Category Archives: party

So this is Christmas

How was your Christmas?

As per tradition, we had a simple homely affair with family on Christmas Day. We made sure we snapped some pics while the children were still chirpy and somewhat cooperative. Love how festive we looked! Foops just got a ‘smokeless’ grill so all we did was buy some groceries, marinate the chicken wings and we just BBQ-d everything on the grill. Easiest Christmas dinner ever! Really proud how minimal we kept the gift-giving this year. The adults figured we already have everything that we need (and much more). Plus, Foops and I already bought whatever we wanted during the Black Friday sales (I got a slow juicer) so no gifts for the adults!

Even for the kids, I kept it to one big gift per child and it had to be something they could all play together. We already got Heely shoes for the boys. We gave Sean a Roahl Dahl book set, Ryan a big magnet toy set (from Taobao) and Jo a wooden soup pot to replace his broken one. They also got books, t-shirts, water bottles, board games from family and friends (thank you). Sean was a real sweetheart this year. He got it into his head that we needed gifts so he spent the whole morning wrapping up gifts for Mama and Papa. He emptied his dinosaur coin bank and wrapped up $2 worth of coins for each of us with a note (mine read ‘Thank you Mama for buying things for me. Love, Sean’). He also included a pack of biscuits and wasabi seaweed for Foops – he did ask me if I liked wasabi and I said just a little so he didn’t give me any. Haha!

Sean also chose two board books from our shelves (after reading a couple) and wrapped them up for baby E. So sweet.

As for me, my favourite gift of all was from my sister-in-law. She made a lovely Scrabble board with our names. Very thoughtful of her. I must find a nice place to display it 🙂

Merry Christmas to one and all. Enjoy the holidays!

E turns 2!

My little nephew turned two recently and we had a small celebration at home.

It was just going to be a small party but still it was a bit of a mad rush because my sister left pretty much everything to me and we were due to fly out the next day at dawn to Taiwan! I had no choice but to back out of baking the cake (sorry E, next birthday ok) because I didn’t think I would do a good job of it amidst the flurry.

Still we had a good party! Small parties are the way to go, methinks!

My sister couldn’t decide on a theme so erm, there was none. Which actually made the activities quite hard to plan because I have never done a party without a theme! We just rolled with it 😉

Before the party, Jo saw my sis decorating the black board and said he wanted to help. He drew such cute stick people we let him draw the whole thing in the end. He drew the four of them in a house with a steering wheel and many wheels. So cute! (We had to be very careful not to praise him too much – sometimes he doesn’t like the attention and he would go on to destroy whatever he was drawing/creating. Go figure.)

There was a bit of drama before the party. After we blew up the helium balloons (which were specially bought by my BIL including a number 2 balloon), Sean grabbed the whole bunch and tried to help to transfer them to the BBQ pit area but in his excitement, he let go of all the balloons and they flew away!!! Even before the birthday boy could take a picture with it. Sean apologized and made amends by blowing up a new batch of balloons. Sorry, E!

We played Pass the Parcel. My boys would expect nothing less from my parties so I just had to do it even though it was just the four of them 😉  Then, Pin the Tail on the Tiger. Young children like this very much for some reason and it was really easy to play with a small group! Ryan was very proud to ‘win’ this game.  Next up, a spoon relay (with baby potatoes). The boys were supposed to pair up for the relay but E was not being very cooperative. Ah well, they still had fun. Then we sang the birthday song for E and he blew out his two candles.

E’s cousin baked a lovely strawberry shortcake for him. The cake was simple and beautiful (I contributed the mini bunting), just what my sis had in mind. Must say the cake was really yummy – I must get her frosting recipe! Tummies filled, it was time for Treasure Hunt. Good fun for the kids!

Finally we had the piñata filled with candies galore. I didn’t make it – someone passed it to me. It’s super ugly but my sis said she didn’t mind using it for the party. (See what I mean by she left everything to me, haha!)

Happy 2nd birthday, E! Big year for you ahead – being a big brother and going to school! May you grow up to be a strong and confident boy with a good heart. Dayi loves you!

PS. How little did he look on his first birthday!

Sean’s 8!

We threw a soccer party in celebration of Sean’s 8th birthday last weekend. I can’t believe my little Sean is 8!

We settled on a soccer theme quite easiy. Sean loves soccer – he trains in school twice a week playing the defender role and he cannot get enough of the game!

I only started prepping for the party less than a fortnight before the party. Having been through a few parties, I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t by now! I generally kept the party quite simple, retaining the good bits that the children like and weeded out the rest which no one ever really cared about! HAHA

I thought the soccer theme would be quite a hard theme to adapt to a mixed group of kids (with many girls) of varying ages but surprisingly it came together quite nicely. And I have to admit it is actually a super fun party theme – there’s just so much you can do!

On the morning of the party, I blew up a small bunch of white, black and green helium balloons and put up the birthday banner. My friend Meiru was kind enough to pass on her son Ryan’s banner from two weeks earlier – and all I had to do was replace 2 letters and ta-da, it was perfect for our party!
It was pouring all afternoon so I was really grateful for cool, slightly overcast weather tjust before for the party. I think we have been very lucky for all our parties so far, phew!

How cute did the boys look decked out in their soccer togs! They just wore their training jerseys (Jo wore Sean’s extra set) and I only bought new socks for all of them coz theirs were getting quite ratty. Yay!

My mum and helper helped to prepare the party food since morning. The usual fried beehoon, oven-roasted chicken wings, fruit satay and lots of finger food for the kids – seaweed chicken, fish balls, chicken nuggets. I made mashed potato and a big salad.

Instead of my usual craft table, we set up a table of Magnatiles, kiddy rides and a goalpost (from Decathlon) for the kids to play.

The younger kids busied themselves with Magnatiles while the older kids tried their skills/luck at penalty shoot-outs. Even the girls who have never kicked a soccer ball before really got into it. Super fun! Erm yes, the ball ended up into the pool at one point!

(Yes I did remind everyone beforehand to come dressed in comfy clothes and shoes!)

As always, we started with Pass the Parcel. It’s a great warm-up game for kids – everyone can join in regardless of age! 

