My baby turned four years old on Sunday and on Saturday we threw his very first proper birthday party with lots of friends, food and dinosaurs. The planning started a month before, Aidan and I would look at Pinterest together, make lists and window shop for ideas. Even Steve was actively involved in the planning and execution as he’s escorted Aidan to a fair few parties whilst I’ve been away and considered himself a bit of an expert. It was nice, all working on the party together. I learnt to let go a bit, to ask for help, to soak up the day as it happened and capture it to remember it forever.
We’re lucky to have quite a large and open backyard so it made sense to host the party at home. Thankfully we had brilliant perfect weather, seriously it was amazing.
I paid for the $89 balloon pack from Sparty’s Spotlight which included 100 balloons, strings & clips and helium tank hire. They really made a statement and added a joyfulness.
I laid out our giant picnic rug, dragged out some of our outdoor furniture and didn’t worry about anything being too matchy-matchy. All the parents were comfortable, the kids were happy running about and the food was being eaten up before I even had a chance to snap it.
Grandma & Grandpa splashed out on the jumping castle. We hired it from a local family business who were a total pleasure to deal with. We did try finding a Dinosaur one but a big shark was close enough. They had a winter deal, pay for a 4 hour hire ($140) and get 7 hours, in the end they gave it to us overnight at no extra charge as they weren’t able to pick up after the party finished. Winning! The kids loved it and it was worth it’s weight in gold.
I bought some inflatable dinosaurs off Amazon, I got 12 assorted dino’s for about $18 USD. I set up Aidan’s old wooden playpen, decorated it with silver foil, whacked up a sign that let the parents know they could each take one dino home. Some kids carted them around like pets, others bounced on them, some weren’t interested at all but they all loved seeing them fly in the bouncy castle.
I didn’t plan to initially as I thought it would be too expensive but I hired a kids table and 10 chairs from a local party hire family business and it only set me back $18. Yep, $18 total. It goes without saying that I’ll be using them again too. The babies sat on the picnic rug but the kids felt so grown up at their little table. Totally worth it. I paid $22 for the big gold foil “4” from Sparty’s and it’s still alive and kicking in Aidan’s bedroom, he loves it.
Originally I asked Aidan if he would like to A) Go out for Mexican Food which is what we usually do for his b’day or B) Go to Grandma & Grandpa’s house by the beach or C) Have a party with his friends. He thought about it for a few moments then said, “Mumma can I please have a party with my friends, we can invite Grandma & Grandpa and we can eat Mexican food?“… so that’s exactly what we did. He’s 4 and already outwitting me.
I made up Aidan’s favourite mexican beef mix in bulk that morning. We served it in the slow cooker so it would stay hot and parents could refil as they please. I bought those foil take away trays from a discount store as they were sturdier than paper/plastic plates, people seemed to love that idea. The mix had lots of tomatoes, beans, onions, corn etc and made at least 3 kilos and it was all devoured, I didn’t even get a bowl I was too busy running about. No pretty food photos in this post but know there were plenty of happy bellies, kids and adults alike.
The kids dashed back and forth from the table, almost all their food was gobbled up which pleased me more than you know. I took this photo to remind me that no matter how pinterest-worthy and photogenic you try and make the party, kids will always be kids, pretty place settings be damned! The plates, bowls, cups and utensils were all from Kmart but more on that later.
Those fiddly wooden dinos, well they were a hit. The kids loved playing with them at the table. In the end I spray painted them gold and used a lot of super glue.
Even the babies were happy with the food on offer!
I bought popcorn boxes from the party aisle in Coles, they have a lot of different colours. Aidan liked the sunny yellow colour.
I made “Pteranodon Nests” and they were gobbled up fast. Basically it’s dry 2 minute noodles (without the flavour sachet) crushed up and mixed with melted chocolate and shredded coconut, pressed into cupcake pans, the eggs are places and set in the fridge for an hour. I took them out and left them in a container after that so they wouldn’t be too hard. I found the chocolate dusted eggs at my local Old Lolly Shoppe which finished off the treat. The best part, Aidan made them all and he was so proud.
