Jul 23, 2014

Dinosaur B'day party...Manav turns 3 - ROAR!

Our Lil’Appu turned a roaring three year old on July 11th. He has grown into a tall yet skinny boy who is jumping around all the time, making mommy and dada also jump around with him…hehe! He is the helper of his class at daycare and knows all his friend’s names and even our friend’s names. He is a smiler and can flash his million dollar smile on you anytime. 
He absolutely loves books, play dough and Spiderman….recently prehistoric Dinosaurs have also joined his club of ‘things-appu-likes’ and he can name several difficult-to-pronounce dinosaur names :-) 
He can eat noodles, dosa or fruits anytime you give him and can drink milk all day if allowed. He is always ready to try new things and strongly cares about everyone.
Yes, our lil’Appu has a lot of things up his sleeves and I guess I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to him if I have to start writing about him.  He is the apple of our eyes and will always be!

Now coming to his third b’day party, his craze for Spiderman had me almost nail down a Spiderman themed b’day for him. His childhood friend from 6months of age Avyay also is a die hard Spiderman boy, so when his mom decided to keep that as the party theme we were all thrilled. She did a lot of simple yet fun spiderman themed stuff for the party and I happily made the cake and it was a party to remember. I’m yet to share the details on that, but will do that soon.

Lil’Appu latest craze (apart from Spiderman) has been dinosaurs. Even at his daycare they have been doing all sort of arts n crafts with Dinosaur theme and he even recognizes a bunch of the pre-historic reptiles, so I didn’t have to think twice as to what would be a good theme for his party…A rooooaring Dinosaur party!

Appu’s celebrated his 3rd b’day on Friday, July 11th and being a working day, it was business as usual. I got him a customized T-Shirt from Etsy saying Manav-saurus  with the number 3 and dino’s on it and he wore that proudly to day-care along with taking goodie bags for his friends.

The Dino bday party was kept for the next day. I decided to keep the color combo kinda rustic and went for a Green, Yellow and Orange theme for the cake table. I wanted a cute, fun, not too scary but not too cartoonish dino themed party decor. So all the d├ęcor was customized and individually made/ordered and put together.  

I did not want too many sweet stuff on the cake table which is the usual fad for cake tables, but decided to strike a balance with cake, cupcakes, snacks, fruit and water along with dino toys and balloons floating over trees for the cake table. 

Ever since I told Appu that we would do a Dinosaur b’day party for him he has been literally chanting to everyone including his teachers that he’s gonna get a dinosaur birthday cake :) 
I initially thought of doing a 3D T-Rex cake, but later decided to do a 3D Stegosaurus as I felt the colorful spikes on the body would look more fun on the cake. 
I baked a rich Chocolate-Espresso cake with Chocolate chips, filled and frosted it with Vanilla Buttercream and covered in marshmallow Fondant.  I’ll give a detailed tutorial on how to make this cake in a later post.

Apart from cake I wanted to keep cupcakes also this time as I’ve never done that before and kids loves cupcakes right? ;-) So I made Chocolate-espresso chocolate chip mini cupcakes with orange colored Vanilla Buttercream. 
I'm not much of a fan of toothpick inserted cupcake toppers for kids, for safety sake. So I spent a few days making edible toppers using royal icing in the shape of four different Dinos (T-rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops). 
It was a huge hit and the kids were too busy eating all the toppers and stealing cupcakes from the table even before cake cutting ;-)

I had a T-Rex Melon to add a wow factor to the table! Ever since I saw this carved Dinosaur melon, I knew I had to make it. The instructions were simple and I just wanted the Dino-Melon to be more of an attraction. I had a whole platter of thin watermelon wedges that we named ‘Dino-Spikes’ for eating on a separate table.

The eyes are actually black peppercorns pressed into a scooped watermelon ball. The eye-brows and nostrils are made with the rind of the melon…my sis-in-law felt that the nostrils looked more like Charlie-Chaplin’s mustache…I agree ;-) It was still cute and fun to look at! Manish did the whole carving and I just did the eye balls, eyebrows, nostrils and the toothpicks for teeth.

For snacks I had three items on mind, Dino Eggs (round cheese balls),  Dino Toe-nails (Bugels) and Dino Bones (rolled tortilla chips), but in the hurry I forgot to get the cheese balls, so we just kept the Bugels and Tortilla chips on a green colored tray that I got for just $1 at target :-D I placed these fun name tags that I printed from online and placed them against each snack. There was also a Dino-Melon tag for the melon :-)

On a similar green colored tray I placed water bottles with custom dino happy birthday labels , which my sis-in-law cut and stuck on each bottle. I had bought green striped straws, so that went into each bottle. This was also loved by all.

