Chinese New Year Party with Winter Promise

I received a free copy of Winter Promise’s Children Around the World curriculum in exchange for a series of posts about how we are using it.  This is one such post.  For my complete review and disclosure policy, click on the ‘Full Disclosure’ tab above.
 We recently spent several weeks studying China for our homeschool Geography Fair (more about that to come).  The kids were super excited when we read in our Winter Promise materials that extended family is typically invited to a Chinese New Year dinner, and so our simple homemade dinner morphed into a full-fledged dinner party.
Fortunately for me, Winter Promise made this easy.  With menu ideas, customs, and much more all included, this was an easy way to add an element of fun to our study.
My Big Helper created a beautiful invitation on red paper, written with a golden-inked pen.
My Little Man made these beautiful lanterns for on our chandelier.  He decorated them with that same golden pen, and the effect was quite stunning.
After quite a bit of research, we planned a menu that we felt incorporated many of the traditional Chinese elements we were reading about.  We made sure to include as many of symbolic foods as we could, and there were lots.  For example, we served long noodles, which is symbolic of the hope for along life, and seafood, which is symbolic for the hope for wealth.  This made our table look somewhat like a buffet, but it gave us a good opportunity to try new things.   
Despite our research, our food was not exactly authentic.  I don’t have the right sort of pans or kitchen set-up to cook many dishes at once, so we planned semi-correct things – dishes that would give us the right flavors but prepared a different way.  The kids prepped the main dishes, Mongolian Beef and Sesame Chicken, and while My Little Man had a blast doing it, My Big Helper decided that raw meat is ‘yucky.’

Despite our lack of woks, everything came out well.  Most of the Mongolian Beef was devoured.

There were even fewer appetizers left – apparently dumplings, egg rolls, and rangoons are a bit hit with this family.
We had a great time at our Chinese New Year feast and discovered several new talents.  My Little Man is an expert chopstick user.  Egg rolls are easier to make than I thought.
The best part, though, was talking afterwards.  We talked about how the Chinese culture was lots of fun to study, but about how happy we are to know that our futures are not dependent upon serving the proper foods or appeasing the right gods.  We can’t change our future by eating long noodles or short ones, but we do know the One who holds our futures, and there’s freedom in knowing that He’s planning a good one for us.
Although, as good as those long noodles were, we’ll probably eat them again, anyway – just for fun.
Thanks, Winter Promise!
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