Random Neural Firings

the inner workings of a restless creative brain

Airplane Birthday Party


I am so far behind on publishing these photos! We had my son’s 3 year old birthday party at a local private airport. They have a playground for kids and a “hangar” with picnic tables. I took some boxes I’d printed up for a client that look like suitcases and re-purposed them as favor boxes by covering up the client info with a “Hunter Airlines” label. Once again, I ordered a birthday banner with a photo from each month of the past year from Mary Had a Little Party on Etsy. This is my third year ordering banners from her and they are so cute! The cake came from a local baker who does AMAZING work. The airplane is actually edible – made out of molded chocolate! I bought this cute take-apart airplane toy and used it as a table decoration along with the favor boxes. I got super lucky and found this outfit by Le Top on sale online. There are plenty of airplane shirts out there; I just loved that I found one in the party colors (yes, I am that ridiculous).

Need more ideas for your own airplane party? Check out my Pinterest board just for planes. I made the boarding pass invitations and favor tags myself; email me if you want the art and I’ll send it to you. I stuffed the favor boxes with little foam airplane flyers and gave each kid Richard Scarry’s “Day at the Airport” book. I also made some paper airplanes from a template that’s in Microsoft Word and set those out with crayons but it was so windy that nobody could really do that. The kids just wanted to play on the playground and watch the planes. They were plenty entertained!



posted under DIY, Etsy love | 11 Comments »

Gymnastics Party for a Boy – Good Luck with That


My son takes a gymnastics class once a week – this is a “real” gymnastics class with a balance beam, rings, uneven bars, floor work, etc. It’s hilarious to watch these little 3 year olds bop around. We had him in a sports class last year which he did not like because he said the other kids were faster. Being the uber-competitive person I am, I told him that he needed to practice and he would get faster. Being the more astute person that she is, our nanny pointed out that he was the youngest and shortest, so you know, maybe that had something to do with it. Wow, I missed that one.

Anyhow, I digress. His birthday is coming up and I was hunting around for a theme. I figured race cars because he’s way into them and there are lots of cute (i.e. not Disney) race car ideas out there. But then I thought about how nice it would be to have his party somewhere that ISN’T MY HOUSE this year and he LOVES gymnastics, so we’re having his party there. The coaches take the kids through a whole circuit. I think it’ll be fun.

But decorating? A nightmare. Just like walking into a kid’s clothing store where 75% of it is for girls and we have one tiny corner of red and navy BORING clothes in the back – ALMOST ALL the gymnastics party stuff I found was for girls. Ugh. You can see some of the stuff I did find on this Pinterest board. (How did I plan parties before Pinterest? And where were you when we were building the house?)

So I really liked this cute cartwheel silhouette invitation but didn’t want to commit to a whole retro theme. Mostly because anything else I might buy (like favors) was likely to be red, white and blue. I decided to make my own invitation using Publisher. Here’s what I came up with:

And then I uploaded it onto Pingg, which is like Evite only you can upload your own design. I also printed it out (for the two people whose email addresses I dont’ have) and made some little “stamps” to put on the outside of the envelope. I used PicMonkey for that. I just uploaded two clip art images into a collage, saved it, uploaded it again as a single image and applied a ragged border to look like a stamp.

For favors, I ordered these sport bottles and I customized them with the “Jump Bounce Flip Play” words I used on the invitation. I also ordered these “gold” medals and will put those around the bottles. No favor bags or boxes needed this year!


For decorations, I found this personalized repositionable wall decal. Yeah, that’s a girl in the middle, but it’ll have to do. We only have 15 minutes to set up at the gym, so I’m hoping I can throw this up behind the cake and tie a few balloons to some chairs and voila! It’s a party – not quite Pinterest-worthy but we’ll see!

And for the cake? I found this idea and send it to Sweets for the Sweet; she made his awesome airplane cake last year.

She’s going to do something like this (but double layer) in primary colors for this year. And to make this even more fun, one of our good friend’s daughter is just 12 days older than our son. They hadn’t gotten around to figuring out what to do with her birthday, so we’re going to join forces. It’ll be one big gymnastics bash – and I’ll have an extra pair of arms to rush everything in and set it up!

I’ll post pics of how it all turns out.

What About a Wall-E Party?


My son won’t turn 3 till November but I’m already starting to come up with ideas for his birthday. Originally, I thought we’d go with an airplane theme because he’s been sort of into them (his PopPop has a plane and is doing all he can to encourage Hunter’s fascination). We live near a small, private airport that has a great playground and “hangar” with tables for parties. I thought this could be a fun place for a 3-year old party (although I dread the thought of carting food and decorations any further than my kitchen).

That was my thinking until my son started wanting to watch “Wall-E” all the time. Literally, first thing in the morning, he wants to watch and begs for it all day long (even watching clips on the iPad when we let him).

So maybe I’ll go with a Wall-E theme instead (assuming he’s still into Wall-E in a few months). But will try to resist all the official Wall-E party supplies and do our own thing. How about some of these ideas:

  • Take some of his old shoes, fill with dirt, plant an herb – line ’em up as a centerpiece
  • Mini Rubiks cubes for party favors
  • A Coleman cooler filled with “treasures” for the kids to take home
  • Sporks as the lone utensil
  • Boiled eggs decorated to look like Eve  
  • Sandwiches cut out to look like Wall-E , like these from Anna The Red’s blog  
  • Boxes decorated like trash, stacked up and strewn about
  • Will try and find someone to make a 3-dimensional Wall-E cake (like the 3-D bus cake I had last year)    

So there you have it! My early, early, EARLY stage planning. Poor kid’s room still isn’t decorated (and we’ve lived in this house a year now so really, I have no excuse) but I’m planning his birthday party.

Second Birthday Right Around the Corner



My son is obsessed with buses and trucks. He likes cars, trains and airplanes, but he LOVES trucks and buses. So it seems pretty obvious what theme we should have for his second birthday party. I’m thinking of going with school buses primarily but not sure I want a whole bright yellow party. Still working up ideas but here are some of our initial thoughts.

My husband’s going to make a sign similar to this but perhaps a bus stop or stop sign:

I’m going to buy some of the bus fabric on the right and use it in the invitations somehow. I haven’t figured out how yet:

I bought these giant school bus cookie cutters and will make sugar cookies as favors. Note to Ruthie: I haven’t iced a sugar cookie since I was, like, 12. Need your tips STAT! I also bought cookie cutters shaped like a train, an airplane, and a truck. These cookie cutters are HUGE. Maybe I’ll make sandwiches and cut them out in vehicle shapes?

Maybe these cute little favor tags:

I’d like to find a crossing guard uniform for Kirby to wear. She’ll kill me but she’ll probably do it. Kirby is my best friend’s 21-year old daughter who works all my parties. She’s the best hostess/server/set-up/tear-down person ever. Plus, she is very, very dear to me. Here she is at my son’s first birthday party:


I bought this very nice school bus chalk board decal that I’ll post somewhere welcoming everyone to the party. (Bonus: I got it half off on one of those online sample sites.)

school bus decal

So these are a few ideas we’ve come up with. If you have some more, please share them in the comments. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

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