Friday, September 7, 2012

A Dino- Mite Birthday Party

As my son turns 3 we are fully immersed in the 'dinosaur phase'.
I think it's a pretty common phase among 3 year old little boys as I was able to find a lot of ideas and information when I was planning his Extreme Dino Party.
I am no Martha Stewart and some of the ideas I found were over the top, but many I found I tweaked to my ability and had a great time start to finish with this party.

It all started with the invitations, I was going to buy some, but then I decided to dig through the bag of stamping goodies my Grandmother had given me and make my own.
I purchased a dinosaur stencil book , which I used A LOT!
With construction  paper and my stamps I cut out and printed my invitations.  They were just a cut out dinosaur on the front, stamped with a "Lets Party" stamp I found at Michaels, and one of the Time, date, RSVP stamps given to me by my Grandmother stamped on the inside.
I'm hoping to locate one so I can post a photo, but of course I was in such  hurry to get them in the mail I forgot to take one.

Next on the project list was the goody bags. Again I used my dinosaur stencil book with some fabric paints I purchased at Michaels and I stenciled dinosaurs onto small canvas bags I found on Etsy.

To fill them I found some:
Foam Dinosaur Masks
Glow sticks
Dinosaur tattoos
Dino paddle balls
Dinosaur stickers
Dinosaur blowers

The goody bags were the most fun to make!

For decorations I purchased inflatable dinosaurs, and some dinosaur footprint clings. It was going to be an outdoor party so there wasn't too much decorating required.

The menu was also fun to come up with.
I printed out place cards for each item and pasted them to some construction paper tents.
I used the Stratum and Lost World fonts for the lettering.

I also divided the table by Herbivore and Carnivore fare with some signs I made and framed.

On the menu:
Dinosaur Bones ~ Breadsticks with marinara dipping sauce
Dino Dogs ~ Vegan Veggie Dogs
Brontosaurus Burgers ~ Hillary's Black Bean Burgers
Pentaceratops Pizza ~ Cheese Pizza
Pastaraptor Salad ~ Pasta Salad
Jurassic Garden ~ Celery and carrot sticks in a clear cup with ranch dip in the bottom.
Microraptor Mac & Cheese ~ Mac n Cheese
Paleontologist Popcorn ~ Kettle Corn
Hot Lava Rocks ~ Snyders Buffalo Pretzel Bites
Carnotaurus Cake Pops ~ Cake Pops ..Ugggghhh

Next , what should have been the easiest part became the most difficult. The cake!
I designed the cake 6 months ago, I was ready!
A few months ago I posted that I would no longer book any additional cakes during the week of his birthday so that he could finally have a wonderful cake and not one that I threw together at the last minute during the wedding season madness.
Well, I was doing good... until the week before his party.
First came a request for an Xbox 360 cake for my neighbor, (who was also a neighbor growing up 30 miles from here, small world ).
Xbox 360, it's square, simple, sure. He needed the cake for the 25th, the day before my son's birthday and party. I figured it would be simple and I could squeeze it in so I said "Yes".
  {On a side note the Xbox 360 cake is carved, contoured and detailed WAY more than I imagined. By far the most difficult cake I have ever made, if you are ever asked to make one don't underestimate it.}
An hour later, I get a request for the ever popular belly cake. Another easy one, the request came from a cousin so of course I said I could squeeze that in too .
Now I have gone from just my son's cake, to 2 more, one for the day before his birthday, one for the day of. That should be enough right?
No, I soon learn that Brandon Sr.'s Grandmother will be turning 75 and would love a cake... 2 days after the party. Done..right??
Nope, my son's friend was celebrating his birthday 5 days after the party.  5 cakes , 6 days, a birthday party and a family vacation to Toronto in the middle.


But I did it to myself, I swear, next year, I will only be doing his cake. 

Enough cake drama, back to the party....

Activities, how to keep 7 kids interested and involved. 
  • In this day and age a bounce house is almost mandatory for birthday parties, so Grandma ordered one.
  • Pinata's are quite popular, I was fortunate to find a great T-Rex  at Target

  • Our Easter egg hunt was such a hit we decided to do a Dinosaur egg hunt. I found Egg Gourds on Etsy and they worked GREAT as dinosaur eggs!

  • The forecast predicted 90 degrees for that day so we decided to finish off the party with a water balloon fight.

With all that done planned and pieced together it was time to cake.
I spent once entire evening making a Rice Krispy Treat T-Rex , carved and covered in fondant. Brandon took one look at it the next day and said" Cool T-rex but I want a Spinosaurus on my cake".  Seriously?!?
With 4 other cakes to get working on there was no way I could devote another evening to making a I bought one !

The morning of the party I dipped the cake pops , which only came out slightly better than my first attempt. I did purchase a cake pop former that worked great and helped with the shaping, but my dipping needs a lot of work. 

This was the finished product

Everything was a hit... a Dino-mite party for the books.

I hope if you ever find yourself planning a dinosaur party feel free to use some of these ideas and have as much fun as I did designing and crafting.

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