Yep, it happened. Our first baby…my baby. He turned five! Our minds are still trying to adjust to this reality, but hanging out with him every day, there is just no denying it. There is a new level of maturity in the way he speaks that awes us all the time. I suppose that has been a gradual change over time that I suddenly noticed only now.  He even seems to expect a little more of himself now, doing things he hasn’t done before while noting, “Because I’m five…” It’s pretty cute.

Oh, and another cute thing about this boy? He’s basically been talking about what kind of party he wanted to celebrate the big FIVE the entire 364 days since his last birthday. (I’m not exaggerating, though I kind of wish I was.) Though he changes his mind constantly as any four-going-on-five year old does, he talks a lot about wanting to be a paleontolgist when he grows up. We may have a little Ross Gellar on our hands.

Since he talks about his birthday party with such huge anticipation, I really wanted to make it extra special for him.  With the dino theme, I tried to incorporate lots of nature accents – branches, leaves, etc.  All in all, these were really simple decorations but really helped bring through the theme to life.  I hung a some left over streamers on the wall in a completely haphazard fashion and then taped up some die cut leaves to look like vines as a backdrop for the food table.  Andrew loooved this!  We had the party a few days before his actual birthday and when his real birthday came, he told me I needed to put the vines back up on the wall.  Ha!

We grabbed a few grassy plants from Lowes and I hot glued burlap I already had around the containers to cover the less-than-lovely black plastic. I also made a small set of four dino art prints to set around the house using the same general technique as I did for the sunshine sign. They cost all of $12 and turned out so cute! We may add mounts and hang them in Andrew’s room now that the party is over.

I decided to categorize the food for herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores (because I just couldn’t leave out mac and cheese.) Here’s what we had:
For the carnivores:
Sloppy joe sliders (Andrew’s favorite food from preschool, apparently – ha!)
Scallion meatballs with soy-ginger glaze

For the herbivores:
Cucumber bites
Broccoli “trees” in hummus
Cups of fresh fruit
Veggie cups with a greek yogurt dip (made up the recipe on the fly)

For the omnivores:
Mac and cheese cups

And to drink, green dinosaur smoothies of course! We had lemonade and water as well.

After we broke into the food, we did a few dino-related activities for the kids. The dino dig was such a huge hit with the kids, especially Andrew whose excitement upon finding each “fossil” was absolutely hilarious.  All we did was fill up a baby pool with sand and rocks, bury some dino skeletons (the best fake fossils I could find).  We included plenty of small shovels for digging, as well as brushes so they could brush off their fossils just like real paleontologists might.  We left this set up for several days after the party and Andrew played with it every single day. He just loved it!

We had a simple “make a fossil” station where kids could make dinosaur footprints or full impressions of dinosaurs with modeling clay. I loved modeling clay as a kid (even took a couple of pottery camps), so I got a kick out of this one. It was fun watching the kids decide what sort of fossil they wanted to create.

The kids meandered inside when they started to get too hot, and took full advantage of the color-a-saurus table I had set up. Andrew spends a lot of his time coloring, so I knew he would like this but wasn’t quite sure about the other kids. I was impressed to see what a hit a simple table with art supplies was! I laid out a variety of dinosaur coloring pages, and also supplies to make a simple stegosaurus from paper plates left over from past parties. The kids really liked making the stegosaurus and it was fun to see them being creative.

I love to display photos of the past year with the birthday boy, so I sponge painted a piece of foam board and hot glued some little rocks around the edges to add another touch of dino-ness. (I though this might take hours but it actually only took about 15 minutes.  It’s totally doable!) I also thought it might be fun to make a terrarium sort of thing. I used a big hurricane candle holder we already had, filled it with left over sand and rocks, and a layer of potting soil. We added some artificial moss I had (seriously, who has artificial moss around and finds a use for it? This seems to justify my urge to always save everything “just in case”.)  We added a few more rocks to look like boulders and mini dino toys. Andrew helped me make this and it was a really fun project for him. He absolutely loved it, and was so proud to show it off to guests :)

He also helped me assemble these favor bags for his guests which included a little book of dinosaur stickers, a mini dino toy, and a fossil cookie.  The cookies were another fun project we made together, using some of his dino toys to make impressions in cookie dough.

Andrew specifically asked for a birthday cake instead of cupcakes, so I made a two-tiered cake with chocolate cake for the bottom layer and funfetti on top. I decorated it with my favorite whipped vanilla buttercream, used a little bit of fondant to make additional leaves (shaped from pie crust cutters) and added random vegetation-like frosting around the bottom until the edges were mostly covered. (I used a small leaf tip and a small grass tip for this.) It was a lovely coincidence that the “5” candle at Target was this sparkly green one. It was meant to be!

Thanks to everyone who came and helped make Andrew’s birthday so special. We were glad to celebrate with you!

Invitations and party printables, favor bags, white and striped food cups: TomKat Studio
Andrew’s dino t-shirt: Zen Threads
Die cut leaves: Etsy seller angieheartsjared
Birch straws: Paper Source
Twiggy fabric: Hawthorne Threads
Birthday crown: made by my sweet friend Kelli
  • Kate

    This looked great! Thanks for sharing.

  • Faygie Moorvitch

    Such a fun party! Everything looked so great!!

  • Kayla W

    Happy birthday, Andrew! Looks like such a fun party and lol at the Ross Gellar comment.

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Umm..I’m 26 and this is MY dream birthday party!! SO AWESOME!

  • So fun, Annie! I love your attention to detail!

    My 4 year old already has her next 3 birthdays planned :) I love how much kids love their birthdays!

  • nessa

    This is so great! Happy birthday Andrew! I’m sure he had a fabulous time :)

  • Tara Sallinger Margetson

    Love this, how fun! Happy Birthday Andrew!

