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Posts Tagged ‘Casuarina Curry’

How overdue can this get?? :)
Finallt got down to finishing the post on Alyssa’s party held in May!

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What a packed day it was to be! There was another party on the same day as Alyssa’s. That would be in the morning, while hers would be in the afternoon. Jon brought the boys, so I was left to prep the room while taking care of Alyssa at the same time.

Before that though, we started the morning playing and cuddling on our bed. It was a nice time of family bonding before the hectic day began :)

Sibling love

Sibling love

Squeezing together for a family shot :)

Squeezing together for a family shot :)

All the Logistics

This was the first time I had an empty function room as a blank slate for a party. All our previous parties for the boys were either held in our home or somewhere with a play area. So there was always the home decor, or the decor of whichever venue we were at, and all I needed to do was embellish a little. A blank slate was a different proposition altogether. How do I make the place look cheerful and provide the kids some entertainment while on a budget? The room had plain white walls and nothing besides tables and chairs.

An empty room - my blank slate

An empty room – my blank slate

In the end I decided to go for paper decorations as I thought it’d be easier to prepare. I saw on pinterest some instructions for making pompoms that seemed pretty manageable, and bunting didn’t seem like too difficult a task.

What colour scheme then? For lack of a better option, we went with colours that would match the Alyssa’s dress. Sounds funny right? Yes, I thought so too haha. It was a hand-me-down dress that I didn’t think much of while it was on the hanger, but one day when we put it on her, she looked so sweet and lovely I knew I wanted her to wear it for her birthday. Jon and I have never been the kind to give too much attention to what the kids wear, but we both agreed in this instance that the dress was perfect for the occasion.

The dress and matching papers for the decorations

The dress and matching papers for the decorations

Pom poms and bunting - I liked these so much they are now hanging in Alyssa's bedroom :)

Pom poms and bunting – I liked these so much they are now hanging in Alyssa’s bedroom :)

It's not much, but I think the décor makes the place seem more festive

It’s not much, but I think the décor makes the place seem more festive

What entertainment? With so many kids on the list, we agreed there had to be a baby/toddler area and an area for the bigger kids. We decided to go with the ever popular bouncy castle for the older kids, and a ball pit for the young ones. I never expected the price difference between different companies for bouncy castle rentals to be so great. For one of the models I was looking at, one of the better known companies quoted me upwards of $400 excluding delivery and extra charges for each flight of stairs (there were two). I found the same model for rental at a different company for about half that price, including delivery! The big company had a price-match policy, but when I told them about the price I found, they told me to go rent from that company instead! So much for a price match!

In the end we rented the castle from Kiddom as they had the best price. The one thing I wished Kiddom would have done was to put some foam mats around the castle for added safety. Maybe they could consider including those as part of the rental. Party Mojo also had good prices, but the castles I was interested in were all already booked up.

Some of the kids in the bouncy castle

Some of the kids in the bouncy castle

Boing boing boing!

Boing boing boing!

Down the slide

Down the slide

The bouncy castle. I’m not sure that’s something I would get again for a party. I’m still undecided. On the one hand, the kids really enjoy it. On the other hand, it can well…get out of hand! We had a few scuffles among the more active boys. Thankfully none of the kids got injured from the bouncy castle though. Asher, however, did get his arm hurt in a fall (running on flat ground, somehow tripping and landing badly). He was so out of it after that, he just huddled in one corner for the rest of the evening. To be fair, he said it was very painful (and that’s another story how we went to A&E).

The little ones all loved the ball pit that we hired from The Toy Rental Shop. It was large enough for 8 to 10 little kiddos to be in at the same time. And because the kids haven’t really started walking, they all had sufficient space, and more than enough colourful balls to play with. I loved how The Toy Rental Shop’s ball pit came with a little slide. Alyssa was in love with that slide! She kept wanting to go on it over and over. I think that’s really where her love affair with slides began.

The big ball pit

The big ball pit

Alyssa so excited to see Asher outside!

Alyssa so excited to see Asher outside! The ball pit was indoors, while the bouncy castle was outdoors (to keep the noise out!)

Here Mummy!

Here Mummy!

Little Dean enjoying the ball pit

Little Dean enjoying the ball pit

Alyssa fascinated by aunty Leah's ponytail

Alyssa fascinated by aunty Leah’s ponytail

The bus with the slide at the back

The bus with the slide at the back

Trying to get a shot of all the cousins (but Asher was still huddled in the corner and didn't want to join in)

Trying to get a shot of all the cousins (but Asher still nursing his injury and didn’t want to join in)

The Toy Rental Shop even gave us complimentary goodie bags to give out to the children, so the kids had 2 goodie bags each when they left!

What was in our own goodie bag? I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t really like goodie bags that leave me with a lot of useless things. And I also personally feel that packing it in fancy bags is such a waste because the kids just want what’s inside and throw the packaging away very quickly. So we went with simple brown paper bags (though another friend used them too, and she had a wonderful idea of washi taping them! I think that’s a great idea to prettify the bag a little!), with the contents differing depending on the age of the child. For the younger ones they got baby snacks, a simple Chinese book, and a small puzzle. For the older kids, they got a book and some snacks too, but older kid snacks. I made sure that I got different titles for all the books so that it didn’t matter which bag the kids picked up, they wouldn’t get the same titles as their siblings.

