Monday, August 08, 2011

Noah's train party

 This year, I decided to have two birthday parties for Noah. A lot of The Husband's family lives in the area, so having a family gathering can end up being over 30 people strong. I wanted to also invite a few friends and figured that two parties with around 25 guests would be more fun that one party with around 50 guests. It was an exhausting weekend with back-to-back parties, but it was also a lot of fun. I'll definitely consider splitting parties like this again.
Noah asked for a red and blue train party, so I did my best to deliver. I was actually pretty excited about a red and turquoise color scheme. For his first birthday, the most effort went into the invitations. This year, I went with an evite. I was sad I didn't get to send out a pretty card, but I felt good about being greener by saving paper and about not spending money on postage. I consoled myself by mailing actual thank you cards after the party. Also, evite actually had a train birthday invitation that fit our color scheme perfectly, so this was meant to be.

I spent the most time on the making of decorations. I've had this vision of garlands strung under the patio roof and in the tree out by the sand box for a while now, so I went with it. It took a good while longer than anticipated (and it looked bleak for a while when my sewing machine broke again), but I loved my flags, so it was totally worth it.

The cupcake toppers were really cute, but I think I put too much work into them. Oh well - lesson learned for next time. Mainly, I don't think they needed to be double-sided.
I didn't want to have to serve an actual meal, so we had snacks and cake, cupcakes, and ice cream. I had a vision for serving the snacks in a train, so I made a locomotive using a coffee tin, a small cardboard box, and mod podge. It was a fun project and came together much faster than anticipated (I love it when that happens!). I ended up using mini loaf pans for the rest of the train. I bought them especially for the party, but I've already used them again. I know they'll continue to come in handy. While the snack train lived up to my visual expectations, the containers were on the small side. One the one had, this forced me to do a fair bit of refilling, on the other hand, I think it discouraged people from filling up on snacks, and in the end I had less food sitting out going bad. I'm going to call that a win.

For the cake, I used my fancy-schmancy train cake pan. The decorations came mostly from Sweet Factory and from Sprout's bulk candy aisle. It took about twice as long as anticipated to decorate the cake, but I'm very pleased with how the cake turned out. It was beautiful!
We also had beautiful & delicious cookies my friend Debbie made. I emailed her a photo of my flag garland, and she nailed the color scheme. (She has more photos of the cookies here.)
 Now - lots of you know that my food allergies force me to eat what is often referred to as "fairy food." On top of that, I had some guests with dietary restrictions (different from mine), so I made cupcakes that were gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. I'm sad to say that the cupcakes had a very odd aftertaste, but I'm happy and relieved that the (vegan) frosting I had made completely covered that aftertaste. As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize it was there until after the (second) party, when I had a left-over, unfrosted cupcake. Also, nobody complained! Yay.
 I used this party as my excuse to finally buy a drink dispenser, water-infuser thingy. We had strawberry-mint water (with mint from my herb garden!), which was delicious.

He laid down in the pool. It was actually pretty funny
Fountain play - the water squirts up at random, so it's hard to photograph.
 The kids played in little pools and in our play fountain and sand box.

 We also had a train craft and train coloring pages, so everyone kept busy and had fun.
Noah was so excited about his gifts that he didn't fall asleep for a solid two hours after he went to bed.

Good times.


bethany actually said...

This party was like a BRENDA party. I'm so sad we couldn't be there! Next year, fingers crossed!

Melissa Haworth said...

SO awesome! Love the snack train and the garland. And didn't you have the Hungry Caterpillar party just, like, last week? I am thinking that will be Oscar's first birthday theme. It was you, right? it was SO cute too.

Happy B-day Noah!

Liz said...

Happy birthday to Noah! He's getting so big! You did a fab job with the decorations. Want to come over to help me with a pirate party?

sarah doow said...

What a fabulous party. I'm really getting the feeling I need bunting in my life.
Also, I love that I can hear your voice in my head when I read your words now :-)

Yara said...

That was the best little boy birthday party I've been to all year!
And the cupcakes- I never even noticed an aftertaste, I actually thought they were good, as far as fairy dust food goes ; )

Annika said...

I think I might copy you and have a train party for Grace this year! We already have the train cake pan, so I kind of have to.

Sonja said...

Liz, I'd be so happy to come throw a party... alas. Stupid distance! Anyway - you're pretty fabulous, so I'm sure the party will be great!