I’m not sure about you when comes to celebrating birthdays but I thought I had just gone through quite a lot of stress in the run-up to my daughter’s birthday last week…….lots of unbending requests from her! One of them is the birthday cake…ONLY chocolate cheesecake. I tried to persuade her to go for a different cake with nice icing but then, “NO”, a flat “NO”…ONLY chocolate cheesecake. That’s what happens when our children grow up. They have a strong mind of their own at times……both good and bad.
I tried to tweak a little by trying out a flourless chocolate cheesecake earlier but realised that it would be too dense for a birthday cake. And too rich too to eat more. Finally I settled back to my layered chocolate cheesecake, my girl’s top favourite. She said she doesn’t mind without icing but for me, a cake without nice icing is not a birthday cake. You’ll agree to that, right?
Well, 1 hour before our 2 special guests arrived, I decided on the easiest icing…..chocolate icing. This is self inflicted stress. I spent too much time thinking….*sigh*. Hurriedly I melted some double cream and chocolate together. Removed it from the heat and kept stirring until it got a little thicker. Then I poured it over the cake and spread to cover the whole cake. My girl received a box of mini cupcakes. That’s fantastic. I placed a few on the cake and…yippee….what a makeover! And with the colourful birthday candles, it looked fabulous! (picture above)
I cooked quite a number of dishes (my girl’s choice) for her birthday. Proud of myself as a mom. My guests liked the food very much. And to my girl…she must be the happiest person that day. It was a real blast…..2 birthday cakes (the other being a very delicious ice cream cake from her best friend), lots of presents and her favourite food. I’m just unspeakably overjoyed to see her happy. That’s the heart of a mother, right?
Now I must introduce to you a very special friend, Jeanette. She is an amazing woman, full of love, grace, gentleness, kindness and generosity…..and…..a treasure house of interesting life stories that makes you laugh, cry, think, evaluate yourself and want to improve. I wish I have good command of English. I would write a book about her and all her stories. On top of that, she also dresses very well and looks gorgeous all the time. To me, that’s inspirational. Time that I hit the malls and get some nice clothing….*grin*.
Jeanette is an avid fan of Royal Ascot, the famous yearly horse racing event where even the royal families attend every year. She told me I MUST attend it with her! She even made me promise to go with her. Oh dear…my head!! I can’t believe I made that promise. My poor heart….must have missed many, many beats…haha. You know that if you go for such event, you really have to dress up very well, including a VERY nice hat, something like this. Mind you, it’s no ordinary hat. They come in all sorts of fashion, style and size.
At the Royal Ascot, you also need to know how to walk, talk, eat and drink with style….WOW……oh, dear me!!! Imagine a simple country girl having to look posh?? And a bottle of champagne costs 85 pounds! I can imagine your popped-out eyes and your jaw-dropping gasp…haha….me, too! In my normal senses, not in a million years would I put myself through all that. But lovely Jeanette spent most of the whole evening trying to convince me that there is no problem and I have to go. She said she has LOTS of hats, in different style and in different colours to suit my clothing! Wow…I feel SO loved….but yet…..I feel like running and hiding in a mouse hole….haha. Ok, let’s wait and see. The day will come….*BIG smile*. Hope I don’t pass out…*wink*
Jeanette takes very good care of herself. She eats very healthy and goes for exercise regularly. She is presently in the advanced level of pilates, a very good form of exercise to help build/maintain posture, balance and performance. I’m very impressed and inspired. Now I feel guilty because I only attended, maybe, 3 classes and I gave up. Reason…too slow and boring for me…*big sigh*. I think I better get back……inspired by Jeanette.
I can tell Jeanette eats very healthy because her favourite dishes were the fruits and the Thai beef salad. She also loves the stir fried broccoli very much but regrettably I forgot and used fried shallots instead of fried garlic. She reminded me to use fried garlic next time. Yes, Maam, I will remember that….happy to cook!
Oh, I must tell you. The Thai beef salad was seriously delicious. I can eat that everyday. It was my first time making that. I will put it up soon and hope you try it out. It was so good that the very next morning, I went to supermarket to buy more salad and beef just to make this salad. I’m sure this is a great dish for those who not only want to eat healthy but also to lose some weight. I’m not too sure whether it will work on chicken and other meat. I would love to try that one day. Maybe even with fish.
Another one of our new favourite is the Bangkok Firecracker Prawns. My daughter introduced me to this dish. See, these days I learn a lot from my children when comes to eating. I must really thank her because it’s so easy. Just buy from Costco and bake them from frozen. Takes about 10 - 12 minutes. Isn’t that fast? It’s spicy and very delicious served with Thai sweet chili sauce.
Oh yes, I almost forgot. Jeanette told me that she never lose in the betting at Ascot…WOW! That’s one big reason I promised to go even though I may not know how to walk with that hat on my head…haha. She said it’s OK…my hubby can help to carry my hat if I don’t know how to walk wearing it!….poor man…haha. Right, back to the betting. I must follow all her betting numbers! Would be so fun to win. But wait….will I bring bad luck? I asked her what if because of me and for the first time she loses. She looked at me and with loving eyes, she said, “Oh no, Mary, it’s perfectly fine. It’s not about the money. It’s about the fun!” Awwww…how sweet of her!! I just love her all the more…by the second! She is just so fun to be with. She is really full of life and vibrance.
Jeanette talks a lot about her wonderful parents. Each time she mentioned about her parents, her eyes sparkled. How sweet! I’m sure all parents would love their children to talk about them that way. It’s surely something that kept us thinking when we went to bed. Nothing matters more than loving and investing in our children. It’s sad that many parents put their career first. Career is definitely important but when our work and family life is out of balance, all parties suffer. Our children grow up very fast and before we realise it, they do not want our time any more even if we want to give them. Each year as we celebrate our children’s birthday, we realise that another precious year is gone. We can’t undo any wrongs and mistakes but we always remind ourselves to love them more and invest in them.
Let’s not just place emphasis on education but also the things about life….how to love ourselves, how to get along with others, and other important etiquettes of life. I must say that it was a great evening that we had….lots of laughter, interesting stories, great food and most important, my daughter was the happiest. We made her birthday a very memorable one.
Now, as for me, I will continue to enjoy what I love to do…cooking, baking, entertaining, badminton, facebooking, music, reading, meeting friends etc etc. My 24 hours each day is JUST enough…….*BIG smiles*. I hope you have fun everyday in whatever things you do. And even if you go through some rainy or stormy days, know that it will not remain forever. Hang in there. Be courageous and move on.
Quote of the day……
“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
- Honore de Balzac
Keep Learning Keep Smiling