Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating August Moon Festival with the Family

Today is the specific day when the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival, as it's commonly referred to in the Philippines, is celebrated. It's the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese Calendar. Growing up, we always used to play Pua Tiong Chu (Mooncake Dice Game) - a game of luck where you try to get the best combination from throwing 6 dice in a bowl. 

When we lived in Singapore, it came as a surprise to me when my friends (who were not Filipino-Chinese) didn't know about this game. It may also be because most of my friends were expats, hahaha.

In Singapore, the locals celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in a different way.
Kids normally walked around the neighborhood with a lantern
to scare away the evil spirits (I may be inventing this).
September 2010 @ urbana
Chinatown is all lit up with lanterns,
and stalls selling them, as well as all kinds of mooncake.
September 2010 @ Chinatown
The Riverside in Clarke Quay always lit up with lantern floats.
August 2011 @ Clarke Quay 

It was only in Singapore that I have heard of Snow Skin Mooncakes. It's normally refrigerated and it's different from the baked mooncake that we know because the dough is a cross between tikoy (the sticky cake eaten to celebrate Chinese New Year) and mochi (the sticky Japanese dessert).
Sofia and I attended a class to learn how to make snow skin mooncakes.
September 2010
It's so easy to make and yummy too, that after the class,
we immediately passed the baking store to buy ingredients,
so we could make some at home.

We were going to make some for the Moon Cake celebration with the family, thanks to Ninong Tim who brought us ingredients from Singapore, but because our molds are still in one of our 39 boxes that went by sea, we'll just celebrate August Moon this year for a longer time, so we can still make some when our molds arrive.

Last night we celebrated August Moon (and September birthdays) with the family at Auntie Stell's home.

Sofia napped in the car so she was ready to tire her godparents.
Sharing rice crackers with Ninang Ri.
Everyone was gathered at the bar (munching) while dinner was being prepared.
Ninang Ria with Fif and Lukey.
This little boy was hungry and had other ideas!
Achi Fif walking with Lukey while Gammy Cherry fed him.
Eeeeew. Hahaha, takaw much!
Salads in our family have a really good cheese to greens ratio.
This is everyone except angkong (and me, because I was taking the pic),
was snacking while waiting for dinner. 
Is Uncle Miggy Doc wearing Sofia's sleeves?
Or is Sofia wearing his socks?
Auntie Stell with Lukey.
Ninang Ria and Uncle Miggy Doc exercising entertaining the kids.
There was a cake for all the September celebrants.
and a cake to bring us good luck :)
Happy Birthday Lukey, Auntie Stell, Auntie Ninang, Uncle Boy and Jo-E!

After eating it was Pua Tiong Chu time!

Auntie Stell prepared the prizes for this year because she volunteered to win it last year.
sometimes it really, really takes time, and I think they were only 5 who played.
The winner of the Chong Guan (Biggest Prize) normally prepares all the prizes for the next year. To ensure that nobody runs away from this responsibility (hahaha, seriously, it happens!), our family normally collects Php100 from each player to go to the winner (not as part of the prize, but to use as a starting fund to buy next year's set). Of course, the more generous the organizer is, the better.

Ninang Ria helped Sofia play.
This little girl was very lucky.
She won the Chong Guan on her first turn.
Sofia rolled five 4's and a three.
You have to document it because anyone who beats this combination will be the winner.
Lukey was another very lucky kid.
He won second prize on his first turn.
He threw a straight 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Lukey and his US$5 (among his other prizes).

We're obviously a family of hoarders. Even our luck works out that way.
Uncle Raymond and Auntie Judy hoarded all the
kalachuchi (Frangipani) hair clamps that you can win with one 4.
Auntie Stella kept winning the mugs with Fox candy
from throwing three 4's.
She got three after her first three turns!
This is my (and Sofia's) hoard of lychee frutips
(with contributions from my mom),
from rolling two 4's.
Quite a lot of people rolled Chong Guan with five of a kind,
but nothing was able to beat Sofia's combination.
My lucky daughter won US$50, Hershey's Hugs and Kisses, and a toiletry bag. This means that we will be preparing the set for next year, so people are guessing it might be soft toys (they are asking for one of the giant bears for Chong Guan!!!) or Unilever products. Bwahahahahaha.