The forfeits for this party were largely soccer-themed, like ‘Balance a soccer ball on your head’, ‘Dribble a ball around the circle’ and ‘Shout Ole Ole Ole!’ but I also snuck in a few silly ones like ‘Touch your tongue to your nose’ (very funny to watch everyone attempt this at the same time!) or ‘Do a silly dance’ 🙂

Most of the kids have been playing this game since they were babies – I have a feeling they will probably not want to join in soon, Sean included! SOBS!Next came the Soccer Drills.

Foops came up with simple challenges for the children – dribble a ball through the cones, overhead throw, toe taps on a ball and a final kick into the goal. All the children were encouraged to complete the stations and they did at their own pace. Big thanks to all the daddies for gamely stepping up to help man the stations!
On hindsight, I think we could have easily incorporated at least 2 more stations especially for the older kids who whizzed through the whole thing in minutes! Ah well, maybe next time. 

For completing the Soccer Drills challenge, the children were presented with a medal, or to be more specific, an edible ‘number 8’ medal. HAHAHA, I was so proud of myself for coming up with the idea! So easy to execute, I got to use my recycled ribbons stash and the children loved it! 🙂

Next up, pinata time. I made a soccer ball pinata, of course. I was so proud of it – it was HUGE and perfectly ROUND because I used a inflatable beach ball instead of a balloon!

Alas, it broke during the party!!! Not sure why – maybe because it was too big and heavy or I didn’t make it thick enough this time. Sigh, first time it has ever happened!
Anyway the show had to go on because the children were all looking forward to bashing the pinata! (Not only my children have come to expect a pinata at our parties, our little guests have similarly high expectations now!)

The poor, ailing pinata had to be put on ‘chair support’ but really, the children couldn’t care any less. They really gave it a good bashing – look at their gleeful little faces! So funny.

Our final game was Treasure Hunt (which all the children have come to expect of our parties as well). I gave out a list of items for the children to find so that the younger children who were given a big headstart had a chance to collect everything too. 

Hee, how serious do the children look hunting for ‘treasure’! This is also another really easy game to execute – if you have the space – and it is very popular with the children!

Oh, for the goodie bags, I just printed soccer balls with the kids’ names and fill them with age-appropriate colouring and craft kits (like DIY card sets for the girls that I got on sale from Cotton On Kids).

Last but not least, the birthday cake, or cakes in our case!

This year, I ordered a jelly cake from a home baker (search for ‘Aunty Yochana Jelly Cake’ on Facebook) as a few of our guests have diary allergies. I only saw the cake when we opened it in front of the children so I was just as enamoured by the cake as they were! It was an elaborate Pikachu jelly cake surrounded with a lot of soccer balls – I can’t imagine how much work went into it!
I was a bit worried the jelly cake may not be enough to go round so I decided to bake another cake. I baked a lemon sponge cake with cream cheese swiss meringue buttercream and kept the design very simple with a number 8 in sprinkles. The boys helped me add the sprinkles that morning and you can bet my entire kitchen floor was covered with sprinkles after that!

The children gathered to sing the birthday song and cut the cake. Thank goodness we had two cakes because they were just enough for our guests! I was very flattered when a few kids came to ask me for my cake instead of the jelly cake and said it was very yummy! (I thought it was very well-done this time too!)

I hope everyone had a good time at the party. I know my boys and I did! Till the next party – Jo and Ryan are already telling me what they want for their party in Jan/Feb next year (likely a Trolls party)!

For Sean’s birthday this year, we asked everyone not to bring presents because our boys are very blessed and the really do have a lot of toys already! Instead, we asked our guests to donate to their favourite charity in Sean’s name if they so wished.

Everyone was more than forthcoming with their donations and we are very grateful.

Gugu was nice enough to go through the World Vision website with Sean and after much contemplation, he chose to give books and educational materials to a child in China and 6 chickens to a family in Philippines. Such a great experience for Sean to be on the giving end to bless others!

Don’t worry I did set aside a few birthday presents for Sean – I am not that selfless or heartless! HAHAAfter the party, Sean actually fell quite ill on his actual birthday (Aug 15)! He had a raging fever and a bad throat which took a few days for him to recover from. We got him a cake and icecream on his actual birthday but he was in no mood for them.

When he was finally well enough two days later, he finally allowed us to sing the birthday song for him (again) and blow out the cake!

If you are keen, you can check out the rest of our parties:

Ryan and Jo’s Pokemon party

Sean turns 7 (with a kampung-themed party)!

Yoho, Ryan and Jo! (pirate theme)

Sean turns 6! (superhero theme) (preparations)

Happy birthday to my two little turtles! (Ninja Turtle theme)

A Mr Men and Little Miss party for a special 5 year old

Lala lala It’s Ryan’s second birthday (Elmo theme)

Robot Sean turns 4! 

Ryan turns 1! (vintage circus/funfair theme)

Sean turns 3: Dinosaur birthday bash! (preparations)

Sean turns 2!

Turning one (The Hungry Caterpillar theme)

Happy 8th birthday to my sweetheart Sean. You are a very sweet, good-natured and thoughtful boy. You are dorky as can be and we can always count on you to come up with the silliest games with your brothers. You love nothing more than soccer, having Pokemon battles with your brothers, reading comics and playing Plants vs Zombies on the phone (which you know Mama is not too happy about). I know school and the monotony of weekday routines (like piano practice) are sometimes a bit hard on you – some days we get frustrated and lose our patience with you but you always take it all in stride and never hold it against us. I pray that you will always have a good heart and that Mama and Papa will have the patience and wisdom to bring you up to be smart and kind. Please know that you (and your brothers) bring us so much joy we can’t imagine our lives without you. We love you. 

Love, Mama

Ryan and Jo’s Pokemon party

We celebrated Ryan and Jo’s 5th and 3rd birthdays with a small party at home last weekend. We chose to do it after CNY so it was a good 2-3 weeks after their actual birthdays!

They initially chose a Paw Patrol theme which would have been very age-appropriate but later, Ryan changed his mind and decided to have a Pokemon party instead (much to Sean’s delight) because that was cooler. Poor Jo had no say in it; he went along with whatever his brothers wanted! #lifeofathirdchild

I threw the entire party together in about a week, haha. Coz I am kinda an old hand at throwing last-minute parties by now, haha! I kept the theme quite simple and relatable, since I didn’t want to spend too much money and most of our little guests were not really Pokémon fans 😉

The weather has been a bit unpredictable lately so I was very relieved to see that it was nice and cool on the day of the party. I think we have been very lucky in this regard for all our parties so far!!!

