Happiness is... treasuring every phase of life

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 17, 2019
in ,

I don't like how fast time flies sometimes. Yup, frankly speaking, I have even wished that I had the power to rewind time or just make it stand still. So that I can enjoy the present a little longer and *lump in throat* my kids stay young a little longer.

Obviously, I do know that it's impossible but knowing it and accepting it can be two different things, right? Over the years, it's taken me a while but I do realise that while I can never freeze time, I can however try my best to make every moment count and learn to cherish every passing day.

In December's "Happiness is...", it's all about treasuring every phase of life and while seeing the kids grow up and witnessing milestones such as their graduation concert or first day of nursery still brings tears to my eyes, I am deeply grateful to be where we are, to know that they are safe and healthy, to look forward to what the future will bring.


Looking at our highlights in the last month of 2018, I realised we did quite a lot of things! Well, that in addition to a kid starting primary school, one going to upper primary and another one starting preschool, no wonder I've been feeling so exhausted nowadays. Question: Do you find the school holidays or school days more tiring? I have no questions about it, hands and legs go up for school days because I just prefer to be able to sleep late, wake up late and be able to plan the whole day's happenings and go wherever we want.

Anyway, we made a trip to KidZania last month to check out their festive event, Wishing Stars, and had a jolly good time there! Besides dancing around the city while singing to Christmas carols and being Santa's Elves by donating and wrapping gifts for the needy, the best part was seeing how toddlers are now welcome to join in the activities and are allowed to follow their elder siblings into the stations.

The toddler, for the first time, learnt about ice cream making at Paddle Pop, did his burger at KFC, roasted Bah Kwa and joined in the city parade too! Awww, it made me smile just seeing the three of them sitting side by side and the sisters were, as usual, taking care of him and making sure that he knew what to do.


As if a whole out at KidZania wasn't enough, we took the monorail back to VivoCity to have our dinner at the food court before moving on to our night program - SKATING under the moonlight! I'm not sure why I believed that I could do it with three kids who don't really know how to skate and since it wasn't real ice but synthetic one, I can only say I was perspiring profusely from start to end lor. Haha, 自找的.



All of us were behaving very much like our skating aids - waddling like penguins throughout. The toddler was scared as it was his first time and it took me lots of persuasion - and sweat - to lift him up by his hands and make him trying taking one step at a time. Fwah, very tiring!

Nonetheless, thanks to the friendly staff who stepped in to help, we did enjoy the session and managed to take some pictures with the Christmas tree for keepsake too (I was practically lying on the floor on my skates to capture that one shot). I hope the kids will remember this night because these are all fond memories of their growing up and one of those that will stay in my heart for a long time to come.


I used to like to go out every day and will bring the kids to any place we can think of, but since we moved into our new house (read more about our renovation, self-drawn furniture designs and Scandinavian theme here), staying at home just to relax, watch a movie, read some books or do some art and craft doesn't seem like a bad idea too. We carved out time and made Christmas cards, wrapped dozens of presents, did a piñata for Ariel's birthday and did DIY slime too!



Participating in walks is still one of our favourite things to do as a family and despite the rain, we still completed, and totally enjoyed, our 5km Skechers Friendship Walk. It wasn't about reaching the finishing line first and hurrying through the journey so as to escape the rain; but instead we didn't let it dampen our spirits and took time to enjoy the scenery, smell the blooms and go over every inflatable obstacle despite the mud and slippery surface. It was worthwhile seeing all those smiles on the kids and yes, a reminder to us all to treasure the moments in life, learn to take it slow and stop rushing ourselves.



In wanting to do up a display area of the girls' favourite Sylvanian families and Shopkins toys, I bought some pink wallpaper from Taobao and decided to refurbish this shelf that we have so that it can be a house for them. It might look easy but getting the dimensions right and sticking the paper down flat so that there was no air bubbles was a challenge for me and took me the entire day. Still, it was nice to see my efforts being appreciated and the end product was just so pretty! Seeing you happy makes me very happy too, my dears.


