In all the hub bub of house finishing, my little baby turned into a toddler as he celebrated his 2nd birthday (!!) on April 6th!
He kind of had a 2-part celebration. We went for dinner and gelato on his actual birthday, with the grandparents, aunts and uncle. And once we were moved in, we had his birthday party – I think he was a fan of this 2-part birthday thing.
Last year, if you remember, we did foxes as a theme. Ezra still loves foxes but not as much as he loves trains. So this year, it was all about the choos choos.
(BTW – we don’t have grass quite yet, but a week before the party the crew brought in our landscaping. Isn’t it gorgeous? All I did was add two planters on the porch with some annuals, and my mom brought us a hanging basket as a little housewarming gift.)
Shortly after I finished laying down the electric tape on the walkway to make train tracks, it started pouring the rain and the tape peeled right up in the areas that weren’t covered by the porch. Luckily, Alex saved the day and made a quick run to the store for more electric tape and saved the track.
I made the RR Crossing sign for the door out of one of the moving boxes we had laying around. I made a protractor out of a cheese spreader and a marker (yes, you read that right) so I could make a circle outline on the cardboard. After I cut it out, I covered the circle in yellow paper then measured the diameter so I could figure out four equidistant points to make the X mark – yes, I am crazy. The X mark and RRs are just electric tape.
Here’s a pic of my MacGyvered protractor –
The little chalkboard arrow sign in the flower bed came from Amazon. I thought it was going to be way larger – like 10 times bigger – so I was a little disappointed but it still worked. I wrote a station name on it in chalk and doodled a little train on there. I had ordered a chalk pen but I don’t know what happened to it, so I just held the chalk under running water and got the same effect for the most part.
Inside the house, we set the dining room up like a cargo station with some vintage suitcases we had bought at a yard sale years ago. Everyone dropped their gifts off on the table. I didn’t get to snap a pic of that, but you get the idea with the wagon there! I also put the favor boxes for Ezra’s guests there. Just like last year, I totally forgot to get a photo of what was inside but it was a little Thomas the Train notepad, some crayons and a mini bubble set.
We set up beverages on the island – I actually only had two beverages: water and a cranberry-orange-lemonade, which was a happy accident. I had bought two jugs of that Simply Lemonade stuff and it wasn’t enough to fill the beverage dispenser so I added the cranberry juice I had on hand (about 3/4 of a jug) and about 16oz of orange juice. It turned out so good!
I picked up the beverage dispenser at Target and the paper straws were from Michaels. The little aluminum cup they’re in was from JoAnn Fabrics.
And you may have noticed the train on the chalkboard back in the hall. Here’s a closer look –
I was hyped up on coffee and drew this train on the chalkboard, using a vintage illustration I found as inspiration. I hate my cursive but all that matters is Ezra loves going into the hall and saying “choo choo!” when he sees the train!
I had picked up a package of Thomas the Train balloons plus some polka dotted ones from Party City so we had those tied around the banisters and a few on the mailbox outside.
We setup the food on the kitchen table, which was turned parallel to the sliding door that leads to nowhere (for now). Even though the door is nailed close, we just wanted to double make sure no one would mess with it by placing the table in front of it. We also hung up streamers on one side of the door and wrote the menu on the other side with Crayola window crayons (which are awesome!!!). My mom and sister actually hung up the streamers and my sister wrote out the menu.
The glass was a little hard to photograph, but it was very legible in person! And it was a big hit with everyone, just being able to read really quickly what was set up on the table. In case you can’t read it, the menu was –
- Corn Dogs (which ended up being just regular hot dogs – beef and turkey)
- Mango Chicken Salad
- PB&J sandwiches (cut into train shapes)
- Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites (definitely the most popular thing!)
- Spinach Bites
- Fruit Salad
- Veggies & dip (we did guac and ranch)
- Crackers & dip (we did an Alouette dip. I think it was the roasted red pepper.)
Most everything was gluten free and a lot of it was dairy free, to accommodate for some allergies/sensitivities in the family.
And here’s how it all turned out (not pictured? The hot dogs because they were warming on the stove!). I made the tablecloth that’s on the table out of two separate fabrics I had picked up at JoAnn Fabrics.
