I’m going to have to throw out a major MOM FAIL flag. Sam’s birthday was in November, and I have never posted about it. With his birthday being between Thanksgiving when we’re traveling and Christmas, more travel, it is always a challenge. I royally messed it up this time when I went over to decorate the park for his puppy dog themed party and was shocked to see people already there an hour early. Turns out they were not early. I was off an entire hour! I was scrambling to get everything out of the car and thus didn’t have any time to photograph. What I was able to snap was limited to my phone at the very end. I even thought about not sharing at all because the photos I do have are horrible. But here’s the deal, it’s not perfect and that’s OK (this is mostly me trying to tell myself that). Sam had a great time celebrating with his friends, and that really is all that matters.
For his 6th Birthday, Sam requested a puppy themed party at the park. This little guy LOVES dogs. He sleeps with what we call his Puppy Pack of no less than 10 stuffed dogs in his bed every night. Sam helped come up with all of the party details and was so excited about all of it.
This year’s invitations were put together by myself using Picmonkey. It’s a great free tool for photo editing, but it’s also amazing for creating your own invitations. I used the graphics they have included on the site so it was really simple. I also created an envelope liner which is a fun way to dress up homemade invitations.
Decorating for a party that’s outdoors can sometimes be tricky. I knew that this area in our park is like a wind tunnel so streamers or banners were out. For decor, I made a dog house out of cardboard and attached some balloons for a fun photo op. These balloons came premixed so I didn’t have to buy a bunch of colors separately. To keep the cardboard dog house from blowing into the lake, I taped it to the deck. Despite my attempts, it still blew over several times, but it didn’t get too far! And then to dress up the park picnic tables, I added my favorite $12 black and white tablecloths. They make everything look better.
Sam’s favorite part of the party were these adorable plates. They were the first thing I ordered when he decided on a theme. They are just so darling!
When you have a lot of excited young kids around, I think it’s easier to pass out cupcakes than it is to cut a cake. For these cupcakes I used store bought vanilla cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting. I blended up Oreos and dipped the cupcakes in the crumbs to look like dirt. A bone shaped cracker was added to the top. Quick and easy!
Dog Bone Piñata – You can never go wrong with a piñata. Sam always requests one for his birthdays. This year I made him a bone piñata. It’s so cheap to make them yourself! I use a cardboard box, packing tape, party streamers, and glue. You can check out a glimpse of how I make them here.
Balance a Dog Treat – We used these bone shaped graham crackers and had all of the kids stand in a line with a bone balanced on their nose. Whoever lasts the longest wins!
Cat Chase – Hide some stuffed cat animals around and have the “dogs” run around to find them.
Each guest got to adopt a puppy of their choosing and take home a bag of dog treats. You can find the stuffed animals online here. The dog treats are more of these graham crackers. I’m telling ya, those graham crackers were so handy for this party!
Donations in Lieu of Gifts
Does the thought of more toys and stuff entering your home feel overwhelming? Yep. Same here. Birthday parties are an amazing opportunity to teach your children the joy of helping others! This year we talked with Sam about how he and his friends can help kids at our local children’s hospital. The key is to talk about this with your child before hand so they’re on board with the idea and aren’t confused when they don’t get to keep the gifts that show up. Let guests know that you will be accepting donations in lieu of gifts early on, and give them a list of suggestions or guidelines that the organization you will be donating to requires. In our case, I included a print-off from the hospital’s donation website in the invitations. Sam loved it, we loved it, and the guests loved it. A win all around!
Every year I have the kids do a birthday interview. It is so fun to look back on how their answers change or stay the same over the years.
- Favorite color? Green
- Favorite toy? Trains
- Favorite fruit? Apples
- Favorite TV show? Teen Titans Go, Izzy’s Train Time, and Izzy’s Game Time. He didn’t mention it, but he watched A LOT of Blippi on Youtube
- Favorite breakfast? Sandy Eggo’s
- Favorite lunch? Chocolate (Nutella) sandwich
- Favorite outfit? t-shirt and shorts
- Favorite game? Minecraft
- Favorite snack? Goldfish crackers
- Favorite animal? Dogs
- Favorite song? We No Speak Italiano
- Favorite book? The Polar Express
- Favorite cereal? Cinnamon Toast Crunch
- Favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike and Jeep
- Favorite drink? Apple juice
- Favorite holiday? Christmas and 4th of July
- Favorite thing to take to bed? Snuggle Puppy
- Who is your best friend? Elise
- What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? Wendy’s chicken nuggets
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Train engineer
Invitations made by me on Picmonkey
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More Birthday Inspiration
Click each past party for more birthday inspiration!