The lunar year of what? Sheep, ram, goat or lamb?

This holiday really has me seeing red!

Back in my home country of China, the New Year celebrations are starting to heat up. If you wanted to include the traditional days of preparation getting ready for the holiday and the holiday itself, you would spend about a month in total. And each day has its own special activity. On one for example, you should clean your house from top to bottom. As I’ve mentioned before, everything has a deeper meaning in China, and this cleaning is no exception. The idea is that you are gathering up and throwing away all the bad luck from the previous year in order to get ready for the next one. As you may know, the Chinese have 12 zodiac signs just as the western horoscope has. But in our culture your sign is determined by the year you are born instead of the month and day. This New Year we will be welcoming the Year of the Sheep. Actually this is an area where the Chinese and English languages don’t communicate very well. In Mandarin, there is a single word that represents all of these types of animals, whether it’s a ram, sheep or goat. All I know for sure is; I love lamb chops!

Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao

When I first moved to America, I still liked to celebrate the holiday, after all it’s our biggest one of the year! I wanted to make sure all the traditional dishes would be served because I planned to introduce my new family to my culture. There was one small problem though; I didn’t know how to cook! I never thought my mom was the best cook when I was growing up, so when she never got around to teaching me her kitchen skills, I was OK with that. When I moved to Shanghai there were so many convenient and inexpensive food venders and restaurants near my apartment, that it was no problem finding something tasty to eat. Eventually, when I got pretty busy with my webstore I even hired a local woman to come in once a day and tidy up the place and cook lunch. There was always enough left over to carry me to the next day when she would come again. So when I moved to America, the first thing I had to do was find out where I could find the groceries I needed. And the next thing was to figure out how to make it taste how I wanted! I’m happy to say that after a lot of experimentation and a few missteps, I think I got the hang of it. We did find some Asian markets not too far from where we live and I got a couple cookbooks from China before I moved. But mostly I don’t really use the recipes and just sort of make it up as I go.

Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao

It must have gone pretty well because now my family even makes some of the dishes. My stepdaughter especially loves to cook and bake and has even had some of her coworkers over while she makes traditional steamed dumplings. She loves Chinese New Year so much she’s even taking vacation time from her job to spend the New Year Eve with us. We always have a small feast with 10 or 12 dishes. We have to stay up until midnight for the firecrackers so usually play card games and continue to snack through the evening. It used to be illegal to have firecrackers in Michigan so we would make the drive into nearby Ohio to buy our “supplies”. But now they have opened up the market here too, so it’s a lot easier to make some noise without worry! We always have lots of leftover dumplings from the dinner so every New Year morning I fry some up for breakfast. This is my husband’s favorite breakfast and I have to admit that it’s one of mine too. Another tradition we have to follow is everyone gets a new pair of red socks to wear on New Years Day. Red is our lucky color so the socks make sure you walk into the next year the right way. It’s actually pretty hard to find them sometimes so we usually end up with Valentine’s Day socks covered with tiny hearts. But as long as they’re red they still get the job done.

Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao

I hope you can share some of your family holiday traditions in my comments page. Is there some special activity, food or clothes that you have to have or the holiday just isn’t right? If you’re looking for a new one you still have a couple days to get your red socks! Happy New Year!

Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao

Don’t forget to check out our amazing giveaway this week here from My Arm Charms. Good luck to everybody!

Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao
Chinese Red Qi Pao

Cheers!
Grace

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Giveaway—Roses are red, violets are blue; love is in the air and style is too!

Like I mentioned in my other post today, I began to make friends online because of this blog. I met Leslie, the owner of My Arm Charms , an online fashion boutique. I fell in love with her products but I was not sure about the quality. I am a very picky person when it comes to buying things. So I tried two bracelets from her store first and I love them!! You can see here. After I found out Leslie is offering a giveaway, I had to jump on board. I am lucky enough to co-host this giveaway with another amazing blogger Ocie from As Told by Ocie. Please make sure to visit her blog and say hi to her as well! Thank you so much and good luck everybody!!!

Enter below to win 1 of 3 charming bracelets brought to you by My Arm Charms!!!

When In Rome
When In Rome

See it here: http://myarmcharms.com/products/when-in-rome
Flashy, catchy, worldly; When In Rome features:
-Silver tone, textured metal
-Diameter 2 1/2″
-Roman numerals
-Lead compliant

The Mini Murano
The Mini Murano

See it here: http://myarmcharms.com/products/mini-murano
The Mini Murano is small, dainty and absolutely charming! Featuring:
-Adjustable bracelet
-Murano glass beads
-Crystal studs
-1/4″ tall
-Lead compliant

Rock Star Bracelet
Rock Star Bracelet

See it here: http://myarmcharms.com/products/rock-star
This glamorous Rock Star Bracelet is edgy, model chic in a bold teal and features:
-Leather
-Cast metal design
-1 3/4″H
-Adjustable (7 1/2″L or 8 1/2″L) button-snap closure
-Lead and nickel compliant

My Arm Charms

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:
US Residents Only. Winner is contacted via email, you must enter a valid email and must confirm receipt within 24 hours from the time and date emailed. This event is in no way administered, sponsored or endorsed by, or associated with Twitter, Facebook, Google, Pinterest or any other Social Media platform. No purchase is necessary to enter. Odds of winning are contingent on the number of entries received. You will have 24 hours to respond or prize is forfeited and a new winner will be selected. Void where prohibited by law. The SPONSER is responsible for shipping and delivery of the prize unless otherwise stated and the owners of As Told By Ocie are not liable for prize delivery or receipt. You will hold As Told By Ocie harmless of all claims. All entries will be verified before winner is notified and any bad entries will be disqualified. Sponsor has the option to replace prize with something of equal or lessor value if the prize is no longer obtainable.

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Over 40s Petite fashion and life style blogger