DIY calendar craft

#4 made a really pretty calendar for her desk. She got some of my scrapbooking paper and fashioned a simple calendar out of materials found around the house.

Materials:

  • Scrapbook paper or slightly thicker paper
  • 3 toothpicks
  • 3 or 6 mini pegs
  • Hole puncher
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Washi tape (optional)
Daily table calendar

STEP 1:

Cut scrapbooking paper into rectangles and punch holes on the left.

You will need 26 pieces of rectangle slips.

If you don’t have scrapbooking paper, you can use washi tape to decorate plain coloured paper.

12 months

STEP 2:

Write 1 month on each slip of paper (January to December). Total: 12

Write 1 numeral on each slip of paper.

Write a set of numbers 0 to 9. Total: 10

Write a set of numbers 0 to 3. Total: 4

STEP 3:

Paint the toothpicks if you wish. #4 painted them gold.


STEP 4: (Optional)

Use washi tape to decorate the mini pegs.


Peg the mini pegs onto the toothpick and slot the pegs into the weave of the box. If you don’t have such a box, you can perhaps tape it onto a shelf.

STEP 5:

Peg another mini peg at the front of the toothpick to prevent the paper from slipping off.


That’s it! #4 is delighted that she will know exactly what date it is every single day.

For more craft ideas, here’s a really lovely and easy to do DIY vacation box craft from A Juggling Mum, and #4’s DIY calendar idea can easily be taped on the top of it. 

And here are 8 more activities from Mamawearpapashirt blog to check out!

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

A Loom-my gift

If you haven’t already heard (then you must surely have been hibernating), the current craze for kids is this rainbow loom thing where you use exorbitantly priced rubber bands to make all sorts of things with the aid of a plastic loom. I hear adults have also gotten into the fray and make wonderful things with the coloured bands like handbags too!

The only one amongst my kids who is really hooked on this is #4. So for her birthday present, #2 decided to custom make her a little caddy to hold her bands.

Simple materials: satay sticks and glue

She noticed that #4 needed some hooks to hang the finished wristbands and some compartments to store the various other designs she made.

Reinforce the base, she tells me

She fashioned it entirely out of satay sticks and toiled for days to complete the gift on time. Her thumb became the casualty from all that cutting and it even went numb for a couple of days.

Complete with hooks to hang the finished bands

Needless to say we were all impressed with her finished product. It even has miniature drawers and spins on it’s base! So proud of #2, she’s turning into a nifty lil’ crafter.

Spins on its base

#4 has been making me those bracelets but she noticed that I have not been wearing them. She googled for more ideas, made me a pencil-dangle and put it onto my pen. She added a little Daffy duck as she knows how such funny looking things never fail to make me laugh!


Pencil dangle


Sane tip: One good thing that came out of this craze is that it kept them busy during the school holidays. One busy looming, one busy cutting sticks.

Save tip: With 1 kid around who can create anything out of sticks, we don’t need to pay through our nose… but then again, I still can’t get over these over-priced rubber bands. Thankfully she received a whole stash for her birthday.

To check out #2’s other creations, click here.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

DIY Table-soccer

#2 spent the last few days of her holidays making her very own portable table-soccer. She recycled the box her school books came in and used that as the table. Then she took a large sheet of green paper, measured it and cut it to fit the box.

Drawing in the goal posts

She drew in the lines, painted the clothes pegs and made holes at the sides of the box. She then glued the pegs onto the sticks.

Messy table – work in progress

Halfway through, she was faced with a problem. The skewers were too short so she stuck them together. However, she found that they were too wobbly and were not stable enough to hold the weight of the pegs. So she placed 2 sticks back to back and carved the ends out until they were interlocking. Then she glued them and further reinforced them with tape. Clever!

Very cute clothes-peg soccer players

The kids had fun playing it after school, while their little cousin was busy trying to catch the rolling ball.

Back home from 1st day of school

Sane tip: I think one thing I did right was to make them all independent from young as I didn’t’ have a lot of time to spend with them. #2 has become very capable in finding productive and creative things to do in her spare time.

Save tip: Make your own toys out of recycled material.

For #2’s portable air-con invention, click here.

For her simple yet beautiful Christmas gift, click here.



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~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Portable air-con invention

#2 decided that she would try inventing a mini portable air-conditioner. She took some plastic sheets, cut them up and taped them to form a water-proof box. She used some food skewers to reinforce the sides.

The base of her air-con

She made a cover out of an old shoe box, and cut 2 holes in it. She attached a little duct over the smaller hole. This is where the cold air will escape from.

Attaching the vent

She placed some ice cubes into the box and attached her mini fan into the bigger hole and turned it on. Viola, she can now do her work in air-con comfort!

Cold air blowing directly on her

Sane tips: I love how #2 readily thinks up ideas to solve her problems. Firstly it’s a great way to occupy her time during the school holidays, and secondly it’s wonderful how she tries to find a solution for her problems by herself. 

Save tips: She knows she’s not supposed to turn on the air-conditioner during the day, so she decided to invent one herself!

