Review: Jamming with Artgrain

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Big K has always been keen in art. Be it painting or drawing, she displayed an interest and talent ever since she was a toddler. We don't really have the luxury to go for regular art classes due to logistics and time but have been going to Artgrain for holiday workshops. We had been their paying customers since a year ago. Their array of workshops is really wide. Ranging from Food Art Design, Pixel Clay Structure, Fundamental drawing, pen drawing, Digital drawing to thematic drawing. There are so many workshops, it is sometimes very difficult to choose.

This round, we have been very honoured to be invited for their Frosty Christmas painting.

Teacher Wina started the lesson by showing Big K a series of Christmas / Winter scenes. 

They started strategizing various elements of winter. Big K brainstormed with Teacher Wina and came up with Snowman, Penguins, Santa, hut, snow, sleigh, Christmas tree, reindeer and bridge. She was asked which characters she wanted to incorporate into her painting.

With a step by step guidance, Big K was able to sketch out a Christmas scene. It wasn't all easy as her sense of proportion was still weak. The teacher had to start it off with the snowman for her and work from there. Can you spot Santa? 

A discussion on the colour scheme ensued. It was suggested to Big K to do a night scene with the Northern light illuminating the sky. I loved that idea and feel. Unfortunately, Big K opposed it vehemently, stating that it was scary looking. She insisted that her favourite colour purple was to be used for the sky. I was horrified! Purple? I held back my tongue as I didn't want to impede her creativity. Who is to say that an orange has to be orange in colour or an apple has to be red? 

Beginning with audacity is a very great part of the art of painting. -- Winston Churchill

As she started painting the skies purple and pink, I couldn't help thinking how is this going to work out nicely? The blending was nice, but a purple and pink sky? Later on, Teacher Wina suggested adding orange and yellows and that magically translated the skies into a sunset scene! I was awed.


She was then taught how to add details to the various elements. When the teacher told her to use short strokes for the leaves, Big K immediately linked it to Claude Monet! Say who? I wouldn't have known about him if not for the Heguru lessons I have attended with Small K. Monet is an impressionist who has a thirst for natural lighting, hence the use of shadows and dark tonal shades. Hmmm...shadows? this looks kindof Monet doesn't it?

The teachers at Artgrain have a degree/ diploma in Art and above are some of the pieces the teachers have painted. WOW! I am inspired and so was Big K! It is said that art can benefit a child tremendously. It builds up the function of the right brain. Fostering creativity will not only up your child's chances of being the next Picasso, but also help him to develop mentally, socially and emotionally. Neural connections and fine motor skills are enhanced. If children are engaged in art, they learn better in all disciplines.

It took Big K three days of hard work and she finally completed the massive piece of canvas painting! The Santa and reindeer surprisingly took shape nicely. During the draft stage, I was wondering what mutated character that was. To a large extent, many centres will help the child significantly in perfecting their drawing or painting. However, I found that over here, the teacher encourages them to do it themselves by showing them how it should be done on a separate piece of paper. So all those blending and details that you see in the final product is done primarily by Big K! I think this girl has my genes and I am mighty proud of her!

Thank you Teacher Wina for being so patient with this girl who was a tad grouchy as she had to wake up earlier than usual. Something she just has to come to terms. Thank you for boosting her self-confidence. Big K was so proud of her works that she stood along a walkway of a mall and "showed off" her painting to the passing crowd! She is normally not so daring but I guess the pride in an artist gave her a booster. 

Artgrain is a studio which provides quality art education for children, youths and adults. ALL AGES! Perhaps one day, just one day, I might go try them out an rekindle the love for the arts. They run regular classes for preschoolers as well as adults. You may check out the deets over here or follow them on Facebook for more inspiration!

Disclaimer: We were given a complimentary workshop for the purpose of this review. No additional monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written to my experience in using the services.

Review: On to the next stage at Heguru

Sunday, December 10, 2017

In a matter of weeks, Small K will be embarking on a new journey with Heguru. As if having Big K en route to Primary school isn't emotional enough, now they are telling me that my younger baby is being promoted to the independent class! Meaning, mummy need not sit with him in class anymore! GASP! Cue: Cry. Time really needs to slow down!

Heguru has several classes:
1) Infant toddler class (for toddlers aged 6months to 3years old)
2) Preschool class (for children age above 4 years old)
3) Primary class (for 6 years old and above)
4) Hado reading (I will talk more when we get there)

This was my baby when he first started Heguru! OMG!!!! Where has this baby gone? I. just. cannot! The shirt is now a little tight and the pants a little short. The shoes can't fit him anymore and I am pretty sure his brain is expanding exponentially!

So Small K will turn 4 in 2018, hence he will move on to the preschool class. Heguru does not necessarily promote a child just because of his age. They do see if the child has made such a progression. For example, we had a classmate from China who just joined us and even though he is ready for the next stage, age wise, he will still remain in the infant toddler class for a term or two, lest the shock be too great for him. I appreciate this as I have seen certain enrichment centres who push the student up to the next level just because it is time. 

Small K has been attending Heguru on a weekly basis for about 1.5years now, below are some things which I have noted of his progress:

1) Flashcards
At the very beginning, he wasn't too keen in flashcards. He fidgeted a bit. I was a little worried but the instructor assured me that sometimes it may be because the child already knows the topic hence is reacting this way. Give them some time and they will be all good. So each time the segment Super Flash came along, I bounced him on my lap, in sync with the rhythm. This worked! He thought it was fun! Now, I no longer need to bounce him. At a young age, the child lacks discipline hence it is up to the parent to instil it into the child. That is also the reason why the infant toddler class is an accompanied one. So that parents can go home and practise what they have learnt in class with the child. Once they are used to the system and routine of things, everything will fall in place and they are better equipped to enter the preschool classes. At home, Small K used to run away each time I ask him to do an activity. However, these days, he is able to sit through. Especially if the sister is also doing "homework" for me. Many mummies have shared that it is a boy thing. That they will run around and not sit still. However, I hope that Heguru can "tame" him. 

