We had such a good time at Audrey's dinosaur birthday party! While I've loved hosting parties for my girls at our home, doing one "on location" definitely has advantages! Our local Natural History Museum put together a fabulous couple hours of entertainment and it would have been possible to compete with their collection of dinosaur bones! Going there allowed me to pick a few things I wanted to do purely for fun instead of trying to do it all (it's taken me a while but I'm learning...).
So, I picked the invitations (also a free download for you), some party outfits for Audrey and Scarlett, favor/treat bags, and of course, the birthday cake.
Instead of a party dress, I made Audrey an appliqued dinosaur t-shirt and some striped bloomer shorts (from a pattern of my own design). More of that IKEA striped fabric here. I love it!
Scarlett got a pair of capri length bloomers out of some great, colorful star printed fabric I found a couple weeks ago at Joann (it's made exclusively for Joann). It reminded me of the birthday invitation and for some reason I've had a craving lately for bold patterns. She also had the honor of wearing a dinosaur necklace (a longer version of the bracelets we made) since she didn't get a dino t-shirt.
At the party, thanks to the museum, the kids were able to saw, chisel and brush away stone and dirt to unearth plastic dinosaurs, which they were then able to identify or name if it was an unnamed species (we had the "Audreyosaurus")...
...go on a tour of some dinosaur skeleton exhibits with the museum hosts,...
...learn about fossils and make a "fossil" out of plaster to take home,...
...dig for plastic eggs filled with "dinosaur bones"...
...and make some other dinosaur arts and crafts. All of this would be possible to do at home, but it was pretty great to show up and have someone take care of it all! Plus I loved the educational angle and the opportunity to support our local museum.
The birthday cake was dino too. I was toying with a few ideas but when I found these dinosaur skeletons I had to use them! I love the dinosaur parade on top! The cake is a Martha Stewart recipe, one of my three favorite buttermilk chocolate cake recipes, with a chocolate ganache filling and my own recipe for buttercream frosting. (It's the same frosting I used on this cake, but instead of the lemon flavoring I used almond--yum! Although Audrey later told me she doesn't actually like almond flavoring--whoops! Who knew?)
I tried to tint the frosting to match Audrey's aqua t-shirt, which is also one of the colors on the invitation, and because I thought it was one of the colors that would work with the dinosaur "bones" on top. My sister-in-law did me the huge favor of having these gummy stars delivered to my doorstep a few days before the party and saved me the time hunting around. Then it was just a matter of using a star tip and forming little stars all over the cake. Very similar to this cake. I love this old-fashioned look. There is no mistaking this was made by mom!
The guests each received a hand-stenciled cotton muslin dinosaur treat bag as they left and the bags seemed to be a hit! The museum has some little dino things in a cello gift bag, which I tucked inside our cotton bags to go along with the skeletons and bracelets we'd supplied. I love the idea of having the birthday girl help make the favors as Audrey did this year. Maybe that will be our plan from here on out.
One young guest was afraid hers didn't contain a dinosaur bracelet and was so excited to put it on when I lifted it from the bag--I thought, "hooray!" They liked them!
I couldn't stop smiling on our way home. Audrey thought it was a great party too!