Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why we celebrate so much {including Chinese New Year}

Gong Hey Fat Choy! 
{That's Happy New Year in Chinese. I googled it- it's spelled a million different ways}

It's no secret that we celebrate just about every holiday here, national "whatever" day it is {did you know that today is National Peanut Butter Day?  Oh yeah, you can bet we're celebrating that one here! }

Some people might call it over the top that we celebrate so much here, but I assure you that it's really not.  On a *very* small budget, we celebrate so much in our house because these celebrations are all about making memories with our kids.  

When our boys grow up, if I hear them tell a single story to their kids about our silly traditions, I'll be a proud Mama.  If I see them re-create one of our fun celebrations with their kids, I'll be over the moon and cry happy tears.  

I used to be in MOPS {Mothers of Preschoolers}, a fabulous organization that reaches out to Moms with little ones, encouraging them, inspiring them, and lifting up these Moms.  I remember one guest speaker in particular who talked about making memories with her family and that stuck with me.  She talked about having a pirate dinner night where the food was nothing out of the ordinary, but by wearing silly eye patches, eating on pirate themed party plates, and talking like pirates it transformed their ordinary weekday dinner into something magical.  And that is the kind of Mom I knew I already was, but thanks to her I realized that it wasn't about just being silly... it was about creating lifelong memories and family connections through these fun little celebrations.

On a budget of about $20, we had a fabulous Chinese New Year celebration last night that included decorations {some that will stay up for Valentine's Day because I purposely bought plain red rather than the decorations with Chinese characters on them}, special napkins and chopsticks, fortune cookies, dragon cupcakes, and party favors for the boys.  

Our dinner was something already on the menu for the week {orange chicken, rice, and salad} so I'm not including that in my $20 total because we would've eaten dinner anyway :)


Red balloons were hung to look like lanterns {leftover from a previous party and will stay up for Valentine's Day}


{Fortune cookies from Target that I dipped in chocolate and red sprinkles that were also leftover from another party... these were so good with the chocolate!}


Our table set-up... I've had the red placements for years, bought the red paper plates, napkins, and chopsticks.   The cake stand is new- it's white like most of our dishes so I can use them for many different occasions, and the boys helped decorate with plastic pandas from their toys.  The takeout boxes had an orange from our backyard and some chocolate gold coins, both symbols of good luck for Chinese New Year.


I made the dragon cupcakes from a boxed cake mix and frosted them myself.  The boys loved them!  The idea is from Hoosier Homemade.


Place settings also included real glasses {a rare treat for these boys} with cherry 7-up, a *very* rare treat here!  We went around the table and said our goals for the new year and toasted our 7-up.  

Cheers! Here are our goals for 2012...

Sam:  To learn Karate and Science
Jake: To make great train tracks
Ben: To spend more time doing fun things with us
Me:  To have more balance in my life and be better at making dinner
Luke:  To continue being the cutest little guy in the world {he'll have some competition come May when his baby brother arrives!}


Ignore that Valentine's Day ribbon on the cake stand... I didn't bother changing it because 1- it was red, and 2- I knew no one besides me would even notice it.


We drew names to see who got to eat the dragon head... Jake won and then decided it had too much frosting :)


I loved this fortune... 

For me, life isn't always what I've thought it would be like when I was growing up.  As our kids grow up, they will realize that more and more too.  Having a strong family unit and fun memories to reflect on will surely help them realize how important they are and how loved they are.  I believe it will help them "ride with the waves." And sometimes, even though life doesn't go the way we think it will, sometimes it's even better than we imagined.  "Smooth seas lie ahead."

Ohhh, and after dinner we watched a Kung Fu Karate show in the family room {courtesy of Sam and Jake} followed by a family game night of Ker-Plunk.  Jake is the funniest because he thinks the goal is to make the MOST marbles fall.

What family traditions are most important to you and your family?  

Any fun, different traditions that you 
celebrate with your kids?  

I would LOVE to read about them!  Feel free to leave a comment or a link to a blog post... I'd love to stop by your blog and check it out. 

xoxo

19 comments:

Colleen said...

I could not agree more. It is about making those memories and I share in that with you. Plus, who wouldn't want to spend time with our littles?!! they bring such smiles to my face.

Four Marrs and One Venus said...

