Friday, November 30, 2007

Athena's birthday - 24th November

Birthday theme : Dora The Explorer
The party is here!
This is the party that took me alot of effort. Despite the fact that I had prepared some things beforehand (at the same time as I prepared for Aricia's party), I still had to do some at a later date. And one obstacles after another - Aricia's febrile fits ; her stay in hospital ; she fell sick ; Athena sick ; febrile fit (again) ; stay in hospital ; children sick ; I sick... all the last minute job in preparing for this one day event. A 5 hour event to be exact. Better be worth it, and it better be good! And........I'm glad it's over. So, now it's feedback time from my friends and fellow readers of my blog.
Birthday invitation cards were sent out late this year. Some I had missed out accidentally and informed by sms coz' too much things in my mind. But I'm glad I quickly asked for Josephine's address so that next year she'll be invited in a more appropriate way (not sms - so rude). The total number that could made it finally is 9 child + 4 babies (excluding the birthday girl & Aricia). However Balraj can't come last minute coz' he's having a sore throat. Nevertheless still a small party.. so I'm glad it's going to be more cozy and warmer fellowship between us all.

Birthday Invitation Card
In the envelope were VIP passes for the children and the schedule. This year, I decided to do the schedule so that I won't feel guilty if some children missed a portion of the party. I can't be waiting for all the kids right? At least they have the schedule to read for themselves and decide which part they want to come.
VIP Passes issued to all guests
Invitation card, VIP pass, and a party schedule all sealed up in envelope and sent out

In the morning, I was rushing to do the video montage. I had problem (losing it 3 times!) with it. Finally it's done but I don't know why two numbers (4 yrs old & 5 yrs old) didn't appear in our TV screen. I did again but no use, so I gave up! I'm real tired. Will play that out during the party. I don't know how guests would feel if I played that coz' it's like I'm showing off my daughter to the whole world.... but every mothers love their children what.

Then I went to collect my cake from Anna, apparently Anna informed that she won't be doing this anymore coz' she wants to concentrate on taking care of her son. I think it's a great pity but I can understand a mother wants to be there for her child. Anna has never disappointed me in any way. The 2.5kg cake looks better than her sketched one (oops! I don't mean to say her drawing is horrible). Anyway, for her cake design, it was a decision between a forest theme or a snow capped cake, in the end I decided on the former as I have the figurines. Though I must emphasize that the figurines on the cake are not those Fisher Price ones where they say contain lead- so everyone's safe.
Illustrated one The actual cake
After collecting the cake, I went to get some balloons blown up. I wanted to rent a tank this year but after doing my last count of the small number of children, it would be really a waste of money. I didn't want to go down to Concourse so went to Tampines . I saw some balloons for sculpting and was so tempted to buy but I was running late so will go down another day.

Her Dora balloon was inflated on Friday after Aricia's class. Thank goodness, I did them separately coz' on both occasions they were blocking my rear mirror. Anyway, when I was at PP to bring Dora home, I was lucky to have bumped into Charlie and spoke to him myself. Umm.... I think can consider next year.... (siao!) No, I think I'll be more interested to learn balloon sculpting myself (first let me get over the fear of balloons). It'll be so fun.

I was only home for a short while when our Dora - the pinata arrived in grand style. In a cab coz' Cynthia couldn't finish it in time and she stays in Choa Chu Kang. So what she did was to flag a cab and brought Miss Dora to my place. I had to pay the cabfare of $22/- (read this : $68 + $22 = $90) and that bitch had to throw it away without asking me.
Cynthia said she herself is not proud of what she did this time round. She was very happy with the outcome of our carriage pinata last year, which by standard is huge and WOW!
but this time she couldn't do what I requested and apparently some problem, she had to amputate the body. Her suggestion was to have Dora holding a birthday cake, I asked "how about Dora playing the violin?" I was excited and can't wait to see the one & only unique violinist but... it's okay Cynthia already did her best. I am equally happy with her work. And it's customised not those off-the-shelf kinds so it's unique. Decorations in the house were done up during the early part of the week, I did a little by little each day with KZ helping me one portion of the house on Friday. I was tired beyond words, fever also working!

