Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hangin' With My Sis

With the other girls her age now gone, Zoe has been playing with and hanging out with Camilla a lot more.  And now that Camilla has learned how to walk, well, Zoe decided she was up to a race with her little playmate :)  Zoe looks on and waits for her take off as her clue to get started!

Just hanging out playing together.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


During the recent holiday, the girls had plenty of spare time for activities.  We still had some suncatchers to finish and the girls were quite excited to have a go at them.  

Even Elise wanted to help!

 Camilla too!  Just ask her, she's not too little to do anything the bigger girls do!

Shawna's doing a bird.

 Holly, a butterfly! 

 Lizzy is working on a beautiful ocean fish.

Zoe thinks this is great and chose a bird she's about to make very colorful!

And the finished products......

These were Elise's creation!  She decided to get fancy and put in some extra colorful swirls!

 Lizzy's fish turned out beautiful!

And Holly's butterfly is pretty cool too!

Zoe's pretty proud of her bird!  Way to go Zoe!

And Camilla, well..........this is what happens when you look away for just a second or two!  She's kind of a hands on girl :)  Looks like she's got some cool swirls going on in her fish too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All Dressed Up

Chinese New Year's new clothes!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chinese Lantern Festival

Yesterday, featuring the Lantern Festival, was the official end of the Chinese New Year holiday.  During the Lantern Festival, traditionally children go out at night to the temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns.  Locally here, we often see them lighting lanterns and letting them fly up into the night sky. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year.

As always, they had some traditional dances and activities.  Last year everything was cancelled due to the severe cold weather, so this year everyone was quite excited to join the festivities.  It was held in a different location than previous years and, though had several activities, was a bit disappointing compared to previous years where they had many different activities such as the Lion Dance, Jugglers of various types, people doing ancient crafts, etc---none of which was present for this years' activities.  But, we do hope that you enjoy a couple of these videos of what Chinese culture was presented this year :)

Must not forget these traditional items!

On this day, it is also traditional to eat glutinous rice balls named Yuanxiao after the festival. The first month of the lunar calendar is called the yuan month and in olden times night was called xiao in Mandarin, thus Yuanxiao

They come in various flavors.  We chose chocolate, sweet sesame paste, and something else we can't even translate :)  Anyway, the girls all seemed to enjoy their nice glutinous rice balls--even Camilla who was trying them for the very first time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chinese New Year Holiday: Activities


Excited Zoe has a whole different view of the tower of blocks Elizabeth built!

Chinese New Year is about food, family, and fun! All of which were present in the Forever Home!  Up North here due to the cold weather, much of the activities revolve around indoor fun.

What did we do on our holiday?!  Well, this post will give you a glimpse of some of our activities--although the holiday is not yet over, it is soon coming to a close and the New Day kids will be headed back to school again on Monday.

Zoe LOVES her blocks!

Holly too and she can build a pretty high tower as well!

Zoe can build 'em high too!


Here Lizzie gets her yarn rolled into a ball ready for knitting.  Yarn here--at least here in the village, unlike the states, doesn't come in a neat little package all ready for use :)

The 3 older girls had just shortly returned from going to the yarn store when I entered the office and saw this scene :)  Elise has a unique way of storing her yarn until she's ready to make the next ball of yarn!

Now, it's knitting time!

Elise and Elizabeth both have really enjoyed learning knitting.  Shawna too, but seems to frustrate her sometimes.  They've all made multiple projects.


Holly especially likes dolls!

The other day I walked by the playroom to discover this scene. She'd lined up all the dollies and even some stuffed animals in preparation for bath time!  Then she proceeded to give each one a pretend bath such as the dollie who's receiving their thorough bath now.


Zoe decided to dress up this way. Though I'm not sure she really realized she looks like a shepherd.  Perhaps she saw it on a program/video, but this is not how the village shepherds dress--though they may carry a stick/staff sometimes.


Zoe loves to color.  

Camilla is now discovering the joy of coloring too!  Zoe admires her handiwork.

And then there's TWO handed coloring!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chinese New Year Holiday: Other Important Foods

Oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits like this pomelo, a symbolism of abundance, are important foods eaten during Chinese New Year.  These are a local season fruit that we often get here.  It is much like a grapefruit you get in the states. There are different varieties but this one is the only type I've seen here in the village.

This is what the inside looks like.  It's not typically as tart as the Western grapefruits. This particular one was one of the sweetest we've had!

All different types of candy is also a big holiday item.  

Another important food eaten often during this season is the spring roll.  Spring rolls come in different forms, some are the fried and already stuffed with mostly veggies type like you probably know, but another type is the wrap your own like above.  Traditionally the insides are mostly veggies, but sometimes you find meat such a roast duck too.  Here, we made some of our favorite ingredients:  ham, mushrooms, shredded potatoes/red bell peppers, shredded raw cucumbers, lettuce, chopped cilantro, and bean sprouts!  Then there are the condiments we all love--bean paste, hot spicy pepper sauce, and yes, ketchup for Zoe and Holly :)

Other important foods that are often eaten and not pictured is fish (or other seafood).  The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the words both for wish and abundance.  It is traditionally served on New year's Eve  at the end of the evening meal and never completely eaten so as to ensure abundance throughout the entire year.   It is also eaten whole, with head and tail attached, symbolizing a good beginning and ending for the coming year.  Fish, served in restaurants here, is often served whole like this--whether it be fried or braised in a brown or sweet-n-sour sauce.

Whole chicken is another because it represents togetherness and rebirth.  It's symbolic of the family and can also signify unity and prosperity as a group.  To make sure that the symbolism is complete, it's a good idea to boil or steam the chicken with the head and feet still attached (which you will nearly always find here) to represent unity.

Pomegranates are also typical for Chinese New Year.  The colorful seeds symbolize fertility and are a bright vibrant red, which represents happiness and repels evil spirits.  They also contain an abundance of antioxidants and vitamin C to help you recuperate after the celebrations are over!