I need you to visualise 30-40 of those strawberries and marshmallow kebabs, after 15 minutes this is all that was left. After this pic was taken I even snuck one. Aidan’s always loved these at PR events so I knew we’d have to have them at the party. Thankfully we buy in strawberries bulk from a local grower so it wasn’t a huge expense. I also put out a lot of mini mandarins which were great as the kids could just grab them and go.
Jodie, one of my lovely readers alerted me to the fact that Coles recently introduced Dinosaur Shapes! I bought two bags and tipped them into little paper cups meant for cupcakes. Small enough for tiny hands and just a little snack. The stegosaurus shape was my favourite.
I wanted the parents to be able to relax so I bought the Nespresso U machine outside, bought some take away cups and they went nuts. We store our capsules in a giant Ikea glass jar with the menu inside, they look so pretty like lollies.
I really wanted to make sure everyone was catered for kids, adults and babies alike. Whole Kids were kind enough to send out some of their range for the kids to try, the little ones loved the Frooshies and even Steve said he likes them swirled into his yogurt in the morning, apparently I was unaware of his quality controlling.
The party looked bright, fun and colourful. Aidan picked out the colours and I was so proud of how it all came together, it was great team work. We bought the paper fans from Spotlight and from a local discount store, they complimented the mexican food perfectly. We used our old dining table (that I keep meaning to put on ebay) for the main table and a little folding card table for the gifts. They weren’t overly fancy so I dressed them up with teal disposable table skirts and pretty purple table cloths.
I always thought that went I had a child I’d be all about the cake making. That I’d be slaving away the night before trying to construct an exact replica of a pirate ship, a train or a super hero, killing myself softly with fondant because that’s what Mumma’s are meant to do. Turns out I’m not like that at all. I discovered a local baker named Leigh who sells at markets, has a sweet little fb page and does fabulous work. If I see she’s selling at a market we jump in the car and buy ourselves a cupcake just for the hell of it, for the yumminess of it. It made sense to order Aidan’s cake from her and it was one less thing for me to worry about.
I ordered 12x vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and fondant dinosaur toppers for the kids. I also ordered a 6″ White Mud Cake which was made up of 4 layers sandwiched together with white chocolate ganache and smeared with chocolate buttercream. She also made the Dino topper out of fondant and it came out way better than I could had ever dreamed. She text me a picture the day before the party and I welled up with tears, it was perfect and one less thing I had to worry about. It was delivered the morning of the party, along with the stand and I put it together just before we were about to eat whilst the kids were playing Pin the Bone of the Dino.
Isn’t it AMAZING!!! I bought chocolate rocks from the Old Lolly Shoppe and they were a hit with the parents. In hindsight I should have put the candles at the back but oh well. Everyone ooooohed and aaaaaahed and couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. The cake, cupcakes, topper, candles, rocks, stand, delivery, everything… came to under $100. I’m not kidding. WORTH EVERY SINGLE CENT. There was no cake left over, it was devoured, every single crumb. I’m currently in mourning. You can see more of Leigh’s beautiful work here: The Cupcake House.
Make a wish!
My boys xx
Let them eat cake!
We had a drink station set up along the fence. I’d bought a large drink dispenser from Aldi a few years ago and filled it with water and ice. There were two big tubs of ice filled with frooshies, poppers, Solo cans for the grown ups and apple & raspberry cordial bottles. The only reason anyone went inside was to go to the bathroom, it was brilliant.
Warm sunshine, friends and cake… bliss!
Aidan’s little friends were so generous, he’s a very lucky boy. I opted for him to open gifts after the party. We only played one game the whole day and I probably broke some kind of party code by not playing pass the parcel, I’m just not that into it. One of the little girls won “Pin the Bone on the Dino” and the prize was a $2 Kaleidoscope and she thought it was the best thing ever but it wasn’t overly fabulous that it made those who didn’t win, jealous.I tried to have lots of little activities laid out so they could roam around and find things they liked.
