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let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

Let’s Get Wild! Party Animals Birthday Party

We threw the boys a combined birthday party last weekend (this was their second combined party – last year they had a Finding Dory Party) to celebrate Hudson turning 5 and Luc turning 3. Since the boys’ birthdays are only two weeks apart and they are so close in age, it just makes sense to combine their parties. It saves me a lot of money and effort and they love it, so it’s a win-win. This year, we had the party at Scooter’s Jungle, an awesome indoor play place, which made the event even less stressful. I went with a wild/party animals/jungle theme because I knew the party room would already be decorated for that theme so I figured why fight it?

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party - dessert table

I had invitations made by Cute Party Dash.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

I then used the same images, which can be purchased from Paper Sphinx to make a Watering Hole drink station sign and a thank you sign to put next to our favors.

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party - watering hole - jungle juice (jamba juice smoothies), water with zebra duct dape, coffee

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

While looking through Pinterest, I came across a party image and became obsessed with it. Normally, I pin hundreds of images and sort of take my favorite aspects of each party and create my own thing, but I just couldn’t get this party out of my head, so I copied it. It was a bit challenging because the pinned image didn’t link to anything, but after some detective work, I found the original post. You can check it out here for some beautiful party inspiration.

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

One of the biggest challenges of hosting a party at a venue instead of at home is that I had limited time for set-up (only 15 minutes before the guests entered) and quite a few rules and restrictions to follow. In order to make my dessert table vision come to life, I had to get creative. I bought two 28 x 40 tri-fold poster boards and overlapped them to make a large backdrop. I used this template and this template for the leaves. I folded a lot of the leaves in half and lightly taped them on so they would have some dimension. I bought the WILD balloons from Amazon (thank goodness for 2 day shipping and good customer service because the first order I received a V instead of an L!). This backdrop was surprisingly easy to put together, it was easy to transport and it was the best way to achieve the look I was going for given the restrictions I had.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

Another challenge was that the venue didn’t allow any glass. All of my cake stands and serving platters are glass, so I had to do a little shopping. I found the white cakestand on Amazon. The gold cakestand was from Kirkland’s. The large white trays were from Ikea (I already had them) and the clear candy jar type dishes were from Walmart (They might be an in store only purchase because I couldn’t find them on-line).

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

Our party started at 9am, so we decided to serve Luc’s favorite food: donuts. We also got our go-to party food/drink: Jamba Juice smoothies (Jungle Juice). We had two large travel containers of coffee from Starbucks, mini water bottles with zebra print duct tape on them, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, and animal crackers.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

For dessert, my very talented friend, Jessica Soumah, made delicious cupcakes and the most gorgeous cake! I ordered cupcake wrappers from Amazon, which were perfect. I also ordered gold glittery candles from Amazon. I cut way back on my dessert making this year and only made rice krispy treats, but even with those, I cheated and used store bought treats. I cut some straws in half, stuck them in the treats and dipped them in candy melts. I did half of them in white with a black drizzle to look like zebras and the other half I dipped in green then sprayed with gold mist to match the cake. (*tip – to get the streaks of gold instead of an all over mist, spray the gold Color Mist onto wax paper then use your finger to apply).

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

I got plain white table cloths from Walmart, Striped and Tropical Leaf plates from Amazon, decorated the tables with palm leaves from Amazon.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

For favors, I just ordered adorable monkeys from Scooter’s Jungle.

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party - monkey favors

It was so much fun (even us adults were having a blast riding the jumbo slide). All the decorations, food and drinks were relatively easy, but still looked so cute. The kids had a great time and I would definitely consider the party a success!