2) Memory
This is one aspect where I think Small K has shown significant progress! Linking memory together with peg memory are primarily the segments to train children's memory. For linking memory, the instructor will place a series of picture cards and narrate a silly story to link them up. Each child is also then given three cards to make a story with. Small K now not only is able to shout (ok, say) out the three cards that he has (without prompting), he is also able to verbalise some other cards in the story. I believe he remembers more than he says. His memory is also evident in our everyday life and I find his observation skills excellent, probably due to the fast pace of the class.

3) Number memory
I had been trying to get him to remember the last number of each line. So far, he is able to. However, there were several times when he refused to cooporate and help me with memorising the numbers. Hence, I had to rely on my old brain! There were many occasions where he was also able to remember more than one numbers. This further validates that his memory is developing very well. 

4) Dot bar 
The dot bar system is essentially teaching little children addition and subtraction. All this while, I have been going through the motion of repeating after the instructor. Never had I expected that one day, Small K decided to shout out the answer to 3+1! A simple sum to most but for a 3 year old, I think it is quite a feat. To be honest, even though I do activities at home with him, they are mostly fun stuff. I do try to incorporate elements of Math, English, Chinese and Science however, being a second born, he is often shortchanged. Mostly, I would pass him a tub of playdoh and he would be entertained for minutes. So when he was able to shout out the answer whenever the instructor says out the equation, I was impressed. It all came naturally. 

5) Abacus training
I noted his interest in this gadget when he was playing with a smaller abacus at the play area. While other children were busy with train tracks, this boy took more interest in pretend play and the abacus. I didn't think much of it but took out the abacus we had bought some time ago. I left it aside and one day, I heard Small K reciting the 10 times table! 10, 20, 30, 40..... Towards the end he was a little shaky, but this is still a moment to celebrate! 

6) Mandala
Mandala is an activity where the child is given a few seconds to view an image filled with colours and then mark down the colours on their empty set. Most of the time, this activity is done by the adult. And even for an adult, it is challenging! Of late, Small K was able to independently mark down some colours accurately! Albeit a little slow (we are only given a few seconds to do that), it is progress nonetheless. Hopefully when he progresses to Preschool class, he is able to work faster with peer pressure.

7) Dancing & Singing
Ok, this is definitely lacking in Small K. I'm not sure why, but it is difficult to cajole him for a dance! He can be dancing and singing non stop at home but somehow at Heguru and school, he is hesitant. Not that he doesn't enjoy. You can see the twinkle in his eye. He really wants to do it and join in the fun, but somehow, he still has his reservations. Slow and steady baby, mommy isn't expecting you to be a dancer anyways. 

8) ESP 
This is a pretty bizarre segment which I was skeptical of at the beginning. How is a child be able to see through a card and guess what is the picture behind it? How is a child be able to know what I am thinking of? Apparently I have heard several success stories and it is beginning to show for Small K. I honestly don't think getting an answer right 8 out of 10 times is attributed to purely luck. You can't be that lucky all the time right? At times, the moments when he got the answer wrong is because he was choosing the picture he likes rather than what he "sees".

9) Iorita & Tangrams
This must be Small K's forte. He does it with ease, using both his left and right hand. Apparently, we should be encouraging that as it is working the left and right brain. An important skill for future learnings. Many a times, even though it isn't a competition, Small K would finish the task first! So proud of my baby!

It is interesting to note that Heguru gives a 5 minute debrief to parents after class. They will suggest various activities for parents to practise at home with the child. They also put up the list of things they aim to do on a monthly basis. Things are very transparent and I feel as a parent it's important to know how to help our child further.

Below is a video summary of some of the activities done during lesson. There are more, but it's so fast, I couldn't record all down! 

Many a times, I am hit by mummy guilt for leaving my secondborn to his own devices. I do not teach him his ABCS as much and am not even as hardworking in the areas of homelearning as compared to the times when I only had one child. It is tough to juggle especially with work. The late nights sucks me dry. So much so, I will always simply throw him a piece of paper and pencil for him to doodle. And we have to balance it with outdoor play as well! But he surprises me every single day. Hence, I am really thankful for the exposure Heguru has given Small K. Given the lack of supervision from me, it seems that his outputs are primarily due to Heguru and school. 

A more recent photo of my baby and Teacher Mandy, who is always so cheerful and patient! Look how much he has grown! *emo again.
There are going to be slight changes from the toddler class to Preschool 1 class. For one, the duration will be slightly longer. From 50 minutes to 70 minutes. I do not think this will be an issue since he is often engaged during the lesson. He will start to be more independent and do more worksheets. Something which I like to instill lest he distracts his sister who is moving on to Primary school next year. I am sure going to miss accompanying him for lessons. I can't believe how fast my baby has grown. Let me bask in my emo state for a bit here. *sobs

To find out more about how Small K progresses at a preschool level, stay tuned in 2018! Do also follow Heguru Citysquare mall on Facebook or check out their website for more details. They are now opened for registration for 2018, so do give them a buzz to book your slots!

Disclosure: We were invited by Heguru CitySquare mall to review their courses and attended complimentary lessons in return. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.

Review: Cognitive Whizz Science Escapade

Monday, December 4, 2017

Big K has been complaining that mama here doesn't do Science with her. Truth be told, we do, but on an ad hoc basis and she basically doesn't know that is Science. More importantly, we seldom go beyond the usual baking powder and vinegar experiment. Oops. When we were invited for this holiday Science Escapade by Cognitive Whizz, I was thrilled as she would have an opportunity to conduct experiments without messing up my house. 


