Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bloggers by Country (China)

I just arrived back from my spring break trip from Guilin, China.  As I am checking out my emails, catching up on TONS of blogs, and looking at my own blog, I realized I never added a China blog button letting my readers know of my current status of where I live and teach at.
 photo 5865c1df-9dbc-4740-a89d-7e4c7ccbd186.jpg 
So here is a new blog button I created to start searching for other fellow expats working and living in China, whether they are teaching English, homeschooling, working at an international school, or stay home parent.  I wanted to see if there are many other expats working and living in this great, big country! I also created a new page for easy access for future reference. 

If you are a blogger, living and working in China, I would love to connect with you!  Join in the fun and meet other teachers from China and add the blog button to your own blog! :)  Just click the picture above or the page "Blogs by Country (China)" at the top of my blog to redirect you to the linking fun.

P.S.- This is also my first time hosting a linky party.  So please spread the love! Does anyone know how to extend the expiration date to over a year?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Currently March

Wowza! It's March 1st already! Time is zooming by and I am embarrassed to say I don't remember the last time I wrote a Currently post...

I enjoy reading everyone's posts especially Farley's!  Also I just ADORE her new blog layout and I can't believe it's from the fabulous 3AM Teacher, Michelle!  I love Michelle's work, too!

So here's my currently:
Listening: So my spring break is in 4 weeks and my roommate and I are planning on traveling to Southern China to visit the famous, beautiful mountains and rivers of Guilin.  (If you haven't already guessed, I work in China at an International School!)  I'm super pumped about this trip but also nervous because none of us in the group I'm going in knows how to speak good enough Chinese.  It would be adventure anyways.  We use a lot of hand gestures and acting in China.

Loving: Lately, the pollution is getting very high.  All the news reports says the pollution has been unnaturally high in Northern China (I live close to Beijing).  Since Friday, I've finally seen blue skies!! Today I saw a plane in the air, which is really rare to see when the pollution clouds up the skies.

Thinking: On Mondays, I always cook for my roommate and I.  Sundays is when I plan all the things I need to buy.  So right now, my shopping list is getting extensively long for Monday's supper.

Wanting: I feel like I always need a good full body massage.  Surprisingly, I haven't been to a massage place here in China yet, even though they are relatively cheap here.  I must do some more research!

Needing:  Since I've moved to China in August, I realized how hard it is to find a good gym other than my school.  Here, there is no such thing as Zumba, yoga, or kickboxing (wah)!  I keep telling myself to just use YouTube or ask my friends to mail me some workout DVDs.

????: Did you figure out my question?!!  Hope it's not too hard!  I hope Laura, Han, or Natalie would get this! Guess my question in the comments below!

Don't forget the rule of 3 and link with Farley below!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chinese New Year Recaps + A freebie

In my last post, I talked about my first Chinese New Year holiday without my family, living in China, and how we celebrated this awesome holiday at the international school I teach at.  Today I will share some of the crafts and activities we did to celebrate CNY.

In our ECC lobby, each student decorated a paper plate to add to our dragon body.  I love how it turned out.  Our principal and her husband (an art teacher) created and designed the head.  We got this idea from this site.
 We punched a hole at the top of the paper plates and used a paper clip to attach the plate to a wire string hanging on the ceiling.
I gave my students a bunch of different materials to decorate.  They could use markers, crayons, feathers, glitter, stickers, pipe cleaners, etc.  I let them use both glue and tape since the tape could hold the bulkier things down.

Since it is the Year of the Horse, we made CNY horse signs to hang up by our door.  The Chinese like to surround their door with good luck and well wish signs for the new year.  This always reminds me of the Bible account where people would paint their doors with blood during the Passover.
This craft was simple.  You can download the horse templates {here}.  Print the big octagon on red paper and the small octagon on white paper.  Add yarn or ribbon with some beads (I used yellow and red to match the Chinese color schemes) and glitter.  The Chinese character above the horse is called "ma" in Mandarin.

Another day we made a famous Chinese snack in our city and many others called Tanghulu.  Tanghulu are sugar candied fruits on bamboo skewers.  The most famous fruit the Chinese use are hawthorns.  But you can also use small oranges, strawberries, or kiwis.
Hawthorn berries are very tart and sour.  The candied sugar coating helps sweeten the fruit.  When biting into the Tanghulu,  sometimes the hawthorn is still sour causing your face to squish up.

Here's how to make this easy, yummy treat. First get 1 part sugar and 1 part water (I believe the TAs used about 1 cup of each ingredient) and let it sit and boil in the pan.  DO NOT STIR the mixture.  The mixture bubble up.  I think we waited about 10-15 minutes.
As you are letting it boil, start skewering the fruit.
 Then dip the skewered fruit into the pan and let the sugar harden.  The sugar should be hard like a lollipop.  It might take another 10 minutes to completely dry.  Use a Styrofoam ball or vase to stick the skewers in or the sugar will get stuck on the plates.
Tanghulu is typically sold on the streets as a snack.