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

Planes Birthday Party

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

One day while we were driving in the car, I asked Hudson if he knew what theme he wanted for his upcoming birthday party. I threw out a few options and out of the blue he said Planes. I thought it was kind of funny, because while he does love planes, that wasn’t one of his favorite movies. I waited a few days, asked again and got the same answer. By about the 5th time, I decided to commit and dove into planning his 3rd birthday party. It ended up being a really fun theme with a cute color scheme of blue, orange and some red. We had the party at My Gym which made things much easier (set start and end time and they did all the entertaining). This was great because Luc’s 1st birthday party was only a few weeks later so I had a lot on my plate. I also had to keep in mind the fact that everything would need to be transported to the event location and we only had a limited amount of time for set-up, which forced me to minimize decorations and keep the food on the easier side. All in all, it was a pretty simple, low-key party that everyone had a blast at. The only real downside was that it went by so fast, we didn’t really get great pictures of everything.

planes birthday party family picture

Since the party was in the morning, I went the breakfast route. We served donuts “spare tires” which were literally just packaged chocolate and powdered sugar donuts on a platter with a few racing flags.

planes birthday party donut spare tires

A fruit platter of “plane parts” with a cream cheese dip “fluffy cloud dip” To make the dip, I just combined one 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese with one 15 ounce jar of marshmallow cream. It is so easy and so delicious, especially with an assortment of fruit.

planes birthday party fruit plane parts and fluffy cloud dip

We picked up a coffee traveler from Starbucks for our adult “fueling station”. That couldn’t be a more accurate description of coffee for parents, right?

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

We had Jamba Juice drinks  and water for the kid friendly “jet fuel”.

planes birthday party fuel up water bottles

The Jamba Juice drinks were perfect because they were dairy free so Hudson could have them and they were just easy for the kids to grab and drink. They were so popular in fact, that I think they may become a party staple.

planes birthday party jet fuel jamba juice smoothies are perfect for young kid's parties

We also had a bunch of “in-flight snacks” like chips and cookies.

planes birthday party chips and cookies for in-flight snacks

For desserts, we had propeller oreo cake pops, cloud rice krispy treats, marshmallow propeller pops, planes cookies and dusty cupcakes.

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

I made oreo pops using this recipe from Bakerella, then made little propellers to attach. A link to the free printable is at the end of this post. I just cut them out, punched a hole in the center with a hole punch and slid them on. They were really easy and super cute.

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops and tons of fun ideas

I used a cloud cookie cutter to cut out the rice krispy treats (I used the dairy free recipe listed here).

planes birthday party cloud rice krispy treats

For the propeller marshmallows, I made the propellers using candy melts on wax paper (I just free-handed the propeller shape), dipped half of the marshmallows into candy melts, then attached the hardened/cooled propellers.

planes birthday party marshmallow propeller pops

I ordered the plane cookies from Dainty Cakes by Andrea on etsy and they were so detailed and a big hit with everyone.

planes birthday party sugar cookies

I absolutely loved the Dusty cupcakes, they turned out so cute and were a huge hit with the kids. Sadly, the company I ordered the cupcake wrappers from is no longer in business, which is a huge bummer because these are brilliant. It is so much easier to hand each kid a cupcake, especially at a party like this, and every kid was ecstatic to get their own Dusty! Hudson’s face when he first saw the cupcakes was priceless and they were pretty easy to make (just took a few nights of cutting and taping). In case you love this idea as much as I do, I did find Planes Fire and Rescue cupcake wrappers by Printamajig on etsy.

planes birthday party dusty cupcakes using cupcake wrappers

I bought the tablecloths, plates, napkins, goody bags and balloons from Party City. I ordered the flags and Hudson’s t-shirt from Amazon. Luc’s wingman t-shirt was from Target. The Planes movie characters were a gift, from the Disney store, that doubled as decorations. I made my own invitations inspired by this design by PartyInnovations09. I used water bottle wrappers and cupcake toppers (for the adult cupcakes) from Homeketeers (I’ve linked to their homepage, but was unable to find the printables so they may no longer be offering them). I made personalized wings for each kid by making a printable, printing the wings on cardstock, cutting them out and attaching pins like these to the back. The kids thought these were really cool.

planes birthday party personalized wing pins

I also made the Happy Birthday Banner (you can find a similar one here),  the food labels, and the gift bag tags. We filled the goody bags with some fun planes themed items from Party City and everyone collected them from Baggage Claim before they left.

planes birthday party thank you for flying by goody bags at baggage claim

That was pretty much it. Like I said, I really kept this one fairly simple (for me, lol).

planes birthday party - free printable for propeller cake pops

To get your own free propeller printable, click here. For more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.