It was a morning camp and it was quite tough getting Big K in the mood initially as she doesn't wake up early. (good luck to me next year!) During the ice-breaker session where children were supposed to introduce themselves, Big K was huddling with a teacher in a corner. I was worried that Science may not be her cup of tea. Next, I flipped through the worksheet and was stunned! JAW-DROPPING to be honest. The topics which were going to be covered were electricity, centre of gravity, surface tension, protons and neutrons just to name a few. Would these 4 to 8 year olds understand? How are they going to communicate such big topics to these little children?

At the start of each day, our facilitator, Denise flipped flashcards on emotions. It isn't your usual happy, sad, angry and sad. To expand the little sponges' vocabulary, they covered words like ecstatic, downhearted, alarmed and jealous. After which, they asked students to describe their feelings and to give a reason. Surprisingly, many students were able to quote a suitable example to match their feelings. I was convinced then that it is never too young to beef up a child's vocabulary. These days, with creative writing being more creative, one way to score is to use a variety of words and work on your sentence construction. 


A story on Cinderella followed suit. At this point, I was wondering if I was in a Science or English lesson. In actual fact, it was a clever use of Cinderella. They incorporated the feelings which were taught earlier eg. Cinderella was ecstatic when she learnt about the ball. She was however downhearted when her unkind stepmother did not allow her to go, despite how hard she works. Her stepsisters were jealous of her, as she was very attractive. When she finally got to go to the ball, and met the prince, she was ecstatic and got carried away. She was alarmed when the clock struck 12. By incorporating the words into the story, it makes it more interesting and imprinted it into the children's minds. To make it less dry, they included a role-play section where students acted out the story. Many volunteered to be Cinderella and no one wanted to be the stepmother. A student donned on a Cinderella costume and started pretending to sweep and mop the floor whilst wearing a beautiful light up shoe. Now, this was a clever move as the lesson was about electricity! To introduce the concept, the little children were told that they were going to be transformed into little fairy Godmothers, each holding a colourful wand, saying the magic word out loud "Static electricity! Static electricity!" 
Such a clever way to engage students!

Following that, some experiments were conducted. Cinderella was exhausted after all the chores and she found a rainbow duster which cheered her up! She became downhearted when she realized that the duster was unable to trap the tinsel. The children were asked to think of solutions but they couldn't. Finally the teacher revealed that if the children rubbed the tinsel with cloth, the action actually got the tinsel to attract to the static duster! That got all the children excited!
To further excite the little ones, the children were asked to rub the balloons on their hair to create a new hairstyle for themselves! The underlying principle was that when the atom has the same number of protons and electrons, the atom is neutral ie. no charge. Rubbing causes friction and enables the electrons to be transferred. When there is an imbalance of protons and electrons, the atom is 'charged'. When the balloon was rubbed on the head, electrons moved from the head to the balloon. They piled up on the side of the balloon near the hair. The hair has not less electrons (-) and more protons (+), hence is positively charged! WOW! What a mouthful right? If these children were simply told of the facts, I doubt they would understand. Hence, the team illustrated the concept through visual representation. They had 3 teachers standing inside a hula hoop (nucleus), pretending to be protons. Another 3 teachers were the electrons moving around the nucleus (containing the protons). They represent the atom of a hair. Similarly, there were 3 students standing within a hula hoop, pretending to be protons of a balloon and another, moving around the nucleus, pretending to be the electrons of a balloon. As the balloon is rubbed on the hair, one of the electrons (a teacher) moved to the balloon, now the number of protons and electrons are not balanced anymore. The balloon has more electrons and the hair less electrons. Both atoms now have opposite charges and will attract! To illustrate this, the teachers and children hugged one another!

Experiment number 3: 
Picking styrofoam beads with hands!

Oh no! Someone spilled the styrofoam beads! They were scattered all over! How can the children help Cinderella to clean up?
Answer: Applying the concept of electron flow, the children were able to show the teachers how the beads got attracted and stayed on their hands!
Sensory + Science! SCORE!

So why should children this age learn about protons and neutrons if they can't apply? Well, the do! Think of lightning! It is due to charges being build up at the clouds. As the negative charges in the cloud build up, they get attracted to the positive charges on the ground. Lightning strikes when the negative charge from the cloud connects with the positive charge on the ground! See Application!

Next, Current Electricity was introduced to the children. They were told that "static" means not moving and when the electrons moved around, there is current electricity.

The children had a visual of it through the energy stick. When the children placed both their hands on the stick (depicting a closed circuit), it sounded like an alarm. It stopped sounding when only one hand is placed. To further demonstrate, the children started holding hands to form a closed circuit with the energy stick. They realised that when any child stopped holding hands, the circuit is broken and the alarm stopped sounding. They were further told about what a good conductor and insulator is. The children tried holding another child's clothes instead of hands, and the stick stopped sounding. Hence they discovered that electricity cannot flow through the cloth. The children were given a chance to predict which other objects allow electricity to pass through, then validated their predictions with the energy stick. They realised that the stick only sounded with metals while non-metals typically do not allow electricity to pass through. This is certain a very fun way of communicating the concept to a little child. A concept which they can apply to their daily lives and they may better understand why they shouldn't touch a switch with their wet hands.

Lastly, they applied their knowledge of close circuit and conductors to build a robot cleaner for Cinderella! I was pleasantly surprised that Big K was asking questions and trying to fix up the robot on her own. In the past, she often rely on others to do it for her, refusing to try. However, perhaps due to peer pressure (and the fact that mummy wasn't around), she tried. 


The day started with a recap of the words the children were taught the day before. The word ecstatic seemed to be etched deeply in their minds. Denise continued to input new words to describe their emotions and that followed by a story of The Animal Singers of Bremen. 

