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Christmas Etc In Brief and Delayed

So much went on over our Christmas unit but I have to share a few resources…

Snowflakes are all sorts of awesome. So we had to look into them a little. For books we used:

  • The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino
  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  • My Brother Loved Snowflakes by Mary Bahr
  • Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg
  • Snowfllakes by Martha E.H. Rustad

For Christmas this year we went from nursery rhymes to Christmas carols. Origins and meanings are so interesting! To help us out I found two books:

  • The Carols of Christmas by Ideals Publications
  • Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins

We read a few favorites… The Gingerbread Man, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (a Canadian 12 days of Christmas), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The list goes on. 

What I really wanted to share was the idea of finding out a little history about the things we say and sing. Delving into the history of Christmas Carols made us stop and think about how long they had been around, why they appeared, how symbolism has changed. Christmas is a great time to look at the root of things, and to revisit old favourites. For more examples look at our Nursery Rhyme Posts. (a delayed one with that too, they will be linked)IMG_20171204_105716_262

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Every year we try to make a little fuss over the day… themed dinner, coloured clothes, crafts, snacks. This year was no different in that respect, the difference being Ken and I decided not to make a fuss over each other and save that until March or April. It is just too busy in the month of February for us to muster the focus this year. Especially since Chinese New Year was 2 days later. Just wait until next year when that falls ON the twins’ birthday.

As usual we did the red and white clothing. The girls each got new shirts that were on super sale at Walmart. 

Oldest to youngest in bottom pic (Zander first)

Oldest to youngest in bottom pic (Zander first)

Lunch was red and white and full of sweets. The kids all gave each other Valentine’s and Ken and I gave them a small assortment of themed candy. 

Ham and scrambled eggs... cuz I could

Ham and scrambled eggs… cuz I could

Freshly whipped heavy cream

Freshly whipped heavy cream

Even Miss Neko-chan got into the spirit a little… and then attempted to take out the heart. IMG_20180214_151454_276

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The twins and I got in a workout and then the younger 3 their choir Valentine’s Day party. 20180214_173710

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, I hope you feel loved and cherished EVERY day of the year. 20180214_151107