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Dinosaurs And

Old(er) Bones


Part Two of my niece’s birthday bashes for her children this year was staged on Saturday, Dec. 10. Her son, my great-nephew, turned five-years-old and, like she did for her daughter in October, hosted a major gathering of children, friends and family. This time, rather than everything being blue like it was for my great-niece, it was a Dinosaur-themed party.

Jay has already decided he is going to be a paleontologist when he grows up and, at his young age, knows exactly what that is and what his career will entail ... so his mom planned everything around dinosaurs and digging for bones.

For lunch, of course, there were dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, mac and cheese (no dino shapes there, though) and homemade dinosaur candies in four bite-sized varieties, salted caramel, cheesecake, dark chocolate and milk chocolate.

It was then off to the garage where each child was presented with a container to dig through to find either a whole (plastic) dinosaur or some dinosaur bones. Each got a digging tool and scraped and clawed their way to the prize.

There was also a hunt for somewhat hidden very large papier-mâché dinosaur eggs, scattered about the yard, which were then broken into, also revealing a dinosaur inside for each guest to take home.

The wooden gate providing the entryway to their home was decorated with a ‘Jurassic Park’ sign and music from the various dinosaur movies provided the backdrop for the occasion.

The cardboard box piñata used previously at my great-niece’s party was used again, each tissue-paper covered hole for the kids to break through containing a dinosaur treasure. And there were dinosaur shaped cookies for the kids to frost and decorate with sprinkles.

I found a seat on the staircase, using the wall as a backrest and was joined by an assortment of family members. Our conversations, however, were often interrupted by what always seemed like a herd of kids running up and down the stairs, sometimes with frighteningly loud noises emanating from Jay’s room. Everyone survived, though, it was just an overwhelming number of kindergarten and early grade school kids having high-volume fun on a Saturday afternoon.

Of course the majority of gifts were along the dinosaur and digging theme, Jay very appreciative of them all.

My niece planned both these memorable parties with such precision, I told her maybe she should be a for-hire party planner. But she negated that idea; she said she would go through all the time and trouble to do it for her kids but she didn’t think she would have the patience to do it for someone else, at any price.

Speaking of priceless, my column earlier this month touched on my own birthday, but it was written prior to a surprise party that my daughter (with help from family and friends) threw for me on the Sunday after my actual birthday. It was a taco bar fiesta, with balloons, presents, written messages from guests on 3-by-5 index cards, and the chance to enjoy visiting with a mix of family, sports, work and life friends that came to share the celebration. Some of the candles were the kind that kept re-igniting (what fun) and I pretty much hit the Mother Lode when it came to gift cards to a certain well-known caffeinated establishment so I should be wide awake from now until well into next year.

Oh, and my ultra-creative niece gave me a handmade card, complete with photos of she and I through the years, from when I used to just come to California for vacation visits and then moving here for good.

Two parties, each packed full of great memories … not a bad way to usher in December.



Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.