It was the birthday party that ended with the birthday boy in the emergency department. I thought he’d be at least 15 before that happened!! More on that later, let’s start at the beginning…

The prep.
I’m usually pretty organised when it comes to planning the boys’ birthday parties, but with the outbreak of COVID19, we weren’t sure until just a couple of weeks earlier if we would even be having a party to celebrate Pie’s 2nd birthday. Thankfully by early June, the “curve” had flattened and restrictions easing – we were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate with 20 of his family and friends.

So my usual month long party prep was condensed into a week of late nights – baking and crafting and project managing as Michael built the epic box train! By the end of the week I was bordering on exhaustion.

Then came the call from Flynn’s kindergarten on Friday – 48 hours before the party – he had a fever and needed to be picked up and taken for a COVID19 test, before being isolated as we awaited the result. At this stage I was pretty sure the party would be cancelled and I’d be eating a whole train cake by myself as I cried into the icing.

On Saturday we got the text with the negative result and the party was back on. Choo-choo!! A few last minute touches and we were ready to board the birthday train.

The theme.
It’s no secret that our Archie Pie is train obsessed. He’s rarely seen without a train in his hand, his favourite song is the theme to Thomas & Friends, he can name every character in the show and will sit through my entire Pilates class just so he can “watch Thomas on mummy phone”. So when it came to choosing a theme for his party, trains was the obvious choice.

We recycled, upcycled or created all the decorations ourselves. I love this stuff! Michael not so much… but happy wife, happy life, so he just does as he’s told when it comes to crafting! Gotta give him credit for that train – it’s been a huge hit with the boys!

  • Birthday train: Cardboard boxes, paint, paper plates and balloons for the steam. The bunting on the train was recycled from Pie’s Winter One-Derland 1st birthday. We searched pinterest for inspiration and then put our own little spin on it.
  • “Pie Turns Two” Bunting: I bought the hessian bunting from Kmart and the wooden letters are from Lincraft. Most of the letters were recycled from last year’s “Winter One-derland” banner.
  • Birthday Crossing Signs: We made these from blackboard signs from my baby shower. I knew I held on to them for a reason!! The small wooden letters were from Big W.
  • TWO: The MDF letters are from Lincraft, I painted them white. And of course the “O” was recycled from last year’s “ONE”. I really don’t like to waste things…
  • Blackboard: I know you can have these printed, but we have a blackboard, and we have chalk, so I made one up documenting the things Archer loves at age 2.
  • I added the boys’ Brio train set and some cardboard cut out trains to the table to help turn all my recycled decorations into a train themed party.

The cake.
Now if like me, baking is not your strong point, I’m going to give you the best children’s cake making tip you will ever hear. Bake a packet mix cake and put a toy on top of it. They want a digger cake? Make a simple round cake and put a digger on top. They want a dinosaur cake? Make a simple round cake and put some dinosaurs on top. Pie wants a train cake? You guessed it – I made a simple round cake and put some trains on top! And he LOVED it!! Is it cheating? Maybe. Do I care? Not at all.

To make this cake, I used:

  • 2x Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Party Cakes
  • 2x 20cm round cake tins.
  • I made my own buttercream icing instead of the packet mix, using this recipe.
  • Food colouring: I was aiming for baby blue icing, but when I added the food colouring to the yellowish buttercream icing, it turned green. Oops!
  • Cake turntable
  • Sharp serrated knife
  • Cake scraper
  • Spatula
  • Piping bag
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Maltesers and lolly mint leaves
  • Cake board
  • Simple sugar syrup before icing

I always bake my cakes a few days in advance and freeze them as I find frozen cakes a lot easier to work with. There’s plenty of tutorials online for how to level cake tops. I do it like this. Like I said, baking isn’t my strong point, so I’m not going to write a “How to Make this cake” tutorial! I basically followed the packet mix instructions and totally winged it in the decorating department!

The party.
Despite the global pandemic, rushed preparations, recycled decorations and cheat cake, Pie had a wonderful day celebrating with his friends and family. His little dimpled face lit up when everyone sang Happy Birthday and he’s been running around saying “Hip Hip Hooray” all week. Flynn spent most of his day clearing out the lollies and fairy bread (or sprinkle sandwiches, as he calls them).

We’ve ALMOST reached that point in our lives where the number of kids at the party outnumber the adults – we’ve still JUST got them covered!

A huge thank you to everyone who came to celebrate our Pie and made his day so special.

The emergency department.
The kids were on a sugar high and happily chasing balloons around the living room, so we decided to do a little clean up before attempting to get them into bed.


Just as we were finishing up the clean, the boys went for the same balloon, Pie tripped over the box train we’d spent hours making and went face first into the TV cabinet, splitting his head. There was blood. A lot of blood. And screaming. Some from Pie. Some from me.

And so we were on our way to the emergency room at 8.30pm. Not the ideal end to a second birthday party. The hospital were amazing, they glued that sweet little head back together, bandaged him up and we were back home within the hour. Pie now has a cool scar and a great story to tell about his 2nd birthday party!

Happy 2nd birthday, darling Archie Pie. You are the perfect balance of kindness and strength. Of infectious giggles and serious stories. Of mummy’s boy and independent adventurer. I love that you are both shy and charming. I love that you can’t help but dance whenever you hear music, even if you’re already half asleep. You love trains, and cucumbers (weird) and helping me do the washing. You’re brave and sweet and your dimples melt me every time you smile. We’re so proud of you, Archer. Our Archie Pie. Our Giddy-Gah. But please let this be the last birthday we celebrate with steri-strips holding your head together!

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