How To Plan an Eco-Baby Shower, (without going crazy!)

Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all.

It’s called NaBloPoMo,and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month.

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When I found out I was going to finally be a grandmother, I immediately started thinking about planning a baby shower. Since my son’s girlfriend, Erin, is from Michigan, none of her family live here in North Carolina, and she has not been here long enough to make many friends. So I decided that my daughter-in-law, my mother and myself would throw her a nice, traditional, Southern-style shower to welcome her to our family.

In all my excitement, y’all, I overlooked the one most important thing: My son and his girlfriend are not traditional. In fact, they pretty much make it their life’s work to repudiate everything that even sounds or smells like tradition. She’s all about being “natural”. She’s a vegetarian,  eco-friendly, and bio friendly.You know, positive energy. So having a silly old ritual of sitting around eating disgusting food like (shudder) preservative and food coloring laden cake and unwrapping (shudder) cardboard boxes full of useless baby toys made of (shudder) chemicals and plastic was enough to, well, send the two of them right over the edge.

So. I had a quandary on my hands, since I had already blabbed my intentions to my whole Southern Baptist, cake eating, meat loving, traditional, conventional thinking family.

After pondering on this problem for a week or two, I did what every modern grandmother does to solve problems these days: I googled it. “Baby shower for earth mother type” gave me the perfect solution – a green themed, eco-baby shower!

I  started to warm up to the idea. Some of the key things: no wrapping paper (ask guests to wrap gifts in recycled bags, newspaper or better yet, cloth diapers!), no wasteful party decorations like crepe paper and balloons (instead decorate with green plants, candles, a soothing table waterfall), no food with preservatives and dye or meat (have a veggie tray and natural oatmeal cookies), ask for recycled gifts, or gifts from a second hand store, or from a gift registry from a store like You Are My Sunshine.

Of course, we needed an appropriately themed shower invitation, on plain recycled card stock. I made the card in Word, printed it on my printer, and added ink stamps of little feet and green ferns, as embellishment. I wanted something simple enough for my eco parents, but informative enough for the rest of us to understand that this shower was going to be different.

I wrote my own verse for the cards. It said:

Pink booties or blue? It remains to be seen

But for Ryan and Erin – We’re all going green!

Organic and clean – and chemical free!

It’s an Eco-baby Shower for our Mother-to-be.

I included a typed sheet, explaining the whole green concept, so the guests would know what to expect.

The day of the shower finally came.  We had a “good turn out” as my mom would say – twelve women, plus a few spouses and one adorable two year old girl. Erin got nice, bio-friendly gifts, everyone seemed to “get” the green theme. Ryan made Greek pizzas and hummus dip that everyone loved, I made a punch of (what else?) green tea with fruit, and gave away party favors of small pots of green grass or ivy.

It was comical to see the “mix” of characters. My mom, her friend and my aunt were there to represent the prim and proper southern Baptist ladies. They had their best “Sunday Go To Meeting” outfits on – high heels,panty hose, and hair-sprayed coifs. Ryan and Erin wore black T shirts, tattoos, holey jeans, Airwalk tennis shoes and one pregnant friend of Erin’s was sporting a whole head of Peptol Bismol colored hair. But since they all kept respectable distances from each other and sat at different ends of the table, it all turned out fine.

Only one small problem cropped up, y’all. I almost had a nervous breakdown.

I was heading over to my mom’s house, where the shower was to be held, at 1:45pm. The shower started at 4pm. Ryan and Erin were supposed to meet me there at 2:30 to prepare all the food that I had bought the day before on a four hour shopping trip with the two of them to our local organic food store (Tidal Creek). Anyway, I foolishly let the two of them keep the food at their house and the plan was for them to bring it to my mom’s and prepare it there. I called Ryan on my cell phone to say I was heading over to mom’s to decorate and to remind him to bring a good knife and his pizza pans. Well. He informs me that Erin was not ready, and that they would not be getting there until about 3:30 or 3:45pm!

As I started to sputter, he says to me, “Relax, Mom! It’ll be fine. We’ll be there in time, just not real early.”

Well. We had the Greek pizza, hummus, and dip to prepare, cookies to bake, cheese, pineapple, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and celery to slice, as well as olives, crackers, pita bread and carrot cake to set out. We had to choose the serving dishes for all of it and arrange it all on the table! In fifteen minutes???!!! My head started to feel like it was going to explode!! And I knew my Southern Baptist ladies would ALL be at least 15 minutes early (and they were).

I had to face my mom and tell her that the food was going to be late. To say she was horrified would be an understatement. She opened her mouth and right away started panicking. “MY friends are going to BE here at 4 o clock and they are going to EXPECT to have food! We CAN’T invite people over AND NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER THEM!! It’s just not DONE!!”

I knew right then and there that I was in for two solid hours of non-stop hollerin’ and complaining, so I took action. I jumped back into my car, drove to the nearest Harris Teeter, ran like a madwoman through the store, grabbing everything that remotely looked like an organic product and threw it into my shopping cart. Forty five  minutes later, I staggered into my mom’s kitchen with two full armloads of organic oatmeal cookies, whole wheat crackers, various snobby-sounding cheeses, fresh vegetables, pre-made humus and spinach dip, some interesting black pretzels, Greek olives, yellow carrots, a carrot cake (not organic, but oh well) pickles (they’re green!) and a huge tub of granola.

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Mom and I worked feverishly to set everything out in her various fancy crystal serving dishes, make my punch, and light the candles. We were just finishing up, when Ryan and Erin arrived with the “real” organic food. Right behind them, fifteen minutes early as I predicted, were the southern baptist ladies, and my mother-in-law.

Mom and I did what every proper southern belle would have done.

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We smiled and batted our eyelashes, like we didn’t have care in the world, and chatted them all up.

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Ryan and Erin shot bewildered looks at the food on the serving table. The Baptist ladies all oohed and awed over my “fake” organic spread, while Ryan and Erin worked to get the Greek Pizzas and “real” organic cookies into the oven. By the time the Punk younger set got there, the pizza and “real” hummus were ready, and the southern ladies were all wowed  by my son’s culinary skills.

And no one had a clue about what hell I had gone through to get it all done.

Needless to say, we had a lot of food left over, so I sent all the organic stuff home with my two organic, fashionably late, laid back, “the whole world just needs to relax” lovebirds and the non-organic, junk food went home with my very appreciative college son, Klinton.

Now, wasn’t that easy? Heck, y’all, I may become an Earth Grandmother before it’s all over!

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5 thoughts on “How To Plan an Eco-Baby Shower, (without going crazy!)

  1. Great post and good job! I found Harris Teeter for the first time when we were in OBX in May and I loved it! We ate in most evenings because I found so many great gourmet-ish dips, breads, cheeses, etc. So are Southern ladies like all that?? I thought us Northerners were the uptight bunch.

  2. My goodness, you look like your Mamma.

    I had to laugh when you said the Expectant Couple weren’t going to be there early enough to get the food set out before the guests arrived – my first thought was “Uh-oh! This is not going to end up well!” But you did a marvelous job – it all looks fantastic in the photos!

  3. Pingback: Latest eco baby news – How To Plan an Eco-Baby Shower, (without going crazy!) « When … | Eco Living

  4. Great job there, it is so nice to see that although you don’t necessarily agree with their whole green thing you put in so much effort to support them. It looks like you had a great time, it would be nice to see some photos with the guests. The whole baby shower thing sounds like a great idea and is not something we tend to have in the UK.

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review | When Ginger snaps…..

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