Our Experience with Gymnademics

Bun recently graduated from Pre-fellow classes at Gymnademics! Here is my first post about these classes, in case you missed it.

I had a look at photos taken during the first few sessions and am able to see the marked increase in confidence that Bun now displays.


All in all, I am happy with her progress and I think her experience in these classes has prepared her for entering drop-off playschool. She is familiar with the check-in process of removing her shoes and placing them in the cubby hole, getting her temperature checked, and putting her water bottle into a box provided. She is able to do all of these things without being prompted and does them with glee. She also knows that the first part of the class is always free play, and will comfortably engage with the materials provided. While she does all of that, I sometimes stay outside the room to chomp down a curry puff for breakfast!


Bun's 2nd Birthday Party: Activities & Games

Now that I have planned and executed a few birthday parties, I would like to think that I am more experienced and less likely to over-do things! This round, I not only kept the games and activities short, age-appropriate and fun, but also chose to do things that were easy to prepare.  

These were the activities we did: 


1. Dramatic Story-telling

To start off with the "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet" theme, we started with story time! I had the children sit on a picnic mat, and held up Bun's favourite book. If you are familiar with the story, you will know that it features duck feet, deer horns, a long, long tail, and a whale spout.

My grand plan was to make/source enough duck feet, horns, long noses, tails and spouts for all the children to play dress-up with as the story was being read. Alas, I realized quite quickly that I did not have enough time to make all of that, and on that very day, I made do with some items we had around the house!



My SIL had helped to cut out several pairs of "duck feet" out of paper. I simply distributed them at the beginning of the story and some children automatically placed them on their feet! I used cardboard rolls from kitchen paper the long, long noses, and gave out a few reindeer horned hairbands for the "deer horns". I completely forgot about the long, long tails, but the children didn't seem to mind (phew).

The big hit was the whale spout. I had thought about all sorts of possible contraptions to make, but due to the lack of time, I did not get to make anything. Instead, when I got to that part of the story, I whipped out a water spray (the kind you use when you iron clothes), to spray all over the children! They LOVED it and kept interrupting the story with "more spray please!". It was fun!


2. Pass The Parcel

This well-loved game was decided on because Bubbles asked if we were going to have it. We played the tune "Five Little Ducks", and kept it simple, in a format that I learnt from another party. Instead of having the kids do something when the parcel stopped at them, I had a little small present wrapped into each layer. And, because we wanted the children to be happy, we made sure that every child got a go at opening the parcel, before letting the music stop randomly. Great for parties that involve really little ones! Our winner received a set of Moon Dough :)





 

3. Duck Food Scavenger Hunt 

We did not get many photos of this game as it started and ended much quicker than expected! I had printed different things that ducks eat (eg. Grass, Fish, Frog etc) on orange coloured paper. The children were told that there were little ducks, and split into two groups to hunt for food. Actually the plan was to get them to go on the hunt while waddling like ducks, but we forgot about the waddling part and they just ran! The winning group got to pick a present each from my little gift bag.


4. Pinata! 

For the very first time, we decided to have a Pinata at the party! My children have experienced this at several other parties and love it. Unfortunately I could not find a Duck-shaped pinata, and made do with a Cake-shaped one. On hindsight that was probably a better thing as hitting a "duck" might have been a painful experience for some of the more sensitive children! As always, the "waterfall" of candy that came pouring out of the pinata thoroughly delighted everyone :)



I hope you enjoyed the posts on Bun's 2nd Birthday Party!

You can see the other two posts here:
Bun's 2nd Birthday "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet" Party
Bun's 2nd Birthday Party:  The Cake & Food

Bun's 2nd Birthday Party: The Cake & Food

For those of you who have been reading this blog long enough, you would know that I made a small 2-tier cake for Bun's 1st birthday last year. It was a pretty little cake and I loved how it turned out. However, it took me many days of experimentation to get it right!

This year, I decided to keep it simpler by making cupcakes. These are little carrot cakes with a cream cheese frosting spiked with fresh lemon juice! I had no time to do a trial, and made these just the day before the party. Thankfully the cakes turned out moist and flavourful, and enjoyed by everyone. My only regret was that I added an ingredient that I have never used before in cakes - coconut flakes. I didn't quite like its chewy texture, although I had friends who did!


I fretted a little about how to display the cupcakes, as I do not have a proper cupcake stand. After looking at the options at the various baking shops, I felt that I was not prepared to make space for another purchase in my home! The cakes were therefore displayed on a cake stand I already own, placed on top of a large round cake base that I found in my kitchen. I thought the end result looked quite nice! The small, adorable rubber ducks were a happy find from this shop called "Happy Baby" at Beauty World.