Another famous Chinese snack we made were homemade dumplings or in Chinese it is called Gyoza.  Our kitchen staff made the meat filling and dumpling dough.  Then we had one of our ayi's (school helper) teach us how to roll, fill, and wrap a dumpling.  It is a lot harder than it looks.  
Here's a YouTube to show you how to do it.

Here are some pictures of my kindergarteners folding their own dumplings.  We boiled them and ate them when we were finished make them!

Link back and let me know if you tried making Tanghulu or dumplings at home or in school!  Many of my students (including some Chinese students) never had this before until we made it. 

I linked up with TBA's Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How we celebrate Chinese New Year in China

Xin Nian Kuai Le! (Mandarin)
Gong Hay Fat Choy! (Cantonese)

Happy Chinese New Year!
The month of January has been a very busy for me because it is sandwiched by two important holidays, Christmas and Chinese New Year.  At the international school I teach at, we get two weeks off for Christmas, then 3 weeks of school, and then another two weeks off for Chinese New Year.

 I feel very blessed to basically get a double holiday break.  Since I am Chinese American, this Chinese New Year was a little strange for me.  This is the first Chinese New Year I spent without my family.  I miss eating my mom's homemade Chinese food and the big banquets we would have in Ohio.  Sadly there is only a handful of good Chinese restaurants in my hometown state.  I miss collecting all of my red envelopes from relatives, family friends, and church friends.  On Skype, my Mawmaw (grandma) in Hong Kong teased me by flashing my red envelope on the screen saying I had to come visit her to receive it. 

Instead, I went to the Philippines with two of my co-workers to relax on the sunny beaches and away from the wintery weather of Northern China. 
Laying by the pool among the coconut trees

I didn't want to leave the Philippines!
Below are a few pictures I did with my Kindergarteners on the Friday before Chinese New Year break.  Our school had "China Day" where everyone was encouraged to dress in traditional Chinese clothes and/or wear red if they didn't own any.  I wore my mother's Qi Pao (Woman's dress) that she wore at her wedding banquet.  :)

Photo booth

Making rice cakes with different flavor jelly on top

Chinese calligraphy

Listening to Chinese stories and folktales

This man is creating beautiful pictures made out of melted candy sugar

Lion dance

Some of the kindergarteners performing a Chinese song.

Watching the firecrackers in our school's courtyard.

Kinders played with ribbon streamers while dancing to Chinese New Year songs.

Lion and Dragon dance in the auditorium. 

If you visit my TpT and TN stores, check out my Chinese New Year Thematic unit that is on for sale for 50%.  Many of the activities and crafts in the unit I remembered doing as a child when my mom would visit my classroom to share about Chinese New Year and Chinese culture.  The links are on the right sidebars.

Come back later this week to see what else I did in my classroom to celebrate CNY. 

I hope you will have a "whinny-ing" year!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Author Study: David Shannon

I wanted to post this for a very long time but never found free time to share my author study on David Shannon I did with my kinders back around November.  So finally after almost 2 months, I wanted to share with you some pictures we did!  Please read and look for a freebie. :)

I always make a bulletin board featuring our author we are studying about in our library/reading center.  My kids always enjoy looking at the books the authors write and matching the characters they are reading about to the ones I chose to put on the door.

I painted Camille from the book, A Bad Case of Stripes, during one of my in-service days in the fall.  Painting and drawing relaxes me when I am stressed from work.
I loved reading A Bad Case of Stripes with my students.  We talked about foods we hate and love. You can download this activity {here} or on the pictures above for FREE!  You can turn it into a craftivity where students can draw their favorite food on a plate or turn it into a class book.

My kiddos loved making the No, David masks.  They used it all the time when they read the David books.  Get these masks for free from Kathryn's Kindergarten Kindergarten.

What is your favorite David Shannon book?  I love Alice The Fairy and A Bad Case of Stripes.  Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hello 2014!

December 2013 slipped by so fast, I forgot to write a single post last month.  I thought having a new job and lots of ideas stirring in my head, I would be able to share it all for you to read.  But it's just the opposite.  Hopefully, I can change my habits and plan for more time to sit and blog about my professional and personal life in China. 
I'm sad that I didn't write a post about our ECC Christmas program.  We did a Walk Through Bethlehem.  My kinder class dressed up as sheep, Mary, and Joseph.  The sheep costume were to die for! We sang "Away in a manger" and a "Nativity Lullaby". 

During Christmas break, I flew back home to the States to visit my family, boyfriend, and friends in the Midwest area.  I also went home for my boyfriend's family wedding in Cleveland.  Ohio had beautiful weather in the 40s-50s-- perfect for a winter wedding.

