Monday, March 30, 2009

Lantern Festival

finally I post some pics of the lantern festival, which is Day 15 of the New year. Folklore says that the soft glowing lts of the lanterns help guide wandering ghosts home. Later, everyone watches for the 100 foot long paper and silk dragon to come out of hibernation.

Dragon means strength and goodness and in the new year dance, it chases after the sun ball, the source of power. Lanterns come in all shapes and sizes. Some like fantastic crabs with moving claws or birds with wings that flap. There are lanterns called pacing horses which spin when they are heated frm the flame of he candle or fan. Some lanters as large as houses.

In N. China, where winters are cold, lanterns are carved from blocks of river ice. Kids make lanterns at scool and hang riddles on them Example of a riddle: ..."when drawn it is round, but when written it is square. In cold weather is it short and in hot weather long. Answer :sun or day

It is the last night of the chinese new year and signals the end of the new years celebrations, hence end of the fireworks, at least for a couple days! We went to Yu Yuan gardens, a famous temple here to see the decorations and eat dumpling with some of our friends. here we are, in all our glory! The lanterns were very festive, but as usual, we were main attractions with people taking our pictures left and right. Some come and ask for a picture but many try to to it slyly then quickly turn away when you look at them.

Delaney has found a new store she likes here....

yes. Barbie. They have a 6 story "House of Barbie" here...with spa, dining, etc. It was nicely done, really. Not as good as the American Girl stores but D liked it very much. She picked out somethings for her upcoming birthday. And she is planning her return trip back!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Top Chef contestant?

Who knew that when I moved to Shanghai I would have the skills to try out for Top Chef upon return! I have not applied, no, but it would be fun. I love to cook and you do have to be creative. I was seriously saved today - as I was going to make ricotta cheese. Don't ask me what possessed me to look that up, but I did, and you can! Luckily, the store I was in today had it, so I can save my culinary experiment for next time. I also am going to make some bread next week...note - havent done this yet, but I will and will post a pic of my final product. I have made croutons, birthday cake for C and soon one for D as her bday is in April. I have also made pancakes and brownies from scratch- which I never do, and been quite creative with some of my other ingredients. I made the mistake of figuring out how much we spend on milk. Yes, we have milk again - its UHT in boxes. We use about 2 boxes a day, give or take. We spend $5/DAY. yes per day! on milk! gack!!! That is crazy. There is some local milk that is cheaper but not that much cheaper and it tastes yuch. So, what are you going to do? We aren't going to buy a cow to milk! Anyway, C will be glad, lasagna for dinner, and I am glad, as it was much easier than I was anticipating!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CDR ...the boyscout?

well, he is one...but he kind of wishes he wasn't! He was pretty fired up about it at the beginning, as lots of boys do this here, but after awhile it wore off a bit. The den lasts all year, so we are almost done. These were at their latest award ceremony and he got several badges and was asked to carry the flag. The other is him with his Derby Car, a couple of weeks before.

And one more because how cute does she look?

This was before swim lessons a few weeks ago.

Another lost tooth!

This is crazy, but D has lost her second tooth and she hasn't even hit the ripe old age of 5 yet! She did get them early and they say that makes a difference, but I was still surprised. The first one she lost on Xmas Eve and now another on St. Patrick's. The other tooth was already coming in behind the baby one, so it was surely ready. She wouldn't stop being silly for a pic, but here was my attempt, and we are now anxiously awaiting the Tooth Fairy's arrival!

Monday, March 16, 2009

You know you must live in China when...

1. you dream about shopping at Target. I did so last week and woke up so happy until I realized that full basket of bargains wasn't real. I had so many really cute things, not to mention magazines and books galore!

2. you debate about buying the lastest movie at the grocery store where you pay $2.20/movie or from the street cart for about 60cents.

3. you can walk out for a foot massage on a thursday night at 9pm with the everyone has an ayi at home to hold down the fort for them...

So, not all bad, but I was so bummed when I woke up from that dream..I made up for it with the foot massage outing that night!

Oh and the good news...WE HAVE SUN! After February only have 2 days - yes 2 DAYS of sunshine, and every other day either rain or the threat of rain, we finally have had sun the last 3 days, along with near tropical temps of 20C! I can't tell you how excited everyone is...we rode bikes up to the Blue Frog for lunch Sat and there were literally traffic jams on the sidewalks!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our japanese girl....

Everywhere we went in Japan, people had on on their masks. I read that it is to keep themselves from getting sick, not to keep them from passing germs to others. D thought they were pretty funny, and when we saw some with hello kitty on them, we just had to get them! She hasn't yet taken to calling herself Japanese, though I know both kids could live there - but she does call herself Chinese when she talks about who in her class is chinese...I think she thinks if she can speak some, it must be so!

The birthday boy..

Here's a quick picture of Connor and his friends that he invited for his birthday party last month. He had 6 boys over to play football, box (we hired a blown up boxing ring with gloves, etc), eat pizza, watch a movie in the clubhouse theater and spend the night. It was quite tame and they all had a great time. Sister, of course, was right in the thick of it!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We won!

with a great Australian cab coming in close behind. Was fun, will load some pictures as I can get them downloaded.

Meanwhile, I am really having issues today as I NEED to go shopping. I really need to get into Target, or Nordstroms, even Fry's! I just did some online shopping, which isnt quite the same - but got some things for D, who needs nothing, at have the cutest things. I also had some Luna bars shipped to AZ, to have when I get there this summer... now I realize that is aways a way, but I just needed to get them on their way. They have a new flavor that I really liked - White Chocolate Macadamia...very good! A guy from work flew over for mtgs this week and brought some things from AZ - Luna bars, other granola bars you can't find here that kids like, something I had ordered for D's bday, etc. With the travel so constrained due to budgets its putting a crimp on my supply line!

Off to get our day started, figuring out how we are supposed to submit our tax stuff to the company that will process them and get that started...sounds like fun, I know. Happy March 1!!!