Cuuuute Jungle Themed Baby Shower Pics, and where to get decorations

My brother and sister-in-law are having their first baby, and the first baby in the family in 16 years, so we’re all pretty excited. My mom, two of her friends, and I decided to give her a fun baby shower. I think animal theme baby stuff is so great and decided on a jungle theme for the shower. Now they’re even doing the nursery in jungle theme. Lucky for all of us, it’s a really popular theme right now, so stuff is pretty easy to find.

I found a ton of ideas on Pinterest, of course. One of my mom’s friends took charge of the menu, and the other one did the flowers, and sourced some cute animal cookie party favors. Mom bought the cake and hosted.

It came out great, if I do say so myself.

We started with these fun invitations from Etsy Seller DesignsByDVB. She was great to work with and made several changes really quickly for me.
sarah

 

jungle theme party ideas

My mom gives a lot of parties so she had all the tables and chairs, linens, silverware, glasses and even the jungle print napkin rings! Since she already had the orange plates we decided to do a color scheme of oranges, yellow, and reds for the tables. This was a little more sophisticated than pastels, which I liked. I got the zebra runners and the fans (it was so hot!) as well as the little plastic animals at Windy City Novelties. Amazon.com also carries them. The animal print baby bottles came from Target, the flowers from Trader Joe’s. Mom’s friend did a wonderful job making grocery store flowers into cute arrangements! I got the animal faces for the buntings from Etsy seller WithEnvyPaper. The balloons were from the local party store.

use baby bottles for flower arrangements at a baby shower

SUCH a cute idea to put the flowers in baby bottles, and a plus that mom’s friend found animal print ones!

jungle theme baby shower

baby shower foodMom’s friend prepping the food.

Curry Chicken Salad, croissants, and fresh summer berries

Such a delicious idea- curry chicken salad, fresh berries, and mini croissants.

Spiked lemonadeI wanted to have a single cocktail for the cocktail hour, then wine and iced tea for dinner. I decided on a sparkling basil lemonade, that could have alcohol added to it for those who wanted it. I started with a glass filled with ice, 3 oz Simply Lemonade (I have never had luck making my own lemonade), a torn basil leaf, then topped off with sparkling water. For those who wanted it spiked, I added an ounce of gin and half an ounce of St. Germain. Really good and refreshing. Some people thought it was a little too sweet. If so, you can use less lemonade.

The original idea was to serve the drinks in baby bottles and mom and dad went all over town to find the right ones, but in the end, we couldn’t find crushed ice (it was a Sunday) and regular ice was too big to fit. With a little bit better planning, that would have been SO CUTE. Oh well, maybe next time…;)

baby bartenderMy other brother (not the daddy) surprised everyone with this fab bartender costume, LOL!

Head Snapper wineMom likes this white wine and I liked the label, LOL. The color scheme also went with the table decor.

The guest of honor and the young cousinsThe guest of honor sat at the end, with all the young cousins.

Not lame baby shower gamesI decided on 3 games plus an extra if there was time. We gave out Starbucks gift cards as prizes. Whose Your Daddy- link the celebrity kid with the celebrity dad, extra points for getting and spelling the last name correctly.

Great baby shower game ideasGuess the baby- I had people bring baby pictures of themselves and the guest had to guess who was who. I copied them all in black and white and in the same size for uniformity.

Baby Trivia, great baby shower game ideaOne of The guest of honor’s oldest friend happens to also be very smart and hilarious, so we had him MC the party and write and host a trivia game. I think the young people liked it better than the older ones, but all around it was pretty fun.

Baby shower trivia

Concentrate, ladies! Daddy-To-Be helping out.

Jungle theme baby shower cakeMom got this adorable cake from The Village French Bakery in Glendale, CA.

jungle cakeWe got chocolate on the bottom, coconut in the middle and strawberry on the top. The coconut was by far the best layer, followed by the strawberry. The animal decorations came from Michael’s.

Custom shortbread animal cookies for baby shower favors

Got these adorable shortbread animal cookies for party favors at Valley Bakery in Oak Park, CA

jungle theme baby shower

Congratulations Sarah and Dave!

 

 

Where can I watch The Blackhawks in Chicago?