I was happy to see my man.  Long distance dating -especially overseas dating- is hard! 5 months of not physically seeing each other made us appreciate and treasure the moments we are able to spend together over the holiday break.  Since the day he picked me up from the airport (with flowers, I must add), he didn't leave my side until the day I had to fly back to China.  :)

Since I was in the US over break, I have been non-stop traveling in all modes of transportation-- airplanes, cars, walking, bus.  It can be exhausting, definitely if you add jet-lag into the equation.  One item I am happy to always have with me while traveling is Mineral Water Spray by Evian.  These spray cans come in packs of twos at Sephora.  They are TSA-approved and fit perfectly in my makeup bag.  It is perfect to hydrate and keep yourself fresh and clean. 
Evian - Mineral Water Spray

Are you ready for 2014?  I am!  Maybe not exactly "school" ready but I'm excited what 2014 has to offer me.  I have a couple New Year's resolutions in mind this year but my big one is definitely to blog more often about what is happening/going on in my classroom.  Tomorrow I will be blogging about what I did during our author study on David Shannon! :)

I hope everyone will have a blessed and healthy new year!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I'm Thankful for being...Sick

Yes, you read my title post right, I am thankful for being sick!  Well, it's not 100% accurate...I hate being sick.  I'm pretty sure I had food poisoning from my lunch out on Sunday and Sunday night into the wee, early Monday morning was TERRIBLE!  I didn't think I could puke my whole stomach out, but I think I was very close to doing so in the last 48 hours.  I'll save you the utter, gross details for another post.  On that being said, I am still thankful for being sick because now I found a good time to write on my blog (which I do miss since I started my new job in China).*
Trying to stay warm (and not sick) during recess!
Since Thanksgiving is coming up, I wanted to count my blessings and share what I have been thankful for this year, especially in the last 4-5 months since I left America for China.

I thank God for:
2. My Family: Leaving my intermediate family in the U.S. to start a new adventure in China was a huge leap for me.  However, everyone was gracious to me and I was very fortunate to connect with my extended family in Hong Kong when I visited my grandma for her 80th birthday a couple weeks ago.
3. My Boyfriend: He should receive the Ultimate Boyfriend of the Year Award (or maybe decade?).  He has been so loving, patient, and understanding with me.  I just can't believe how lucky I am to have him and call him my own, even though we are on different time zones and continents!  6 years and we are still going strong. :)
4. Technology: FaceTime, Skype, Instagram, iMessage, email, internet, YouTube, Facebook, iPhone, SmartBoard...etc. The list goes on and on!  I truly don't think I could survive transitioning into a new, strange world without these things. I'm sounding like a typical Gen Y kid, but hey it's on my list of things I'm thankful for!
5. Starbucks in CHINA! Being able to see, smell, taste, something from America once in awhile (ok, maybe everyday...) is very nice to be thankful about.
6. Turkey!  I thought I wouldn't be able to taste Turkey until I landed back in the US or ordering an expensive, imported whole turkey, but thank God for Subway!
7. My readers and my blog: Connecting with teachers all around the world with diverse backgrounds, creative ideas, and teaming up as a global community gives me the chills!  You guys are the best!
8. My friends- Old and New, Near and Far :)
9. Fall weather= scarves and fall clothes
10. The Blue sky and clean air- It's strange how I check the pollution more often than the weather app now. 
11. My Ikea bed
12. My 8 precious students and TA- We are a small class but we are family and I love them all so very much!
13. Roommate nights- Being able to hang out and get to know my new roommate has been amazing so far. She is really God-given to me and I'm thankful for going through ups and downs with her.
14. Camera- To capture moments which may be hard to explain in words.  Just look up these hashtags to name a few moments: #sleepingchinamen #expatproblems #expatlife #livinginchina
15. Taxi Drivers, marketplace workers, waiters...people of China- For being kind and gracious to be when I ask them to take me somewhere in my broken Chinese or give me the benefit of a doubt when I say "Ting Bu Dong".  My favorite phrase meaning, "I hear you but I don't understand". 
16. My Ayi- Our cleaning lady (ayi=aunt in Chinese).  She is amazing when she comes and cleans our apartment.  Life is just better when you walk into a clean house.
17.  My School- I'm so lucky to teach in a school where everyone truly cares for each other, students and colleagues.  I love my ECC team!
18. China- As a foreigner in a country I'm not used to, I'm glad I am having a great working/living experience of a life-time.
19. My Oven- In China, people don't typically cook with an oven. I'm glad my job provided our apartment one so we can make yummy foods like cookies and stuffing.
20.Music- Life is just sweeter with music.  Anyone else listening to Christmas music as you are preparing for Thanksgiving dinner?
*I was so sick on Monday, I didn't finish this post until today- just in time for Thanksgiving day!

Having a Thanksgiving luncheon with kinders and their families!
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of my special readers. :)