Nearly twelve years of parenting boys and we finally have had our first little dinosaur phase. It was bound to happen, sooner or later! Earlier this week our David turned seven (what?!) and decided on dinosaurs to help him celebrate the big event. This theme seems pretty...normal for him. After all, this was the boy who requested the papal shield cake last year. He had the idea for a volcano cake with dinosaurs around it which I loved because big mountain of cake? I can do that.
For the cake I cobbled together a volcano shape using various pans in the cupboard. I ended up using a 9 inch circle pan, a 6 inch circle pan, half of the ball pan, and two little ramekin dishes and used a recipe and a half of chocolate cake. If I was a good blogger I would have gotten a picture of them stacked and prefrosted but I didn't. It came out a little bit more narrow than I would have liked but whatever. Still cool. They're glued together with frosting and shaped a bit with the knife. I filled in any holes or spots where things didn't line up well with pieces of cake trimmed from other places smooshed in and/or copious amounts of frosting.
The frosting is my simple (chocolate) buttercream and the dirt is crushed Joe Joe's (i.e. Trader Joe's Oreos). The lava is white frosting colored with India Tree natural dyes. A friend lent us the dino figurines.
I'm getting pretty good at guiding my kids' cake dreams into designs that look cool and are special for them but that aren't that time or design intensive. (Relatively speaking, of course.)
The volcano makes candle placement pretty apropos and dramatic, right?
I was struck with the idea of turning the bottom (ground) of the scene into a fossil site so that the kids could dig out dinosaur bones from the dirt!
I used this fossil ice mold and melted white chocolate chips to form the fossils that I carefully stuck into the bottom of the cake before frosting. I surprised David with this and he loved it.
So the cake was fun. The decorations were my norm - simple, last minute, and mostly shopped from the house.
We scattered dino figurines around the table. We also decorated with fossils using old chicken bones that David insisted on saving and various finds scavenged finds from the nature shelf.
I also brought out some prehistoric plants (kalanchoe and Christmas cactus) from other parts of the house.
Why yes, that is an antler and a skull on our dinner table...
The boys colored and cut out some volcano and dinosaur pictures to hang in random places as well.
To add to the ambiance, David also insisted on bringing the sound machine down and setting it at high volume on the "heartbeat" mode. "Because doesn't it sound like dinosaurs stomping???" It was quite dramatic.
Guacamole became swamp dip, red pepper hummus became lava sauce, and Magic Bean candy from Trader Joe's became dinosaur eggs.
And steaks from the freezer became dinosaur meat. (Getting a half cow from a local farm for the year means that steak is the same price as ground beef and we have to work to use it up!)
The boys came up with a few games literally a few hours before our guests came.
My oldest did a volcano demonstration outside using the "elephant's toothpaste" trick that he's been experimenting with. Buuuttt I didn't get a picture of that.
They cut out some cardboard bones and my oldest hid them all over the yard for the kids to go on a fossil hunt.
(He and his brothers all dressed in green and tan because apparently those are dinosaur colors.)
And my dad was super fun and brought his paintball gun and some dinosaur balloons so the kids could each take turns hunting dinosaurs!
Lots of generous gifts and some appropriately themed ones as well!
We actually only had one Little Golden Book about dinosaurs that is more aimed at the toddler crowd so we asked for this one which is packed with all sorts of dino info and things to learn.
I love making their birthdays special for them and working with them to come up with ways to fit their theme! It's simple but special all at the same time.
Happy birthday, buddy. I'm so glad we get to celebrate you!
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