Monday, May 19

Dinosaur Birthday - on the Cheap!

Big Brother looked forward to his birthday for weeks. Multiple times a day I would hear:

"My birfday's comin' up."
"Is it my birfday yet?"
"It's awmost my birfday."

So we talked about his birfday a lot. Whenever I asked him what he wanted to do he would say "I want dino hat, and dino cake, and dino ice cream." That was it. So we definitely needed to go with a dino theme, but we didn't want to throw our life savings into it. This was our solution for a dino birthday on a budget.

We celebrated his actual birthday on a Friday (when we gave him a DIY zoo pass and took him to the zoo) and then had a party with a few friends & family on Saturday. Let's start with Friday. We actually kind of banked on him forgetting it was his birthday (probably the last year that will work). Daddy took him out for donuts first thing in the morning while a couple aunts and I went to work decorating. This boy may love balloons even more than dinosaurs so our splurge was a helium balloon kit for about $25. We added a couple packs of dollar tree streamers and tried to make as much wow factor as we could for the little fella.

I also found these inflatable dinosaurs at dollar tree and added them to the set up:

Plus a homemade dinosaur birthday crown as requested (using felt from our crafting stash).

And dollar tree party hats all around. Baby Brother was on the fence about the whole thing.

And stacked his presents on the coffee table right in front of the door (wrapping paper also from dollar tree)

Then we waited.... When Big Brother showed up he couldn't believe it! We said "SURPRISE!" and he ran back outside and wouldn't come in until I carried him, so note to self: maybe don't scare the birthday boy next year. Oops. When he did make it in, this was his reaction:

Did I mention he loves balloons? I call this the "balloon glow":

Here are a few more pics from the morning (you're welcome, grandmas!):

All in all a very successful birthday! So let's jump to the party. We really wanted it to be a fun time for Big Brother so we planned to have some of his favorite snacks and lots of time to just run and play with his friends. We saved back enough balloons and streamers to decorate our patio before the party and then just had to add the food! We did easy snack foods like watermelon, grapes, cheese and crackers, and guacamole for the main course (if snacking comes in courses?) and added chocolate ice cream and cupcakes for dessert. Of course we had to fit the dino theme, so we ordered these small dinosaurs on Amazon. They were promptly sorted into herds when they arrived.

I washed them all in soapy water so they would be party-ready. Then Saturday morning I made some chocolate sourdough cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and just set a dinosaur on top of each one. BOOM. Dino party. That's really all we did as far as a theme & decorations. It was very simple and pretty cheap, but Big Brother was thrilled and had a wonderful time. Turns out kids don't care if their party is huge or complicated or pinnable. They just like to have fun... and cake. So cut yourself some slack, mommas. Have a cupcake, enjoy your company, watch your kids roll in the dirt.

The dinosaurs were like built-in party favors for the kids, too!

And most of all remember to just enjoy those little fellas on their big day. They only turn three once. And they only have this imagination, sense of adventure, and happiest of smiles for a little while. Take a few pictures so you never forget just how they are but don't forget to put the camera down and be present, too. Here are a few more shots from Big Brother's special day....

Big Brother felt amazing in his new birthday outfit from Grandma & Papa. He was so proud to finally be three. And pockets!

Baby Brother still wasn't convinced about this whole birthday thing.

For the whole party we just let the kids play with the yard toys and dig up the garden. They had fun with a healthy does of sunshine and dirt.

Post-party naps all around!

How do you do parties on a budget? Let's hear your favorite tips & tricks!

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