Simon’s Thomas the Train 1st Birthday Party

posted by Andrea | 03/10/2015

simon's first birthday

Last week, Simon had a birthday… and this past weekend, we had the privilege of celebrating with him!

As I’m sure you can already tell, the theme of the party was Thomas and Friends — or, more specifically according to Nora “a red and blue Thomas the Train party”.

I’ll be honest, I’m really not into “first birthdays” because the kids don’t remember a thing. However, Nora was SOOOOOOOOOO excited to “help plan” Simon’s party that I actually got into the whole planning process too and had a lot of fun scrounging together a bunch of Thomas the Train party details!

The day before the party, I brought Simon in for his 12-month checkup + shots and they said he had a DOUBLE ear infection. Add to that the fact that he currently has some major diaper rash, and he was relatively miserable the morning of the party 🙁

He perked up after a couple naps and was relatively happy for the party (especially towards the end) but still not his normal self.

Thankfully, it was just a 1st birthday so he won’t remember anything besides my pictures… because I know one little girl who would have been beside herself if we had to cancel or even reschedule this party!

Nora did a bang-up job helping me plan the party AND being the train conductor for the night!

Even though Simon wasn’t feeling great, he still enjoyed the extra attention from his grandparents and aunts and uncles…and the numerous rides on our Thomas the Train toy (that I happened to find at a thrift store for $1 last year!)

All in all, it was a very fun, festive, and frugal first birthday party — and lots of memories were made!

Here are the party details:

Since we only invite both Dave and my immediate family members, I just send out an invitation via email (for free).

I made this invitation using PicMonkey.com — which is a free photo editing site that I’ve been using for several years already.

Our guest list is usually between 12-16 adults along with 2-5 little kids — so nothing major. This year, I just had cake, ice-cream, and a few munchies… served up in aluminum bread loaf pans to look like part of a train.

I borrowed the Thomas train on the counter from our church nursery, and the loaf pans came in a 6-pack for $1.

The cake tasted good — but it definitely didn’t turn out as nicely as I was hoping.

For starters, it just ended up smaller than I expected for using TWO 9″ x 13″ cakes stacked on top of each other. I wanted to make a bigger train track, use a bigger Thomas train, and have some trees, bushes, and more decorations on top. But there just wasn’t enough room.

Plus, I ran out of frosting and when I went to make more (using the same recipe as my previous batch of frosting) it totally flopped and wouldn’t firm up when I did any decorating.

Like I said, it still tasted fine, but I was a little disappointed.

My decorations consisted of a green tablecloth (to look like grass), red plates, and blue napkins — all purchased from the dollar store for $4.00.

I used electrical tape (it’s all I had in the house) to make a train track on the green tablecloth.

Simon’s shirt was borrowed from a friend, and Nora’s outfit was pieced together with things we already had in the house plus a $4.99 pair of overalls that I snagged from ThredUp.com

She will probably never wear the overalls again (they are pretty dorky looking and have snaps in the crotch, which she doesn’t like) but for $5, they were TOTALLY worth the price for how thrilled she was to look like a train conductor.

I tried to get a cute picture of her with Simon… but you know how that goes with kids and movable objects.

This is the best I got! 

Since Simon was ‘under the weather’, we told Nora she could “help” him open his gifts — and boy did that make her night!

Then Nora played with the gifts while Simon just chilled.

All together, I think I spent about $10 total on decorations, paper products, and “costumes”. The food was all stuff I already had in the house besides a few 2 liters of soda and the caramel dip for the apples.

Obviously, I spent a decent amount of time planning and preparing the food and everything else for the party, but that’s not bad for a 1st birthday party if you ask me! 

All in all, it was a fun afternoon for our family, and now we have a big boy in our house — just in time to make room for another baby 🙂

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21 comments

  1. Stacey B.

    03/20/2015

    Hey…quick question! I’d love to throw an afternoon birthday party for my soon-to-be 1-year-old, Beau, where we could just serve cake and snacks, instead of a full-on meal. However! That would be about the same time as his afternoon nap. How did/do you handle that? Does he skip that day? Do you adjust the schedule for the day, so that he can get one extra early? Or do you have him disappear from the party for a while to get some sleep?

