Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dinosaur Party : Team Gab (not)Virtual Race/End of Chemo Party

So, listen. I'm not great - or even marginally decent - at crafty-type projects. I am also reasonably terrible at throwing parties for kids.

Confession: I have never, in the 14 years I've been parenting, thrown a birthday party for any of my 3 children. I know, don't all rush to award me Mother of the Year.

But as we reached the end of Gabby's leukemia treatment, I wanted to do something special. I planned the Team Gab Virtual Race for the same date as her last treatment day, and figured.... I know what a finish line spread should look like, at least, so maybe I'll throw a party for her there?

I didn't consult her, because the idea of weeks and weeks of "IS IT MY PARTY YET" made me cringe. But Gabby is SUPER into dinosaurs, so that was the theme I went with.

It started out simply enough - dinosaurs, it can't be THAT hard - and I started clicking around the internet machine for ideas, and.... well, to be honest, it exploded in a mess of glitter and glue, and I spent hours and hours and HOURS AND HOURS crafting a variety of projects, creating tablescapes, and plotting food arrangements. My dining room was basically declared off limits for a week, and every day I would come home from work, and plunge into glue for hours and hours.

And that was before we decided to invite HER friends, and not just ours :-/ {another Mother of the Year nomination, The H had to suggest we invite Gabby's friends and classmates, and otherwise, it would not have even crossed my mind. So, really, it's all his fault that this party got crazy}.

We didn't send out party invites to her friends until about a week out, and by then I assumed that most of her friends would have plans already. BOY howdy, was I wrong - I think all but one kid turned up.

So, with less babbling, here's the results of the party, and some details. Some of this stuff is pinterest worthy, but I don't know how to use pinterest, otherwise I'd tell you to pin this isht.


We held the party at Mason Regional Park in Irvine - tip: they charge HUNDREDS of dollars to reserve shelters. That's not hyperbole - the shelters start at $200 for the day, up to $500 for a larger shelter. Or, if the shelter is unreserved, you can just show up early and claim it, which is what we did for Shelter 2. Shelter 2 is right on the water, close proximity to a bathroom, volleyball court, and playground, and the runnning/walking/sidewalk loop runs directly by it. I spent weeks stalking it online, but noticed that NONE of the shelters were getting reserved, so I just crossed my fingers really, REALLY hard and showed up at 7am when the park opened.

There was a sink and running water there, which was helpful, but it's a little bit of a hike from the parking area.

For the run event:

With some last minute cancellations, we only had a handful of runners out in the morning, but I was prepared with a spread of juice, coffee, bagels, peanut butter, and muffins, as well as Nuun, GU, and some candy.




Striding Mom and kidlets

Party Decorating

I had visions of a banner. I know it's a little hipster-ish, but I decided... to make one?

It seemed to be like a very easy project when I googled it, but it turned into a days-long event that occupied a ton of my time. I'm sure that for anyone who is remotely good at crafts, it would be a very simple undertaking, because it was NOT complicated.

I bought this type of card stock, the package with a variety of colors, and a package of this glittery paper as well. With the plain paper, I cut off the bottom corners into an upside-down pentagon. Then, mimicked that shape, but slightly smaller in the glitter paper (cut with some scalloped edge type scissors?), and glued them on top. Then, in contrasting colors back in the plain card stock, I free-hand drew some weird letters, and cut them out and glued them on top (to glue on the glitter paper, I used rubber cement, and it stuck just fine, and I'm pretty sure I got a contact high, as well, so double bonus?).

So basically, it was plain card stock background, glitter paper second layer, then a plain card stock letter in white.

Hole punched in the corners, and tied the letters together with curling ribbon. Between the words, I hung a dino foot print cut out in green card stock.

The tables were covered with a plain green vinyl sheet from Party City, with this colored mesh as a table runner. Around the edges of the table, we put just a simple jungle-y fringe, also from Party City. Dinosaur plates and green cups, also found at Party City.


Party Food

For the food, I figured I should continue the dino-theme, and made up - basically - goofy names for everything we had on the food spread.

I bought a package of luggage tags like these, at JoAnne's (that link is for a retailer, I couldn't find them on the JoAnne's site), and with sharpies (colored in brown, purple, and green to match the party theme) wrote a variety of Jurassic-y themed descriptions:
Triceratop Treats (for take home boxes)
Hunting Grounds (Carnivores - for the meat eaters)
Jurrasic Gardens (for the herbivores)
Watering Hole (ice bucket with drinks - water, juices soda)
Jungle Punch (fruit punch)
Lime Slime (jello with gummy worms)
Dino Bones (pretzel sticks)

I decorated those with dinosaur stickers from Party City, and they looked very fancy.

We laid out a fruit tray (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, and kiwi), tangerines, veggie tray with hummus, meat/cheese tray, and bread for sandwiches, and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.

This is supposed to be a brontosaurus, but Gabby disagreed. A for effort?

On a separate table, we had the glorious cupcakes from Rooney Girl, the jello, and the take-home boxes for candy.


Keeping Kidlets Contained

One of my concerns was that I really am not a kiddie-person, and don't really know what to do to entertain them.

We set out a length of table with each kid set up with a dinosaur mask to color (dinosaur face printed on regular paper, glued to poster board, and a popsicle stick attached to that to make a hand-held mask), various coloring pages, bubbles, playdough, and noise makers.


I initially planned to set up a safari/dino themed photo booth area, but it was just too windy for that to work out (note the banner flying around below....)

But, for that, we had a variety of stuff - safari hats, dinosaur noses, etc.
We bought this jute fabric sheet as a backdrop.

With the playground nearby, a pond stocked with frogs and turtles, and ample running-around-like-a-crazy-person space, the kids were properly entertained.

So, that's it. It took a LOT of time, but that's pretty much my own fault for being not intuitively crafty - everything I did took more time and thought, and patience. Oh man, the patience.

But if I can do it, I pinky swear anyone else can.

Photo credits to my #2, who I hired to play photographer for the day, and Madison, who is a better party-goer than I am :D


  1. Oh my gosh! You are the isht at party planning. Seriously, that is amazing.

    Love the banner.

    I see the brontosaurus. Nice eye.

    See you Saturday, crafty mccrafty.

    And congrats again to Gabby!

  2. Looks like the BEST PARTY EVER.

  3. That's it, we're changing your name to Martha freaking Stewart!

  4. I wish all Saturday morning runs came with a pavilion full of pretty and tasty things at the finish! It really all was very awesome. Happy day!

  5. This looks like a fantastic party! You are certainly crafty. Gabby looks pretty happy in the photos too. :)

  6. i think you are keeping a huge party throwing secret because this looks fabulous. you win mom of the year award for what you've been through and what you did to celebrate. what a fabulous idea. and you are insanely creative!! i think you should start an etsy shop... :)

  7. You did awesome with the party planning! Super A+ on the whole thing! love those awesome cupcakes.

  8. You did awesome with the party planning! Super A+ on the whole thing! love those awesome cupcakes.

  9. What a super party planner you are! Very cute theme.

  10. the banner made me tear up

    What a great party!


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