The focus of day two was on the concept of centre of gravity. Students were asked where their centre of gravity was. Big K definitely caught on this concept fast because when we went home that night, she was demonstrating what she learnt to me. I thought that was a one off, but a few days later, when her papa brought her to a playground to climb a wall, she couldn't balance and told the father ," papa, my centre of gravity has been shifted so I am falling. But don't worry, i will keep trying because nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it". I kid you not! Those were the exact words coming from my 6 year old. I was touched beyond words! All my teachings hadn't gone to waste!

Experiment: Making a Stuntsman

The children were shown a paper tightrope walker. It was unable to balance itself across the rope. How can the children help him?

There were many excellent suggestions from the children, applying and validating the concepts they just learnt. One child said "because his centre of gravity is low now"! Kids really learn so fast these days! I am impressed!

The children also tried balancing a can on the table! Big K came home asking me for empty cans and was so enthusiastic to show me what she had learnt.

For some hands-on activities, children got to make their own rolly pollies. They were asked what makes a Rolly Polly so stable that it can never fall! The children got to dismantle the Rolly Polly and discover the answers for themselves.
Other concepts introduced were forces and inertia. To help reinforce, the children had to gesture that a force is a push (move backwards) or a pull (move forward). Big K came home doing this with her little brother.

Once again, I was initially skeptical as to why my child should be taught such bombastic concepts, however upon deeper analysis, concepts like centre of gravity and inertia is applicable to our daily lives. Like when we are at the swimming pool, we could remind our children not to lean over the pool and ask them what happens to their centre of gravity when they do so. As for inertia, it is all around too! Everything around us are stationary. Once they start moving, a force needs to stop them.  WHen the child is able to see all these connections, they will appreciate their environment better, and nurture their passion in learning!


The lesson opened with a story on The Dreamy Milkmaid and as usual, Denise cleverly related the emotions to the characters of the story. 

It was shared that milk contains mostly water and some fats, proteins and sugar present in milk as molecules. The milk molecules at the surface are holding on to one another tightly. They do not want to separate. Children were engaged in various experiments which demonstrated surface tension. One of which was to add dish soap to a bowl of milk which had colours in it. The swirling of colours showed the movement of dish soap rapidly surrounding and trapping the fat. It was reinforced with the children that milk contains a lot of fats, making their cups and bottles oily. Hence, we need dish soap to wash these dirty cups and bottles.

More experiments were conducted to help children reinforce the concept of surface tension. For instance, getting the children to predict, then count the number of water droplets a coin can hold, and how surface tension can help dense objects float.

Once again, this can be applicable to our daily lives: Pond skaters and water striders are able to walk across ponds, by resting their feet on the "skin" of the water surface. Ok, looks like we need to visit some pond soon!

Transforming milk into curd and whey!

I think this is really cool. The children were showed what will happen in their stomach when fruits are taken in with milk.  First, the children had to smell vinegar (sensory), all of them do not like the smell! Then the milk and vinegar were mixed and heated. The children observed that the milk curdled, I.e. lumps started forming when mixed with vinegar, and upon heating, some shared it smelled like cheese or vomit! 

A strainer was used to filter off the solid lumps (curd) from the liquid (whey). The children were encouraged to feel the lumps and they all enjoyed it saying it felt like playdoh.

The clumps of curd contain casein, a milk protein. Of course the word 'casein' wasn't introduced to the children. It would have been too much. Milk is transformed into curd and whey when mixed with acid as protein in the milk does not mix with the acid. The curd can be moulded like plastic. 

Transforming milk protein (casein) into glue!

Add baking soda to the curd, it neutralizes the acid! Some bubbles may form - these are bubbles of carbon dioxide. AHHHHH something we are familiar with!! However, we didn't know that this could actually stick papers together. Nice discovery for Big K and I.


Big K shared with me that this was the most exciting day for her. Because, the story of FROZEN was read to her! All the words learnt during the course of this Science escapade were incorporated into the story. There was even a twist in the story hence the children were all intrigued.

The children were reminded that everything around us are made up of atoms. Atoms combine to form molecules. They were showed (both 2D and 3D) that 2 oxygen atoms combine to form an oxygen molecule. 2 Hydrogen and 1 Oxygen atom combine to form a water molecule. When long chain of molecules with complex structures combine, they form polymers.

Highlight of the day: they were showed how snow polymers look like, and that the snow polymers were very thirsty! The children were asked what would happen if we feed the snow polymers with water. Most shared that it will become a snowball! Some children asked how to get the water out after that! Curiosity had peaked!

So they progressed to make snowballs. 2 scoops of snow polymer were added and the children were awed to watch the polymer immediately balloon up! They all got excited feeling fake snow. Some said it felt cold and squishy and some said it felt like slime! What happened was that the water molecules travelled from outside the polymer to the inside, making it swell. This is a fantastic sensory opportunity for children.

It was later revealed that the snow polymer is akin to the absorbent polymers found in diapers! The children were amazed but were able to connect that their pee was being absorbed in a similar way. 

Experiment: Power of Salt Water

Some children asked earlier how to get the water from the expanded snow polymers out again. They asked the children what if salt water is now added. Will the expanded snow polymers "drink up" the salt water too?

Some salt water were added to the expanded snow polymers and the water inside flowed out! This was actually to demonstrate the concept of OSMOSIS! Another big concept for a child but look how the facilitators were able to slowly weave it in without making it overwhelming. 

