Archives

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Chinese New Year has great meaning for our family. Please enjoy my resources and recounting of our yearly celebration a few months late.

It is that time of year again, when we celebrate as we were taught by our dear friends who are family back home. I have already sent off my red envelopes and this year special knots to my god daughters and their sibling. This is actually one of the big events that brings me right back to that homesick state of mind.

Neko-Chan got in the groove with Kai Lan as well.

Neko-Chan got in the groove with Kai Lan as well.

We cleaned the house and sorted out many containers of clothes and toys that we donated this year. We decluttered and made some big choices about broken or half forgotten items. Nothing motivates this brood like the realization that we need to clean for the lunar celebration. It is a reminder of home and love and tradition that the whole family enjoys.

Each of the kids had a trim or haircut, and received new clothes. I lucked out hugely on Amazon with a momentary sale on Qing Dynasty dresses for the girls’ 18 inch dolls. Echo’s new dress matched her doll nearly perfectly. There are other Dynasty reproductions the girls have hinted at wanting. (not hugely subtle hints)

Gavin on left

Gavin on left

20180216_113439We had a lovely home made lunch. Zander basically put together the festival rice solo (Gavin helped him with ingredient prep the night before). He used the recipe out of the Runaway Wok book which is a family favourite, minus nuts.20180216_122241

20180216_120250Trinity tried making rice balls from a recipe off Educaton.com, though it struck us more as a Japanese rice ball and was too heavy on the rice wine vinegar for anyone to fall in love.20180216_120915

I made a sweet glutinous rice cake from a recipe shared by All About Ami. I think I will make it again in a larger pan to make thinner slices. I enjoyed it, the kids are only half sold.20180216_123844

After lunch we had our sweets, as usual I tried to branch out to new options. I couldn’t find moon cakes so I picked up something called Wife Cakes.. nope, and the almond cookies didn’t quite cut it.20180216_101643

Don’t forget the red envelopes.20180216_124301

I have been working on my knotting skills and made lucky knots for my god daughters back home using Chinese cord and had the kids make their own very simplified braided version with a charm that represents their Zodiac symbol.IMG_20180203_002402_423

We did our t shirts the day before since the day of we also had homeschool friends coming for a visit.

Then that evening I went to my class as usual, so much fun! And then Ken and I got take out from our favourite Chinese restaurant, Rose Garden. A great way to end the day.20180216_191205

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!! Welcome year of the dog!!! 新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè)

Resources for this year were varied and fun, but since I have shared a lot in the past years this year I am going to give you the best books we found! No links just titles so give them a search and enjoy!

  • Fortune Cookies Fortunes by Grace Lin… I loved this book because she discusses how fortune cookies are an Asian American food in her educational blurb at the back. We also read as a family her book The Year of the Dog. Grace Lin includes fun illustrations along with her entertaining reminisces in this one.
  • The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine… we loved this one enough to purchase it brand new. We also have his the Runaway Rice Cake which was a lucky library find in their booksale.
  • We had 3 Magic Tree House books this year… A Perfect Time for Pandas (for Emanuel and his panda report), Day of the Dragon King and the companion to this book China Land of the Emperor’s Great Wall. Our landmark report lined up beautifully with our unit study – The Great Wall of China was fun to research.
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China! By Jacqueline Morley was helpful, of course.
  • We briefly talked about Mulan with the book Mulan by Li Jian, I was gifted the book Mulan by Shiamin Kwa and Wilt L. Idema which I am determined to make a summer read. I have really been in the research and expand the mind feel lately.
  • Another family favourite that is on the to buy list is The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang.
  • Videos…  Celebrate With Kai Lan and Nature Pandas (an older film by NATURE) were fun. I am sure we used a second Kai Lan dvd but it isn’t coming to mind.20180216_110922

I hope these inspire you to check out the library. Researching and enjoying other cultures is such a privilege.

Our Chinese Characters work.

Our Chinese Characters work.

Super Quick Look at September… Sort of

Back to the reflection on the rest of 2017 and September. First off, September was my month of HONEST PHOTOS. So if you search out those two words you will find weekly posts sharing that little experiment. No filters, no cropping.

This is a picture heavy month so I may split it up into two posts, plus there was the Renaissance Festival, which I will share separately. Good grief, I just made more work for myself!

Let’s see… YMCA was visited… often, as usual. This was the tail end of our summer stuff, plus a continuation of things like my work outs and the karate classes.20170911_183653

IMG_20170909_122653_735

20170920_181002_HDR

20170928_173936

Zander

Zander

Neko-chan won our hearts even more, this time with OUTINGS! Yup, we chinchilla proofed our bathroom as best we could and try to let her out once a week at least. She seems to approve, though getting her into the cat carrier is a trick at the best of times.IMAG1340

20170912_220259

20170908_212921

20170921_090339

20170928_220745We spent lots of time outside, with the loss of our summer walks to the YMCA we took as many as possible to the front lawn of the nearby Catholic church. They have Poke stops there as well as a lovely yard to sit in.IMG_20170908_105635_184