One of our favourite places to visit is the aquarium because the kids love all kinds of animals, including marine life. We were glad to be able to make a trip to S.E.A. Aquarium for a media event and came up close with corals, learnt about how animals give off light and said "Hi" to the famous Scuba Santa too. The kids were most thrilled to spot themselves for a few seconds on mainstream TV that very night and in the papers the next day too. Haha.



I told you we did a lot during this month, right? So yes, there's still so much more! We had a fun Navy Family Day out at USS and stayed till the park closed at 1am! Yup, specially for us, how nice. It was so fun going on the rides past midnight because you could just go on it again and again since there weren't many people left. Haha.

It was a milestone for the 3yo who finally met the 92cm mark and went on his first Enchanted Airway ride (which freaked him out a little because it was so fast), his first Spaghetti Space Chaser ride (and he surprisingly wasn't scared of the darkness) and his first Canopy Flyer ride (which he loves so much and took it not one, not two but FOUR times)! Yup, I always commented on how this boy is more afraid of rides as compared to his daredevil sisters who rode on roller coasters at the age of two and now I know better. He just needs time to grow and one day, he will surprise me by being braver than I think he is. Instead of comparing, perhaps I should better treasure these moments when he holds my hand tight and leans on my chest for comfort. Mummy will always be here when you need me, my dear.



On days when we feel like eating out, we just take our scooters and go! Okay, it's they take their scooters (and my adult one too) and I end up walking or running after them. The littlest one can keep up now and he's always the sweet one who will turn back to look at me and make sure I am keeping up with them. The girls are wise enough to stop before every road crossing and gather everyone before moving again. Yup, I'm pretty strict on safety rules and I nag a lot, but I also give them the leeway to try on their own when they are ready. One day, they won't even need me to follow them so all I can do now is to make sure I train them, prepare them and help them to develop, and when the time comes, let them go.



We've been trying to save up and since eating at restaurants can be very expensive when you have three kids, we now dine at food courts more often. As always, it's not easy finding a seat at the peak hours and I can never be sure if the kids will end up bickering or doing something silly when I am away buying the food. Again, I think it boils down to faith and hopefully they remember all that I've taught them. So far, we've been doing it quite well and they are quite accustomed to it too so they don't complain, and I do enjoy eating out with this bunch.


Since we heard good reviews about the Bumblebee movie, we took time off to go watch it on one weekend and yes, it's as good as they say! The show didn't disappoint at all and all of us (maybe except the boy who fell asleep halfway) loved the touching story and the never-say-die spirit of Bumblebee.


On the day the boy turned three, we brought him for something he loves to do - cable car rides! It was quite a sight watching the sunset from where we were and it's nice to see how happy they are when we are high up in the sky. These moments of the family being together are so precious to me and I do cherish them more than I can say.



To end off his special day, we went for a ride at the Luge and it was our first time doing it at night! We had four carts between us since we bought the family package and that meant Ariel did it for the first time on her own. She was a pro at it and didn't even need us to guide her much, typical of a secondborn. Haha. As for the birthday boy, he was with me for the first ride downhill and with Papa for the second. Fair fair mah. It was drizzling during our second leg but we still decided to continue and finish it all. And I'm happy we did.



This marble run toy was a present I got for the boy and since it happens to fit well with our Duplo blocks, we had so much fun building and re-building it! Every time I finished a structure, the big girl would say "This is the BEST marble run EVER" and we enjoyed watching our marbles go in circles, zoom down slides and even fly past obstacles too. It's a great way for them to be creative and a way for me to bond with these kids too.



December, being the season of giving, was a time for us to gather with our loved ones too. We hosted a gathering on Christmas day and had our families over to have a good time as we tucked into yummy food like turkey and log cake. Of course, all the kids received presents too but to make it more fun, we had a gift exchange for the adults too and drew lots to determine the recipients. Yup, even my grandma, aunt, parents and in-laws joined in the fun too. I also came up with the idea to play Bingo and it was a game that was so much fun for everyone, from kids to great grandparents. Everyone had to purchase a Bingo sheet for $2 and the winner takes the whole sum. Haha. We played a total of three rounds and would have wanted more if not for the fact that I ran out of Bingo sheets.





