Wednesday, February 13, 2008 ;
7:35 AM
Feb 8

Friday night was our dinner with the Crills. We had invited them several weeks ago and both families have been looking forward to this eagerly.

I had cleared out the kids' toys that might be hazardous for a 10mth old baby and we went about decorated and tidying up the house some more. ds1 was very helpful and he kept saying he wanted to set up the "tea party" for Zoe and Ms Jennifer. He has grown to like them a lot. :-)

We wrapped up both tables with paper tablecloth -- the coffee table and dining table. ds1 wanted to decorate the coffee table's surface for the guests. So he drew many intricate details on the table cover. He also wrote "Love" "joy" Peace" "God" "jesus" and "Titus" on it. I was quite pleased so I snapped a pic.

Setting the snacks and goodies out a little early was a mistake though. ds2 ate up almost half of everything even before the guests were supposed to come. Grrrrr.....

The snacks included: marshmallows with gummy centers, haw flakes, rice crackers, home-made Bak kwa, Guazi (from china), Rabbit milk sweet, red M&Ms, xiaomantou, dried longan, keropok, animal crackers, sour prune sweets, Japanese fruit gummies.

We also strung up lanterns (this family pic was taken on Wed after Bible class).

Dh came home earlier, requested by me, so that he can either help me out with the food or by keeping an eye on the kids.

He explained the significance of giving out Yasui qian, vs ang pow money to the kids (below left) then we did a red packet giving ceremony. We gave out ours, and then these on the behalf of:
1. yasui from in laws
2. red packets from in laws (they bank transferred over)
3. Mary and Zhiyang (their "godparents")
4. Linda and Patrick Lai (Linda sent the ang pows over, can you believe it? With money inside. :-))
Thanks, on behalf of the kids!

I also sent home angpows to the kids at church (via my sis) but they'll be late cos I haven't had the chance to get the parcel to the post office yet! Yikes! Mine included some US coins per packet. Just for fun, not about the monetary value. :-)

That's ds1 saying thanks. haha.

With their ang pow money, I bought some cheap percussion instruments. ds2 is seen here (below) with an ocean drum. He is really delighted with it cos he'll play with it for hours each day and just watch the beans move within it.

ds1 got a chess set, a wooden board this time, cos the paper board of the previous one was finally torn, from wear and tear. He plays with it several times each day and even sleeps with the chess pieces now. And yes, I am being suitably challenged by him now. Once I am careless, and make just one careless move, I would face a downfall, as it would go downhill after that (pieces being eaten up one after another, or being trapped)... ds1 managed to beat me.

Other decorations included the calligraphy, and Mickey mouse banner (we made it from paper plates) and other crafts the kids made.

Then I started cooking the dinner proper. The Crills are Americans, so I planned a menu with a mixture of Chinese and Americanised-Chinese dishes. We had chicken rice on banana leaf (got the leaves from Asian mart, and they smell so fragrant when warmed with steam).

Keropok and bak kwa would be the appetizers. Sweet and sour pork, mixed veggies stir fry, spinach salad, would be the dishes. Spinach salah had chicken, sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and nuts in them, so it should suit them well in case they don't like the chinese dishes. Dessert was to be almond tofu with longan, and Mochi green tea and vanilla ice cream (bought from Asian mart).

Also assembled a craft, red packet, small chinese drum for Zoe as a "souvenir goody" bag.

Below left shows ds1 looking longingly at the food while I was still not done yet. Below right shows the fried pork before pouring the sauce over it.

Dh helped with the spinach salad. He likes it himself and has been bringing that for lunch at work sometimes.

After we were done with everything except the last dish of veggie stir fry, Jennifer called to say Zoe suddenly started running a fever. She was very apologetic, but we all understand and know that no one wanted this to happen. They were going to bring her to the doctor's. I told her we've lots of food anyway, so we can send it over.

They came by after visiting the doctor's to pick up the food instead. So I didn't cook the last dish. :-)

The table was already set, and the high chair already borrowed from the church building. So we went ahead and tucked in ourselves, with ds1 sitting in the baby high chair! He wanted to sit there himself.

Above left: the 2 guys pretending to smell the fragrant food and salivate.

Above right: the 2 guys pretending to drool and say "ahhhh".

After dinner, dh still lay on the couch and continued eating --this time he attacked the CNY goodies. Non stop. When I whipped out the digicam to snap a pic of his gluttony, he told me "hang on! must pose!"

So that was the posed 2nd pic on the right. Looks like a mermaid (merman?) to me.

Since we were all in high spirits with good food, good mood and a festive spirit, we decided to do our own dragon "parade". Only ours involved the dragon spitting out FIRE!

Both ds loved the movies and pictures of dragons spitting out flames, eg Shrek. So we decided to indulge them and dh copied the way traditional dragon dance troupes used to simulate dragon spouting flames -- throwing flour into a small flame. That will cause huge flames to suddenly flare up.

We used a small bag of expired flour to do that. (Btw that was bought from Albertsons! When we bought it, it was already expired like for 7 months, but because we put it in the pantry and only took it out much later, we didn't think we could still go and exchange it)

Both boys were at first mesmerised, then tickled and then just "wahhh" each time the flames "exploded". Below is a video clip of one of the last spurts. You can see Dh's clothes covered in flour already. haha.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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