Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Diego 2016

Firecrackers, dragon dancing, special sweets and of course lucky envelopes. I cannot wait! I've been getting the house ready with red and gold Tet decorations. There is a dragon hanging from the walkway leading into the kitchen and a pair of golden monkeys sitting on the mantle in the living room. Between preparations for Parker's birthday party and Lunar New Year I'm feeling very festive!

Below is a list of Lunar New Year celebrations in San Diego (and a couple in Orange County). Happy Year of the Monkey to all my readers! I hope this year brings you good health, love and prosperity. 

[Monkey by Zen Brush spotted on Etsy]

Lunar New Year at Seaworld
Saturday, January 30 - Sunday, February 21
Seaworld San Diego
Admission: Free for those born in the Year of the Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1980, 1992 or 2004). Must have valid ID. Only valid February 6-8.

House of China Year of the Monkey Celebration
Sunday, January 31
Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
4609 Convoy Street A 92111
Admission: $50

San Diego Library Lunar New Year Celebrations
Wednesday, February 3
4S Ranch Library
San Marcos Library

Barnard Community Chinese New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 6
Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy
2445 Fogg Street 92109
Admission: Free. Carnival ride tickets are an additional cost.

11th Annual San Diego Tet Festival
Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
Mira Mesa Community Park
8575 New Salem Street 92126
Admission: Free. Carnival ride tickets are an additional cost.

34th Annual San Diego Chinese New year Food and Cultural Fair
Saturday, February 13 - Sunday, February 14
Downtown San Diego
Third Avenue and J Street
Admission: Free

If you are willing to drive about an hour north, you can find large lunar new year festivals in Orange County.

2016 OC Tet Festival
Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
Mile Square Park
16801 Euclid Street 92708
Admission: Free

Tet Festival
Friday, February 12 - Sunday, February 14
Admission: $5 for 1-day admission. $13 for 3-day admission.
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive 92626

Now that you've read the list, where will you be celebrating the Year of the Monkey?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ring in Lunar New Year with this Musical Chinese Pellet Drum Craft

Lunar New Year is quickly approaching and Parker and I are getting into the spirit by creating DIY pellet drums. Pellet drums are double sided with a pellet connected to each side of the drum. To play the drum, you simply turn the stick between your hands and the pellets swing back and forth, hitting drum head. This musical craft is sure to bring lots of luck and noise to your home!

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

Materials needed
-2 Paper bowls (Paper plates would also work)
-Acrylic paint of your choice (red and gold/yellow are lucky New Year's colors)
-Hot glue gun/craft glue
-2 Monkey images
-Wooden dowel or chopctick
-2 Wooden or plastic beads

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

1. Paint the exterior side of the bowls and let them dry completely. The drying process will take at least 30 mins depending on how thick you lay on the paint.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

[This is the messiest part of the project. Parker was very concerned about the paint on his hands.]

2. Cut out the monkey images and glue them to the face of each plate.
3. Tie the beads to strings that are 2/3 the diameter of the bowl in length. If your bowl is 6 inches in diameter, your string will be 4 inches long. Adhere the end of the strings to each side of the bowl.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

4. Adhere the wooden dowel/chopstick to the inside of one of the plates.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

5. Attach the 2nd bowl to the first one using a hot glue gun. 
6. We added some fun pom poms to our bowls to give them a little more flair but that is optional. 

Ring in the New Year with this DIY Chinese Pellet Drum Kids Craft / Kids friendly craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2016, the Year of the Monkey.

I had to reinforce Parker's stick with tape because...well because he is a toddler. Enjoy your new pellet drum! Please tag us (@parkerproject) when you post your pellet drum pictures on Instagram. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Birthday: Ideas for an Epic Wild Kratts Birthday Party

We've decided to host Parker's 3rd birthday at a local arcade to cut down on the amount of work we would have to put into party planning. True to form, I have made up for all the time saved from throwing a "simple" birthday party by coming up with ideas that will take up a lot of time. Ha! Can someone please save me from myself?

The theme for this year's party is "Wild Kratts" and we are going to turn the party room into an animal party! Here are some of the ideas that I am planning to incorporate into the party. 

[via Pinterest]

We are opting for a small cutting cake since Parker has never been a real fan of cake. Something simple like the cake above will look great on the dessert table. The plan is the fill the rest of the dessert table with boba drinks, Parker's favorite sweet treat. 

The Official PBS KIDS Shop | Wild Kratts Birthday Adventure Banner:

I love this affordable birthday banner from the PBS Kids Shop. We'll be hanging it from a 10ft frame above the dessert table. 

DIY Jungle Vines (Brown Crepe Paper  Green Construction Paper) -- Can be reused as nursery decoration too!:

I'll be creating some jungle vines for decor. The vines are simple, cost effective and create a big impact. Instead of using brown paper bags like the tutorial in the link above, I bought a large roll of kraft paper. I cut all the leaves using a Cricut machine to save time.

New 10 Foil Helium Animal Balloons Walking Pet Balloons Jungle Safari Zoo Party  #1PaysLess #BirthdayChildPartyChristmasNewYear:

A large shipment of walking animal balloons arrived this week! These fun animal balloons will work as both party favors (everyone will be able to adopt an animal at the end of the party) and decor.
Girly Safari Themed 5th Birthday Party - Kara's Party Ideas - The Place for All Things Party:

I love the idea of using wood stumps for decor but have no idea where I can find said stumps. Help!