Hudson’s 1st Birthday Party

To me, a first birthday party is just as much about the parents as it is the birthday kid. Let’s be honest, that first year is tough and I kind of think of that first birthday party as a “congratulations parents you survived” just as much as I see it as a celebration of your child’s first year of life. So, I kept that in mind when creating this party and theme. I was inspired by all of Hudson’s favorite things, which all happened to start with the letter B: Balls, Balloons and Bowties and threw in a few of mommy’s favorites too like a Bubble Bar. 😉  I liked this because it gave me direction without being too specific. I decided on the colors blue, yellow and green and had so much fun with it. I love that the theme incorporated all of Hudson’s favorite things, but wasn’t such an overbearing theme that I can look back on it three years later and still be totally in love with it. I mean, it really is the only party for your kids where you get complete control so you might as well create a party you love!

first birthday family photo

I made a guestbook showcasing the highlights from the past year with space for guests to write Hudson messages like where he will be in 20 years and his best trait. I used the wedding guestbook template on Shutterfly, then changed it up to make it work for a 1st Birthday Party and absolutely love how it turned out.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party guestbook

I printed out Hudson’s weekly photos and hung them to the shutters above the welcome table using clothespins I had dyed blue, green and yellow using this tutorial.

first birthday guestbook bowtie display table with weekly photos hanging

I made bowties for all the guests to wear. You can find instructions here.

first birthday diy no-sew bowties

We had a photo booth with tons of fun props. You can get the details for my DIY Photobooth here.

first birthday party diy photobooth

I bought a few of those funny mustache and lip pacifiers and set those in a bowl along with paci wipes so our littlest guests could get in on the photo booth action too.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party photobooth strip

We had a ball pit using an inflatable kid pool, which was a huge hit with the kids.

diy ball pit is a great idea for a first birthday party

We had a bubble pool with tons of wands for the kids to play with. I think the big kids enjoyed this one more than the little kids. 🙂

first birthday party bubble pool

We had a bubbly bar for the adults. 😉 I bought the buckets from Joanns and added a “shelf” to two of them so I could stack mason jars.I tied ribbons around each jar and bought straws from shop sweet lulu to make them more festive.

bubbly bar for bowtie first birthday party with mimosa bar

We served lemonade, iced tea, water bottles with wet your whiskers labels on them, champagne and juices for making mimosas.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party mimosa bar

For food we had: manwhiches (sandwiches from Subway), fruit cups, bowtie pasta, veggie cups and puffs. I know how hard it is to eat as a mom running after your little one, so I tried to serve the food in small portions that could be eaten on the move. This approach  worked well for the kids too. Above the food table I hung a banner I made showcasing Hudson’s monthly photos. I also made labels for the veggie and pasta containers and made flags for the sandwiches using Bella Blvd washi tape.

bowtie first birthday party food table with manwiches and bowtie pasta

Cakegoodness created an amazing dessert bar consisting of tons of candy, cake pops, mini cupcakes, #1 rice krispie treats and Hudson’s gorgeous vegan cake. I made the banner and treat bags and ordered bowtie and #1 cookies from the RP Confections on Etsy.

bowtie first birthday party dessert table

bowtie ruffle cake for first birthday party

real men eat dessert bowtie cupcakes for first birthday party

bowtie first birthday party dessert details-bowtie cupcakes, one rice krispy treats, one cookies and candy

For the centerpieces, I bought buckets from Party City, filled them with hydrangeas from Costco, and stuck homemade bowtie sticks in them. For a last minute centerpiece idea, I thought they came out looking really cute.

bowtie first birthday flower centerpiece using bucket and hydrangeas

For favors, each kid took home a bottle of bubbles with a personalized label to match the theme.