  • What a great theme! Looks like a great party!!

  • Mimi

    What an awesome party and a gorgeous cake!

  • Cara

    Amazing as usual Annie! Love all your parties… PS LOVE the Ross Gellar reference :)

  • Laura Campbell

    Annie, your attention to detail is amazing! I can’t believe how beautifully you’ve represented the dinosaur theme. Wow – five years old. Happy Birthday Andrew! Thanks for sharing this beautiful event with us (I am definitely making those fossil cookies!) xx

  • Jamie Stone

    This is so adorable! Happy Birthday Andrew!

  • Sylvia

    LOVE, love, love this! My son (turning 7 in a couple of months) has gone through all kinds of scientist-related jobs that he plans to be when he grows up. Advice: if they have either Big Thinkers or Club Scientific, get him involved with it. We’re doing a week of CS camp right now, and he is having so much fun and learning at the same time. I’ve been hearing (since a month after his last birthday) that he wants Big Thinkers to come to his party… so that’s the plan and I’ve already been searching for good cookie cutters for favors and brainstorming with my friend for a cool cake!

  • Joelyn Wong

    My my time flies he is 5. Happy Birthday to Andrew and thank you for sharing his growing up years with us and looking forward to many more :)

  • sgh131

    Wow! I can remember you posting your pregnancy announcement and now he is five, crazy how time goes by! The party was fantastic!!!

  • Danita Day

    Over the top cute. The dinosaur dig and crafts are great ideas. I’m wishing my boys were little again. Happy Birthday to Andrew.

  • One again Annie, everything looks amazing! The cake came out great and I love all of the dino details. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time!

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much :)

  • sarah wilson

    Too cute!!! And Ross Gellar, HA! So adorable!

  • Cheryl Duss

    Love the little terrarium that you created with your son… what a cool project, and it turned out great! Super creative ideas, Annie!

  • Melanie Griffiths Stykalo

    How do you decide how many servings to make per person? Everything’s is so nice and individual, but I’d be worried I’d grossly under or overestimate how many portions of everything to prepare!

  • annieseats

    I honestly don’t have a very rigid system for that. It’s pretty much just a gestalt. I make the list of all the foods I want to include, consider whether it will be filling enough (especially if the party is during a meal time) and whether there is adequate diversity of items served. Then I just make sure there is at least enough of everything for one serving of each per person, plus extras for some who will want seconds. And of course, it’s always better to have too much than not enough…plus then you have plenty of leftovers to eat in the tired day or two post-party :)

  • Melanie Griffiths Stykalo

    Thanks! I was thinking about 1.5 portions per person but wasn’t sure that would be enough:)

  • Claudia

    You are absolutely amazing! Everything looks wonderful! You are like ‘my Martha Stewart’. Happy belated birthday to Andrew :)

  • annieseats

    Haha, you are too sweet :) Thank you!

  • Love it! We just had a dinosaur party for our 5 year old boy too :) This dinosaur stage has been so much fun, I’m really hoping my little guy doesn’t outgrow it! He would love those fossil cookies-I think I’ll have to make them with him soon!

  • Mariana González

    That’s super cute! I love how much effort you put to make his birthday a special day :) I’m sure you all had a blast.

  • You did an amazing job Annie! I love following your blog because you are full of creativity and there is always something new and impressive on your blog. I am glad your Andrew had a great birthday. He looks like a wonderful boy!

  • Crys

    Annie, you are just sooo creative! It’s impressive the things you come up with! Andrew’s party looks absolutely amazing! :)

  • So creative!! You did great with the cake, decor and everything else Annie :)

  • Anne Blackwell

    I just love your party posts. They always seem like the perfect blend of adorable and lovely without the party itself being ridiculous. They always make me super excited to have kids of my own someday!

  • annieseats

    Aww, thank you so much! That’s exactly the balance I hope to strike. It is such fun throwing parties for your kids, you will love it!

  • theniftyfoodie

    What a fun looking party! As usual, you did an amazing job. :-) I especially love the dino dig idea…so fun!

  • annieseats

    Thanks Amy!

  • I am loving every detail of your party! It makes me wish I knew a dinosaur loving kid right now. Beautiful work as usual. Thank you for sharing!

  • Pharmichie

    You are an amazing and wonderfully creative mom! I only hope I can be half as fun as you are! Keep up the great work; I LOVE your blog. =)

  • Melissa Vasquez

    My daughter is turning 5 in October and wants a geology themed party. Where did you get the recipe for the fossil cookies? Thanks!

  • annieseats

    I made this one up but unfortunately didn’t take great notes while I was baking. Sorry! However, I think you could use something like these brown sugar cookies as a starting point:

  • Melissa Vasquez

    Thanks, Annie!

  • Belle

    What was the size of pan you used for your cakes? ( 9inch and a 8 icnh?) and how many layers did you need for that size of a cake. I’m making a birthday cake and I LOVE the size of your cake!

  • annieseats

    I believe these were a 9-inch and 6-inch layers (two per tier). Hope that helps!

  • Belle

    Yes thank you!! Also what type of pans do you use?

  • annieseats

    Check out the Annie’s equipment section in the right sidebar and my Pinterest board for kitchen must-haves (linked at the top of the page) for the various brands, etc. that I own.

  • Christine

    Looking at old posts of yours (obviously!) and curious what type of food coloring do you use? I’m making a cake for my daughters birthday this weekend and need pretty vibrant colors for the frosting. Thanks!

  • Annie

    If you look in the Annie’s equipment section in the right sidebar, the gel coloring I use is under the “miscellaneous” category. Americolor gels are also great.