Monday, July 16, 2012

Mandarin Mondays: Travolater Usage Notice (The Chinglish Files)

Travolater does sound futuristic,
but we usually just call them escalators.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Family Fridays: Our 5th Anniversary, Fun with Kids, Nate's Birthday, and Finishing Classes

This has been a very full and exciting week for us. Saturday was our 5th wedding anniversary. We had a low key, but wonderful day celebrating at home. I think the boys had fun too and are glad we got married, even if right now they only recognize that it brought they special food, chocolate, and a wedding video to watch on our anniversary. :)

On Sunday we went to a traditional open air market on the edge of town. The boys enjoyed the "petting farm," otherwise known as other people's future dinner. There are very few foreigners who go to this part of town so the sellers were quite happy to let the boys look and touch their animals and take their pictures. There is also a moon bounce thing that the boys had fun on and we stopped for ice cream bars on the way back. The boys had a ton of fun and actually did a lot of walking themselves this time, so they slept really, really, well that night.

Wednesday was Nate's birthday and we had a great family day. A water balloon tug of war and a strawberry- chocolate chip cookie ice cream cake were two of the highlights.

Nate finished up his third semester of Mandarin classes today. So tomorrow officially starts our summer vacation. We are starting to plan out our summer fun and summer to do lists now and looking forward to a little more relaxed schedule for a few weeks.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Family Fridays: Fourth of July Fun

We did lots of fun things this Fourth of July.

We made crayon resist fireworks
and painted over them with watercolors.

We played with red, white, and blue water balloons.


After everyone got baths
we played with regular balloons.

We made cookie fireworks.

We did some patriotic themed educational activities.

We made fireworks in a jar.

Which didn't go according to the directions,
because of gel food coloring I think.

But we added glitter and
let the boys shake up the jars.
And they loved it and played with
them the whole time I was making dinner.

We ate LOTS of Traditional American Food.

And we had patriotic peach pie.
I think we tried to squeeze enough fun for all of July into one day, and we all slept in until 10am the next morning. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fun for July Ideas

In case your still looking for fun things to do for 4th of July, or anytime this month, here are a few things that we've done in the past.

This American Flag Cake is always a classic. Everyone oohs and ahhs when I've taken it to a gathering, but if you use store bought mixes it comes together in no time, and homemade cake and toppings don't take that much longer.

These Cookie Fireworks were a hit last year with the boys. The idea would work well with any sugar cookie recipe too.

But we'll probably be having something like this All American Apple Pie again, since strawberries and blueberries aren't in season here. I'm thinking maybe I'll do peach filling this year though.

We'll also be revisiting some of the learning activities from the America Unit Study we did last year to reintroduce some basic facts to our boys.

And we'll definitely be having some of this Easy Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with our hamburgers tomorrow. :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mandarin Mondays: 6 Lethal Points of Safety Checking (The Chinglish Files)

Some of the "Chinglish" mistranslations on signs and other things around here are quite funny. I thought I'd share some of them from time to time here in "The Chinglish Files." Here are the 6 Lethal Points of Safety Checking presented for you amusement only.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DIY Baby Quilt

I used some odds and ends to make two quilts for the new baby recently. One is decidedly boy colors and one girl colors. I simply cut a lot of 4 inch squares out, alternated designs to form a pattern, and sewed all the squares together with 1/4 inch seems. I sewed on a backing and top stitched the edges, but didn't bother to quilt the whole blankets since they are so small. I think they turned out cute. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mandarin Mondays;端午節 (Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival)

This weekend was the traditional Dragon Boat Festival (Duānwǔ Jié, 端午節) here in China. This festival varies year to year according to the traditional Chinese Lunisolar calander, but takes place around the summer solstice when the sun is at its strongest. During this festival people might watch dragon boat races, drink wine, and eat zòng zi (粽子).

This year I was invited to learn how to make zòng zi (粽子), the traditional food of this festival, with some friends. Zòng zi are a packet of extremely sticky rice wrapped in leaves. There are both sweet and savory varieties. We made a savory variety that is popular here in the south, that has meat and salty duck egg yolk inside it.

To make zòng zi (粽子) first you take some leaves (apparently many types of leaves are used) and lay them out, add seasoned rice and any fillings, and then fold and tie the leaves. These packets are then boiled for several hours and the rice becomes one solid glutinous mass. There are many stories about the origin of this festival and zòng zi (粽子). The most popular being that a famous Chinese poet drowned himself when enemies invaded and people threw zòng zi (粽子) into the river to keep the fish from eating his body.

Zòng zi (粽子) can be eaten hot or cold. Andrew is the most fond of this delicacy in our family. He kept asking for more.


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