It was quite a surprise how huge concepts were communicated to children aged 4 to 8. Cognitive Whizz made use of visual representations and multi-sensory experiments as well as games to engage the children.  I was very appreciative that a debrief was given after every session. We as parents should follow up to make it more fruitful. Also, Denise went an extra mile to text us the various concepts learnt after everyday. It was extremely detailed. Big K was said to be actively participating after day 1, shouting out the answers and participating keenly during the quiz. In fact, she came out proudly, announcing that she won herself a bar of chocolate! Proud of you, my baby! While I noted that some children were tired towards the end of the lesson (probably because of the influx of information), most children were bubbling with energy. Too much of it, like electrons in fact, which explained why they needed 7 teachers to control the crowd. I thoroughly enjoyed this holiday workshop and believe the children had a good time too! 

Cognitive Whizz believes in engaging young children in holistic joyful learning, to stimulate inquisitive minds and maximize their learning capacities. It is their belief (and mine) that parents are children's best teachers. Regular parent-child bonding is the key enabler for a complete metamorphosis to take place. Children are born inquisitive, and love to explore the world. Cognitive Whizz seeks to satisfy their learning desires, with visually appealing and information-rich education resources, and interactive holistic learning programs. 

A Science Escapade is professionally developed as an immersive, research-based programme. Children are encouraged to explore and inquire in a nurturing environment; hypothesize, observe then evaluate data to form their own conclusions. This helps to inculcate in the young children an inquiry mindset that will prepare them for success in life.

For more information, check out their facebook page here for more of their workshops! You may also contact 90097086 or email to find out more!

Keen to expose your children to intriguing Science concepts through holistic joyful learning, quote MMM20 for a $20 discount off the next Science Escapade in June 2018! Never too early to plan!

Disclaimer: We were invited to a 4Day holiday workshop for this review. In accordance to the company's wishes, the answers to certain questions were removed. The results for each student is subjective. No additional monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products/ services.

Turning 6: Big K in Wonderland party

Friday, December 1, 2017

Photo by circussg
A few months ago, Big K and I attended a private themed dinner by AndsoForth. She was then introduced to the story of Alice in Wonderland. Fast forward a few months later, I asked what theme she would like for her birthday party this year and she exclaimed, “Alice in Wonderland!” Wise choice, little one, as mummy isn’t quite into those overly cartoonish themes. But we had a problem! As it wasn’t a household theme, where am I going to get the props? 

This year, Big K turns 6. A milestone in my opinion as she will be moving on to the next stage— Primary School. CUE: Cries #emo Hence, it calls for a celebration. Apart from her full month party, I didn't quite throw a party of such scale. Our birthday celebrations had always been a cozy one with our immediate families. An opportunity for me to thank them for all the assistance rendered. It takes a village to raise a child (in this case, children) so I certainly see the need to thank these people in my life.

Knowing that props weren't gonna be easy to source, I had a grand plan to DIY! But of course! It's my forte afterall! So 2 months before the event, I started penning down on the drawing board. I was ambitious and wanted to do everything myself, from the invitation cards to the dessert table. Yes, those pretty things which people are willing to pay thousands for? I wanted it, but the pocket couldn't quite stomach the price. So, I'm going to walk you through this journey of putting together an epic birthday party:


photo by themishmashmess
I chose a premade template from Etsy and got it personalised. Thereafter, I printed and cut them out one by one. My little invitees were thrilled to receive them. One was even so worried when she lost hers, thinking that it is mandatory for her to bring the ticket along. 


Putting together the dessert table and decorations was superbly fun but amazingly tedious! Now i know why some companies charge sky high and have more than one person in the team! In my case, it was only me, myself and I. I envisioned having foam cutouts but once again, I couldn't stomach the price I had to pay for them and throw it away just after a mere 3 or 4 hour party! For your information, a 900cm high doraemon would cost about $110. OUCH! Too painful. Hence, I decided to cut and paint on my own! I did not one, but 4 cutouts! They were averaging 60cm in height. I managed to purchase huge foam boards from Art Friend at Bras Brasah, sketched the character on it with pencil and cut using a sharp penknife. Yup, a penknife was all I needed. The key was to have a sharp blade. It usually takes me about an hour to complete cutting. Depending on its complexity. The rounded areas were particularly difficult. Thereafter came the painting -- a more therapeutic process. I could have done each process on separate days but usually once I started, I couldn't stop. So I would work till the wee hours of the night to complete the standee. The end result certainly didn't cost me over a hundred bucks. 

photo by themishmashmess

photo by themishmashmess
This was the only one which I didn't paint. It's a decal stuck onto foam! How clever is that!

photo by themishmashmess
photo by themishmashmess

photo by themishmashmess

photo by themishmasmess

photo by themishmashmess

I was beaming with pride when I saw the finished product! Never had I thought I could pull off something like that! In addition to the foam cutouts, I had a few items made out of cardboard as well. It wasn't easy to find huge cardboards but one day whilst doing my grocery, I spied a shop unpacking their stocks and managed to score a few cardboard boxes which they wanted to dump!

photo by themishmashmess

photo by themishmashmess

photo by themishmashmess

Apart from the main casts, I had to dress the backdrop up. That itself, was another feat. I managed to order a plain backdrop and got a decal customised from Taobao. I thought that this was an easy and brilliant idea but alas! I didn't anticipate that pasting such a big sticker would be that difficult! One small shift and I may have an air bubble. I had to enlist the hub's help at 1am. He was initially disgruntled, nagging at me for putting myself through all these, but eventually when he saw the end product, I think, he too, was secretly proud of me! I peppered the rest of the backdrop with 3D paper flowers and precut letters which I already had. I wanted more flowers to give it a WOW effect, but time and strength were running out. 

See, it made such a lovely photobooth! Glad Ashlyn made use of it! Such a lovely family picture!