I could have gotten Pokemon costumes for the boys but I really didn’t think the older boys would agree to wear them so I settled on Pokemon t-shirts (from Qoo10). I also got Pikachu rompers for Jo and my 1yo nephew – they looked super cute in them though Jo’s was a tad too small for him.

Before the party though, Ryan (who is in a very fussy stage where he only wants to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants with no pockets) decided to ditch his t-shirt and wear the new Pokemon pajamas from Yiyi. So if he ever asks me why he was in pajamas at his birthday party, I will tell him this story.

While waiting for everyone to arrive, I set up a small craft station for the children to make their own Pikachu ears. I wore mine (just stapler-ed the yellow ears to my hairband) proudly but sadly, the children were not so keen to sit down to do any craft because there were far better things to do and play with. Thank goodness I didn’t spend too much time on this!

We didn’t do a barbeque this time round (which actually made things less stressful during the party).

My mum and helper spent the entire day preparing a few dishes for the party – vegetarian beehoon, fried fish/sotong balls, oven-baked chicken wings, seaweed chicken, mashed potato, baked cheese + broccoli, a salad, bubor chacha and freshly squeezed orange juice. I think I prefer homemade fare over catered food any day!

To warm the kids up, we started with a simple game – Pin the tail on Pikachu! Lots of giggles as we blindfolded the children one by one and spun them dizzy to pin the tails. I rewarded the kids who pinned the three closest tails with small presents. (Our dear perfectionist Ryan refused to join in the game. He said he wouldn’t be able to see and he didn’t want to pin the tail out of place. Ah, this kid of mine!)

We played Pass the Parcel next. All the kids love this game because both the older and younger children can play the game and it is not competitive in any way.

Every time the music stopped, the child holding the parcel would do a Pokemon-themed forfeit. Sean helped me come up with most of them: for example, ‘Shake your bum like Ditto’, ‘Rub your tummy like Snorlax’, ‘Give a kungfu kick like Hitmonlee’ or ‘Flap your wings like Zubat’. The children were all very sporting, even the shy ones 🙂

We brought the birthday cake out as it was getting rather late and I wanted to do the cake-cutting before the sky grew dark.

Once again, the birthday cake was the most stressful part of the party preparations. I really wanted to outsource the cake for this party as I cannot handle the stress that comes with baking/frosting a big cake on top of many other things for the party but almost all the bakers that I contacted said they were full. Sigh, serves me right for being so last minute.

So I googled ‘Pokemon cake’ and came up with this lemon sponge cake with cream cheese buttercream frosting in the shape of Pikachu. I thought it turned out quite well! If you look closely, you will also notice Pikachu’s dislocated ear, haha. I fixed it in place with satay sticks later.

It was not my best cake though – I actually sliced my finger while leveling the cake and I did not realize I had forgotten to add cooking oil to the cake mix until I was almost done, argh (see how it stresses me out?!).

Thankfully, the cake still tasted alright and some of the children/grown-ups actually liked it enough to come back for seconds. After this cake though, I have firmly established that I hate working with fondant. I only used it for the eyes and the letters, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time on them – the fondant was so fiddly to work with!

But ah well, the children were in awe of the completed cake and their happy faces made all the hard work worth it!

Next, we moved on to the Pokehunt (treasure hunt)!

We gave out the goodie bags which my sis helped to draw and Sean helped to colour them in and write the name of the Pokemons. I filled them with storybooks and notebooks for the kids. 

My sis also drew a treasure hunt map to guide the kids along. Almost all our little friends have been doing this treasure hunt at our parties since they were 2 or 3 – and they are still not tired of it. I made sure to remind the children of the items they had to collect, including a special Poke-egg that looked like poop. Haha!

A little more about the curious-looking Poke-eggs: My mum helped me make them using flour, coffee powder, soil/sand and salt (you can google ‘dinosaur eggs’ for the recipe). We stuffed small Pokemon figurines into each egg and baked them in the oven at the lowest setting.

The kids had a fun time tearing through the garden searching for treasure (snacks) and looking for Poke-eggs. Lots of fun!

And finally, no party of mine is ever complete without a homemade piñata. How do you like my 10km Poke-egg? I had to make it extra thick and sturdy because the kids are so big and strong now. Still, it took them many rounds of bashing to break the piñata. Ryan was smart enough to realize that he wasn’t going to break it so he just waited next to the piñata with his goodie bag in hand ready to pounce on the candies 😉

The boys had fun – Sean said he wants the same Pokemon theme for his birthday in August so I guess the party was a success!

These birthday parties are my little labour of love for my boys – and they are really not that hard/costly to put together with a bit of planning and creativity. I hope my boys will always remember their nutty childhood parties when they are older.

If you are keen, you can check out the rest of our parties:

Sean turns 7 (with a kampung-themed party)!

Yoho, Ryan and Jo! (pirate theme)

Sean turns 6! (superhero theme) (preparations)

Happy birthday to my two little turtles! (Ninja Turtle theme)

A Mr Men and Little Miss party for a special 5 year old

Lala lala It’s Ryan’s second birthday (Elmo theme)

Robot Sean turns 4! 

Ryan turns 1! (vintage circus/funfair theme)

Sean turns 3: Dinosaur birthday bash! (preparations)

Sean turns 2!

Turning one (The Hungry Caterpillar theme)


Happy 5th birthday to my dear Ryan. You are, without a doubt, quite a character. You are boisterous, smart and sensitive. You are sharp as a tack. Nothing escapes you. You are quite the perfectionist and have exasperating non-negotiable preferences like choosing to wear only long-sleeved shirts and pants with no pockets. You get very frustrated when things do not go your way. We are still working on you on how to manage your explosive temper. You have many nervous habits like biting your nails (something I have been trying to stop for the longest time!) and twisting your fingers. You are very cautious by nature. You would rather stand on the side to observe an activity before joining in. You don’t like to try anything where you may not do so well or lose. I think it is good that you have your brothers so you learn how to get along with others that are different from you. In a way, you are a lot like Mama when I was young. So I understand your daily struggles even though others may not. Mama will always love and support you and walk this journey with you. We love you!

