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.
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.
After watching the launch last weekend, I was inspired to put together a space themed weekend for the kids. It was a bit harder than I expected, mostly because many of the activities seemed to be targeted at boys. I did my best to approach it as gender equally as possible, and my daughter had a blast.
I was hoping for an easier plan, decor wise, but my husband was committed. So he cut and paint the planets to scale on Friday night. I added tiny gold stars the next day.
After the kids came back from outside, they had a snack of a rocket made out of fruit!
Then we jumped right into a moon toss! We just bought our first new TV so we had a large box that was perfect for this. For the astroids we wrapped paper in foil. Our kitty also really like the box and the foil balls!
Next we tried out a space shuttle repair activity. The idea was that astronauts worked in space with gloves on, so we simulated that hard work with nuts and bolts (plastic and wooden ones from one of their toys) in a tub of water with yellow gloves on. My little one thought he couldn’t do it, but he managed.
Usually tempers are likely to flare just before lunch so we watch about 30 minutes of videos. We watched this one and this one. Maybe the first time I didn’t find pink fong annoying!
After a week off I realised how much I am enjoying these weekends! The weekend with no theme was so boring. I was so glad when it was decided we were back on!
This theme felt dependant on decorating- or was it just me? But my coffers are running low after so much crafting, so we had to order more craft paper, ink for the printer, streamers and some balloons. Hopefully these items will last us beyond just this weekend though!
I roped my husband into helping me decorate on Friday night, using streamers in front of our diffused white curtains. I had lanterns in my supply closet so we made jellyfish. And the bubbles were a mix of clear and white balloons on twine.
These were ready when the kids woke up the morning and they were mesmerised- as well as our new kitty! We also added some green streamers on the wall for seaweed, with some gold bubbles and free handed star fish and sea horse.
The kids went with dad to the fish market in the morning and had a blast– no pictures of that, sadly. When they got home they had a quick snack of seaweed– grapes on a stick.
And then we jumped right into the first craft of sea urchins. I saw this craft on Pinterest, which was supposed to be a flower. I thought it looked some kind of sea creature! We used foam balls I had around the house – which, if I did this again, I’d invest in some better/bigger foam balls. But we tried it anyway, sticking the balls with q-tips cut in half, then dyed them with colored water.
While lunch was prepared, we moved on to Chomping Sharks. I thought these were so cute. It took a bit to find the templates, but I finally found these, which worked well. They print out tiny, but it worked well for our clothes pins. I printed and cut them out, and the kids colored them. I helped them glue the sharks on the wooden pin. (The fish wasn’t glued on yet when I took this picture, but promise it looked even better.)
They did a bit of coloring before watching about 30 minutes of sea animal related videos (this and this), and then had oysters, clams and shrimp for lunch. My daughter was so happy!
We had a quick nap then it was time for snack. The kids got to make a sea scene on a graham cracker with a bit of blue icing, ground up graham crackers for sand, goldfish crackers and a couple of tiny round sprinkles for bubbles.
Then it was time to make an octopus! I love making paper chains, and we did get staplers in order to do this as easily as possible. I cut the strips in advance and the kids each took 4 legs. They couldn’t quite work the staplers, but I thought it would fit better for a toddler’s patience.
Papa was then in charge of the salt water experiment. It took a bit to get it going, but I think the kids enjoyed seeing if grapes floated in regular water, salt water, baking soda or sugar.
Soon it was time to dance like sea animals, where we ended with baby shark (of course!).
We watched Finding Nemo then played a quick fishing game before having fish tacos for dinner. Yum! Then it was bedtime– thank goodness!
The next day started with the cutest breakfast that their dad made them from frozen waffles.
Then the kids made jello from scratch in preparation for their afternoon snack. They dyed it and flavored it blue, naturally.
Craft time! We used celery to make scales on these fish. The colorful fish made it to our sea wall.
After a quick snack of green apple turtles with grape heads…
…it was time for lots of sea foam bubbles in the blow up pool. Always good for at least an hour of fun.
The kids dried off and we watched a bit about hunchback whales while we waited for the sushi to come.
Once we all had a good nap, it was time for the jello! Papa made a shark fin out of an apple covered in chocolate.
After the kids scarfed down their jello, we make turtles out of egg cartons. I thought the kids would want to paint it– but only Rush did. East used markers. I printed out the fins, then we added a pom pom head and I made little eyes.
The last of the activities was the one I was most excited. The kids dressed up (a mermaid and a shark), then we headed into a dark room for a rotating light up under the sea images.
Then we curled up to watch The Little Mermaid before our pizza dinner.
This may have been one of my favorite weekends yet. Maybe it was the anticipation, maybe it was the decoration but it really worked for me. What about you?