Younger kid's pack

Younger kid’s pack

Older kid's pack

Older kid’s pack

 

For food, Jon and I have always wanted to cater from a prata place and have a live prata station. Having the space of a function room and the wide verandah adjacent to it gave us the opportunity. We went with Casuarina Curry. They were prompt and the food was excellent. Besides prata, we catered nasi biryani and a variety of curries. I was very happy to see everyone ordering prata and enjoying the food. Prata is the best. Add teh tarik, and you are in comfort food heaven. So of course there was teh tarik too!

The friendly chef

The friendly chef

Tucking into the food

Tucking into the food

Prata and briyani, mmm

Prata and biryani, mmm

Chocolate prata was very popular among the kids

Chocolate prata was very popular among the kids

P.A.R.T.Y!

Jon and I aren’t really party people. We like gatherings, but not big parties. But somehow, we always feel that the first birthday needs to be more inclusive, with all the uncles, aunties, grandies, cousins, friends, etc. So the first birthdays tend to be big. I’m really happy to see everyone, but there is so little time to spend with each person. And it’s tricky juggling the different groups of people. Actually, I think everyone is quite happy to make themselves at home, feed and entertain themselves, but as the host, I just feel like I should be doing more for them. When I’m the guest at such parties I’m quite happy to be doing my own thing, talking to people around me, chomping down yummy food, and running after my kids. But when the roles are reversed I worry about the people getting bored, people not enjoying themselves, etc. And then I’m taking care of Alyssa too.

friends

friends

more friends!

more friends!

family

strange family

strange family (in particular the one on the le… ;O) )

little friends

little friends – Jo Jo loved hugging Alyssa that day. Very sweet!

Alyssa with cousin David

Alyssa with cousin David

I had a friend who was so kind to offer to babysit Alyssa for a bit while I had some dinner and spoke to some of the guests. Her own two kids are bigger now, but my no mean all grown up, so I was extremely touched by her gesture. Alyssa seemed to sense that this lady was loving and kind, and thought Alyssa was getting very sticky to me, she didn’t cry when I left her with my friend.

Eat, play, sing a birthday song, blow the candles, cut the birthday cake, and before you knew it, the party came to an end.

Singing the song

Birthday cake time

Standard stunned look by 1-year-olds staring at a crowd of people around them

Standard stunned look by 1-year-olds staring at a crowd of people around them

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake

Alyssa and her kitty cake

Alyssa and her kitty cake

It’s always a bit anti-climactic at the end of a big party. All the prep, all the effort, and whoosh, it’s over. This party in particular, had so much prep to think about. Less themed stuff than I did for the boys, but a lot more thinking for every other aspect. I was very happy that Alyssa had fun at her own party. The ball pit was a huge winner. Can I say again, I’m so glad we got it! She was happy, we met with family and friends; good food, good company – it was a good party. I really should worry less! :)

And anyway, that’s the last 1st year party we will be doing. Ever! (Or that’s the plan at least…)

Playing with the pom poms the day after in her brand new cat romper that she got as a present

Playing with the pom poms the day after in her brand new cat romper that she got as a present

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My dear little cupcake, oh how you bring us all so much joy and laughter. You are a funny little girl, and we all – your gor gors, mummy and daddy – all love you immensely. You have really lived up to your name which means “great happiness”. You don’t cry much, and when you do there’s usually a good reason. When you were born, you didn’t cry! You just gave a dainty little, “eh!”. As a little baby, you were so quiet your uncle Terrence called you a soft toy. Though after calling you that you decided you hated car rides and would scream through them. Thankfully you outgrew that phase.

You are a little charmer. Everywhere we go people stop to say hello to you. And if they don’t, you wave at them and then they can’t help but stop to talk to you. There were times where I think I needed you more than you needed me. I had a few meetings with people that I was a little anxious about, but your presence always acted as a buffer and an ice-breaker, to the point now I’m comfortable even if you were not there. But I don’t think I would have had the courage without you and your happy presence.

Compared to your brothers, you are so much easier to care for. SOOOO much easier. I start to understand now why people couldn’t comprehend just how difficult your brothers were as babies (well, in particular your eldest brother) because maybe they were more like you, more calm and just easier to manage. I’m so grateful. So, so grateful.

But, like your brothers you don’t like sleeping through the night – why oh why? I look forward to that day. Very much.

Again comparing to your brothers, you’ve had a lot less attention than they did when they were your age. You are basically carted around with me when we fetch them for their activities, and when you follow me to run errands. Though I inevitably have to slow down to nurse you, I find that I’m not with you in the moment as much as I was with them. I’m sorry about that. I guess I’m really just stretched and that nursing time, I can just be still and think about my own things.

But you are so loving nonetheless.

I do love cuddling you so. Your smiles and cheerful presence are so precious. I find myself saying over and over “you are so cute!” though I guess as you get older I should cut back on that because it’s not just about being cute. It’s about having the right kind of values and convictions. I hope that as you grow up we’ll be able to impart to you the right values. And most of all, that you’ll grow up knowing and loving God.

I thank God for you! I love you so much, but God loves you more!

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