New Year’s Eve Favorite Things Brunch

Happy new year! The ladies in my family have started a new tradition of having a favorite things brunch around the holidays where my younger cousin and I host our moms, aunts, and grandmothers at my house for a fun morning of fellowship and gifting. (Click here to read more about the favorite things game.) This year, we had extra helping hands from our cousin’s new wife. (You may remember when we hosted her wedding shower last spring.) Last year, we hosted the brunch a week before Christmas, but this year we decided a New Year’s Eve brunch would work best.

We had a lot of fun setting the table this year! It was a special treat to break out linens and actual dinnerware and treat the ladies of our family to something special. We’re definitely a family that typically uses disposable plates and napkins for family gatherings.

Each place setting had a water glass, linen napkin, mimosa champagne flute with a swizzle stick, favor, party hat, name card, small plate, dinner plate, charger, and utensils. Trust me, we really upped the table setting ante from last year’s brunch.

The party hats were from Target, and almost everyone wore their hat during brunch! It was so much fun to look around the table and see everyone wearing party hats and enjoying themselves. The name cards were a simple DIY using free flower clip art. This helped us identify which mimosas should be mocktails. Plus it was a really sweet touch everyone seemed to appreciate.

We found the Bubbles & Kisses favor idea from Pinterest, and it was a huge hit! All we did was add some Hershey Kisses to an organza favor bag, write “Bubbles & Kisses” on gift tags from Target, and add it to the mini bottles of sparkling cider.

I’m going to get real for a minute and admit that this cake was almost a huge problem. It all started when I ordered a cake topper that didn’t arrive correctly, and then the Etsy seller forgot to send the correct topper. She was really gracious about it and gave me a full refund, but the cake already started with a disadvantage: no topper. Then, when we picked up the cake, it didn’t look at all like it was supposed to look. Instead of being covered in an edible glitter, it had gold sprinkles haphazardly sprinkled all over.

Honestly, we just needed to reset our mental picture of how the cake was supposed to look and instead accept how it actually looked. Once we did that, it became a lot easier to move forward. I found a free clock printable to use as the central topper, and we just used a decorative scalloped circle punch to add some circles to add some something decorative around the clock. This all happened around midnight the night before the brunch. The cake itself was strawberry and delicious.

The rest of the table’s centerpiece featured grocery store flowers in holiday vases, a beaded runner, and the cake on a silver cake plate. There was enough going on with the rest of the table to feel comfortable with a simpler centerpiece.

All of the food was placed on a small buffet table near the main dining table. Unfortunately, the only place to put the buffet table blocked one of the doors into the dining room, so we had to get a little creative blocking the exit. The mix of balloons and the banner ended up being the perfect kitschy, not-so-serious additions to the party decor. The balloons were hung from the door frame with sequined ribbon, so the extra touch of sparkle was really fun.

The food itself was a mix of old and new recipes, and it was all well received by the brunch guests.


Happy new year, friends!

A Baby Shower Menu

The menu at the baby shower I hosted for my sister-in-law earlier this month was a hit with the party guests! The menu was one of the very first things I planned for the shower, and I was able to mostly stick to it.

The expectant mom’s parents graciously purchased the cake for the event and brought it the day of. They also brought cupcakes and mini cupcakes. So fun!


I’ll be the first to admit that this cake is not something I would have ever chosen. It’s just not my style, but I’m so very happy my sister-in-law was able to have exactly the cake she wanted. I was also happy to have an occasion to use the cake server from my wedding!

The Menu

I was responsible for the rest of the menu. I knew that any food we had at the shower needed to be able to sit out for several hours since this was a drop-in shower. I also knew that I didn’t want to be completely tied to the kitchen the morning of the shower. And I didn’t want anything that would be too difficult to eat with plastic cutlery or anything that would be difficult to clean up spills. With those things in mind, I think I came up with a pretty terrific menu.


Fruit Salad with Fluffy Orange Dip

I love fruit salad! Who doesn’t? I cut up strawberries and added grapes to two of my Wilton Armetale bowls the night before the shower, because I knew I could put the bowls in the fridge during the night to help them stay cool during the next day. The morning of the shower, my Mom and Nana helped me pull this dish together. We added apples, bananas, pineapples and the juice from one lime to each bowl. The lime juice helped keep the bananas and apples from turning brown. (Technically my Mom vacuumed, but it was still a huge help!) All of the fruit was purchased from Sam’s Club the Thursday before the shower. I served the fluffy orange fruit dip from Our Best Bites‘ first cookbook.

Cheese, Crackers and Mixed Nuts

This was a no-brainer menu item. What made it even easier was pre-cut cheese slices purchased from Sam’s Club, which included cheddar, pepper jack, swiss and colby jack. I added a box of Ritz crackers and a package of mixed nuts to round out my cheese tray. My cheese board was a wedding gift from my Nana, and I love occasions where I get to pull it out and dress it up.

Mini Quiche

Also purchased from Sam’s Club, the mini quiche helped dress up the table. I served it on a white, ceramic platter I got from a yard sale for a dollar. These were simple to make, and everyone really liked them.

Cut Vegetables with Ranch Dip

I love a good veggie tray. Of course, all of the vegetables were purchased at Sam’s Club. The dip was just a ranch packet mixed with sour cream. (I confess: I snacked on this for days after the shower.) The vegetables consisted of broccoli florets, baby carrots, snap peas and red, yellow and orange bell pepper strips. I made the dip and cut/arranged all of the vegetables the night before the shower. The morning of the shower, all I had to do was uncover the dishes and place them on the table.

