My little one is turning five in November– FIVE! Can you believe it? It’s wonderful and sad, all at the same time. We are currently moving and in a temporary space now, so I’m going to have to be extra creative in how we celebrate!
I hid a couple of red banners and honeycombs in my luggage to get us started, but I’ve already started planning what else we will need.
For her 6th birthday, East asked for a lemon party. Why? Because she loves lemons, of course! Her wish is our command! 🙂
Here were the invites, sent out via WhatsApp. I personalized the design, which I bought on Etsy.
This was a pretty fun party to put together. The hardest part was matching the yellows- if that kind of thing bothers you, maybe don’t read on. Due to shipping being an absolute nightmare, checking the color and sending things back was impossible. As it was, we didn’t receive most of our supplies (ordered from the US) until a day and a half before the party! I wasn’t worried we wouldn’t get them at all and I’d be buying plates and napkins locally.
Due to the COVID restrictions at the time, we could have 8 people over to our house, the largest group that was allowed. Knowing that it would be at home, I immediately knew I wanted the kids to have appropriately sized aprons. I didn’t know what we would make or do with them, but aprons were needed. We ordered a set in late January, but they didn’t make it, so we had to get another set made quickly– also necessitating using yellow fabric on hand. Thankfully, the kids either didn’t notice or didn’t care!
Since it was at home, the decor was focused on a few key elements- balloons, a photo backdrop and a piñata.
For the photo backdrop, we hung a gold curtain and styrofoam lemons from a door frame. I prepped some photo props, an instant camera, and cute little sheets based on the invite. These were perfect little give aways at the party.
I wanted a piñata to add visual interest but was less interested in the use of sticks to beat it in my house! I found a woman in Singapore who made them, and asked her to make the kind with strings, for the kids to pull. It turned out really cute!
I was also had an image in mind of this L shaped balloon feature, to frame out our large picture window. I didn’t capture it well, but it was pretty awesome in person. Also, the obligatory number 6 balloon!
I also got a few pillows for the couches, knowing they would be reused in East’s bedroom (she asked for her room to be re-styled in the same theme).
And I drew a quick picture on our black board!
For the food, we decided that making everything lemon flavored would kill tastebuds, so we went for yellow food instead. Yellow (tumeric) hummus with yellow tomatoes, peppers, carrots, crackers and bread, corn, mango and pineapple cups, popcorn chicken with honey mustard dip, egg tarts (these were supposed to be lemon bars but they didn’t set right– delivery for with the win!) — and likely the most popular, key lime m&ms.
The cake turned out really cute! My husband made it and the kids loved… to look at it. He flavored the cake with almond extract, with lemon curd between the layers and the kids weren’t sure what to make of it. Most them didn’t eat it, although their parents did! And full disclosure– the almond flavoring was my idea. 🙂
We asked East and Rush to play together in a room so we could get everything ready. Then I dressed them in their lemon clothes– and captured their reaction to the room. This may have been my favorite part of the whole day!
Since the party was at home, we had plenty of activities to keep them busy! We started at the table; Each child got a cutting board (Ikea), a kid’s cutting knife (made from plastic with a serrated edge), and a juicer. They were able to take all of these home too, in a little bag, along with their apron.
We started by making lemonade. They cut the lemons, juiced them, then added their juice to the jug. They tasted it (too sour!), then added liquid sugar to taste. They were so proud to drink the lemonade they made!
Then they used the squeezed lemons and one more new set to do lemon printing. I put out plates of paint in citrus colors and gave them a large sheet of paper to dip the lemons in then print like stamps on the paper. I’m not sure it turned out quite as cool as promised– but any chance to play with (washable!) paint!
Then it was time to compete! We did a relay race, pushing a styrofoam lemon across our train table by blowing through a paper straw! (Note: at this time, COVID was well in check in Singapore so it wasn’t a big concern. No one got sick from this!). We broke the kids up into teams then let them blow!
Some kids were better at it than others, and some just used the straw to push the lemon across the table. It was fine– all in good fun! The winning team got prizes as well.
Next, we went back to the table to play detective! The day before, my husband and I wrote a secret message on pieces of paper using lemon juice and salt– one word on each page. The kids had to color over the word for it to appear then decipher the message.
One of the girls guess the message right away– ‘It’s time to eat cake!’
So that we did! We lit the candles and sang ‘happy birthday’ in English and Chinese.
After cake (that the kids didn’t eat!), it was time for the piñata! They stood on our toy box and each pulled a string. When it opened– individually wrapped lemon heads flew out! The kids took these home as well.
Lastly, while the party was wrapping up, we took some pictures at the photo back drop. To be honest, they were probably a little young for this. The adults had fun with it though!
Overall, it was a success! The kids had fun, the parent had fun and the birthday girl was happy.
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.
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!
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! 🙂
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!
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.