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How is it that we went to a double birthday party this week and I felt like I left with a gift?



No, not the gift of friendship.  Got that one.  No, not the gift of great memories and photos to cherish.  Got those, too.  I'm talking about the gift of an awesome craft idea that I get to share with all of you, and I didn't even have to do any work!


Now that's friendship for you.  Thanks, Katie and Heather!


Two of Jax and Em's great friends turned two this week.  Andrew and Matthew had a fabulous, train-themed birthday celebration, and I thought their mommies went all out. 



Including, what I thought was the coolest birthday party entertainment for a bunch of two-year-olds I had ever seen.  We made our very own train.


First of all, my friend Heather cut out the silhouette of a steam engine out of cardboard, which led the way.  Then every kid got his or her own cardboard box, flaps folded down, to make a boxcar. 



Four taped paper plates became wheels.  The kids could then decorate as lustily or as minimally as they wanted.  At the end of the day, we put them all together to create their very own train!


Here are some photos of the admittedly hectic fun.  Any time toddlers have access to tape and/or scissors, I always think there's potential for disaster.  Although Jax did attempt to "chomp" his friend Matthew with the red safety scissors, and I did see him contemplating cutting Harper's hair (yes, they were confiscated at that point), I think it overall went rather well.


 I love how all the kids seem to have a look of quasi-confusion.  I'm not sure what they were unsure about, but they all seem a bit perplexed about this particular crafting adventure.  Too much freedom, maybe.






This is Jax, contemplating whether to use his scissors for good or evil.



Here's Andrew, one of the birthday boys, admiring his friends' handiwork.  He finished his a lot quicker than Jax, who played in his box for a half hour but didn't actually do anything other than open and shut his scissors and horde red markers.


It wasn't just the big kids who got into the act.  Em, Paisely, and Jacob had a grand time, too! 




And the best photo of the day goes to 2-week-old Jacob:



He was super happy in there!  Didn't make a peep.


You could go as crazy as you want with this idea.  You could make a train station.  You could set up tracks or junction lights.  The possibilities are endless, and the centerpiece (the train) will undoubtedly be a huge hit.


Of course, the fun didn't stop there.  That Thomas cake was as yummy as it looked!



I had to tell Jax to stop "helping" (aka spitting all over their cake).



Thanks for the great photos of Jax, Heather!



Eating cake outside was a brilliant idea for clean-up of crumbs and no mess in the house.  However, having two chocolatey babies clamoring all over me with no bathroom or paper towels in sight was a bit too much for me.  I needed to clean them before they smeared me with their chocolate hugs and grabbed me with their chocolate fists.




Of course, it didn't quite work out that way, but I tried.



And after their sugar highs wore off, they piled into their boxcars...




...and had them contained in one place! 

Of course I needed to take photos--this was history in the making!



And if you think this is crazy, there were three kids who had left already! 

We really like living on the edge up here in the Upper Valley.


Happy Birthday to two special little guys and thank you, again, mamas, for a great idea to steal!  I am re-gifting this idea to all of you lovely readers, and I hope you spread its love far and wide!


All aboard!

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