Top left : main door
Top right : small reception table for children

Bottom left : Reception table with map & goodie bags below the table
Bottom right : Stars at the main entrance

With Roslyn's help. Thanks!

And it went up beautifully on our wall. Everyone complimented on it and thought I was the one who did it. I wish but no.... I'm not that capable. Roslyn is the brain behind this beautiful artistic piece.
I did these cute little Dora and friends things to hang it up. Alot of time wasted on that coz' it had to be aligned properly, paste and they're all both sided. Very tired! And maybe nobody noticed it. You might not be able to see in the bottom right picture but I deliberately put Swiper and the birthday cake next to each other. I was really tired but then as I did up the place, you'll agree with me that sometimes the more you do, the more excited and enthusiastic you feel and in the end and was daring to try to do more. Mom say I crazy... exaggerate too much with decos. But Dora what! If it's a sea theme, who knows I may end up making my house a big aquarium?!
Brother also came by early to help to put up the photo-taking corner. My artistic brother helped me make a bush with Swiper behind. He even took the effort to get brown plasticine and made a cute little squirrel. So pretty! I can't do without my capable brother. Oh no! I don't have a nice photo of the thing without any children behind. Argh! Anyone have it front view, please let me know.
Elizabeth & Athena
The food , from Four Seasons came. Although Four Seasons is rather well known, I didn't find their food as good as what I had expected. I thought we'd try out something different this time - a real disappointment. I'm definitely getting back Neo Garden. I'm sorry if my guests had to endure with the horrible food. My apologies to my guests.Keeping to the Dora theme, it's really everything Dora (except the mother not in the unco-ordinated pink & orange attire). I did have the Dora cake pan, so asked mom to make Dora jellies for me. Argh! No photos of those jellies. Please anyone of you have a picture of it, please let me know.
This is like the only one I can find and zoomed in after some editing. I wanted to do some Dora chocolate but I just didn't have the time to do it.

Guests came. Children registered. KZ was suppose to help me with this but I dunno where she disappeared to. Every child had a tattoo or two which I bought online. Considered expensive after conversion but I must admit it's really very lasting so worth the penny!

In the evening, tattoo still intact
Oops! Moo Han I think I forgot about Nay's and Shyanne's tattoos
The kids were then either given Backpack-girls or Cars-boys. I wanted to get Diego stuffs for the boys but I really have problem finding the items here in Singapore.
Backpacks - favor bags
Eyes, eyebrow and mouth cut and pasted months in advance (but dropped out 2 weeks ago so had to use double-sided tape 2nd time round.- argh! double job!!
Fortunately, I only had to do 14 bags, otherwise my eyes will be more crossed than Backpack's
The favors in each bag is little - not that I am stingy but coz' I have games so I can't put it much.
Anyway, I tried to get the practical things. I didn't put in alot of sweets this time coz..... there will be sweets during the party. So what's inside :
1) Cone hat
2) Blower
3) Puzzle
4) Sticker
5) Pencil
6) Star bracelet
7) Bubbles (bought online)
8) Oreo, personalized mentos sweet and jellies The Disney Cars favor bags for the boys
Okay, theirs mainly all bought in Singapore. I don't mean to be biased but since I can find it here, why not?
1) Blower
2) Balloon
3) Sticker
4) Pencil case
5) Sticker Album
6) Eraser
7) Magnet
8) And the zipper bag which doubled up as the favor bag All favor bags were tagged just in case the children are looking for theirs. The last thing I want to have is to have crying kids looking for their bags. As the kids registered, I gave them their tattoos, an activity map (which is this) - I doubt the children opened it up anyway which was rolled up as a map Argh! No photos again! What I had on the dining table were :
1) the scanned Sudoku games. Athena has a book so I scanned, printed the stickers on sticker papers; cut and batched them up accordingly. Time consuming in preparing those but I thought it'll be great to have something different (and make a child play a logical-thinking game).I can't possibly buy the books and rip off the pages right?
2) colouring pictures of the characters
from websites and activity sheets from another of her book - scanned and printed in A5 size. In total 5 colouring papers; 5 activity sheets from her book 3) the activity papers (shown below) which I bought online :4) door hangers, which was DIY-ed for the children to decorate. But they look so lovely... I couldn't bear to spoil it myself 5) And there is this Toss Dora thing which I did. Stacked up 2 boxes; wrapped; put Dora on it; cut a slit in the box so that Dora can sit properly; tie Dora hands with those wire things so she won't drop. I told Athena to bring the children to play but she herself wasn't interested (though she was playing it days before). Wasted my effort! Some kids found the time to really do the activities. The minus point of having a party in the house is to have kids running to the rooms playing with the toys there instead. I don't mind that, just that.... all my time / effort wasted in doing the above activities. Sigh!
In this video, pay attention to the front portion (ignore the rests behind). It's a funny conversation between the 3 classmates about "Miss Clanna say cannot say get married". When I asked Athena yesterday about their conversation, she mentioned "because Jachelle and Wei Teng say they want to marry each other.

