Gong Hay Fat Choy!

Translation:  “Wishing you happiness and prosperity!”

Today is Chinese New Year, year of the horse! I’ve always celebrated Chinese New Year with my family. Most of you recognize that it’s Chinese New Year because of the red envelopes filled with money! That’s definitely a big plus to celebrating, but I’m married now. Typically you receive money when you’re single. I now have to give out envelopes! Not as fun on the other side… stay single! J/K

Envelops
I got gold ones this year!

But did you know there are other ways  of celebrating too? More “behind the scene” type things. Growing up, there are a few specific things I remember my parents doing to prepare for the New Year.

1. You must clean the house on the eve of New Year. Why? Because you are not allowed to clean on New Year’s day. Cleaning symbolizes getting rid of all the bad luck and making room for the good. No cleaning on the first day of the year so that the newly arrived good luck cannot be swept away. I vacuumed on Wednesday so that counts right? Plus I did laundry today!

Laundry

2. You buy groceries to have in your house overnight for various reasons. This year I purchased four items (thanks for the advice mom!) – cake and/or rice cake, fish, green onion, and gai lan (veggies).

Cake
Cake/nian gao is a homonym for “higher year.” Hope MG gets a promotion soon *fingers crossed with my cake*

I bought sticky rice cake, and I also baked a Japanese cheesecake. Have you had a Japanese cheesecake before? It’s so delicious and fluffy! Recipe to come soon.

Fish
“Let there be fish every year.” Fish is a homonym for surplus.

Yup, that’s Chubs. He licked my fish a few times… Hope that’s okay in Chinese standards…

Veggies
Onions are a homonym for smartness, and gai lan is to do away with laziness.

Look at all my Chinese New Year treasures! I’m going to make a delicious meal tonight!

Items

These are just a few things that I’ve started to carry over after I got married. Does your family have annual traditions? Will you share those traditions with your kids? Do share!

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone reading!
Jay

  

Pre-Christmas

It’s the time of holiday parties!

MG and I had our own date night, gift opening party on Friday evening. I bought him some amazing Shun knives (basically I get to use them too, best kind of gift). And he bought me a Fisheye lens for my camera and Snake Oil, only the best game ever. I should let you know that we’re going to Texas to visit my family and friends for Christmas soon. That’s why we celebrated our own Christmas early and opened gifts.

On Saturday we went Christmas tree chopping! We’ve made this an annual tradition to go with our friends and chop your own tree at the farm. I can’t wait until the day all my friends and I have toddlers, and we can bring the little ones to run around and help saw the tree. Those will make for good memories. What are some of your annual Christmas traditions? Please share, I’d love to know!

DSC03521
Doesn’t the tree on the right look like someone is hiding in camo? Freaky… and bushy.

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Give a guy a saw and he feels like Ron Swanson! (Any Parks and Rec fans here?)

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Sawing the perfect tree!

DSC03534Soooo muddy…

DSC03548The Luu’s tree ^^^

DSC03559Always a great time with these two

We also went to our church’s annual White Elephant Christmas party. Food was delicious. Fellowship was great. Gifts were… creative. I say this because the maximum amount you could spent was $4. I came out with an olive oil dispenser. I’m happy! I’ve discovered that at this age, kitchenware is the best gift you could get (am I old?).

DSC03663Singing Christmas carols 

BTW, did you notice I’m using my fisheye lens? Thanks hubby.

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My love ^^^

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We had a gingerbread cookie mansion decorating table. People were encouraged to continually add to the mansion. Look at that ice skating rink in the front and the garden on the right – so much imagination! Making a gingerbread house is SO difficult. Props to those that can make one look like something… Ha!

On Sunday night I celebrated Christmas with my lovely in-laws. We had a seafood feast at home, played a round of Snake Oil, unwrapped gifts, and then had some homemade vanilla ice cream. It was a splendid night of family.

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Our tree filled with presents!

DSC03687A fantastic family picture. Isn’t it Christmas card worthy?

What did you do this weekend?

Love,
Jay