our weekend: friends and treats

Our weekend was full of dinner with friends and fun yummy treats. And there was also the miracle of snow…which is still here and more is coming!

We had a Progressive Dinner with our church small group on Saturday night. It was a lot of fun to get together with everyone without our kiddos. We made 3 stops for 3 different courses- appetizers, main course and dessert. We hosted the last portion of the evening with a small ice cream parlour and games. More on that later this week.

We had a bunch of egg yolks from the dessert I made so BJ decided to make us Eggs Benedict on Sunday morning. Yum! (whenever I see photos of my kitchen it makes me cringe, I cannot WAIT to start the remodel!)

Then on Sunday afternoon I made these Buffalo Chicken Bites as we watched the Packers lose. This recipe was yummy. You can’t go wrong with Buffalo chicken filling in my book, but the dough was especially delicious.

The little one is practicing all kinds of new tricks pulling up on various objects at her level and even letting go. She thinks she’s pretty cool.

We’re snowed in here for the next couple days. We’ll have to think of some creative ideas so we don’t go crazy!

a lingerie shower for Jamie

There is quite a big event coming up this weekend. It’s the wedding of my good friends Jamie and Steve. I am privileged enough to have worked for Steve at Steven Moore Designs for almost 4 years. Jamie and I went to college together and since she’s moved up to Bellingham have become friends. I love these two and am so happy for them.

I was lucky enough to co-host a little lingerie shower for the bride a few weeks ago. Using her favorite color purple and the lingerie theme, I put together a shower for Jamie. I love to celebrate the guest of honor and to make her feel extra bride-y without cheesy games or decor. Since it’s sometimes hard to find inspiration for a non-cheesy shower I thought I would share a few of my ideas.

Custom invitations set the tone for the whole soiree. I am not a graphic designer, but it’s so easy and fairly cost effective to make your own invites. I found this adorable paper from a local craft store and used it as an envelope liner. It was Jamie’s favorite color and had a vintage, girly theme so it was perfect. I used craft paper envelopes from Paper Zone and lace from JoAnn’s as a belly band to hold the whole package together. I also printed Jamie’s sizes on a separate card so a guest could take it with her when she went shopping.

I always try to incorporate a few special details reflecting the guest of honor. In this case, Jamie loves pie so I made these Pies in a Jar for a favor. They were inspired by this post I found via Pinterest. I packaged them up with a simple label and a raffia bow.

Serve wine or a signature cocktail. This shower was in the afternoon so I decided I’d serve wine to give it a happy hour feel. Wine can also be a good ice breaker and allow people to relax a little if the group doesn’t know each other very well.

I covered my island with a purple fabric and used a sheet of the envelope liner paper for a runner. I have the luxury of borrowing serving items from Steve’s inventory, but I would encourage you to choose serving dishes that coordinate with the look you’re going for. It makes everything a little more cohesive and allows the food to serve as the decor. Not to mention, it covers up the ugly green countertops that live in my kitchen.

Simplify your food. I used to make these recipes for my parties that had hung out in the “something I have always wanted to make” file near my cookbooks. Usually these recipes are expensive and take tons of time to make. I have now learned (especially since I’ve had a baby) that it’s best to simplify the food. Make sure everything tastes good, but not everything needs to be extra laborious. For this shower I did a cheese plate with 3 kinds of cheese- at least one hard and one soft- along with crackers and grapes. I made Caramelized Onion and Apple Mini Tarts (so so easy) and Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus. For dessert my co-host Bec brought a homemade chocolate raspberry cake and chocolate covered strawberries. These recipes were all easy, seasonal and tasted delicious.

I like for guests to mix and mingle for a while, especially if everyone knows each other fairly well, but I did plan one game for this group. I asked Steve a few questions earlier in the week and videoed his responses. At the shower I asked Jamie the same questions, had her answer them and then played Steve’s video responses. It turned out to be really fun. Steve had the best responses and it was a fun way to celebrate their relationship without having him actually there. Plus, I asked him to give Jamie a special message at the end of the video and it was so sweet.

After our video game, we opened presents. One last thing I love to do is to give the guest of honor a set of thank you notes that are already stamped and addressed. It makes thank you note writing to much easier, and in a season where the bride is writing so many thank you notes any help is much appreciated.

Jamie got THE best lingerie, everything was so cute and perfectly reflected her personality.

A few photos of the guests.

Congrats again to Jamie and Steve. I can’t wait to share the details from their wedding this weekend. It’s going to be extra beautiful since it’s designed by the ultimate wedding designer! 🙂

memorial day bbq

We had some friends over for a little Memorial Day BBQ. I felt like it was our coming out party, like “look at us, we can put together a fiesta even though we have a baby.”

We provided hot dogs and brats and did a little toppings bar with over 20 toppings. My friend Cailin did a hot dog party for her husband’s 30th birthday so I can’t say the idea was an original, but nonetheless it was a lot of fun. It was a great first post baby party because it didn’t take much work to put together but it was more than just grilling dogs and brats.

Guests entered the backyard from the side gate. BJ spiffed up our yard for the festivities.

Menu written on the side of the beer fridge. It's really hard to have good handwriting on the side of a refrigerator.

Under the carport. Because of my job, I'm lucky to have access to decor items so it's a little easier to jazz up a space. You don't have to have a lot of decorations, but if you can add one large element it makes the space look all the more special.

I bought this old window at the ReStore and posted our hot dog/topping ideas on the window panes.

Our combinations.

Mason jars make fun glassware for the summer. Even if you use disposable products for most items, little touches of glass make a big impact. We used glass for beverages and paper for everything else. I did 1-1/2 loads of dishes in the dishwasher, not bad for a 20 person party.

Always take your condiments out of the original containers they came in. These pickles look so much fancier in a glass jar. All of the other condiments were in white bowls and ramekins. I placed the buns in a basket lined with tea towels.

This was also the first time BJ has had 3 beers on tap, so it was quite an exciting evening. I highly recommend brewing your own beer and getting a beer fridge with taps for your party space. It is really unique and a great conversation starter.

The beer fridge. BJ labeled his taps and the beer's stats. I'm not sure what most of these numbers mean, but the guys enjoyed it.

We love our friends…thanks to all who stopped by.

Nora and Judah playing together.

BJ's plate, sans brat. For some reason I thought this was a strange plate of food.

My friends are so cute. 🙂

The little girls sharing the pineapple juice leftover from the pineapple topping.

Lior and Isla...BFFs? They're only 6 days apart.

Bec and Me with our girls.

Most of the girls. Thanks to our husbands for always taking these photos. 🙂

We hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I know in most parts of the country it’s the start of summer. We can’t feel it yet, but hopefully will soon.

Also, I joined Twitter last week (I know, I know, welcome to 2011) so feel free to follow me at http://www.twitter.com/rachelmlouws.

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