Thursday, December 14, 2006

Session 1 : Cake decorating / Cookie colouring / Chocolate mess

12th December (Tue) : PRE-PREPARATION
(helps that Athena is not at home to disturb me and mess up the cookies)

I decided to get the Christmas shaped cookies from Bread Talk after sourcing from various breadshops last week.
► The Marriott cookies will not work because in a large glass container I can only get 4 heart shaped and 3 crescent shaped cookies. I can't be buying another 2 more containers right? And end up stuffing my face with the rests of the cookies - the almonds, cinnamons and whatnots just because can't colour in them.
► I did ask Four Leaves if they could do some packs for me without the elaborate icing but they can't as it's machine-made & printed.
►Bread Talk's cookies (as seen) has only the M & Ms on it - well still difficult but definitely can colour.
I bought one more pack so that I can experiment it by scrapping off the M & Ms but it leaves behind the icing mark, so I left it as it is. And I started to put pink icing on the borders and to draw lines to allow the kids to add more colours. It got to be quite fun after that... I was enjoying it - and wonders if my icing mix will work.

The original cookies

Then came the tedious part - putting icing on all the cookies (5 cookies x 4 packs)
It is hard to squeeze out the pink icing and to control well the 'drawing'. Then had to add some lines or whatever in each cookie so that can add more colours - was figuring out what to draw on each cookie.
That's my final piece of art!
It got more fun & still tiring after that first few cookies.

Even after the icing hardened, it can break if I put them back in the original packaging (still must reiterate that it's easy to wait for icing to harden with that big girl not around the house - will be screaming at her not to touch the cookies etc..)
In the end, I had to put them on the disposable plate and use a large bag to wrap it up.

It is extremely late and I am very exhausted. But I can't sleep if I haven't settled my things. I needed to get the proportion of the icing mix. It says one pack of icing to how many tablespoons - but we're not going to use the whole pack. So, I experimented and it didn't take me long to get the correct consistency in the icing. Good! Time to sleep.. Pray hard things don't go wrong on the day.

14th December (Thu)
Got up, tried to pump milk but I think I was a little stressed up - ended up with a miserable amount of milk. Heck! Saw Aricia there so gave it to her immediately.
Didn't even carry Aricia this morning, had to set the table. I poured out the different quins in separate bowls. I didn't know if I should open more boxes but thought I'd wait & see what Helen has brought. No use opening up all the stuffs and end up throwing them away.
Set up the dining table
Put the sweets and snacks on our coffee table for the children. And drinks too! To think that hubby nagged at me for buying the drinks when we had 4 big packs at home. I don't think that's sufficient and we were left with only 1 pack at the end of session. Children consumed 11 packs (better to have more than lesser)

Left to pick the children up, Athena almost teared and had no choice but to bring her along. I doubt KZ can cope with the 2 kids at home anyway.
Four children and Elizabeth's grandma squeezed behind the car while Helen took the front seat. The kids were pretty shy with one another, and they only met last night in their music class. ?!?
It didn't take them long to warm up to one another, not once the toys are out. And then the children knew where the toys are and start opening & look into the drawers.

Once we slice the cake into 4s and melt the chocolate by microwave (the lazy way), we got the kids out. They saw the things and knew immediately what they had to do. Except that Helen had to help them spread the chocolate on their shaped cake as a glue. With the impatient kids eyeing on the colourful quins and knowing they are sweets, they didn't do it nicely but pile it. Of course the more the merrier. So you see.... it ended so much faster. Click here
Athena helping Victoria with her cookie cutter
Ah ha! Look who (Elizabeth) secretly put the spoon in her mouth... and it went back into one of the bowls after that. Haha!

I almost forgot I bought the Gingerbread Man from Marks & Spencer. Only 9 in them, so told Helen to help give to the kids as I was carrying Aricia (as KZ helped me to tidy up the messed- up bedroom). It was meant to be used for the cookie colouring, but since I got the pack of cookies from Bread Talk.. I didn't do the outline for those cookies. Instead I asked them to put the chocolate on top and spr+inkle whatever they wanted.

Then KZ fried beehoon for lunch, while we let the kids play again in the room (away from us) and we (with Helen doing most of the job) tidied the dining table. I had to carry Aricia so it was difficult. I hope they didn't mind using the disposable plates and cutleries as I wanted to minimize the washing up. The time spent on that can be used to help take care of Aricia while I am busy with Athena.

Simple fare of Fried Beehoon and Chicken. Can't cook much as KZ had to help me take care of Aricia while I busied with Athena.

