Theo’s 9th Birthday Party


Theo’s 9th birthday party theme was one that I’ve been excited to plan for awhile: LEGO! We had a wonderful party hosted by Play-Well, which is a brilliant concept for mobile Lego-themed events. Two party hosts arrived with bins full of hundreds, if not thousands, of Lego pieces and special parts for making actual moving vehicles: gears, chassis, meshing, arches, and trusses.

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The kids quickly got to work making a long bridge for their cars to drive across and designing their own vehicles using the available parts.


My favorite part was that the two hosts were well-versed in entertaining kids (for 90 minutes!) and kept them busy and having fun the whole time. From bringing in the Legos, to having the kids willingly comply with taking their creations apart and cleaning up, they were a huge part of making the party a success. When they left, every single individual piece of Lego was picked up and put away, and we didn’t have to deal with the aftermath. Priceless.


Thank you, Bobby and Cher, for being a part of Theo’s birthday celebration! All of the kids had a great time — and I know this for a fact, because I got an email from one of the guests’ mothers the next day saying, “He enjoyed building with his friends a lot. Thanks Christina for making Theo’s birthdays not just a place to have fun but also to learn.” (I swear I didn’t solicit this comment — but it certainly made my day!)

Since the kids were happily occupied, I was able to focus on my favorite part of planning parties — the decorations and themed elements. Weeks in advance, I got in the mood by creating some Lego builds of my own, using materials that we had in Theo’s big Lego bin at home. I actually had a lot of fun doing these and was reminded of how fun Lego-building is.


I stuck to primary Lego colors and was so lucky to find Lego (or generic “bricks”) plates and napkins at the dollar store. I also found lots of brick-themed accessories on Amazon. For party favors, each kid got a box of “classic” Legos that they got to build at the end of the party.


I used my familiar tactic of designing my own Costco sheet cake to my specifications so I could decorate it myself. I love the little minifigures holding the birthday candles!

It was a great party and I’m so thankful to Play-Well for contributing their talents and energy to a fun, educational, and playful environment (and for Theo’s swell Lego bowtie!).


Theo’s 8th Birthday Party


The theme for Theo’s 8th birthday party was pretty unique. Our local Utah Children’s Theater holds a Shakespeare Festival for kids every year, and this festival happened to occur right at the same time as Theo’s birthday. We had to take advantage!


As part of the theater, they have a private room where you can hold parties. They offered a “Breakfast with Shakespeare” party where they served made-to-order waffles so we had an early morning birthday party!


We baked our own birthday cakes this year — something I hadn’t done since his 1st birthday! We used a regular waffle iron and cooked many layers of cake batter “waffles.” Then we frosted them one on top of the other until they were cake-shaped. We ended up with three different cake flavors: chocolate, strawberry, and funfetti!


After the breakfast/eating waffles portion of the party, the kids were treated to a special abridged Shakespeare performance. It was quite funny and the kids were all well-behaved in their theater seats.

For the party favors, I wanted to emphasize the literary theme of the Shakespeare party, so we gave each child a small notebook and personalized bookmark. It had a great Shakespeare quote, “I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends.” Months later, I was volunteering in Theo’s classroom and saw that one of his classmates was reading a book using his bookmark from the party! I was so happy to see it.

Theo’s 7th Birthday Party


For Theo’s 7th birthday party, we had a repeat location: the Natural History Museum of Utah! They have a variety of different themes for different age groups, so this year Theo was eligible for their science lab themed party. It was held in the same room as the party he had for his 4th birthday, and hosted by fun museum staff.


All the kids got to wear lab coats and goggles while they learned about various science experiments. There were several different stations set up and the kids were kept busy!


We had our traditional Costco cake, with additional decorations provided by my good friend who made special fondant science accessories. I thought they really looked great!


The favors were provided by the museum, but I couldn’t help but science-ify the water bottles that we provided for drinks. The chemical composition of its contents went on the label. I’m always happy when I can add a little educational component to the party.



