My toddler loves trains. Like loves them to the point that I've sometimes wondered when hearing "My special special is ready to go" approximately 9,753 times each day would drive me insane. So, when it came time to decide what the theme for his second birthday would be, it was a no-brainer.
I started browsing train parties online, but nearly every party I found either featured Thomas the Tank Engine or was done in red, white, and blue. But I have an aversion to covering children's things in pictures of cartoons, and I wasn't really digging the "traditional" train colors. So, I googled trains and railroads and steam engines and all other train-y words I could think of.
In one of my searches, I came upon a railroad crossing sign. You know, the bright yellow one with the black X and Rs on each side? Voila! I had my color-scheme: yellow and black; then I decided to throw in gray. I have been obsessed with gray for the past year or so. It's so versatile. So neutral. So sophisticated. When I get around to showing you some of our new house projects, you can expect a lot more gray. I love gray. Seriously.
moving, long-distance, stressful life, I didn't hold anything back on this party. It was the perfect last celebration in our first home.
The invitation was the only thing that didn't match the color scheme because I just found the old-fashioned train tickets too cute to pass up. (Free customizable printable below.)
The Food Car:
We had Thai Chicken Peanut Wraps (grilled chicken, peanut curry sauce, mandarin oranges, romaine lettuce, chopped peanuts, and chopped red onion), Roast Beef and Onions (roast beef, provolone cheese, caramelized shallots, red leaf lettuce, and a basic garlic aioli), Harvest Turkey (sliced turkey breast, sharp cheddar, romaine lettuce, sliced red onions, granny smith apple slices, and a basil aioli), and PBJs for the kids.
Grand Central Station (the games):
Get the tutorial and printable here!
Tricky Tunnel: My handy husband made the tunnel for us out of some leftover scraps from other projects - plywood and 2x4s. Maybe I can piece together a tutorial one of these days. I painted the whole thing gray, then cut faux bricks out of sheets of black foam. I attached them with double sided tape, and the tunnel was pretty cool! I borrowed the tunnel from Hugh's discovery tent, and tied it into the tunnel frame for the kids to crawl through.
The Grand Finale!
I had one big surprise left for my little man. His very own train ride! Get the tutorial here.
And now for the printables!
Update: In addition to the yellow and gray printables (all below), these are now available in pink and gray! Click here to get the pink versions.
And they're available in blue and red. I got this request a lot. I guess it makes sense...they're classic train colors. And now they're here! Click here to get the red and blue versions.
(click on the picture for full size, or download the customizable .DOC version here).
To assemble: Edit to include the details of your party (or you can print blank ones and hand write them in). Cut out the ticket around the black line, then use a hole punch to punch the month and date to make them even more train ticket-y. ***Note that some of the text on this invitation runs vertically instead of horizontally. I was able to "turn" the text boxes on my computer, but you may not have the same success. Also, remember that sometimes fonts and formats do funky things in Word from computer to computer, so if it doesn't look right, you'll have to change the font type, size, etc.***
(click on the picture for full size)
To assemble: Print (I used cardstock). Cut out each wrapper. Line up the two short straight ends, overlapping them a little to create a "cup" for your cupcake to go in. Glue or tape the ends together.
(click on each picture for full size)
To assemble: print (I used regular printer paper) and cut out each wrapper. Place your utensils diagonally across a napkin, and wrap the napkin into a cone around the utensils. Wrap one wrapper around the utensil packet and secure the ends with glue (if you're super patient enough to hold them while they dry or tape).
Food Table and Game Signs
To assemble: Customize and print (I used cardstock). Cut out leaving extra white space above each sign so you can fold the sign to make a tent card.
(click on each picture for full size)
Use these however you want. Print on cardstock and mount pictures to them to show off the last year. Use them as the basis for cupcake toppers. Print them out and punch or cut out circles for people to write their names on and tie to the handles of their drink cups so they wouldn't lose them. Be creative!
A few things to keep in mind:
-These printables are made by yours truly! And I appreciate it if you use them for personal use only. If you really, really want them for something else - just ask me.
-You can customize these files however you want. As long as you're moderately handy with a computer; you can use photo editing software, Word, or even Paint. If you can't figure it out, I'm happy to help - just let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I've had some people ask where they could find the train image that's found on the food labels and napkin wrappers. Here is a link to the original file, free to download.