Everybody loves the Blackhawks! You can go watch them live at the United Center if you can get tickets. Or watch them on TV with a bunch of other fans at one of these Official Blackhawks Bars.  Official Blackhawks Bars play the game on most or all of their TVs and there’s sound- other games on other TVs are muted. Also, they have the spinning red light and play the Chelsea Dagger  song when the Hawks score, which is fun. These are some of my faves: Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Old Town:

  • Butch McGuires. Bonus points if you go near Christmas for an out of control decoration situation.
  • The Lodge: Super low key, oldey timey and retro- one of the oldest bars in Chicago! Also, kinda lodgey.
  • The Snuggery: Ok, I’ve never been here but I like the name. Who doesn’t like to snuggle while watching sports and drinking beer?

Lincoln Park: 

  • Beer Bistro: Tons of different beers here and good food, too.
  • Crossroads Public House: This is where we celebrated the 2013 Stanley Cup Victory
  • Michael Diversey: Very lively, full to brimming with Bros and Trixies- but still, it’s our go to Blackhawks Bar, plus they have good food

River North:

If none of these appeal to you, you don’t HAVE to go to an official bar, pretty much any bar with a TV in Chicago will be playing Hawks games, or will put them on if you ask. Also! If you’re really a Blackhawks fan, be sure to go have a meal at The Palace Grill. Not only is it a neat old vintage diner, but it’s by The United Center and packed with Hawks stuff. Rumor has it that the players themselves stop in from time to time, too. Fun!

An Everyday Old Fashioned

Ok, look, I am into the “craft cocktail” movement as much as the next girl and I had one of the very best Old Fashioneds I’ve ever had in my life, made by my friend Steve at The Morrison in L.A. recently. It was all fancy with a huge ice sphere and expensive bourbon and no cherry. I love getting these mixologist drinks when I’m out, but I’m no mixologist.

An Old Fashioned from The Morrison in L.A.

An Old Fashioned from The Morrison in L.A.

 

There is definitely something to this newish craft and I ain’t got it. But I like to drink at home! Without a lot of fanfare and for cheap. Plus I dig a cheesey  retro vibe. So here’s how I make Old Fashioneds at home.

Put a spoonful of sugar into a glass. More or less depending on my mood for sweetness. Check it out, I used a stemless wine glass. OMG, no class. Then I put a couple drops of bitters onto the sugar. I followed a recipe once that called for three drops but that was too many for me, so I do two. Then I add one dreaded red dye #2 coated maraschino cherry. Just one! I once thought, hey, I love these horrible things, I’ll put in two. But it was not that good. So now I restrain myself (it’s hard) and only use one. Then a twist of orange peel and I muddle it with a spoon.  Then I add an ounce or two of whatever bourbon, rye, or even whiskey I have on hand and some ice cubes. Sometimes I add water or sparkling water to top it off, depending on whether I want to stretch the drink or resign myself to having two (or more).

So there. An inexpensive, no fuss Old Fashioned for your daily drinking.

An everyday Old Fashioned from my house.

An everyday Old Fashioned from my house.

 

Family visit to Chicago September 2012

In September my parents and my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. We did a lot of tourist stuff, since we were practically tourists ourselves back then. We ate a ton of good food and saw a lot of stuff, too.

They stayed at The Aqua. It’s new and really cool. There is a hotel, condos, and apartments. They rented a condo on the 40th floor.

The Aqua, Chicago.

The Aqua, Chicago.

The Aqua Building was designed to look like water.

The Aqua Building, Chicago.

The Aqua Building, Chicago.

 

The Aqua, Chicago.

The Aqua, Chicago.

Sunday we had lunch in our tiny apartment and dessert on the roof deck, then we walked from our apartment in Lincoln Park through the zoo and down into the Gold Coast and had dinner at Gibson’s Steakhouse, which was awesome.

The tigers at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The tigers at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The fam in Lincoln Park

The fam in Lincoln Park.

Huge steaks, delicious cocktails, sides and wine at Gibsons in Chicago.

Huge steaks, delicious cocktails, sides and wine at Gibsons in Chicago.

David and Sarah relaxing outside at The Aqua.

David and Sarah relaxing outside at The Aqua.

On Monday we took a tour with the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company. It was actually really fun and informative. Highly recommended.

Chicago Trolley Company's Signature Tour.

Chicago Trolley Company's Signature Tour.

