Tag Archives: first birthday

Doing it up- dino style!

Well, our little Levi just turned one! And of course, we had to plan a birthday party. It came after a VERY busy season of life and I was out of ideas and had no time to peruse Pinterest in the time leading up to his birthday. So my friend Heather threw out a few ideas- one of which was a “Dino-dig.” I immediately latched onto that idea because we already had tons of dinosaur things and, well… who doesn’t love dinosaurs! (well, maybe not the real thing, but you know what I mean…)

Soooo, I took some cute pics of Levi with his little stuffed dino for the invites and got those out.

SOOOO excited to celebrate!

We have such a hard time when we have parties… we have so many friends! I don’t say that at all to boast and I also don’t want that to sound like complaining, because we truly know how BLESSED we are to have so many people who love us and our family. But we have friends from so many different realms of life and many have been our friends for a LONG time, so naturally, we want to invite them ALL! The issue is that our house is only 1,000 square feet and we don’t have space for everyone- it is a logistical battle. We had about 50 people RSVP to this party so we had to cut off the invites (of course, not everyone ended up coming), but we still had a LOT of people here!

Getting Ready:

Anyways, in the few weeks before the party, I looked at Pinterest and got to crafting. Some things were really easy and a lot of things we already had. I always love to have photos of everyone and particularly like photo-booth style pictures, so I almost always have things people can choose from for pictures. So, logically, this is where I began. For Jedi’s superhero party, we had an awesome backdrop and so I thought of some ideas for a jungle-type background. I looked online and found several fun images for props and dug through our existing things to scrounge up some awesome Dinosaur sunglasses, binoculars, expedition hats, and a “camera.

Some fun sunglasses we happened to have
Lots of fun things to choose from!

We already had a fun Power Wheels jeep (without a working battery) that we got as a hand-me-down that was perfect for the kids to sit in and do some “exploring!”

Haha! I like to call this one “that face you make when you get a flat in dino-country!”

Then my only little splurges were on these suuuuper cute dinosaur tails that I found on Amazon (and will resell when I’m done), some dino masks (Hobby Lobby) and two foam dinosaur heads (Dollar Tree). Photo booth, check!

Even the adults had fun with the tails!

When I’m doing a photo booth, I always like to have a little sign as well, so I found a cute font online for the ROAR and then hand-copied a dinosaur I found online. I used a simple stencil for the rest and voila! Sign, check!

Check out the fun we had with this!

***Taking photos of everyone who comes also comes in handy when making thank you cards. I just print out a picture for them and write a little note on the back!***

We also had two special guests at this party. My mom (from Minnesota) flew down to surprise us and be here for Levi’s 1st birthday. It’s been 8 years since she and my dad have been here! She flew solo (literally) because my dad was on a road trip. We missed having him here, but were thankful that “Grammy” could come! Also, my best friend Catherine and her son Elijah returned from China (where we met several years ago) just a few days before the party. They made the trip (totally jet-lagged… AND pregnant) from the Dallas area all the way to San Antonio to celebrate with us! It made our day so extra special to have them here!

Of course, the star of this party was Levi himself. I found this adorable dinosaur costume on Offer Up! for 10 bucks and couldn’t resist a mini photo shoot with my little dino. I then used a few of these images in frames as decorations.

At first birthdays in particular, I think it is so important to document growth! So I picked my favorites of each of his monthly photos (plus a newborn pic and another of when he turned one), printed them off and matted them to hang as well. Here was the final product.

Just look at that little cutie!

I printed off a few signs for around the yard and made a few more to mark off certain areas.

You may not be able to see it, but there is a Jurassic Park sign on the fence behind the playground. PARK being the operative word here.

We also made a sign and some dinosaur footprints to put out front so people would know which house was ours.

I had printed out a dino footprint online, cut it out, and traced it on cardboard. Then I cut out the print and made myself a stencil. I put the boys to work making prints leading up to the house… they turned out pretty cute if you ask me! Thanks guys!

We also asked our sweet friend Kathy (who had to work so she couldn’t make it to the party) to make Levi a party shirt. She was able to take the same “1” I had created for his birthday invitations and put in on a onesie. It turned out so cute and used all the colors we were using for the party!

Isn’t his shirt the cutest!


At kid’s parties, I try to keep it simple… what are the things kids love to do??? PLAY. I put out some dinosaur coloring books and crayons and markers for kids to color with. I had a tub of dinosaur books for families to sit and read. I set out balls and toys, chalk and bubbles, a “ball pit” with a dinosaur that “eats” the balls. I even set up a game of “cornhole” for the kids or the grown-ups to play with.

The kids (and adults) enjoying themselves!
Apparently the dinosaurs wanted to color too!

I set up the sand box as a “dino-dig” by putting a wooden apatasaurus dinosaur puzzle (disassembled, of course) in there along with some “dinosaur eggs” for the kids to dig up and “discover.” My goal was for the bigger kids to actually try to put the dinosaur together, but some of the bigger kids I thought would want to didn’t end up coming. I put out a bunch of shovels, paintbrushes and sifters for the kids to use while “excavating.”

The dinosaur “eggs” and dinosaur “bones” for the kids to dig up
Digging for fossils!


I did use Pinterest a bit when thinking of food ideas. The party was from 3-5, so we didn’t necessarily need a full meal, but we ended up with TONS of food anyways. The biggest staple… dinosaur chicken nuggets, for the “carnivores,” that we found at Costco for like 12 bucks a box! Throw in some fruit and veggies for the “herbivores,” chips/snacks, dinosaur fruit snacks, brownie bites- aka “dino droppings” and some Jordan almonds as “Dinosaur eggs” and you’ve got yourself a dino-mite set-up!

For drinks, we ended up just having bottled water and juice boxes for the kiddos, then sweetened and unsweetened tea. I was originally going to make some “Jungle Juice,” which was basically just going to be a repeat of our “Hulk Punch” that was a big hit (pun intended) at Jedi’s birthday party, buuuuut… time… money… extra work… all that, and my mother-in-law volunteered to bring the tea. So, we went simple. But if you were to want to make punch, it’s equal parts lemon-lime soda (whichever you prefer) and “Green Berry Rush” Hawaiian Punch, then just add a few scoops of lime sorbet and give it a stir! It’s suuuuper yummy!

For cake, we kept it pretty simple. Of course, I had grandeur ideas, but nothing ever materialized. I ordered a cake from Costco… because, when you have as many people over as we did, you need a BIG cake! Costco cakes taste great and are very well priced! Anyways, they didn’t have dinosaur decor and the only colors they had in our color scheme were yellow and orange, so that’s what we went with. I had every intention of decorating it with our own dinosaurs, but the spacing ended up not really working out. The dinos we had were too big, so we ended up using tiny dinosaurs that, in my opinion, were too small. We also had this idea that we could put dino footprints in the frosting… but it ended up just pulling the frosting off. Oh, well!

I made the little “ONE” banner hanging in the background and decorated the cake table with another stuffed dinosaur and a cute frame.
You can see the little blue and green dinos we added to the cake, and the attempted dinosaur footprints in the lower left-hand corner.

Levi had never really had cake before, so it was fun watching him go at it! He wasn’t sure about it at first, but once he had a spoon, he was all about it! He even shared with “uncle” Zach!

Party Favors:

Party favors were pretty simple. I found a big bag of inexpensive and environmentally friendly dinosaurs online and divvied them up in little baggies along with some dinosaur stickers and cool dino tats. Plop them in a bucket, slap a dinosaur saying “thank you” on it and that’s done!

Well, that’s a wrap! We had a dino-mite time celebrating our little guy turning one!

Oh, yeah… and the dino-fun just keeps coming! The boys run around the house in their dinosaur tails and chase each other! It’s great! SO. MUCH. FUN!

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Posted by on June 4, 2019 in Uncategorized


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A (not-so) “smash cake”


So, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this trend called “smash cakes” but basically, on a child’s first birthday, you get them a special small cake and just let them go to town on it!

We had seen many of our friends do this with their little ones and decided that since Jedidiah’s first birthday was in the middle of the week and we weren’t doing anything special otherwise to celebrate it (until his birthday party that weekend), that we would get in on this “smash cake” business.

Now I’m pretty picky about what I give Jedidiah to eat.  I am a fierce advocate of healthy foods and I really believe that what we put in our bodies directly affects how our bodies function.  That being said, Jedidiah really hasn’t had any sugar (except for what’s naturally found in fruits) up until this point.  So I didn’t want to go and ruin that to give him an entire cake on his first birthday.  Thankfully, many other like-minded momma’s have gone before me.  I found a good, healthy smash cake recipe online and I got right to work baking it!  Of course, as a busy mom, I didn’t have loads of time to do this, so of course, Monday night, I’m scrambling to get the cake baked so that I can frost it the next day and have it ready for him that evening.

After I finished my workout, I donned my baking apron and got to work.  The recipe was simple and called for real ingredients!