The children doing activities on the dining table

While some kids played outside, these 2 babies played in Aricia's baby cot.I then started the games about 15-20 mins late. Gathering the children in is one big problem. Coz' I'm not a professional entertainer and ..... for sure I can't be a childcare teacher (children all walk over my head), shout already also nobody heard me. ?!?
The "adventure" I planned for my home in Punggol... It's really a pity I don't have enough space, otherwise I would have done up alot of props and make it more realistically looking. So I asked the kids to use their imagination. I wonder if they did, even if they didn't I can't blame them coz' I was not a professional entertainer to capture their attention. So now I know my forte is not party planning but making flashcards. *hahaha*
So their adventure took them to the Counting Stars, Musical forest, troll bridge and then the pinata.
Coincidently Angeline came by so Alexandra was just in time for the games. Then Aaron, my free balloonist mentioned that he just learnt how to do something in the previous party asked me if I have those balloon making books. I do have it but in such a haste, I can't remember where I left it. Needless to say children see Uncle Ballonist come all attracted and was queuing up.??? Oh no! The games has to go on, so poor Uncle Balloonist sat at the dining table trying out, preparing some so that it can be given to children later. Really thanks Aaron! Well.... I heard *pop * *pop* *pop* At least he was brave enough to continue, I would have packed the things up and forgot about the whole thing.
The youngest baby, Aleciabeth asking for a balloon too!
And can someone please tell that poor girl- Jachelle - that she can't inflate this kind of balloon using her mouth?!?! She must have tried & tried. Haha! (Well.... actually you can inflate it by mouth, I know of this balloonist personally who could do it. Why I didn't ask him for help? Coz' he charges $250 for about 2hrs!!Good $, I should learn & go and earn extra bucks!)
Okay, back to the games.. I think the children must be bored with me.I'm such a boring game host
But looking at their faces in these pictures maybe they were just entertaining me to make me happy.

Counting Stars
I was teaching the children to count in spanish
1 - uno
2 - dos
3 - tres
4 - quatro
5 - cinco
Thanks to Helen who helped me with the scotch- tape, make the work faster. So the children also won't feel bored. They are to step the paper or form the line behind the number, which I'll call out in Spanish. The children looked bored and quite blur, I think parents also struggling along. I must admit this is quite boring but no choice I needed 3 obstacles (Dora has 3 obstacles) for the children, so I try to build up the "adventure" for them. And I had problem photo-shopping photos to make into a map.Musical Forest
Musical Forest takes the longest coz' there are 3 activities inside.
1) Freeze game
2) Limbo Rock
3) Passing the backpack

Freeze game - the children didn't dare to move their body much. I was utterly disappointed in Athena who (of all times must be shy..) and didn't participate.
I had a prize for the winner but everyone's so good.So I ended up only giving the normal gifts for all the children.Limbo Rock - initially was playing the normal Dora music, didn't sound exciting. Thanks to Mary who helped me with this.