We sat on the top of the double decker and got some good pictures.

We sat on the top of the double decker and got some good pictures.

Since the tour is “hop on, hop off” and there are designated spots to do this, we opted to get off on Taylor St. and go to Rosebud for lunch.

Lunch!

We are serious about lunch.

Sarah and David like to share entrees. I don't share, but I do sample what everyone else has.

Sarah and David like to share entrees. Good idea, I'll share, too!

Mike had the Penne Bolognese (it was delicious).

My dad had the Penne Bolognese (it was delicious). We "shared" it.

Mike had the Spaghetti and meatballs (it was delicious).

Mike had the Spaghetti and meatballs (it was delicious).

I had this insane thing: Cavatelli Ala Rosebud. I still dream about this dish. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I told my dad I'd share it with him but wound up scarfing most of it myself. It's basically a gnocchi-like pasta with grean beans, tomatoes, peppers, and a butter sauce. OMG.

I had this insane thing: Cavatelli Ala Rosebud. I still dream about this dish. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. My dad and I were supposed to share it but I wound up scarfing most of it myself. It's basically a gnocchi-like pasta with grean beans, tomatoes, peppers, and a butter sauce. OMG.

After lunch we got back on the trolley and finished the tour. Later that night we went to the John Hancock Building’s Signature Room and had drinks and checked out the view from the 95th floor.

Fancy cocktails at The Signature Room.

Fancy cocktails at The Signature Room.

Tuesday we started out at Big Star in Wicker Park. The service was sort of lame and we felt like they weren’t that thrilled to have us non-hipsters out on their patio for everyone to see, but the food was really good. The margarita was not great, though, and overall we like Taco Joint in Lincoln Park better.

Yummy tacos at Big Star in Wicker Park, Chicago.

Yummy tacos at Big Star in Wicker Park, Chicago.

The margarita was warm and didn't taste like anything special. Plus it was small.

The margarita was warm and didn't taste like anything special. Plus it was small.

Another delish taco and really good beans- which were attacked by the family before I even got a good picture.

Another delish taco and really good beans- which were attacked by the family before I even got a good picture.

Yet another tasty little taco and the blah margarita. No matter how many pictures I take of it, it isn't going to improve.

Yet another tasty little taco and the blah margarita. No matter how many pictures I take of it, it isn't going to improve. You can see how everyone else devoured their food.

Then we got on the El to Wrigleyville and wandered around there for awhile.

Mom and dad on the El platform.

Mom and dad on the El platform.

Instagram!

Instagram!

Chicago wore them out!

Chicago wore them out!

We thought about taking a tour of Wrigley Field but the tickets were $25. REALLY? Yeah. Then we had some cocktails at one of the many bars up there.

Wrigley Field Instagram.

Wrigley Field Instagram.

After the drinks we got back on the El and went down to Fullerton in L.P. and had some hot dogs at Chicago’s Dog House.

The 'rents at Chicago's Dog House.

The 'rents at Chicago's Dog House.

All the yummies at Chicago's Dog House.

All the yummies at Chicago's Dog House.

Later that evening we took an architectural river cruise with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

CAF Architectural Cruise

CAF Architectural Cruise

River cruise, CAF.

River cruise, CAF.

Some cool shots from the boat.

Some cool shots from the boat.

CAF does great river tours, very informative and fun.

CAF does great river tours, very informative and fun.

The Wrigley Building a la Instagram.

The Wrigley Building a la Instagram.

After the river tour we had drinks and apps at Filini. I had another of my favorite foods ever there.

One of the best things I've ever eaten: the mushroom pizza from Filini, Chicago

One of the best things I've ever eaten: the mushroom pizza from Filini, Chicago.

Wednesday was their last day in Chicago so we started out in The Loop at Do-Rite Donuts. Everyone else was food-ed out, but Mike and I enjoyed the donuts very much. Rookies!

Do-Rite Donuts, Chicago.

Do-Rite Donuts, Chicago.

Then we just hung out in Millenium Park and had lunch at Mariano’s, the neat grocery store/cafe/restaurant by The Aqua.

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

These shots are irresistible.

These shots are irresistible.

These shots are irresistible.

These shots are irresistible.

Family shot!

Family shot!

LOL, silly.

LOL, silly.

"The Bean" is really called Cloud Gate.

