Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year 2012!

Se-he-bog Mani-pa-ju-seo! 
Happy Lunar New Year!

The Dduk Guk is cooked and the Dduk is made.  We have stories ready to share and our traditional clothes are clean.  I have been to the bank and prepare some new dollar bills.  Everything is ready for our celebration!

We will begin the day with bows from our angel.  As our angel kneels at our feet,  we will give our daughter "good words", or advice, for the coming year.   Once we finish, we give our little one a fresh crisp dollar bill.  We will eat our meal and then head to friends houses where we will repeat the money-bearing ritual until we return home to enjoy our time as family.  We will play games and hear stories of our ancestors.  We will spend time together.

Lunar New Year's Day is a busy one.  But, it is also rich in customs of generations past.  It is a day that helps our young ones understand who they are.  It cements us together in the rich history of a land far away.  It is what makes us family.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dinner with a Dragon

We are having so much fun celebrating this year's lunar new year.  Tonight we are watching a movie and eating dinner with a dragon....a black dragon!  Our neighbor will join us and I have cooked one of our favorite fish recipes - because everyone knows that dragons love fish.  We are having Oven-fried Tilapia for dinner.  Then, we are putting on our PJ's and curling up with some ginger-honey tea to watch "How to Train Your Dragon".   When the littlest ones get restless, there will be plenty of white paper with crayons so everyone can draw their own dragons.

We are expecting a fun night at this house.  I hope that you have a good one, too!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Lunar New Year: My Dduk Guk

Dduk Guk is the traditional soup served at the New Year.  However, each time that I make it, I am frustrated because, while the soup may be tasty, the meat has no flavor.  Also, the traditional broth is a rich milky broth made from beef bones.  This broth always lacks complexity of flavor and tastes a little meaty. 

So, last year, I set out to improve this soup while still keeping the same traditional appearance.  After a little innovation, I came up with a soup that can be made in one day without a lot of attention, has a more balanced flavor in its stock and has tastier meat.

MyAngel's Dduk Guk (My Angel's Rice Cake Soup)

The Meat:
2 lbs boneless beef roast
1 onion, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 T salt
3 C water

The Marrow:
4-5 lbs beef bones (knees or joints work fine)

Salt, to taste
4 green onions, chopped
Dduk Ovelettes (may be purchased at a Korean grocery)

  1. Place the ingredients for "The Meat" in a slow cooker and set to cook for 8 hours.
  2. Once "The Meat" is finished cooking, remove the meat and shred.
  3. Place in a bowl to use later. 
  4. Strain the liquid for use in Step 9 .  Discard the spice remains.
  5. While "The Meat" is cooking, place the beef bones in a large stock pot and fill with water.
  6. Boil "The Marrow" for 3-6 hours, adding water as needed.
  7. When the broth is a whitish color, "The Marrow" is ready to use.  However, if you would like a richer broth, you may boil them longer.
  8. If you have time, allow "The Marrow" to cool then remove the fatty layer floating on top of the soup.  If you do not have time to cool the soup, then use a spoon to carefully skim the fat from the top of the broth.
  9. In another pot, place one part strained liquid from "The Meat" and one part liquid from "The Marrow".  Be sure to strain the liquid from "The Marrow" as you pour it into the pot.  We will call this new mixture "The Soup".
  10. Bring "The Soup" to a boil, taste, and add salt as needed.
  11. Place dduk in boiling soup and cook until the dduk are soft.
  12. Put "The Soup", including around 10 dduk, into a bowl.  Top with "The Meat" and some chopped green onion.
  13. Serve immediately.
NOTE:  Do not leave dduk in the soup for long.  Dduk will continue absorbing water and fall apart.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dragon Tales

Have you made your dragon hand puppet, yet?  Do you need a little inspiration for your puppet show?  How about some fun stories from a land far away?  I have just what you are looking for - Korean folk tales!
This year, I am putting on my traditional clothes and going to speak at my angel's school.  To make things interesting, I am bringing my dragon puppet and sharing a traditional Korean folk tale - a picture book, in English; fun for any age.  I need a dragon tale!

I began looking for stories from a land far away, namely Korea and discovered some fun, well-written books with traditional Korean folk tales.  I have listed my choices below and would encourage you to go on your own hunt for dragon tales.  Take a trip to your local library, shop at Amazon or visit the nearest bookstore to find other fun books that will usher in the lunar new year on a cross-cultural note.

These were my finds:

Korean Children's Favorite Stories by Kim So-Un and Jeong Kyoung-Sim

The Land of the Dragon King and Other Korean Stories by Gillan McClure

Rabbit And the Dragon King: Based on a Korean Folktale by Daniel San Souci and Eujin Kim Neilan

The Firekeeper's Son by Linda Sue Park and Julie Downing

Monday, January 16, 2012

Black Dragon Hand Puppet

What better way to bring in the Year of the Dragon than with a puppet show.  Last week, we made a dragon hand puppet using construction paper, chopsticks, and... our hands!  When you are finished, have your angel create their own story and give you a puppet show.


1 printout of the Dragon Hand Puppet template*
1 piece of black construction paper
2-3 pieces of construction paper (black, red, orange, yellow or combination)
4 Brad fasteners
1 large googley eye
1 set of wooden chopsticks (or 2 popsicle sticks)
Tape, Glue stick, Scissors

1.      Cut out the pieces from the Dragon Hand Puppet template.  I printed mine on cardstock so that it was easier for my little angel cut.

2.      Trace the head, ear, tail, leg (two times) and horn on a piece of black construction paper.  My angel decided to keep the teeth and eyes white.
Dragon Puppet template

3.      Cut the dragon parts out of the construction paper.

4.      On the other pieces of construction paper, trace a child’s hand nine times.  Again, I used cardstock to trace each hand one time, making a template.  Then, my angel cut out the hands and traced them on the construction paper.

5.      Cut out the construction paper hands.

6.      Punch a hole below the middle finger of 3 construction paper hands.

7.      Punch a hole in the center of the lower palm of 3 of the other construction paper hands.

8.      Separate the hands into 3 groups of 3 different pieces - one with a finger hole, one with a palm hole, and one without a hole.

9.      Beginning with one group of hands, lay the hand down with the fingers facing to the right and the thumb facing down.

10.   Place a dot of glue on the palm of the hand with a hole below the middle finger.

11.   Take the hand with no hole and align it so that the fingers face right and the thumb is facing up.

12.   Place it on top of the first hand so that the palm of the top hand is about ½” to the left of the first and glue it in place.

13.   Place a dot of glue on the palm of the hand with no hole.

14.   Taking the hand with a hole in the palm, align it so the fingers face right and the thumb faces down.

15.   Place it on top of the first hand so that the palm of the top hand is about ½” to the left of the first and glue it in place.  Be sure the hole in the palm is not covered.

16.   Repeat steps 9-15 for each of the last two groups of hands.

17.   Set the 3 sets of hands aside to dry.

18.   Glue the googley eye on the “X” of the eye cutout and color the eyelid.

19.   Glue the eye on the front of the dragon’s head.

20.   Glue the teeth, horn and ear on the back side of the dragon’s head so that they are seen from the front.

21.   Put a small piece of tape on the dragon’s head, legs, and tail where there is an “X”.

22.   Punch a hole through the tape on the “X” of each piece.

23.   Cut two slits in the dragon’s head and tail where the lines are drawn.

24.   If the chopsticks are connected to each other, separate them.

25.   Slip the small end of the chopstick through the bottom slit from the back of the head then out the top slit.

26.   On the back of the dragon’s head, tape across the chopstick where the paper crosses at the center and again across the top of the chopstick to secure it. 

27.   Do the same on the tail.  These are the sticks to control your puppet.

28.   Take one brad clip and one set of hands.  Place the brad clip through the finger hole of one set of hands.

29.   Now thread the brad clip through the hole in one of the dragon’s legs and then through the hole in the tail.

30.   Secure the clips in place.

31.   Take another set of hands and thread the brad clip through the finger hole.

32.   Thread the clip through the palm hole of the hands that are attached to the dragon tail.

33.   Repeat steps 28-30 with the last set of hands so that all of the hands are attached to the tail with a leg hanging down in the middle.

34.   To finish the dragon, thread the last brad clip through the palm hole of the last hand.

35.   Next thread the clip through the hole in the dragon’s leg and then through the hole of the dragon’s head.

36.   Secure the clip in place.

37.   To move the dragon, hold the chopsticks and move your hands up and down.

*Preview the picture of the Dragon template before printing.  Be sure that the picture prints 8.5" X 11" (the full size of a piece of paper).  Also, check the alignment so that the image prints landscape.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012: Year of the Black Dragon

According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, the year of the Black Water Dragon comes every 60 years.  The symbols assosiated with the lunar calendar are grouped as elements or animals.  There are five elements - metal, water, wood, fire and earth.   These rotate yearly along with the 12 animal - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig - symbols.  So a year would be classified with an element and an animal.  This year is believed to be special because it is a dragon year.  But, this is not the only reason that it is special.  The combination of the water element and dragon animal only occurs every 60 years.  And, 2012 is one of those years. 

January 23, 2012 is the first day of the new year, according to the lunar calendar.  In western parts of the world, we count our days according to the solar calendar... or the rise and fall of the sun.  However, for centuries, Asian, Islamic and Hebrew cultures have counted their days according to the moon phases.  The new year, according to the lunar calendar, is not on the same day as western cultures. 
In Asian countries, people also associate an animal with each new year.  It is said that the events of the year and the personality of the people resemble the traits of that year's animal.  So, in the year of the dog, loyalty reigns.  In the year of the monkey, responsibility is found.  And, in the year of the Dragon, we see power and wealth. 

While I don't believe that the moon determines who we are.  If you have followed my advent calendar, then you are quite aware that I believe it is God and our choices in relation to God that determine all things.  However, at this time of year, I like to have a little fun with the characters of the calendar.  I use the fun of this season to help my angel understand that not all people believe as we do.  And, within this world of choices, we, too, may make a choice to love our creator or not.

You can expect lots of fun posts throughout the next two weeks.  These are some that I am working on:

Black Dragon Hand Puppet
Dinner with a Dragon
Korean Lunar New Year's Soup
Dragon Tales

I hope that you will join us as we play our way into the year of the Black Water Dragon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Snow Jjuk

One morning when the porridge was too hot to eat, I served it topped with shaved ice.  I called it "Snow Jjuk" and a fun breakfast was born.  We ate the jjuk and talked about how ice on our "jjuk mountain" melted and ran down the peaks of the porridge forming streams and puddles, or "lakes" at the bottom.  Then, we stirred the jjuk and learned how water seaps into the ground making ground water.  And, just like our jjuk "travels" on the spoon to our mouth, the ground water evaporates or "travels" to the sky again to form rain and snow.  It was a deliciously fun science experiment that also encouraged the little ones to eat their porridge!

Snow Jjuk

1 recipe Plum, Pear, Mango, and Banana Jjuk
1 C shaved ice, kept in the freezer until needed
  1. Cook the jjuk.
  2. Place a serving of jjuk in a small bowl.
  3. Place a pile of shaved ice on top, forming a peak.
  4. Serve immediately.

NOTE:  This could be done with any of my jjuk recipes.  However, I think that the sweet jjuk with the "snowy" top feels more like winter!