Chinese New Year Craft: Dot-A-Dot Cherry Blossoms

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Goodbye Christmas, hello Chinese New Year!

Back in November, shops have already started selling Chinese New Year decorations and goodies. It was oh so, confusing with Christmas and Chinese New Year marked so close each other.

With the Lunar New Year fast approaching (another 10 days?!), it’s time to get into the festive mood and start our preparations.

Here’s a fuss-free way to DIY your house and show off your kids’ craft to your visitors (even if your kid isn’t crafty). Continue reading Chinese New Year Craft: Dot-A-Dot Cherry Blossoms

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Chinese New Year 2016: Crafts, Spring-Cleaning, Organizing

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Another four days to the Lunar New Year ! *gasp*

How are your preparations for Spring?  This year, we kept things simple.

Have a look at our activities leading to Chinese New Year:

For art and craft, we’ve made a “大头娃娃” or “big head doll” – usually seen at a lion dance performance or Chinese New Year street celebration.

Materials:

  • Paper bag or plastic bag
  • Newspaper
  • Cellophane tape
  • Chopstick,straw or stirrer
  • Crepe paper or coloured tissue paper
  • Self-adhesive labels

Directions:

  1. Crush some newspaper into a ball. Secure with cellophane tape.
  2. Put newspaper ball into paper bag or a plastic bag. This will be the doll’s head.
  3. Insert a chopstick, straw or stirrer into the newspaper ball.
  4. Secure stick and bag with cellophane tape.
  5. Use crepe paper or coloured tissue paper to make the doll’s hair.
  6. You may also use crepe paper to decorate the doll’s hair (flowers or hair accessory).
  7. Draw the doll’s eyes, nose and mouth on the self-adhesive label.
  8. Cut out the label and stick them onto the doll’s face.

This craft can be made within minutes.  I find it almost impossible to craft while keeping an active toddler under radar at the same time! More Chinese New Year crafts can be found here and here.

Here’s what Elijah did while we made “大头娃娃” or “big head doll”.

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Happily mopping the floor for 15 minutes max.  Otherwise, he’ll probably rip the doll’s hair or chew its eyes and nose.

Our Lunar New Year decoration kept fairly simple: hanging couplets around the house, and New Year stickers stuck on our door.

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This week, “贺新年” (a festive song) has been playing over the phone.  We desperately need to learn another Chinese New Year song, other than “恭喜恭喜”!

贺新年 “He Xin Nian” Lyrics

贺新年 祝新年
新年哪 年连年
爆竹声声催人想幼年
贺新年 祝新年
新年哪 年连年
岁月悠悠光阴如箭
回首往事如烟 痛苦辛酸
寄望从今万事如愿
贺新年 祝新年
新年哪 年连年
愿大家都过个太平年

The song translates:

Happy New Year, wishing you well in the new year;
The new year comes year after year;
The sound of firecrackers remind people of yesteryear;

Happy New Year, wishing you well in the new year;
The new year comes year after year;
Time flies like an arrow;
Looking back in sorrow;
Hoping things are looking up;

Happy New Year, wishing you well in the new year;
The new year comes year after year;
May everyone enjoy a peaceful year.

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Organization, spring-cleaning, decluttering! I wasn’t able to do as much as I would like to. But I take comfort knowing that it’s always ongoing.

Here’s a nifty trick to organize the hub’s neck ties.  Inspired by the numerous organizing tips on Pinterest. 🙂

Finally, we made our yearly trip to Chinatown to see the Chinese New Year decorations and people-watch as they queue up as early as 5am to buy Bak Kwa (savoury sweet BBQ meat).

In my opinion, the best view of Chinatown’s decorations and surroundings can be seen at the Garden Bridge. Head to Exit C at Chinatown MRT Station.  Then take the lift to Garden Bridge.  You’ll get a good view of the decorations together with prominent buildings like The Majestic and Yue Hwa Building.

