The whole train party idea came from these letter trains we bought back in March spelling out Ez's name. Ez loves anything with an engine, so he would've been just as happy with cars, airplanes, or construction vehicles, but I was set on using his name train as decoration, so trains it was!
From there I went straight to Pinterest (naturally) and that's where I found the idea for the chugga chugga two two posters, which I decided would be a simple DIY project. Turns out cutting out little letters is fairly time consuming, but Joe took Ez out for the day so I didn't have to contend with little fingers reaching for my scissors. Plus cutting up poster board is strangely therapeutic. I'll just store those away and baby #2 can have a train-themed party too ;)
For Ez's 1st birthday I made two picture collages using 12 slot frames - 1 month for each slot, and then I gifted those to the grandmas as a Mother's Day present. This time I went more low key with some clothespins, string and 70 cent wooden trains I found at Michael's. I made two garlands with six photos each and hung those above the cake. I also framed two 8x10 photos of Ez with a giant 2 balloon and a train in his hand, and the grandmas each got to keep one of those.
I'd seen a lot of elaborate train cakes on Pinterest, many of them involving marzipan and fondant, which I'm not a fan of, so I went the more simple route (notice a theme here?) and got a round cake with brightly colored dots from the bakery and put one of Ez's larger Thomas trains on top. I also bought a dozen red and white cupcakes and added some Thomas the train cupcake toppers that I got at Party City.
When it came to party favors I stuck with tradition and made some sugar cookies shaped like trains. Again, I saw some adorable train cookies on Etsy, but at $30+ per dozen, I opted to make my own less professional but still cute cookies. Good thing too, because the kids scarfed down at least 20 cookies while we were waiting for food. In case you were wondering, I made hot air balloons for Ez's baby shower, and one-shaped cookies for his birthday last year:
I put the cookies in a suitcase that a friend gave me at Ez's baby shower. We used it for a time capsule, where each guest brought something symbolic from that year, and I also use it to store mementos for him, but I figured the travel theme went along with trains, so it became a cookie-holder for the day.
The kids also got little treat bags with Thomas stamps and bubbles, plus a sheet of stickers and another train cookie. I found the train invitation on Etsy, and sticking with my no-fuss theme I didn't even print or mail it. Digital copies make life so much easier.
Ez's party was in a private enclosed patio at a restaurant, so it wasn't really necessary or possible to go all out with decorations. Instead of worrying about food or cleanup, I just remember being surrounded by family, eating lots of good food, and watching Ez enjoy his day. All in all, a perfect 2nd birthday. More party pics are on the way, but with hundreds to choose from this will be a two (or three) parter!
You can also check out my original toddler train birthday inspiration here.