The Christmas magic is still very much alive in our house and on Christmas Eve, the kids and I decorated some cookies and left a glass of milk on our dining table. Did Santa come in the end? You bet. He ate half of the cookies, drank the whole glass of milk and yes, left presents under our Christmas tree - much to the delight of the kids.



As you know by now, the year end is always packed with birthday celebrations for us and in December, we celebrated the little sister turning six and the boy turning three. Yup, these two are born just two days away from each other! Read about Ariel's Moana party here and Asher's Arcade party here. Yup, with the last party over for 2018, I can finally take a breather for now from all the party planning. You know, planning for their parties is also a way for me to celebrate their milestones and let them know how much I love them, and for me personally, it's a reminder on how fast they are growing and how I need to not count the years but make the years count.



On Ariel's actual birthday, it happened to be a Saturday so she requested for a family outing to the Bird Park. It's been a while since we went so we were only happy to oblige now that we have the 4-park pass. We brought along a change of clothes for their water play and thought we would just walk around, feed the flamingos and maybe lory birds but it ended up we did that and more!



Firstly, we fed fish to the pelicans! Yup, these were fishy and a tad bloody but it didn't stop the kids from taking the fish up one by one to throw to the birds. Asher even did it without a rubber glove because it was oversized for him. Fwah, this boy is really getting bolder by the day. Check out the big smile on the birthday girl!



Secondly, the girls also fed the birds with LIVE mealworms for the first time. Yup, I always get goosebumps looking at these wriggly things but these plucky girls took only a while to overcome their fears and were soon taking them one by one to feed the birds. Gosh, that courage and love of creepy crawlies definitely didn't come from me. Haha. Well, this experience will go into their growing up videos for sure, which reminds me, I have so many more to do for each of them!


Just before the year ended, we also managed to squeeze in a short holiday to LEGOLAND. It was just a 3D2N stay but did much to rejuvenate our souls and the kids were of course happy to get to play with their friends and go on ride after ride.




While the younger ones drove a jeep, the eldest one had the chance to try out hoverboarding for the first time. She did it pretty well and made it look quite easy so I thought I would give it a try. And whaddaya know, within minutes, I suffered a bad fall when the board slipped forward and it happened so fast that my legs were flung up and I fell flat on my back. Arrrgghh. The tailbone was likely sprained, maybe fractured, because I couldn't get up after, couldn't ride on a baby slide and couldn't bend over properly for weeks. Haha. Oh well, I definitely learnt my lesson, okay.


The best highlight of December had to be our trip to Canopi in Bintan and we had so much fun there! Well, I promise to write about it soon but give me some time to sort out the pictures and videos I took. It's definitely a family-friendly paradise filled with activities that are kid-friendly and we will love to go back there again someday!




I guess that marks our fun-filled month and it was a pretty awesome way to end off the year. Come 2019, I hope to remind myself to make the days count and do my best to treasure all the little moments. Seeing the kids grow up will always make me feel emotional but I will embrace the inevitable passing of time and cherish every phase of their lives while I can. I hope 2019 will be a great year for all of you too!


It's an ARCADE party - Asher turns 3!

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 15, 2019
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In the blink of an eye, the boy has turned three years old.

I know, wasn't it just yesterday when I did a gender announcement using a volcano and we were looking forward to his arrival? It's really baffling to me on how quickly time flies and when you look back on the years, you realise that your little ones are not so little anymore.

Anyway, he started hanging out at arcades with us last year and showed a keen interest in playing all kinds of games, from bowling and racing cars to gun shooting and ball games. Yes, the arcade became our happy place and we would reward the kids with a trip there during the school holidays. When I was planning for his third birthday party, I knew that it would totally be a blast if Asher could have an arcade themed party to celebrate his special day with his family and friends. Even the parents and grandparents would be able to join in the fun too, doesn't that sound awesome? Thanks to Timezone Singapore, we made it happen and yes, it was such a success that I had kids coming up to tell me "This is the BEST party ever!"

Here's sharing more about our arcade party and all the highlights that took place. You can take a look at the package details at the end of the post if you are keen and don't forget to check out our video on YouTube too!


