Today’s the day! HFR is 5 years old today. I’m going to get the typical parent cliche out of the way here first by announcing I can’t believe she’s five, it feels like just yesterday when she was born, where does the time go, etc. These are all true statements that run through my head on a regular basis, and at every birthday she’s ever had.

So that’s established. She’s 5, whoa. I don’t know what we’re going to do today, since we had this snowstorm yesterday that closed school. And she has a delayed opening today. We’ll see if our original plans for the day work out. But the good news is, she’s already had her birthday party. And not just any party–a much requested, much discussed, “dinosaur birthday party.” That’s how she’s been referring to it for a couple of months now, and how she’s been inviting strangers to join her. “You want come my dinosaur birthday party?”

We had it at Mama Bear’s Play Cafe, a nearby space that we visit sometimes so I can work on their WiFi while H plays. We had about 18 kids, mostly from her class. Tabitha at the cafe did a great job, and set up a dinosaur dig with kinetic sand for H and her friends. She also did a treasure hunt with them, hiding little dino skeletons in the play area and giving out prizes every time a child found one. It was great.

And, I made a ridiculous cake and DIY’d the party favors. She had a choice of donuts (her favorite food), cupcakes, or a cake. She wanted a dinosaur birthday cake, and I could’ve just made a sheet cake and covered it with some green frosting and plastic dinosaurs.

I did not do that.

Instead, I made this thing:

The other parents were lovely with their compliments, but I will not be starting a cake business anytime soon. My fondant skills are not that great. But when H came downstairs the morning of her party and saw this, she declared it the best birthday cake ever! And gave me a thank you and a great big hug. So, my kid thinks I’m the best cake maker. And that works for me.

The base of this beast is a 4 layer chocolate cake, using the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe from¬†The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.¬†The cloud tier is actually a rainbow cake. I used the white cake recipe from the same book, which makes a 2-layer cake, and weighed it out evenly into 6 bowls. Dyed each bowl a different color. Baked the layers in 6″ ramekins, because apparently I got rid of my 6″ cake pans at some point.


Adam and I had a time trying to cover the base in green fondant. It was just too enormous. I actually had to go out and buy more white fondant, we dyed everything ourselves. So, I tried wrapping the cake. Which worked! But, it was too heavy to flip it over and get fancy with matching the top, so some chocolate frosting piped on hid (most) of my sins.

I used cookie cutters for the clouds and dinosaurs, and I bought candy eyes for the dinos.

It was fun to cut into! But very tiny, because I got rid of many cake pans and I do not remember why. So what was going to be a normal 2 tier cake became…this. A cake with an off center stovepipe hat.

For the favors, I used my Cameo to make a dino design with a ring and a skeleton head.

We had some technical difficulties, we were putting the vinyl on these buckets minutes before we left for the party. Then I just filled them with good stuff. Little plastic dinosaurs, dino eggs, candy, ribbon twirlers, magnifying glasses. The buckets came from the dollar store, and most of what went inside was dirt cheap.

And that’s enough about what I did, here are photos of this kid celebrating.

Adam took these photos because he is amazing. He took the photo at the top, too.

She blew out her candles.

And thanked everyone for coming.

And now it’s Wednesday, and she’s officially 5. And, I can’t believe how quickly my baby is growing up.