Happy 3rd birthday to my little Joey! You are the clown of the family. Everyone loves you. You still have your baby chubs which makes you very huggable. Your favourite game is Daddy and Baby, which you always play with your brothers. You also have a baby doll called Wawa whom you like to carrying in your sling. You say the funniest things. You like to say/do outrageous things (like ‘I have energy coming from buttocks!’) just to get a laugh from us. You have been pushing boundaries a lot lately. Purposely doing things like crushing biscuits and scattering them, pouring juice on the floor, destroying your brothers’ creations, etc. You are very manja when I am around. Whenever you want me to sayang you (sometimes when I am in the midst of scolding you), you will say, ‘Mama, I am Baby Boat.’ And that is my cue to give in and give you a cuddle 🙂 You are closest to Ryan now that you are going to school together. The two of you play together and also fight a lot. Sometimes your brothers like to tease you coz you are the youngest but you are learning to ignore them and become more thick-skinned. I guess that’s what third children do! You are slowly becoming more independent and starting to sleep with Sean and Ryan, instead of on Mama’s bed. I kinda miss your foot in my face sometimes. You will always be my baby. Mama loves you so very much.

Sean turns 7 (with a kampung-themed party)!

My dear Sean turned 7 on 15 August. I can still remember the day he was born – and now he is a dreamy, sweet boy who is all limbs and always has his nose in a book. Time really does fly 🙂


We celebrated his birthday last weekend with a party at home. Besides family, we also invited some of his old kindergarten friends whom he hasn’t seen since starting P1. It was a nice little reunion for them (and for us mummies too).

After much deliberation, I settled on a simple enough ‘kampung’ theme for the party.

(The boys actually really like Yokai Watch now (a Japanese cartoon series that Sean really likes) but I didn’t think many of the kids would even know what it was so I promised them I would try to weave some elements of the cartoon to the party.)

I had envisioned the boys in singlets and shorts and slippers and girls in cheongsam tops and plaits but everyone took the theme literally and came dressed very, very casually, haha.

I put Jo in a cute romper I made before (all three boys have worn it). Ryan refused to wear his matching one (he claimed it was a dress!) so he wore his Japanese jinbei and Sean just wore a singlet and berms. Ah well, at least I tried!

We had glorious weather for the party. So happy because it was raining cats and dogs just the weekend before, and I had no contingency plan if it had rained (besides squeezing 30-40 people into my living room)!

My mum and helper prepared beehoon, stir-fried veggies, fish/sotong balls chin-chow drink and orange-lime juice. We also got a barbeque package (from City Satay) and waaay too much food – satay, chicken cutlet, longtong, etc. Many thanks to my brother and Foops for manning the barbeque and feeding us the whole night!


For starters, I set up a ‘kachang puteh’ station (with pinwheels, gem biscuits, White Rabbit sweets, milk biscuits that melt in your mouth), a DIY tattoo and old-school balloon station. No craft station this time round. The kids had fun applying temporary tattoos and trying their hand at blowing balloons (you know the gooey substance that you squeeze out of a small metal tube and you blow with a small straw – good stuff). I didn’t realize most kids have never played with it!

I also put a tub of sand (from our pirate party earlier this year), with no treasure though. Throughout the party, I would always find a kid or two playing quietly with it 🙂


We played the same old games – why change something that works, right?

First up, passing the parcel to the tune of a Yokai Watch song that Foops downloaded. The kids like this game coz it works for all ages and is not intimidating or competitive so I came up with 12 ‘forfeits’ (up from the usual 10) to make the game last longer. Simple forfeits like ‘play tic tac toe’ with your neighbour’, do 7 star jumps, sing a local song you have learnt in school, give the birthday boy a hug 🙂


Then we had the station games. Basically the children have to complete 5 stations – zero point, tic tac toe, hopscotch (drawn with chalk on the floor), eraser game and chapteh – to get a prize (a ring sweet).

Quite fun seeing the kids attempt the games because it was the first time for most of them. Seeing chubby little Jo do the hopscotch was the cutest thing. Lots of fun!


We did the cake-cutting next because I was afraid it would be too dark for pictures by the time we were done with all the games.

My proudest achievement this party was baking the birthday cake so let me rattle about it a bit here. The boys gave me an impossible task of making a Yokai Watch cake. Very flattered they think so highly of my unpredictable baking skills. They even helped me choose an ‘easy-looking’ Yokai to bake 😉

I stressed over the mechanics of baking and frosting the cake for days. I started baking the lemon cake the night before (using this recipe, which is very good by the way) with my Le Creuset pot to give it its domed shape and then I made the buttercream frosting (using a new recipe, so nerve-racking) and prepared the different colours for frosting the next day. I was up till 330am!


Next day, I carved out the ears, stuck them on the cake with satay sticks and quickly started on frosting the whole cake. The buttercream held up really well in the heat (my first successful attempt) and the cake came together nicely. I was done with the cake just two hours before the party. Phew! Sean was very happy when he saw the completed Jibanyan cake he gave me a big hug. According to Sean, Jibanyan is a Yokai who makes you cross the road without looking, if you wanted to know 😉

Here are the kids singing Sean the birthday song – the candles were no match for the wind that day!


The treasure hunt was up next.

I handed out the goodie bags. My sis drew cute little kids in sarongs on the bags and I filled them with a tube of colour pencils for the older kids and a toy boat for the younger ones.


The kids love the treasure hunt so we went a little overboard buying things for the kids to find. Mostly small packs of snacks, Play Doh, Capri Sun drink, Kinder eggs, etc. To make it fair for the younger ones, I got my sis to draw up a treasure map so there was a specific list of things to look for. Because we had more than enough goodies to go round, the kids went another round to look for leftover ‘treasures’ and all came back with bulging bags 😉


Lastly we had the piñata. I realize I derive more joy from the traditional balloon-shaped piñatas (as opposed with cardboard ones) so I made Whisper, a cheeky Yokai butler. Sean said I didn’t get his top and bottom quite right – it is supposed to look like icecream. Close enough!