Then I set the music to Dora singing Limbo Rock, oh boy! That really got the kids going. And David, Jenny's husband, suggested "put down lower. I tell you the kids will love it." and he pushed it further down for me. Thanks to him, really! The kids had more fun lying on their back sliding like eels. Girls forgot they were in their dresses, can see their panties. Haha!
And what was my girl doing? I will blog about that later.
Video :

No prize for this or was there? I really forgot coz' I had them all packed up and labelled. Now that's another problem, I was too busy to take photos when I was packing them up 2 nights before.Argh! I remember there were two packs for games and another set in the backpack. *mother forgetful liao!*

Last game for musical forest was the boring Passing the Backpack game. I used the backpack I sewed for Athena and put small things inside - it's either a Car or Dora stamper (this time round I cannot differentiate the colours at all coz' you wouldn't know what the children will pick) and a milk sweet. The catch is they have to do what is written on the card there before I can give it to them.
Athena's pick was the easiest - really made sure she closed her eyes otherwise I get accused of biased treatment. She had to dance, she didn't really do it so I had to stand up and do it with her, and gave her chance by playing her favourite song - The Chicken Dance. Still.... the mother shake her own backside more than the birthday girl. She's too shy, she's always dancing around.
I really must praise the other kids for being so sporting in doing their part.

Troll Bridge
In order to pass the troll bridge, the troll always like to make Dora and Boots do something or solve riddles. It would have been better if when we go through the adventure, I play the "I'm The Grumpy Old Troll song". Infact there were many nice songs in the Dora CDs I have but I'm not technie savvy to learn to burn them accordingly so that I can just play on the player and let everything go smoothly.
Anyway, the space left in my house is really small, my bridge was a simple piece of paper where I prepared riddles for them. They either had to step on the letters or pictures of whatever I posed to them and go across the bridge.

Here the children queuing up for their turn.. yah lah my house so small want to queue properly also no space!
The children doing their part, in order to expedite the "crossing over" they answer and I spell it out for them. Was a little behind time.
The two babies were included too, asked Iggy to join in but they didn't want.

So.... presenting my little Aricia with all the help from the che-ches and kor-kors. The kids are so charming "here here here", they forgot they are squatting in the 'river' and probably drowned?

And Aleciabeth getting help from Braxton. Look at the blur look in Aleciabeth's face but kudos to the tired mummy who (came from another earlier party) had to kneel down to guide Aleciabeth.
Mom was as usual worried that I only buy prize for the winner but no.... she forgot her daughter likes to spoil children. I can buy more but cannot buy less kind. So all children got small pressies during the games segment.

I can't remember for which game, but the boys were given this :- aahhh.....don't say I'm prejudiced huh? This is bought online.
Oh! I almost forgot this. For the entire adventure there was no Swiper, it'll be nice to have someone posing as Swiper to make it more exciting (I thought my skinny dad will do a good job since he looks sneaky enough) but cannot lah! So I told the children "Swiper's on leave"

Then it was pinata time. Seems like Cynthia didn't do the string properly, Dora was being hanged; looked unsightly so we took away the bamboo pole and Mr Balloonist (the unpaid man who had to bao-ga-liao) helped to hold the pinata. Thanks Aaron!
Cynthia also didn't do enough strings, which I did ask KZ to stick more before she helped with the fillings...but looking from the pictures, it seems like the strings she did came off.

Moo Han came late, if not Nay would have been able to join in. I was so worried about the insufficient number of treats inside. Last year I overloaded the carriage, like it was raining rocks like that.But maybe it was a blessing in disguise that Cynthia had to amputate the body so it was enough (maybe... I still feel it's little). I asked KZ to help me with the filling in. Inside the pinatas were some sweets, small games, keychains etc.., stickers, glittery stuffs.

As you can see in the above pictures, we didn't have to worry about our house being messy coz' I don't understand why but all the kids like to pick up the glittery stuffs and streamers. In the end, our floor was clean!!

