I didn't really do any decorations. Just a few dollar store banners. I decided to spend the money I would have used decorating on toys for the party that the kids could play with later on as well.
My main goal was for the parents to be able to relax or take care of their babies (I think there were 6 babies all younger than Emery) while the kids just ran around and had a blast. So I didn't plan anything too structured and just organized our outdoor toys and set up a few dinosaur themed stations.
There was the "dinosaur small worlds" with all sorts of dinosaur toys, leaves, sticks, glass gems, mini trees and dirt to play with:
Marshall "helped" decorate the sign haha
Then there was the "fossil dig:"
I bought a mold on Amazon and Jerad made concrete fossils. We buried them and the kids excavated them with brushes and had fun rebuliding the skeletons.
There was also a "Tar Pit." We made oobleck (cornstarch and water) and added brown food coloring. It probably should have been black to look like tar but no one complained:) Then I got a set of these dinosaur skeletons to go with it.
The kids played with the skeletons covering and uncovering them, or just played with the oobleck with their hands. I didn't get a picture of the big tub of it during the party, but later that afternoon I split it into smaller tubs and the boys had round 2:
In typical hostess fashion, the minute the party started I didn't get any pictures, and don't feel like I really had the chance to talk to anyone... but I think everyone had a great time! We had thirteen 2-5 year olds, a few older siblings, and 6 babies 10 months and under. Plus our three kids!
Here are the only pictures I managed to get:
This is Marshall's friend Everett. They're only 2 weeks apart and have been friends since they were babies:
I tried to get a family picture, and Marshall's friend Reese kept photobombing it:
We did finally get a family picture. This is the first family picture I've rememberd to get at ANY of the kid's birthdays. And we aren't all looking at the camera. Babysteps I guess.
For the food originally I'd planned on doing "herbivore" platters of fruit and veggies, then "carnivoire" platters of different meats and cheeses so people could snack or make sandwiches. Then I decided that since it seems like kids are always too excited to really eat at parties anyways I'd go the cheap route and we had chips, salad, carrots and hummus, and bbq'd hotdogs.
For the cake I'd been planning on making a 4 level carrot cake from scratch (carrot cake from scratch is what I made while in labor with Marshall as well). Then at 10pm the night before I still hadn't even gone to the grocery store so I decided to just buy a boxed cake mix... then changed my mind to break n bake cookies because that would be faster. Then I decided I didn't really even have time for that so I came up with this:
I thought it would be nice because everyone could just grab cookies, we wouldn't need plates and forks, and it wouldn't be messy. 6 of the kids at the party all are having birthday parties within the next 6 weeks so I knew ultimately no one would be cake deprived. My mom was scandelized at the idea of no cake so she brought an angelfood cake and strawberries and whipped cream too.
It was a lot of fun. All the kids played non stop and I think it was a hit. I was nervous that Marshall would be dissappointed because he kept insisting that there would be "real baby dinosaurs" at his party but he seemed to forget that part.
Since there were so many people we chose to put the gifts inside and just open them with the family after everyone left. In previous years its been hard getting the boys to sit still and watch other kids open their presents at parties and understand that they don't get any. So I thought I'd spare the guests the whole ordeal and they'd have more time to play. Except apparently 4 year olds know the drill and multiple kids were confused that Marshall wasn't opening his presents. And Marshall kept saying "I want to open presents at the party like Hannah did!" (we went to her party the week before). In the end it was fine and we had a playdate a few days later where some of his friends came over and got to see the new stuff. This was the present aftermath:
And just like that, it was over. And he's 4. Which seems SO OLD, but he also acts like he's going on 30 so its not entirely surprising.