Monday, March 4, 2019

Epic Dinosaur Dig Birthday Party

Calling all Paleontologists!  This is a party for you! 
Welcome to the Jurassic Period!  This party was a heaven for dinosaur lovers.  

The decorations were simple for this party.  I have a deck of cards that features really nice drawings of dinosaurs and I used that to make a bunting along the fire place mantel. 
The rest was succulents and fake greenery except...

For the 5' dinosaur that lived beneath the vine covered trees in the dining-room!

The trees were set up for his brother's Lord Of The Rings party that was just 3 weeks ago.  I asked him if he wanted me to take them down, and he said "Nah, but could you make them a jungle?"  So that was my goal, to make a jungle, but I still surprised him.  The birthday boy woke up that morning to a huge dinosaur in his house, and he was pretty thrilled!

When the guests first arrived they came in and got their badges to join us on an epic dinosaur exploration day!
They collected their badges and were directed to the volcano station where they had to create a setting for our volcanic explosion.  Lava paint, black rocks, small volcanic rocks, and a few little dinosaur friends to decorate with.
They had a blast decorating the volcano lahar area (the space where the volcanic debris flows).  Then, of course, we got to make it explode.
I think it was a very satisfying moment for all of our little party-going paleontologists.

Next up was dinosaur flyers.  I didn't get any good pictures, but the kids ran around having fun with these from Amazon.

After that we all gathered in the back yard for a fossil dig.

The kids enjoyed digging through the sand to find the fossils and crystals that were hidden.  Each kid had a small bag to put their treasures in.

Here is one of the boys bags when they were done.  Notice there is pumice, shark teeth, fossils, and crystals.  It was fun to see what they found!

Lunch came next.

Food was set in not-so-obvious themes involving rocks, volcanoes, 'sticks' (Pretzels), dino eggs (white Easter), and dino claws.  No cute little food cards this time, the kids just thought it was delicious.  ;)

We sang Happy Birthday and everyone got a cupcake with a friend attached.  
Gift bags were made of the activities they did at the party and then we added a small succulent and two hatching dinosaur eggs.  You put the eggs in water, and they hatch!  They also got to keep their finds from the dinosaur dig.  Some of the kids got some amazing fossils!
I think it was the perfect party for my little dinosaur lover.  He had an amazing time and so did his buddies!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Lord of the Rings - One Party to Rule Them All

The quest for the One Ring began on weekend in January at the house of a certain Hobbit.

Decorated with giant Ents (paper trees) and a decal of a Middle Earth fellowship, the meal was a feast fit for a Dwarven King and Hobbit eleventy-first birthday party alike:
Hobbit foods tend to be luxurious and abundant.  We had a hoard of creatures coming over that ate even more than Hobbits; Teenagers!  In preparation, we had treats from all over the Middle Earth.

I have never bought into the idea that beautiful parties have to have a table covered with nothing but sweets.  This meal spread was set out to please the eye but also to give the group of boys I had coming over something other than a sugar coma.  We had lots of real food, (it definitely helped that Hobbit's only tolerate the very best food and drink!) and a few themed treats.  And that's the way I like it. (I'll step off my soapbox now.)

  • Egges (boiled eggs)
  • 'Lifted' Carrots (carrots & ranch)
  • Frodo's Fingers (pigs in a blanket)
  • Gollum's Goodies (Swedish fish and gummy worms)
  • HoneyCakes (mini coffee cakes)
  • Bilbo's Berry Pies (mini pies)
  • Lembas Bread (rice crispy treats in paper leaves)
  • Sam's Po-Tay-To soup (potato soup)
  • Grapes
  • Cheese platter
  • French bread

"Lembas Bread!  One bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man." -Legolas

In the end, they were fed and ready to head into Middle Earth to find the One Ring.

The activities were all in scavenger hunt style while searching for the next clue to defeat the hoard of orcs.

The first set of trials were a walk through the dead marshes.  They had to go through an obstacle course, and anyone who fell off of the obstacles they were grabbed by the dead.  They had to start back at the beginning. 

"Careful now!  Or Hobbits go down to join the Dead Ones, and light little candles of their own." 
- Golum

The next part of the scavenger hunt was going through the tunnel to find a spiders egg.

"It's the only way!  Go in... or go back." - Golum
The eggs were wrapped with several layers of clear packing tape and webbing and cotton batting.  They had to break through all that to get to the egg (a extra large plastic egg) that had one of two things in it.

 Three eggs were filled with the light of Earendil, the elves favorite star, to help them get through the rest of the hunt:

"I give you the light of Earendil, our most beloved star.  May it give you light, when all other lights go out." - Galadril

One egg was filled with baby spiders.  Whoever ended up getting the spiders egg with the babies in it got wrapped up in 'webbing' by their fellowship...

The next task in the scavenger hunt was to shoot the army of orcs that were about the cross the field of battle.

As the kids lined up to shoot the arrows, some of the kids had never shot a bow before.  So they got a mini lesson in archery as a party bonus!

Then it was time to come back inside for the birthday-ing things.  Like cake!
The cake was a tribute to the hoard of gold that was held by Smaug, The Terrible.

I tried to get the cake as close as I could to the style of
this cover of The Hobbit.  I took gold sequin candies and candy rocks and sugar gems to make the pile of riches at Smaug's feet.
Little known secret about me: I don't like cake.  So I do not bake cakes.  This cake was two purchased cakes stacked on top of each other with some extra frosting, and then I decorated it.  This trick saves me TONS of time!  If there is a special request for a particular cake, sometimes I will bake it (like the rainbow cake for my daughter's rainbow party) but for the most part, this trick is my go-to for party cakes now.

It's a big splash of party style that I don't have to work very hard for, and I'll take all the tricks for that I can get!
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