Friday, January 30, 2009

Valentine's Day is on the Way

The girls and I whipped up some Valentine sugar cookies. I actually followed a recipe (I don't do that very often) and they turned out pretty good! Of course CJ did most of the decorating so they looked fabulous!

And I needed help with the dishes so the girls started by "washing" the icing off everything! They really are sweet enough already and didn't need the extra!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy (Chinese) New Year!!

We celebrated Chinese New Year today, the girls wore their traditional Chinese jackets right from Hong Kong ~ thanks Mae & Naqsh!! We had our "Year of the Ox" place mats all set, made some yummy ginger noodles (which we ate out of our Chinese bowls ~ thanks BDJJJ), enjoyed some green tea, and had fortune cookies.

We opened the windows and doors (briefly because of the minus 46 with the windchill) to bring in the good luck of the year. The girls received red packets with gold coins for prosperity and enjoyed some sweets to ensure a "sweet year." Some other New Year's practices are:

Red Envelopes
• Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金 : Bai Jin). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes. The number six is also very lucky due to the reason, in Chinese six[六,liu] can mean smooth, as in having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.

Good luck
• Opening windows and/or doors is considered to bring in the good luck of the new year.
• Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.
• Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.
• It is important to have the house completely clean from top to bottom before New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year. (however, as explained below, cleaning the house on or after New Year's Day is frowned upon)
• Some believe that what happens on the first day of the new year reflects the rest of the year to come. Chinese people will often gamble at the beginning of the year, hoping to get luck and prosperity.
• Wearing a new pair of slippers that is bought before the new year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you.
• The night before the new year, bathe yourself in pomelo leaves and some say that you will be healthy for the rest of the new year.
• Changing different things in the house such as blankets, clothes, mattress covers etc. is also a well respected tradition in terms of cleaning the house in preparation for the new year.

In our house we have a pig, a sheep, a rat and a monkey. Can you guess who is represented by each animal. To find out your Chinese zodiac check here then check here to see what personality traits are associated with that animal here

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Playing with Warhol

You'd think with it being so cold we'd be inside doing lots. . . lately we've been enjoying some warm comfort food (rice pudding is my fave), cuddling, reading books and enjoying some of CJ's new DVDs from Christmas. I've been playing a little bit with the help of to make these. Not sure if I'm thrilled with the pictures I chose but it's still a lot of fun!

I tried to get as much purple as I could for CJ!

CD is just too darn cute!

I'm a little scary!

And I'm pretty sure that "Moto-Moto" won't like his!

But it was fun to try it out! I once did this with an art class, photocopied their portrait in black and white, then let them go with highlighters! Their Warhol pictures were actually pretty good!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!!
We were so blessed this Christmas, we spent lots of time together enjoying great company and fabulous food! We celebrated 3 separate Christmas gatherings: our first was with our good friend Viki and her family out at the farm. It was COLD!! I think it was -48 that day with the wind but inside it was toasty and warm. Viki's sister Mary cooked up lots of great food and had tonnes of snacks around. We visited and laughed the whole evening. The kids (and some of the big ones too) went out sledding after supper... yes it was cold but they bundled up and the hill was right outside the front door! REALLY! My mind must have been frozen because I didn't take too many pictures. But here are a few:

Fedding the Reindeer, Santa & hanging the Magic Santa key so he can get in.

Tucked in and ready for Santa's visit.

Then Christmas Day Viki came for breakfast & watched as the girls tore open their gifts.

CJ loves Hannah Montana and Santa brought her the dance mat with Hannah wig ... we like CJ much better with her beautiful dark hair!
CD was equally as thrilled with her gift from Santa .
Since CJ was a baby we started taking a picture of her with her gifts ~ it is a great way to remember who to thank when we write out our thank you notes and it'll be fun for them to look back at and remember what was "in" when they were little. (Of course we have other photos with the rest of their gifts, what lucky girls! Thank you to everyone!!)

Later that evening we enjoyed Christmas supper with "my family". I was a nanny for 5 years for a wonderful family and was 'adopted in' when I started to care for their then young children of 3, 5 & 7 years. They have all now grown to young adults and have now babysat for me! (Again a frozen brain and no pictures!)
Then at the end of the week we celebrated Christmas with my family in Glenside, if you've been down to Gardiner Dam you've driven past it but if you blinked, you missed it. CJ & CD had lots of fun playing with their cousins.

My sister and her family A rare photo of Uncle ~ we usually only get the top of his ball cap.

The rest of our week of holidays we've spent bowling on the Wii, walking inside at the U of S ~ you can walk really far thanks to all the sky walks and the tunnel and there were no classes so CJ could run around. Shh, don't tell. We went back out to Mary's farm for more sledding and some delicious banana bread and the girls fed the horses and cuddled the cats. Thanks again Mary, K, A & Viki.

We are very blessed to have such fabulous friends and family. Thank you for making our Christmas special and memorable.
Holidays are over . . . how many sleeps until Family Day?