Ai yoh, I tell you.... I tell my girl not to pick up sweets coz' I hate to keep sweets at home and she's not allowed to eat coz' she gets cough easily.. but end up with so many sweets.?!?!
Looking at this picture, can you see the green colour pack? Those are stickers, I bought 2 packs from Hong Kong and see how "clever" my helper is.... she didn't even open up the sticker packs. All the other kids would have the chance to pick some cheap stickers. So, I dunno who's the lucky the other person who picked up the other pack. Funny thing is, my helper had to ask me "mum, I cut open up this mentos??" Ai yoh, I tell you... sometimes it's not that I like to bao-ga-liao everything and work myself to death but simple thing like this must come and ask me?? I told her "of course lah! How you expect the whole pack of mentos to fall out from the pinata?" Sigh....
For Athena's and Aricia's birthday parties I did alot of Photoshop to make cards, deco etc... And I specifically love this. I remembered Isa loves flowers so decided to get the flower sweets from Candy Empire (ended up spending more money there)I made it look like Isa planted the thing, so I put in flowers (all tagged with children's names) and asked mom who can do flower arrangement to help me arrange it nicely. She did a good job don't you agree?

Infact I must admit my family is full of artistic people (except for the mother aka me who's also good in boasting - haha!)
The children were supposed to help themselves to it, instead I had childrens' hands all over the place I decided to give it out myself.
Forgot to take photo of this as well, I prepared these little noisemakers pasted with my printed Dora pictures; whistles also printed with Dora pictures (DIY-ed), party poppers, small maracas, drums in this aluminium foil. Coz' the Fiesta Trio always like to make music once Dora and Boots goes through an obstacle. I was quite disappointed, I remember seeing those big maracas and drums somewhere before but just can't seem to recall, in the end I bought them from ToysRUs. Worried the babies will put in their mouth and thought nobody would take them. But end of day, I noticed a few left. The children did ask for more poppers which I still had alot in my cupboard so ...good that they finished up the whole box for me.Then comes the birthday cake. I love the birthday cake! I had to put the figurines on top as the box can only fit the cake nicely. Instead of usual the normal candles, I bought her this number 5 candle. Thank goodness the smart (again boasting-haha!) mummy bought this coz' it really suited the cake. I know you can't really see it here but I'm putting all the pictures in the online album.

The kids were excited with the cake and all gathered but I had no choice but to ask to have a family photo taken first. I hope no parents are offended by my request.Here are the children - all eyeing on the cake. I love to see the childrens' facesShe looks so happy in this picture compared to the games segment (why? because she greedy...) But I'm glad she managed to blow the candle, every year she has to pretend to act shy; dare not blow the candle until some kid cannot wait, blow it for her. And then she'll sulk.Wait! I think Jachelle blew it off at the same time too! But thank goodness she was laughing away.

I can't remember when but Moo Han called to say if she can come over. Of course she can come over, it's just that she just missed the cake part. If I didn't welcome her over, I wouldn't have invited her over. And in the first place, she amongst others are more sincere in coming over despite their busy schedule (already giving me face), unlike some idiots who told me straight in the face!

Do you know why the children are still hanging around the cake? Coz' Anna put sweets, chocolates. The kids are taking from the cake, so all the poor parents had to eat sabotaged and destroyed cake. Haha! But I'm sure all the parents are forgiving right?

Alexandra dunno digging out what? It must have been nice.In my heart I'm thinking, good take as much as you want. But as I noticed this photo, I just realised the dangerous position she was in

Children eating their cakes
By the time the cake was cut and consumed, it was already 5+, wrong planning on my part? Or the games were too long and draggy?
But I get comments from parents "you baked this cake". Ai yoh.... they look so highly of me. Don't forget I've had stomach flu the whole of last week, if I had baked the cake, I'd have passed the germies to my guests. It was Anna who baked this cake. The children marvel at the cake; the parents' were all busy snapping pictures. I've never seen any papparazzis taking photos of cake in such a manner before.*flash flash flash* And what can I say?.... the cake is addictive! I over catered but it's all finished!

And how can we forget the children group photo?? Oh no! By now, some children had already left.Some guests stayed on to chat. The kids played and finally sat down to colour. Maybe they were too tired already.It also finally gave me the chance to finally sit down and chat with friends & don't care what the kids are doing.
Goash! I had too many things in my mind! I forgot to give these out (bought from Candy Empire at $3 each. I bought close to 2 dozen. I found these by sheer luck when was there to just get the flower candy. But like I said I ended up spending more $)
I hope all the children got at least one (we did have some extras..) actually it's the little surprise that I like inside. Athena was lucky she has little Dora, Jachelle has Tico. I think although some kids had 2 or 3, we still had 4 left in our fridge. Neh neh poo poo... it's all mine!!

