index card, and as I pulled out and named each item the ladies had to guess the price and organize them from least to most expensive. The person who got the order right and guessed the closest price without going over won a prize! (Chocolate and jam!)

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And of course the mom-to-be got to keep all the items as a gift.

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As one shower does not fit all, I’d love to hear some of your favorite tips from showers you have attended, hosted or been given!

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The above links are not affiliate links. Love me some Target though!

This post is sponsored by Target. The adventure begins here: Discover all Target has to offer for your baby registry and throughout your motherhood journey.

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Feeding Baby: 14 Things That Make It A Whole Lot Easier

This post is sponsored by Target.

Our baby has been Eating Real Food for over a year now, and looking back I can condense dozens of trials and errors into a list of 14 products that have made feeding Mazen easier. From the first purees to the messy finger foods, may these help you turn your baby into a mean, green, real-food-eating machine!

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1. A good highchair. It’s an obvious start, but you really do need something for baby to sit on and for containing the inevitable mess he’ll make! I’ve used a handful of different high chairs while traveling and at friends’ houses and have learned that the things most important to me are a medium-sized flat tray (too many nooks and crannies just gets messier and medium so it fits in our sink!), a really easy to wipe seat (again, nooks and crannies are bad!), an easy-to-remove tray (some of them are tricky to figure out for grandparents and visitors!) and a stylish look (not the most important but nice to consider.) This is our OXO Tot highchair and we love it!

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2. A mix of good spoons with both shallow and deep bowls. When we started feeding Mazen, he couldn’t get his lip into a deep spoon bowl, so these OXO Tot Spoons were our favorite. They are super soft and durable and the shape was great for parent feeding. Now that Mazen can feed himself, we love these Munchkin spoons – because the bowl is so deep, the food stays on his spoon better as it heads toward his mouth. A plus is that they are super cheap.

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When Mazen first started to eat purees, I made most of them myself. This was not nearly as daunting as it seemed at first thanks to a few great pieces of equipment.

3. Ice cube trays. The OXO Tot Baby Food Freezer Tray is great because it comes with a lid (so there’s no need for plastic wrap) and the shape of the cubes makes the frozen food cubes really easy to pop out.

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But of course, a cheap ice cube tray works too – especially when you want more food per cube. These are harder to get out, but after a little thawing I could dump them all into a zip lock bag for storage.

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4. Freezer storage. Sometimes I wanted to put more food into one container for a bigger meal so I found these OXO Tot Baby Blocks Freezer Storage to be great. They even had their own little tray to keep them organized in the freezer.

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5. Reusable pouches. These were also great for anything pureed, and we still use them for yogurt and applesauce some of the time (like when we’re on the go). These saved us a lot of money because we didn’t need to buy a ton of the pre-filled pouches, and of course they’re better for the environment too.

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6. A baby cookbook. When making purees, I knew how to steam and blend, but a good baby cookbook will give you lots of inspiring ideas and take the guesswork out of wondering exactly how long to cook the veggies or how much water or milk you needed to add to puree. The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet was my favorite reference – it was simple with lots of information.

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7. A stick blender, food processor, or blender. I find all of them to be super helpful in blending up purees and smoothies. Mazen can’t really chew greens yet, so green smoothies have been a nice way for him to get more of them. And our stick blender was great for pureeing in the same container I cooked the food in. I found my regular kitchen appliances to be easy enough, I didn’t consider a specialized baby blender or steamer.

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8. Premade squeeze pouches. Of course I couldn’t make Mazen’s food 100% of the time, so I do always have a few squeeze pouches in stock. Our favorites are vegetable-heavy and low in sugar. For bigger “meals,” I look for ones with protein from beans or meat. These two are our favorites: Carrots + Broccoli Pouch and Ella’s Kitchen Four Bean Feast. Mazen loves the carrots + broccoli, but I gotta say, it doesn’t smell delicious to me!

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9. The perfect bib. We love the soft plastic bibs with the deep bowl for catching food. {Like these} We also put a Command hook on the back of Mazen’s high chair, where we store the bib between uses. This way we don’t have wet bibs hanging all over the kitchen and it’s tucked out of sight : ).

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10. Baby dishes. Once Mazen started to want his own spoon and fork, we had to get a few of his own bowls. I’m such a huge fan of the OXO Tot line that I got him this set. The non-skid bottoms and curved lips are great.