Uncle Raymond shared his kalachuchi hair clamp harvest with all the cousins.
This is our reflection on the glass walls.
Kalachuchi Cousins.
The dads slept through all the fun.
Ria augmented her winnings with leftover Chips and Dip.
Sofia walked around sharing her harvest by
giving out real hugs and hershey's hugs.

Happy August Moon everyone! May it bring a bountiful harvest with lots of success and wealth for all of us! Just Saying.

Our Air Shipment has arrived!

I think my air shipment has taken the longest time to arrive - but it's mostly due to the Habagat (Monsoon) - then the floods - then the major renovation of our home that had to follow. I have been so busy with my new role (Sadly, the honeymoon period at work is over - so I am back to being a Corporate Slave!) that I didn't have much time to settle into our home after we got back from our stay at Oakwood and I also couldn't afford to take any leave from work to have my things delivered so this was the soonest I could get it done- almost 2 months after I packed up.

I was so excited to see the movers arrive!
The first thing I did was open the box with my Nespresso machine,
and I made sure that it was working properly!
Our air shipment was 8 boxes and half of it were Sofia's toys.

It was a stressful packing experience for us on the Singapore side because our Air Shipment allowance was managed very inefficiently. You can read all about that memorable day here. Needless to say, the output was I decided what things I could live without (probably 90% of my belongings) and that went into my sea shipment, while we decided it was just easiest to send most of Sofia's toys through our Air Shipment.

In fairness to Asian Tigers, while it was a matter of contention when we were in Singapore, since the difference between 2-3 weeks and 6-8 weeks is a lot, because of the floods, we requested that both our air and sea shipments (both of which have arrived) not be delivered until we requested for it. So their inefficiency that really irritated me then became irrelevant and their flexibility in delivering our shipment when it was convenient for us - trumps that in terms of customer service. 

Since I wasn't sure our semi-cluttered home could accommodate my 8 boxes (through air) and 39 boxes (through sea), I decided to have it delivered on separate dates. Since it was so long ago, I wasn't really sure what I was getting, I just knew my Nespresso was coming. :)

Sofia's toys were 2 extra large boxes. One had Soft toys and other stuff.
These were Sofia's favorite toys that didn't make it into
the 'toys that could ride on the plane with us' pile.
Jess, if you're reading this, the World Cup Bears have arrived.
Just in time for the Teddy Bear Tea Party!
Sofia's other giant box was her kitchen.
She was so excited she was unpacking her own boxes.
She would put each one together.
and then stop to play with it.
These are the tea sets I've picked up from Dubai, Pakistan and Morocco.
Sofia put everything in it's proper place.
The "kissy-rolas" get the top shelf.
It's a good thing we also had a delivery for McDonald's.
They have been out of stock since the floods
because the small toys have not yet been sorted.
This is the fully organized kitchen
with a pantry in a separate crate.
We put Sofia's kitchen beside Gammy's kitchen.
I think 90% of the dimsum I hand sewn made to Manila.
Jumbo Seafood. Now in Manila.
Serves Dimsum.
After the kitchen distraction, I was happy to see the stuff I sent home.

I was quite surprised I only shipped a few pairs of shoes.
It's quite an interesting combination that I packed.
More on the fun and funky.
I also packed a handful of bags.
I was happy to see my knick knacks and travel sized Unilever products.
I was also happy to see the knick knacks I packed for Sofia.
I bought Sofia an art set in Sydney,
 (to bring to London which we obviously forgot to do)
that we only opened this morning.
I taught Sofia the primary colors
and how to mix them together.
I also taught Sofia how to sign her art.

I can't wait to see the rest of my things. (oh, I also had half a box of clothes, some sheets, pillows and towels). They obviously don't excite me enough to merit enough blog space for a picture. I can't wait for the rest of my things to arrive. I think I will have a lot of stuff I don't need or want (Hello ebay!), a lot of stuff for a beach house I don't have the money to build yet, and a lot of stuff I forgot I bought (gifts included). I can't wait, it's like shopping without spending any money. If only I weren't so worried about where to put everything. Just Saying.