Tag Archives: happy new year

Exploring Japanese Food

Most people immediately think of sushi when they think of Japanese restaurants, or even hibachi restaurants. If you’ve been there, tried that, consider choosing something new next time you’re in a Japanese restaurant.

I admit that one of my proudest moments as a mother and amateur chef was the day my son tried sushi for the first time. Still, I understand that sushi is not everyone’s idea of a good time. So if you’re eager to introduce your child to new foods, start with something simple.

For example, gyoza are delicious Japanese dumplings that are often served with raw, diced vegetables.

Noodles are usually a big hit with kids. If your children are adept at spaghetti, try them on soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour and served either in a soup or with a dipping sauce on the side. Be careful – the dipping sauce can be spicy.

Udon noodles are wheat-flour noodles that are usually served in a soup paired with tofu, shrimp, and vegetables.

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. Japanese food is thought to be among the healthiest in the world. Just watch out for the tempura.

 

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Explore Korean Food for Chinese New Year

Not only is Korean food fun to pronounce, it’s delicious to eat.

Although Korean food is less well known than Japanese and Chinese food, according to food experts, it’s set to be the hot new cuisine in 2011.

Adults trying Korean food for the first time may want to choose items that are similar to foods they already know and like. Tangsuyuk is like sweet and sour chicken. Kalbi is beef on the bone, similar to spare ribs.

For adults who love spicy food, try kimchi jigae, a spicy stew.

For children, mandu soup is a great place to begin because it’s similar to wonton soup. If they’re willing to try tofu, it’s a great, healthy choice. Tofu is flavor-friendly; with just a little soy sauce it’s similar to eating plain rice.

Bim Bim Bap is also a good choice for children because you can control the spiciness.

If they’re into noodles, ramyan are thin noodles served with broth.

 

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Eat Some Grapes, Have a Laugh

In Spain and Portugal, people celebrate the new year by eating twelve grapes at midnight to encourage 12 happy months in the New Year.

In Japan, people let loose with a laugh at midnight to bring good luck to them and their families.

Each of these practices sounds so fun and charming; it’s a sure bet your family will feel the same way.

In addition, think of other things you can do at midnight to encourage a great outcome in 2011.

For example, if – like most people – you have financial concerns, consider playing Monopoly with your family on New Year’s Eve. Or dedicate a new piggy bank to help you keep track of loose change or remind you to make saving a habit.

If you feel like you and your family have been too stressed out over the past year, watch a bunch of laugh-out-loud, family friendly films to remind you to enjoy the moment.

If you’re dreaming of fun trips to exotic locales, encourage everyone in the family to dress up as if they were leaving on a vacation to their favorite spot. You might be surprised to see who is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and who’s got ski pants on!

Whatever you choose, you’re sending a message to yourself and your family that the new year can be everything you hope for.

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Make a Little Noise

In many European countries, such as Austria, people make a LOT of noise on New Year’s Eve in order to frighten away the evil spirits who are believed to try to take advantage of the last night of the year to make mischief.

At midnight, car horns blow, church bells ring, and all other manner of noise is made to ensure a safe end to one year and the launching of a new one.

Far be it from me to encourage your children to go crazy and get loud (especially if you life in an apartment building or a townhouse) but if it works for you and your family – and if you’ve got whistles, rattles, horns, bells, pots and pans, or anything else to clang) – consider letting loose for a few minutes when the clock strikes twelve.

If there’s any chance making a mini noise disturbance will bring you a better, happier, and luckier 2011, isn’t it worth the ear pain and potential complaints? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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The New Year’s Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit – or good appetite – is the traditional way the French encourage each other to enjoy their meal.

On New Year’s, this expression has an added significance as families in France gather at the table to share a celebratory meal to welcome the new year.

You can mimic this idea not with a fancy French menu for your children (unless they like that sort of thing) but by soliciting their input in putting together a menu for a feast for the family.

They may also enjoy making suggestions for the guest list. There’s no reason not to include the people who mean the most to you on the final night of the year.

In my house, my son’s guest list would be extensive but his menu would be straight off the plate of a college kid: spicy chicken wings, pizza, popcorn, and maybe some carrots if I beg him to include a vegetable.

If your child is like mine, don’t worry about incorporating ALL their suggestions – just serve one or two special dishes that make them feel part of the planning.

Besides, the best part of celebrating the new year is being with the people you love most in the world. So it doesn’t matter if you make your toast at midnight with champagne or 9 o’clock with cranberry juice, either way you’re sure to have a memorable New Year’s celebration.

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New Year’s the Write Way

One of my favorite ideas for celebrating New Year’s is from Belgium where children are encouraged to decorate cards and write notes to their parents and godparents.

In Belgium, as in many other parts of the world, the new year also has religious significance.

It’s a wonderful time to reflect on the past and consider the future (while improving kids’ spelling, handwriting, and other skills!).

And if it’s good enough for the kids, it should be good enough for the parents.

If you’re still fortunate enough to have your parents and godparents living, parents should also consider joining in the fun.

It’s a relaxing, creative activity that may just put you in the right frame of mind for the new year while reminding some very important people of the wonderful role they may have played in your life.

No parents or godparents? Consider writing to a teacher or other mentor who had a positive impact on you.

 

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Have an Aussie New Year!

Weather permitting, consider celebrating the new year the way they do in Australia: with picnics, camping, and lots of fresh air.

Even if your climate isn’t conducive to a December camp-out, try moving the outdoors inside by ushering in the new year with an indoor picnic.

Set up a blanket on the living room floor, hand out flashlights and turn out the lights.

Take turns sharing your favorite thing about 2010 and what you’re looking forward to in 2011.

You can also recreate your favorite picnic foods inside for added fun.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a Wii or other video game system, maybe play some sporty games as a family to remind each other that the winter – which seems interminable – will end.

And if you’re the kind of family that just loves winter sports, get out there and enjoy them together as a great way to start the new year in a happy and healthy way.

 

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Countdown to a New Year

Just as one holiday ends, another begins. Before the wrapping paper has been recycled (but long after the first toy has been broken), families around the world are gearing up to celebrate one of the most popular holidays – welcoming the New Year.

For the next week, KidCulture will look at how the new year is ushered in around the world and how you can adopt – or adapt – new practices for your family.

Although different cultures and religions celebrate the New Year on different days, the idea of celebrating the new year is universal.

In many cultures, the old year (2010 for us) is considered evil and has to be banished in order to properly set the stage for a happy and successful new year (2011).

One practice that most moms and dads would probably love to adopt is the idea of cleaning the house before the end of the year to present a clean, organized, and ready-for-anything mentality.

Scotland is one of the many cultures that encourage cleaning house in preparation for the new year.

In addition, fragrant branches are burned inside the house to erase old odors and leave a sweet smell.

If you can convince your children to celebrate the new year the Scottish way, hand them a dustpan and broom and a bottle of Febreze and see if they get into the spirit of things! Extra points if you teach them the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” and you sing while cleaning.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

 

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