bowtie first birthdya party bubble favors

I also found Hudson’s vintage highchair on-line, sanded it, then Nic spray painted it. I made the ONE banner and ordered the hat, Hudson’s onesie and his special bowtie from Etsy shops.

bowtie first birthday party vintage high chair, candy bar sign, hat and diy i am one banner

We sang Hudson happy birthday and watched him dig into his cake.

first birthday party cake smash

The best part of the day though was sharing it with all of our favorite people. Our families and friends helped us get through a challenging and extremely rewarding first year and it was so fun to celebrate Hudson’s big day with everyone. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

hudson first birthday party ideas collage

Finding Dory Birthday Party

tons of fun ideas for a finding dory, finding nemo, little mermaid or ocean themed party

My boys are very into ocean animals and love the Disney movie Finding Nemo so when they saw Finding Dory this summer and loved it, I knew we had found the perfect birthday party theme. Since my boys’ birthdays are two weeks apart we decided to do a combined party this year, which worked out great. I promised myself I was going to keep things low key, then after weeks of restraint,  I gave in and went crazy buying and making as many things as possible.

Once the boys had nailed down that they wanted a bounce house in the backyard, I started off my party planning like I always do-with a search on pinterest. There were tons of cute ideas, many of which I ended up copying at the last minute.I ordered very cute invitations from Party Door. I also ordered t-shirts for myself (Amazon), Hudson (Shop Disney Parks) and Luc (CrazyCorgiLadyDesign). My hubby, who is very helpful when it comes to parties and puts up with all my over the top party planning, draws the line at wearing party theme t-shirts.

family photo nemo dory birthday party

I absolutely love desserts and tend to make that the focal point of parties I throw, so let me start by showing you that. For kid parties, I am a huge fan of cupcakes instead of cake. For one, I can make them myself, which saves a lot of money. They are also so much easier during the party. No cutting, no wasting (am I the only one who dreads cutting cakes because they are always too pretty to eat?) and they can still be themed and cute. I bought these adorable cupcake wrappers from EasyPeasybyAlison on etsy and love how they turned out.

nemo bailey destiny hank dory marlin cupcake wrappers

I make rice krispy treats for every party because they are easy and I have a recipe that makes this one of few desserts my oldest son, who has food allergies to dairy, eggs and nuts, can eat.  At about 11pm the night before the party, a lightbulb went off and I quickly sprung into action. I turned my rice crispy treats into starfish. I was so happy with how they turned out and the best part is they were so easy to make. You can find my allergy-friendly rice crispy recipe here along with details on how to make the starfish rice crispy treats.


I saw this great idea from Oh my! Creative and knew I had to copy it. My oldest son is obsessed with sharks and by leaving the cool whip off a few he was able to have a second dessert option. They didn’t have grey foam at any of my local craft stores so I just used grey cardstock and it worked great. You just make blue jello in clear cups according to packaging instructions. Cut out shark fins from grey paper and glue onto mini spoons. *Check the height so the shark fins are start at the top of the cups. Place spoons into cups. Then add whipped cream or cool whip.

shark jello cups

Bucket of sand was one of my favorite desserts to make as a child so I made some mini sand parfaits and stuck umbrellas in the top. Sadly, I couldn’t find the recipe I used as a child and did’t love the way these tasted so I won’t share a link, but I’m sure if you look on pinterest tons of recipes will show up. They look so cute and you could even keep it super simple by alternating vanilla pudding and crushed up nilla wafers.

sand parfait

I always make oreo truffles, but in my attempt to simplify this year I decided to skip them. That is until midnight, when I realized that a few of my friend’s husbands come solely for those and I’m a people pleaser, so I got to work making fish bowl pops. I always make oreo truffles using this recipe from Bakerella because they are way quicker than cake pops, oreos are my favorite and I love the way these taste. Cake pops are a pretty long and tedious process as it is, so if you can cut the time down and focus more on the decorating you will be happy you did. Anyways, I got to the part where I needed to adhere my fish sprinkles and they were too heavy and kept sliding off. 🙁 I then tried fish candies from the pinata candy bag with no luck before settling on hand drawn fish using edible markers. When the markers started acting up two pops in I decided to call it quits and head to bed (it was extremely late at this point and my brain was shutting down). I was disappointed that my pops didn’t turn out how I envisioned, but everyone else thought they were adorable and loved them. After the party ended, I remembered that I had bought two boxes of Dory cereal specifically for the cake pops. Of course, the marshmallows worked perfectly.