The main wall deco included this Dino skeleton with Manav's name which was drawn and cut to perfection by one of my talented friends. He was so precise that he made sure that even the alphabets are written in the same font used to write Jurassic Park.

For the decor I wanted simple yet plenty of decorations. I got some free dino printables here and used them to make the banner around the cake table, water bottle labels and name tags for the dino-food.  
Then there were dino balloons, dino hangings, the pretty green lanterns, happy birthday banners, Dinosaur toy figurines and fun dino party hats. Manish got a paleontologists hat for appu to wear during cake cutting but he dint wear it ;-)

Now for the food, I wanted the appetizer to be fun and dino-themed for all kids and adults. As I was going to have equal number of vegetarian and non-veg eating guests I included both varieties. Some were not dino shaped but we placed food lables that’s was named so. 
Non-veg appetizers: Dino chicken salad sandwhiches 
                                                Dino Chicken Nuggets
                                                Carnivore wraps (Chicken Lettuce wraps)
Veg appetizers: Dino creamy veg sandwhiches
                                      Dino Bones (Mozzarella sticks)
                                      Herbivore wraps (Soya chunks lettuce wraps)
                                      Dino Bones again (Veg Spring Roles – we were out of names :-P)
Active Volcano punch – Mango lemonade with raspberries and lots of ice.
Water bottles with fun dino labels
Dino Spikes – watermelon wedges cut into thin triangular slices.

Dino shaped food....so fun!

Dino water bottles and Dino spikes (watermelon wedges)

For the main course meal I decided on an Indo-Chinese flair. My main focus was on the party deco and appetizers and I had enough to do on-hand so wasn't planning on cooking myself, but my friends chipped in offering help in all possible ways It almost turned out like a potluck....so all the dishes were homemade and all made by my friends, including the Mango icecream :-)
Main:  Veg Hakka Noodles 
                Chinese style Veg fried rice
Non veg side:  Chilli Chicken
                                  Pepper Chicken
Veg side:  Chilli Paneer
                        Veg Manchurian
Dessert:  Mango Icecream served in mini cones
                     Gulab jamuns

For the goodie bags I wanted everything to be dino themed again. All the goodie bags had either Dino story books or Dino sticker books including Dino mugs, Dino stamps , mini dino toys, Dino plush toys etc given to the kids based on their age. I got a simple brown paper bag with a yellow border on sale from target and stuck a Dino thank you note on each bag :-)

I had couple of Dino related activities in mind, but wasn’t sure if I could handle it as there were a lot of kids. So finally we got a Dino Inflatable/Moonbouncer and trust me from little crawling kids to the adults all had fun jumping in the moon bouncer and lil’Appu was literally inside it the entire time. The inflatable was huge and had a big dinosaur looking out from one end so it really looked like our backyard had a huge dino standing there ;-)
We rented extra tables and chairs so that people could sit out in our backyard and enjoy the food and party and it was a beautiful and colorful party I should say.


I love party planning, specially for my lil'boy. It took me almost a whole month of research hunting for inspiration and ideas all over the internet to come up with these details for the party. Manish, my sis-in-law, bro-in-law and my friends were a huge help in helping me organize everything.

Few other ideas I wanted to incorporate but left out due to lack of time were:
Dino Fossil cookies - round Shortbread cookies with embedded dino footprints 
Dino shaped Pasta (for the kids)
Dino shaped chocolates (for favor bag gifts)
Dino Fossil hunt (bucket of sand filled with dino skeletons and kids are supposed to find them)
Pin the tail on the dinosaur

I got all my party accessories and decorations from Amazon like the Dino party plates-cutlery-napkins set, dino sandwich cutter, the mini cupcake wrappers-green lantern-drinking straws set, all the favor bags items, balloons and Lil’Appu’s b’day shirt.
If you want details on anything in particular please email me or leave me a comment.

Friends are family when you are far away from home and my friends prove it over and over again. I’m proud of you all for being there for us. 

