Tag Archive | All about ami

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 Year of the Rooster!

Chinese New Year is a holiday we have tried our best to celebrate for at least 5 or 6 years now. This is all thanks to the families of our two gorgeous god daughters (Anna and Isabella). Their moms are from the same city in China (Ghangzou) and have been kind enough to help us learn how to fully embrace this holiday. I love the changing date of the celebration based on the lunar calendar and it has come to mean more than the “traditional” North American New Years to me. We do a significant amount of preparation for this holiday, cleaning, researching and shopping for food, reading out favourite themed stories (The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine). This year it was Trinity’s turn to do a full on lapbook for the season. She worked really hard on it and it shows.IMG_20170128_134718_976

We finished up our day with take out from our favourite Chinese food restaurant – The Rose Garden.

I have worksheets to share:

  • Activity Village HERE
  • Education.com collection HERE and chicken collection HERE
  • Definitely make sure you search EnchantedLearning.com for their resources HERE

Books to suggest:

  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE
  • The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang (a new book for us!) by Andrea Wang HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year Crafts by Karen E. Bledsoe HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Grace Jones HERE
  • Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diana Hoyt-Goldsmith HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Ann Heinrichs HERE
  • Long-Long’s New Year by Catherine Gower HERE
  • The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin HERE
  • Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes HERE
  • Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang HERE
  • Kai-Lan’s Great Trip to China HERE20170131_140611

And a few DVD’s for you to hunt down:

  • Celebrate With Kai-Lan! HERE
  • Stone Soup (a read-along) HERE

Of course there is the lapbook Trinity used! Currclick has it for 3.00 HERE. This is put out by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.20170222_184327

20170222_18431020170222_184322And don’t forget our yearly video!

For our Chicken/Rooster research we had a couple books as well:

  • Chickens by Katie Dicker HERE
  • Young Chicken Farmers by Vickie Black HERE

I used this amazing designer to make this year’s Zodiac animal – the rooster. I used her last year to make a monkey as well (see my County Fair post from last here HERE). Her site is called All about Ami and you can find her rooster pattern HERE and the monkey HERE.IMG_20170128_134658_879

We also splurged this year and bought two dresses for the girls off of Amazon. They were not overly expensive and definitely not high quality, but so cute!IMG_20170128_134638_408

Of course we also picked up new shirts for the boys at Walmart. And buzzed the twins’ heads. New clothes and fresh haircuts in a clean house. And I mean CLEAN! We threw out, sorted, donated… you name it we got rid of excess. And it felt amazing. So Happy Chinese New Year All! Let’s hope the year of the Rooster is auspicious and prosperous!20170128_132722_HDR

20170128_132751_HDR

The girls love to sort through their toys and find theme friendly pieces.

The girls love to sort through their toys and find theme friendly pieces.

Anoka County Fair Result Time!

This is my second year competing as I mentioned in a previous teaser blog post. Last year was more of a rushed throw together what I already had and make a few smaller items sort of thing. This year I started after the previous fair and among my gifts and commissions and other pieces I threw in some category specific projects. The result was 15 pieces to enter myself and a few among the 4 older kids. Echo simply wouldn’t settle down and make anything. Maybe next year.

I was actually rather surprised at my results. Ken and I splurged on a date night and went out on the Wednesday and visited the fair (for the first time ever) ourselves. There was “Quebec style poutine” so how could I resist? Seriously, HOW? It has been 4 years since I have had a decent poutine… WORTH IT!

Note the stand in the background.

Note the stand in the background.

Anyway, Renee had sent me some images from her visit to the fair with her kids days previous but I had balked a finding out all of my results with the hope we would make it there in person.

We started with the kids’ stuff where they did relatively well. Emanuel only got a participation (which he loves – RAINBOW RIBBON) and Zander and Gavin’s large perler bead didn’t place either. We figure they may have assumed parental assistance… which we DIDN’T… but the rest placed. Two lego pieces and a much fought over bunny drawing. Not bad, not bad.20160801_151854

20160801_151950The lovely surprise was Gavin’s shawl taking first in his crochet item category. We ran out of steam at the end of this project and didn’t trim our fringe which was the comment on the back of the tag BUT FIRST PLACE!! WOO!! His first COMPLETED project really!20160801_152607

Then it was time to wander around, seek out Renee and her kids’ stuff and see how I did. To my surprise 13 out of my 15 entries placed. And, the two that didn’t both had great comments on the back and the statement that it was tough competition. I was not surprised on my maple leaf dishcloths… first off all, red-white and no blue (blue could have put me in the running as patriotic) in a general category that I am sure was full of variety. The other, my purse was much more “purse like” than the ones that placed. I think they were just looking for more… crochet? The winning purse was granny squares and highly colourful. Not my thing.20160801_15284420160801_152246

Onto the 2nd place pieces – TWO. And tough categories because they are super popular baby gifts – booties and blankets! Well, I am very proud of both – in fact have gifted versions of both in the past. Again favorable comment on the blanket just… the first place ones had more detail (booties) or were a different style (blanket) BUT certainly something to be proud of.IMG_20160801_172315

For first place standing alone I had NINE pieces! Woo!!! I cannot tell you how proud I am of them. This is a wonderful cross section of this past year’s creativity. TWO of these pieces will be sent to new homes in the coming weeks – the rainbow ripple blanket which I have blogged about previously) and the evil sorceress doll. Seriously if you have the knowledge and ability and the urge, it is a GREAT pattern and when I got stuck the designer talked me through it on Facebook… check her out! This piece was posted under the storybook character and though the JUDGE didn’t comment on it on the slip, the people working there said MANY of the people who came to see the exhibitions loved it.IMG_20160801_172207

Let’s see… Monkey – as in year of 2016. I did it bigger than the original and am TOTALLY KEEPING IT. Yup… my monkey, not your monkey, MINE! Ken helped me with the frame work on this little beauty. The designer is doing up all the Chinese Zodiac over the years and I totally plan to go back and do the years she has already designed for eventually.

Apparently the biggest suggestion was blocking. We THOUGHT we had that done right, but apparently they figured we could have done better. So back to the drawing board on that one. BUT that is a finishing thing and not a crucial crafting issue. So there is less worry about time and such. I did make a second of the wedding gift from this summer – that would be the off white doily. Crocus doily.

Other than that… well I am very proud of these 9 pieces! Super proud!

And now for the BIG surprise to me… 2 plus 2 plus 9 equals 13… so two more to come… and both of those first place PLUS Reserve Best of Show. Now no one could completely explain how that was chosen or anything. But what it does mean is that these are pieces that stood out to the judge. What made me laugh is that I tossed that hat in there on a whim. I had made it after I made Emanuel’s for Halloween this past year and still had enough yarn left over for a second smaller version. Go figure!IMG_20160801_172452

So all in all… we did good. We placed, we showed off skills that we will continue to nurture and next year will have a whole new batch of creative ventures to exhibit! I know I am already brainstorming how I can make newer and harder items in duplicate – one to gift/sell/etc and one to show… why not? Just getting the judge’s feedback made it all worthwhile!! And now I have some ribbon winning pieces to sell if I ever get the chance to have that craft table I want to try out. Or gift of course! EXCEPT FOR MY MONKEY! That little guy is already on my bookshelf guarding his monkey!

(Oh, if anyone is interested in any of these pieces feel free to ask me – minus the two mentioned above that are on their was to new homes of course)