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11. I have written about sippy cups before, but our favorite after a year of using them all are the OXO Tot ones with straws. I will say that this cup’s straw is open, so it’s not ideal for a first cup that will end up sideways all the time, but as M has gotten older it’s our favorite all-around cup mostly because it’s really easy to clean and does well with water, milk and smoothies. Straws that you have to bite to suck aren’t as good for drinks other than water because the gunk gets caught in the straw. This straw is easy to get in and out for washing and washes out easily. And the cup is leak-proof when you close the lid.

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12. Snack containers. Another must-have is the Munchkin Snack Catcher. What did moms do without these? We still fill them with cereal or cheddar bunnies if I need a quick on-the-go snack. It works great with fresh fruit like blueberries too (although that’s messier if they fall out…which they do).

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13. Disposable placemats. Ones like this Neat Solutions Table Topper were great when we would eat out in restaurants before Mazen was old enough to not send a plate flying. They stick to the table and your little can make as much mess as he or she wants. Also, there’s no need to worry about how clean the table is! And after the meal you just ball it up and toss it. M is old enough now to be fine with a real plate, but these were lifesavers in the earlier months.

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14. And finally – Lunch Skins! These reusable pouches are wonderful for sending snacks to our gym’s Kids Zone. I fill them with everything from fruit to pretzels, a roll or whole apple. I will say that the gooier the food, the harder they are to clean, but they are dishwasher safe so it’s not a huge deal. They come in dozens of super cute patterns!

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And there you have it – 14 of our finest feeding props! Was there something you used and loved that I have yet to discover?

The above links are not affiliate links. Love me some Target though!

This post is sponsored by Target. The adventure begins here: Discover all Target has to offer for your baby registry and throughout your motherhood journey.

Baby Registry: 10 Items You Might Overlook

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When you have a new baby you never know what you’re going to need till you need it. There is so much to consider from clothing to nursery furniture to all-things-diapers that you might overlook some of the more “off the beaten path” items. Plus they grow up so fast – you might be thinking all newborn thoughts from the get-go, but they’ll be toddlers before you know it!

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Looking back on my experience, here are 10 things I have a feeling you might forget to add to your baby registry, especially if you’re a first time mom. Even if you don’t receive these as gifts (people find the cutest outfits!) at least you’ll have one master list to use to stock your nursery before the baby arrives.

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1. Night lights. You’ll be up all night and guess what? It’s really dark! Get one for your baby’s room and one for the bathroom too.

2. Paci clips. If you’re going to use a paci, you’ll want to use a clip as well. Those darn things fall out all the time!

3. BOB car seat adapter. I didn’t think we’d need this. I was wrong. Long after Mazen was given the go-ahead to ride in the BOB without it (walking only), I still put him in the car seat adapter to keep him extra warm and so he could look at me while we strolled.

4. Sippy Cups (a few different kinds). A great gift for a new mom is a handful of different kinds of sippy cups (including your favorite). Of course the second Mazen was ready for water I didn’t have a single cup at home. I ran out to buy a few different kinds. These OXO Tot cups with a straw are our favorite.

5. Pajamas beyond newborn size. Pajamas are the number one clothing item that I am always running to Target to get. Your baby grows up so fast, it’s hard to think beyond the newborn stage of clothing needs! We love these 4-piece sets that are mix and match by Carter’s.

6. Toiletries and medicines. Another “you don’t know you need it until you need it RIGHTNOW!” Think nose saline solution, Boogie wipes, a Nose frida and baby Tylenol.

7. Video monitor. I thought I could live without one before I had a baby. I was wrong again. I’ll sing the praises of my video monitor till the cows come home. It was great to see Mazen’s chest breathing as a newborn and it’s nice to see if he’s standing or reading a book in his crib now.

8. Crib rail covers. We have both the fleece kind and the chewy kind. Both have been great – no more tooth marks!

9. Swaddle wraps or a Miracle Blanket. I thought we’d be able to swaddle Mazen with the lovely muslin blankets we received. We have used those every day since his birth but never for swaddling! For swaddling we needed something stronger – the Summer Infant Swaddlemes and the Miracle Blankets were the best.

10. A baby gate. Because before you know it, your little bundle of joy is going to be running to the stairs!

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Create a Target baby registry here! The above links are not affiliate links. Love me some Target though!

This post is sponsored by Target. The adventure begins here: Discover all Target has to offer for your baby registry and throughout your motherhood journey.

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