Archive for the ‘Birthdays’ Category

Dino-Mite Party

16 Jun

We started the event off with come-and-go crafts and activities, so kids could kind of pick what they were interested in.  I somehow managed to wrangle a very brave friend to come help supervise the activities (thanks Aubree!!!) and kind of turned the kids loose in the sunroom.  Activities included assembling pterodactyl gliders (which I apparently don’t have any pictures of), as well as:

Dinosaur puzzles:


Sticker scenes:


Painting sun catchers:



And this funny little dinosaur stand-up that I got on a last-minute whim, but that the kids seemed to really enjoy more than I thought they would:




Naturally, with all this to offer, the thing the kids found most fascinating was the playhouse that resides in our sunroom.  But hey, I had 19 kids in my sunroom and they were entertained.  I still call that a win.

Next was the highlight of the party: the Dino Dig.  We buried the bones of a T-Rex skeleton model in a sandbox in the back yard, and set the kids loose, equipped with shovels and brushes.


Our Junior Paleontologists found all 30 or so bones in a few minutes, and had a great time up to their elbows in the sand.


Koren even found the skull, which was very exciting.


After we hosed everybody down (literally), it was time for some food.


Other than the traffic problem, this worked remarkably well.  We didn’t even have any spilled punch, which was nothing short of a miracle, IMHO.  Koren took it upon himself to serve all his friends punch, and did an excellent job.


They even liked the party hats.



This was probably the quietest part of the party, and all the adults were able to visit because they could finally  hear each other for the first time.  The chaos was well-managed throughout the party and the kids were well-behaved… but frankly, when you put 19 kids in an enclosed metal sunroom, the noise is going reach some really ungodly decibel levels.

Pretty soon, it was time for the piñata.  I had a terrible time finding a dinosaur piñata this year, and of couse as SOON as I purchased this monstrosity,


I walked into Target the next day to find the PERFECT dinosaur piñata that even matched our colors.  But by that point, Koren had already fallen in love with the Red Giant (which was nearly as tall as he is), so we used it anyway, and Perfect Piñata got relegated to Table Decor Piñata.




Every kid got a turn to smack the piñata  and Kaelin finally busted it open.  The kids swarmed in on the downfall of candy and it was all collected in about .3 seconds


And last but not least, it was time for CAKE!


Koren loved his Volcano/Fossil cake… and by the looks of it, some other people liked it too.


By the time everyone finished their dessert, the party was basically over.  It was a whirlwind hour-and-a-half, but the kids seemed to really have a great time.  And my son has a really cute group of friends.





_DSC9768After everyone left, we assembled Koren’s souvenir from his birthday: the T-Rex skeleton that was unearthed during the dino-dig.  He says it was his favorite part.


And with that, this Dinosaur party was history.  A special thanks to Jens for helping me decorate and clean, and a HUGE Thankyouicouldneverhavepulleditoffwithoutyou to Aubree for dedicating her time to supervising kids, cleaning up, protecting my camera and carpet from mayhem, making things transition smoothly, and generally keeping my sanity in tact during this crazy adventure!

Happy 5th Birthday, Koren!  I love you!  And Mama needs a nap now.








Dino-Mite Party Decor

16 Jun

_DSC9812 (2)

Koren has themes already picked out for all his birthday parties through the age of 12.  This was the year of the Dinosaur Party.  I was super disappointed that the Herd Museum doesn’t have their Dinosaurs Live! exhibit up this time of year, but we probably would have melted in the heat anyway.

I thought he would want to outsource the party this year, but upon hearing about the possibility of a Dino Dig in our back yard, decided he really wanted to have it at home again.  I was fine with this because I have a feeling that our years of having home parties are limited and it will be all Pump it Up or Chuck E Cheese in the future.

Out of fear that the cake would melt in the sunroom, I opted to have the food in the dining room this year, which meant covering up my purple wall.  A few paper plates and table cloths did the trick.



I’m annoyed that I didn’t get better pictures of… well, anything.  But I was running behind schedule and having to take pictures in between greeting the guests and everything was kind of a blur.


The cake was fun, and I finally figured out how to do palm trees that are structurally sound (enough) and look decent. As long as I can keep the cat from playing with them.





Our standard “plywood-over-a-coffee-table” worked nicely this year also, with JUST BARELY enough room for all the attendants.  We moved our actual dining table out to the sunroom, where it served nicely as a come-and-go crafts table.


I usually don’t bother with party hats, but these little triceratops were too cute to pass up, and stood up when placed over a punch cup.



