Friday, May 2, 2014

All Aboard!

Last month Grant turned 3! Every year since Benjamin's first Christmas, Bart's Dad and Step-mom have been sending parts of a train set for the boys (pictures of it shown towards the bottom of this post) and we now have enough to make a pretty impressive train (it even makes the Choo Choo sound and blows smoke!). So, when I was considering themes for this party, I knew it would be a fun thing to include, plus I had feeling this was probably going to be the last year I'd be able to pick a "cute" party theme for Grant...he's such a big boy now! I then googled "train b-day parties" and got really excited about all of the creative ways we could chug along with Grant and his little buddies; this was definitely one of our favorite parties yet!

Photo taken from the curb of our home. Thanks to my wonderful and hard-working sister and Dad, kids were greeted by this train track (idea found here and artist tape to make it found here) which led them to....

a large poster of Thomas posted on our back gate!  Btw- I just found out about this stuff called "Dorm Tape" (leaves no marks or residue) also found here which worked really well for hanging all of our party decorations like the Thomas poster.

The back of the invitations hinted for the kids to follow train tracks once they arrived. For the wording for the main part of the invitation, I did it in a train ticket type of style. Idea for that found here.

Train signs were super easy to make. I just bought some garden sticks from Walmart (they're really cheap and come in a pack of 2) and used some random cardboard pieces and construction paper. For the R&R ones, I used the same artist tape as was used for the train track which I thought looked super sharp! Plus, the kids had such a fun time running around the track and posing around the signs afterwards.

 Here's a shot of the party spread. Red gingham tablecloth was one we already hand on hand....I think from Smiths Marketplace? Red bandannas, which my family and I also wore around our necks to complete our Train Conductor look as well as train conductor hats are from this new local party store called Watkins Party Store (only in Logan will you find a print shop + party supply store all in one). Cupcake stands, silver plates (suppose to mimic the wheels of a train), blue party sacks, and other birthday banners all found online here.

Mini-water bottles are my favorite drink choice for kid parties. I love them because you don't have to worry about the water staining anything or being a pain to clean up. Plus the replaceable lid makes them easy to take on-the-go. A pack of 48 of these can be found at Sams Club (btw- I found the Arrowhead brand to be super easy to take all of the labels off...even the birthday boy even helped me!). Stickers were given to us by mom and sister from this awesome Thomas sticker book- so perfect for train parties!

I about died when I found red bandanna tissue paper for our goodie bags at again, Watkins Party Store. There I also found the wooden train whistles and train shaped suckers. (p.s. if you couldn't already tell I'm soooo happy that we finally have an official party store! I may have even already bought all the decor for Elyse's 1st b-day! ;)). Vista Print did the stickers (which read "Thanks for Coming Aboard!") as well as our invitations and thank you cards. My mom and sister found the Thomas books, and I made the train tickets (which the children had to admit to get downstairs to see the train) from tags found at Michaels and stickers from the previously mentioned Thomas the Train sticker book. 

Here's some shots of some of the activities we had. In the backyard we have various games divided into stations such as "Steam Gather Station" where kids had to keep the steam clouds (aka white balloons) on the Thomas sheet, play Train, Train, Caboose (our version of the kids game Duck, Duck, Goose), or toss bean bags into this Thomas pop-up train (which we conveniently already had), or...

 ...go downstairs and be a train conductor! Who knew our ping pong table could also double as a train table?! While we were waiting for all of our guests to arrive, I also had to read The Little Engine That Could book by Watty Piper. Such a classic!

Thanks for coming aboard Grant's B-day Party Express!