Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pretty Little Party: Ella's Glitter Train Birthday

Today I'm introducing a new feature here on Stir & Scribble - 'Pretty Little Party'. This series is a real life take on 'Festive Feasts' where instead of just suggesting ideas for a party - I'm going to share the handful of parties I host or co-host throughout the year. I really love a little party! 

This party was incredibly dear to my heart because it was my daughter Ella's 2nd birthday party. Ella is really in love with all things trains right now, but she is also a very girly girl (tutus, glitter, and nail polish, oh my!). Unfortunately, there aren't many (or any) purple, pink, or glittered train party supplies on the market. 

glitter garland | tissue fans | train tickets
purple party plates + cups | wooden train whistles
glitter crown | train printable

I wanted to incorporate trains, glitter, girly things, and purple (Ella's favorite color) into the party decor. I also wanted to re-use as many decorations from last year's "funfetti" birthday as possible, too. Ella requested "balloons", "birthday party cake", and Thomas the tank engine. 

I used Paperless Post to send electronic invites. As much as I love paper invites - my budget didn't include room for them. Paperless Post allows you to order a proof though - which I love as a keepsake for Ella's memory books (you know, the one in my imagination). 

The only major DIY we did before the party were these watercolor paint pages: We printed a simple train on cardstock, then added a few dabs of watercolor paint, let that dry overnight, and attached an inexpensive paint brush with tape. We included the painting page, temporary train tattoos, a page of train stickers and a train whistle in these darling boxes from Shop Sweet Lulu as a favor. The painting pages actually ended up being a great activity for the kids during the party too. 

We also picked up a few rainbow party hats at Target. My mom had the brilliant idea to hang them from the light fixture above our dining table. It was a fun little detail. I was surprised by how many kids actually wore the party hats! 

The "happy birthday" banner was another Target find last year and we've actually used it for 3 or 4 birthdays since Ella's first birthday. 

I made this glitter garland myself for Ella's first birthday - this is a great tutorial if you want to make your own! 

Grocery store balloons - a dozen with helium and a dozen without. We tried making another garland using balloons without helium and sticking a small bell inside, but it didn't quite turn out. Still if I had know what a hit balloons would be - I would have nixed all the other decor and just spent all my decor money on balloons. Seriously - kids love balloons. 

Writing this post is making me question how I had so much extra time last year around Ella's birthday! Somehow I had also made her a crown to wear for the day last year - this year she was gifted the sweetest little glitter crown (I think it was from Carters, but I can't seem to find it online!) Phew. 

You're wondering about the food by now huh? This is a food blog after all. We've set the tradition that we will serve barbecue for Ella's birthday because Ella loves baked beans and barbecue is universal loved in my husband's family. You really can't go wrong with some pulled pork, mac and cheese, and beans. You might remember that last year I made this pulled pork and all the fixings from scratch. This year I totally opted to order pulled pork and smoked sweet potatoes from a little local BBQ place. We made Ella's carolina sauce, baked beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese too.   There was also sweet tea, coke, beer, and juice boxes to drink too. 

I got some slack from one of the guests for not making everything myself - so I feel like I need to say to you and to myself: "Its okay". I wanted to enjoy the days leading up to Ella's birthday with her (and my mom and step-dad who were visiting from Washington). I can make myself crazy and sleepless by trying to do-it-all, which is something I'm actively working on. So I ordered the Barbecue - I also ordered the cake and cupcakes. 

 Ella, my mom, and I also made a batch of sugar cookies the day before the party using this recipe and these train shaped cookie cutters that Ella got for Christmas. I used them to decorate the store bought cake, so points for that right? 

And if you're still following along and want to know how we full filled Ella's request to have Thomas the Train at her party - two words: trackless train. I realize that this seems like a completely ridiculous splurge for a two year old's birthday party. And it was and it also wasn't. After doing a little research I was able to find a local company to do an hour worth of train rides for a reasonable price. Some companies have a two-hour minimum. 

 I was kind of surprised when this "trackless train" was a few wooden boxes around a riding lawn mower. The train was also showing its age too. BUT - Ella didn't notice/could careless (actually none of the kids cared - even the bigger kids were excited for the rides). And despite the cold weather that day, she basically rode the train for the entire hour that we paid for. She and I even did one lap by ourselves while everyone else went inside to warm up. 

Ella said it was the "best birthday party ever" (her reference point is two other parties this year) and she still talks about the time Thomas the Train came to visit. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Lindsay! We missed you guys - though I'm sure Parker is too cool to ride the train anyway :).

  2. you did an INCREDIBLE job. from the food to the fancy party decorations to the train to the goodie bags. it was one of my favorite parties, ever! matilda had the time of her life. i think what made the party even more special was all of the love in the room. you have such a lovely family and that ella... pure magic.

    1. The love is what its all about. I'm so glad y'all were able to join us! Thank you for being part of Ella's special day.

  3. This is so FUN! What a great idea.

    1. Thanks Janssen - too bad you and yours don't live closer - Ella would have loved it (and probably had lots of adorable things to say.

  4. It was such a beautiful occasion. Happy to have been a part of the festivities and we are all so blessed to watch Ella grow.

  5. This is so cute! You did a great job thematically tying everything together. I love your creativity, and I know it will be such a fun memory to have. Loving your sporadic true-confessions in this post, too (store-bought cake, lawn mower train, didn't make all the food...) we all need reminders to ENJOY life and not just blog about it.

    1. Ha! thanks Nicole - I'm glad someone caught all the little cheats I made. And thank you.


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