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Alex's Birthday Bash—Yes, I'm Cooking for 100

Erin Zammett Ruddy

I’m not sure how this happened, but there are almost 100 people coming to Alex’s birthday party. A good portion of that number is under the age of seven and most of them are family but still, that’s a lot of bodies. And a lot of mouths to feed. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier. We didn’t even have a party for Alex last year so this one is all about making up for lost time. It’s also to celebrate the end of an amazing summer (it said so right on the invite) so the over-the-top festivities are not just for the little man. Who, yes, I know, will not even remember this party. If I’m being completely honest, I’m mainly throwing a bash because I love to entertain and I haven’t had a single party this entire summer and we’ve done a lot of work on our backyard and I want to show it off (miraculously Nick kept the lawn and all the flowers I planted alive during the rainless summer).

I’m sure you think I’m a little crazy—and I wouldn’t completely disagree with you— but I’ve always been a big fan of big birthday celebrations (I turned my 26th bday into a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and raised a ton of money!). And because of what I went through to have Alex—you can read about it here—I feel like his birthday should always be a big deal. Which is why we also rented a bounce house (they are actually not that expensive and will keep the kids—and potentially some of the adults—occupied for hours). The only anxiety I am having is about the food. To save money and because I love to cook, I’ll be doing most of it myself. I’m nuts, right? But I love it and my sister, Meghan, is in from Cali and she’s promised to help me prep. Right, Meg? 

For appetizers, I’m doing sliders and pigs in a blanket, which will satisfy the BBQ theme in a cutesy way (I made the mistake of promising burgers on the invite, but I don’t want to make burgers for 100!). Then for dinner I’m getting a bunch of these really yummy pannini sandwiches from the Italian pork store—grilled chicken and fresh mozzerealla, shrimp and pancetta, prosciutto and asparagus, etc—which I’ll cut into fours. I’m making all of the side salads. Which is where I could use some help. I often serve orzo salad with feta, dill and tomatoes, but I’m SO over it. I was thinking farfalle with homemade pesto? (My parents have a ton of fresh basil in their garden.) Or penne with something? I just need a good solid pasta salad. And then I’ll do salad greens with a delish dressing I make and this yummy green bean salad recipe that I’ve done a few times. But I’m totally up for suggestions if you’ve got any. And if you have any tips for cooking for 100 people, please share! I’m super excited but just a tad nervous….

Oh, and my awesome neighbor is making all of the desserts, including a giant spiderman cake that Alex picked out himself from her book of cakes (she’s a pro). He talks about the cake every day. And every night when we see our first star and do our wish I may, wish I might, he wishes for a bounce house. I cannot wait for this party! Happy Birthday little man! Pray for sun this weekend!

P.S., It’s obviously birthday week here on parenting.com. Check out Sarah's sweet letter to her son yesterday and my pal Chrissy’s bday post over at Mama’s boy. Happy birthday, guys!

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