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I just have non-napping kids 🙂

    Seriously, Nora NEVER EVER took naps unless we drove her around in the car (when we just couldn’t handle it anymore). And although Simon is an amazing sleeper at night, he’s a crappy napper. He will often take a quick nap in the morning and that’s it for the whole day 🙁

    If your kiddo takes an afternoon nap, maybe you could host a brunch party in the morning and just have some fruit and yogurt to go with your cake ???

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  2. Elena

    03/14/2015

    Happy 1st birthday Simon!!! I can’t believe he’s already 1 year old….the year flew by! So happy to see you all enjoyed his birthday party. Both kids are adorable 🙂

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  3. Christie

    03/11/2015

    I love it!!! I borrowed your Daniel Tiger theme for my daughter-you have the greatest simple ideas.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — feel free to borrow this idea too. it was VERY simple — just took a little time to put together but really not bad at all!

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  4. Lisa

    03/10/2015

    I think the cake turned out awesome! Love the loaf pan ideas. Happy birthday Simon!

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  5. Dawn

    03/10/2015

    i think Simon is going to be tall like his Daddy!!

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  6. Leigh

    03/10/2015

    Perfect!
    We take a playdate with cupcakes and pinata (homemade tradition) path for our littles parties.
    What works brilliantly for first birthdays we have found is having the kid who brought the present help unwrap it. When you end up inviting families, there are always big kids to help with that particular job.

    [Reply]

  7. Daphne

    03/10/2015

    Happy Birthday to your little man! The party looked perfect to me and if the kiddos are happy that is truly all that matters! 🙂 Your mini party planner/conductor did a wonderful job! Glad he had a great day and hope he is feeling better!

    [Reply]

  8. Danielle H

    03/10/2015

    I had to laugh at the pictures you tried to take of the two of them. I ca totally relate! I have a 4yr old, 2yr old and a 6 month old and it is impossible to get a good picture of all three. At Chritmas we took 67 pictures trying to get a good one for our a Christmas card! Anyway, cute party! You do parties like I do!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Dnaielle — I think we took over 100 pictures to get ONE kind-of good one for our christmas cards 🙂

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  9. Bonnie

    03/10/2015

    You did a wonderful job on the cake! What a beautiful family.

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  10. Mama Murrey

    03/10/2015

    Before we got married my husband had a puppy just like the cream and brown one, which he named Pierre. When our son came along, he claimed it and it has been his favorite puppy. When he was learning to talk, he called it “Bee-yuh.” At age five, he still sleeps with it every night.

    [Reply]

  11. Linda

    03/10/2015

    Happy Birthday, Simon. Good looking family.

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  12. Rose

    03/10/2015

    Happy Birthday! Very cute ideas~ Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  13. Stacey B.

    03/10/2015

    Beautiful babies. 🙂
    I love the outtakes of them together. Ha! The best.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks — we have plenty more “outtakes” as well 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. lydia @ frugaldebtfreelife

    03/10/2015

    So sweet! We did Thomas for my son’s second birthday and it was a hit! My dad made a “Percy” out of his tractor and gave the kids rides. All they did was make a face and tape in on the front and make a smoke stack out of plastic black planters.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that sounds awesome! of course, by us, everything is covered with snow right now so tractor rides probably wouldn’t work — maybe for the next baby’s July birthday!!

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  15. Janice

    03/10/2015

    You did a great job on the party. Nora is obviously experiencing some “on the job” training under her boss(mother).

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  16. Michelle

    03/10/2015

    Happy Birthday Simon!! You’re growing fast and a blessing to your mama and dada and sister. Birthday wishes and prayers for a healthy and busy second year.

    The party looks so cute, hope you enjoyed it.

    [Reply]