Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday?"

Joseph's second birthday party was exactly 8 days after Sarah's big baby shower.

After the successful completion of the shower, I was pretty much pooped and useless for the entire week leading up to Joseph's party. I was not in a house cleaning or party decorating mood. Other than poking around Pinterest a few months previously, I had done ZERO planning.

Fortunately, my friend Mary-Carolyn (Longbrake Living) and Joseph's buddy Colton were coming to visit and they brought lots of fresh toddler birthday enthusiasm with them! I quickly went from, "Meh. We might do something. Whatever." to, "Toddler parties are the greatest thing EVAH! Must have adorable dino-car decorations!"

Stephen is actually the one who picked out Joseph's birthday theme.

Caroline: "Hmm. What kind of party should we have? ABC's? Very Hungry Caterpillar??"


Caroline: "You realize I'm inviting over Joseph's tiny friends and their mothers might object to a birthday cake with a giant T-rex on it chomping on decapitated green army men with bloody icing spurting everywhere?" 

Stephen: "Did I say anything about blood? I don't think I said anything about blood!"

Caroline: "Pfth. Please. I know how your brain works."

So, I went with dinosaurs per my husbands request... but I kept everything G-rated. ;)

The cake table's "flag" and "table cloth" are actually a bed sheet & pillow case that I picked up at Goodwill for like $2 months ago. Sarah (Five Camels) wouldn't allow me to leave the store without them. She was looking out for the interests of her nephew. ;)

The banner above the table says, "RAWR JOSEPH!"

Joseph's birthday party shirt from his Aunt Amy had a t-rex on it saying, "rawr!*" and below was the following translation: "means 'i love you!' in dinosaur." So, actually, the banner says "I love you, Joseph!"

The letters on the banner are the same foam letters from my mother-in-law that we used for the ABC Easter eggs. The pictures are some portraits that I took of Joseph while visiting Mary-Carolyn in February.

The paper bunting flags with the banner letters were cut from specially customized paper.

Yes, that's right, folks! This superior quality paper was hand painted by budding (half-naked) artists.

They used a variety of mediums - Q-tips, combs, and cars.

The work itself is fresh & edgy! You can't buy paper like this in the average arts and craft store!

I loved that we involved the boys in the party-decorating process. It made for a fun weekend and the finger-painted paper turned out surprisingly jungle-y thanks to the car wheels & comb. Perfect for a dino-jungle-scape.

Mary-Carolyn was sweet enough to cut out the bunting flags for me. She even came up the fabulous shape! She's one rockin' awesome lady! We even used the leftover triangles from the banner flags to make a little Stegosaurus tail bunting on the sewing machine.

Honestly, in true Caroline fashion, I threw most of this table together around midnight the night before the party after MC went to bed like a normal human being. I didn't leave my house once, only used materials I had on hand, and may have gotten carried away... but I had fun with it.

The giant 2 is made from a thin piece of Styrofoam that I cut and then wrapped in yellow yarn from Joseph's craft bin of awesome.

The adorable dino plates were part of a party pack of animal plates that my mother-in-law gave me after finding them on clearance. Same goes for the orange plastic-ware from Halloween. It went on clearance and my MIL snatched it up. That happens a lot in our family. ;)

The pterodactyl plush was one of Joseph's Christmas presents. He's mildly terrifying because he comes alive with glowing yellow eyes, moves his head back and forth, and screeches like a banshee raven from hell pterodactyl might have screeched back in the day. Joseph loves him. ;)

The books along the back of the table are all from a series of children's books that begin with "How Do Dinosaurs..." by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. I checked out every single one that our library had because Joseph loves them. He actually learned to say, "Please!" and "Thank you!" from "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?", so they hold a special place in my heart.

I loosely decorated the table based on these books since the dinosaurs in the illustrations are always playing with toy cars. Plus, the two things that Joseph likes to sleep with the most are dinosaurs...

...and cars...

So it all made perfect sense to me.

That's right. I reused the table runners & baby food grass jars from Sarah's baby shower.

Why waste a good thing? They were perfect.

I didn't want to mess with making some super fancy, complicated giant dinosaur shaped cake. I just didn't have the energy for it.

So, I pulled out Joseph's hard plastic animal toys, separated & washed all the dinosaurs, and used them for cake decorations.

Easiest. Cake. Ever.

Joseph almost managed to blow out his candles a few times, but in the end it was a family effort.

Then we let the birthday boy sample the goods.

He was quite pleased with the arrangement...

...and gave everything his stamp of approval...

I didn't realize this until after the party, but the silver tray that I put Joseph's cake on?? It's totally the same exact silver tray that my Mom used for my cake when I turned two:

It's the only giant tray I really own, so it was a total coincidence that I used it... but it gives me warm fuzzies nonetheless. 

Dear baby girl currently residing in my uterus... please have ducky curls like your mommy when you turn two and let me tie ribbons in your hair? Mmmkay??

Also... Mom? Did you save this dress??? It's so, so cute!

In reality, I'm expecting her to have pin straight hair like her daddy who, by the way, looked like this at the age of 2:

DUDE! Robert is totally moving in on his candle blowing territory! Uncool, Rob. Uncool.

