Modern Jumbo Jet Birthday Party

My kids love to pick out their party themes years in advance– currently they have have selected party details until they are about 10, even if I don’t take them seriously until about 6 months prior to their actual birthday. Rush was turning 4 and knew he wanted a plane birthday- specifically a jumbo jet party. In the middle of a pandemic.

Due to the COVID restrictions in Singapore we could only have groups of 5 people gathering or 5 people over to our house, so we decided to have 2 kids and their parents over to our house. The plan was to keep it simple– cake then swimming with the kids, to get out the sugar. But as things would have it, it was a stormy day and we stayed inside. Four kids in our apartment!

The benefit to hosting the party at home was that we had more time to decorate– although I tried to hold back since it was just 2 kids + mine! These were the invites to set the mood.

I ordered a dozen inflatable planes, and hung them from the ceiling. It was a really great effect. The hardest part was finding modern planes, not vintage ones. These worked out well! I interspersed the planes with floating balloons, which added depth to the look.

His face when he saw all of the planes on the ceiling

We created airport signs for around the party, which I loved. My husband designed them, then sent them off to a printer to mount them on foam board. I think it was about $20 for all the signs (6 total). It added so much fun to the decor– worth it!

This one marked the guest’s gift– the one vintage element at the party, filled with chocolate almonds and a tiny plane.

We did create a quick game, in case of rain. The kids folded their own planes then threw them through the holes. East and one kid were really into it– the others were not. Thankfully they all sat down to color at some point, since the pool wasn’t an option.

I found these awesome airplane window decals that I had to get, so we set up our chairs to be an “airplane.” The kids sat all in a row– it was a perfect picture!

For Rush’s birthday present, we switched out his train table for a runway and got him 2 lego planes. We created the runway, got it laminated by the same printers as the signs, then my husband added lights. He loved so much really didn’t want to do much else that day!

I kept the food really simple (as we were supposed to be at the pool!) with plane appropriate packaged snacks and bottled water. I struggled for a bit with the waste of bottled waters, but with the speciality labels, I gave in.

My husband made the cake, as always! Rush wanted a chocolate plane cake, and that’s what he got! It turned out really cute.

I think it was a great birthday party and fun was had by all! Rush has said his next party will be dumplings… let’s see! 🙂

Active Sundays

While we’ve moved on from our themed weekends (sorta- more on that soon!) I’ve been focused on my fitness. And rather than work out separately I looked for ways to make this a family affair. We started tennis lessons as a family on Saturdays, so I was looking for something to try on Sundays.

We decided to try hiking every other weekend (as it’s quite tiring, for all of us) and try something different in the weeks in between. My husband is finding all kinds of fun hikes that help us to explore different parts of Singapore while getting some exercise.

We did our first hike from Mount Faber to Hort Park, down one of the few hills on this island. It was about an hour, and we were able to motivate the kids by saying there were playgrounds at the end. We did make it to the playgrounds, although it started to rain so we didn’t get to stay long.

We were all pretty tired from this, so the next weekend we stayed in and did a Les Mills Born to Move dance video. It wasn’t the most inspired, but maybe it pushed us to be more creative.

The next Sunday we tried another hike, from the Tampines Eco Green to the park connector to the Pasir Ris Park (ended at another playground). It was SO HOT. We all really struggled, walking and wearing a mask, and Papa had to carry the kids some of it. Even as tired as they were, they were still happy to play on the playground when we got there!

Hubby and I can’t agree who’s idea this was, but we somehow came up with the notion to get a video game system to play some active games. We got a used Xbox that came with 2 games– Just Dance and Kinect Sports Rivals. I thought the kids would really be into the dance one, and they were for about half an hour. Then they watched Papa and I dance for another half an hour. Then we tried bowling, which East liked. Hubby and I really like the dance game– we’ve competed a few times without the kids!

This weekend we tried another walk on Coney Island. It rained in the morning and it looked like it cleared up, but it didn’t, as we got rained on. It made it less hot, and we actually had a lot of fun. There was a wooden playground at the end, but it was too wet to play on, sadly.

Sure, we don’t go very fast, and there is some whining and a lot of snack breaks, but we spend time together and spend some energy. And we are enjoying seeing different parts of Singapore.

We have a plan for next weekend (not a hike!) – check back and see what it could be!

How To Plan Your Own Themed Weekends

We have come to the end of our themed weekends (I hope- who knows when Singapore will hit our second wave…) although to be honest, it’s a bit bittersweet. I’ve been working on my photo book this week and reliving all of the fun we had, picking out all of the best pictures so the kids remember the good parts of this weird time.

