our first Ice Cream Cakes.

Two foreign friends requested some ice cream cakes for their big 40th birthdays! We haven't attempted to make these (to sell) yet, since we aren't really set up for baking, etc. Instead we prepared the cakes at home, and frosted/decorated them ourselves - with Ice Mountain ice cream inside! These two cakes have 2 layers of cake, with a middle layer of coffee ice cream, and almond ice cream. They are frosted with whipping cream. It's not that hard to make!!

This is my friend S - who is a master baker and incredible with all desserts!
She frosted them, right inside our freezer trays! (we have tiny freezers!)

How ironic that our first two cakes are in two different languages - Papiamento and Spanish! (not Chinese, English or a Central Asian language!) I wonder what language will be next?

*the cake on the right was made without artificial colors and sweeteners, because of an allergy. It was fun to color the frosting with natural blueberries - so our friend could eat it. You learn something new everyday!


Easter egg-stravaganza 2011

In Chinese we say, Fu huo jie, Kuai le!!
FU - 复 - recover, restore
HUO - 活 - life, save
JIE - 节 - holiday, festival
KUAI LE - 快乐- happy

I love the Chinese for this - it is so packed with meaning!

Not many people understand this holiday, so its fun to share the true meaning with our friends. We also enjoy some family traditions of dying eggs, egg hunts, baskets of goodies, and also an Easter Tree (I will share more later). I had done this before as a child...so it was fun to bring new meaning to this amazing holiday together.

All dressed up for an Easter brunch and Egg-hunt in the park!

The cherry-blossoms are in full bloom!!

The girls with all their loot!

This year, we celebrated with a friend who has Mexican roots - she introduced us to Confetti Eggs!! You crack a confetti-filled egg over your loved-ones head!! This was definitely a highlight.

We ended off our day with another egg-hunt @ home and yellow peeps.
What more could you ask for?

thanks again, Nana for the yummy package!!
He is risen indeed!!


bubble tea!! 珍珠奶茶 zhen zhu nai cha!!

With all this warm weather and sunshine - we are getting outside almost every day to explore and play. One of our favorite little spots to visit is the neighborhood Bubble Tea* stand. We go down the stairs, out the door and 2 blocks down past the middle school....

The place is called "Nothing But Tea" and the lady who runs the shop is named Coco. She speaks a little English, and is so friendly! We love to practice our Chinese too!

Today we tried the Coconut, Strawberry and Blueberry flavors! Yum!!
If you ever have the opportunity, please try some!!

COCO: 你要点什么?ni yao dian shenme? What do you want to order?

ME: 四杯珍珠奶茶。si bei zhenzhu naicha. Four bubble teas.

COCO: 好,什么味道?hao, shenme wei dao? Ok, what flavor?

ME: 两个 草莓, 椰子,和 兰梅。 liang ge caomei, yezi, he lanmei. Two strawberry, one coconut, and one blueberry.

COCO: 要冰的还是热的?yao bingde haishi re de? Do you want it cold or hot?

ME: 冰的。bing de. Cold.

COCO: 好。十二块。hao, shi er kuai. Ok, 12 yuan (3 yuan each!)

(puts in the tea, adds some milk, plops in the pearls, seals on the plastic lid with an automatic sealer, shakes it up and grabs a big straw)

COCO: 可以开吗? keyi kai ma? Can I open it?

ME: 可以可以。谢谢! keyi keyi. xie xie! Yeah. Thank you!!

This is a huge hangout spot for the middle school students, especially since her prices are so great! I love that she has a post-it board for all the students to write notes to one another, or just proclaim their deep thoughts and secrets. Justin Beiber was mentioned a few times!! I left my own message behind too.

*Bubble Tea - also called Pearl Tea 珍珠奶茶, Boba Tea or Tapioca Milk Tea came from Taiwan, and is usually made of sweet potato/tapioca-like balls, mixed with a strong tea-base and sweet fruit or milk flavoring. Sometimes it is warm, and shaken to form a foam on the top. The cup is vacuum sealed and popped with a large, fat straw. There are limitless combinations...but all are worth trying!! We are kinda hooked over here.


spring weather!!

Almost overnight the weather changed to SPRING! The snow melted and we've had 50 degree weather - which is calling us outside! We've been riding bikes, wearing tank tops & flip flops and playing with friends. Here's some recent pictures of the fun....

sipping yogurt outside

fixing Syd's balance bike

some neighbor kids had baby chicks for pets (1 kuai each = 15 cents)

Syd was the brave oneSo thankful for this amazing weather and change of seasons!


my built in refrigerator.

I was making Chinese Chicken Salad today, and needed to cool off the chicken before adding it to the bowl of greens. I just put it on the window sill box, next to the icicles - and voila! Chilled Chicken! Another joy of NW China winter!