I'm not sure what else I will come up with before the party but I hope Parker likes it. I can't believe he is turning 3. If you want to see my full idea board on Pinterest, follow me at Stay tuned for pics of the party! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year + 2016 Resolutions

Happy New Year! I'm determined to start the year off strong with the blog. Let's start by seeing how I did with my 2015 resolutions. 

1. Read at least 25 books. I read 34 books! 
2. Walk Frank at least once a day. I completely failed at this! Will try better in 2016.
3. Run 200 miles. I don't know exactly how many miles I ran in 2015 but according to my Fitbit, I have covered roughly 1500 miles since May. I'm pretty sure I've run at least 200 miles. 

Two out of three is not bad!

2016 Resolutions

-Run 4 races. So far I am signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K and the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon.
Eventbrite has a bunch of local race listings if you are looking for inspo. For those wanting to organize their own event/race check out Eventbrite's event management section
-Be able to do 5 pull ups (We can do it, Giao!)
-Read 30 books. Hopefully at least 1 is not a sad book.
-Create something once a month.

Have you created resolutions for the New Year? Leave a comment below and share your goals!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

San Diego: Hot Chocolate 15K March 20

I have amazing news. For those of you who don't know, I have type 2 diabetes. I have to be careful to make sure my sugar levels don't drop too low when I exercise but I have to exercise to maintain a good A1C. The struggle is real and I'm constantly hyper vigilant about how I feel in case I need a sugar boost. Well I'm proud to say that my latest lab results are in and my A1C is at an all time low of 6.4! It's incredible how far I have come. When I was first diagnosed, my A1C was somewhere around 13. To celebrate, I just registered for the Hot Chocolate 15K taking place in San Diego on March 20. I've done the 5K a couple of times already (remember these awesome shirts Tuan made?) and the race is well organized and you get a really nice jacket. Below is a link to the race page. Register before January 10 to take advantage of the early bird rate. Hope to see you at the start line in March!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday: 2015 Santa Picture

Here it is, Folks! Our 2015 Santa picture. I'm proud to report that there was no crying this year but there weren't any smiles either. This is the best photo we took, Parker looked terrified in all the rest. We opted to visit the Santa at Westfield UTC this year and I think it's safe to say that we will be going back to the Seaport Village Santa next year. 

Mom tips:
1. Pictures with mall Santa were more expensive (the basic package + digital copy was close to $50) and you only get a digital copy of 1 photo. With Seaport Santa you get all the photos from your session on a disc. 
2. We paid for the SantaFastPass and the workers weren't paying attention to whether or not people were in the fast pass line so we still had to wait. 
3. Mall Santa was too chatty. Clearly my child is afraid of you. Please stop asking for high fives.
4. The picture quality and photo background were not as good as Seaport Santa. 

Do you know of other good Santa photo opps in San Diego? Please leave a comment below.

I've pretty much been the worst blogger of all time the last few months. This is a fact. If you want more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram @parkerproject

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Holiday: Parker's 2015 Christmas List

Below is Parker's 2015 wish list (with helpful links)! These are the items he would be most excited to find underneath the Christmas tree. The list has three major themes.

-Pretend play

Other things he is interested in: octopus, crabs, spiders, books, sperm whales, going to the zoo, going to the park and boba.

1. Bug City. This is the one thing Parker is most excited about. He loves bugs! Hopefully this thing is escape-proof because Tuan does not like bugs. If you get this, you are required to help catch the bugs. Thanksssss.

2. Wild Kratts Power Suit. PURCHASED. Parker loves pretend play and he has been pretending to be the Kratt brothers from the Wild Kratts show. The idea of having creature powers is blowing his mind right now. If you haven't watched the show, you should check it out. I've learned so much about different animals. Yay PBS!

3. Dinotrux. Dinotrux is a Netflix cartoon about dinosaurs that are also construction trucks. It's all about working together to build things to improve their community. Parker is really into it right now. His favorite characters are Rivet (below) and Garby because he poops rocks. Duh.

4. Art supplies or the Artful Parent book. We love working on art projects!

5. Duplo Blocks. Thanks to grandma we have a ton of Legos in house but I have noticed that Parker still enjoys playing with the Duplo blocks more than regular Legos (they're easier to manage with his little hands). I think he would be most interested in the superhero sets.

6. Imaginext. Imaginext toys are awesome. They're high quality and have a lot of moving parts.. Parker flipped out when he saw this transforming batman robot thing at Target. Mama would be happy with any Imaginext toys.

7. Magformers. They're colorful, magnetic and allow you to build. Of course he likes this.

8. Gift cards to the San Diego Zoo for KinderTots classes.

9. Nickels for trips to Nickel City!

10. Planes, trains and automobiles. Parker's fascination with all vehicles continues! Construction trucks and airplanes are high on the list of favorites.
I hope the list was helpful! Of course the gift of your time would be the greatest gift of all. So maybe buy a toy and stay and play at our house. I promise I'll feed you. Happy shopping!

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