Monday, March 29, 2010

2nd Birthday Party

We celebrated our little girl's second birthday a little early this past weekend. I was hoping to not be in labor or have a days-old newborn for the party, and it worked out well. I thought I'd share some pictures and ideas that worked well for us.

First, the theme. My daughter loves Elmo. I thought that would be a fun theme to work with, but I'm not a big fan of spending tons of money on licensed-character things. I decided to use the Elmo things she already has to decorate and fill in the rest with red and aqua. So all the plates, cups, napkins, etc. were red, not Elmo. It was inexpensive, and I think it turned out very cute. To decorate, I made red and aqua tissue paper flowers and picture garlands made from pictures of the past year tied onto twine with red and aqua ribbons.
The menu: Since I'm very pregnant, and we wanted to go small, we planned a family and close friends party right around dinner time. Elmo's favorite food is pizza, so we jumped on that idea. Instead of ordering a bunch of pizzas, we chose to do a make-your-own pizza bar. I made a bunch of pizza dough (using this recipe - scroll down to find it) and formed it into individual-sized balls. Then we listed a bunch of topping ideas and sauces and prepared them the day before. We had marinara, alfredo, and barbecue for the sauces. Then I had pepperoni, ham, bacon, roasted chicken, black olives, green bell peppers, fresh onion, caramelized onion, wilted spinach, artichoke hearts, pineapple, tomatoes, mushrooms, and an assortment of cheeses for toppings. People just grabbed a ball of dough, spread it to their desired thickness, and topped it with whatever their heart desired. We baked them in the center of the oven at 500 degrees for 7-9 minutes. They were delicious! Everything was very easy to do ahead of time, so I had literally no cooking or prep to do the day of the party. I just opened air-tight containers and dumped them into the dishes.For dessert I did red velvet cupcakes (from a box) and cream cheese frosting tinted aqua (3 packs of cream cheese and 2 sticks of salted butter softened whipped with 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 3/4 pound of powdered sugar). They were topped with Elmo Oreo balls (recipe here and inspiration here). This was a fun project. I had a good friend over to help me a week or two ago, and we froze them until the party.For favors I used little tin buckets I found at WalMart after Valentine's Day for 30 cents. I made chocolate-covered pretzel rods decorated with red and aqua sprinkles and chocolate-covered Rice Krispie treats. Easy and delicious.Everything was simple but fun. Hannah had a blast which is absolutely most important. I'm so thankful our sweet boy held off until the party was finished. Hope you find some good ideas and inspiration for your next party.

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