And yet on the day of the shower, as the first guests tripped up the Woodside's sagging front steps, I found myself at 11 a.m. standing barefoot in the kitchen, frantically cutting crusts off party sandwiches and screeching at people to please make themselves at home on the sofa because at least if they were seated there they would be less likely to notice I hadn't had time to put a bra on.
Hostess with the MOSTEST.
(It should be noted that I found my guests minutes later all milling about uncomfortably because I had also forgotten to remove the hairy dog blanket from the sofa, and the only square footage of available cushion space was being occupied by said petulant canine.)
That face says, "Baby shower, shmaybe shower." But then he realized there were snacks, and set to work silently stalking all the snout-height china. To his credit, he isn't grabby and he only very rarely drools, but all that intense staring can make people nervous. Or, in the case of JLB, make people feed the attempted hypnotizer vast amounts of cheese until I threaten to send him and his digestive system to her house for the night.
The menu for the occasion was as follows:
Crudités & Ranch
K's PLTs—Provolone, Lettuce, & Tomato Sandwiches with Basil Mayo
Ham & Cheese in Puff Pastry
Roasted Shrimp & Orzo, Hold the Shrimp
Mimosas & Sugar-Free Lemonade
And I made myself a heaping helping of stress and adrenaline, which is why that photo looks like it was taken during an earthquake.
I will absolutely be serving the puff pastry again. For one thing, I see infinite possibilities for fillings, and for another, it's just so glorious when it comes out of the oven like a flaky, buttery, mile-high gift.
People stampede over with manufactured nonchalance to say, "Ah, so ... what's in there?" And then you hand them a knife and ...
Make two, is all I'm sayin'.
The decor started with an idea to make a paper chain with a link containing a pithy saying for each day between now and Stella's debut. I ended up with half of a package of pink-and-gray (the nursery scheme) scrapbooking paper from Hobby Lobby left over after that debacle—LSis, sorry some of the pithy sayings are more ramblings-of-a-crazy-person—and I needed something that would dress up the Woodside without conjuring images of an overturned Pepto Bismol tanker.
Off the Richter Scale, I'm telling you.
I trotted over to marthastewart.com, where I was instantly enamored of this look.
And, I think we can all agree, I managed to create an exact replica.
Or, you know, not. Still, I think they softly tread the line between dinky and homespun, and I'll admit I haven't yet taken them down.
In the absence of any Woodside-adjacent embroidery hoops (trust me, I looked in three different places, including the dreaded Wal Mart), which is what Martha's minions used, I channeled TwinFin and bought ductwork clamps.
What? I needed light bulbs, I was already at the Depot ... HOMESPUN.
And still just pink enough for proper girliness.
NOTE: I cut those circles out by hand, which caused my mother to say, with horror and concern, "You're crafting? Like with scissors?" I was all, "Woman, I am almost 30 years old. You think I can't use scissors without bodily injury? Oh, wait. Excellent point."
Baby showers are sweet and low-key and packed with ladies who either haven't had babies yet, or have had babies and are biting their tongues to keep from telling their particular horror stories. And all that innocent swooning and clenched teeth deserves a little something to take home.
I bought pink paper Chinese takeout containers from the local party-supplies store, then made Cake Ice-Cream Cones. I was afraid the cones would become dominoes when I tried to transfer them to the oven, but being half-full of strawberry cake mix gave them some stability.
They baked quickly, in 15 minutes, then cooled to a lovely blush. Or to a nasty-looking brown that required a last-minute sprint to the grocer for pink frosting and sprinkles. (Stella means "star" in both Latin and Italian.) Into the containers they went, supported by that Southern delicacy, dill pickle-flavored chips.
Pickles and ice cream!
Get it? Cuz, you know, like, pregnant ladies like to eat weird food and stuff.
Well it made sense at the time. Perhaps that moment of punny hilarity was a function of the fever I feel around the threshold of my brain. I'm currently counting the seconds until I can drag my sore throat, aching muscles, and sad, sad sick self home. Bring soup.