Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Third Birthday, Gideon! and How to Throw a Simple Train Party

Gideon's third birthday was much anticipated.  In fact, I can't remember being as excited for any of my birthdays for a long, long while.

Gideon had been working since Christmas on earning obedience stickers every day so he could get a train set for his birthday.  Doing his chores - taking diapers to the back door, cleaning up the bath toys in the nursery and great room - all earned him "sticker points," as did not whining, being kind to Esther, and generally listening.  He knew exactly when his birthday dawned, as he came downstairs and asked for his train.

Although he knew what his big gift would be (generously given by his Poppy and Wowie), we had a surprise for him - his party was held inside a passenger train car restored at our old town depot.

Gideon realizing for the first time that his party was going to be held inside the train!

It was easy enough to rent, and I kept the set up to an hour only, completing it while a friend sat in during the kids' naps.

For decorations, I used things I already had: two toy trains (one from Melissa & Doug, the other a vintage piece picked up at Kempton Antique Markets in London), bunting I made for our London nursery, and a bright thrifted table cloth.  The food - not well pictured here - doubled as decorations, as I used rectangled pyrex and bread pans as train cars with edible cargo - coal (grapes), passengers (gummy bears - in the little Melissa & Doug cars), animals (animal crackers), lumber (pretzels), and produce (carrots).  The vintage engine served to "pull" the train.  The only specific, non-transferable items I purchased for the party were the train whistle favors and the cupcake picks.

I also took a page from the train party we attended at the Manchester library and checked out several train books for the kids to read.  That and the early-opened train set were the only pre-planned activities for the kids.  

The train had this old ladder there in one of its end closets as well as the rocker, probably used at Christmas when the "Polar Express" was read.  I cleared out all the folding chairs and the place looked lovely.

 For all its simplicity, the party was an enormous success.  Everyone, including myself, enjoyed themselves immensely, had just enough to do and eat, and, most importantly, Gideon got to play with his trains with people he loved in our new little town.

Oli, our favorite manager at our grocery store in Manchester and whom Gideon adores, made the trek up from Manchester.

Our neighbors, Sarah and Sienna came and handmade Gideon the most precious train scenes for him to roll trains around, seeing his favorite views of London, Oomy Zoomi city, New Hampshire, and more. 

Opening the train set from Wowie and Poppy!

The reading station was a hit with the older kids.


  1. This looks amazing! Well done!

  2. They say you lose your memory as you grow older. I say “forget about the past” find out more and live life to the fullest today. Start with ice cream. Happy Birthday.

  3. On this your birthday may you be filled party
    with laughter, joy and peace with your family and close friends, content in all life brings.