Chinese New Year Celebration // Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year - The Girls in Mandarin Dresses

Chinese New Year Celebration // Year of the Horse

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the year of the Horse. It is a year for renewal and growth. The horse is strong and swift, and teaches us to seize the moment!

With the Chinese New Year being right around the corner, I thought the best way to teach my Baby Bear about the traditions and splendor of the occasion was with a Chinese New Year Play Date Party! Thankfully we are only a short ride away to Chinatown, so we ventured off for an afternoon of learning, shopping, eating and plain ole’ mommy and me fun. The following day we decorated the house and had a fun-filled day with all of her buddies!

See how it all came together…


  • Event Production: pop! by YAZ
  • Venue: Private Residence
  • Photography: pop! by YAZ
  • Decor +  Favors: pop! by YAZ via Pearl River Mart + Chinatown
  • Mandarin Dresses: Chinatown

Chinese New Year - Mommy and Baby BearMe and the Baby Bear! We just love having our friends over and dressing up.

Chinese New Year - Mandarin DressMandarin Dress
Baby Bear and I went shopping in Chinatown and scored by finding these beautiful Mandarin dresses for all of her friends.  Upon entry, we surprised them with the choice of a dress for them to wear during the festivities.

Chinese New Year - Baby BearMy Baby Bear!!!

Chinese New Year - Dragon Flower CenterpieceTangerines
During Chinese New Year, tangerines and oranges are displayed as decorations and are also exchanged among friends and acquaintances. Sometimes, small trees are kept for this purpose. Fruit is almost always a good Chinese New Year’s gift. Oranges and tangerines are a traditional favorite, though, and can also represent happiness and abundance, as in an abundant harvest. If there are still leaves and a stem attached to the fruit, it also means fertility.

Chinese New Year - Mouth of the Dragon
The Centerpiece

The peony is considered to be the “Flower of Richness and Good Luck” in China. Therefore it is a favorite New Year decoration. I also included a paper dragon with a pearl mouth piece.

Chinese New Year - Gold HorsesYear of the Horse
2014 is the Year of the Horse according to Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Horse starts from Jan. 31, 2014 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) and lasts to Feb. 18, 2015. I painted the horses gold as it represents happiness and prosperity.

Chinese New Year - LanternsLanterns
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of traditional Chinese calendar. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles. People also get together to celebrate the beginning of spring by watching fireworks and eating Yuanxiao (sweet stuffed dumplings made of glutinous rice flour served in soup).  The festival officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Chinese New Year - The Kids TableChinese New Year - Dragon Smiles

Chinese New Year - Year of the HorseLion Dance
Street celebrations often include a traditional lion dance which is believed to scare away evil and bring good luck. There are usually two dancers. One acts as the head and the other the body. They dance to a drum, cymbals and a gong. On the head of the lion is mirror so that evil spirits will be frightened away by their own reflections. As the lion runs along the streets he begins to visit different places. On his way he meets another person, the ‘Laughing Buddha’ who is dressed in monk’s robes and a mask. He teases the lion with a fan made of banana-leaves which makes the lion jump around.

Chinese New Year - Red FlowersRed Flowers
Red is a very important color as it represents happiness, purity, celebration, health and luck.

Chinese New Year - Paper Dragon

Chinese New Year - Crafting 2

Chinese New Year - Friends

Chinese New Year - Friends

Chinese New Year - Interpretive Lion DanceCrafts + Fun
Paper dragons, interpretative lion dances, spontaneous hugs and tons of laughter ensued throughout the afternoon.

Chinese New Year - Toasting

Chinese New Year - Feast table
Chinese New Year - The Feast
The Feast
Steamed Vegetables
Steamed Rice
Beef Fried Rice
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Chicken Lo Mein
Pink Fortune Cake
Sweet Biscuits

When served during Chinese New Year, noodles shouldn’t be cut or broken into pieces. Long noodles represent a nice long life, although eating them could get a little messy.

Chinese dumplings are one of the most important foods in Chinese New Year.  They symbolize wealth as their shape is similar to ancient gold or silver ingots.

Chinese New Year - Eating with ChopsticksMehar showing off her chopstick skills.

Chinese New Year - Mean Muggin'Uh oh! Looks like somebody is mean muggin’!!!! She thought she didn’t get a tangerine. No tangerine, no good fortune! YIKES!

Chinese New Year - Eat Fortune CakeAhaana nibbles on pink Fortune Cake.

Chinese New Year - Red Flowers Chinese New Year - Red EnvelopeRed Envelope
Early on New Years Day children receive lucky red packets called ‘Hong Bao’ containing sweets or money.

