Tag Archive | knots

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.

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

Starting Our Memorial Day Long Weekend

May 25-26

This is our first Memorial Day weekend here in Minnesota and it was certainly not the best of weather for it. Rain, overcast and cool… not exactly proper picnic weather. That did NOT change my Saturday plans… an afternoon/evening with the lovely Lily and her mommy Bree. But first, it was time to initiate Daddy on the morning walk… all 7 of us out to enjoy the local path.

Walking the girls

Our babies

Once Bree made it all the way to our place with baby in tow to collect me she had been lost a bit and the kids here had lunch. So before we changed and fed the baby there were introductions to be made!

Babyyyyy

Friends already

We said good bye to the family and headed out to do a little baby store shopping… Then off to a rather fancy dinner at a Cafe that does a completely different set up in the evenings from their informal lunch. It was delicious, a great price and HUGE!

That is a full soft shelled crab for Bree

…and once you removed the spinach, an absolutely delicious pork sandwich for me.

Miss Lily sat well through the whole thing for us in her carseat!

Awwww

With full tummies we headed back to Bree’s to sort us out and then walk for a while. They have the most amazing little free library at the end of the block… we had to go look at it, next visit I am definitely going to bring one of our double books to donate!

Little library

Poor Lily always seems to have a bath when I visit! This time in the tub.

Not pleased…

But forgiven in no time

A leisurely evening later and it was time to head back to reality. At least Ken had the kids asleep before he came and picked me up!!!

Me and my Lily bean

hmmmmm

Look at that strong neck!!!

Oh, and did I mention we stopped at Dairy Queen?? Walking distance AND a Nerds Blizzard!!!

Blizzards!

Riding in style

Ken even found some time while I was gone to put together Emanuel’s Big Wheel!

Insane jealousy back there!

Sunday was a family outing day – we were supposed to go out to a lake (there are so many nearby) and have a picnic but… it simply was not to be. So instead we took our chocolate rice krispie squares and headed over to their place for visiting and BBQ.

Minecraft

Anthony teaching Zander how to tie a knot he learned in Scouts

Lots of fun for the kids and lots of relaxation for us! Perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday! And the food was good too!

Men at work

Supper!

Quite the wonderful long weekend so far!!

Lovely relaxing time

Snoopy!