Isn't he cute? I think Joseph is a nice mix of the both of us, but you can definitely see Stephen in him.

In addition to the big chocolate dino cake, we also used our car cake pans to make little almond glazed classic cars for dinos to drive around in.

Again, we involved the boys in this as much as possible. They took turns adding the ingredients to the mixer for the cake batter. And they both got to lick their own spatulas pre-eggs.

Then, once we had glazed the cars, we let the boys be in charge of decorating.

Sprinkles. Easiest way to decorate with a toddler.

They were both so serious about undertaking the task too. It was ridiculously cute.

Even if sharing the sprinkle bottle wasn't at the top of either little man's priority list.

Manager Special sprinkles? What? In our house? No way!

Even with (or maybe because of) the excessive amounts of green sprinkles, the dino-car cakes were my favorite.

I mixed them in with Joseph's vintage metal roller cars from his Grandad

If only I had remembered about the denim roads in Joseph's box of awesome. Then all the little car cakes could have gone cruising across the table.

Aw, who cares! Let's just eat some cake!

The "jungle" backdrop for the table was super easy. I just moved all of my houseplants into the corner behind the table.

I picked up most of them earlier in the week on clearance at Lowes. Twenty & Thirty dollar plants on sale for $1-2!!!!!!!!

And all they needed was some trimming and watering. Five giant houseplants for $7!!!!! Now, if I kill any of them, I won't feel (too) bad!

The dino "jungle" was especially popular with the little people.

Colton is becoming one with the jungle. He's practicing for his Curious George birthday party. ;)

I also reused the framed chalkboards from the shower for the food buffet area.

I picked out some quotes from the "How Do Dinosaurs..." books and wrote them on the chalkboards to promote food consumption.

As if that would be a problem...

If we had had more than 2 toddlers & a 5 month old baby present and if I were throwing this party for slightly older children, then I might have considered some of the following party games:

  • "Pin the Tail on the Dinosaur" which comes straight from the pages of "How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday?" I would probably do this with 3-5 year olds.

Source: via Caroline on Pinterest

  • Digging for Dino Bones. I would probably do this with 3-5 year olds.

  • Dino Egg Hunt - you can do this with painted melons for giant eggs. I actually had some hard boiled eggs and Easter egg dye set aside in case we had extra time to kill. I figured we could draw spots on the eggs with a white crayon and let the boys dip them in the egg dye to make "dino eggs". I figured the boys would have fun with it and the whole idea amused me because Joseph was actually born on Easter morning. We didn't have time for it though and that was totally fine because the boys had plenty of fun just running around with each other!

We set up an eating & present opening area in the living room using our giant cafeteria table and, yes, more bed sheets. Oh, and lots of trendy arm pumping dances...

Joseph got some really awesome gifts - a truckload of wonderful new books, a giant blue bouncy ball, wooden ABC/123 blocks, a toddler proof remote control fire engine, wooden choo choo whistles, and slice-able wooden fruit to name a few.

Colton picked out the wooden fruit for Joseph. It's Melissa & Doug and it's FABULOUS. Joseph LOVES it! Thank you, Colton (& MC)! It goes perfectly with his wooden pizza set from Aunt Sarah!

And I love how he will say the name of the fruit as he cuts it.

"Joseph, can you say 'avocado'?"


Makes me crack up every. time.

We ended the day with a very appropriate dino shirt and snuggles from Aunt Theresa.

He was one very tuckered out little dino.

It may have been thrown together last minute, but it was definitely successful. :) Happy birthday, Joseph! We love you!


  1. SO. SO. CUTE!!! I wish we could have been there, but MAN was I wiped out after that shower!!

    Love the palm trees and all the decor! And what a great price! I think I need some car abstract art in my life.

    I can't believe how big Colton & Joseph are getting!! :)

    Now to Google Melissa and Doug. I feel like there's a whole world of new things to learn approaching. :)

  2. Dude! That IS TOTALLY the pizza I got for Joseph!!! Goodwill Outlet ROCKS!! :)

  3. This was such a fun birthday party! Colton and I had a blast.

    I adore the second photo of him in the "jungle." I want to make it my computer background; Hubs would call it his sexy-beast sophomore solo album cover.

    I asked Colton if he wanted to tell Joseph anything, and he said, "Mmmhumm." So please relay that message to Joseph, and tell him we had a roaring good time at his birthday!

  4. This is CRAZY cute! I am beyond impressed that you pulled this off the night before the party with no planning. And by the way, your house is beautiful! I really love the chalk board paint on the door, SUCH a good idea! I wonder if you were like me when I painted my green door and had extra paint leftover and started eyeing things around my house (must paint something else green....). ha! Awesome party!

  5. Rawr! As in, I LOVE THIS PARTY! Looks like such fun and I love all the little touches. I can't believe you pulled that all together so quickly. You are rawrsome!

  6. Just came across this as I am looking for dinosaur ideas for my 2 year old's party...i LOVE the decorations. i LOVE the little grass jars. I LOVE the cake. I LOVE everything about the party. Thanks for the inspiration!


Your comments make my day!!