Wednesday, February 25, 2009 ;
Dh went to Shanghai then Suzhou, and then Beijing with his bosses, who came here from USA (Feb 14-24th).
On the last leg of the Americans' journey, they stopped by Tianjin for just a day. That day (Fri, 20th), Dh suggested we should invite them to our house for dinner. Of course, that would be great, because I ordered some stuff from Amazon.com to be sent to them before they came over to China. It meant the kids can have those things now!
I bought an otoscope (to check the kids' ear for infection) from Amazon.com also, and other than that, the rest were books, DVDs and toys.
There were a couple of books we read before that I regretted not buying when we were in USA, so now decided we needed to collect those books. They are so precious. One of them you see in the pic here is Flotsam. I love it myself, and have influenced both ds to like it now.
Then, I bought 2 DVDs -Wall-E and the Little Einsteins' latest DVD. ds1 seems to be outgrowing Lil Einsteins but ds2 is still all over it, therefore, we have bought every single DVD since.
I have watched Wall-E already, wow, I love it. It'll join Mr Incredibles and Toy Story as those DVDs we don't mind watching over and over again. We'll never get sick of them.
Then there are the bday gifts for both boys.
Dh and I have resolved not to buy any more toys for the kids on normal occasions. Perhaps their bdays would be the only exception. We think they have far too much and even now when I rotate their toys, I find they get a long time to be re-discovered.
Eg. Their soldiers, army vehicles and astronauts will be in one bag. The plastic animals/bugs/ spiders/ dinosaurs are in another. Their trains and train tracks; Lego sets; Ultraman figurines etc are all separately stored. I'll bring out 1 bag and they'll play with them as if they are new, when they get bored with that (maybe in a week or 2), I'll keep those and bring out another bag.
This rotation made me realise they have so many bags that Bag 1 will get re-discovered maybe only half a year later! Or more! I don't know for sure because I just started this rotation after the boxes came in (too much stuff and clutter), who knows it may take more than 6 mths?
So I packed up a lot of toys and gave them away to my ayi, to the locals and to the orphanage.
So ya, back to their bday gifts. They asked for knights. Their wish was granted.
I racked my brains regarding the dinner menu. I know they will stomach whatever Asian dishes during the dinner well but dessert has to be American. From experience in Utah, whenever we make Asian-style desserts for church potluck or other friends there, they don't seem to enjoy it. Stuff like pandan cake (eww, the green colour is disgusting!), almond beancurd longan (yucks, what's that taste?) don't sit well with them.
So I baked a banana cake. Or 2 rather, since I know the kids will devour one by themselves. See ds2 chomping on his 3rd piece the same day I made the cakes. The square one in the foreground would be for the guests. Yes, the smaller one. hee.
To make it more presentable, I made a cream cheese icing and sprinkled some pistachios on top. I know walnuts go better with banana, but I don't have walnuts. Only had pistachios in my pantry. Sorry!
Actually I didn't have confectioners' sugar for the icing either. Had to put normal white sugar into my Magic Bullet grinder/blender, add in some corn starch and pulse. I think I pulsed it for almost an hour maybe! Before it felt truly like powdered sugar.
Even so, the icing wasn't as smooth as it should be when I tasted it. They don't insist on confectioners' or powdered sugar for icing for nothing.
But in Tianjin, this would be the way. Can't find powdered sugar easily and if I do, it will surely cost a bomb.
The menu was very ayi-inspired. haha. Turns out I did most of the dishes she recently taught me. There was an advantage to that.
The Friday itself, I had already fried the pork before she came and gotten the materials all ready. When she came and was cleaning the house, she saw me struggling in the kitchen with so much to prepare, and with ds2 being cranky.
So while I made ds2 nap, she took over in the kitchen and helped me grate all the potatoes and carrots into strips, chopped this and that, and really helped a lot. Ahhh, it's lovely to have another pair of hands in the kitchen when you're hard pressed for time!
Provided that pair of hands just work and not talk. Haha. I realise I don't do so well when it is me and my mom, or me and my mil together in the kitchen. Each woman in her kitchen feels she is the queen, the rest should just shut up, right?
So it was sweet and sour pork, mini-meat cakes, Japanese cucumber, quail's eggs with beef, potato & carrot strips stir-fry.
After a very pleasant dinner with great conversation, they adjourned for a card game of Super Munchkin! Haha. See the boys and men! I was stuck with clearing up the dishes of course.
Then they all had to leave to take a night train into Beijing. Dh went with them and came back the next evening. They had a really packed itinerary this time, the poor tired guys.
When Dh was back, he slept the whole afternoon on Sun and Mon!
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow