Happiness is... being a fun parent

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 26, 2023
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I might be turning 40 this year but 13 years of experience in being a mum tells me that age does not define what I do or how I think in this parenting journey. It certainly should not deter me in being kiddy at times, in being able to let my hair down or dance like no one is watching, or in being a fun parent who doesn't just watch but is enthusiastic to join in the activities too. 

If I can, I will always want to have a child in me. One who reminds me that life is fleeting and things shouldn't be solemn all the time, who tells me to relax, chill and just have some fun every once in a while, who lets me forget my age for a moment and allows me to bond, communicate and interact with my kids thoroughly. 

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about being a fun mum, or at the very least, try to be one.

It's been a long time since we visited Kiztopia and I am so happy we did. It was Ansel's first visit and he had so much fun with his siblings. He is blessed to have three elder siblings who dote on him very much so they are always there to accompany him, guide him and play with him, like how the sisters pushed him around on the kiddy car and how Korkor took care of him and assured him that he needn't be scared when they went on the train ride.

This orange slide was our favourite because it was so steep and slippery, and because we could ride on it together. Even though I had to take photos and videos for this sponsored visit, I didn't forget to have lots of fun with the kids. We slid and screamed together, we tried to bury each other with the Hinoko cubes, we shot hoops, we jumped on the trampoline and we conquered a Ninja trail together. These are the memories that my kids will hopefully hold onto as part of their happy childhood.

We had a belated birthday celebration for my Dad and treated him to a delightful buffet. It is always fun to cook and eat together as a family and we enjoyed the meal very much. We made use of the cake dessert to have a cake cutting ceremony since my Dad doesn't have a sweet tooth and didn't want a big cake. The staff even played the birthday song specially for us and that was a moment to remember.

What made the night even more special was when my Mum suggested to bring us to a newly opened playground in their neighbourhood. Even though it was already 10pm, the kids were naturally thrilled and I just had to let them play for a while. You see, my parents didn't just watch them play, they went on the slides, climbed up the slope and sat on the swing with them too. That is what I aspire to do when I am 70 years old - if I can make it to that ripe age. To be a fun grandparent who brings the grandkids out to play and joins in the fun too!

We still try our best to have home cooked meals and sometimes I run out of ideas on what to cook. That is when I decide to make it more fun and have a steamboat instead so that the kids can choose their own ingredients and we can all cook together. Since the hubby doesn't come home till the kids are asleep on weekdays, our dinner is mostly a mum-and-kids affair and I actually quite enjoy it. Yes, the washing up and preparation might be tedious but if you think about it, these moments will become rarely in a decade or two when the kids start working and move on with their own separate lives. So yes, let's cherish these growing up years because time truly has wings.

A major incident that happened this month was that Asher had to go for a tooth extraction! One of his molars was seriously decayed - to quote the dentist, it was dead and 'hopeless' - and we didn't pick it up till it was too late. So we made several visits to HPB and a private dentist, did an X-ray and a few consultations, before making the decision to extract it. 

This brave boy was scared but he mustered his courage and didn't grumble during the whole procedure. I was just glad when it was over and hopefully he learns to abstain from sweet stuff and take care of his teeth better. His first meal after the extraction was having udon soup and chawanmushi at Genki Sushi because he loves it to much. Whatever happens, my dear Asher, remember that Mama is here to support and cheer for you, okay?

It's a joy to know that theatrical shows are back and that we get to bring the kids to watch these educational and entertaining live shows once more. I had a one-on-two outing with the eldest and the youngest when the rest were in school and we made our way to Victoria Theatre to catch The Gruffalo, which is one of our favourite tales.

Then we also had a family outing to Singapore Repertory Theatre to catch The Hare and The Tortoise which was such a fun-filled, meaningful show on friendship. The kids enjoy these shows very much so I hope to keep up with these outings as much as I can before they outgrow them.

October is a time to get wild because it's Halloween! It's been way too long since we attended a big party so we were glad to be part of the Halloween celebration held at the newly opened Polliwogs in Clarke Quay. We didn't buy any new outfits but instead made do with what we had and I think we didn't quite okay, right?

One memorable incident was when we were taking the MRT to the venue, I took out our makeup kit and started drawing on my face, haha. The kids were a little shy and embarrassed, and wanted to procrastinate or give excuses. I told them it was all about being fun, perhaps even a little crazy or over the top, since it was Halloween after all - an annual affair where we get to look scary, ugly and be proud of it. So we did the makeup for each other eventually and I think these formed yet another set of happy, fun and precious memories for keepsake.

We were at the Botanic Gardens for a photoshoot for our new kicks and when I wanted to take a couple shot of me and the hubby, Ariel said "Do a cute heart pose, don't look so serious." And so we did.

Indeed, the kids are my constant reminders to tale life easier and just go with the flow or even be a little absurd at times. Don't be fooled by at the nice posed pics we put up sometimes, I assure you we go bananas at times too and that is when we laugh hard together and wish we had more of such carefree moments.