We bought a bubble machine from Kmart and the kids loved it, you can see them at the little water table which was filled with bubble mixer, the machine and lots of blowing sticks. We also had one little boy with special needs and wanted to make sure everything available was inclusive so he didn’t feel left out. I spoke to their teacher for ideas prior to the party. When the family left they said it was the best party. Knowing they had a relaxed time was such a great feeling.
I bought a face painting kit off Amazon for $17 USD and it was AWESOME. I got so many colours, sparkles, sponges and everything I’d need. I did buy some additional soft synthetic paint brushes from Kmart so it felt nice on their little faces. I did a test run the day before with Aidan and decided that stencilling would be the fastest and easiest option. I cut out three little dino shapes from flexible card and sponged on the base colour and free-handed the rest.
The boys didn’t really care too much, the girls were more specific about what they wanted. Sparkles and hearts and dinos OH MY!
Having the three simple designs made choosing easier for the kids, they picked a shape and a colour, I did my thing then they ran off to play. I’m no Monet but they were painless and there were no long lines.
After 3 hours the party was over and it was time to say goodbye, some kids had to be dragged.
Aidan was so excited to hand out the thank you gifts. Originally I’d planned to give out little noodle boxes with a few little things in it but then Kmart emailed and said they’d like to give Aidan a $200 gift card to help him celebrate with his friends. Shopping with him that day was SO MUCH FUN. Sure we could have bought lots of clothes and toys and things for himself but we wanted to share the love.
I bought 12 tin sets for $8 each (which include: bowl/cup/fork/spoon/case) and then 12 plates, one for each child. They were used during the party then washed up before they left. Then I included the mini oreo’s, mini kinder chocolate bar, a bouncy ball, mini sticker sheet and two dino lollies that I’d already bought. They also got to take home an inflatable dinosaur. I made the name tags by cutting a dinofrom craft paper, some ribbon and a stamp that says “For You, With Love”.
Aidan’s bestest buddy Brock. This photo makes me cry, pure joy and love.
Once the kids had gone it was time to let the vacuum loose. Charlie was in full party mode and was so good with the kids.
It took 2 seconds of the gate closing for Steve to jump in the castle. He’s such a big kid sometimes.
Even Grandpa got in on the action!
We even managed to squeeze in a family photo before Monica and the kids left. It was wonderful to have my parents down for the day. I’m just a tad dishevelled by this point and hankering for a slice of cake with my feet up. Kids parties are hard work but oh so very rewarding. There were lots of moments for group hugs (just Steve, Aidan and I), high fives and kisses with my little boy throughout the party, I really wanted to be present with him on the day.
The next morning, on his actual birthday Aidan woke up in his brand new dinosaur sheets surrounded by his foil balloons, wearing his new dinosaur outfit.
Then on Monday I took along a tray of mini jelly cups to preschool. I just decorated the spoons with smiley face stickers. You could say it’s been a long weekend birthday bender. We couldn’t throw a bash like this every year but this year’s was a whole lot of fun. Thanks for sticking through this epic post x
- Face Painting Kit
- Inflatable Dinosaurs
Whole Kids (product samples gifted)
- Organic Frooshies
- Organic Juice Boxes
- 100 Helium Balloon Kit
- Paper Fan Decorations
- Gold foil “4” Balloon
- Foil Dino Balloon
Kmart (gifted $200 voucher)
- Mega Bubbles Generator
- Jumbo Bubble Mixture
- Dino Quilt
- Dino Cushion
- Dino Tin Set
- Dino Plates
- Rubber Drink Tubs
- Polka Dot Trays
- Steve’s Shirts
- Jumping Castle
- Kid’s Table
- Kid’s Chairs