Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Goodies Bag and Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf

What do you fill up your child's birthday goodies bag with?  Sweets, chocolates, snacks, stationery, children crafts or perhaps purchase a pre-filled goody gift bag?  How about filling the goodies bag with love, the joy of sharing, fun and laughter, and finally a thankful heart in a simple, yet extraordinary goodies bag?

Little girl had her very first birthday party invitation from her present classmate since she started Primary One this year.  I am not particularly keen in attending children birthday parties.  Such parties can be rather boring for the accompanying parent, unless you know the other parents too.  For this party, it is a good opportunity for me to know some of her little friends. 

It was a small party for about 10 children.  I was told the birthday girl only invited a few closer friends to celebrate her birthday, and my little girl is one of them ^_^   It is comforting to know that my girl has made some good friends in her school.  To start off the party, the birthday girl's father gathered all the children to sit down and watch videos.  That's not all, the children have to watch the videos and answer questions at the end of each video show.  When they answered correctly, they get a present!  Within a short moment, presents were flying around quickly and the children were all eager to rise their hands to answer the questions.  Some were simple questions, while some required the children to think deeper "why the person (in the video show) behaves in that manner", "Is it correct to do so", "what will you do if you were the person".  I thought it was an excellent attempt for the parent to engage the children in such group conversations.

Then the games began.  The children sat in a circle and each child take turn to introduce themselves.  Music began and two balls were passed around in the circle.  When the music stops, the children holding the balls must shout out each other names.  It was a simple and fun game for the children.  More games were played and the children were rewarded with more goodies from each game.  One game, I remembered, was to put your hand in a bag to feel what "treasures" were hidden inside the bag.  It was fun watching the children's expression as they placed their hand in the bag to feel the hidden objects.

At the end, the children were given bags to keep their collected goodies.  And of course, what's a birthday party without the birthday song and cake?  The girl's parents gathered the children to sit down again, think and share for a moment "to whom they are thankful for".  Given our present standard of living, our children are pampered with toys and luxuries.  It is not easy for them to be grateful and thankful for what they have, let alone to sympathize those living in a less-privileged environment.   In short, many take things for granted.  Most children expressed thanks to their parents for taking good care of them.  The birthday girl was thankful to her parents for planning and organising the birthday party for her.  I was very touched to see such meaningful sharing from these little children.

No fanciful birthday decorations or themed birthday party.  No expensive birthday goodies kits or special set -up.  No funny clown or magician to entertain the children.  Just a simple birthday party for the children to have pure fun and laughter, and learn something meaningful along the way.  Thank you, Mr and Mrs Wong!  It was an excellent birthday party and a valuable learning experience, for me and my child.

Steamed Chicken in Lotus Leaf - this dish is similar to Steamed Chicken with Chinese Mushroom and Cloud Ears, just that all the "goodies" are wrapped in a piece of lotus leaf and steamed.

Lotus leaves can be purchased from stalls selling dried provisions.   Before using the lotus leaf, blanch in boiling water till soften.  Dry the leaf with a clean kitchen towel.  Open up the leaf and place it on a plate.  There is a stem in the middle.  Bend and fold the stem underneath, so that you have a flat surface. Pour the marinated chicken and other ingredients in the centre of the leaf.  Wrap up like a parcel and steam on high for about 20 minutes.

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