Lucky for Nay & ShyAnne & Victoria(who fell asleep halfway through the party), they still got the games' gifts.
Ahh... now I remember what I packed for the games' gifts :
Freeze game : Either Dora / Disney Cars sling pouch + gummies (depending on boy or girl)
Pass the backpack : Either Dora / Disney Car stamper + milk sweet (that one depending on their luck to see what they picked.
Limbo Rock or Troll bridge?? : Dora wallet for girls, disc launcher for boys.

Oh! We just needed to take this photo of LCCI, if only 邱老师 is present, it would have looked more like K1 class photo. Haha! Actually after the party, I realised I forgot to invite Javier. *oops* I received a comment from Susanna, I didn't know you were in contact with Braxton's mummy.... "yah, only once a year ( and I chuckled)
Also, I forgot to play the video which I had specially prepared. Argh! Moo Han asked me if I teared.. of course I did. I have been preparing all her photos since young in montages and everytime I'll cry. I think at her wedding they can play all the montages I prepare -- will lasts the whole wedding dinner. Haha! Dunno if guests feel bored or that I'm showing off my child. But I love my child mah!!

Here's the video :

We played the video twice coz' some were sitting in awkward position so they moved forward to the TV area. The children were excited when they see themselves. Yes! I specifically put her friends and only invited her friends for her party - which made it real exclusive for her and her friends.
The children asked to see again & "some more?" but I felt rather embarrassed coz' I really had alot of the montages since Athena's birth until now.And although I'm proud of my children I wouldn't want to over-play there.. I played her first montage which apparently I did not have it converted to MPEG so can't share it here. And the last one was the one I prepared for Aricia's 1st birthday. So in total, played 3. 3 are enough to bore people, perhaps they were just being diplomatic.

Since I still had gifts left. Some people (those late stayers) get the last extras (coz' I prepared extras). Haha! No lah! I don't like to keep things, ask me to keep for next year. I won't be using the same theme .... ehh that is if we still have a party next year.
I still had two packs for two winners of the games. So.... since nobody played and practised on the Toss The Dora, I'm going to make sure they do it. Oh boy! They looked so stressed up. Moo Han, the funfair lady, was helping out. Thanks Moo Han!ShyAnne is trying out too! Good job!!

Make the children move in closer also cannot! Lucky I had the Vicenzi Minisnacks biscuits to distribute to the children. Dunno is it their skills no good or it's really difficult to toss it in Dora's hat.

No winner so I counted the number of children still around the house (the older ones) - 6. Just nice! I opened up the 2 winner packs and did a draw lots. So I gave everything away leaving nothing for next year.

When the children left at their respective time, balloons were distributed.Goash! It won't stay floating long after that but I had no choice.
The balloon for Dora theme was orange, pink, and maroon but I inflated yellow & blue also just incase the boys wanted boy boy colours.
With that the balloon-lady aka my mother helped me distribute them to the last few children. We had alot of extra food, so some guests ta-pao back... otherwise it's going to be wasted.

I prepared favors for the parents too (my mom commented "like Malay wedding like that" - but she forgot hor..... they also copy me what!)
Why the bag you wonder right? Last year I prepared the mint books & some chocolates but the parents never take so this year I had to make sure that they took it - in other words I give it to them.

Teabags (camomile tea) & Herseys chocolates. I went a little overboard this year. Last year was Van Houten small chocolates, this year thought smaller group I'd do Herseys.
The birthday party finally came to an end, I was totally exhausted! I screamed in protest again "no more party next year!!!" ah ha! still too early to say, the mother got a soft heart.And I always suffer from dementia.

Thought I can relax after the party, someone had to make me angry by throwing away my things without asking me. And then.. we realised Athena's figurines on the cake are missing. She started to sulk & tear and I had to do the thick-skinned job of sms-ing around. I think people will hate me and not come for her party next year. So.. I decided to buy something back for the child/children who accidentally took it home. The child must have loved it so took it, but it means to Athena too who though may be careless with her belongings do possess some kind of possessive nature over her things (or maybe I should call it her selfish nature)

Well, some extra things to say here.
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