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source: awn.com
Love Bug is not very verbal yet, so I took her to the store to look at and pick out her plates and napkins for her birthday party.  She picked up Thomas the Tank Engine plates and napkins and was intent on getting them.  A train themed party it was then!

Party Prep
Once I had a theme, I could start gathering things for decorations.  The 
Thomas and Friends website has a lot of free printables.  This is where I got all of my decorations, coloring pages and puzzles.  Sweet Girl even picked out one of the birthday cards to print out and color for Love Bug.  This site is great!

I just used clip art images for my "All Aboard!" and railroad crossing signs.

Sweet Girl "reminded me" of how we decorated the room with Elmer books that we checked out from the library for her birthday and that she wanted to do the same for Love Bug with Thomas books.  We checked out a bunch of books at our library visit that week and collected the Thomas books we had around the house.  I love decorating with books!  It's so fun and inexpensive! 


I decorated the day before Love Bug's birthday.  I hung up the pictures of Thomas and Friends in the living/dining rooms while Love Bug napped.  She was so happy to see them that she clapped.  :)  Sweet Girl helped me with the streamers and really liked the railroad-type signs I hung up.  The house was definitely looking ready for a party!
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Easy, inexpensive decorations! And yes, those are Christmas lights!
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I usually hang the girls' artwork here, but switched it out for Thomas and Friends.
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Close-up of picture I used for focal point for streamers. source: www.thomasandfriends.com
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I hung this one on the wall clock.
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I printed out pictures like these of Thomas' friends for decorations. source: http://www.thomasandfriends.com
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This one was in the kitchen doorway.
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Decorating with books!
After the girls were in bed, Daddy used painter's tape to make railroad tracks on the floor that led from the hallway to the dining room table and kitchen.  While he did that, I finished wrapping presents.
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I love the tracks look! The curved track goes to the kitchen.
We put a small present on our girls' spots every year for their birthdays.  We got Love Bug a little Max since she likes him so much.  Instead of wrapping him, I made a Thomas train for Max to ride in by using a tissue box (I cut it and re-taped it so it would be narrower) and this pattern from DLTK's Crafts for Kids.  (Thanks, Jen!)    Having a present waiting for you is a fun way to start the morning!
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I love how this turned out!
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Looks like Max is looking right at you! {Side view of Thomas.}
In addition, everyone got a  "train ticket" at their spot.  I got the template here from The Spaghetti Westerner.  (Thanks, Leigh!)  There's even a file you can download to personalize the tickets.  I just wrote in the information on this ticket.
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source: thespaghettiwesterner.com
Another thing I have done each year for the girls, is to make a picture collage of their past year.  Love Bug's collage also included our first "family of four" picture.  My girls really enjoy looking at pictures and it is fun for everyone to see how the birthday girl has grown!

For the table, I used a "nice" tablecloth and Love Bug's train track set that she got for Christmas from Sweet Girl last year.  In the middle of the track was a vase we already had on the table with fun balloons and flowers in it.  I also added the paper products and gifts to make the table look more festive.  Sweet Girl's stuffed Thomas joined the table decor as a "guard" to make sure Love Bug didn't touch the gifts.  :) 

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This turned out to be really cute. Notice the Horton ear on the vase? :)
The Big Day

The next day was Love Bug's birthday!  The girls were very surprised to see a train track on the floor and couldn't wait to explore it.  Love Bug saw her Max and Thomas right away and headed towards her table.  Sweet Girl also got a present for being a super big sister the past two years.  She got a little Ruby.

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Love Bug's table with her gifts. The girls decorated it with streamers the night before.
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Max and Ruby checking everything out.
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The girls checking out the track with Thomas.
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Thomas liked the track.
Cake
I found this festive Thomas picture and printed it out on photo paper.  I lined the back with index cards (cardboard would've worked, too) and used it as my cake topper.  I didn't want the picture to get dirty, so I cut straws and placed them in the cake to create a stand for the picture to sit on.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.  Again, staying with the idea of being inexpensive, but still having a special cake!


I have to share this funny story:  I used the "2" candle for decoration instead of a candle to blow out.  After we sang and Love Bug "blew" out the candles (she tried, but Sweet Girl helped out), she wanted to lick the frosting off of the "2" when I took it out.  I handed it to her and she started licking the bottom of it.  Next thing I know, Love Bug bit a piece of the bottom of the candle off!  I got it out of her mouth before she could chew it up and explained to her that it wasn't candy.  She tried to bite the candle again, so I just had to take it away.  Everyone thought it was so funny!
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The cake! I used the "2" just as a decoration.
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Close-up of how I put on the picture.
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Love Bug posing with her cake.
We kept the day pretty low key.  Both girls wore their Thomas shirts and we headed to the park as a family after breakfast.  We spent the morning at Joseph D. Reading Park.  (Read my review of the park here.)  The day was perfect to be outside!  I fixed some of Love Bug's favorite meals (which included warm beets!).  Below are some more pictures of how we celebrated at home and at Grandmommy's the next day. 
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Ready for the park!
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Sweet Girl was a climber.
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Mama and the girls on our "hike."
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Love Bug showing Sweet Girl where to go.
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Love Bug enjoyed just walking around the park.
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Love Bug opened some books before quiet time.
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Front door at Grandmommy's.
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Sweet Girl telling Love Bug about her new gift.
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Love Bug loved taking a bath with these "dirty dog" toys that get clean with warm water.
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Some of her favorite gifts.
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The traditional birthday banner at Grandmommy's.






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