After lunch we started the :
I prepared the icing into 4 small containers, and put colours on their individual plates. Wanted them to mix in one colour first. But before I could give them my instructions, they mixed all the 4 colours on their plate into their icing. Athena has done this before so she knows what to do but I think she saw 'no law and order' + I didn't scream/nag at her; followed her friends. I wanted them to share the colours but all looked kindda the same. I quickly prepared colours on my own to pass it to them. I prepare one colour & Helen helped to syringe them out for me and gave to the kids. Then less than 1 minute, you hear them say "I want the yellow again.. I want the XX again." - coz they really squeeze out and that's it! In a panicky state, my blue became light blue. And my orange became peach. But their end products still had a little of colour. Phew!
The other kids finished their 5 cookies very fast, Athena was doing it slow coz' she knew what she had to do. In the end, she only did 3 but I promised her I'll do it the next day the remaining 2.
Click here

Artist Amanda at work

Victoria (pink) and her elder sister, Elizabeth

There were still alot of chocolate leftovers, so I suggested doing the chocolate molding as well. Since they all missed their naptime, make them more tired so that they can sleep early. Brought out all my molds comprising of Elmo, Sesame Street characters, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse etc.. to let the children choose one for themselves.
Click here

Amanda & Athena in top picture. Victoria & her sister in bottom picture

This one is really messy coz' the chocolate drips.. and like how do you expect the kids to know how to wait till it doesn't drip from the spoon and quickly pour into the mold. And they didn't even wait for me to put the lollipop sticks in for them first!!! This one I had to help them with the touch ups. Even before I could finish, the kids were playing again! Helen saw the extras and she did one. Which in the end, we gave to the children to eat at my place once it hardens.
Put it in the freezer and then once they're hardened, I put them on their plates (instead of packing individually in cellophane bags) and put it back in the freezer until they get ready to leave my place about 2 hours later.

**Helen really helped me alot with the kids. I thought it would be okay for me and KZ to handle it.. but we had to quickly pick up the toys, take care of Aricia and that already makes us busy. I couldn't really even guide Athena in it - I left her to mess up her works. (and I didn't scream at her at all) But really Helen helped me otherwise I wouldn't be able to cope. Thank you!!
The kids were playing alot during that 6 hours. As long as they enjoy themselves and play safe I don't mind. Mess by 4 kids is inevitable.. of course it was an eyesore for me (not used to seeing such mess) but I let them mess up first; clean up while they're outside. They dropped alot of bits and pieces of different coloured dough while playing Playdoh. KZ helped to clean up, she picked up the bigger pieces and then wanted to pick the smaller ones. Told her to forget it, sweep it up and throw it away. Guess its also that time when Athena can mess up her room and get away scot-free.
But at one time, I did ask Athena to pick up some things. Elizabeth was helpful and the 2 of them joined hands.. and 5 minutes later they both ran out to play : leaving the less-than-half cleaned room as it is. Sigh..
The kids have short attention span, they bring out one toy and then chuck it aside 5 minutes later. Bring out another and the same thing happens. I wonder if the sugars are acting on them - hyperactive.
At one time, they were playing nurse and guess who's the sick child? They (3 nurses) had to pick the youngest - Victoria. Quite cute.. feed her medicine etc..
All 4 went into Aricia's baby cot too. Suddenly I have 4 babies.
They started screaming and run around the house (confirm the sugars are acting up on them) dunno what they're up to but as long as they enjoy themselves. How often do they come together to play anyway?
The way kids behave & think
Athena followed to see them home. So, the kids having played happily... held hands together. All 4 of em'. They started singing "Old Macdonalds Had A Farm" as they walked still hand in hand.
I was ahead of them and watching out for oncoming car in the carpark; that I let the children go 2 by 2, by the left & right doors.
As Elizabeth & her sister were getting in, she went in but her sister squeezed in from the side. And then both cried both wanting to sit next to Amanda.
We asked Athena and Amanda to switch places, they were okay but then even before I could drive out of the carpark - Athena started crying "Mummy..I very hot. No aircon.. I wet wet now...." Soon we had 3 kids crying in the car. ?????? I tried to pacify Athena but then she didn't listen to me. I thought everything was okay, until Amanda asked her "why you keep pushing me? You move back." "Mummy...I wet wet already." Amanda was kind enough to change seats back again. Eliz was the only one left crying, her sister who started the squeezing in simply had both hands holding onto the 2 front seats headrest and looked in the front, pretending nothing happened. At one point, Amanda's plate dropped from my console with a thud. Eliz can even ask "ah ma,什么 pok pok?" We bursts out laughing at her for being able to cry;heard;stop and asked.
Finally the car's quiet. Then my girl had to start it again... She and Victoria were looking at a book and she commented to Vic "Amanda spoil my book." Amanda upon hearing it said "I'm sorry." Athena that lor-sor girl harped on it again. Amanda said "I already said I'm sorry. Why you cannot forgive me??" And then she started mumbling and I turned to see her reaction - she was blinking at Athena. "I don't like you anymore.. go music lesson.... don't talk to you anymore..." They became enemies.
It was not long then they forgot they were at loggerheads, after Eliz, Vic and grandma left it was spacious behind. They played again.. by falling down when I make a right or left turn. When Amanda left, they were even screaming at each other's name - became friends again.

* Kids ?????? Wonder what they're thinking.

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