Dr. Isabella, The Paleontologist

The last two weeks in August always pass in a blur for me. For the last few years, we've held Isabella's party with her peeps the weekend before her actual birthday. Then, the following weekend, we have the big family party.

Saturday was her dinosaur-themed party with her friends. She's still enamored with all things dinosaur, as she's been for almost a year now, and she chose this as her "theme" for her parties.
Eight of her friends came to play outside (thank you, summer birthday).
A trail of dinosaur footprints greeted guests as they arrived, and led the way to the backyard.

I bought almost all the decorations and party favors online at Oriental Trading Company. Best.Party.Site.Ever. Really great stuff. And one-stop shopping. When you don't have the time to blow your nose, much less shop 15 stores for party gear, this site is a lifesaver.

We decorated our screened-in porch, and this is where we had the food and drinks. I loved these hanging dinosaur swirls.

I stuffed the goodie boxes with a dinosaur sticker book, pencil, eraser, temporary tats, squeeze toy, and stamper.

We played three games with the kids. First, I hid dinosaur eggs all over the backyard. Inside each was a baby dinosaur. The kids had an egg hunt to find them.

Then, we did a "dinosaur dig." We hid tiny, plastic dinosaurs in our sandbox and the baby pool (filled with sand), and had the kids pretend they were paleontologists and dig for them.

Finally, we did a "lava flow" game, where we divided the kids into two teams, and they raced to fill a bucket by transferring water from each other's cups. Trying to explain and then help execute this game with a group of four-year-olds was a bit like herding cats. There was some confusion and lots of team-crossing, but I think everyone had fun.

Then it was cake time. Here is my masterpiece. Isabella requested a red (no surprise there) stegosaurus. Instead, she got a pink dragon/pig hybrid.

This cake represents 7 hours of my life I'll never get back. In case you're wondering (and I know you are), the spikes are food coloring-sprayed saltines, the claws and nose are raisins, and the eyes are pieces of gum that I colored with a black marker.

Fortunately, she loved it, and took many of her friends to see her cake as they arrived.

When it was served, she requested the head.

Isabella was sad to see the party come to an end, but that also meant she could dive head-first into her toys. This was definitely something that had changed from her birthday last year. Where last year she would spend time with each gift, and not hurry to move on to the next one, this year she wanted to open and play with every single gift she received, one right after the other.

But before that happened, a little goodbye to her peeps.

Isabella was so excited about having her friends come to her house for the party. Having the party out would be a whole lot easier and less stressful, and it's something I will probably do in the future. But I really like the idea of a casual home party. It was a TON of work, but worth it to see her joy.

Can you believe she turns four on Sunday?

10 Responses to “Dr. Isabella, The Paleontologist”

  1. # Anonymous Ness at Drovers Run

    My eldest is 5 tomorrow. As in FIVE. Ef-eye-vee-ee.

    We're doing the party out, purely because of space constraints (and sadly because everywhere was booked up so darn early, it's only on 4th September - but I suppose he gets to get excited all over again!) Now, fingers crossed for good weather.

    As for Isabella's party - you are SO creative!  

  2. # Blogger Jesser

    Seriously?! She's such a big girl!! Breaks my heart a little. You did an awesome job on the party, especially since you can see how much she loved it. What a nice day for her. :)  

  3. # Blogger Simply-Mel

    Aw man, that pic of her waving goodbye is priceless. Wow, she is four. Even I am having trouble with that and I havent even met her!!

    Congrats on a fab party - looks like a great idea for my boys party next year!  

  4. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    The cake is very cool! I like it. I like home parties, too. Lots more work, but also more laidback (at least to me.) Glad the party went so well!  

  5. # Anonymous Anonymous

    The boys had an awesome time at the party. They are still talking about it and playing with their dinos that they excavated. They have even turned their Thomas train set into the Dinosaur Train. Thanks again and great job on a fab fiesta! KB  

  6. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    GREAT birthday party! Happy birthday big girl!  

  7. # Anonymous Kell

    We had a blast! Home parties are so nice and even though they are a lot of work I think it is less stressful. It is certainly cheaper when you start adding up the place and gift bags and the extras... and when the twins come of party age times two sets of friends....

    Everything was perfect, well planned and yummy, you could tell all the kids had a great time. Great job Momma!  

  8. # Blogger In transit

    Happy Birthday to Isabella. What a great kid's party! - very creative of you!  

  9. # Blogger Jamie

    You're a great mom! I love all your ideas! Isabella looks so grown up!

    I'm preparing for the girls first birthday. I need to go back and read about Nico and Luci's. :) We are just doing a polka dot theme with family.  

  10. # Blogger Mary Finucane

    You ARE really creative.

    And I am glad you mentioned Oriental Trading Company...I definitely have to try that out.  

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