Jewel is one of our favourite places to visit and there is always so much to do and play. After enjoying a delicious meal at Shake Shack, we made our way to the playground, followed by having fun on ZooMoov rides and then plushie catching at Fun Claw. Yup, the hubby and I also joined in the fun at the claw machines and it took a family effort before we caught two very cute penguins to bring home.

Dining at Hai Di Lao is a luxury that we do not take for granted. I always remind the kids on how they are so fortunate to get to eat at restaurants and enjoy such good food, and to always count their blessings. We love seeing the 拉面师父 perform his signature dance because it always tickles the kids and makes them laugh.

Lastly, you've probably read about our biggest highlight in October and that is our DIY Halloween party themed "A Skeleton Carnival". If you have not, hop over here and be sure to watch the video because you will laugh with us and even at us, it's okay, I really don't mind. It was an unforgettable night filled with glee, giggles, fun, squeals, play and family bonding, a night where we didn't feel like parents but instead as playful kids who just wanna have a ball of a time. I am so thankful that all my efforts paid off for this party and that it was a roaring success.

Yeap, that's the end for now and while my monthly highlights might come a little late, I will keep them coming and I will never give up writing. So thank you for reading all these posts patiently and quietly, and I hope our family experiences will inspire you in one way or another.

Let's all be fun parents from time to time, yeah? Till the next post!

A Skeleton Carnival! - Happy Halloween 2022

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 12, 2023
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Halloween is a special time for our family. Back in 2020, all the parties we usually attended were cancelled due to the pandemic. To bring some cheer to the kids, I did a DIY Spooky Halloween party where we dressed up, played games and went trick-or-treating. The kids said it was the BEST Halloween ever so I knew we had started a fun-filled family tradition and it would be awesome if we could do it year after year.

Then in 2021, we had a "Back to School" theme and our characters include the Teacher, Einstein, Bully, Miss Popular, Class Clown and Cutie Pie. We played lots of childhood games including five stones, marbles, zero point, chapteh, blindman bluff and more before we head out for trick-or-treating and saved our class pet from the Bully. It was Ansel's first ever Halloween celebration and this made it a special one.

In 2022, I racked my brain weeks before October and decided that we were gonna transform into a skeleton family and and have fun at a carnival held in the comfort of our home. Everyone loves carnivals, right? I chose some of our favourite popular games and began working on the DIY game props, wall banner and decorations. Here's sharing all about the big day and how the kids enjoyed every minute of it.

The Setup

As always, I gave out party invitations to the kids days before the party and told them this would be their entry ticket for the party. The invites also revealed the theme so it got them pretty excited even though they didn't know exactly what we were gonna do. It's nice to be able to keep the suspense, right? I love to surprise my kids in every little way.

The big girl drew this on the whiteboard and it shows how much they look forward to Halloween. Their happiness is my biggest motivation to keep going. It doesn't have to be a lavish or fanciful party, the kids are actually very happy even if I keep things fairly simple.

This wall was the main highlight of our decorations and it was cool that the kids and I worked together to create it. I downloaded a skeleton font for the letters, printed out the biggest skeleton template I could find, hung up foam skulls we bought from the supermarket, put in place our DIY tombstone, placed skeleton figurines on the ledge, turned on a couple of changing coloured lights in the shape of skulls as well as hung up a scary skeleton - aka the evil Soul Catcher at this party - to complete the whole look. I totally loved the final product and was proud of what we had done.

Since we had a stash of Halloween decorations from past years, we also put these up around the house to create the ambience. Can you spot our spider, cat and ghosts?

 The Characters

Check out our skeleton OOTDs! I was stoked to have found all of them online at quite a reasonable price, even the toddler had a romper that fitted him nicely too. Not bad, right? I also added gloves for the elder kids and bought black and white face paint so we could have fun painting and look scary together. The hubby's outfit came with a mask so he was exempted from the face painting, haha. Lucky you. But then again, you missed out on the fun of the whole process.

What I totally did not expect was that Ansel would be game enough to let us paint his face too! He nodded when I asked him if he wanted it too after seeing the siblings do it first, and he stayed still in the process and looked totally adorable. Awww. Check out our makeup process in the video which I'm pretty sure might bring a few giggles.

The Highlights

Let the fun begin! The main highlights are always the games because the kids enjoy them the most so once we were done with our makeup, filmed some introductory videos and took some family photos, it was time to party!

I wrote each game's instructions and scoring system onto cue cards so I could read these to the kids before the start of each game. I must say it was fun planning it and determining how the prizes would be won. Oh yes, that meant I also hunted for prizes beforehand. I made this a candy-less Halloween as Asher just had a tooth extraction and I didn't want to encourage them to eat any sugary stuff. So I opted for things like pens, pencils, notebooks, stickers and other stationery.