I tried not to make the pinata too thick – because the husband said it always took forever for them to break it open – but I forgot to take into account that the kids are bigger and stronger now. Didn’t take many rounds to bash it to smithereens, and they didn’t even need any help this time round! Pinata was filled with mini Tic-tacs, Haribo gummies, Hi-chew sweets, mini Chupa Chups and old-school balloons. I had to confiscate my kids’ loot because they are still coughing badly. Next time will definitely try to incorporate more healthy offerings and less sweets!


And that was it for the party. It is my little labour of love for my boys because they look forward to and enjoy the parties so much. I hope everyone had fun. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us!

For this party, I made a special request to our party guests for no toys because the boys really have a lot already. Instead, I asked for books or book vouchers or even angpows. I didn’t tell Sean about this beforehand. On the day itself, I explained to him and told him he could save the angpows for a new big boy bicycle. He seemed pretty happy with that. I did prepare a few toys and books for him (he is still a kid after all) which he will slowly open with his brothers over the next few days 🙂


Sean’s only request for his birthday was to go to Pororo Park. Which we did on Sunday. They had fun but I think they would have been just as happy going to a park or playground (think of the money I could have saved!). So I don’t think we will be returning anytime soon!


At 7 years old, Sean is sensitive, sweet, curious, dreamy, like doing math sums in his head, is a bit obsessed with Yokai Watch and Pokemon, loves playing soccer, has lost 2 baby teeth, likes doodling and always has his nose in a book (usually comics – I am still trying to encourage him to read proper chapter books).

Happy 7th birthday, my dear Sean. May you grow up to be wise and brave, with a heart for everyone.

Love always, Mama

PS. If you are keen to look back on our past birthday parties, click on the tag ‘party’.

Ryan is 4!

Following the combined birthday party at home, Ryan celebrated his 4th birthday in school on on the actual day of his birthday.

Ryan had been counting down to his school party because I told him he could choose the theme. He dithered between Ninja Turtles (like last year) and Power Rangers for weeks and finally settled on the former the day before.

The boys helped to pack the goody bags the night before, filling them with colour pencils, Play-Doh, finger puppets and balloons. I baked two chiffon cakes (again, like last year) and fried a platter of fish balls for his friends.

On the morning itself, he decided to wear a new Ninja Turtle t-shirt to school instead of his costume. The school was also celebrating Chinese New Year that day. Poor boy – he looked so underdressed next to his friends and no one could tell it was his birthday at all. I guess that’s the downside of having your birthday during CNY!

We blew up a small bunch of helium balloons and brought them to school with Jo. A pity Sean couldn’t join us because he had school – he was very sad to miss his brother’s celebration!

In school, we were lucky enough to chance upon Ryan having a swim with his friends (they only have swimming twice a term). He was having so much fun!

It was lovely meeting all of his teachers and friends – I haven’t been visiting the school much this year so it was nice to put faces to the names. I also had a chat with his teachers who told me he was very obedient and quiet. His form teacher also told me he is ready to read on his own!

The teachers and children gathered round to sing Ryan a birthday song. The children liked the chiffon cake and fish balls and some came back for seconds. I am going to keep all their school parties simple and fuss-free like this. I don’t know why he looked so bored in all the pictures!

I was planning to bring the boys out to Pororo Park in the evening but got a bit lazy because it was raining cats and dogs. Will make it up to them another day.

Happy 4th birthday to my smart, opinionated , funny and often exasperating Ryan! Mama loves you!

Yo ho, Ryan and Jo!

Our younger boys Ryan and Jo have birthdays six days apart so we threw a joint celebration for them on the weekend before Chinese New Year.

We settled on the theme quite late – because we couldn’t decide on one! It’s really hard to find themes that would work for both genders, and Ryan kept insisting on having another Ninja Turtle party (like last year)! I finally managed to convince him to go for a pirate theme – not the most original idea – but even till the day before the party, he was still asking me if we were having a Ninja Turtle party!

The older boys are at the age where they fully understand the concept of birthday parties and are not old enough to shy away from them yet. They insisted on the full works – balloons, goody bags, piñata, lots of games, presents. I hope I didn’t disappoint them!

I pulled everything together in under three weeks (urgh I never learn) – I probably should have started sooner because most of things I ordered online for the party did not arrive in time!

We blew up red, gold and black helium balloons for the party. The boys got dressed in their cute pirate outfits from My Mini-Me. The red bandanas and eye patches would have completed the outfits perfectly but they refused to keep them on!

This party, I told myself I would put in more effort for the cake instead of buying a store-bought one. So I spent the better part of the day of the party baking the pirate ship cake – which was a bit stressful because I wasn’t very confident of my cake baking skills and I had no back-up plan if the cake flopped.

Thankfully the cake turned out okay. I also experimented with fondant for the first time – but I spent a ridiculous amount of time rolling out the fondant for the blue base that I didn’t have any time left to cut out their names. In fact, I was still putting last minute touches to the pirate ship cake when the first guests arrived! I thought the pirate ship cake looked very good with all the LEGO pirates, big sails, chocolate gold coins strewn all over and sharks swimming in the water.

The party didn’t start off too well because it started to drizzle just as we were setting things up and starting the fire for the BBQ outdoors. We made a quick decision to shift everything back indoors. It was a bit crazy squeezing so many people into the house. Thankfully the skies cleared after a while and we could all venture outdoors. Thank God for that!

Foops and my brother Leon got the BBQ pit going. My mum and helper spent the entire day in the kitchen cooking up dishes to supplement the BBQ chicken wings and hot dogs – we had our usual fried beehoon, potato salad, fish and sotong balls, deviled eggs, guacamole, fruit kebabs and homemade orange-lime juice. (Thanks, Ma!) 

I set up a little dress-up booth – with bandanas and eye patches – and a tattoo parlour. I think the girls were not big fans of the eye patches but thankfully they definitely liked the bandanas and colourful tattoos.

There was also a small craft station where the children could assemble and decorate their own egg carton pirate ship. It didn’t work out too well in the mayhem of the moving the party in and out of the house. Ah well.

Just for fun, I set up a sand corner where kids could dig for treasure (I put small water guns, rings, play doh tubs, bendy animals) and play with sand. It was quite popular as I saw children gathered around the tub at all times!

