Thomas Train Birthday Party!

This weekend we had Mr. Z’s 4th Birthday party. Of course, it has to be Thomas The Tank Engine Birthday party. It was an eventful day because if you have heard we had severe storm (Tornado watch) in our area. So right before the party, there were rain, hails and strong wind. We did actually had to run down to the basement for a few minutes. A good Tornado drill for our family. But eventually, the storm passed and the sky was as clear as a Spring day.

The planning for his birthday was easy.

Location
At our home. I planned for about 10-15 kids so I know that we can handle it in our house. Plus it’s free of charge.

Invitation
I have used eVite for Miss J on her birthday and I think that will be my invitation from now on. It’s cheap (free) and it saves the environment and it’s easy to use. What not to love about that.
Food
Pizza, fruit salad, chex mix, choc covered pretzel and juice.

Cake
Can’t have a Thomas birthday without Thomas cake. I resourced to my old friend, Publix. But I feel so bad for all the parents since this cake is a real buster. It can get to their face and the color will stay for a bit. Nothing a good wash with soap can’t clean. I have to put a note that Mr. Rojo reminds me that I swear that I won’t order this cake last year. Oh! well, I have such a short memory. So now I will put it in writing that next year I will order different cake. It just looks so adorable! But the cake is way too big..

Activities
I’m not into planning games for them. I just laid out several train tracks. The kids were too busy to do anything else. We had wooden track, lego track, battery operated track and also remote control train. Plenty of trains for everyone.

I also laid out the train shape wood that kids can color and put the stick-on magnet to bring home as a magnet for their fridge.

After the cake we also had Thomas Pinata. It was a big hit for everyone. Eventhough, the strings didn’t work quite well. We just poke it out for the candies. Again, sorry parents for too much sugar! :)

Party Favors
I bought blue paper bag from Michael’s and filled it with whistle that I put Thomas sticker on, Thomas pencil that we got from Thailand, paddle ball with train picture, a few candies in train wrapper. Then they will get to add candies from pinata and also their train magnet.

It was fun planning this party and I think we had fun eventhough it was stressful at time with the severe weather news on the background. :)
I am not sure how many more Thomas The Tank Engine birthday we will have. Guess it might be for a while…

Build-A-Bear… Where Best Friends are made…

This weekend we didn’t make it to IKEA. We went to a birthday party at Build-A-Bear store. This is the first time for the kids but my hubby and I had been there before. It was such a fun experience for them. I think just the idea that they have the say in everything their bear to be made have made a huge impact on them.

It was a busy day though. The party has 19 kids. Just to imagine that and that didn’t include other customers in the store.

First step is to pick your bear or bunny or turtle.. There are more than just a bear. Once that’s done then they move to the Stuff Me station. This is where they get to put a heart into their little friend and see how it comes to life. (not litterally but you know what I mean)

Then we couldn’t possibly bring home a bear without giving them a proper bath. The bath station is cute and fun. Sure does help them learn to about good hygiene.

Next, we need to dress him up. This is where the store really makes a lot of money. There are lots of options for them from normal outfit shirt and skirt to sport fan outfit. Or even Limited Too version of a bear..

Then you will get to register your bear and receive a birth certificate just like bringing home your brand new baby.. What a concept!!!

There are several other copy cat type of stuffing bear that you can see when you walk in the mall or shopping area. But I think the whole thing is not just about stuffing your own bear but the whole experience in the store. Walking around to pick up your bear, stuff him, clean him and dress him.

A birthday for train-fanatic son…

I know it’s a tad too early to be planning a March birthday party. But knowing that I might have to think about several things to do I might as well put my thought in my blog.

At least I know that there is one certain thing. The party will be a train theme and most likely Thomas the Tank Engine. We did have Thomas cake last year for him but there was nothing plan to coordinate that since it was 3 years old birthday. But now that he will be 4 and can participate more I want to add extra little things to make it more special.

I have read several great ideas online about planning Thomas birthday. But a lot of it involves too much planning and making. I need to really think about it.

Here are some of the tips that I want to consider:

1) Mark the driveway as a train track. This seems to be simple to do by using the masking tape to create a train track.

2) Create a train box for each kid. This might be a bit of a stretch depending on how many kids we want to invite. I still don’t know if I want to do boys only party or all ages party. I think at this age he doesn’t discriminate yet. :) The train box idea is neat I might just cut it down to just one and the kids can take turn. But again, it might be begging for a disaster since we know how sharing work so well in little kids. The box is created from diaper box and painted it then attached a string so they can wear it. The wheel makes some plastic plate. Seems easy enough. I do have a diaper box so if I want to do one I can.

