Feel the Breeze at the Island Baby Shower

Close your eyes. Feel the warm sun, the gentle breeze, hear the palm leaves rustling and the surf pounding and smell that hint of toasted coconut. Aaah. You've just entered the realm of the island baby shower.

You have tons of options for the island baby shower. You could choose to have a Caribbean themed party, a Hawaiian themed party, a deserted tropical isle in the Pacific or even Gilligan's Island ... the possibilities are endless. Choose a vellum paper for the background and paste a tropical-themed picture to the front and another paper with the details of the island baby shower at the back, leaving a border of vellum around them both. Or, do something different and write your invitation onto a large Capiz or flat scallop shell.

You want to be able to smell the sand and surf at your island baby shower. Have plenty of palm trees around the room and string colored Christmas lights onto them. Hang paper lanterns from the ceiling and change your light bulbs to those with a yellow cast to mimic sunshine. Hang beach travel posters around and incorporate a few unlit tiki torches to set the atmosphere and you're done. Have some beach-themed Latin or Calypso music playing (Cafe del Mar and Putomayo have great selections).

Cover the tables with either a blue tablecloth or one with a wild tropical print. In the center of each table, have different lengths of bamboo cut to serve as vases. Fill these vases with soaked floral foam wrapped in plastic (bamboo isn't waterproof) and stick in a few tropical flowers and leaves for decorations. Or, you could use artificial tropical flowers instead. Ring the arrangement with floral lei and some votive candles and shells.

Set the buffet table in the same way to tie in the island baby shower theme. As a centerpiece, use a large tiki god set in a dish of sand with votive candles pushed into the sand. The sand can be decorated with single hibiscus blooms and the tiki god adorned with a floral lei. Use wood, bamboo, and coconut serving pieces for your food.

Nothing says island food like barbecue! Have barbecued pork and chicken as the main course, with grilled potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn as sides. A fresh green salad incorporating tropical touches like slivered jicama, slices of sweet papaya and mango, toasted cashews or macadamias, and exotic fern tops dressed with a light, fruity citrus vinaigrette is the perfect accompaniment. For dessert, nothing beats a tropical coconut or pineapple pie or individual tarts.

Of course there should be a cake! A layered cake in a flavor that is the mommy-to-be's choice decorated island-style with surf, sand, and palm trees would be just perfect. Elevate the cake using a rustic wooden stand to keep with the island feel.

The favors should smack of the islands. Pack lip balm with sunscreen, a little bottle of personalized sunblock, a cake of coconut-scented soap and coconut-scented lotion into a tropical print bandanna and finish it off with a bow made of raffia grass.