And of course, food.  This was a big party day, and a lot of the kids (including mine) were attending multiple parties this day… so I couldn’t in good conscience have nothing but cake to offer.


…Ok, so maybe Jello Jigglers aren’t exactly a healthy alternative, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to use my dinosaur cookie cutters.






We had very little food left over, which made me very happy.  I hate having to find room to store a bunch of leftovers after a party.

And last but not least, party favors.  I put the kids to work assembling these, so I hope everybody got the same distribution of goodies inside.



Western Angry Birds Birthday Party

26 Oct

We had Kaelin’s birthday party at Storybook Ranch this year.  Between pony rides, a petting zoo, bounce houses and a hay maze, the kids stayed busy every minute.  We even ran out of time for the hay ride that was included in the package.  Kaelin had a blast with all her friends and I got to meet some of the new friends in her class.

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Posted in Birthdays, Kaelin, Photos


Angry Birds Cake

25 Oct

Kaelin has had her heart set on an Angry Birds theme for her 7th birthday party since approximately the day after her 6th birthday party.  Since it wasn’t Disney, I was happy to oblige.  Really, I’ve been pretty fortunate in the overall lack of Disney princess obsession she has developed.

We ended up having her birthday at a pumpkin patch located on a ranch, so Angry Birds became Western Pumpkin Angry Birds.

I scoured the web for Angry Birds cakes, but  couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.  So I invented it.

I neglected to take as many “in process” pictures of this cake as I usually do.  But you’ll probably get the idea.  It took me a full day plus a couple of evenings.  I did attempt buttercream for the first time in a long time.  Not sure what I did the first time I tried to make buttercream (several years ago) but that time it tasted like straight butter and was disgusting.  This time, however, I had success and created a pretty delicious (if I do say so myself) frosting that is a lot cheaper than buying the decorator frosting tubs.  It’s a relief to no longer be scared of buttercream.

My initial model

Chocolate piggy halves

Stone tower covered in fondant

Stone tower – these were made of styrofoam because a) it’s sturdier, and b) I didn’t need that much cake

The base of the cowboy hat was made of gum paste. I dried it on a cake smoother to give it its shape.

Cowboy Piggy and the logs are made of cake.  I did learn something very important.  Moist cakes and buttercream frosting get very soft when luke-warm.  Next time I will freeze the cake before covering it in fondant so it will keep its shape.  It’s really disheartening when you suddenly discover that your piggy has aged 30 years in an hour, and now has wrinkles.

Extra bird… because you can’t really have an Angry Birds cake without any birds. Another lesson learned though… you can’t turn gum paste into chocolate gum paste just by adding cocoa powder. It gets very dry and cracky and will not absorb the powdered sugar you have to use to roll it out.

At the party. Remember that “buttercream gets soft when warm” thing? Piggy took a nosedive into the grass halfway through the party. Fortunately, everybody thought it was funny and fit with the theme.


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Posted in Birthdays, Cakes, Kaelin



17 Oct

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow we went from this:

to this:

I guess I blinked.

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Posted in Birthdays, Kaelin


Petting Zoo

23 Sep

I took Kaelin and her best friend to tour a little ranch that we are considering for the location of Kaelin’s birthday party.  She was sold the minute she saw the petting zoo, and it just about took an act of God to pull her away when it was time to leave.

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Posted in Birthdays, Kaelin, Pets/Animals, Photos


Ahoy Matey! Pirate Party – the Piñata

09 Jun

I decided these pics warranted their own post:

Despite my son’s gusto, we ended up having to rip the piñata open because it was so thickly made that there was no way a 4 year old could bust it… especially when his parents make him hold the bat upside down because of its weight.

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Posted in Birthdays, Koren, Photos


Ahoy Matey! Pirate Party

09 Jun

We ended up with about 12 kids for Koren’s party, which was just perfect, and right in line with the 50% attendance I usually expect when I send out invitations.  The kids spent most of the party in the back yard playing in two inflatable pirate ships and throwing cannonballs (black water balloons) around.  I didn’t get a single picture of the water ballons because somehow they managed to go through 100 of them in like FIVE MINUTES.  But they had a lot of fun doing it.

The water activities were a perfect way to fill the time and let the kids enjoy themselves while parents got to visit.  We were thrilled to meet some of the kids (and their parents) in Koren’s new class at school.  Since he’s only been enrolled at his new preschool for a few weeks, this was the first chance we’ve gotten to meet most of these sweet kids.  They all played together so well and had a great time splashing around.

Pirate robe from Grandmommy & Grandpa: