Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Have A Tiggerific New Year!

I had forgotten how I used to celebrate Chinese new year after I gave birth to Charlotte. I felt each new year celebration was so stressful and tiring because of taking care of a baby. It was too many people in the house, too warm, too noisy, too sleepy...while everybody was getting the bit of reunion, I was in the room feeding, milk pumping or putting the baby to bed. But this year I have enjoyed the new year celebration, reunion to every bit of it, and Charlotte is able to mix with her cousins and played too.

Charlotte's school gave out a task to all the children and have them to complete during CNY. Everyone of them is taking back a 福慧娃娃, it is a handmade donation paper box that the children are asked to collect donation from their relatives while they are receiving the "ang pow". The donation is for the Haiti victims and the kid has to explain to the adults of what is the purpose of that box. They are also asked to sing a song after people had donated. The lyric says:


Charlotte took this task very seriously and she began her responsibility on the new year's eve. She brought the paper box to her grandparents' house and everybody she met she didn't forget to ask for the donation.

We think this is a very effective way to collect donation, we only hope that the authority will truly hand over the total collected amount to the victim and don't disappoint the children whom put in so much effort in carry out their responsibility.

I was surprised to know how daring Charlotte was when it was time for fireworks. As usual, Pat and his other brothers and sisters bought some for the kids to play. Charlotte enjoyed the "pop pop" and also the sparklers this year and she even dare to light it herself!

Trust me, there were so many pairs of eyes watching her when she was doing all these.

Not only that, Charlotte started "something" new this year...Guess what?

Her bedtime was stretched from 9.30pm to 1.30am over the past few days! I gotta put her back on the routine now, otherwise I will have big problem when school starts next week.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone! Gong Xi Gong Xi!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding Update

Oh Well, it has been about a month delay in updating my brother's wedding. I have been lazy, and busy with CNY (hard to put lazy and busy together isn't it?). Another reason was I wanted to wait for "professional" photos to update in this blog but I realized that it is always difficult to wait for others, so I am posting it with whatever pictures I have and maybe I should start considering getting myself a SLR soon :)

The wedding started on the 15th Jan and it lasted for 3 days! The bride side dinner reception was on the 15th evening. All of us started to get very very busy right after lunch that day. This wedding was the event that made me realized the benefit of having more siblings in the family. Most of you know that Pat has 10 siblings, and during my wedding they could split up in teams to get necessary things done and their parents didn't have to worry about running around. But I have 2 brothers, one of them is getting married. That means only me and my eldest brother left to help out. We were instructed to attend the bride's dinner reception with my brother (the groom). That left my parents at home during the bachelor night and they had to run around to get the wedding day reception lunch at home ready, get prepared for the Church reception, Church wedding preparations, dinner reception...On the wedding day, my eldest brother and SIL and Pat were all accompanying the groom to the bride's house for the wedding ceremony and I was at home preparing Charlotte for the church wedding later at noon. My parents then again had to be on the run getting the things ready, receiving the guests and etc. It was worse during the dinner reception, we needed to find someone to "挡酒" for the groom and for my dad but in our family only Pat is "qualified" to do that. I could see my eldest brother was like crossing his fingers and prayed for the guests to be nice, ha!

Having said that, everything went on very very well. My parents, though exhausted, they were very happy and excited too. Little Charlotte was the flower girl, leading the bridal march at the church. She also presented a beautiful song at the church wedding,. Everything was PERFECT!

The flower girl


Full of expression

Exchange of vows and wedding bands

Officially Married!

Receiving the blessing

Mr & Mrs Gary Lee

It was even busier during the dinner reception. I lost count of both myself and my eldest brother running in and out from the ballroom leading the guests to their tables, it was crazy but it was fun!!! One good thing of having fewer siblings (contradicting point :) ) in the family was, we all get to sit at the main table, and represent the Lee family during the "Yum Seng", even the little Charlotte was on the stage "全力以赴" doing the yum seng role together with my nephew Abraham and her best friend, Chloe.

Abraham was holding an invisible glass, Charlotte was holding her purse (LOL)

My parents

My eldest brother and SIL

Pat and myself

Now I am still waiting for the 全家福...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

CNY Cookies II

Yes, I am in the mood to bake again. My last baking session was the Swiss roll back in Aug last year and I haven't been baking until last week when I did the CNY peanut cookies. I have plan for the pineapple tarts too although I wasn't very confident in making it.

Today, I thought of baking the pineapple tarts but then I went with the peanut cookies again. My dad gave me a tip when I gave a bottle of my last result to my parents. I said why my cookies were not as golden brown as those sold commercially? I did brushed the top with egg but still it wasn't as nice. My dad said I have to brush it twice actually, once before it went into the oven and take it out from the oven when it is half done and brush it again. Yup, he was the baking expert for my grandfather when my grandfather was running the famous Penang Dragon Ball biscuits shop. My dad was assigned to the oven baking role while my other uncle was assigned to make the pastry and fillings. My dad didn't know the ingredients for the different type of biscuits that my grandfather used to sell but he was the expert when comes to temperature and the finishing of the "product". The oven my grandpa had was an old fashion, huge, wood fire, and manual "oven" by the way.

So I took my dad's advise and true enough the cookies came out with very nice golden brown and shining look. I also found a perfect tool to imprint the circle on the cookies this time!

Actually, I outsourced the labor intensive part of the task to my maid this time. I measured all the ingredients called for, made the dough and brushed the egg and watch over the oven when it is about time to remove the cookies (the time on my oven is no longer working), and my maid did the rest, including the washing (hehe!).

So, while waiting for the peanut cookies to bake I started with the pineapple tart preparation. I rolled out the pineapple jam into small portions, made the pastry dough and line the baking trays. The dough smells very good already even before going into the oven because of the custard powder. Then it was ready for the action. I wasn't very confident in making pineapple tarts because this tool...

I couldn't imagine how to hand press the pastry through it but I was told by the seller that most people feedback that it is very easy to do with this tool! So I bought it with 80% of doubt, and 20% of back up plan in my head. I was planning on creating other shapes of pineapple tart if this failed. But true enough, it is a very simple yet good tool to make pineapple tart! See how nicely the tarts lining up on the baking tray and ready for the oven.

I used the egg brushing tip that my father taught me on these tarts too and they turned out very well! MIL was just visiting when I was ready to put these into the containers. I let her try one and she said very good (because I put a lot of pineapple fillings!). She happily took 1 container back (it only yield 2 containers actually).

I still have a small portion of pastry dough left, will do more pineapple jam and bake more pineapple tarts soon. Now I am getting the hang of it :)