3) Indoor or outdoor… This will depend on the mother nature and how the weather will be then. I would love to do it outdoor to minimize the disaster in my house.

4) Projects will include coloring train pictures when they arrive. Then I will have them do the project for painting the train car when everyone is here. There are several good ideas for the craft projects including decorating a picture frame, decorating door hanger. I will have to see the cost on this one.

5) If we can do it outdoor, I also plan something along the line of decorating the wagon to be a train and attach it to our ride on car. Not sure how well that will do but gotta try it. Well, I admit I originally want to rent trackless train.. But the price is way too over our budget for a little boy birthday. So we have to be creative on this.

Let's jump!

This past Sunday we went to my daughter’s friend’s birthday party. It seems to be a very popular choice of late to host a party at a bouncing place. So far we have attended 4 birthday parties that hosted at one of the bouncing places. I think it’s a great idea! Parent doesn’t have to do anything. Kids can run wild without worrying about getting in trouble. It’s a win-win situation.

The place we went this past Sunday is called ‘Jumpsters‘. It’s just an OK place in my opinion (it’s the personal opinion so don’t send me hate mail about it). The place is in one of the strip mall which is a bit unusal since most of the other places are mostly in the warehouse area. The nice thing is that they provide plenty of sitting area for parents to enjoy their coffee and internet. But I don’t know how anyone can sit and relax since the noise is beyond your ears can handle. They have 4 inflatables in there with the game token area at the back. Also in the back, there are 2 party rooms. In my opinion, if you have a small party then it’s perfect. But if your party is larger than 10 kids then this place seem to be too small.

Next weekend we also have another invitation to another birthday party to yet another jumping place. This one is called ‘Catch Air’. We have been there several times. I actually discovered it from an internet forum. It is bigger than Jumpsters with higher ceiling. There are more inflatables and also separate area for small toddler. Plus they have the indoor playground like the type that you can find in McD. The parent area is OK. It’s not as nice as in Jumpster and don’t have full service coffee shop. They do provide wi-fi though. There are also 2 party rooms for the birthday party. Also look like they have added several new feature like a mascot, karaoke and game area. I will know more once I go there again.

Another jumping place in the area that we have tried is ‘Pump It Up’. This place gears toward a birthday party. They have two separate jumping area that connected to a party room. So they can host two birthday parties at the same time and each will get their own private play. The feel is not as big as Catch Air. There is no separate parent area just a bench in the jumping room. But the staffs are very helpful and nice to help facilitate the party.

Overall, I like Catch Air the best. But it’s just the personal choice when it comes down to choose the jumping place. I think for the kids there is not much difference since it can feel overwhelming for little kids that they probably won’t care either way anyway.

The Pajama Birthday Party!

This past weekend we were homebound yet again. It was the weekend of partying. First on Sat was my daughter’s birthday. As I planned, we had a pajama party birthday. We had total 14 kids (including my son – the only boy) in the party. Everyone wore their PJs to the party.

We started off with claming the spot with their sleeping bags in front of the TV. I didn’t know if it will fit everyone but since they won’t be sleeping for real being on top of each other wasn’t much of a problem.

After they were settled down, they headed for the snack table. It was simple enough yet full of everyone favorite. Cookies, marshmellow, vanilla waffer and pretzel. The drink’s choices are milk, juice or water.. The kids were so happy with all the snacks. No drama at all.

After they finished their snack, we went to the dinning room where I prepared the pillow case crafting project for them. Basically, I got the cream pillow case and let their imagination run wild. Provided them with fabric marker and glitter glue we were all set. The kids were very artistic.

Then, it was time for movie and popcorn. I had two choices between Bratz-Sleepover Party movie VS Mary-Kate&Ashley Sleepover party.. Well, needless to say.. MK&Ashley were a bit too old for them to know. So Bratz it was.. What a great idea for the party because the kids sat there quietly gave us adults time to chat and eat our pizza.

After that, it was cake time and wrapping up the party. Cake, as usual, was from Publix. This time we tried the fresh strawberries filling.. OMG, it was the best yet from Publix. The filling was so yummy and the cake was light yet tasty. Sorry, didn’t have time to take the picture. By the time I thought about it we almost finished the whole thing and the picture won’t be that pretty. :)

Overall, it was pretty easy to do and stressless party!! We sent them home with a goodie bag full of toothbrush pack with toothpaste, a bag of cocoa, raisin box, nail polish and their own personalize pillow case.