One of the last things we did as a family of three was celebrate M’s third birthday. She’s had a very specific party theme in mind for months — a unicorn pony dragon dinosaur birthday party. Luckily most of those things are fairly easy to find in terms of party supplies. The dragons were the most challenging part!

We try to not go overboard with birthdays, but still make them special. It’s something in between store bought cake and generic decorations, and super personalized Pinterest parties. We discovered last year that we can rent a meeting room at our local rec centre for an hour, followed by an hour of free gym time, for $40, and it’s way easier than trying to control the chaos in our own house plus the party has a built-in end time. It’s not the fanciest space, but it works.

The first thing I did was design an invite:


She invited everyone at her preschool (none of them came which was kind of surprising!) and some friends who used to go to daycare with her, plus a few other kids who are family friends. In the end I think we had about 10 kids there, which was perfect.

The theme came loosely together with some basic decorations. I hung dinosaur cutouts from the ceiling, added pony and dragon picks to the food, set out unicorn plates and dinosaur napkins, covered the tables with rainbow plastic tablecloths, and Mac Daddy made cupcakes and decorated them with dinosaur rings. Unfortunately he dropped the cupcake container literally as he was arriving at the rec centre, but as M said, “They still tasted good!”





The spread of food, as you can see, was really basic — pretzels, chips, and dip, juice boxes, a few store bought cupcakes for the grownups, a handful of brownies, and a fruit tray. I’ve learned in the past three years that people don’t actually eat that much at birthday parties.

The highlight of the party for M, and the thing she wanted the very most, was a unicorn pinata. I ordered one online and she helped me stuff it with discounted Halloween candy (perks of a November birthday!), horse finger puppets, pony-topped bubbles, dinosaur tattoos, and little plastic dino models.


Of course those storebought pinatas are insanely hard to break open! This thing was made of corrugated cardboard. After a good 15 minutes of toddlers smacking it as hard as they could, Mac Daddy broke its legs and hit it with some adult-powered whacks and it still didn’t want to break easily! We may have to actually do paper mache next year.


Note the unicorn themed birthday shirt which I thought was the perfect touch!

All of the adults who saw M’s invites thought it was hilarious — the theme was so very much in line with her personality. I think she was happy with it, as she spent the next several days telling anyone who would listen about her unicorn pony dragon dinosaur birthday. And one of her friends showed up in a dragon costume! I can’t wait to see what next year’s theme is.