Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mash-Up of the Red Holidays

In my household, the next couple of weeks are a chance to create new memories and traditions.  There is the weeklong celebration for Chinese New Year beginning on February 7th, followed by Valentine's Day on the 14th.   The Chinese believe that the color red scares away bad luck and attracts good luck and prosperity, so Chinese New Year fits right in with the holiday that is full of hearts.

Lion dance being performed in Hong Kong.  "CNY Parade at Ocean Park" by shankar s.
This year, my son has already marched in a Chinese New Year's parade of children dressed as the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and viewed his first lion dance.  We have eaten Chinese restaurant food as part of the celebration, but I will also probably try my hand at a few dishes at home.  As a slightly intimidated new cook, I have not decided whether to make the traditional new year's foods like the sweet, chewy rice cake, nian gao.  But at the very least, I have a standby favorite recipe that I like to make on most holidays (Chinese or otherwise) -- Chinese Sticky Rice.

It's the Year of the Monkey, the ninth of in a cycle of twelve animals of Chinese lunar calendar.  Babies born in the twelve months beginning on February 8, 2016 are Monkeys.  You may also be Monkey if you were born in the appropriate twelve year cycle.  Monkeys are clever, active, and social.  They are versatile in careers and can make good leaders. Arrogance, a hot-temper and restlessness are also characteristics.  Monkeys may take some time to settle down, but ultimately tend to be loyal and committed when finally finding true love.

Speaking of love, for Valentine's Day, I'll try my hand at some cookies with the new cookie cutters I got for Christmas.  It's also an opportunity to use my son's love of crafting to help decorate the house.  Here is a look at a simple craft that we did together -- creating a Valentine's Day mobile.

We cut out 3 large hearts of equal size in pink, red, and purple construction paper.

Additionally, we cut out 3 medium sized hearts, removing the middle of each to create a border effect. We used the first cutout of the three as a template to ensure equal sizing of the medium hearts.

Lastly, we cut out 3 small hearts, for a total of 9 pink, red, and purple pieces.

With a glue stick, we glued one half of the small red heart to the facing one half of the small pink heart for a 3-D effect.

My son enjoyed smearing glue all over the small purple heart.  We then passed a string through the middle, and pasted the small 3-D red and pink heart (the half-red, half-pink side) to the purple one.

Here is a view of the 3-D small heart ornament on the string.

Below the small heart, we passed the string down the center of a medium heart to which glue was already applied.

We added glue to the other medium hearts and created the same 3-D look here, as well.

Lastly, we passed the bottom part of the string down the middle of one of the largest hearts, and repeated the steps to make the 3-D effect. We knotted the string at the very bottom tip of the large heart ornament.

The end result is a simple but decorative and colorful Valentine's Day mobile. A spiffed up version can be made by adding glitter glue, stamps, stickers, lace or drawings to the paper hearts.

About the Author
Darlene W. Cancell is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom and most recently blog coordinator for Parent Talk.


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