Thursday, July 17, 2014

Max's Birthday Party

I've always been the type that considered birthdays to be a pretty BIG deal... my baby's birthdays are no exception.

When I first began planning Max's birthday party awhile back, I knew I wanted it to be all about the things he loves most, which currently includes anything construction, and playing outside in the water and his sandbox.

His first birthday was an Elmo themed celebration, and I bit off way more than I could chew when it came to DIY projects.  I opted to make all of the decorations, bake the cake, and prepare all of the food myself.  While I loved how everything turned out, the never ending to do list and July heat, left me almost to frazzled to enjoy myself last year.  This time around, I decided to make things a little easier on myself, seeing as this summer I not only had Max to care for, but baby Ella too.

So, after deciding on a construction themed party, we ordered a cake, made some easy decorations, borrowed some construction gear (convenient due to the fact that Mike is a project manager for a general contractor), and chose a tasty, but low key  summer BBQ menu.

It turned out to be the perfect way to go.  Max had a blast, and I wasn't too stressed out to join in the festivities.

Everything ran perfectly smooth, until it was time to open gifts and Max had a melt down because we didn't actually open every new toy for him to play with right then and there.

In the end, cake and ice cream saved the day.

You can tell by the look on his face, that Max was exhausted from all of the fun. He crashed big time after everyone left.

Here is the recipe for the pasta salad that I served at the party.

Caprese Pasta Salad
1 box (approximately 14 ounces) of pasta... I generally use whole wheat pasta, but in this case I used regular Gemelli.
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 block (8 ounces) of mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
1 bunch of basil, roughly chopped
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbs
1 tsp italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil Pasta according to directions on the box.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss tomatoes and garlic in one Tbs of EVOO and place on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until tomatoes start to burst (approximately 15 minutes). Drain and cool pasta.  Allow tomatoes and garlic to cool as well. Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning together to make dressing.  Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, including juice from roasted tomatoes.  Serve cold.

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