  • 4 or 5 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup natural no sugar added applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (grind rolled oats in blender, then measure)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Mash the bananas in a medium bowl.


2. In a separate large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda, and cinnamon together.


3. Add the mashed bananas, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated.

4. Coat your two 8 or 9″round pans with oil.

5. Spread the batter into the bottom of the pans.  (I only had one pan, so I had to do two rounds)batter

6. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes.  Check with a toothpick for doneness.


7. Cool the cakes before frosting.  If you used the 8″ or 9″ pan, then use an overturned smaller bowl to cut out small cake rounds.

Well, I had seen on another blog that you could cut up banana slices (in case you didn’t already use enough bananas) to add a little more height to the cake between layers… I don’t know that I would recommend this as it made for a harder time frosting it, and it didn’t really add that much more height.  Here it is pre-frosting.


I let the cakes cool and then put them in the fridge so that they’d be ready to frost the next day.

Of course, the next morning as I pulled up the recipe to make the frosting, I realized that I didn’t have enough cream cheese. So I ran to HEB that morning and returned, ready to whip up the frosting and have everything ready!  I had set out the other container of cream cheese that I’d bought and the apple juice while I shopped so that they would both be soft when I returned.  Anyways, when I got Jedidiah down for his nap, I decided to get after it… EXCEPT I didn’t read the recipe closely enough and put in the entire can of apple juice concentrate (instead of the half cup it called for).  I didn’t realize this until I had already added all the other ingredients and it was just far too runny.  I couldn’t figure it out… and then I looked back at the recipe and did a major hand-slap to the forehead.  Geesh!!!  Total mommy brain!  SO I had to go back to the store a second time that day to re-purchase all of the ingredients that I WASTED because I wasn’t paying enough attention (that’s what you get when you try to rush things and get them done during nap time).  Anyways, this time I READ the recipe and actually FOLLOWED it!  The frosting turned out much better the second time around.  Here is the recipe that I used.

Cake Frosting

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup no sugar added apple juice concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Anyways, finally the cake was frosted and ready to go!  I had made a banner for his party that we got to use during his cake smash as well.  We hung that and a few other decorations, threw in a few balloons, and we were ready to go!


We set our bubba down next to that cake and firmly expected him to go to town!  He is a HUGE eater so we figured that he would devour this cake… much to the contrary, we had to force him to touch it!  He began curiously pulling the number 1 candle off of the cake and trying to hand it to us.  The expression on his face said… “what is this?”  Followed by, “Is this some sort of trick???”

After that he got up and walked away.  So we brought him back and set him down beside the cake and I put his hand in it.  He was NOT a fan.  He looked at his hand and then at me like… “get this stuff OFF of me!!!”


He fussed, so I got up and wiped off his hands.  He then wandered off again.  This was not going like we had planned!  Trent had to coax him back a second time and tried to give him a taste of the frosting… surely, this would entice our little guy to dig right in!  As you can see, he’s still not so sure.


After that, daddy thought, “what the heck… let’s try putting his hands in it again” and you can see that that was NOT successful.  We had a sad baby.  Momma wiped his hands down a second time.  At this point, daddy took to the cake with a spoon and churned it up a bit so that Jedidiah could get at it without having to dig in the frosting first.  He definitely considered it, but still didn’t go after it.


Next, we tried a spoon.  Daddy loaded up a bit of cake and gave him a bite.  NOW we were talking.


He picked at the cake a little bit with his hands, but really still didn’t want to get dirty, so we gave him the spoon and let him try eating it that way.  He started with his much more proficient left hand, but lately he always wants to switch the spoon or fork to his much less accurate right hand, which he did in this case as well.

When that didn’t work so well, he went back to his hands, but was very careful about just getting pieces of cake and not any frosting.

He started walking around with his spoon and even brought mommy and daddy a bite.


After a while, he got distracted by the balloons and tossed them around a bit and then would come back for a bite from momma.

This went on for quite a while… back and forth… back and forth.  Then my parents called us on Skype to sing him “happy birthday,” so he ate and Skyped at the same time.  Once the call ended, he’d eaten plenty and we decided to clean it up!


Our “cake smash” didn’t go quite as planned, but it was still fun to watch our little one react to this situation.  He has such a big personality already and I would totally do it over again!

Happy first birthday Jedidiah!!!  Momma and Daddy love you!

Have you tried a “smash cake” for your little one?  How did it turn out for you?!?





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Posted by on December 4, 2016 in Uncategorized


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