1) Can Toss

The first activity was one of the most common carnival games ever and that is Can Toss! I drank plenty of green tea in the days leading up to Halloween so we could have enough cans to build a pyramid. These were individually wrapped with aluminium foil and had a skull printout stuck at the front. Easy and fun! We used beanbags to toss and the aim was to knock as many cans off the table as possible in three tries.

2) Ring Toss

The next game was Ring Toss and using rings that I bought online, you just had to toss them one by one onto recycled bottles. I used Pocari bottles for this and removed the label to personalise them with our skull printouts on a black paper. I even used a white marker to colour the caps so that the brand logo could not be seen. It's all in the little details, right?

3) Ball in the Bucket

This was easy to create and all I used were our toy bowling ball, a huge bowl and a cushion for support when you tilt the bowl. Just throw the ball in such a way that it stays inside rather than bouncing or rolling out. It's easier said than done!

Let's Dance!

We had an interval after three games but instead of resting, we did a skeleton dance as a family instead. Woohoo! It's always fun to dance together and I would wanna keep this as part of our family tradition. This was a simple but fun dance and you can see us grooving to the beat in my video below.

The girls also did an impromptu dance during our free time and it wasn't a surprise that they wanted to dance to BlackPink's songs. Check out the sisters' rendition of "Shut Down" in the video, yeah?

 Dinner Time!

For the third consecutive year, we had McDonalds for dinner! I asked them if they wanted me to order something else but they chose to stick to it instead. I guess some traditions are meant to be kept?

4) Spin The Wheel

The next game was Spin the Wheel! We did this at a carnival before so I thought it would be fun to let the kids try their luck again. I bought this huge rainbow spinning wheel online and on it, I wrote down what rewards or 'punishments' you would receive when you land on each of the colours. It was a test of my imagination and creativity but I loved it.

5) Fish a Duck

This game involved water and was one of the kids' favourites since they were young. Yup, let's fish for some ducks! I got a packet of small rubber ducks and used a permanent marker to write a score beneath each of them. The sum of all three ducks each kid picked would determine their final score and what prize they would win.

6) Shoot the Target

I loved shooting games as a kid and enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that came with hitting the target. My kids, especially the boys, love to shoot too so I had to include this fun game. Using our Nerf guns and 10 bullets each, we just had to shoot down as many skeleton targets as we could. I printed out cute skeletons in different poses and used a stand to support each of them.

7) Tile Bingo

This is one of the kids' well-loved game whenever we go to a pasar malam but it is always so expensive to play and hard to win. So I thought I would just create our very own version so we can play whenever we want. I printed out numbers to stick onto the mahjong tiles and printed corresponding numbers to place on a piece of corrugated board. 

All you have to do to hit Bingo is form at least a line - horizontally, vertically or diagonally - by picking out 20 tiles.The kids were so ectastic to play this game - check out their squeals of delight in the video. It was made even better with the prize which was a Daiso voucher for them to go shopping and get one favourite item each.

The Finale

Last but not least, we had a finale where the kids were tasked to hunt for and banish the evil Soul Catcher. Along the way, they needed to look for and gather skull tokens too - yup, no candy this time but hey, this treat is even better because I told them every three skull tokens they collected could be exchanged for a Fun Claw token (my kids are claw machine lovers!). They were over the moon when I announced the prize and I loved seeing all their happy faces.

After finding the evil Soul Catcher aka the hubby taking a skeleton to fly around, the kids took turns to hit it with their magic ball. It was hilarious when our ball fell into the pool and one of us had to get wet to retrieve it. Guess who?

It took me hours to make these skull tokens because I did them from scratch and printed the design, cut them out (nearly 90 of them!), stuck them onto styrofoam and then cut out each individual token with a penknife. My fingers were red and aching afterward but I was happy to do DIY projects and took pride in that I had kept the cost to a minimum by choosing to make and not buy.

Our exciting, long night finally ended with a movie session and we watched "The Curse of Bridge Hollow", a funny and entertaining Halloween movie which was just perfect for the occasion. Family movie nights are so precious to us and I hope we can still do this from time to time even when the kids are all grown up.

So that concludes our eventful and unique Halloween celebration! It was such a fun-filled and memorable night which we will look back fondly in years to come. I mean, I highly doubt we will ever dress up as a skeleton family again, right? Okay, I guess you never know for sure but anyway, it was truly so much fun while it lasted!


I took hundreds of photos and videos that night - yes, I am the event planner, game master, makeup artist, creative director and also official photographer and videographer for our parties! - and here's a final clip for you to take a look at what took place that night. See our hilarious attempts at trying to do transitions, the behind the scenes moments, and all the fun games and activities. This took me long to do but it is well worth it because the kids kept laughing at themselves and ask me to replay it over and over again. When you are happy, I am happy, my dears. Happy watching!

Read about our Halloween parties here:

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