Finn’s transportation party

I’m still here sitting in disbelief that I have a three year old. It is truly mind boggling to me. This year Finn turned 3 on 03/03/2013, and the sun was shining golden for the occasion. I really felt strongly that his third birthday needed to reflect his budding personality and encompass all the things he loves. His favorite things in the world are to play with cars and trains, and he has mastered riding his tricycle. The transportation theme was sort of a no brainer.

Unlike the rest of the world I do not have a Pinterest account (I sense my resolve weakening daily), so I relied on my imagination and ideas that I have picked up here and there. One of my best sources for cool art projects is the one and only Angie Burke. A few months back she planted the seed in my head that I needed to get an architectural print for the big wall in my living room. At first I was going to go nautical, like a giant octopus (which would still be fabulous), but then I realized I should do prints for Finn’s party. This translates to EASIEST DECORATIONS EVER! I asked on Facebook if anyone knew where I could find some glorious B&W vintage transportation graphics for free, and my friends did not disappoint. The two sites that were recommended were amazing: open clip art and graphics fairy. I found just what I needed and got to work converting them into vector files and then I had them printed at Kinko’s. They came out better than I could have imagined, and Finn’s reaction to them just made my year. He literally squealed with delight and jumped up and down at the sight of them. I also wanted to incorporate lots of #3’s and the color yellow because it was his golden birthday after all. I found some airplanes on Amazon in a box of 100 for around 8.00 and I hung them from the ceiling and filled goodie bags with them. I also found some cute transportation prints that we already owned and framed them up on our fireplace wall which added a splash of color to our very black and white architecture prints. I needle felted a #3 in yellow wool and stuck it on top of one of the frames and I added some cars inside my vintage film reels for a bit of whimsy.

I’m sure like many of you out there my family is on a very tight budget so anything that I could make I did, which leads us to food and party location/activities. I made banana bread car shaped cakes (thanks Auntie Merri for letting us barrow the cars cake form), as well as golden cupcakes topped with lemon curd. I grabbed some golden snacks at Trader Joe’s and called it good. Our party was from 2-4 so I didn’t feel pressure to provide and substantial food for our guests.

Our condo is around 1000 square feet and my challenge was how to make it comfortable for 30+ people for two hours. The solution? A transportation parade (kids on decorated bikes, strollers, trikes, etc) to the Starbucks, where I reserved the meeting room for us to sing happy birthday, eat cupcakes and color for a bit. We would then pack up and headed back to the house and played with pre-set transportation stations (train sets, cars and puzzles). Sounds like a genius plan huh?! Well… as it turns out trying to take 20 children across a busy street within the time allotted was waaaaay more dangerous than I had expected. The fantasy in my head was children joyfully parading across the street in a single file line with complete control of their vehicles, all the while smelling the fresh air and giving me the occasional glance of gratitude. The reality: everyone piling out onto the street at once, screaming, crying, getting tangled in balloons, feet being trampled, and me standing at the other end laughing in horror and taking pictures of course.

what may look like smiles in these photos were actually screams

We thankfully make it to the Starbucks in one piece-ish and everyone enjoyed the “sugary cake” as Finn calls it. The adults grabbed themselves a much needed drink and then we went back (in a much more organized fashion I might add). Live and learn right?! Although I still wouldn’t change a thing because the whole chaotic visual still makes me chuckle. I know, I have a dark side.

bubbles: a perfect end to a crazy, fun, sugary, 3 year old transportation party

I don’t think I will ever forget that party or the way Finn loved it. It was truly a party that suited him ,danger included. I enjoyed every moment of creating that experience for him and his little buddies. : )


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