A look at Timezone @VivoCity

The first Timezone Family Entertainment Centre opened in 1978 in Perth, Western Australia. It was the first family oriented video amusement facility at that time and even though it has now established itself in more than 200 locations worldwide, this family emphasis is still a key focus of the brand today.

With 12 outlets spread out across Singapore, you are likely able to find an accessible and convenient location for your family entertainment. Did you know? Timezone @ VivoCity (#02-43) is now the flagship store and boasts over 12,000sqft of non-stop entertainment. We've been to the VivoCity outlet various times over the previous years but since it revamped and reopened in early 2018, we had yet to visit so this was our first time - and the start of many more to come! If you are unsure of where it is located, just follow the signs to Golden Village because the arcade is just a stone's throw away from the cinema. You won't miss the striking, glaring yellow signboard when you are there!

Image credit: Timezone Singapore

The moment we entered the arcade, we went "This place is HUGE!". Yup, it was welcoming, colourful, spacious and easy to walk around, and there were so many types of games - some of which we had never seen before in other arcades - which really excited all of us. Check this out, they even offer Bowling alleys (proper, long ones and not the short, mini ones) and a new Bumper Car attraction too (read more about this below).

Image credit: Timezone Singapore

Image credit: Timezone Singapore

Image credit: Timezone Singapore
I was expecting to see a small, function room for hosting parties because I assumed that there wouldn't be much space left after having so many bulky game machines. Boy, I was wrong! The party room in Timezone @ VivoCity was one of the best we had ever seen because not only was it roomy, cosy and inviting, it also had floor-to-ceiling glass windows which allowed an abundance of natural light to shine in. It made me feel cheery just walking into it, knowing that this would be the place my boy was going to have his party.

There were plenty of dining tables and chairs, a sofa seating area, space to set up the buffet, a small area for setting up a party backdrop or dessert table, a sink for washing up, a microwave for easy heating of food and a bar fridge to store the birthday cake. Yup, definitely more than enough to suffice my needs as a party planner.

Image credit: Timezone Singapore

Image credit: Timezone Singapore
The Prize shop also offers a selection of rewards for the kids to pick out and it's definitely one of our highlights from every visit to the arcade. By the way, Timezone @ VivoCity uses the old school ticketing system and the kids can collect their tickets and keep them inside a cup as they go around playing. At the end, they just need to redeem the tickets at the counting machines - my kids always love to 'feed' these machines with all their tickets - and exchange for prizes!

Image credit: Timezone Singapore
The Setup

Before we move on to our party, take a look at our birthday invite to see our theme! Ready, get set, GO!


Yup, we decided on a race car theme for the boy, who loves zooming around the house in his toy car nowadays, and I sourced online for the props, race car driver costume and other related decorations.



As always, I like to add in a personal touch and DIY some of the party decorations, so I came up with the idea of doing a trophy podium, a champagne bottle and customised medals as party favours for the guests.

The podium was cut out of an empty box and wrapped with gold wrapping paper. The plastic glasses from Daiso made a perfect fit on top of it and we filled them up with gold chocolate coins. The champagne bottle was filled with treats and I stuck on customised labels - done using Powerpoint - on both the front and back. The medals, also bought from Daiso, were done up the night before and I printed out names of the guests for the front, for instance " Champion Ewan" and a thank you message for the back. Many of the kids were so happy to see their names and thanked me profusely for their medals. Awwww.



Back to the party, just so you know, Timezone offers three time slots for parties:  10:30am-1:30pm, 2pm-5pm and 5:30pm-8:30pm. We took up the morning session and were allowed to enter the arcade half an hour before to do the set up. Let's begin!

There were two staff, Syakirah and Alif, who were allocated to help out at our party and the first thing they did was to inflate lots of balloons! I was half thinking of rushing out to get balloons in the morning and was feeling thankful that I didn't because they blew up so many of them for us, which totally delighted the birthday boy.




I kept all the other decorations simple for the party because of the time contraint and because I knew everyone would obviously be more interested in the games! Haha. We brought along a foldable table to set up and also a photo backdrop stand so we could hang up the birthday banner.