~   mummy wee – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

A home for our ‘Zuzu’ pets

#4 is a natural garung guni (rag and bone man). She loves to horde stuff that may come in useful one day. One of the things she likes to collect are moon cake boxes. They are so elaborate she feels it is a pity to throw them away.  The shape of these boxes prompted her to recycle them into a perfect little home for her toy mouse.

She gathered some scrap cloth and cotton wool to make some beds, pillows and rugs to furnish her little toy house. 

She cut the fabric into the size she needed.

She’s showing her 2 little cousins how to sew a pillow by stuffing some cotton wool into the cloth.

#4 asking them to choose the colours to decorate the windows.

Viola! A nice cosy home for their zuzu pets to live in.

Sane tip: Once you teach them how to sew, they can create lots of things by themselves. It greatly delights me to see their pride in their own creations.

Save tip: The best toys do not have to be expensive.



~  mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

My eldest turns 15!

(HOW TO KEEP BIRTHDAYS TO A $100 BUDGET)

How time flies. In the blink of an eye, my dear little baby is now 15! She spent the day shopping with her best friend, then came back for tea. With so many kids, how do I handle their birthdays? 

Initially, their parties were ‘normal’. But as we were living in a condo, they got invited to many neighbours’ kid’s parties. And some had the works.. face painting, balloon sculpture, jumping castle, magician. Of course kids being kids, when their birthday came, they would ask if they could have “a princess jumping castle just like so-and-so”. And as parents, we would want to make them happy on this special day once a year, so we conceded. Over the years, the parties grew to become $1000 affairs, what with the entertainment, catered food, and obligatory party bags. Not to mention all the planning and organising that came along with it. And I had to do it a few times a year!

We were seriously party drained, and the worst part was, after every big party where at least 30 kids were invited, when I asked them if they enjoyed themselves, someone would be upset. Because “so-and-so hit the piñata first when it was supposed to be me”, or “so-and-so played with the other friend the whole time and ignored me”, etc, etc. I realised then that a huge party with lots of money spent and lots of friends invited did not equate to a happy birthday child. 

So I decided that all this had to stop, and I re-evaluated what a birthday party should be. I also realised that when we did not set a budget for them, they didn’t know any better and would request for things which we had to refuse and they would be upset. For example, they would ask for a ‘3D Winx club cake’ which they saw at another friend’s party. Such a cake would cost upwards of $200. Furthermore, as we had so many kids, it was hard to be fair, and there would be constant unhappiness when I had to say no to a particular thing they wanted and they would say “so unfair, how come the other sibling could have such and such a thing”.  

My oldest and my youngest

I scaled down all their parties, and gave them ample notice that once they reached P1, there would be no more big parties and I would instead give each child $100 on their birthdays to do as they pleased. They could invite their friends over in the day, and then we would have a family dinner or BBQ in the evening. They would also be in charge of organising their birthday parties by themselves. They got really excited and started listing down the things they wanted and asked me for the cost of each. 

For the birthday cake, when I told them “3D cake, $250” they were stunned. They asked how much a normal cake was. I told them $30. They discussed better ways of getting a cheaper cake. They ended up buying pre-mix from the supermarket and baked for each other on their birthdays. Subsequently, they realised that if they sweetly requested their aunt to bake them a cake, it would be free! And they loved their aunt’s cakes.

As for entertainment, they made up games for their friends to play. They did Amazing race, played pool games in the swimming pool, and planned other games, all of which cost them nothing. And in fact, they had so much more fun than before!

Instead of catered food, they decided they would just order MacDonald’s delivery. After checking the prices on the website, they realised it amounted to a huge chunk of their $100. They asked me how else could they get cheaper fries, nuggets and pizza. I suggested the supermarket. They were delighted to see that they could get it for a fraction of the price there and just cook it themselves. 

The best part was that after paying for the food, the free entertainment and the free cake, they still had money left over which they could use to buy themselves a birthday present. They were overjoyed.. and so was I.

As they grew older, their friendships also changed. #1 now prefers to spend the day with just 1 or 2 good friends, and they would go bowling, have a simple meal, and spend the rest of the money on some trinkets for herself and her friends.

the awesomest sticky date pudding

Her godma baked her signature sticky date pudding – moist and full bodied. Actually, I really missed eating it so I requested her to bake it for #1’s birthday. And now they all love it too!

#1 and her godma

Sane tip: Organising their parties used to be so tiring, but now that I outsource it to them, not only does it relieve me of the unnecessary stress, but it has taught them so much. The value of money, budgeting, and planning and organising skills. And most of all, that happiness does not come from ‘the bigger, the better’, but from being with a few close friends and your family.

Save tip: I managed to scale their parties down from $1000 per party to $100.

Our Candlelight dinner tradition

Many years ago, after going out for a candlelight dinner, I decided why not have one at home so the kids can have a special dinner and will know what a candlelight dinner was. We got the meal prepared, and as we sat down to eat, the hub said “So dark, how to see the food?” and promptly went to turn the lights on. Such a spoilsport. So from then, every time he went away on a trip, we would have a candlelight dinner without him! That became a family tradition for us. 