Chips and Salsa

This was so very easy, and I noticed a lot of people gravitating towards this dish. I used another Wilton Armetale platter refrigerated overnight and added the chips in the morning. Wilton Armetale dishes are made of an aluminum alloy that keeps food cool longer. The salsa stayed cool for hours.

Pinwheel Sandwiches

These were another Sam’s Club purchase. Who’s surprised? They’re located in the freezer section, and all you have to do is set them out with enough time to thaw before guests arrive. I used another Wilton Armetale tray to help keep them cool.

Prosciutto, Salami and Pepperoni Wrapped Mozzarella

The men at the shower loved this one! These were purchased at Sam’s Club and came already prepared. All I had to do was lay them out on a platter before the shower. Actually, my mother-in-law artfully arranged them on a serving dish, which made it even easier for me!


I borrowed a couple of candy dishes from my Mother to serve M&M’s throughout our house for the shower. Luckily, the Valentine’s Day package of M&M’s matched the shower colors beautifully. I snatched up several packages as soon as I saw them hit the shelves in early february.


What baby shower would be complete without mints that read “Baby Girl?” I found these adorable mints at the Dollar Tree and scattered them throughout our house.



I decided to keep the beverages super simple serving only sweet tea, water with lemon and coffee. I sat up a simple beverage station adjacent to the buffet table in my dining room.


Here’s a closer look:


I purchased a set of hot pink plastic cups and a set of black plastic cups from Hobby Lobby and stacked them alternating colors. The water with lemons was housed in a simple, plastic pitcher that was placed on a tray to catch any drips. Also located on the tray was an ice bucket with metal tongs and a vase that housed paper straws decorated with a newborn headband. Next to that is my large beverage dispenser I used for sweet tea.

While I may not have had to purchase any items for the buffet table, I did have to purchase the tray, headband, straws, plastic pitcher, ice bucket and metal tongs for the beverage station. I do a lot of entertaining, so I didn’t mind the purchases as I’m sure I’ll get many uses out of each. Except the straws, of course. I gave the headband to the expectant parents at the end of the shower as one of their gifts. (I’ll be showing you everything the parent’s took home soon!)

I hadn’t planned to serve coffee at the shower, but my in-law’s showed up with a coffee pot, creamer, Splenda and disposable cups. So, we came up with an impromptu coffee station!


You’re probably wondering why we didn’t use our own coffee pot. Well, we don’t actually have one since neither of us are coffee drinkers.

I pulled out some cute ice cream dishes I use largely as decoration (until now!) in my glass front cabinets to hold the creamer, Splenda and sugar. I used some tiny spoons I use for special occasions that you might recognize from my Parisian-inspired tablescape for serving. A coffee cup held stirrers, and the coffee station was complete.

My in-law’s also brought soda, but I don’t think anyone realized it was there. Only a couple of people drank coffee, but I’m still glad we were able to accommodate.

Table Decorations

I tried to keep the table decorations at a minimum. I placed a black tablecloth from Walmart as my base. I looked into renting linens, but, ultimately, decided against it. On top of the tablecloth I added some baby girl confetti found at Hobby Lobby. I knew this would largely be covered by serving dishes, so I added quite a bit.

After that, I decided the table was still lacking something. I have a somewhat-large collection of table linens, so I luckily had pink placemats that were perfect to use as a table runner. I purchased these at Pier 1 about a year ago. I just overlapped the ends a bit to create a runner.

The last layer to decorating the table were some sweet hot pink carnations added to thrifted wine glasses. I arranged nearly two dozen carnations for the living room and had four left over. I didn’t want to not use them, so I snipped them off short and added one per wine glass. I’m normally not a huge fan of carnations, but these had a beautiful color. I was actually quite smitten with them.

Above the table I hung some zebra-themed paper lanterns with a bit of ribbon. I found them at Hobby Lobby for about $7. I think I got a lot of bang for my buck out of these lanterns, plus I was able to give them to someone who’s having a zebra-themed wedding this summer.


(Isn’t my new chandelier pretty?)

We planned for enough food for about 50 guests, and I’d say we were just under that mark. Some menu items were huge hits, and we ate leftovers of others for awhile. It’s a good thing I like broccoli.


They say it takes an village to raise a child. I’d like to also state that it takes a village to pull together a baby shower! My in-law’s were a huge help. They wouldn’t let me help them purchase any of the food from Sam’s Club. They also helped us get the house ready every weekend for about a month prior to the shower, and, of course, they came the morning of the shower to help me set up everything. My Mom and Nana also came the morning of the shower and helped me make sure the house was as clean as possible, prepare the food and decorate. The expectant mom’s parents purchased and brought the cake and the cupcakes. I feel very blessed to have had so many helping hands.

Want to read more posts about the baby shower? Click any link below to read more!

Baby Shower Gifts

A Baby Shower Menu

Drop-In Baby Shower Games

Pretty in Pink [and zebra] Baby Shower

Baby Shower Entertainment for a 5 Year Old (I Hope)

Baby Shower: T-Minus 11 Days

Baby Shower Decor: How To Make A Tutu Wreath

Crafting a Hot Pink and Zebra Baby Shower Corsage

Getting the House Ready

Planning a Baby Shower


I’m linking up to TDC’s Before and After Party. Join me!

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