One good thing about having a Timezone party is that all goodie bags are taken care of. Yup, for the first time this year, I didn't have to fuss over what to give out to the kids who come to our party but could instead leave it to the staff, who packed these snacks and toys neatly for us to distribute to the little ones.





We also brought along cupcakes from Twelve Cupcakes, chocolate eclairs and fruit tarts from Prima Deli and more - and added checkered racing flags toppers on each of them. Cute, right? To make sure everyone was hydrated from all the playing, we also gave out bottled water and of course, these had personalised labels too!





Let the PARTY Begin!

Every kid who attended the party simply couldn't wait to start playing - which explains why many of them told me they were looking forward to this day so much. We had a total of 15 kids, which is the maximum limit, and their ages ranged from three years old (Asher was the youngest!) to 13 years old. Yup, with such a huge range, it would be hard if I would planning for games which would be suitable and fun for all, but with the whole arcade at our disposal, you bet there would be something - in fact, lots of things - for everyone.

Before the little ones could start playing, they had a quick briefing by Alif who gave each of them a Timezone pass - a game card with a lanyard so they would not lose it - and simple instructions to follow. Within minutes, all of the them dashed out excitedly and that's when the partying began. Here's sharing some of the highlights and the reasons why we love this arcade party so much.





-> FREEDOM

A big part of the joy for the kids comes from being able to play WHATEVER you want! Well, almost whatever. Every kid gets to unlimited YELLOW card reader games, any 32 RED, BLUE and GREEN card reader games and 5 RAINBOW card reader games (you can determine the colour from the reader where you swipe your card to play, see a blue example below). Our party lasted three hours and apart from the lunch and cake cutting ceremony, the entire time was spent on playing the games - and none of the kids finished up their card before the party ended. That means everyone had the freedom to try out and play many of the games - some of which they might not have tried before - which was why they were so excited and couldn't bear to stop.






We were told that we could also play a couple of games in the party room, such as musical chairs and see-who-can-blow-the-biggest-balloon. Well, I guess it's not surprising that these kids chose to skip those games that come with rules and only one winner, but instead spend the time in the arcade where there are no bars held and everyone is a winner.










-> FUN

Timezone @ VivoCity, with its vast range of both traditional and modern arcade games, provides a platform for kids to have non-stop FUN for those few hours. We like hanging out at the arcade but we don't go often nowadays because it can be pretty expensive. Thus, having a birthday party is a legit excuse for the kids to go crazy and have as much fun as they can squeeze in within that short span of time.

From the more old school games like basketball, spin the wheel, gun shooting, car and motorbike racing, claw machines and whack-a-mole to the newer ones like VR rides, bowling, DDR and even bumper cars, there is bound to be something for everyone to enjoy.








It's a great way to the birthday boy to spend time with his friends and cousins too, knowing that everyone is enjoying every moment of this party. As for me, it's seriously the least hands-on party I've organised because I could leave the activities to.... the arcade machines, which are by far more exciting than the games I can conjure up. That also means I have time to take more photos, breathe more and even join in the fun too!








-> FAMILY

While it was awesome seeing how the kids were having a ball of a time, the even better part, for me, was to see how this arcade party allowed families to come together, let their hair down on a weekend morning and just have fun together as kids, parents and even grandparents too.




I mean, when do we actually make time to bring our parents to the arcade or do we just assume that they don't like playing the games? I, for one, know that my Dad and Mum love playing carnival games so this time round, I urged them to join in the party with the grandchildren and they had fun playing old school games like Down the Clown and trying out some of the newer ones like Beer Pong too! It was also nice to see some of the fellow parents bonding with their kids over the games too because I really wanted everyone to just have a good time.








If you were to ask what our favourite game was, it would definitely be the Bumper Car! Asher was so lucky to play it not once, but twice and he was squealing with laughter throughout both sessions. It was the first time he had the chance to play with ALL of his grandparents and that was a classic, precious moment seeing how they were were laughing, enjoying and trying to make each other fly. Haha. Awwww, I'm so glad it happened the way it did.






