holidays Archives

December 25, 2007

mele kalikimaka

When I first moved to Hawaii, my Christmas question was: "How does Santa get into the houses to deliver all the presents?", since most houses here in Hawaii do not have chimneys. The answer was quite simple. He enters through the door. Mele Kalikimaka everyone!


(picture of Santa & Mrs. Santa in front of Honolulu Hale/City Hall from the
Honolulu Advertiser website)

February 7, 2008

the year of the rat

Kung Hee Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year!

There are many traditions associated with Chinese New Year, including:

*Each Chinese New Year is designated by one of 12 Animals (in the order of):
the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Hare, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.

Angie of Vagabond Artist wrote a very interesting Chinese New Year post about
the 12 Animals.

This year is the year of the Rat. Traits of those born in the year of the Rat (1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and this year): Quick-witted, excellent taste, organized, meticulous, charming, funny, sharp, compassionate, loyal, generous, greedy, quick-tempered, calculating, intelligent.

*Sweeping the home before Chinese New Year gets rid of any bad fortune that may have been in the family and makes way for the incoming good luck. Sweeping is never done on the first day of the new year for fear of sweeping away good luck and fortune.

*Staying up all night on New Year's Eve brings longevity to one's parents.

*Eating nian gao (a sticky rice cake steamed in lotus leaves) brings good luck, prosperity, and a successful career.

*Preparing and eating a fish with head and tail intact guarantees continuous good fortune. Breaking the fish is avoided during or after cooking as cutting things up is considered bad luck. The fish symbolizes togetherness and abundance. Many times, half of the fish is served during the New Year's feast and the rest is served the next day. Leftovers symbolize the sign of prosperity; that the family will always have more than enough.

*Wearing and displaying the color red also brings good luck (red clothing, red doorways, red lanterns, etc).

*The red envelopes (known as li see paper), which are often filled with money, are handed out for good luck.

*Popping firecrackers drives away bad luck.

*Lion dances are performed as a symbol of protection and good luck. It is also believed that the noise from the drums, the face of the lion, and the way the lion dances scares away bad or evil spirits.

Our school has been very fortunate to have one of the lion dance associations perform for our students the past three years. I missed the performance last year (was home sick). This year just as the performance was about to start, a big black cloud appeared over head. It started to pour just as the lion began to dance, so the kids had to run for shelter and it rained much of the performance.

2006 performance

Continue reading "the year of the rat" »

November 11, 2008

veteran's day

In honor of all who have served in the United States Armed Services...

December 7, 2008

cinnamon dough ornaments

This is a fun recipe that is easy to make and also smells great. We make these in our class each year.

1 1/2 cups of cinnamon (I buy it in bulk from Costco)
1 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup white school glue

Mix the cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together. Knead the mixture for 5-10 minutes until it is the consistency of cookie dough. If it seems a little hard, add a little water.

Put the dough in a zip loc bag, removing all of the air before sealing. Cover the dough with the damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. (I always find that the dough dries out too much. I would recommend letting it rest for only 15 minutes.) The dough is easier to use if it is room temperature, so do not refrigerate.

Next, take the dough out of the zip loc bag and knead the dough again. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick onto a smooth surface such as a thin cutting board, wax paper, aluminum foil, or a cookie sheet. Cut out shapes of your choice.

While dough is still wet, poke a hole in each ornament. Coffee stirrer straws work well for this step.

Flip them a few times a day so they will dry flat and evenly. The ornaments will shrink a little while drying. It takes 3-5 days for them to dry (2-3 days in warm weather).

Once they are dry, decorate and then thread a ribbon or piece of yarn through the hole for hanging.

We made a batch and a half of the dough and ended up with 20 gingerbread boy ornaments, two hearts, and one little blob.


click on the continue reading link below to read about a few tips that make these ornaments a little easier to make.

Continue reading "cinnamon dough ornaments" »

December 22, 2008

edible reindeers

It seems every year, at least one of the kids in my class cannot eat nuts. Instead of making the standard peanut butter on bread reindeer sandwiches, we have had to do a little thinking outside the box. Here are a couple of cooking activities we have done instead...

We've made hummus reindeer...



...and pancake reindeer. The hummus reindeer are more of a hands on activity, where as the pancake reindeer are more popular for eating (my kids are usually picky eaters).


I might give Palma's reindeer cookies a try next year (with a non-peanut butter cookie recipe).

December 24, 2008

mele kalikimaka





Happy Holidays everyone!!

I took these photos on Monday at Honolulu Hale (Honolulu's City Hall).

To see more photos of Honolulu Hale, as well as photos of the Kamehameha Statue and Iolani Palace, click on...

Continue reading "mele kalikimaka" »

December 31, 2008

happy new year!!