I love to create lots of family traditions for the kids as I believe they are important, especially in a fast-paced world like ours. Family traditions help to establish a unique bond amongst the children and it gives them a sense of belonging. There’s just something about the way the kids will say to their friends “Every year we will do this, and this” with such pride that you know traditions mean a lot to them. Traditions like these are the basis of fond memories which they will look back on, remember and reminiscent for years to come.

So yes, the hubs is away so it was time for our candlelight dinner. #2 prepared the entire dinner with #4 as her assistant. The menu for our special dinner always stays the same. Sausages, salad and mashed potato. And apple juice in wine glasses.

We had lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and ham for our salad. We garnished it with fresh thyme, chia seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Easy!

When we were staying in the condo, we would invite whichever neighbour was playing at our house at the moment. All the kids would have lots of fun. Today, we invited their aunt to join us. She brought along her home-cooked Osso bucu which was delectable!


Sane tip: #2 is just amazing. I was out shopping with #1 and #3 and when we got home, she had everything under control. 

Save tip: Would cost an arm and a leg at a posh restaurant. And besides, it would be really difficult to keep them quiet so as not to disturb the other couples. So this works great! You could even teach them dining etiquette if you were so inclined to. Me? I prefer to relax and enjoy the meal with the kids. Cheers!

~  mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

DIY Pizza

#2 invited her friends over for a study date and she made pizza for lunch. This recipe is take from “Cooking for Kids made easy” and the chef used to cook for Her Majesty the Queen! It is not hard to do but takes a lot of effort. It’s best you make this with your child on a nice relaxing weekend. Or if you are game for a bit of a mess (read: a big mess, you can have a DIY pizza birthday party for your child! It won’t cost much and they’ll have lots of fun) Do allocate about 4 hours before you can eat your pizza as you have to wait a long time for the yeast to rise. It usually takes #2 about 3-4 hours to make this pizza, depending on how many helpers she has!


Ingredients (serves 5 people)

Pizza dough
200ml warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
7g dried yeast (baking section of supermarket)
1 teaspoon caster sugar
375g plain flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

Tomato sauce
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
4 ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
20g caster sugar
50g tomato puree

(we doubled the above ingredients as we had 10 people eating)

Toppings (of your choice)
We used:
200g sliced ham
4 sausages
1 packet bacon
1 packet salami
1 can of button mushroom

1) Put the warm water in a jug and add the salt, dried yeast and sugar

2) Whisk thoroughly to dissolve the yeast
3) Cover the jug with cling film and put in a warm place to prove – it will froth up and a foam will form on top of the yeast mixture. It will take about 15 minutes to prove.

2) Crush the garlic and remove the skin. Chop it finely
3) Peel the onion and chop it finely

4) Half the tomatoes, then quarter them. Cut them into small chunks. 
5) After 15 minutes, remove the jug from the warm place and take off the cling wrap. There should be foam on top.
6) Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle of the flour

7) Carefully pour in the yeast mixture
8) Add the olive oil
9) Mix it with your hands until it comes together

10) Turn the dough onto a clean work surface
11) Knead the dough continuously for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and firm
12) It may be a little tiring but keep going! You are doing great!
13) The dough should be firm and smooth.
14) Make it into a ball shape
15) Sprinkle a bit of flour into a large, clean mixing bowl

16) Put the dough into the bowl and press it down gently
17) Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it in a warm place to prove for an hour
18) It should rise and double in size

19) Drizzle the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat
20) Add the garlic and onion and fry for a couple of minutes until translucent
21) Add the caster sugar
22) Add the chopped tomatoes
23) Add the tomato puree and stir well
24) Put the lid on and let the tomatoes simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the sauce thickens

25) Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a blender

26) Hold a tea towel over the top to prevent the sauce from splashing out
27) Blend until smooth
28) Put it aside (any left overs can be kept in the fridge for 4 days and used in pasta dishes)

29) After an hour, remove the dough from the warm place and take off the cling wrap
30) Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and press it down to get some of the air out
31) Turn it out onto a floured work surface
32) Knead the dough for 30 seconds to knock the air out
33) Cut into a few pieces and roll them out separately into large circles
34) Sprinkle more flour if your dough is sticking onto the work surface
35) Roll it out as thin as you can
(this time, her dough didn’t turn out very well as she did not have enough time to wait and she proved the yeast in the oven at 115C which is too hot)

36) Put each pizza base on a baking paper and add toppings of your choice. Finish off with mozzarella cheese

Her friends arrived in time to help roll out the dough

37) Cook the pizza in a pre-heated oven at 200C for about 15 minutes

It should be crispy and golden brown on the top

Looks ugly but it’s really yummy!

By the time lunch was ready, everyone was starving and every time a piping hot pizza came out of the oven it was gobbled up in minutes!

Sane tip: Depending on how many people the child is cooking for (and the age of the child), they may run out of steam half way through. Do anticipate this and be prepared to help out or take over. Most of the time and effort actually comes from making the dough. For a simpler alternative (which is what I do if it was a weekday meal) I will use those ready made bases like Pita base or other alternatives which you can find at the bread section and just add the toppings.

Save tip: It is cheaper than eating at a pizza restaurant.. and it definitely tastes better!

~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids without going mad or broke  ~