Theo’s 6th Birthday Party


Theo’s 6th birthday party theme was pretty much based on a pun. The movie Frozen was super popular and we held the party at a frozen yogurt shop. Instead of focusing on the princesses, it was an Olaf-themed Frozen party. Especially because it was held in the summer and Olaf loved the summer. It had a lot of layers.


The frozen yogurt shop had a private party room which was spacious and handy. But since this was a self-hosted party (except for the location) I had to come up with activities and games for the kids on my own. When the guests first arrived, they all got to go through the frozen yogurt line and get their own treats (with unlimited toppings). Nothing like pumping kids full of sugar first thing.

The activities were found online and included: Dress up as Olaf (using toilet paper and a few key accessories made beforehand), create your own Olaf using marshmallows and other supplies, icicle painting (salt water on black paper), and of course, watching the movie Frozen on the big screen conveniently included in the party room.


The cake was back to good ol’ Costco again, decorated with my specifications, and with the addition of a printed fondant cake topper that I ordered.


The favors were icicle-shaped rock sugar candy lollipops. This was not a party that emphasized healthy treats. The frozen yogurt shop also gave out little drawstring backpacks so the kids could take all of their crafts home.


I was glad to be able to find so many Olaf-related items when browsing online for Frozen-themed party accessories. I was grateful for all of the (excessive?) merchandise available.

Theo’s 5th Birthday Party

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Theo’s 5th birthday party was a cooking/science theme. It was held at The Leonardo museum in downtown Salt Lake City, which is a multidisciplinary museum of art, science, engineering, etc. The birthday party package was based around two activities: making ice cream and making gummy bears. The kids would do the hands-on “cooking” and get to eat their treats!


For his birthday cake, I went with a local baker who was known for her fanciful and unique designs. I explained what the party theme was and she gave us some ideas. I ran those ideas past Theo and he was adamant that the cake incorporate a giant gummy bear. So thus, we ended up with the completely edible, rice crispy treat based huge red gummy bear, wearing a chef’s apron. Adorable!

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The kids worked really hard to make their ice cream and gummies. The ice cream involved shaking a bag of ice with salt around the ingredients for the ice cream. Most of the kids were getting tired/bored/hands got too cold so there was a lot of grown-up involvement.


The party favors for this party is one of my all-time favorites. It was functional, personalized, and thematic. I bought child-sized white aprons online and my good friend embroidered each of them with her fancy embroidery machine. She was a saint and even did a last-minute apron the day before the party when we learned about a last-minute guest. It takes a village to throw a great birthday party!

Theo’s 4th Birthday Party

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After the huge effort and work it took to host Theo’s 3rd birthday at our home, I decided that we were going offsite this year. The newly-built Natural History Museum of Utah was close by and we took advantage of this new facility. The dinosaur-themed party included fun activities for the kids like excavations and a tour of the new museum.


Costco sheet cake to the rescue once again! I also made a custom t-shirt using a design from my graphic designer friend for “Theosaurus” to wear.



It was much easier to have party hosts run the party and to not have to clean up and set up beforehand. Offsite parties are definitely the way to go!


I was also happy to support a local museum and have the party be somewhat educational.


I really love these personalized cups that I found on Etsy. The museum provided favor goodies but I loved being able to package them with a special touch.


Theo’s 3rd Birthday Party


Continuing with the literature-inspired theme of Theo’s 2nd birthday, this year we opted to go with the theme of the book “Go, Dog, Go!” by P.D. Eastman. At the end of the story, the dogs all have a “big dog party” and that was all it took for me to run with this theme.

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We had activities based on the book such as decorating party hats. I also made “3” sugar cookies and had the kids decorate their own. This was the first year we held Theo’s party at our new house (that we had just moved into the month before) and we were excited to use the great backyard space.

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This year I went back to our tried-and-true Costco sheet cake and discovered that they will do custom designs based on specific input. I printed my own edible sheet of an illustration from the book and placed it on the cake myself.


