A Fall Brunch for Miss Violet
Entertaining with a newborn? Here's how I'm working it!
I was at a lunch for a moms’ group I am part of the other day. We were going around the table and sharing what we all have going on, our challenges and so forth, and I mentioned this newsletter – how it is about the intersection of motherhood and creativity. How while I’ve had a hard time being holed up in the woods with a newborn, creating has helped me stay sane, helped me remember who I am.
One of the women asked me about this party; she’d seen me post about on Instagram. Was it replenishing for me to host and create beauty, the way I so love to do?
“Eh, I’m not sure replenishing is the word,” I replied with a chuckle. “Screaming four year olds were running laps on both floors of my house. V and I had to hide upstairs in her room for a break more than once.”
My daughter is a Cancer, and like her daddy, she is overstimulated very easily.
I joked, but the reality was yes, while hosting is tiring in itself, I did find so much joy and nourishment in the process, the way I always do.
A sip-and-see party is an old Southern tradition where you invite your friends and family to come and meet the baby after they are born. Some people choose to do this instead of a baby shower, which worked out well for us since we are Jewish and don’t traditionally celebrate the baby until after they are born. (I also did a mother’s blessing, a gorgeous ceremony honoring the transition into motherhood, which you can learn more about here if you’re so inclined!)
When we were still over a month out from the big day, I told my husband I wanted to cook for the party.
“Are you insane? No way. Let’s have it catered.”
Jared is always willing to pay a premium for convenience or comfort; this is one area where we differ. Me personally, I like to suffer through doing everything on my own!
Okay, so we did initially discuss having it catered, and I even went and got a proposal from a great little local catering spot, but upon reading it I was annoyed because it was more of a pick-and-choose proposal for a wedding or large event and I didn’t feel like going back and forth with them about it. I used to cater parties myself, after all, and if I was going to have to write the menu myself, why not just do it all?
(Because we have a newborn, that’s why!)
But at that moment I thought, things will be so much easier by then! She’ll be three months old! I’ll be able to handle it.
And as the party inched nearer, I realized I was very much not going to be able to handle it. Or at least, not making every single thing from scratch the way I would have in a past life. Instead I decided I would pick up quiches from a local restaurant in town, make a big green salad, and… there would have to be a cake. An occasion always needs a cake!
I love to bake cakes; for me there is nothing more satisfying. I knew I wanted to do a fall theme, so naturally – pumpkin! And I had bought this sweet jadeite cake stand I wanted to use, which made me think I wanted to do something that presented well… A big, beautiful bundt cake! A coffee cake, I thought, because it was a brunch, with maybe a streusel swirl for a little something extra.
(I ended up getting a half-dozen muffins from the coffee shop, but those we could have easily done without. The cake was by far the favorite, the star of the show.)
For drinks, I already knew I was doing apple cider mimosas. It’s a go-to move to do bottles of prosecco with some type of seasonal mix-in (peach in the summer, grapefruit in the winter, etc.) – looks cute, and easy for people to serve themselves. My dilemma was deciding on plastic cups or glasses. We have tons of glassware that would have been perfect for this, but I went with plastic because I knew there would be lots of kiddos running around. Also easier to clean up, of course. But I do hate 👿 the plastic. Maybe next time I will live a little and go for the glass!
For plates it was a much easier decision to go disposable, because a.) no plastic! and b.) this site: Meri Meri. I am on their site now thinking I need to host a Halloween party because the stuff is so cute. This collection was what I used for V’s party. For cutlery I always keep bamboo on hand for larger/outdoor parties.
My favorite part by far was creating the tablescape. I went to the farmers’ market the day before the party and stocked up on flowers (dahlia season!) and lots of seasonal fruit to decorate the table. There is just nothing prettier than fall produce for a table like this… the rich purples of concord grapes (!), Italian plums, and figs (!!) paired with green and gold pears and apples. Adding in a few mini gourds in different shades for good measure.
I like to set up the table the day before, if possible. This way I can lay out what platters I want to use, write out my little chalkboard signs if I’m using them, and figure out where everything goes in advance.
“Are there any tables available for my use?”
A (not unreasonable) inquiry from the husband, as he held a plate of food in his hand. I glanced to the bistro table in the living room, where I had set everything out for the mimosa station, too.
He smirks, with a slight eye roll, hugging me. “You really are a different breed.”
But it’s not until the morning of the party when I get to make art with all of my pretty fruit that I begin to squeal like a pig with excitement. It looks so impressive but in reality it’s the simplest thing. Mother Nature has done all of the work for us.
Oh! And the idea to use one of my giant wooden boards to serve the quiches, that was a good one. So much better than separate platters, I thought.
The party itself, was lovely – if not a bit exhausting! It was such a joy to share our sweet Violet with so many dear friends and their little ones, too. (I saved some photos to a little highlight reel here ICYMI.)
Now onto dreaming up plans for the holidays…
Recipe for this pumpkin-streusel coffee cake will be going out as a bonus post for paid subscribers later this week! Thank you for your support! 💘