It's the first day of the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac!
I read that New Year's is a big deal in China, and people celebrate for TWO WEEKS. On New Year's Day, families get together to clean their houses to "sweep away bad fortune".
It's traditional to give children red envelopes full of "lucky money", along with notes about how their want their children to grow up to be healthy. Aren't those pretty?
People do LOTS of decorating, similar to how we decorate for Christmas.
These can include red paper cut outs, banners, special red lanterns, and New Year paintings.
You'll see lots of Roosters, or whatever animal represents that year.
I've been reading about their New Year art customs. It's traditional to buy/display art relating to the new mascot of that year.
A common form is "banhua", or any sort of art based on a traditional woodblock print that creates a black and white outline, which is then colored in. The Chinese have been doing coloring books since before it was trendy! :)
There are many types of gods that are portrayed in these pictures, but a popular one is a "door god".
In some Chinese folk religions, these are divine guardians that watch over doors and gates. They keep evil from passing, and allow positive influences to cross.
In modern times, New Years art will also include women, babies, and kitchen gods. Do any of you observe Chinese traditions? If so, I'm curious to hear more about what you do to celebrate.
Did you have a good Christmas? This one was particularly nice for our family. My girls are at a great age to really enjoy the holiday.
Oh, my sweet, sweet daughters. See that green dress? My mom crocheted that for me when I was little. I wore it on my first day of kindergarten with cowboy boots.
They're bundled up for school, so excited for Christmas break to begin. So many holiday parties, then finally home!
This was Piper's first year to really help with ornaments.
This has to be one of the best days of the year. Violet is really good at decorating. I'm glad she likes to help!
Adam puts his train from when he was a little boy around the base of the tree. The girls set up the snow village this year...they did a good job!
I love those German Christmas pyramids. We add extra candles around the base so it zooms around fast.
Nom! Our traditional Christmas breakfast....salmon and bagels with fruit and mimosas (for grownups)
Violet made our guinea pigs a "Feeding Station" from legos. This is Margaret.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve...
We have an owl! I get so excited when an owl moves into one of our boxes. I always have my fingers crossed for an owl. One year, a rude duck moved in. What was he thinking??? I don't even know how that duck squeezed itself into the box. It seemed way too small for him. The soft hooting of an owl mixed with wind blowing through the leaves sounds like home.
The girls worked on gingerbread houses for HOURS.
The gingerbread houses were a big hit. We'll definitely do this again next year.
Making sausage! It's such a chore, but Adam is good at it. The pork is from wild hogs from our place. I like them with extra garlic and jalapenos.
Pigs 'n blankets....homemade beef & wild hog sausage and homemade yeast dough.
We make them every year. Next year we may try making mustard, too.
Adam thought one of the pigs in blankets looked like a baby Ewok.
I don't know what Adam was doing, but this is our celebratory Swiss cheese! We get a little wheel of it every year to eat on Christmas Day.
Cat jammies! We always get matching pajamas for Christmas.
Stringing popcorn and cranberries. I gave my youngest daughter a real needle and she only stuck herself once.
We also used apple jacks to make garlands.
They both ate a bunch of the cranberries. So tart.
It's our Nature Tree! We decorate a small tree for the animals. We even made a star out of toast for the top. By the next morning, almost everything had been eaten.
Our friend Marcia sent us this pretty hand embroidered tablecloth. It's so intricate...it must have taken weeks to make, if not months.
Paintings wrapped up and ready to go to their new homes for Christmas. It's so satisfying to paint for people....I feel like an elf!
Our Girl Scouts troop won 3rd place in our local Christmas parade. We had a Night Before Christmas theme. It was brrrrrr cold-thank goodness we all wore warm jammies. I like any event where the costume is pajamas.
Not really reindeer in the meadow, but we like to pretend. Now I need to put away the last few decorations. I'll think I have everything done, then I find some random Santa or tiny tree. Does that happen to you, to0?