Photo by themishmashmess

Some of the pretty mamas against my pretty backdrop (oops, it's blocked!)
from left: Ashlyn, Xavylicious, mmlittlee, Me, and So.Natty 

So as if all those weren't enough to zap my energy, I went a step further to dress up the dessert table. I put together a card tower using cards which cost only $1.50 and a hot glue gun! So easy and cheap! 

In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Alice drank a potion which made her grow bigger. I wanted something like that and decided to have Ribenna in test tubes! There wasn't enough time to purchase them from Taobao. Such breakables if to go via ship, would have taken approximately 2 to 3 weeks. Hence I turned to Carousell and yay someone was actually selling brand new test tubes! Strange I know, but Carousell sells Everything! 

photo by themishmashmess

I had them washed inside out (just in case) and then, it suddenly occurred to me -- how am I gonna make them stand? A quick search and I found some test tube holders online. However, they were either too expensive or plasticky. So, once again, I decided to have them DIYed. I had a box lying around and decided to recycle it. The size was perfect. The cutting of the circles were a big pain. My blade was sharp but the cardboard was just too thick. To make them symmetrical was also a challenge. The original plan was to have it painted in a rustic brown but thankfully I found some laminate-looking stickers at Daiso and they were PERFECT! 

photo by themishmashmess

photo by themishmashmess

I got so excited I even made a fence to go along! Just cut and stick! How easy was that!

A Bunny Clock from Taobao. I got it for slightly under $40 and can reused it for Big K's bedroom. 

The other items on the table like the crates and logs were on rent from a seller I found on Carousell. Total damage for that was $32 for 4 days. That totally worked for me as I didn't want to hoard such bulky items at home. 

TADAH! The final product!!! Am uber proud of myself!


A dessert table wouldn't be complete without DESSERTS and the highlight of it all had to be the cake! I can't bake for nuts so I had to outsource this task to a professional. At about the same time, I started asking around and I must have asked at least 4 shortlisted bakers, all of whom were too busy to bake for us! Boo Hoo! Panic mode! With less than 2 months to go, I wasn't confident I could get the right person for the job. I am very particular when it comes to cakes. It has to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye and palatable to the tastebuds. Most importantly, I wasn't quite willing to fork out $500 for a fondant cake. Major sugar rush! Fortunately, Claire from SugarJ came to my rescue! She was the creative hands behind Small K's cake in May. I loved how we worked together to come up with a masterpiece and was so thankful that she took in my order despite just having given birth to a beautiful little girl. We had a 6 inch chocolate cake and I was afraid it wouldn't be enough, hence I got her to bake us a tall one! I shouldn't have, because I had almost half of the cake left! I probably had approximately close to 40 guests. It was just too much. As I was afraid that the cake wasn't enough, Claire also suggested that I get some mini cupcakes made. Nothing fancy since I wanted to go budget. So I was quoted a price of $2.50 per pop. However, I couldn't bear to see them so bare, so I dressed them up in DIY cupcake toppers and liners. I got them off the internet here

The cake is a big thing for kids at a party and I'm glad the little one was pleased with this cake. Surrounded by great friends, celebratory tunes blasted from them as Big K blows out 6 of her candles.


Coupled with the cake, Alyssa from Milleville was kind enough to bake us some thematic macarons.  They were soooooo on point. She has such deft hands to be able to create such gorgeous little goodies! They really beefed up our dessert table and made my table so complete. I had them in caramel and Nutella flavour. Our little guests couldn't stop sinking their teeth in them! I didn't even have the chance to taste one! I guess that's testament to how yummy they were. The feedback given by some of the adults who tasted was that it's not too sweet. They are currently having some Xmas sets with prices starting from $16.50 for a 3pc favor set. Check them out here They are extremely popular so if you decide to use them (which you should!) for your next party, do book them early. 


The Queen of hearts love her tarts right? To add to the dessert table, I had to get us some tarts. The original plan was to get some of those tartlets from Delifrance. However, there wasn't one in my vicinity. And after running to a few bakeries, I finally found some chocolate tarts from DJ Bakery -- a neighbourhood bakery. They were going at 60 cents per piece. Not too bad and it tasted fine too. Not too sweet.

Photo by themishmashmess


I was focusing my efforts on the dessert table so much that it suddenly dawned on me that the room might be a tad plain if I didn't add a thing or two around the room. 
Photo by themishmashmess

Hence, I got some of these keys and frames made. Don't worry, I didn't kill myself by cutting them out myself. I've got a die-cut machine at home and that came in handy! 

photo by themishmashmess

Another last minute feature was a table centrepiece (ALICE LEGS). At 2am the night before the party, I decided to whip this up! Crazy or not? I had everything: scraps of foam, a box from buying stuff and blue tissue papers and paint. So, I just had to do it! It took me only half an hour. Not bad I say. 

Photo by themishmashmess

The door would be really bare if I didn't have anything on it. It was a little tough to decide on whether I should simply have the words HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the door or to go all out and make a card arch. I chose to go with the latter. Surprise! All thanks to pinterest, this idea was imprinted in my mind and I couldn't say no. I had to print both back and front and have them cut and stuck against each other. That's just me. I can't tolerate sub standard work. I must have about 50 of those giant sized poker cards. The result : AWESOME (In my opinion)! The removal: A MESS. I used the wrong type of tape (precuts foam double sided tapes from Daiso.. I thought I was being smart) and they were so difficult to remove! Thankfully I had three muscular men to assist me on this -- The hubs, Ashlyn's hub and May's hub. Thanks guys!! The ladies were also of so much help! I would have been a bigger mess if May hadn't surprise me with her early arrival. Was so blessed that Ashlyn, though having to care for baby, was also helping me to remove those cutouts on the wall! 

She was so meticulous that I was able to reuse them and they now sit prettily on the wall in Big K's bedroom. SCORE!



Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

I bought two Croquet play sets and painted them all pink with Acrylic Pain. Cut and laminated those flamingoes and stuck them onto the clubs. As for the arch, I printed and laminated those little card soldiers and pasted them on. Effort max!

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

This was suppose to be "Shoot the roses" game. However, the kids ended up shooting the glass door. Because of the suction on the bow and arrows, the glass door actually worked better and the kids had immense fun!

Photo by themishmashmess

My army of card soldiers! All ready to battle the bowling ball! I had them printed and laminated and pasted on mineral water bottled filled with expired beans! #recycle

Photo by themishmashmess

Teapot toss. I handed the kids each 2 ping pong balls and had them to throw into those teapots. It wasn't easy especially since the holes weren't that big. I am mad proud at how I was able to transform an abandoned cardboard box into this!

Photo by themishmashmess

A different kindof fun between mother and daughter :)

Balance the teacups. The children were made to take one teacup at a time, balance it and pass it to the next team player. Game ends when all the teacups has been brought back to home ground without dropping. I got the templates for these adorbs teacups from here

I ploughed through the Internet and found several games which I could play with the kids. The Internet really is a curse and a blessing. The more I looked, the more I wanted to do. Yes, I had big ambition of engaging 21 children! I am great with kids but I totally forgotten how rowdy they could get when they get excited. Especially the boys! It was such a madhouse trying to contain them. Especially those with a more competitive streak. Thankfully I had my bff with me and she got my back on this. I had them in two teams and they wanted a boys vs girls team. Only problem, I had too many boys! So two of the older boys were sweet enough to join the girls team. The games didn't go as smoothly as planned. It was so noisy and tough to manage. It was however very heartwarming to see kids from different walks of life (some having met for the first time) to come together as a team and rooted their teammates on. Their encouraging cheers ricocheted throughout the compound. I was secretly worried that Security would come and issue a warning. Some didn't want to wait and ran amok but ok, at least most had fun! At the end of the day, the team which won was exultant at their victory and whooped triumphantly as they received their prizes.


Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

I was able to set up a sticker making station as we were blessed to have stickiemail to provide us with sticker making machines. If you haven't heard, it is the latest buzz in town! I was so amazed by how well received it was. Both the young and the older kids were so engaged in this activity. Set up for this was so simple too! Just a day before party day, I merely printed a bunch of Alice In Wonderland cliparts and those were placed at the station for the kids to colour and cut before feeding it into the sticker machines. Some of the kids were even drawing their own cliparts and making their own stickers. This is an amazing asset to have as it gives the parents a respite and set up is so simple! When at home, you don't even need to print anything, you can simple tear a page off a magazine and get your kid to cut and turn it into a sticker! Xyron is sold at Times Bookstores, Kinokuniya, NBC Stationery & Gifts, TOKYU HANDS Singapore, Made with love, The ELLY Store and Naise. Or of course, you may check them out online here.


No party would be complete without entertainment. Facepainting and magic shows are just too common. I didn't want a queue of impatient little children waiting and fighting for their turn to face paint as well. So when Mad Science came into the equation, I was tremendously excited. Mad Science is a leading global Science enrichment provider. Their innovative programs help kids learn about Science through hands-on, fun, after-school programs, preschool programs, in-class workshops, camps, birthday parties and special events. 

Everyone knows my background and are aware how crazily involved I am with kids and education. Every minute is a learning opportunity. And I don't mean sit down do worksheets and drill them kind-of opportunity. I detest that at this age. Learning should be made fun. Fun is exactly what Alessa from Mad Science provided. The children and adults alike were mesmerized by the experiments shown.  The celebratory atmosphere hit the climax when the Mad Scientist started her show. The children couldn't contain their excitement and kept moving forward. Alessa had to be stern and remind them to take 5 steps back as there were chemicals around and hence might be dangerous if one topples. Safety First! The entire show took approximately 45minutes to an hour. Imagine, kids being able to sit down for 45mins! It must mean something right? The parents also caught a respite. In fact, I caught the hubs taking an eyeshut! 

There were several packages to choose from and we settled for Icky Gooey Bubbly which came highly recommended for my 6year olds. The kids had lots of opportunities assisting the Mad Scientist with exciting experiments. Many had their jaw dropped when the Mad Scientist burnt money and it remained unscorched! Kids, DO NOT try this at home! 

Photo by themishmashmess
Photo by themishmashmess

The children squealed in delight when the Mad Scientist conducted the dry ice bubble experiment. The Dry Ice fun segment was loads of fun as it included tasting of a big burp potion. I could sense ecstasy screaming from every fibre of the children's body as they jumped up and down in elation. 

Photo by themishmashmess
An infectious chortle filled the air when the Mad Scientist brought Alien Irmadoodle out and transformed it with a chemical reaction. 

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Another highlight of the Mad Science entertainment was to get everyone make their own Mad Science Slime! That's something which kids of all ages (i had children as old as 9yos) enjoyed! 

Jubilation was written all over the children's face and that really made me happy. The whole experience was so memorable and awesome that to date, some of her classmates are still talking about it. 

I highly recommend this! And if there are no parties in the pipeline, you may want to periodically check them out for workshops. Right now for the month of December, they are running a holiday camp: The Mad Science Investigators will run from 11th to 15th December 2017 at Kidz Amaze Toa Payoh. You can expect fun and interactive patented content at this camp. Children will take home Science kits and/or projects every camp day. Best part, just drop your kid off at 9am and be back at 5pm to pick them up! Free play at KidzAmaze before and after Mad Science program each day! What are you waiting for? Register today here! You can also keep abreast of their happenings over on Facebook.


This was probably arranged the latest. Just a week before the event in fact. I should have made liaison earlier however work was at its peak and so was procrastination. I was so glad I chanced upon Foodline! Listed on this directory are top 50 buffet caterers. It's really a great platform to order your buffet from! Imagine, in the past, I had to plough through each and every caterer which Mr Google suggested and narrowed down my search with pen and paper. 