While our guests were still enjoying the food, I had Ezra start opening presents. He definitely understood the idea of “presents” a lot more this year than last year (or even at Christmas). He handed presents that were in packaging to various family and friends, saying “open?” haha. He even wrangled his cousin in to help open up some presents.
Since we were doing a train themed party, Alex and I decided to make Ezra’s gift a train table. Ezra’s grandparents went in on it with us and we saved that present for the end because we knew all the kids would want to play with it and there would no pulling them away from it for awhile.
I ordered the table and all the tracks, accessories and trains back in March and it was so hard to not give it to Ezra early. It helped that we were still in the apartment, though, and just didn’t have the space. We went with a Thomas the Train theme for everything. It took me a few days to research all of our options (and let me tell ya, there are quite a few options in the way of train tables) and now I feel like a semi-expert on all things train and track related, at least in the world of Thomas the Train.
Alex and I put together the table the night before the party. We got him the Thomas Wooden Railway Grow With Me Playtable and I’m really happy with the construction of it and how big the storage drawer is. I feel silly admitting this, but it was a ton of fun figuring out how we wanted the track to be put together. We had ordered one destination set (Gold Mine Mountain), a couple miscellaneous extra track sets (a figure 8 expansion pack and a set of risers), and a few accessories (a sound & signal shed, a mine tunnel, Knapford Station, a water tower, and Tidmouth Sheds) plus seven talking trains (Toby, Spencer, Victor, Gordon, Thomas (of course), Stafford, and Percy) and one battery operated one (Hiro). Whew!!!!!
Somehow, we were able to fit all the accessories onto the table and make most of the track work except for a few of the ascending tracks/risers. We hid the table in the guest room until Ezra went down for his nap the day of the party and while he was sleeping, Alex brought the table down to the study and we covered it up with some train fabric I had found at JoAnn’s.
None of the kids even noticed the giant table covered in train fabric, which was what I was hoping would happen!
We brought out the table and told Ezra to pull off the fabric and he was so surprised! We have his reaction on video – which was him shouting “WHAT IS THAT??” with a giant smile on his face.
Somehow, we were able to pry the kids away to sing “happy birthday” to Conductor Ezra. But Ezra was too busy to eat any cake! He did end up chomping on a cookie later, though.
Speaking of the cookies…. last year, I made some fox cookies that turned out pretty well for not having ever decorated cookies before. I got little uppity thinking I could handle something like this –
(Found here, but it says via Etsy…can’t find the Etsy listing so if you know the seller please comment!)
My version was a pinstrosity if I’ve ever seen one and I got NO pictures because Alex ate the evidence before I could photograph it. This is comical to me because last year’s baking fail was when I attempted to ice Ezra’s birthday cake. It turned out looking like this –
I can only imagine what mishap will happen next year.
Anyway. I had a bunch of train-shaped cookies that I wasn’t going to attempt to ice so instead I dipped them in chocolate. I had also made some circle cookies thinking I would decorate them to look like RR Crossing signs. Which I did attempt, and also failed at. I do have evidence of this…don’t feel bad if you laugh –
Not everything can be picture perfect, right? Right.
I also made some gluten-free cupcakes (using the Betty Crocker GF Vanilla Cupcake mix) topped with Duncan Hines vanilla icing (GF and dairy free). I put Ezra’s candles in one of those for when we sang to him. There was also a sheet cake from Servatii (a local bakery) that was amazing and was provided by Ezra’s aunt and uncle.
All in all, I would say the birthday boy had a great time and the party was a success!
Here is some source information for things I used in Ezra’s train party for those who are interested –
Two Sided Arrow Shaped Chalkboard Sign from Amazon
Favor Boxes from Michaels
Thomas the Train balloons from Party City
Red and Caribbean Blue paper plates and napkins from Party City
Beverage Dispenser from Target
Paper Straws from Michaels, but the link is to Amazon because Michaels.com doesn’t have them
Anodized Aluminum Cups for cutlery and straws from JoAnn Fabrics
Crayola Window Crayons from my mom, but they’re also on Amazon haha
Chevron and Polka Dot (I can’t find it online, unfortunately) fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics
Train fabric from JoAnn Fabrics, but the link is to eBay because I can’t find the fabric on JoAnn’s site
Letter candles from Bakers Nook