To warm up the children, we started with a new game – bobbing for pretzels. Figured it was easier than bobbing for apples. It wasn’t easy to tie the pretzels to the bamboo pole – they kept dropping off or the kids would find them irresistible and grab them with their bare hands. The game itself was a bit haphazard – and kinda gross coz some kids went for the half-eaten pretzels, oops – but it was good for laughs. Gonna have to rethink this game if I want to play it again!

The kids got ring sweets as a reward for finishing the game. I thought the ring sweets would suit the pirate theme to a tee and the kids loved them!

We played Pass the Cannonball (or Pass the Parcel) next. Everyone loves this game. Even little Jo sat there obediently passing on the parcel whenever it came around. We played songs from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and I included lots of small gifts and pirate-themed forfeits, like ‘Yell ARRR! like a pirate’, ‘Dance like a drunken pirate’, ‘Give the birthday boys fist bumps’ or ‘Squawk like a parrot.’

For a change, we decided the bring the cake-cutting forward because it was always such a rushed affair to do it after all the games and sometimes the sky would be all dark by then. LOL!

The kids gathered round the pirate ship cake to sing the birthday song, and the two birthday boys enthusiastically blew out their candles.

I finally got a nice family picture with the cake and everyone (kinda) smiling – SO HAPPY! I think the scarf look suits me 😉

Next up, the treasure hunt. I gave out the goody bags and the kids set off to hunt for pirate booty. My sis actually drew a gorgeous treasure map with pictures of all the items they were supposed to find but in the madness of trying to hold the overly enthusiastic kids back, I forgot to hand them out!!! (Sorry, sis)

Ah well, the kids had fun running around and filling up their goody bag with treasures (Caprisonne drink, Hello Panda, Yan Yan with sprinkles, Goldfish and sesame biscuits, chocolate gold coins, gummy sweets).

Finally, the piñata. So funny that the kids all know the drill of our parties by now – they dutifully queue up for their turn and hold on to their goody bags to collect the bounty.

It’s my first time making a non-round piñata and making one from a cardboard box was definitely easier than making one using the normal balloon and papier mache route!

The treasure chest was very, very sturdy. As enthusiastic as the kids were, I think they hardly made a dent on it! Let’s just say Foops had to give them a hand in the end 😉

It was a very successful party if I may say so myself. The weather was great and it was still bright out when we were done with all the games so we brought out the sparklers. The kids loved them – I am going to have sparklers for all our future parties! They played and scooted around a bit while the grown-ups chatted on.

Thanks to everyone who helped out in one way or other, and for coming to celebrate the boys’ birthdays. Love the pic of the boys with their birthday presents – we are still opening them slowly!

Happy 4th birthday to my darling Ryan and 2nd birthday to sweet Jo! We love you very much!

Some post party notes if you are interested:

Balloons: I chose to have red, black and gold balloons. It is so much easier now that we get our own helium tanks (from Spotlight). Just blow them up before the party! 

Dress up corner and tattoo parlour: We told our guests the theme was pirate or seaside (in case the girls balked at the pirate theme). For the dress-up corner, we had bandanas and scarfs (from Daiso), eye patches (Spotlight/Aliexpress) and fake earrings (Spotlight). As for tattoos, we just used what we had from our stash and we have A LOT! You will need a spritz bottle for tattoos.

Pirate ship craft: I always try to have a craft for the parties because it is a nice way to occupy the kids and warm them up to the party theme. I chose to let the kids make/assemble an egg carton pirate ship. Egg cartons from my market egg uncle and sails from origami paper (Daiso). I included lots of nice origami paper so hopefully the girls would like them as well. No skull motif for us. The kids could personalise their sails as they wished.

Costumes: The boys are dressed in Jake and the Neverland Pirate outfits from a local costume rental shop for kids, My Mini-Me. Rental is about $10-20 – I think it is worth paying for if you don’t foresee wearing the costume much!

Cake: I used my mum’s chocolate cake recipe which was a bit risky because the measurements are a bit vague and there is no timing or oven temperature to speak of. Gah! So I had to wait till she was around to bake it. Thank goodness it turned out alright. The base is made of store-bought fondant. I cut the cake into the shape of a ship, added a layer of chocolate frosting and decorated it with paper sails with their names/ages, LEGO pirates, chocolate gold coins and LEGO sharks in the fondant water. Will experiment more with fondant next time!

Sand pit: It’s a nice little activity for the children. I filled it with play sand (Far East Flora) and small toys like water guns, Play Doh, bendy animals. No food stuff!


Goody bags: My sis drew cute little pirate boys and girls on the kraft paper bags. The mix of children attending our party are a bit older now so I got them stationery (notebook and scented pencils) from Smiggle. Everyone loves stationery, right? 🙂 I gave the younger kids a fishing game. It’s a good idea to hand out the goody bags out just before the treasure hunt/pinata so they don’t lose it and can use the bag to keep all their booty from the treasure hunt and piñata.

Pass the parcel: This is probably the best game to play in a party because it takes up quite a bit of time, it is not competitive (compared to Musical Chairs where the older children always have an advantage) and children of all ages can play together. My boys have come to expect it at all of their parties. The most time-consuming part is wrapping the parcel. I usually do about 10-12 layers and use up a lot of newspapers and wrapping paper. I include a theme’forfeit’ and a small gift in each layer.

Treasure Hunt: The treasure hunt is another good game to play at parties. We have a nice garden next to the BBQ pits so it is pretty safe for the kids to run free. I always give the younger kids a head start and try to limit to one of each item per child (you can do this by listing out the items in a list or treasure map).

Pinata: The treasure chest pinata was a no-brainer. Just used an old cardboard box and covered it with brown crepe paper and yellow washi tape. I have since concluded pinatas made from cardboard boxes are easier to make and far more superior!

That’s it! Next party in half a year’s time 😉

Preparations for Sean’s superhero party

I had a lot of fun preparing for Sean’s superhero-themed party and you know me, I like going down the DIY route.

The superhero theme is really fab for a party and I had no shortage of ideas, thanks for Pinterest!

I started preparing for the party about a month before. First thing I chanced upon were these awesome satin superhero capes and felt masks from Aliexpress – that helped me settle on the theme very quickly!