With Foodline, the search was made so much easier! I could search via menu type or caterer, or if I had a budget in mind, I could key that in and let the search engine do the rest. I was also able to key in the number of pax I was expecting and run the search. It was that simple!

Every caterer had a rating. 

All the menus pertaining to your budget will be clearly displayed.

Photos of the food offered by your choice of caterer are also provided. And these photos are those take by customers so they can't be fake! A very good guide when it comes to selecting of menu. Very often when we read off menus, it's all words, words and more words. Some of these copywriters are really good at describing and their flowery words will make you drool but at the end of the day, the deliverables are disappointing. Since these are legit photos from customers, I believe they are good hence customers will want to post them right? On top of that, Foodline is also have monthly competition where customers who upload their photos, will stand a chance to win $150 in cash! I should go upload mine too!

If you are skeptical over the overall ratings given, the 726 reviews should warrant some kind of trust. I am able to see that each review is authentic. Because with so many caterers and reviews made, if they were made using a robot, that robot would have gone bongkus!

I also noted that several government agencies and private companies had used them. In addition, famous Mediacorp celebrity Xiang Yun is their spokesperson! Credible much! Ordering a buffet couldn't be easier! Oh! Did I also mention, their prices are sometimes better than when you order directly through the vendors? Look out for their deals and be kept updated through their facebook page here. And if you think it is only buffet that all they do, you are wrong! One can also order cakes and baby full month vouchers through Foodline! 

So within that night, I narrowed down my search to three caterers, had a discussion with the hubs and decided that our gastronomic fanfare would be provided by Ronnie's Kitchen. I didn't know of their existence prior to this event. I certainly wasn't sure of their quality. However, through Foodline, I was able to make an informed decision and turned out that my decision was right! The food was great especially the curry and Yam Paste and the service was good. Portions were definitely more than enough as I had to pack some back for party number two that evening. 

Photo by themishmashmess

Upon receiving a confirmation email from Foodline, I received a call from Ronnie's Kitchen the next day. I was informed that the delivery had to be at approximately 1220pm as there were several deliveries that day. My event was to start at 1230pm! *horrors! I explained the situation to the lady and she put in a request for the delivery man to rush down as soon as he can! And he arrived at 1210, much to my delight. Setup was quick and professional and everything was ready to rock and roll by 1230pm. 

For this festive period, Foodline is having a host of great deals on Xmas packages. Check them out here. They have various party sets varying from 5 to even 100pax! What's more, they guarantee the best price! (More info here:

Quote FLJANICE10 for $10 (min $50 order) off their cakes purchased on,
FLJANICE30 for $30 off (Min $300 order, food only) their catering order on Valid till 30 June 2018.

For your festive needs, apply the code JANICEX38 to get $38 off all orders! (min $350 order, valid for all ordered submitted from now till 31 Dec 2017)


Photo by mmlittlee

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

To get everyone into the mood, I needed costumes that befit the occasion. Thankful to Mama G from TullelovebyGwen, the twinning and Bespoke specialist, I was able to don on the Queen's outfit and get a hat for the hubs. Yup, he had to be the Mad Hatter, much to his reluctance. Thankfully, getting him to put on the hat for the photos was much easier than to get him into a costume! For Big K, I of course had to dress her up as Alice! And her costume was bought from none other than Taobao. The family portrait wouldn't be complete if Small K wasn't in a costume as well. So, I had to DIY him a rabbit costume. It was pretty simple except the bit where I had to sew. I am hopeless at that.


Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Photo by themishmashmess

Lebox specialises in learning kits, however, they have been doing up educational party favors for children of late. Being one half of Lebox, I naturally needed to bring this element into Big K's party! I am not a fan of sweets and junk in a party pack (no offence) and would rather something meaningful. I managed to DIY some games to the theme of Alice in Wonderland and added a touch of fun with stickers made using Stickiemail's sticker maker. I've also printed a maze for the older children to try. Included in the pack was also a craft where kids could sew a hat for themselves. Think: Mad Hatter. Coupled with those, I had an Alice in Wonderland bookmark DIYed and included some Alice in Wonderland Karel Capek tea from onetaplifestyle. It smells divine and you can select from their child herb selection where there is no caffeine so even pregnant women can consume. 
ok, if you noticed, I did include a little snack. Just in case all else fails :P

PHOTOGRAPHY by ThePixelFlair

The party wouldn't be complete without photos. It would have just been fuzzy memories in our brains if not for a good photo. I am really big on photos as it brings back so many fond memories. Finding the right photographer for the task was pretty straight forward. We attended a friend's birthday party recently and I had seen Jazsica's work. I love how she was able to capture the candid smiles on the kids and the vibrant colours of her photos. I didn't want those posey photos. It would have been impossible to ask 21 kids to stay still and pose for a photo. I knew this was something I had to outsource to the professionals. As much as I wanted to DIY most of the things, I know I am only human and the last thing I wanted was to go home without physical memories of it. All photos featured in this post is by Jazsica of ThePixelFlair unless otherwise stated. So vibrant and happy each time I see these photos. I could see have them on repeat mode on my screensaver! If you like what you see, touch base with The Pixelflair (Discount Code: Quote themishmashmessTPF17 and receive 15% off their standard rate, expires 31 Dec 2017) 

From our family to yours: Thank you for sharing this joyous moment with us!

This epic celebration for my 6 year old indeed zapped a whole lot of my energy and time, but seeing the smiles from the children made all the frenzy worthwhile. I am sure this momentous birthday party will be etched in Big K's mind for years to come! Happy Birthday my dear honey bunny!