Tip #1: A beautiful cake is not an easy thing to master but fondant letters and cookie toppers can be!
That’s because you can make them well in advance (mini-tutorials on these to come?). I’m thinking simple frosted cupcakes with creative toppers are the way to go for parties from here on out.
Tip #2: If you do decide to go the cake route assemble as much of it as possible on site.
This is key in preventing damage. I brought our cake with the two layers side-by-side in a cardboard box on waffle style shelf liners for stability. The fondant letters, toppers, and red candy balls were added at the party.
It turns out custom signs are cheap and easy. The train crossing sign was my favorite part of the decor – and it was free! The private printer I used said he couldn’t really write an invoice for just one poster. I can’t guarantee a free poster for your next party but stick to these guidelines and your sign should only be a few dollars.
Your allotted set-up time will go faster than you think so the simpler the better. Our color scheme was pretty basic; sky blue table cloths and apple red everything else (including plates, cups, cutlery, serving dishes, balloons, and streamers). This made coordinating set up go very quickly. Train whistles and conductor hats doubled as party favors and centerpieces. Finally, the only fancy food element were train shaped sandwiches made with cookie cutters.
Tip #5: When partying away from home streamline as much as possible.
|Food setup included cheese and fruit plates, chips & dips, goldfish crackers, Costco’s Greek chicken salad, and jam & cream cheese sandwiches.|
This too is key when set-up time is limited. I made lots of lists and loaded everything possible into the car the night before. All of the food was stored in two bags in the fridge (so I could grab and go the next morning) and the serving dishes were labeled with sticky notes explaining what food went where.
|Kids and parents alike made themselves comfy.|
Frustrated that I wasn’t finding many places where the two-year-olds would have lots to do and adults could sit and chat, I turned to my moms group and got the great suggestion to check out co-op preschools and toddler groups. Sadly, I found options in nearby Seattle but none in my neighborhood.
So I went for the next best thing, a new drop-off child care center called The Nest. The place had a large main play room as well as additional rooms with play kitchens, climbers, etc. and floor-to-ceiling windows so parents could keep an eye on their kids while chowing down.