Tuesday, December 27, 2016

And Here Comes Six!


So dear Mister Six has entered the scene.

You might wonder, what has the space between five and six been like?

Well, to sum up, it’s been all about…

Star Wars.
Elephant and Piggie books.
Books about LEGO.
Reading Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton books together.
Learning sight words.
Toe holes in socks.
Knee holes on pants.
Second (sometimes third) helpings at dinner.
Writing and drawing pictures about LEGO.
Sweaty hugs after school.
First visits from the tooth fairy.
Holdings hands to cross the road (most of the time, still).
Silly jokes at little sister’s expense.
Hugs and sorry to little sister afterwards.
I want to play by myself.
I want to play with sister.
I want to play by myself again.
You listen to me because I am bigger.
Okay, I’ll read you a story, little sister.
Yes, I’ll help you mummy.
No problem, I’ll take care of it, mummy.
Can I do it later, mummy?
More LEGO.
I love babies.
I like to play with babies.
I like to play with big boys.
I played that piece on the piano all my myself!
This song is too hard.
I don’t like piano.
I want to play the cello.
I want to play the trombone.
I just want to play LEGO.
Give me lots of hugs and kisses goodnight, mummy.
What’s for breakfast tomorrow, mummy?

Mister Six requested a Lego Ninjago birthday party.

Ninjago??? I thought you said you wanted a Star Wars party? And before that you said you wanted a Transformers party?

Please, mummy… I promise I will not change my mind again.


And Iit’s not going to be a big party. Just a little one. With only my best friends.

The rest is history.

Here are some photo highlights from the ‘little’ bash we had.


If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of some of the key elements in the party, here are some notes and links you might find useful…

  • Decorations: Balloons + Ninjago Eyes Printable
  • Goodie/party bags: DIY Paper Bags + Ninjago Eyes Printable
  • Table settings: Coloured Plates/Cups + Ninjago Eyes Printable
  • Ninjago Cheese: Baybel Cheese + Sultanas



The birthday cake was the result of combining these two ingredients with this Pinterest idea…




Party activities comprised of:


I printed out some clues for the team of little Ninjas to track down each golden weapon hidden around our backyard. I kept the clues fairly simple as I figured that it was already a bit of a challenge for five and six year olds to read the words by themselves in order to decipher where each weapon was hidden. But by the end of the hunt, they were all “Easy peasy-Lemon squeezy!”. All right then. I’ll be sure to add a trickier twist next time round!

Victory shot of the Golden Spinjitzu Weapon Treasure Hunters



The biggest thing I learnt from this whole experience was that birthday bashes do not necessarily have to be big. In fact it was Nathan who nudged me in this direction. Initially when I first started planning and thinking through the party, I kept prompting Nathan to tell me names of who to invite. He kept circling back to the same few names of close friends. I was tempted to start reading out names from his class list or scrolling through my phone list of friends with children. But I held myself back and decided to listen and follow Nathan’s cue instead. He reiterated that he would be happy with just a little party. As it turns out, planning a small scale party was so much fun.

The thing is, with the typical party of even say around ten children on the guest list, you will then have to consider including parents and siblings in the headcount. Which will then translate into planning food not only for the children but adults as well. During the party itself, you not only have to manage children’s activities but also mingle around and ensure the adult guests are taken care of as well. The logistics for planning a party of this scale can sometimes get out of hand, unless you decide to splurge and outsource the whole thing to an external party.

Since we ended up doing Nathan’s birthday party at much smaller scale, I was able to do a drop-off/pick-up later kind of party. So the sole focus celebration could be all about just the kids (a.k.a. Ninjagos). We were able to personalise the activities and ensure everyone was included and had a role in every activity. We could customise goodie bags for each individual guest to make it really special and meaningful for everyone.

I think this small scale style of partying might become our new favourite way of celebrating birthdays!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Monthly play roundup: November & December

And so finally we come to the last installment of my monthly play roundup series for the year. I’ve decided to combine November and December into one post as the second half of December usually runs into the holiday season with things starting to wind down. But I’ll do a separate post on some of the end-of-year celebrations and holiday highlights. But for now, here’s a roundup of the activities we’ve been busy with over these last couple of months…

‘I Need a Hug’
A recent favourite book we picked up from the library last month that we’ve read together umpteen times is ‘I Need a Hug’ by Aaron Blabey. The story is about a sad (and cute) little porcupine who really needs a hug. But then who would be willing to hug a porcupine. We made good use of our leftover playdough with some toothpicks and googly eyes to make our own little porcupines. The children adored their little porcupines and hugged them (gently) all day. We also gathered a few other animal toys to play out the story together.


‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’

Another favourite book last month was ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr. It was a perfect story to go along with the children’s regular tea party pretend play. We made a tiger mask and took turns being the tiger who greedily ate and drank up everything at the tea table.


Talking about Shadows

With no shortage of sunny days these past few months, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to notice our shadows. The children had been showing great interest in observing their shadows whenever we headed outside. I picked up two books from the library ‘The Black Rabbit’ by Philippa Leathers and ‘Foggy Foggy Forrest’ by Nick Sharrat. We set up a simple shadow puppet theatre using a bedsheet and a table lamp and had lots of fun playing shadow guessing games and doing some storytelling with various toys and props to create shadows.


Decorating Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits

With Christmas around the corner, we’ve been baking up lots of goodies and treats in the kitchen. And of course no Christmas is complete without decorating the classic gingerbread biscuits.


Ninjago Birthday Party

We also had an early celebration for Nathan’s birthday in Ninjago style (by specific request of the birthday boy). I’ll share more about this in a separate post, but here’s a little sneak peak of some of the goodies from the party


Christmas Presents

I rounded off the year with sewing up a storm of a whole bunch of homemade Christmas gifts for all my kids, including a reversible tote for each of them (which I completely forgot to take a photo of any before giving them all away). But I am especially proud of these travel chalkboard mats I made for a couple of the kids going away on holidays to keep them busy while they’re on the plane.



Thank you so much for following me on this series. It was often challenging to keep up with the heaps of activities we do every week and distil them down into a few highlights for this monthly roundup. But I hope you have found it interesting to get a glimpse into some of the things that have been keeping me busy throughout the year. Happy holidays and see you in the new year!