Along with the good memories, it was really fantastic creating opportunities for quality family time. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine, but mostly the kids were really excited and were willing to behave to find out what was next. I admit we got a little ambitious with the decor at some point, but the weekends without it were just as fun.

Honestly, we kept it pretty easy, picking crafts we had ready supplies, and mixed in a little activity, whether dance or yoga. I kept things in 30 minute segments (my kids can’t handle much longer, especially my 3 year old) and popped in videos when neeeded (always before lunch and often before dinner). And when we could, I mixed in water play, which was easy and fun.

Lastly, I tried to be flexible and not a slave to the schedule. If they were enjoying an activity we stuck with it longer. If the kids were tired and grouchy, sometimes we started the movie a bit earlier. One Sunday I wasn’t feeling great, so the kids went outside for a bit and we ended up picking up the craft in the afternoon instead.

Truely, though, I enjoyed researching fun activities on Pinterest, while my husband worked on the menu. He was always more ambitious than me, pushing us to be better. But the planning ahead and prepping the crafts made it more managable over the weekend, and let us live the moment with the kids, not stressing over cutting or finding the glue. Did this always happen? No, of course not. Sometimes the kids were coloring while I was busy with the next step of the craft. But the planning and the prepping in the evening was like a little secret my husband and I had– almost like a pre-Christmas rush.

So I want to share our schedules with you, for you to use in full or pick and choose activities. They aren’t perfect, nor where they perfectly fulfulled. But hopefully they inspire some weekend fun for other families. I printed them out and posted them on the wall for easy reference, but whatever works for you.

(The Superhero weekend is an image, as the hubby was in charge that week!)

If you try them out, let me know!

Hawaii Volcano LAVA (Quarantine Weekend)

Last year, the family went a dinosaur exhibit at the Science Center in Singapore. They had a video reinactment of dinosaurs attacked by lava balls of fire, leading to extension. It was maybe a bit advanced for my kids, and they have asked endless questions since then. East, now 5 was asking for ‘lava’ weekend, so it seemed apropos to make it our final (I hope!) themed weekend.

We ended up with a 3-day weekend due to a holiday for election day in Singapore, which gave us a bit more time to play, but also less time to plan! I put together a volcano for decor out of streamers, while my husband and the kids were out at the store. I couldn’t help but think he would have done it better, but I thought it worked.

The kids liked it– and East was so excited that she was finally getting a lava weekend! We started the weekend with some tropical fruit, playing on the Hawaii islands with pineapple and orange.

A couple of weeks ago someone was selling a volcano kit on Facebook, unopened, so I picked it up in antipation. We opened it and got to work on making the volcano. The kids mixed the plaster (maybe a little slower than recommened as it got hard quick!) and we poured it into the mold. It was a multiday project– which was ok, because we had the time!

The box came with a learning guide and some 2 rocks to perform experiments on, which was a bonus. We read the book, put one the pumice stone in water to see if it would float, and broke the geode open to the see the crystals.

Continue reading

Happy 4th of July (Quarantine Weekend)

It felt a bit complicated to celebrate Independence Day in the midst of both a pandemic and racial injustice happening in the US. And if we lived in the US, I’m not sure I would have participated. But since we live in Singapore, we try to ‘do up’ the American holidays, to give a sense of what is means to be American. And interestingly, focusing on the good parts of the American ideals was heartening; thinking about being the mother of democracy, welcoming all people, and people can have any dream and work hard to achieve it. Unfortunately that’s not really the case for all people, which is not fighting for the fairness the US was built on. But it felt good to be reminded of what we Americans are fighting for, and what we expect have to expect from each other.

I made this cute banner, that’s actually quite easier than it looks! Instead of wrapping the paper around a toilet paper, like she suggests, I just used card stock, painted them, and stapled them into tubes. The whole thing took about an hour– not too bad. (And I did most of it while chatting on the phone to my bestie.)

Our Saturday started with the kids outside, while Mama worked out and showers and Papa worked on a special lunch. The kids came back from the store with thier nanny and brought back watermelon for snack.

Shortly after they started work on thier afternoon snack of popsicles. I wanted to do the striped ones (like in the banner) and we didn’t want it to be too sugary. We blended strawberries for the bottom layer, coconut for the white layer and lemonade died blue for the top, freezing in between layers. We let them freeze over nap and took them out to eat by the pool.

In between freezing layers, we did a craft of q-tip firework art. I still have cut q-tips from the Under the Sea weekend’s sea aeonomes, so I pulled out some black cardstock and paint and we were good to go.

Continue reading