Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ian's 3rd Thomas Train Birthday Party

Let me start this blog post by telling you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a mother who was so fixated on throwing a Pokemon party for her soon to be 3 year old son. She was convinced that it was the best party theme for her boy, since the said boy could name every single Pokemon on the Pokedex. But unfortunately, every time she asked for his consent, the boy would resist and insist on having a Thomas party instead. Since he was so persistent, she conceded defeat, and started making preparations for a train party. One fine day, about two weeks away from the party, she started browsing through Thomas cake ideas on the Internet. She showed the birthday boy a few examples for his consent. Unfortunately, none of the cake made the mark. As she was scrolling through the pictures on her phone, suddenly the boy pointed out excitedly to a picture of a cake and exclaimed, "This Thomas!!" The mother sat there with her mouth gaping open, as her son was pointing to a Transformers cake. And suddenly it clicked. Due to his son's pelat dialect, when he said Thomas he actually meant Transformers.

*rolls on the floor laughing*

Yes, that was a true story, by the way. But in the end, we stuck to the Thomas party theme after all. (Sorry Ian, after all the preparations we made for the Thomas train party, I couldn't just magically change everything to Transformers in a snap of a finger! But Alhamdulillah, once we brought the trains out and he saw how it whizzed around the dessert table, he warmed up to the theme.) You can read about my Thomas Train party DIY adventures here.

Since I violated my own self-proclaimed rule of one party per year, I consoled my husband by promising him a small guest list and a simple no-frills venue. (He laughed when I said small guest list, but hey, I proved him wrong!) We had the party at McDonald's in Denai Alam, and I am so glad we decided to have our small party there. McDonald's was quite accommodating too; they allowed outside cakes and such. And since I told them that I would be baking everything on the dessert table, they agreed to let me setup my dessert table too. They even allowed me to plan the party room layout, and blocked the party area way earlier than normal so that I would have ample time to decorate the room. (Good to note that they don't allow costumes and outside entertainment during the party.)

Speaking of a small guest list, since Ian doesn't go to school thus has only one friend (his neighbourhood sweetheart, Dafiya), I decided to invite my gang pagar sekolah, Cahaya SPK gang, three of Aiden's best friends and our closest family to the party. Definitely the smallest party we've had to date!

The minute Ian walked into the party room, he beamed his best smile and ran to the dessert table. He got so excited, as he knew that the entire party was just for him... No sharing required! He was so happy, it made all our effort for his birthday bash, so worth while! It also made my heart strings ache for the baby that's no longer there. Ian, please don't grow up too fast! *sob sob*

Refused to leave the dessert table, hence he had his Happy Meal by the train tracks.

So sporting, he even agreed to put on the McDonalds birthday hat!

Held on dearly to the cake knife, as if someone wanted to take it away from him!

Anyway, I'm sure you're waiting for photos of the dessert table. Disclaimer though; since the table was already so crowded with dual way train tracks, I had to compromise on the number of baked goods and candy I could put on the table. Also, since the trains whizzed around the train tracks, I needed to make sure that their journey wasn't obstructed by any platters and such. Here's a video of the first ever interactive dessert table we've done to date!

The dessert table. While I was busy setting up, the McDonald's staff and even a customer came up and asked for my permission to take photos. The staff explained that they've never had such an elaborate themed party, while the customer wanted the photo for inspiration purposes. I do hope I've inspired her!

Here's a closer look.

Thomas 3D cake. Moist chocolate cake - Ian's favourite.

Rock candy spilled out of the tunnel. Green and blue Nutella macarons too.

Trains carried rock candy around the Island of Sodor.

James and Percy carried (pretzel) logs.

Thomas and Percy butter cookies. They were so popular, my hours of work disappeared with just one big bite! *giggles*

'Grass' vanilla cupcakes.

Thomas and Bertie the Bus also had their own track, underneath the cake stand.

A quick selfie before the kids tore the dessert table apart!

We also had a personalized milestone chalkboard, documenting Ian's vital details.