Once our session ended, our cards stopped functioning - much to the disappointment of the kids who just wanted to play all day long - but at least we could use the tickets we earned to exchange for prizes! You can check your card balance at one of the kiosks and if you have any printed tickets, don't forget to bring them to the ticket count machines too so you can accumulate all of them and trade for a gift of your choice.




Time to Tuck In!

I guess the only thing that could make the kids stop playing - for a while - was good FOOD! Thanks to On and On Diners (which we previously engaged for Ariel's party), all the guests had their tummies filled and even back came for second and third rounds. You know, I brought along so many containers thinking that we would take home the leftovers from the buffet but in the end, there wasn't much food left! Nope, we didn't order too little and in fact, I accounted for all the kids and even the younger ones. That was how delicious it was and how much our family and friends seemed to like it.








Even the buffet set up was very impressive, I mean, just look at the level of detail! I was pleasantly surprised by how much effort went into it and the staff did everything they could to beautify the buffet table and make it look welcoming and presentable. It's one of the best caterers we've encountered so I do think it deserves another write-up of its own, so stay tuned!





See what I mean when I said the party room is filled with natural light? It even comes with a picturesque view of the waterfront and makes a perfect place for the adults to chill out and take their time to indulge in the food while the kids have fun outside too. Perfect!



Our dessert table was also well-liked by the kids and it was nice to see them coming over to try out the cupcakes, tarts, eclairs and more. It might be sugar overload, but well, it's the festive period after all so well, never mind and be happy! Pssst, this is already our third party in the span of less than a month! Yup, that's what happens when you have three kids whose birthdays fall close to one another.



Cake Cutting Ceremony

Having a fridge in the party room makes it so convenient for us to store the cake and take it out just before the cake cutting ceremony. We ordered a 2kg chocolate cake from Prima Deli and collected it from their outlet just downstairs so that we didn't have to bring it all the way from our house too. Here, check out our racing car birthday cake! Not bad looking, right?





Of course, before we cut the cake, we had to do the mandatory photo-taking session first! Even though the friends were eager to rush back to their games, I was thankful that they stayed on with no complaints and helped the birthday boy to celebrate his special moment. Many thanks also go the grandparents for being so sporting and attending his party! These are fond, priceless memories that will last us forever.





It's still hard to believe that just like that, this boy has turned THREE! Sometimes, I wish that I could stop time so that these little ones stay little a while more and don't grow up so fast. Have you ever wished for that too?



A Gift for the Birthday Boy

Before the party concluded, we were told by the Timezone staff that the birthday boy was entitled to pick a plushie from the Gift Store and bring it home as his present. Woohoo!



I was hoping he could choose some other gifts like toys or sweets but nope, he only had a choice between Hello Kitty or Pom Pom Purin and he chose the former in a heartbeat. Yup, thanks to his sisters, he is quite acquainted with the cat and I would like to believe that he chose that so he could share with them too. Haha.

In any case, it made him smile and he was happy to hug it right away, so thanks a lot for the sweet gesture and for making his party such a memorable one, Timezone!


This was definitely a birthday to remember! I know the kids will be talking about it for a long, long time and we will definitely be back at the arcade soon for more family fun and play! Happy turning three, dear Asher and we love you so, so very much! May you stay happy, bubbly and live life to the max every day!


Here's a video to showcase some of the highlights from the party and to help us remember this happy day.



Read more about Asher's parties here:

Asher is 1 - Having a BALL of a time
Asher is 2 - Just Keep Swimming

******

TIMEZONE PARTY PACKAGE

For those of you who are keen to explore an arcade party at Timezone, here are the package details. The fringe activities are optional and you are allowed to bring in your own food too. From now to end of June 2019, you can enjoy 10% off when you make your booking by quoting "SUMMER10". I'm pretty certain that all the kids, and even the adults, will have a blast like what we did, so have fun and enjoy!

To find out more information about Timezone, including its outlet locations, promo packages and latest games and attractions, visit https://www.timezone.com.sg or their Facebook page.


Disclosure: This is a collaboration with Timezone and Asher's party was kindly sponsored by them. All photos, unless mentioned otherwise, belonged to us. All opinions are purely our own.


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