When I first started looking around for train party ideas my mind went instantly to Parties by Hardie who does amazing printable parties. I fell in love with them when I did a monkey baby shower. I think the reason why I love the printable parties is they become my starting off point for me, from colors to theme and I just find I get lots of great ideas from doing them. Anyways, check Jennifer's store, you won't regret it.
I started with a banner. I almost did one of the printable ones but decided to make my own in the same colors but a little more generic, because I am doing my other son's party later this summer and I'm planning on using those and some other colors. Yea for being ahead of the game!
For the food I tried to do things that were not only kid friendly, but adult as well, so we had a variety of yummy stuff.
Drinks. I fell in LOVE with these water dispensers from Crate and Barrel. I saw other ones at other stores but they seemed cheapish. I just couldn't get the memory of the one I saw at a wedding that was leaking horribly and they had to put towels under it. So I went with the spendier ones but they are amazing quality. I think I'm in love.
Then for the bottles I found these fun straws, and printed out the labels on label paper. And if you're wondering about where I got the bottles (which you might because I searched online for them for-ev-er) they are actually Starbucks drinks. I don't drink them but my siblings do so I bought a bunch at Costco and let them have at it. I'm also planning on using these for my other son's party, so act surprised when you see them. I did find similar ones online that would have worked but with shipping they were like 3x more.
Food Train!!!! I took some time to make these, but did a little bit at a time. I made the base out of cardboard boxes, covered them in butcher paper, lined the inside with like 5 layers of foil, and added wheels. They did a great job holding up. The veggies were a little heavy but I just used a canning jar ring to keep the wheels from folding in on themselves. The kids LOVED them.
"Coal Car" was filled with olives, and couldn't seemed to stay stocked. One thing I know about kids is pretty much all of them love olives.
"Tender Car" had ranch dressing. To keep it from dripping too much in the container I made I actually put it in a ziploc back and folded the sides down. You couldn't really tell too much unless you were looking, though by the end it was looking a little sad, but not horrible.
"Station house Sandwiches" These are simple PB&J's cut in the shape of trains. I believe I got it off Amazon or you can just use a train cookie cutter.
"Log Car" large pretzels, the kids seemed to love it. In fact all the birthday boy ate were huge pretzels and a large amount of watermelon.
"Produce Car" was filled with hand cut celery and carrots.
"Carriage Cookies" I made sugar cookies with some tips and recipes from an amazing blog I've been enamored with lately called The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, you should check it out. I can't believe what she can do with a cookie. It was my first try at royal icing so I kept it pretty simple and think they turned out great. I also found an AMAZING new recipe for the best cut out sugar cookies ever, I mean better than store bought. I think the trick is the almond extract. Here is the recipe. Trust me, you'll love it.
"Caboose Cupcakes" using my favorite cupcake and frosting recipes (beware, they are very addictive) and tried something new with putting a second cupcake wrapper on after cooking and tying some bakers twine around it. It took a bit of practice but it got easier and I think was a nice touch.
Fruit Kabobs, I'm pretty sure this is the only thing my older son ate. They are simple and everyone loves them, perfect for parties.
"Wagon Wraps" A friend of mine has done these a couple of times for get-togethers and I always loved them and have been wanting to make the for some time. For a base you get a tortilla wrap, I used a couple different 'flavors' one spinach, one jalapeno, and the other sun dried tomato, and spread on some cream cheese. Layer on spinach or green leaf lettuce, put on meat, some cut bell peppers and some pepper jack cheese. Roll up and cut in half. Super simple but tastes great and looks a lot harder to make than it actually is.
I also made some pasta salad, I'll give the recipe later. It is simple, tasty and the perfect summer meal. And my little sis made two types of hummus. I'll see if I can pin down her recipe, she's told me but I have yet to write it down, but if you like hummus, you're going to want it.