Monthly Archives: December 2016

Two Years Since “The Missing Piece” 新菜のお誕生日の思い出をもう一度



After writing the blog post on Nina’s birthday almost two years ago about The Missing Piece and The Big O, I realized I never went back to the school to share the completed book.  I also realized the kids who made the book was due to graduate this year.

Figured the kids would love to see their work in one book, so got in touch with the school and set up a book reading time.

I am particularly attached to this class since this was Nina’s (and my) first daycare experience and I struggled through the whole process. Nina has since changed daycare but still has some close friends there and I’ve gotten to know the teachers quite well.  I will miss this class.

I started by sharing The Missing Piece and the Big O again, and though some kids remembered, it’s a bit long to keep young kids’ attention.  It’s been two years after all.

But when I pulled out the completed version of The Missing Piece and the Big O Together, the kids got quite excited seeing their name and art work in a single book. We announced each kids name with the page and everyone cheered.

Kids laughed and screamed as their pages came up.  The Missing Piece and the Big O went all over the place, from US to Japan to Korea.  They also went to the park and rode on cool things like balloons and Choo Choo trains.

A child asked me to take the book home and I promised the teachers to send a scanned copy of the book to print for each kid.

Overall, great success and memory building with the kids.




The Missing Pieceを読んでいると、思い出してきた子もちらちら。

そして、皆で作った本ですよ~、とThe Missing Piece and the Big O Togetherを出すと、わ~~~、と期待通りの反応が。







…..Sorry it’s been two years kids, we will miss this class for sure!



Birthday Party: Mila is 4. It’s Rainbow and Hearts Time!  実良、4歳のお誕生日会(保育園)


Mila’s Birthday Cake. She saw it and immediately screamed, “MY BIRTHDAY CAKE!!” It’s your day, whatever you say!

Mila turned four this year and we have lots to celebrate!  I’m skipping around on the birthday posts since I’m organizing as I’m prepping for more.  This year, Mila didn’t want a book party, she wanted to have a “Hearts and Rainbow” party. Whatever the lady says goes.

In Singapore, it’s near impossible to find any rainbow themed party stuff.  Not even my trusted Daiso had much options.  So I turned to google and found some cute games  for a Rainbow party.  Took some ideas and added my own. Yup, I’m Japanese, when in doubt, turn to Origami.  It always saves the day.

So it came down to combination of two games.

Rainbow Race and Rainbow Punch Pinata looked simple enough that even me, the biggest klutz can make them. Take a look at the pictures for the how to on the bottom. I did most of the arts and crafts with the origami so the colors stayed consistent throughout.

We had to plan the party with 10 kids so we kept everything simple.  The Rainbow Race was a big hit and the kids played several extra rounds of it.  It helps that there is no clear winner.

Whoever finished the rainbow race and reached the other side first got to punch one hole in the pinata and get a toy.  We did two rounds of the Rainbow race/punch pinata.  Once the kids had the toys, that became their party favor.  All the kids were happy with the toys because of the element of surprise!

The whole party including the games was about an hour and a half and it took a bit of time for the teachers to calm the kids down.  They got to play few extra rounds of the Rainbow Race before getting back to their lessons.

Mila found her own cake when we passed by a cake shop.  She squealed, “Rainbow cake!  M&M cake! Oh please can I have that cake for my party!!” So that was it.  Ordered. The day of, they apparently had trouble getting M&Ms on the day of and had to run out to buy some, but all worked out well.

They have a shop in Liang Court and J-Cube but will deliver if you order over $60. It’s not too bad as far as birthday cake goes!
Happy Birthday My Little Princess!











The Rainbow Pinata starts with a poster board, exacto knife and a rice bowl.




Then comes the Origami papers in the back.  The origami paper is harder to punch than the tissue paper recommended, so right before the party, I added some cross cuts so the kids can easily puncture them.



Once the holes are covered, add the toys in a brown paper bag and stick them on the back of the holes so the kids can easily pull them out.  Each child got a chance to punch two holes and the toys they received were placed in the bag and became their favor.



The Heart Bunny Origami appeared in two places.  One is as a decoration for the cake plate and the other as pieces for the game.  The game pieces got the little googly eyes for some extra cuteness.



The Rainbow Race is super simple.  Everyone chooses one of six colors (more than one  kid can have the same color) I roll the dice of colors and you get to move up one spot if you get your color.  Whoever reaches the other side of the paper gets to go punch the pinata.  Then come back and rejoin the game.  I had prepared two rounds of pinatas so it was really hard to know who finished first.  That made it more fun for the kids.




Birthday Party: The Missing Piece Meets the Big O/新菜、4歳のお誕生日会(保育園)


Our wonderful helper made last minute cupcakes for the kids. Mila remembered the cupcakes two years later and would request them again. Loving how connected everyone is. ママが忘れてたケーキ、ヘルパーさんが焼いてくれましたよ。実良もしっかり覚えていたカップケーキ。2年後に、同じようにして欲しいとリクエストが。


For Nina’s fourth birthday party, we picked out a book called “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” It’s a book with simple lines and a great pick-me-up storyline. The Missing piece is a little triangle looking for a place to “belong” to.  One day, it meets the “Big O” and it learns that you can stand on your own and carry on.  At the end of the book, The Big O and The Missing Piece become friends.