I want to specially thank from the bottom of my heart :
Navaneet for the beautiful Dino skeleton cutout banner for the wall deco.
Swati for the Veg Hakka noodles and Mango Icecream
Swati B for Veg Fried rice
Rupali & Pankaj for the veggie dino sandwhiches and veg hakka noddles
Lata for the Chilli Paneer, Nirmal for cutting the watermelon into spikes
Rinku for the Pepper Chicken
Arun & Rashmi for the Chilli Chicken and for baking the nuggets, cheese sticks and spring rolls
Sowjanya for Gulab Jamuns
Deepika for helping with all the arrangements while Anand (her hus) looked after her 7 month old :) and also for coming in early with all the stuff needed to do my hair but that didn’t happen..Lol!
Malli (sis-in-law) for all the decoration cut outs, for helping me with the Lettuce wraps and Chicken Sandhwiches and plenty more.
Manish, Malli (sin-in-law) and Unni (bro-in-law) for staying up late and helping with all the tiny details that I was so particular about. For cooking, cleaning and looking after Appu in midst of all the chaos. For being patient and not actually telling to my face that I’m a crazy woman :-P

The cake cutting was great. We played the  Happy b'day song and everybody sang along and as usual Appu had fun cutting the cake and enjoyed eating his dinosaur birthday cake!

So that’s it folks, our roaaring little boy had a roaaaring b’day party. It took us a few days to get back to our usual self coz we were exhausted beyond words after the party :) but the pictures make me feel proud and happy of what we were able to do and Lil'Appu and his friends had a great time!

If you'd like to see the earlier b'day party themes I did for Appu, here it is:
Rainbow themed 1st B'day party                    



  1. Wow what a birthday party for Appu. Manju kudos to you and your friends to make his day so special. The detailing and neat party food bad decorations are definitely worth the little ones big day. And you look gorgeous too.

  2. It was a great party Manju..really impressed with your creative deco!!

  3. happy B'day to Manav. Excellent dino themed party.

  4. saranya saseendranJuly 23, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Happy birthday to your lil prince manav ! A very thoughtful preparation on the theme ! Loved the cake and the deco.hats off ! And the dino inflatable !! That was the greatest idea for the kids...I wish I could also jumpin ;) a happy birthday to you again baby !!! Loadd f love on ur way.

  5. Loved every part of the party and the decoration. It was just perfect ! U r super creative.
    Ridhaan loved drinkin water from those cute bottles.
    The cupcakes were yummy too. My lil one had 4 of them.
    And pls do share recipes of the mango lemonade and chicken lettuce wrap.Even the chicken salad sandwich recipe pls.Everything was so damn yummm. I filled my tummy just by eatin appetizers !
    Im sure lil Appu had lot of fun ! He is def a lucky boy to have a mommy like u :-)
    And the star of the party other than Appu was the the cake which tasted awesome just like how it looks!
    Also the huge bounce house was super fun.My tiny lil ridhaan who hasnt yet mastered the art of jumping enjoyed it thoroughly too.
    Also we loved the dino themed return gifts.It was truly a roaring party.Thank u for inviting us!

  6. I am dumbstuck... wow!!! Seriously thank God we don't celebrate birthdays and my kids are not very keen... I would never have the patience to do anything like this!!! So well arranged, very well done, love all the details...

  7. Manju you are one rocking party planner/I am awestruck at the tiniest details you;ve kept in mind to ake your lil boys day a super happy one.I'm sure he's going to remember every single one of his birthdays!happy birthday to lil appu again.

  8. Great job,Manju..every details of the party looks so well planned & customized..once again,hats off to your ideas and cake decor..God bless,li'l appu & you guys too :)

  9. Wow that's lot of work and you took care of every single detail with lot of precision. I admire your patience Manju. I wish I had planned ahead like you for my kids parties :)...

  10. gr8 work as always n happy birthday to ur lil one :-)

  11. Ohh boy,,u nailed it....extraordinary and fabulous ...u r such a fantastic party planner....it's a visual feast for us and appu's happiness says it all....wonderful...

  12. WOW Manju hats off to you for planning and having such a wonderful party... :-) Happy birthday to Appu :-)

  13. what a party!!!! Itz perfect!!! Appu will be so proud and relish these memories..you are a star lady!!!..and happy bday appu :)

  14. Wat a well organised and extraordinary themed birthday, u have nailed it prefectly, one should ask you to plan a party, u rock Manju.. My belated wishes to Appu..

  15. What a roar-tastic fun birthday party! My son loved dinosaurs from ages 3-8 so we did many dino themed parties... BUT never this fantastic!! You really did an amazing job with all the dino themed food and that cake... well you know how amazing the cake is! Someday your son will look back at these photos and feel the love from each and every moment of time you took to make it perfect for him.

  16. Ohhh Manju...that was such a wonderfully planned bday party..u r a super mom... love the dino theme... :)...belated wishes to Appu :)

    I know I am too late to comment on this post now... but got some time to blog hop only now...

  17. what is this veg n non veg lettuce wraps? can u plz share the recipe?

  18. what is this veg n non veg lettuce wraps? can u plz share the recipe?

  19. I mesmerized to see all theme related stuff, OMG Awesome!! :) Really love it!!


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