Chinese New Year - Kids FavorsFavors
Their gold take-out boxes included a small change purse, pink chopsticks and a mini doll.

Chinese New Year - Fortune CookieFortune Cookie // Year of the Horse
Now is the time to implement meaningful changes in our lives. With its wild spirit, the horse longs to roam the land freely. It is a year for bold adventures and enlightening exploration. It’s a good time to travel afar! The Wood Horse can bring you good fortune, new journeys, and a replenished spirit.

Chinese New Year - Life of LaughterLive, love and laughter
Live like the moment pictured. Exuberant, engaged and with all of your heart.  Make everyday pop! Let go and LIVE!!!!

Kai Lan Pancake Play Date


Kai Lan Pancake Play Date

Chef Baby Bear strikes again! This time she made a weekday request to make Kai Lan pancakes. It sounded like this “Mommy… how about if we make Kai Lan pancakes? Yeah… I think that sounds like a great idea. And we can make Rintoooooooo and Hohoooooo. Actually, can we have a play date?” With eyes wide open and mouth on the floor I say “Wow!!! What a challenge!!!! Kai Lan, HoHo, Rintoo and friends?”  What can I say????? She suckered me in what that cute face.  That was Friday and by the afternoon the invites were out for that Sunday morning. The Baby Bear could not stop talking about her pending play date with her BFFs. Below is a look at their fun filled day! We can’t wait to do it again!

DSC_0472The Baby Bear set up her DJ station on my trunk. I asked her what she was doing and she said
“Mommy I am setting up my DJ Table” Like duh! What was I thinking?

DSC_0479DJ Baby Bear on the ones and twos! Do you see that skill?

Baby Bear Approved Playlist:

Mirrors  – Justin Timberlake
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
Diamonds – Rihanna
Scream & Shout – Will I. Am
Get the Sillies Out – Yo Gabba Gabba

DSC_0480Prior to the girls arriving I created templates for us to follow

DSC_0481Along with the actual drawing I planned out each area of the face and determined what
ingredient we could use to create each feature

DSC_0489They’re fancy! They make pancakes with brown eggs. Martha would be proud.

DSC_0493I told them the secret to fluffy pancakes. No, I can’t tell you… it’s a secret.

DSC_0492See Chef Baby Bear’s face? That’s the face of a kid who knows the secret.

DSC_0501Yup! Ahaana knows the secret too!

DSC_0520Then she did this! No patting! No patting! Ahaana use the SECRET!

DSC_0523Look at those big fluffy pancakes.

Slide1Brookie and Liana cut out the faces for their Kai Lan pancakes

Slide2Mehar and Ahaana make their cuts

Slide3Look at that! Hoho looks awesome!

DSC_0540  The girls make Kai Lan’s flowers with fruit roll-ups. What I love is that they created their own version of Kai Lan.
Brookie wanted to eat, I mean make the most use of the chocolate chips.

DSC_0543Painting on Kai Lan’s hair with chocolate syrup

DSC_0545Ahaana sprinkles on the coconut for Hoho’s fur

DSC_0548Use the scraps from her face to create hair

DSC_0554Rintoo by Mehar

DSC_0557Hoho by Ahaana

DSC_0564Kai Lan by Brooke

DSC_0569Kai Lan by Liana

DSC_0570  DSC_0577




TSlide4It was like the 3 year old version of The View, but much cuter and sprinkled with tons of giggles

Slide5     DSC_0604

DSC_0608The girls toast to the occasion

DSC_0616Brookie took center stage to sing all of the words like it was her own concert







DSC_0641  DSC_0643







  • Pancakes

Kai Lan #1

  • Banana and Grape- Eyes
  • Chocolate Chip – Nose
  • Fruit Roll-up- Flowers
  • Pancake painted in chocolate Syrup – Hair

Kai Lan #2

  • Banana/Blueberry- Eyes
  • Pancake painted in chocolate Syrup – Nose/mouth
  • Pancake dipped in chocolate Syrup – Mouth/Eye Brows
  • Fruit Roll-up – Flowers


  • Blueberries – Eyes
  • Chocolate Chip – Nose
  • Coconut – Fur
  • Pancake dipped in chocolate Syrup – Mouth/Eye Brows
  • Strawberry Syrup – Cheeks


  • Black Berry – Eyes
  • Banana – Nose
  • Pancake – Mouth
  • Fruit Roll-up – Tongue


  • Pot Lid (or other round item)
  • Grater Lid (or other oval item)
  • Various Cookie Cutters
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brushes