"The Bean" is really called Cloud Gate.

Awwwww.

Awwwww.

David and Dad.

David and Dad.

Millenium Park, Chicago

Millenium Park, Chicago

 

 

Fun!

Fun!

Downtown Colorado Springs Wrap-up Round-up

We love living in Chicago now. We appreciate all the things that big cities have to offer, including the progressive attitudes of the citizens and the people in charge. But Colorado Springs has its charms, and it was really hard to leave. The downtown area is very pretty with lots of trees and flowers (when the city can find it in the budget to water them) and beautiful historic homes and buildings (for now anyway). There are lots of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, a couple of cute parks, a public library, some art galleries, and two museums. It’s flat so it’s easy to walk or bike around, and the views of the mountains are stunning.  Here are some of the things we loved about living in downtown Colorado Springs (along with some of our gripes, as usual).

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are cautious.

You can walk or bike all over the place. It's flat and the drivers are usually pretty cautious.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast.

Smiley's was just a couple blocks from our house, and we went there many weekends for breakfast. Click this pic for their website.

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Homespun handwritten menu at Smiley's

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious!

Breakfast at Smiley's is delicious! Probably the best bacon in the COS.

Tejon St. Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Tejon Street Music has been around a long time. Great place for all your guitar needs. Click this pic for their website.

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Pretty residential street in downtown Colorado Springs

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Our old apartment downtown. It's since been sold and the new owners "remodeled" it, basically ruining all its old history. Still, it's got pretty neighbors.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richards. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Lunch on the patio at Poor Richard's. Best pizza in town! Click this pic for their website.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richards.

Cocktails and coffee at Poor Richard's.

Paris Crepe- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

Paris Crepe -- one of our all-time faves. Click this pic for their website.

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

The best crepes are at Paris Crepe. Don't they look delish?

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

Paris Crepe is across the street from Acacia Park and it's nice to spend a summer evening eating crepes on their sidewalk cafe.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

The weather is gorgeous and the views are stunning from downtown.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

In the summer there are free concerts in Acacia Park on Saturday evenings.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

There's also a farmers market there on Mondays.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are fun places to sit and have a picnic.

Acacia Park and Monument Valley Park are relaxing places to sit and have a picnic.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

You can walk everywhere downtown.

 

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are little locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

Terra Verde and Sparrowhawk Cookware are great locally owned shops with neat items for sale. Click this pic for Terra Verde's website.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also  St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

The Rodeo Days parade takes place every July down Tejon St. There's also St. Patrick's Day parade, and a Christmas parade.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Tony's Bar. The bar we love to hate. Click the pic for Tony's website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

Zeezo's is the place for all things magic and costume. Click this pic for their website.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's pseudo honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

If you're young and preferably in the military, you'll love weekends at downtown's faux honkeytonk, Cowboys. They also have bowling upstairs.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

The sidewalk cafes at Il Vicino, The Ritz, The Olive Branch, and Jack Quinns are nice places to have a meal.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Catch a movie at The Peak (but be aware that they don't take credit or debit cards). They also have a small bar where you can grab a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer to take into the theatre.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

Then go over to the nightclub compound on Tejon St. and have a drink at the bar with the fire on the roof.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

La Baguette has delicious french fare. Click this pic for their website.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

A brewpub whose building was saved from the wrecking ball by Governor Hickenlooper (way before he was governor), Phantom Canyon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

The Pioneers Museum is a neat place to spend an afternoon.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Labor Day weekend is the Balloon Festival, we could see them from our bedroom.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly north of downtown is the well-stocked nursery, The Good Earth Garden Center. Click this pic for their website.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

The Good Earth Garden Center is a nice place to walk around or pick something out from their vast selection of plants and garden art.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Slightly south of downtown is Bristol Brewing. They make their own beer and have a tasting room. Click this pic for their website.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

Beer flight at Bristol Brewing.

 

We’ve devoted a lot of space on this blog to downtown, and this post is not at all comprehensive (we didn’t even mention Shuga’s!). So please check out our other posts for tons more things to do. And be sure to let us know what your favorite downtown things are and when new shops and restaurants open up! We might not live there anymore, but we still care. And of course we’ll be back at some point. Hell, maybe we’ll even come back and get that coffee truck we’ve been dreaming about rolling.