This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 19th. We don’t usually ever celebrate but because Abbey is getting into that school age, I want to do fun things with her, and share with her other cultures from around the world. This year is The Year of the Sheep, and we wanted to share with you some fun things we will be doing to incorporate Chinese New Year, and celebrating the wish of good fortune, into our daily lives. We’ve got some crafts, recipes and yummy snacks to share to make adding a bit of Chinese New Year flare fit easily into your daily life too! Trust me, they are easy and won’t take all day, but will give you a big impact for the kids!
Abbey is a HUGE lover of crafts. I can’t even tell you how many times I have come into the living room to glitter and yarn and glue everywhere. I try not to stifle her creativity, but sometimes I just wish she would wait for me! For Chinese New Year, we wanted to create a super cute sheep, and some easy paper lanterns to decorate our house with.
Year of the Sheep Craft
The Year of the Sheep is the 8th sign of the 12 year cycle Chinese Zodiac. Sheep are described as peaceful, loving and popular, as well as ones with nature! To make a simple Sheep you will need a few simple household items;
- 1 sheet of white paper
- 1 sheet of black paper
- Cotton balls
- White glue
- 2 googly eyes
- 1 black pom pom
Cut a round shape out of the white paper. This will be the sheep’s body, so it doesn’t have to be perfect, any roundish shape will do! Next, cut a head and some little hooves with the black paper. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just a general head shape – think upside down triangle with ears! Glue the hooves to the base of the shape, and spread glue all over the body. This is when you can let the little ones go crazy with the cotton balls! The more, the fluffier is what I say! Finish the sheep by gluing the eyes and pom pom nose on the head and gluing the head to the body! Let it dry and then display it! Don’t forget to write your child’s name, date and “Year of the Sheep” on the back so you can remember!
Easy Paper Lanterns Craft
Paper Lanterns are often associated with festivals and celebrations and are used to attract attention to festivities. There are 5 different classes of paper lanterns, our tutorial is for the classic “Rolling Paper” lantern, often found outside restaurants. It’s the easiest one for 3 year olds to do, trust me!
To make these simple and adorable lanterns all you will need is;
- Colored craft paper
- White Glue
- Craft scissors
- LED Tea Lights
Start by folding each piece of paper in half lengthwise. Along the folded edge, make 2 inch long cuts, 1 inch wide to create slits, leaving room on each edge to create the cylinder. Decorate the tops and bottoms with glue, glitter, sequins and drawings, making each lantern unique to you! Let your decorations dry, then roll up your lantern and glue the edge together to create the lantern shape! You can create a handle on top of the lantern by gluing a strip of paper to each side. Place the LED tea lights inside and watch your lanterns glow!
I am a HUGE fan of Chinese food! I’ve talked about how my husband doesn’t really enjoy the flavors, so we rarely get to have it, but sometimes I just have to make exceptions! Abbey and I love Chinese food, and get take out often, she can seriously chow down. When we do it at home, I like to take an easier route, and buy the premade frozen kind – it’s just easier, more affordable and I don’t need 20 different ingredients I don’t have on hand. The next time you’re at Walmart, grab a box of two of the Tai Pei® frozen appetizers.
Their egg rolls and spring rolls come in veggie, chicken, pork and shrimp, so there are lots of varieties to choose from. They even come with Sweet & Sour Sauce, but if that is not your thing, check out these other sauce options! The trio of sauces will really elevate this semi-homemade appetizer! Check out Facebook for a their Red Envelope coupon and claim one before they’re all gone! Also check out their Pinterest and Twitter pages for ideas and updates@
Thai Peanut Sauce
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix well.
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
- 3 red chili peppers
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp water
Blend peppers in a food processor (leave more seeds for a spicier sauce). Combine peppers, and rest of the ingredients (minus the water and cornstarch) into a small sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Simmer and cook 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch with water to make a slurry, and pour into sauce mixture. Stir until thickened. Store in a jar in the fridge.
Chinese Hot Mustard
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup dry English-style mustard (“Hot” variety for spicier)
- 1 tablespoon oil
Mix boiling water with mustard powder until well mixed. Add oil and combine.
Serve egg rolls and spring rolls with a the trio of sauces, and enjoy!
Homemade Fortune Cookies
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tsp corn starch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, whip together egg whites, vanilla and vegetable oil until frothy.
In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add water and mix until a thick paste. Add in the egg mixture and stir until combined. The dough will be soupy, so let it sit up a few minutes before using. Using a tablespoon, spoon the batter onto a silcone baking mat – don’t do more than 2-4 cookies at a time. Make sure you print out the fortunes below, and have them cut and ready to go – these cookies start to harden seconds after you remove them off the mat, so do one at a time and be ready. I also suggest having a muffin pan near by to help the cooking keep their shape as they cool. Cook each batch about 6 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
Working with one at a time, while the cookies are still hot, flip over so the smooth top is on the bottom, place a fortune in the center, and fold over. Use the edge of a coffee mug or bowl to help you fold the cookies in half again and place into the muffin pan if you’re using it.
Just like pancakes – the first few with be throw aways… it’s just takes a few batches to really get the hang out it. If you want a good laugh, head over to my Instagram page and check out my Fortune Cookie Fail. I never claimed to be perfect!
Click the picture below for FULL SIZE and save for a printable of my Year of the Sheep Fortune Cookie Sayings. It’s sized 5×7 and fits beautifully 4 to a page – perfect for cookies! Just cut them out on the lines, and trim them to fit inside your cookies!
Do you and your family do anything special for Chinese New Year? What are your customs and traditions? Share them on Social Media with #NewYearFortune
Special thanks to our sponsor, Tai Pei® Good Fortune in Every Box™