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.

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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.

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Party Supply Closet

This weekend is Father’s Day, and while that’s a mini-theme, my husband asked it mostly revolve around food and less around an intensive schedule. It was the kids last week at school, so I was happy to oblidge. I’m tired, you guys! (If you want to see our Father’s Day weekend it’s on my instagram stories and the highlights on my profile).

The #1 question I got throughout our quarantine weekends was how do we have so many supplies on hand. For the most part, we were able to get through the 10 weeks using things we had at home. At some point I ran out of paper, so I had to order more, but I’m still using it. We printed out a lot of templates so we did go through ink (although I also printed a lot for home based learning, so I’m not going to blame the weekends). We did get a few odds and ends (I needed more streamers for the Under the Sea and my husband ordered some beads for Superheros), but over 10 weeks thats not so bad.

I will say, before kids when I had plenty of time to look in cute shops when we traveled, I used to collect party supplies. And before we left Hong Kong I went to the stationary store and stocked up on some various items like pipe cleaners and puffs. But not an extrodinary amount, just normal toddler mom amounts. And we live in a condo, so it’s not like I have a ton of storage; no garage or attic or even a craft room. So I have to make due with what I have. It’s not pretty, but it’s effective.

But, given all that, I thought I’d give you peak into my storage solutions, and how we managed these weekends.

This area was probably the most used, as it’s where I keep all of the cardstock and papers and the printer. I also keep the glue dots and tape in one of the boxes, and my washi collection is always useful. The other boxes hold cards, ribbons, tags, paints, and other various odds and ends.

As we started decorating more, these 2 storage bins became more used, as they hold our various holiday decorations (not Christmas, those are under the bed), balloons, streamers, banners, some lanterns, etc. This is also our utility closet, with our vacuum and tools, so it’s not the most organized. But it’s pretty accessible. (You can see some things need to be put away still!)

This one is harder to show– it’s usually a lot more organized but with the in-and-out these days it has gotten out of control. It’s not a lot of space, just one side our TV cabinet. The drawer holds our paper napkins and down below is our table runners, cloth napkins, birthday candles, candles, some vases, paper cups, paper plates– this is a lot of cute party supplies from those pre-kid days, or left over supplies from the kids’ birthdays. They do come in handy when we need to decorate a cake, or have some paper cups on hand to make a dragon.

Lastly, this is the kids’ art supply closet. Along with some paints, it has stamps, pipe cleaners, pom poms, cardboard and other random things that can be used for kids art projects. Recently we moved to an art cart so the markers crayons and paper type supplies can be more accessible to the kids, but I feel like I’m always sorting and resorting. I’m not quite ready to take a picture of that.

So really, that’s what has been getting us through these past 10 weeks! Creative use of what we have, Pinterest and templates. As of this past Friday Sinapore has entered Phase 2 so things are slowly opening up, including our condo pool. I’m not sure of the future of our weekends, but I’ll keep you updated!