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