I wasn’t keen on buying superhero costumes for the boys so I got them from our regular costumer rental shop My Mini-Me. I highly recommend them!

Next I made the piñata. I wanted to try a non-round piñata this time but wasn’t sure what to make – Sean was going to be Captain America so I thought maybe the Captain America shield until Foops told me the shield is supposed to be unbreakable. In the end, I settled for a simple black bomb. I had a bit of trouble with the piñata this time because it was so wet and rainy the week before National Day it couldn’t dry properly and I wasn’t sure if I had made it strong enough. Thankfully it worked out okay in the end! The kids were more than happy to help me fill it up with a shocking amount of candies and gummies (sorry, parents!).

For the goodie bags, I chanced upon some superhero alphabets online and thought they were really cute. So I used them to spell out our little guests’ names on the goodie bags. It looked good but I really underestimated how much time and effort that took, haha. I love giving out books so I got superhero-themed Little Golden Books and Early Readers for the kids – I hope they like the books!

I was getting cupcakes for his school celebration so I made some simple cupcake toppers from a free superhero printable I found online.

I also made simple superhero cardboard shields. They came together really quickly. My boys love them and are still playing with them now!

I agonised over what superhero craft to do for days – because the kids would have capes and masks already. In the end, I settled for superhero cuffs made from toilet rolls (of which we had many). The kids helped me paint them in bright colours. When the paint dried, I cut each roll in half and rounded the corners. Then I prepared embellishments, washi tape and foam stickers and markers for the kids to go crazy.

For the games, I got the Pass the Kryptonite game settled first. I included a game and a dare (eg. run round the circle at the speed of lighting like Superman) in each layer and had twelve layers altogether. I swear the wrapping took me an entire evening!

Then there was the bowling game that I put together on the day of the party. I just filled some plastic bottles with a bit of water (for stability) and pasted eyes on them to represent ‘baddies’. Ryan volunteered to try out the game for me.

In a fit of delirium, I also made superhero Chupa-Chups (reward for completing the station games). I found a cute superhero lollipop printable online and couldn’t resist. I did feel a bit insane cutting the teeny tiny masks and capes at 2am though. Also, I had to hide this from Jo who kept shouting ‘pop’ when he saw them and wanted to rip the capes off and eat them!

On the day of the party, I quickly did a chalk drawing and we blew the balloons up ourselves. Our first time blowing balloons on our own with a helium tank. I got some huge balloons and thought they would be so cute. Alas, we ran out of helium after we blew the two huge balloons you see in the picture!

The one thing that was not executed properly was the photobooth. I had grand plans to draw a city skyline as a backdrop – I salvaged a big piece of cardboard from the dump, sketched the city outline but alas did not have enough time to finish painting it. At the very last minute, I thought of improvising with a big piece of blue cloth as a the photobooth backdrop instead. I did make these little city blocks from cardboard boxes but the party venue was so windy they kept getting blown away. In the end, they were put to good use at the station games – the kids hopped over them in a giant leap of course. I also made masks and prepared props for the photo booth. I guess I could have done more publicity for the photobooth – I don’t think many people realized there was one! Ah well, will try again next time!

If you are keen, here’s where I got everything:
Kids’ costumes: The costumes are from My Mini-Me. The rental rates are really decent – about $10 to $15 per costume. Great when you don’t want to buy a costume. I would definitely go to them again for our future parties!

Superhero capes and masks: I ordered them from Aliexpress. The capes and masks were affordable and of decent quality. Saved me the trouble of sewing them myself!

Superhero cuffs (craft activity): They are just painted toilet rolls cut in half and their corners rounded. Embellishments, star stickers, foam stickers and washi tape are from my own craft stash.

Giant balloons and helium tank: Helium tank is part of a balloon kit from Spotlight and giant balloons are from Aliexpress. The tank was really small though. Only enough to fill two huge balloons and a handful of small ones. I want to try a big helium tank next time – anyone knows where I can get one? Definitely much cheaper blowing them yourself than buying them from shops. Saved me from having to go pick them up before the party too!

Goodie bags: Brown paper bags from Daiso. I filled them with a superhero Little Golden Book (eg. Frozen, Big Hero Six, Batman, Spiderman, etc). Books from Kinokuniya (I would buy them from Book Depository if I had more foresight). Treasure hunt and pinata snacks/sweets are mostly from the Warehouse Club in Tuas – if you are buying things in bulk, they have good discounts.

Alphabet bunting: Typo.

Chalkboard: Ikea.

Pass the Parcel: The idea is just to wrap one ‘dare’ in each layer. Small gift optional. Needs a bit of forward planning what goes into each layer. Lots of wrapping paper required. I used magazine and old wrapping paper. The game is really good for younger kids.

Station games: We set up a few game stations – the kids were scooting at the speed of lighting, sliding down a slide, punching baddies (bobbing helium balloons) with boxing gloves, bowling down bad guys (big plastic bottles filled with a bit of water), jumping over buildings (cardboard boxes made to look like buildings) in a big leap, tossing balls into holes (cut out from a big piece of cardboard). Their reward for completing the course: superhero lollipops.

Photo booth: As mentioned above, it was a flop because I didn’t have enough time to finish it. I do think it would be really cool to have a city skyline backdrop and props (we already had the capes and masks but I also made cardboard shields and silly glasses/moustaches) for adults and kids to pose for pictures with. I also wrapped some shoeboxes with shiny wrapping paper and decorated them with square pieces of paper to resemble small buildings.

Pinata: Black crepe paper from Popular. You can find instructions on how to make pinatas online. I just boil equal parts of flour and water and keep stirring the mixture till it become a thick paste-like mixture. I have found that three layers of newspaper papier mache is just the right thickness – strong enough to withstand the kids’ bashing but not too hard that it cannot be broken by the kids. You will need about a week to make the entire pinata so cater enough time for it.

I know it seems like a lot of work – and it was – but let’s just call it my labour of love for my kids 🙂

Hope this is helpful to those of you planning a superhero party. It truly is a great theme for parties!

Sean turns 6!

Sean turned six on August 15 and for the first time ever, we were able to throw a party on the day itself 🙂

Thanks to my husband, the boys are going through a huge superhero phase now (they are always bugging him to tell them stories of the X-Men and Marvel superheroes) so a superhero theme it was. It is actually a really great theme for a party – I had no shortage of ideas. I will write more about the party prep in my next post.