20170912_121855

20170914_121213

20170920_122535We started our new school year relatively quietly, really with the year round schooling and the kids really enjoying ongoing pursuits (like the nursery rhymes) there isn’t a huge need to “start fresh” in the fall. But we did do pictures and such.IMG_20170905_110728_195

Zander

Zander

Gavin

Gavin

20170905_095223

20170905_095128

20170905_094948

We even had a lovely special lunch.IMG_20170905_130005_142

There were a few new supplies and of course full time in the classroom once more.20170905_090744

IMG_20170905_092616_927

Sunday School started up again, I am now a substitute teacher for the little dudes.20170910_103708

IMG_20170914_190453_643

20170924_100427

The siding was replaced on the house.20170916_133532

And on the inside we put shelving into the schoolroom that can be adjusted.20170917_145403

Dinner out with the godson was a family affair this time.IMG_20170916_200508_124

20170923_194727But we also got in some fancy dress date nights.IMG_20170915_183456_148

We finally got to meet our new niece Maevowyn. You will remember her baby shower from my post way back when. Just Ken and I went to visit since Shandai and Ravyn have a smaller apartment and we have a larger family. I am one proud aunty. You can see a photo post HERE. But first a teaser. 20170904_162619

And visited an amazing yarn exhibit.20170922_190858

20170922_191046

20170922_191050

20170922_191150

20170922_191234

I got in some crafting myself.20170924_220901

Echo got her school shots going.20170914_150022

And I got an awesome mug.20170916_120600

Fall fun.20170920_123644

A busy, people and activity filled month. Be sure to check out the overflow and the baby post and and and. Love to everyone who made it to the end of this monster post!

My Week of Being Me

With the coming Lunar based celebration and the progression of time marked in the twins being firmly placed in the teen years I decided to take one of my busiest weeks (did I mention Valentine’s Day?) and re-center myself and place my focus more firmly on doing “me”.

Well, it has been a week and what have I learned?

  1. I am a pretty awesome person, and I don’t mean… hey look at me I am so awesome, but more… there is some much potential I can still tap… I have plans and ideas, more hopes and dreams than I really have examined. I don’t know if I inspire awe in others but after a week of letting my mind run unchecked at times and firmly focused on tasks at others I realize I need to be proud of myself.
  2. This week I started my journey in yoga. A special thanks to those who suggested Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. Her beginner video has me confident and ready to continue. It has lead me to realize that I can better silence all the activity in my mind. That I can find time for myself even if it has to be me saying “nope time to stop and do this activity” and ignore the busy house around me.
  3. I am a success even when I fail because I tried. Sometimes I wonder if I am good enough, strong enough, smart enough. Well, I don’t have answers to those wonders but I did realize this week that I AM enough because I give my all. My family is covered in love and good intentions because when I do these things for them that I have done for years I do them with integrity and intention. Maybe to others I need more of this aspect or the other but I know that in my success and failure I am learning and adapting which means I set an example to my children that is positive and strong. They see that I don’t give up or let it get to me, I adapt. Which is what I ask them to do.
  4. I took on a personal challenge… a week of 9 hours per day with 250+ steps per hour. Which sometimes had me hopping around like a lunatic 5 min before the hour when I got caught up in a visit or with crochet (definitely a hobby that leads to a comfortable chair and not a wandering body). But I managed. This showed me that I need to get up and move, because each day by 6pm I felt better. I wandered the house and picked up things I usually would have sent a kid to do or done later. I showed my kids that movement was a positive and that it was okay to break up a moment by moving around. And I celebrated like a silly goose often as I made my steps.Screenshot_2018-02-17-21-25-57
  5. The big thing I didn’t so much learn but had reinforced in my mind is that while my life is hectic and sometimes unconventional and occasionally a little isolating it is amazing. I am blessed and challenged at the same time. Sometimes by my own choosing and others by what life has thrown at me. It isn’t a question of changing anything or wishing I could change anything but a full realization that what I am living right now is utterly unique to me and my family. There is no true equal comparison out there to what we are as a family. There is no need for one. The love of my life is amazing, my children a challenging collection of unique humans who amaze me as they drive me mad. And without them I would not be me. Yes I don’t drive, I homeschool my kids, I am shy in public, scared of more than a few things, but I am also loved… I am strong and decisive… I support my family in so many special ways and hopefully am finding ways to do the same for friends and extended family. I love, am loved and will always find ways to share love… which makes me, my life, and those around me… AMAZING.

So as I ignored ways to compare things, my life, my appearance, my school set up, my parenting choices, my home… I freed myself up a bit. Freed myself from some self doubt, from a few fears, from little niggling obsessions I sometimes have trouble letting go of. (And maybe started the road to being a little more “bendy” as Ken would say)

I took a week of introspection and exploration and realized… why should I stop? Maybe a little less care of my appearance to others and a little more joy is what I need… oh and 3 classes a week of R.I.P.P.E.D. and some amazing documentaries with a good crochet project. Always a good crafting project… cuz creativity soothes this soul… as does making knots, origami, felting… I am branching out. So here I am embarking on a month or more of finding me in my life. Wish me luck!!!IMG_20180214_151346_502