A month ago I had the great privilege of hosting a baby shower for my long time expat sister, Catherine. Zachary and I are super excited about Justin and Catherine's little guy, Elijah, coming THIS month! Holy moly the time flies! I have loved being able to see Catherine change and grow as little Elijah has changed and grown over these past 8 months. Catherine is a fantastic communicator and story teller, and don't worry, she' fully prepared me for all the ins and outs of pregnancy! Alllllll the glamour of it all. ;) So, rest assured, when Zachary and I's time comes, I'll feel totally normal with all the weird stuff going on in that pregnancy, baby making region. But anyways, back to the shower! You may remember the invites here. After sending the invites, I got an RSVP from 20+ girls saying "Heck, yes!" we'll be there and I prepared for the party!
The cake was one of my favorite parts. In China, a delicious and beautiful cake is hard to come by. They either look beautiful, decorated with fruits and other random things, and taste like chemicals and plastic, or they look terrible and taste okay. There is just not a huge market for cute, delicious cakes like you'd find in the West. Unless you want a fondant Angry Bird cake, in which case, China has you covered.
I had dreams for the main table in our kitchen. I made up a sketch of what I wanted everything to look like and the centerpiece to my sketch, was of course, a fabulous cake.
So, I went to Hanbur Bakery, a German bakery in town, and showed them a few pictures and made a few sketches. They were more than happy to make what I requested and worked with me to get exactly what I wanted. I even got to try the cake flavors, like it was my own private wedding tasting cake sesh. I know above the cake doesn't look so hot... and that's due to the ridiculous Qingdao humidity the day of the shower. The fondant bow was falling down and the fondant polka dots were sliding down the cake, but overall, since these ladies lived in China, everyone was really forgiving and said the cake looked great! I loved the fondant elephant on top! I added the cake toppers and flags. Also, I thought it tasted great which is always a plus!
The table setting. :) We had lots of delish food and cute blue decorations to set the scene and go with Catherine's theme of elephants and gray and blue in Elijah's room.
Strawberry bruscetta with mint, with cream cheese and placed on a baguette.
These little imperfect elephant toppers I made online, via pic monkey, and used the elephants from Etsy, the same elephants I used for the invites. I had them printed on photo paper at a photo shop and assembled them. They're not perfect but turned out cute still. And I now know the fascination with Wasi tape. My goodness I loved using it for this shower! I wrapped tea lights with it for party favors and made the little flags above. There are endless possibilities with the right patterned Wasi tape!
For food we had fruit and marshmallow cream cheese dip, pita and white bean dip, strawberry brushetta, veggies and dip, bbq beer chicken sliders, cake, cream cheese oreos balls, ham and cheese pin wheels and watermelon. For drinks we had mimosas!
I was so excited to find so many matching things to go with the theme and color. In China finding matching stuff, or anything normal colored, and not bright red, 1980's curtain floral patterns, or some sort of cartoon character patterned, is very difficult! For months before the party I kept my eyes open every where we shopped. I always shopped with an open mind trying to see possibilities in anything turquoise I saw!
I ordered this ribbon banner online and added our theme colors to it. The chevron bunting I made. I had the triangles printed as 8 by 10's at our local Kodak store (2 triangles per sheet), cut them, and hot glued them onto the ribbon. I really love the Chevron bunting! So much so, I've left it up on our mirror since the party. The onsies I found at H&M in a pack. There were 6 jungle themed onesies in the pack, perfect for the party!
As a gift to Catherine I found these little blank story books. For her birthday I gave her a few for her to make her own stories for Elijah but at the shower had one for the women in the group to write Catherine encouraging messages.
Game prizes! An elephant patterned tote.
Party favors! A tea light with wasi tape that read, "When you light me, pray for Mommy and Daddy E." (their last name is Esser) and finger nail polish that read, "When you wear me, Pray for Baby E."
Once Catherine arrived, the party got started! Of course everyone is always super energetic and excited when the guest of honor arrives! We started eating and taking pictures with photo props I got at H&M on sale and buried in the back of a sale rack for only $1.50! Again, little things like photo props are gems here! In the States it's easy to find party things, but here it's so hard
We played two games at the party that were lots of fun! The first game the girls had to pass around a spull of ribbon and cut how much ribbon they thought it would take to wrap around Catherine's belly. This game was hysterical as NO ONE guessed very close. Everyone's ribbon was extremely too long!
This was my favorite picture. She was so very surprised to see just how far off she was!
Catherine tried it herself, by cutting the ribbon off, without looking or testing to her body, and cut it almost perfectly!
After the ribbon game, I read stories from Justin and Catherine's childhood that their parents and siblings sent me, and everyone at the party had to guess if the story was about Baby Justin or Baby Catherine's story.
It was so much fun hearing all the cute stories about Justin and Catherine! I learned a lot about them!
After the games we cut open the cake and then headed straight for the presents.
Justin's family from the States & Catherine's girlfriends in South Africa sent huge boxes of presents, so Catherine had tons of gifts to open for Elijah!
One of our coworker's husband is an artist and he painted this beautiful fan for Elijah. He painted a horse on it since Elijah is being born in the Year of the Horse.
Elijah got so many adorable presents! He's already one spoiled baby!
Catherine opened for probably 30 minutes plus! She had so many presents that most people didn't even get a chance to see them all!
More pictures with mommy & some fun ones before everyone had to leave
After everyone left we waited for Justin and Zachary to come home and had the boys play the games, too. Justin cut the ribbon the perfect size! Catherine and Justin's ribbons were exactly the same length! Justin knows Catherine's bump!
We had Justin and Zachary play the guess what baby it was game, too. Zachary did better than anyone at the party! Of course, Justin and Catherine did the best!
I loved this sweet little book that Justin's parents sent for Baby Elijah. It was just precious. I loved reading the pages with all the cities and places that are so familiar to us, too! It made me miss home for sure!
Thank you to everyone who came to the party or sent words of love or gifts! I know Justin and Catherine felt so loved! We can't wait till you get here little Elijah! We love you already!