Here in Hawaii, New Year's Eve means fireworks. You don't need to look at your clock to know when it is midnight. I took this video at midnight last year on New Year's Eve.

All the aerial fireworks you see in this video are illegal. Pretty tough to enforce this I guess. I live in a townhouse complex where fireworks are not allowed. People generally follow this rule. The noise factor (and smoke factor) in this video would be much different if I lived where fireworks were popping all around me.

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!! Happy New Year!! Buon Anno!! Tanti Auguri Everyone!!

January 26, 2009

year of the ox

Each Chinese New Year is designated by one of 12 Animals (in the order of):
the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Hare, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.

Today is the beginning of the Chinese New Year of the Ox. People born in the Year of the Ox (1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) are said to be dependable with leadership qualities, patient, strong, responsible, great in organizing, honest, reliable, logical, stubborn, narrow minded, and have low public relations skills.

Both President Barack Obama and Princess Diana were born in the Year of the Ox. I am not sure the low public relations skills would describe either of them, but I do see some of the other traits in both.

Last year, I wrote about some of the traditions associated with the Chinese New Year and posted photos from 2006 and 2008 in my "year of the rat" post.

Below are a few photos from this year's Lion Dance and two short videos. I think my 2006 photos are better though, so if you have the chance, take a peek at my year of the rat post. The lions that year were much fancier.

Kung Hee Fat Choy!!



Click on Continue reading... to see more photos and the videos I made.

Continue reading "year of the ox" »

February 2, 2009

happy groundhog day

According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil (a very special groundhog) sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

I sure hope that he does not see his shadow this year. There has been much too much snow and cold winter weather for so many to endure. I am posting this early so that at least I can hope for everyone before the official word from Punxsutawney Phil is announced.

If you are looking for some great entertainment, check out this very cool video of last year's Groundhog Day ceremony at Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. I have already watched it three times! Groundhog day was always a big thing in school when I was little. It is barely mentioned here in Hawaii.

This video clip reminds me so much of the movie, Groundhog Day. I highly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it yet. It is a movie I could watch over and over again.

It's Groundhog Day!!

March 17, 2009

green for St. Paddy's Day

I thought I would post a couple of green photos from Portovenere, Italy for St. Patrick's Day.

I know, you are probably thinking Irish green from Italy? Well, I've never been to Ireland so I don't have any green Ireland photos to share. I did find some green photos of Hawaii, Switzerland, and Italy, but ultimately decided on the photos below for the fun factor.

Lots and lots of olive oil. Yum!

And if you are looking for pesto, look now further! A Pestomat 24 hour machine!

stpaddysday2.gif Happy St. Paddy's Day!

December 24, 2009

mele kalikimaka





I took these photos a couple of weeks ago while visiting some of the historic sights in Honolulu with Marta & her hubby while they were visiting Oahu. I realize the Santa & the snowmen photos are similar to the photos I posted last year. What can I say? We are in a budget crunch and a few of the decorations were not changed. I also realize that snowmen have nothing to do with Hanukkah. With no Hanukkah decorations to choose from, I had to improvise.

After taking photos of the Christmas decorations in front of Honolulu Hale (Honolulu City Hall), we went across the street to check out the famous Kawaiaha'o Church. It is the first time I have seen the inside of the church in person and to see it all decked out for Christmas was extra special.

The Christmas tree in front of Honolulu Hale on a beautiful December day on Oahu
*To see a larger version of the last two photos, click on each picture. You will have to expand each photo (drag the corner out) after you click on it to see the entire image.

Happy Holidays to everyone that celebrates. Sending warm wishes your way.

December 31, 2009

happy new year!!

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!! Happy New Year!! Buon Anno!! Tanti Auguri Everyone!!

I took this video right outside my door last year on New Year's Eve at midnight. Every single firework you see is illegal. This is what the sky looks like all over Oahu on New Year's Eve. Fireworks have been going off since October in my neighborhood this year.

March 17, 2010

beautiful day

This year to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, I decided to post a video of an Irish band performing at Slane Castle in Ireland. Can't get much more Irish than that!

Enjoy :)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

February 4, 2011

kung hee fat choy!


We had a lion dance at our school today. I was busy taking video this year but did manage to take a few photos. Here's one.

It is the Year of the Rabbit. Kung Hee Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

December 25, 2011

to all who celebrate, have a...


...and to everyone else, have a fabulous day!

July 4, 2012

happy 4th!









Continue reading "happy 4th!" »

December 25, 2012

merry christmas!

Santa and his reindeer...





...and here I am skiing up on the mountain!

January 1, 2013

happy new year!!!!


January 1, 2014


(photo care of @Snoopy)

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to shave ice & gelato in the holidays category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

hawaii: weather is the previous category.

italy: 2007 trip is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.