Do you like the flowers? The night before the party, we were at the supermarket picking up last minute supplies when I decided to get an assortment of yellow blooms. There wasn't a lot of choice, but I thought the fresh flowers added a lovely touch to the party decorations! You can see another photo of the flowers here.

And here are some photos of the food! We held the party in the late afternoon, and therefore served a buffet dinner. The initial plan was to do a BBQ, but we decided against it for health reasons, and also because a BBQ would have required more work during the party, taking people away from watching the children and enjoying the party.

Rob suggested to have a mixture of Asian and Western fare. We made roast beef, 3 salads (mixed vegetables/herbs, fruit, pasta), broccoli, and fried bee hoon. To go with the "duck" theme, we bought 2 braised ducks!

It was a yummy dinner and the roast beef was a big hit! (I will make more next time, people!)



Look out for the next post on what we did at the party!

Bun's 2nd Birthday "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet" Party


My baby is now 2! We celebrated her birthday last weekend and it was a blast. I had many sappy moments leading up to her party, not quite wanting to believe that the littlest in our family is no longer a baby.

We had a small party arranged for her held next to the pool in our estate. It was made up of immediate family, and friends that we see most often.  Arrangements for the party was done really last minute, starting from around 1.5 weeks before the party. I was spurred on when I finally picked a theme, thanks to the suggestion of a fellow mom, who asked me what Bun's favourite book was!

I am so happy to share with you about Bun's "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet" party, based on the book by Dr Seuss, one of her favourite titles right now!

The party was dressed in happy yellow, blue and orange. Bubbles was the sweet big sister who was an enthusiastic help. She made the "Welcome" sign all by herself and I had it displayed on a stand (next to a duck figurine) for all to see.


I was really thankful for the cool and breezy weather that evening, after the heavy rains in the morning. Bun was a happy birthday girl at the party. She clearly enjoyed the company of the people she knows best, and was either wide-eyed with wonder, or running around with excitement. We had scooters and a bicycle for the children to zoom around in, and a friend set up a booth for temporary tattoos to entertain the kids with while we waited for guests to arrive.


Each one of our little guests went home with a customized goody bag. Every bag contained an old school paper ball (the kind you have to blow up yourself), a bottle of bubbles, and either a book or a puzzle toy. I had ordered candy too late, and so none of them arrived in time for the party! Thankfully we had a pinata stuffed with candy, to make up for the lack of sweets in the goody bags (the horror! ;)).

Do look out for the next few posts about cake, food and party activities!

Talking about Death


Whether or not we talk about it, we all know that death is a certainty in the road ahead of us.

My children attended their first funeral wake over the weekend. It was that of a dear family friend - a long time mentor to my sister. She was an amazing woman with an infectious laughter. She always had an encouraging word to all she met, and a deep love for God and His people. It was the ravage of cancer that claimed her life in just a couple of weeks.

I wanted my children to see how her life was celebrated and to get a glimpse of how people who are grieving can be comforted. I wanted them to see that death need not be a sting, but a celebration of the life that was lived and the life that follows.

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On the last day of 2013, I was putting Bubbles to bed and as usual I asked her what thanksgivings she had. I asked that she think about the year that passed (instead of the day, as we usually do on an almost daily basis). She shared a few things, and then suddenly burst into torrents of tears. I was shocked and thought she somehow hurt herself.

Then she said: Mummy, can you pray for God to stop time?
Me: Stop time? But why do you want God to stop time? You have always wanted to be five years old and you will only be five next September. If time is stopped you will not turn five.

Bubbles (sobbing uncontrollably): I don't want to be five anymore. I want to stay four years old.
Me (concerned but puzzled): But why dear, why do you want to stay four?

Bubbles: I don't want time to go on, because I do not want YOU to die.
(She then cried with such sorrow after saying this.)

I was dumbfounded. Then I cried along with her. Then I told her that our real home is in Heaven that lasts forever, and reminded her about how we rejoiced when she decided on her own to accept Jesus into heart a couple of months before.

Bubbles: But can you pray to God for us to have eternal life on earth?

And you know, between that last question, more sobs and lots of assuring hugs later, I cannot even remember what I said to her :(

At the funeral wake the past weekend, she had the opportunity to ask a lot more questions. This time, she wasn't sobbing, and asked questions from a less personal perspective. She wanted to know about dead bodies and why they needed to be buried, for example, and what are souls.

We answered each question as factually as we could, and she would given an intellectual, serious nod each time she understood.

I reckon this will not be the last time we will be talking about these things. I pray that I will be able to answer her questions better in the future, and in ways that will lead her to be able to see death as a natural process that comes with living, and to rejoice that it need not be the end. 

Do you talk to your children about death? How do you do it?