The baby is only weeks away from joining the family! Well, our grandchild that is! Due in early November, this little baby and parents have had quite the number of parties thrown in honor of it’s arrival. From Tennessee to Iowa, the material needs of this grandchild have been nearly 99% met through the generosity of family and friends.
I wanted to share some of the happy gatherings that have taken place this spring and summer in anticipation of the our newest little bundle of joy!
Young couples really do some of the coolest things today, one of which is hosting a ‘gender-reveal’ party! Not even the parents-to-be know the unborn baby’s gender . . . only the doctor knows who writes the gender down on paper inserted into a sealed envelope that is then given to the baker . . . with NO PEAKING ALLOWED! The baker then layers icing in the color of the baby’s gender (blue if it’s a boy or pink if the baby is a girl) inside the frosted cake which is iced in a gender-neutral pallete on the outside. Only until the cake is sliced and the interior icing is seen, is when the baby’s gender is revealed to everyone present.
It’s really quite clever and fun!
So our daughter and her husband decided to have a gender-reveal party to share the news with everyone who lived nearby! The party was held at their Tennessee lake home on a lovely spring day and everyone came to hear the good news!
A table was set up to write down some baby name ideas, along with some old traditional ways of determining what gender the baby will be. Lauren is an art teacher and seems to come up with all of these creative ideas for decorating parties. Even the rough edged pink or blue and white seersucker fabric helps carry out the boy or girl theme. All of the paper plates, napkins, and cups were either blue or pink!
I picked up this darling painted wooden placque on a trip to Maui this past May (above photo). The blue color of it and the blue hydrangeas should have been a clear sign for the baby’s gender! Plus I coincidentally wore a blue shirt for the party!
Smiles of joy upon the first slice of blue-interior iced cake slices!
Fast forward from the Tennessee “Gender Reveal” party in May to first baby shower in July while we were in Iowa:
My sister Kelly (childhood friend of Liz from “That Skinny Chick Can Bake”) and my mother hosted a baby shower for Lauren while we were there visiting family this summer. For this shower, guests painted and decorated ‘onesies’, another great idea of this younger generation. No silly baby shower games allowed!
This baby shower had a ‘natural, nature-focused theme’ that I found lots of ideas on Pinterest and pinned on my Baby Shower Ideas Board. Everything that we used was recyclable or re-usable. Even the paper plates, flatware, and napkins were compostable in the garden! Decorations were natural with burlap and naturally dyed paper, in colors of green, yellow and touches of blue (since we knew the baby will be a boy). Even the sugar used was natural and un-processed!
It was so much fun giving this baby shower with Lauren’s friends, Ashli and Amy, who did all of the leg-work in Tennessee simply from viewing my thoughts and ideas from my Pinterest board. They were perfect co-hosts in seeing that everything was carried out seamlessly while I was in South Carolina — all they had to do was just look at the Pinterest board to know the direction where we were going with the baby shower from week to week. I highly recommend this process for long-distance planning of ANY party coordination! The food was delicious and conversation wonderful with no time for silly baby shower games. Everyone left with stacks (literally) of hand-made crocheted pot holders and dish cloths made by Amy’s mother.
Lauren’s guests asked for the recipe for the Raspberry and Italian Mascarpone Stuffed Bread Pudding and so I’m posting it here for them and for all of you to enjoy. It’s beautiful for Christmas morning and also for a romantic Valentine’s Day breakfast or brunch! You can also click on the link to go to the original post with more close-up photos.
For The Stuffed French Toast
- Cooking spray
- 12 slices white bread, cut into pieces (best to use a hardier bread such as Italian or Challah, older bread is also good to use)
- 2 (8oz) packages mascarpone, scooped out into chunks
- 2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
- 12 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
For The Raspberry Sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- Coat bottom and sides of 7×11" or 9×13" baking dish with cooking spray (if using the smaller size, bake it much longer due to the depth of the ingredients – - nearly one hour).
- Place half of the bread pieces in the dish.
- Scatter the chunks of cheese over the bread.
- Scatter 1 cup of the berries over the mascarpone cheese.
- Top with the remaining bread cubes.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and syrup.
- Pour over the bread mixture.
- With a flat spatula, gently push down the bread so that every piece is soaked in the egg-cream-syrup mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
- Remove foil and bake 30 minutes or more until puffed up.
- ** As mentioned above, if using the smaller baking pan size, as I did, the baking time is nearly one hour. I also turned the oven up to 375 during the last half hour of baking.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, and cornstarch.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat or until thickened.
- Gently fold in the remaining 1 cup raspberries and the butter.
- Stir until the butter melts.
- Remove the French toast from the oven and serve immediately with the sauce.