In January I told myself I would blog once each week for the year- But here we are, a week into February and I’m… 3 blogs behind? Maybe more! Oops!
I thought January would be a little slower following the crazy holiday season but apparently it’s still a circus over here.
One reason may be that we had a big 2nd birthday to plan and you KNOW how I feel about those. The bigger the better!
Actually, I’ve been trying to tone the birthday parties down a little- in size and complexity- but it’s not something I’m very good at. My kids aren’t either. The girls are already planning their 4th and 6th birthdays AND the parties that will come after those. It seems I’ve created little party-planning monsters.
For now they had to curb excitement for their own parties by helping me with their brothers’. Which they did. Helped me. So much. What would I have done without their tiny fingers on every. single. detail.
But now for the BIG REVEAL!
Sikes’ Transportation Party
Sikes is currently really into all the things that go. All of them. In fact- his teachers have learned that if they set him up on a table by the window in his classroom he stops throwing things and tackling classmates and watches the cars driving up and down the road outside his window. He’s happy. They’re happy.
Just so you know searching for “transportation-themed toddler party” on Pinterest will give you around 1,000,000 pins. You can have a Firetruck party, a construction party, a train party, a race party, a tractor party, and so. much. more.
My problem? I wanted all those things! But I also didn’t want it to look like a traffic jam in my little house.
So I settled on a traffic light color scheme: red, yellow, green, and black. 90% of our decor fell into this category and it helped me reel in my ideas when they started to get too extensive. Finally, there were a few sprinkles of orange for the construction side of things (which had to be included because of the ADORABLE wrapping paper I found at Hobby Lobby).
So come on in and check it out!
Drive Slow: PARTY ZONE
I made the street signs using leftover wood stacked in our garage. If I was a little less whimsical and a little more pragmatic they would have been neatly centered and measured off but— you know that’s not my style at all!
Lucky for me I’m married to a PE coach and he has an extensive collection of orange cones available for my use. They obviously work great as props, table centerpieces, and balloon holders. And yes- we had an embarrassing number of balloons present because the boy loves balloons.
FYI- all banner letters are from the DOLLAR TREE. I say this every year but I am always so surprised at how amazing The Dollar Tree meets my party-on-a-budget needs. The pennant banners were half off at Hobby Lobby.
Years ago my brothers were part of Royal Ambassadors- also knows as RA’s in the Baptist church culture. Each year they had a big project where they built a little car and then raced it. This seemed like a GREAT craft idea so I got busy on Amazon. These little cars were originally from Oriental Trading according to the stamp on the bottom. They were so tiny and cheap but the kiddos still had a blast coloring and racing them.
I forgot to get a closeup of “Sikes” name but it was possibly my favorite decoration! I used the paper mache letters from Hobby Lobby. I do this for each of my kids and then box them up for the next year. The Lees’ names have layers and layers of paint caked on them at this point but they make such a statement at each party. I used the cheap wood di-cuts from Hobby Lobby on the S (school bus), K (police car) and S (train).
Taco Trains and Chip Trucks
The food table was the main focal point and I adored the way it turned out. But what I loved most was how much Sikes loved this one area. The top banner had a bus and tractor incorporated into it. When I hung the banner a few days before the party Sikes clapped and cheered. He showed everyone that came in the house the bus and “choo choo” hanging on the window and he ran by multiple times a day to be sure it was still there. The items on the table were mostly out of Sikes’ bedroom but the Truck picture came from Hobby Lobby’s clearance aisle. I just couldn’t pass it up.
One thing I neglected to get a picture of was the taco train. I’ll be honest, I’m super sad about that because all the party food was… YOU GUESSED IT… red, yellow, and green. And yes, in that order- just like a traffic light.
(I’m probably the only person that actually recognized this fact but I loved the continuity- and you would, too. If only I took a picture!)
Sikes’ Sweets Station
Party fail! I forgot to make the Railroad Crossing sign. Y’all?! Can you even HAVE a transportation party without a crossing sign? Oh well- nothing I can do about it now. But as you can see, the dessert table was plainly a train theme.
Fun Fact- that train cake? It was made using a set of my Nana’s old Wilton cake pans. She made this train cake for my little brother when he was younger and now I get to make the same one for my favorite little guy. He loved it and tried to eat it smash-cake style but, I stopped that real quick.
The cupcakes were topped with little pull-back cars from amazon. A pack of 24 was only about $10 and they doubled as party favors. Finally, the little traffic lights were made with the pre-packaged brownies and rice krispy treats. We just jammed the M&M’s into them but in the future I would suggest using frosting to ‘”glue” them on.
And I’m proud to say that even though I am a chronic over-cooker when it comes to parties, every single cupcake was eaten, almost all the traffic lights, and all the food, chips, and tortillas were consumed. (I may have forgotten to cut the cake!)
Now Entering the Construction Zone
The weekend Sikes was born we were on a winter storm watch- but the weekend he turned 2 it was sunny and 45. Thank you, Georgia weather. In case you are wondering- 45 degrees with sun is a perfect opportunity to send kids outside in January and we couldn’t keep this crew inside. We set up the photo backdrop on the patio to add some decor (and to hide the mud pit that is our yard with all this rain lately) along with a baby pool filled with gravel and dump trucks, a sand table with insta-snow and construction trucks, ride-on toys and our swing set. (Side note: watch Facebook Marketplace for used play sets. We got ours for a steal by someone on our street and it has been worth every meager penny.)
For the Road
By the door guests were invited to take a goody bag filled with Zebra Stripes gum, transportation stickers, and a stamp along with a plastic construction hat. Also- that traffic light is made from a shoe box, styrofoam balls, and a bubble container (the long, skinny kind) wrapped in duct tape. The Lees stuffed all the goody bags and sealed them with a sticker. So let’s hope what I THINK was in each one actually was.
So What’s Wrong with Presents Anyways?
Nothing. Nothing is wrong with presents- as long as they don’t come in my house! I’m kidding (kind of).
I don’t love a surplus of presents. Mainly because my house is small and we don’t have a playroom. So we like to offer party patrons an opportunity to give back instead. This year we had a Play-Doh drive for Brighter Birthdays, a local organization that packs birthday bags for kids that may not get a celebration otherwise. If you are looking for a wonderful program to get behind this is it! I’ve had the honor of befriending the founder, Cristin, and I adore her story and heart for Brighter Birthdays.
Wow- this one turned out pretty long!
Thanks so much for hanging with me 🙂 Who has a big birthday coming up? Tell me about the party you’re planning!
I love event photography- especially birthday parties. If you are interested in having Studio Kate capture your next party so you can sit back and enjoy the shindig shoot me an e-mail at kate (at) studio-kate (dot) com.
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