I also had a small corner to showcase my own birthday cake. A second moist chocolate cake (so that guests don't have to wait till end of the party to taste it) and a red velvet cake, both baked by yours truly. Till today, Ian still proclaims, "Ian's birthday Thomas, Mummy's birthday red cake!" *chuckles*

I am so glad we decided to stick to a small guest list, because even with a handful of kids, they literally took over the entire party room. (All parents got kicked out of the room and into the public area right outside where they had their adult meals.) Immediately after everyone finished their Happy Meals, the McDonald's party coordinator closed the party room doors so that the kids could play some games. Yes, not only did McDonald's provide goody bags for each kid, they provided two party coordinators to supervise the kids and arrange for games and gifts too!

Kids enjoying their Happy Meals. And just our luck, the Happy Meal toy that week was a Thomas train ruler!

Parents enjoying peace and quiet outside the party room. Gang pagar sekolah!

A quick photo with the Cahaya SPK gang. Can you see the party room in the background? 

They then closed the doors, and this was all we saw.

Ian insisted on joining a game of musical chairs.

Next up, it was time for cake cutting. In the weeks leading up to his birthday party, Ian had been humming the birthday song non stop! So when everyone started singing Happy Birthday to him, he was absolutely delirious with joy.

Check out Ian's happy grin. 

The impromptu hug that Aiden gave Ian. Siblings love!

They sang the Happy Birthday song twice.

Again with the pursed lips. Memang sampai esok tak padam lah, Ian! In the end, Aiden had to give Ian a hand.

In all the excitement, the cake must have moved quite significantly because the name topper fell. Aiden helped put it back, unfortunately terbalik!

Cutting the cake.

Last photo with the gang pagar sekolah. Thank you for coming, ladies!

The sole reason why I can never move out of Cahaya SPK. Love you girls!

At the end of the party, we discovered in dismay that we forgot to take a family photo during the cake cutting session!!! Terpaksalah amik gambar with bare cookies, empty cupcake platters and a handful of macarons.

It is exactly 90 days to Aiden's 7th birthday. And he's already asking whether he can start choosing a theme for his birthday. Aaaccckkk!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Preparations for Ian's Thomas Birthday Party

Yes, I made it to the office!

Kick-starting my backlog of birthday party posts. This blog post is dedicated to the simple (yes simple!) preparations I made for Ian's birthday party back in November.

Unlike Aiden's Star Wars birthday party early in the year, the hype leading up to this was unbelievably laid back. Somehow, I took it easy... way too easy, I must say! I scouted the event location the week before India, traveled to India, came home from India and literally had exactly 7 days before the party.

A picture is worth a thousand words, hence here are some photos of my DIY adventures for Ian's Thomas Train birthday party:

After hours of research online, we decided to do a 3D Thomas cake for the party.

Moist chocolate cake. Recipe here. It was a buttercream nightmare, but I persevered because Ian loves this particular chocolate cake! 

Too many edges to the cake (fondant nightmare!) hence I had to cover the cake with fondant, half by half.

The middle joint is clearly seen here, but with some brilliant camouflage.......

Tadaaaaa... no more middle joint!

The side profile of the cake.

This took a good 3 hours to do. Cookie toppers - Thomas and Percy!

You must be waiting for photos of the dessert table! Well two engineers tried to attempt this, and failed miserably. It took a lot of hair pulling and screams of exasperation to fit the train tracks on the table. The end result? Wait for the next post!

Yes, we had the party at McDonalds! In keeping to the spirit of keeping things simple, I decided to use the provided invites, rather than making personalized ones.

Decided to forego personalized printing on the boys' t-shirts. Instead, I decided to do some sewing! Purchased plain t-shirts from MD Textile and coloured felt from Daiso and Mr DIY. Couldn't get the exact Thomas blue, but this was close enough, I guess?

Okay, I cheated with this one. *giggles* I looked online for a pretty Thomas poster, then paid someone to design the wordings to make the banner (7x6 feet) for the dessert table backdrop.

Last but certainly not least, I found this chalkboard milestone poster online. Using simple editing on PicMonkey, I managed to personalize this for Ian in less than an hour. Super proud of myself!