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The party favor bags were filled with items that were found within the pages of the book. Each kid received a personalized “dog tag,” and the bags contained things like sunglasses, pinwheels, and other knick knacks.

The food was of course also themed — I remember having a jolt of inspiration the night before the party (when most of the food was already prepared) and thought that ALL of the snacks and food would be orange, white, and green colored. I made pasta salad from a bag of multi-colored pasta and took out all of the purple noodles. We also had store-bought doggie biscuit cookies (for humans to eat).

Hosting this party at our own home was nice, but it was also a million times more work. I’m glad we went all out b/c I will likely never host a party this size at our house again! It was truly a “Go, Christina, Go!” experience. Exhausting but fun.


Theo’s 2nd Birthday Party


Of all the birthday parties that I’ve thrown for Theo through the years, this is one of my favorites. I chose a theme and didn’t just run with it, I marathoned it. For Theo’s 2nd birthday party, our theme was “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. I enlisted one of my graphic designer friends to help me create personalized party touches like the poster we hung on the door welcoming everyone to the party.


I have to note that this party occurred in 2010 before everyone knew about Pinterest. I did my pre-Pinterest best and Googled decorations around the theme. Check out the balloon-animal version of the caterpillar above. (We again held the party at Theo’s grandparents’ home due to the number of guests.)

The food was a highlight. In the book, the caterpillar makes its way through a whole host of foods… and we had every single one of them at the party. I had identifying signs made for each food based on the illustrations from the book and placed them next to the food. For the cupcakes, I tried out a new technique where each layer of batter is dyed a different color and constructed layer by layer.


Instead of doing a Costco sheet cake this year, I went with a local grocery store to make the chocolate cake. I requested that they print on edible paper the book cover and to have a simple design with the words “Happy 2nd Birthday, Theo” on it. This is the cake I picked up. It was definitely not “simple” and was so crazy that I couldn’t be mad. It was a lesson learned in giving up artistic control over a main element of a birthday party. 🙂

Theo didn’t seem to mind and enjoyed eating it with gusto. He had broken his arm just a few weeks prior but having a cast didn’t deter him from using forks in both hands.

Continuing with the theme, the party favors were giant lollipops, similar to the ones in the book. The cute favor tags went along with it. I had so much fun planning and throwing this party and it was not the last time I used inspiration from a literary source! (See Theo’s 3rd birthday party.)


P.S. Two months after I threw this party, I was browsing in Target and came upon this display of themed party supplies. And a specific birthday card for a 2-year-old (not any other age). It’s like the party gods were tormenting me! Where were all of these things a few months before when I was creating all of my own personalized decorations???

Theo’s 1st Birthday Party

Planning and throwing birthday parties is one of my life skills and something that I really enjoy. So I was very excited to be able to hold Theo’s first birthday party! We held it at my in-laws’ / Theo’s grandparents’ home which was able to hold more guests than our townhouse. We catered in food from a delicious Mexican cafe for everyone to enjoy.

We invited our playgroup Mommy & Me friends and other special grown-up friends. Trying to be healthy and not overload Theo with too much sugar all at once, I baked a special small-sized peach and yogurt cake for Theo’s “smash cake.” For the other guests we had a classic Costco chocolate sheet cake.

To the kids, this was just another play date, albeit with a lot more pomp and circumstance and cake and presents. The grown-ups all enjoyed a chance to socialize and celebrate the fact that Theo’s parents survived his first year!


I had to refer back to my notes to remember what I put in these party favor goodie bags for the kids — Dr. Seuss stickers and magnets, baby Mum-Mums (Theo’s favorite snack at the time), a ball, and a kazoo.


People always say that a baby’s birthday party is more for the parents and adults than for the actual child. Well, that’s true, but even now Theo enjoys looking back at photos from his birthday parties that he doesn’t remember. And I will always welcome an opportunity to throw a party!