Actually, it’s Marc and I that love this book.  It’s one of those books adults can read and enjoy and remember that we can all pick ourselves and go for it. Wherever the path leads, nothing will come of it unless we take charge.

So there was the book, the activity? We wanted to have the kids make the sequel to the story: The adventures of The Missing Piece and the Big O.

We started, as usual, by having Marc read the book to the kids. We always try to make sure that daddy has a role to play in the Kids’ parties other than as a cameraman.  Then we handed each child a basic cut out of the “Big O” and the “Missing Piece” and a blank piece of paper.  I had a whole bunch of magazine cut outs of various things in a big box.  Houses, planes, cars, trees, beach, sky, whatever.  Then we asked all the kids to come up with a story about where the two friends went after the book ended.

Each kid took a glue stick, picked out the pictures they liked out of the box and pasted the two pieces with the magazine cut outs.  Some went to Japan, others went to watch the ballet, and others hung out on a boat. Marc and myself sat with each child and asked them to tell the story of each page they made and we wrote them down in a notebook.

Now comes the hard part.  I pasted all the pages together, and typed out each kid’s story so that it matched their page and made a full book.  Finally, I added a cover calling the book, “The Missing Piece and the Big O, Together.” I was supposed to go and share the book with the class, but it took me a while to complete the book that I totally forgot about it.  This is a treasure book for Nina though, and I think one of the best take away from kids’ parties.





この年は家に帰ってからが大変。子供達のお話を集め、清書して、ページを合わせて本にします。最後に「The Missing Piece and the Big O Together」の表紙をつけて、世界で一冊の続編の出来上がり!



The Book, the cover, and the various stickers and cutouts ready to go! 前日の準備。本、新しい表紙、切り抜き、シール等、準備万全!ケーキ、失念してたよ。



Marc reading to the kids. Everybody is super focused as they listened to the story. マーク、子供達に本を読む。皆真剣に聞いてくれてる。かわいいね。



Nina and her class getting to work. Where are you taking them to Nina? 新菜とお友達、お話を考えながらシールや切り抜きを貼っていく。楽しそう!新菜のページは飛行機が。どこへ行くのかな?


Even Mila had a chance to make her own page. She’s clearly taking the Missing Piece and the Big O to her favorite eateries! 実良もちゃんと、自分のページ、作りましたよ。食い意地はってるわね、我が娘ながら。


Now comes the hard part of putting the books together.集めたページを並べてみました。これからが大変。


Typing out all the kids’ stories and cutting them out to fit the pages. お話をまとめて切り抜いて、繋げていきます。


Adding the last touches to the book. 最後はありがとうのメッセージもつけて、表紙をまとめて、コンプリート!今でもたまに読んでます。新菜もとっても楽しそう。



Kids Birthday Parties in Singapore/シンガポールで子供のお誕生日会

With Mila turning 4, figured it’s a good time to summarize some of the birthday parties we’ve thrown.

We generally stick to doing the birthday parties at the school since most of our kids’ close friends are those they see every day. The daycare have been very good about accommodating us with an hour to an hour and a half time slot for a full birthday party instead of just cake and song. I’m not a great Instagram/Pinterest mommy, so I try to plan the activities that the kids will enjoy. It also keeps everything simple with no gifts, other than what we get them. The kids seem to remember these parties really well and will talk about them for years after. I also try to do a photobook with the party pictures later to help them remember. Well, it always ends up in chaos anyways….

The parties are usually organized in three parts:

  • Birthday song and cake: This part is pretty standard.
  • Book Reading by Marc: Marc will introduce the theme of the activity and read the book for the kids.  Daddy’s moment to shine! with some great photo ops.
  • Activity: Some kind of activity involving a theme from the book

First time we did kids birthday party, it was a Dragon themed party but the book was too complicated and the kids were too young, so we passed on the book portion. We had a brilliant cake designed to look like a dragon. Read about it here.

Themes we’ve had in the past:

Nina 2017: “The Rainbow Book” by Kate Ohrte
Mila 2016: Rainbow and Hearts
Nina 2016: ”Madeline in London”
Nina 2016: Airplane (Based on a painting she did)
Mila 2015: ”The Golden Egg”
Nina 2015: ”The Missing Piece Meets the Big O





新菜 2015: 「The Missing Piece Meets the Big O 」
実良 2015: 「The Golden Egg 」
新菜2016: 「Madeline in London 」(保育園のパーティ)
新菜2016: 飛行機 (おうちでのパーティ)
実良2016: ハートとレインボー
新菜2017: “The Rainbow Book” by Kate Ohrte