What a fun night! You got me into the Chinese Party mood.. that we enjoyed a fun dinner celebration as well! Thank you for keeping me on my game missy! Loved every little detail about your special dinner! Awesome memories are in the making-you did good! xo Jen

BoiseBryners said...

What a sweet post. You boys are so lucky to have such a great momma!

Heidi @ Mom's Crafty Space said...

I love this! This is exactly why we celebrate all sorts of holidays and special days too. It really IS all about making those precious memories! Your party looks awesome! :)

Jennifer said...

Thanks for this! Makes me proud of some of the few traditions I have and makes me want to start new ones!! My side of the family has always celebrated birthdays and so even though I may have a family party with Lil' Hunkie I still do something special the day of with just us 3. I do want to do more celebrating though to make happy memories! Glad I have you as a guide!

Jen said...

I think this might be my favorite post of yours! You are too awesome! I love everything you did - might have to steal it all for next year (we were too sick and lazy to even order Chinese food this year. Sad, right?)

Anyway, I especially LOVE the comments about making memories for your kids. I know they are going to remember these fun silly days for the rest of their lives!

chris m. said...

I LOVE, LOVE this post. Last year we celebrated Chinese NY, and it was so much fun. I love it even more that you are a girl who likes to celebrate all things. I completely agree. I don't have kids yet, but I still like to celebrate, and we even do childish things too. LOL. Thanks for the great post, looking forward to looking at the rest of your blog. :)

-Chris
http://c2marcano.blogspot.com/

Michelle Paige said...

What a post!! What a great reminder about why we celebrate--to create family memories and make traditions! Love this! I have never celebrated Chinese New Year, but thinking I should start! Thanks for the fun ideas!

The Jenson's said...

As always Laurie AMAZING! And as always I will be copying you in the future! I can't wait to do things like this when my kids will actually get it. I want to start now so badley, but then remind myself that Zach just turned 3 and doesn't get any of this yet. I want my effort put to good use. (maybe next year)

Tonia L said...

What an awesome mom you are! Your kids will always look back on their childhood with fond memories! And I love those cupcakes..sooo cute!
~Tonia @TheGunnySack

Mama B @ Generation Freedom said...

I LOVE the cupcakes dragon! That is truly too cool! And I already peeked at your recent post with the burlap wreaths, hello amazing! Too adorable! Keep it up!

Emily @ 52 Mantels said...

What a fun momma!! I have one 11 month old daughter (ps. LOVE my MOPS group!), and I hope to be the kind of mom who celebrates life with her! I'm still pretty new at this momma thing, but I hope to remember your wisdom from this post. Thanks for sharing!

I'm your newest follower!! :)

Reannah @ {Shaped by Grace} said...

Aw, I love this post too! :) Great job on the dragon and all the decoration! We love to celebrate! Family time in Big Bear is our tradition -- because what we love about it doesn't cost money. It's getting away from the electronics and spending the family time together. :) The boys also love that, no matter how simple, I always decorate their breakfast table special for whatever holiday it is. I also LOVE the idea of talk like a pirate night! I think we'll have to make that a weekly routine too! lol Love it! Great post Laurie! :)

Natalie Dixon said...

I just adore you!

Natalie Dixon said...

oh yeah, and I'm also featuring this tonight!

Ami w/AliLilly said...

Oh my gosh!! Now, I feel like a terrible mom! I KNOW that isn't your intention but seriously! I SHOULD BE and will be doing this for my Alie!! What a great way to introduce so much culture into her life!! Your party looks super great too!!!

Hani@Craftionary said...

This is amazing.. I love the idea of introducing kids to all the cultures around the world.. I would love to see more ideas on different cultures on your blog.. :)
It's a fun thing..

Holly Lefevre said...

Chinese new year is my sons favorite celebration - he wants to go to China so badly. I am not a big celebration person...BUT my kids love it and I love doing it for them so we pretty much find some sort of way to celebrate just about everything. I loved your ideas and your take on this entire process. Pinned it!

The Fickle Pickles said...

Hi Laurie :) We pinned your chocolate dipped fortune cookies and featured your Chinese New Year celebration post here: http://www.theficklepickles.com/2012/02/fortunate-to-call-you-friend.html

Thanks for the inspiration!

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