Wednesday, February 13, 2008 ;
5:26 AM
Feb 6

Eve of Chinese New Year

The past week, I planned out some CNY crafts and stories for the kids. Also thought about decorations and dinner menus for the guests.

Some food that can be prepared first were prepared ahead of time. Usually that would be pineapple tarts, love letters and kueh bangkit etc back home, but I checked the Asian mart and they didn't have those or the ingredients to make them.

So I made a few batches of bak kwa, and keropok. The 1st batch of bak kwa was fine, but the kids and dh finished them up (over a few days) before the guests came, so I made another, but it turned out too hard (over roasted). So I made a 3rd batch on the eve. Kids were wanting to help, so I let ds1 roll out the minced pork. He then wanted the shapes to form his name, so we made this below.

Then since the oven is hot, I baked his cake and also made the chocolate chess pieces. Yes! The mould finally came!

This below shows the extra chess pieces, and extra melted choc that were made into "kisses" and other "pile of s***" shapes. We also experimented with dark choc, pure white choc, and then marbled choc (white plus dark in varying amounts).

Then I cooked dinner (supposed to be reunion dinner but we are doing that on Fri and Sat with guests instead).

Changed the kids and we put up some craft they made and other decor.
Ds1 somehow was very tickled and happy as I took this pic. The suit he is wearing was sent by my mom in law.

Then dh returned, we had dinner, called his parents (it was Chu Yi in Spore), wished them happy new year, called my parents (no one answered). It was Bible class time. So we went for class, with candles and ds1's cake too, for his bday celebration at the church building.

I sat in his class this particular Wed. For the first time, I think. Because since we arrived here in Utah, he was fine being in class without me, and so in more than a year, I had not seen how he behaved in Bible class.

It was an eye opener. I know he can be a good boy and he does remember things I taught him well, but he is also equally naughty, mischievous and rebellious at home. He also gets very bored easily and fights with his brother a lot. So I sometimes wonder how he is like, with other kids and adults.

It was difficult to describe how I felt. It was a mixture of relief, pride and consolation.

Moms will know how I feel. Despite all our best efforts, we do have moments of self doubt. We wonder whether the way we are teaching our kids is correct, and we wonder if the things we do with them now will stay with them when they grow up. We also wonder if they will turn out alright.

With regards to spiritual matters, I do try and read Bible stories with them, have some verses pasted on the wall and get ds1 to read them, sing songs.... But I haven't done anything structured or specific, like reading the books in the Bible in order, or having them remember facts or quizzing them.

So when Brenda (his teacher that Wed) started the lesson with a review quiz, I was very surprised that ds1 knew all the answers. I was more impressed than Brenda actually, cos she probably expected him to answer correctly. She thought I reinforced the concepts with him at home, but I didn't even know they were doing that in Bible class, since everytime I ask ds1, he'l say class was fun but he didn't give me more details.

Some Qs she asked:

1. How many books are there in the Bible? WHat is the first book? How many books in the NT? OT? What is the first book of the NT?

2. Who are the 1st man and woman in the Bible? Where did they live in at first? Why did they have to leave?

3. Who is Jesus? Who are his earthly parents? Who came to talk to Mary when she was not yet married? (ds1 actually said Gabriel the angel, when I haven't read him any NT stories for sometime.)

4. Where was Jesus born? What happened when he was born? When Jesus was born, who came to visit him? What did the wise men bring when they visited Jesus?

5. Who were the old prophetess and the old man who wanted to see Jesus so much, and finally got to see him in the temple, when he was a baby?

6. What kind of job did Jesus' father do? What kind of work did Jesus do?

7. How did Jesus die? Why did he die? Where will we go when we die?

The other thing I was happy about, was his ability to wait for his turn to answer. Initially, Brenda asked Qs in general and ds1 was rattling off all the answers. So she began directing Qs to Katelyn specifically, and ds1 would just be quiet and wait till Brenda called on him. This was something I had stressed on many times at home, but which he had not often listened (to take turns). Was glad he was able to do that outside of the home!

Of course, Brenda is a great teacher who understands the kids too. Like ds1 dislikes coloring a lot. I don't know why, but he never took to it. Always would rather tear up the piece of paper or purposely color all the wrong colors and color out of line when he knew that was just not pretty.

Brenda didn't mind that, thankfully. I have seen teachers who insist ds1 colors within the lines and would tell him that using purple to color a horse is wrong. ds1's reaction would always be to purposely color even more out of lines and to use even more "wrong" colors. Sometimes, he just tears the paper up or crushes it up. I have told him many times not to have this kind of attitude, but he tells me he just hates coloring, and wonders why he has to do that.

After that, they sang some songs, said a prayer, then had the new Bible story (on Jesus being tempted by Satan, Matt 4). Before the story on Jesus being in the wilderness, Brenda drew a desert on the chalkboard and asked them to think about Jesus being in the desert for a long time. Knowing that both kids loved animals, she asked them to think about animals that Jesus might have seen in the desert and showed them some desert animals.

Then they had the lesson proper. Below is a video clip of one of the songs they sung. Quite funny.

After the lesson, ther was a review, then craft. After that, we had the bday celebration with the other kids as well.

That's the cake. I could have made a 2nd round of chess pieces using the mould and then frosted both halves together to have a standing, upright 3D chess piece, but did not have enough time, so made flat ones instead, and have them lie on the cake. :-) ds1 was ok with that.

Again, it was a triple choc cake, and this time, it was not refrigerated and tasted much better than the one I brought to his school. There were 2 dark choc, 2 white choc and 2 marbled chess pieces.

After the celebration, when we were back home and the kids all changed and ready for bed, they still seemed in high spirits. ds2 was still singing "happy birthday" loudly and both of them somehow got into the recycling box. I use that box for recycling paper, and they both sat in it and sang songs loudly while laughing hysterically.

I let the antics die down before ushering them to bed. Their bedtime was later than usual, but we closed an eye. After all, it was CNY eve. :-)

Oh yes, I called my parents again and this time they answered. We also bank transferred "ang pow" money to our parents (both sides). An overseas way of giving money to our parents. I also did that for my niece. haha. Dh also called his brother and his violin teacher (who taught him when he was young). That was our CNY Eve. :-)

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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