If you have older children or plan to do a tour around Chinatown, be sure to read up the historical facts about Chinatown compiled by “Singapore Lost & Filed”.  I surely found them useful!

Donate your “Declutter”

Donate your "Declutter" - Pass it On Organisation, Singapore

I’ve seen a lot of furniture and household items being thrown out during the Chinese New Year season.  As I spring-clean the home, I was reluctant to throw out our two-seater sofa.  It came together with a three-seater when we bought it three years ago.  The latter gave way and this two-seater was too small for our three bottoms.  We purchased another sofa and the two-seater sat at a corner of our living room for a while.  It became a home for Hannah’s stuffed toys.

Now, with Elijah, the number of things in our house have multiplied.  I needed space!  It was starting to feel claustrophobic with so many things around.  This two-seater has to go. But it was still in good condition. The dilemma!  

Then I stumbled upon “Pass It On” while reading a community magazine, “Voices”.  It was a website where we could donate used items to low-income families or people in need of help.  You could either put your items up for donation or respond to one of the wishes if you have an item that a person is looking for.

Pass It On: Donating Used Items

As I browsed the wish list, I read that a pair of elderly ladies who wanted a two-seater sofa for their home. Marvellous!

Immediately, I responded to their request and a couple of days later, a social worker from a Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) contacted me to arrange for the collection.  The movers arrived today and the ladies could get their sofa in time for 元宵节 tomorrow (the fifteenth day of Lunar New Year; marks the end of the festive season).

The entire process took less than a week and it was effortless. Hooray! The sofa found better use and I managed to reclaim our space again. 🙂

Do you have a pre-loved item that’s in good condition and you can’t bear to throw it away?  Log on to “Pass It On” and you might make someone’s day today!

Note: There’s a delivery cost of $30 per item. Donors can choose to bear the cost, send item to the VWO/person in need or VWO/person in need to bear costs, or otherwise stated.

Chinese New Year Activities: Enjoy, Eat, Play

Chinese New Year in Singapore: Chinatown

Enjoy: Visit to Chinatown

This week, we visited Chinatown to enjoy the sights and sounds of this Spring festival.  During this time, you would find many set-up stalls selling Chinese New Year decorations and yummy-licious food.  As we walk along the streets, we hear the traditional Chinese New Year music, hanging red lanterns and the tantalising smell of bak kwa (savoury sweet BBQ meat). Yum!

Hannah came across a paper dragon toy and wanted to have it, but it cost more than I expect.  She went home feeling disappointed and even tried to convince her father to let her buy it.  Sadly, it was also a no-no from Daddy too.

Play: Paper Dragon Craft

To cheer Hannah up, I tried to google around for a similar craft.  Thanks to the Internet, we managed to find one! You can download a template of a dragon head and tail here.  It’s fairly easy to do.  Grab a pair of chopsticks or skewers and coloured paper to make your paper dragon craft. 🙂

Chinese New Year Activities: Paper Dragon Craft

Eat: Dried Persimmons and 年糕 “Nian Gao” (Sticky Rice Cakes)

We came across dried persimmons and “nian gao” in Chinatown, and decided to get them for New Year.  Hannah isn’t adventurous when trying new food; but was game enough to try both.  Final verdict: she’s not a fan of these festive snacks.

Chinese New Year Food: Dried Persimmons and Nian Gao

And for the remaining days of Lunar New Year (15 days), we’ll be busy visiting our relatives, counting our “hong pow” (red packets) and recycling the used packets to make firecrackers.

Happy Lunar New Year!

新年快乐!

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2013

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This is Hannah’s second year celebrating Chinese New Year (CNY).  We don’t usually decorate our house since we don’t have visitors.  This year, to help Hannah understand about CNY, I’ve tried something simple like creating paper lanterns and sticking festive decorations on our front door.  I showed Hannah how to use a scissors (she had been practicing with play dough) to create the lanterns.

I’m hoping next year we can do more exciting activities together 🙂