Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Big { and not so } Bad Dino-mite Party!

Months ago Sean asked me about his "birthday day". The boy was ready to party! I asked him what kind of party he would like, not really knowing if he even knew what that meant. He immediately replied, "a dinosaur party"... never underestimate the smarts of a soon-to-be three year old.

So the dinosaurs started marching around in my head. And there they stayed until after Christmas because my brain cannot hold all that much party planning. The one thing I did figure out before Christmas was I didn't really like the few dinosaur party themes already out there in retail. So I challenged myself to come up with my own dinosaur theme. Simple and cheap. My new motto.

The dinosaurs continued to dance around in my head over the holidays to spark a few ideas...

His invitation was designed well before Christmas, and sent to family via email. The best part? Free.

Once Christmas and New Year's were over I had the mental capacity to finally start letting those dinosaurs out of my head! I found a fairly simple dinosaur cake recipe/template on the Betty Crocker website here... but quickly realized I am not Martha Stewart. Damn that crumb coat. Nevertheless I'm really happy with how it turned out. So cute.

I also made some easy cupcakes because I wasn't sure if the cake would be big enough for our party. The color is totally off in this picture. Ugh. The icing really is the same green as the cake.

A party would not be complete without party hats. I got the idea to reuse last year's Toy Story party hats (so glad I decided not to toss them!), and cover them with scrapbook paper I found at Hobby Lobby. The trim on the bottom is regular old crepe paper -- I got this idea from Michele of Cakewalk, but I'm not much of a sewer. For me it's not easy, so I whipped out the old mini glue gun and went to town. Not nearly as neat as Michele's but not bad either. And for me, super simple.

And they looked darn cute on the kids!

For decorations I went with simple blue and green balloons, plates, napkins, etc. And I made these super simple pennant banners. LOVE pennant banners. BTW, that's a chalkboard wall... hence, why it looks like a dirty chalkboard. And the chair rail is in fact wine corks. One of my favorite projects last month. You can read about it here.

My brother called our front door the smiley face... didn't plan that, but he's right! A nice, charming dino-esque smile (note the teeth!) when you arrive to the party.

Santa brought Sean these cool dinosaurs for Christmas, which made for perfect centerpieces in the kitchen and dining room. From what I understand from Santa's workshop, these very cool dinos were sourced through Learning Resources (my old employer). At first I was going to use leftover glitter snow to place them on, but Jeff gently explained that ice is what made the dinosaurs extinct. Oops. Oh well. Good thing I had leftover Easter grass instead. The trees are various accessories from some other toy set.

I even whipped up a few games for the kids that were super simple. One was a dinosaur dig that Sean and Hannah loved playing... who cares that there were dinosaurs in there, they just wanted to dig! I bought a huge bag of pinto beans at Sam's and poured them over mini dino counters (also from Learning Resources). Little did I know that pinto beans are fairly dirty so their little hands got dirty fast, but they definitely resembled dirt better than white rice (and cleaned up easier when spilled).

I also used these mini dino counters in Easter eggs for a dinosaur egg hunt (and in the treat bags!) This game was fun for all the kids -- the big kids loved hiding them, and the little kids loved finding them.

And last, but certainly not least was dinosaur feet. I cut these out of green craft foam and added a little elastic to help secure to their feet. Originally my plan was to have dinosaur races (I made two sets of feet), but the little ones enjoyed just walking around with them.

And the piece de resistance was Sean's birthday shirt that was designed and made by Uncle Mikey. Awesome, ain't it?

It was a great party! I asked Sean today what he liked best about his party and he said, "cupcakes... presents... and dropping the balloons!". He and Hannah figured out they could drop the balloon bouquets from the second floor. I kept trying to figure out a reason they shouldn't do it, but the child in me kept my mouth shut.

His favorite presents by far were the dinosaurs. Big surprise, huh?

I'm pretty sure a fun time was had by all, especially the kids big and small. We missed our little twin niece and nephew (who was sick), but promise to make it up to them soon. We're not ones to turn down a reason to get together and party.

Happy 3rd birthday, my little buddy. I'm so so happy you loved your birthday party day.


Anna said...

Found your site on Ohdeedoh! So timely because my girl friend is having a dino party for her 3 year old next week and I'm in charge of the cake. What did you use for the chocolate dots? Yours look shinier than the ones on the Betty Crocker site. I feel so inspired now. Thanks for sharing! By the way, can you also tell me where Sean got the two big dinosaur gifts (orange and blue t-rex and blue triceratops)? Thanks!

Amy said...

Hi Anna! The large dots on the cake are Hershey's drops ( face-down. I found them at the grocery store. And the little dots are chocolate chips.

The dinosaurs are Dinosaur Train - InterAction. Sean ended up getting all of them, and they are so cute when they talk together.

Have fun!

Anna said...

Ooh, those Hershey's drops must be new. Thanks for the info about the dinosaurs. Looks like I've found the birthday boy's gift! Looking forward to exploring your blog.


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