fish bowl oreo truffle

One of Hudson’s favorite parts of the dessert bar was the Goldfish Bar. We filled fish bowls with different flavors of pepperidge farms goldfish, filled a glass with swedish fish and another with candy worms. This was a big hit!

nemo goldfish bar

Another highlight of the dessert bar was a last minute impulse buy from Amazon. I had been searching for a coffee pot similar to the one in the Finding Dory movie and by luck a few nights before the party I came across this toy coffee pot with a swimming dory. Thanks to Amazon Prime, it arrived just in time for the party and was so cute! We still have it out and treat Dory like a real fish.

I normally make party banners myself, but again, in my quest to simplify, I outsourced and I am so glad I did. The details on this banner from TwoEarlyBirds were beautiful and from experience I know I saved myself a lot of time (and maybe even a bit of money) by ordering one instead.

We also set up a drink table. I made a few jellyfish to hang from the ceiling. The jellyfish were made loosely following these instructions from Party City. I bought a few of those white crates they sell at craft stores before Hudson’s first birthday and tweaked one by adding a “shelf”. I also bought a few boxes of mason jars. I use this display at every party and just tie different colored ribbons around them depending on my theme.

dory party drink table

I also always offer beer and mimosas. People don’t drink a ton at kiddie parties in the middle of the day, but they always appreciate the option and seem to enjoy a little indulgence. This time around I kept my mimosa bar simple by just offering Freixnet and orange juice.


I put blue Hawaiian punch in a dispenser that I transformed into Dory using these instructions. This was really easy to make and everyone loved it! Both boys shouted DORY! as soon as they saw it. 🙂

dory drink dispenser

Last year, we got jamba juice for Hudson’s birthday party and it was such a huge success that we got them again. They are such a great allergy friendly option, they are easy for kids to drink, perfect on a hot day, and lets face it, who doesn’t love fruit smoothies?

squirt strawberry whirl smoothie

As a few final touches, I added a fish bowl with a bath toy in it and another fish bowl filled with blue m&ms and a few goldfish crackers.

For food, we had subway “submarine” sandwiches with some fun and festive sides. My husband carved an awesome shark out of a watermelon for Bruce’s fruit salad. Both of our boys went crazy over it! For directions, check out Popsugar Food’s You Tube video.

bruce shark watermelon fruit bowl

I made our go to pasta salad using shell pasta.

pearls pasta salad

We had veggies and ranch dip with Hank as the centerpiece. We also had submarine sandwiches from Subway. I made the food labels and whenever possible I stuck a matching bath squirter character by the label.

hank veggie dip

For favors, I bought Finding Dory bath squirters from Walmart. Both of my boys are obsessed with these. I filled our popcorn buckets from the movie with the favors and made a thank you sign to go with it.

dory bath squirter party favors

In addition to the bounce house, we had a pinata. I made bags using an idea and printable from Any Tots. We filled the pinata with a Dory Pinata Candy Mix from Walmart.

dory pinata treats

The photobooth has become a signature at all of our parties. It is so much fun and the best part is we always end up with photos of all our guests. I bought the cutest downloadable photobooth props from SimplyMadeWithSam. You can check out all our diy photobooth recommendations here.

dory party themed photo booth

The party was a blast! I just love the whole experience with my boys. The planning, the build-up of excitement, and the joy on their faces the day of. Hudson ran to the door every time someone arrived to welcome them to his birthday party. Then he excitedly showed them all the fun details. It was so rewarding to see how much he loved and appreciated all my hard work. Luc, showed his appreciation in his own way, with excited shrieks of “Dory” “Marlin” and “Bailey” I know they both had such an amazing day!