For the party, the boys were decked out in superhero costumes from our regular online costume rental store for children, My Mini-Me. They have a decent superhero collection and I chose Captain America for Sean, Superman for Ryan and Spiderman for baby Jo. They looked so adorable together. Too bad Jo refused to wear his Spidey mask!


The kids were encouraged to come dressed to theme and most of them did. I got superhero capes and masks as party favours (from Aliexpress) were a huge hit with everyone, even the adults 😉

We had little Ironman, Incredible Hulk, a few Batmans and Supermans, Spiderman, Supergirl, Batgirl, a special warrior princess and quite expectedly, a couple of Elsas (she is a superhero too, right?) and my favourite, little Miss Violet Incredible. I couldn’t stand the cuteness!

The weather was nice and sunny for the party. Our guests started arriving around 530pm as we were setting up and getting the fire going for the BBQ.

As we waited for all the guests to arrive, we got the kids started on a craft activity: decorating their own superhero cuffs (actually painted toilet-paper rolls). It was a very simple activity but the kids enjoyed it and some really went to town with the stickers, embellishments and washi tape on their cuffs!

This is the first time we are trying a BBQ for our party so my mum and helper marinated tons of chicken wings and hot dogs. We also prepared fried bee hoon, fish balls, sotong balls, deviled eggs, potato salad, fruit skewers, guacamole and chips. Foops and Leon my brother did most of the sweaty BBQ grunt work and the chicken wings and hot dogs were truly delish. Always love a good BBQ!

After most people have eaten, we got the ball rolling with the first game: Pass the Kryptonite (or Pass the Parcel).

It is a nice warm-up game and it was actually really nice to see the kids growing through the years and being able to join the game on their own. Baby Jo was so happy to be part of the action.

The children sportingly executed their dares (they got a small present in return) – they ran as fast as Superman, gave the birthday boy a Hulk hug, stomped their feet like Ironman, laughed like the Joker and crawled like Spiderman. We wrapped up the game with everyone singing the birthday boy for Sean 🙂

Then it was time for Superhero Training (or station games)!

The kids put on their superhero capes and masks and off they zoomed on scooters at the speed of lighting, jumping over buildings (actually cardboard boxes) in a single leap, bowling down baddies (plastic bottles), working on their aim (tossing balls into holes), punching out meanies (helium balloons).

At the very end of it, we congratulated them on completing their superhero training with flying colours and they claimed their reward: a superhero lollipop. This game was nice coz the kids could go at their own pace and no one was really competing with anyone (which means no tears)!

Next up was the Superhero Mission (Treasure Hunt). I gave out a list of items they were supposed to find (so they only take one of each item) – Caprisonne drink, Yan Yan biscuits, raisins, fruit gummies, Wang-Wang biscuit. The kids had lots of fun and even the little ones could join in with their parents. Because we started out a bit late, it was rather dark by the time we did the hunt so the kids really had to look very hard for their treasures, haha. Should have given them torchlights!

The goodie bags also contained a superhero storybook (Frozen, Big Hero Six, Mulan, Spiderman, etc) – I hope the kids like them 🙂

The games ended with the piñata – I made a big, black bomb for the superheroes to decimate and they did a decent job of it. I just wish I had more time to shop for more things other than candies and gummies. Maybe next time!

Finally, we gathered everyone the birthday cake, sang the birthday song for Sean and he blew out his candles. Yay! We did this in almost pure darkness because it had gotten so dark by then – we have remember to start the games earlier next time! I made a two-layer chocolate cake covered with a rich chocolate frosting – it was my best attempt at a birthday cake. Too bad we didn’t get proper pictures of the cake or of us!

We are very grateful to everyone for celebrating with us and indulging Sean with love, hugs, books and gifts – I hope he remembers his special day for a long time to come. Ryan also deserves special mention – despite the teeny bit of jealousy in the early days that it was Sean’s birthday and not his, he was really mature on the day itself and totally let Sean be the star of the day. Proud of my little guy!

And so our not-so-little boy is SIX! It has been a gratifying life-changing six years being parents to Sean (and his brothers) and we wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

Ryan is 3!

Ryan turns 3 today.

Of all days, he chose today to wake up on the wrong side of bed. There was a bit of drama about washing up and then he stubbornly refused to wear the Donatello costume he originally wanted to school. I was up quite late baking his cakes and was still running around getting everything ready for the school party so I really wanted to throttle him!

This kid really keeps me on my toes. We made it to school eventually, with him fully clothed (he originally refused to wear anything). Bravo!

His teachers and classmates were really sweet about his birthday today. They made a big deal of it, and it was quite funny to watch him space out every time they talked about him and look through everyone because he hates the attention. I think his birthday could be the first in his class!

For a change, instead of a fancy cake with icing, I baked a simple pandan chiffon cake as his birthday cake (and an extra rose chiffon cake) because it’s the only cake I know the kids (especially mine) would eat it early in the morning. I decorated it with a simple bunting, Ninja Turtles and candles. The most badass chiffon cake ever!

Sean joined us for the celebration and together with his teachers and classmates, we sang the birthday song for Ryan. Pity Foops couldn’t be there (he is traveling for work). Ryan was so overcome with shyness Sean had to help him blow out the candles. The kids liked the chiffon cake, and a few came back for seconds!

We snapped some quick pics with his adorable classmates and I was able to put faces to their names. My little chatterbox has a lot of say about his classmates everyday 🙂

He burst into tears when we left though :\

Just for fun, we had another small celebration waiting for Ryan when he got home from school. Might as well maximise the day, right?

Luckily, I saved some small presents for today so he got to open them after lunch – the boys spent the afternoon at home reading their new Batman comics, playing with their new Beyblades and golf set.

At bedtime, I told the boys the story of Ryan’s birth – they love listening to stories of themselves as babies. They were very amused when I told them Ryan was born naked (they kept insisting he was born wearing underwear!) and how 2.5yo Sean used to call him Lion because he couldn’t pronounce Ryan. Time flies 🙂

Happy 3rd birthday to our smart, sassy, slightly OCD, silly and exasperatingly stubborn 3 year old!