Baby showers don't always have to be a surprise. In fact, planning the party after the bundle of joy arrives gives friends and relatives an opportunity to meet the tiny guest of honor.

No matter when you host the shower, you won't get rattled thinking about the menu if you turn to these lovely lunch items.

As guests arrive, serve Celebration Punch, then top the table with Tropical Chicken Salad and Spinach Salad with Honey Dressing. The Watermelon Baby Carriage not only holds a beautiful blend of fruit but serves as a centerpiece as well.

In addition to a rich dessert, pass around pretty plates piled high with refreshing Party Mint Patties.

Here are some more recipe ideas: Chocolate Cheesecake Squares, Lemon Squares, Strawberry Cheese Bundles, Candy Pacifiers, Cucumber Party Sandwiches, Broccoli Chicken Braid and Sunflower Cheese Ball.

Starting a Time Capsule for the Baby

Looking for a fun tradition to begin at a baby shower? Help the parents start a "time capsule" of the baby's first year of life.

Select a durable container that will last for years, such as a heavy cardboard box or plastic container with tight-fitting lid.

When you send out the invitations, inform the guests you're starting a time capsule and ask each guest to bring an item to add. Assign a specific object to each guest or provide them with a list of possibilities to spark their creativity. Here are some ideas:

  • Newspapers and television guides with the year of the child's birth
  • Magazines featuring current clothing styles
  • Grocery store ads showing food prices
  • Stamps or coins
  • Music compact discs
  • Television video tapes or DVDs
  • Popular toys (Beanie Babies, etc.)
  • Copy of the baby's family tree
  • Handwritten letters to baby
  • Copies of family-favorite recipes
  • Recent pictures of family and friends
  • Clean newborn diapers or clothes

In lieu of party games, present the time capsule container to the mother-to-be. Go around the room and have each guest add their own item.

After the party, encourage Mom and Dad to add pictures from the shower and other mementos from the baby's first year (lock of hair, favorite rattle, discarded pacifiers, etc.).

Note: To avoid yellowing, place all papers in resealable plastic bags. Put photos on acid-free pages to prevent deterioration.

On the baby's first birthday, have the parents seal the capsule, adhere a "Do Not Open Until" label (indicating a special date in the future, such as the child's 16th birthday, high school graduation day or birth of their own baby) and tuck it away in a cool dry place like a closet.