That's it! Told you it was a simple setup. Now stay tuned for the next blogpost - Ian's 3rd Thomas Train Birthday Party.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dragging My Feet

Today marks my first day of working for 2017. Truthfully, I wasn't looking forward to it!

Unlike all the prior days when I would bound out of bed all bright bushy eyed, this morning proved to be quite an experience. My eyes refused to open, and my arm instinctively reached out to press the snooze button on the alarm. Once I finally got myself into the shower, dressed and out of the house, I had that sinking feeling as I was driving to work. It was dread.

I swear if someone offers for me to quit my job but assures that I can still maintain my current lifestyle, I would have turned the car around in a heartbeat. (Major hint here, Hubby!) *chuckles*

Anyway, I am finally at work and slowly catching up on my emails. I hope I get into the swing of things, soon! My only solace, is the fact that my new desk (we moved desks just before Christmas holidays) is in a cozy corner just by the window. Awesome views and privacy!

(And it is right on top of a Pokestop too!!!)

I'm going to go dig out my pay slip now. You know, just to remind myself why I have to drag myself to work again tomorrow. *giggles* Wish me luck for the coming days!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year everyone! ;)

(I'm just four days too late but better late than never!) *giggles*

I am still on annual leave. Why? Well I recently hit a record of 10 service years with the Dutch Oil Company hence my annual leave entitlement was automatically increased. I thought the increase was to 20 days, but it turned out to be 25 days! Therefore at the end of December, I had an extra 5 days which I needed to use by the end of the year. My understanding boss agreed for me to bring forward the 5 days to the first week of January, hence here I am! I initially thought of using this first week off for sending Aiden to school and visiting him at recess time. But... it is just the second day of school and he is already insisting on taking the van to school, and declining my offer for me to accompany him for recess. Dah besar dah anak Mummy! #clingymummy

And so I find myself in front of the computer, blogging instead!

So what have I been up to? Well, for starters, I am struggling to finish drafting my birthday blogposts. I still haven't found the time to sift through the photos of our renovation and our recent trip to Pangkor Laut Resort. We recently bought a fish pond, to accommodate our tortoises who have outgrown their mini aquarium. Shopping wise - I bought a full year's worth of candles at the recent Bath and Body Works sale, plus some new tops at the Zara sale. I just finished wrapping all of Aiden's school textbooks. Ian is still refusing school, so no first day of school excitement for him. Last but certainly not least, I have just embarked on a new home project; decorating Aiden and Ian's room to their chosen theme of Star Wars. I just hope I have the strength and perseverance to kick them out of our room!

Anyway, I'm going to end this post with some select photos of Aiden's first day of school:

Best formal photo for the year.

Posing with his Star Wars bag and lunch box.

And speaking of Star Wars, Aiden has been bitten with the Star Wars craze too. He insisted on everything Star Wars. Two water bottles, cos I am so extremely sure that he will misplace one soon. Plus a stern warning that I will not be replacing his lunch box if he loses it!

Walking into school. Didn't even bother to look back! *chuckles*

Busy comparing Star Wars merchandise. His friends were decked in Star Wars too!

Excuse my eye bags. I was too busy enjoying my extended annual leave!

Recess time.

I thought the place would be flocked with parents accompanying their kids for recess. I guess parents don't do this anymore for their Standard 2 children??? There was barely a handful of us at the canteen.

I told Aiden that he could have anything from the canteen as a first-day recess treat. He asked for 'roti canai cheese', but cautiously told me, "But it's two ringgit ok?" Of course lah Mummy cair and agreed.

Best family photo we have from yesterday. Seriously, we totally forgot to take a proper family photo!

Ian wanted to follow his Babang to class. Siap lambai tangan lagi!

Unfortunately, no photos from the first day of pickup, because Ian decided to bless us with some projectile vomit in the car. We had to make a quick stop over to strip Ian while Hubby wiped the car clean. Not only was I covered in vomit, but I then had to walk in the heavy rain to pick Aiden up from school. Oh the drama!!!

Anyway, I hope you guys are enjoying your first week of 2017. New year resolutions? I'm still drafting mine, so I hope you guys have better luck than me! *chuckles*
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