Tag Archives: Wonder Pens Family

Year of the Monkey

Happy Chinese and Lunar New Year! It’s coming up on February 8th, for those of you not following the lunar calendar. And, how exciting, it’s Year of the Monkey! Not that this is any more or less exciting than other years, but it’s a good one.

If you’ve known us for any length of time, you’ll know that we’re Chinese, but we’re kind of a mix of “Chinese-Chinese” and “Canadian-Chinese” (unfortunately mostly leaning towards the “Canadian-Chinese” side of things), but Chinese New Year is a pretty big deal in the motherland, and so we thought we would celebrate a bit with you all!

Chinese New Year at Wonder Pens

Everyone’s favourite Chinese supermarket, T&T, has these displays of Chinese New Year decorations, festive treats and …candies! From now until we run out or until February 8th (after which I’ll eat the rest), we’re including a special surprise CNY candy with all online orders, or of course you can always visit us in the shop and pick out a tasty CNY treat for yourself.

T&T put up these big signs saying that there’s a risk of peanut, soy, milk, and other allergies with these candies, so I’m passing on the message. While I tried to get a good variety of candies, I left out the ones that were a bit obvious about potential allergy problems, like the ones with the picture of the peanut on the wrapper (I did teach in public school, after all). However, you should still use your best judgement, and be careful if you have any allergies.

Possibly even more dangerous is the taste roulette you play with these candies: there are so many different kinds it’s hard to keep track of them, and I must say, while some are pretty delicious, some may be an unusual “flavour”… all part of the surprise! My favourite ones are the coffee ones and also the mango ones. The pear ones are also pretty good.

Chinese New Year at Wonder Pens

I also got a red decoration, which we haven’t decided where to hang up yet. I was going to get one in the shape of a monkey, but Jon said I shouldn’t go too crazy, because then I’ll have to store it for twelve years, and chances are good when the next Year of the Monkey rolls around I won’t be able to find it, so it’ll be another twelve years after that.

If you’re a letter writer, you might also be pleased to know that Canada Post has come out with it’s new Year of the Monkey stamps! I told Jon I was going to ease off on the stamp hoarding after we took that trip to the Toronto Stamp Show last fall, and I brought home boxes of stamps, but how can I resist. The international ones look a bit intense, but I’m loving the domestic ones!

So, as traditional holds (according to Wikipedia), we will be eating dumplings at midnight on February 7th, and wishing you all a very prosperous, lucky and happy Chinese New year!


Caleb Adventures in IKEA


We have been “needing” a trip to Ikea for a long time, and with the bricks & mortar closed this week, we piled into our trusty/rusty two-door Civic, looking forward to the drive home, cramped into seats pushed all the way forward by long and flat cardboard boxes. I have been dreaming of Swedish meatballs and vinyl arrows on the floor for weeks.

We were almost going to go on a Sunday afternoon, but figured it would be less busy on a Monday mid-morning. Let me tell you, as we were leaving we overheard an Ikea employee talking to another co-worker, pushing a long row of shopping carts back into the building, “This isn’t even close, it’s going to be a stampede.”

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Christmas Behind the Shop

Merry Christmas!

I had hoped to pop onto here in a more timely fashion (i.e. before Christmas had actually happened) to wish you all a happy Christmas or else just an extra happy Friday, but things got away from me a bit. We had started the holiday season ready to go! Pumped! Everything organized! Shipments coming in and counted! And we’ve ended it with half-empty boxes everywhere and scraps of recycling covering tables and Jon looking a bit scragglier than usual. Or, maybe about the same level of scraggli-ness. Tough to tell with the beard.

But we’re still full of holiday cheer.

I’m sitting at my desk watching as Jon snoozes and Caleb snoozes, and I think Super is snoozing, but he’s been relegated to the packing area for his snooze because he keeps barking and waking up the baby, so I can only assume.

I hope you all had a great holiday. I hope your presents all arrived in time if you ordered them online. I hope your turkeys turned out moist and delicious. Or else, maybe you ordered some take-out, and I hope that was good, too. Jon has promised me one night of Indian take-out and Netflix this break.

Christmas was wonderful here! The actual Christmas celebration, not just the “holiday season,” although that was pretty great, too.

We’ve decided we’re going to try to get Caleb one gift for Christmas, and we hope it’s one he’ll like and use for a while. We’re pretty lucky to have lots of relatives and friends who give Caleb more than enough so we don’t really have to worry about Caleb being deprived, but from us, rather than maybe too much for his little brain to handle, just one gift that we think he’ll like.

Caleb is a very, very physical and coordinated kid – he is a climber and runner and explorer non-stop, and so this Christmas, we got him a pedal-less tricycle that turns into a bicycle, called a balance or a push bike, where the rider just uses his feet against the ground. I actually saw a kid on the sidewalk with one a while ago, and thought to myself that is exactly what Caleb needs. Something to make him crash even faster into boxes of merchandise.

We closed up the shop the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and we had a family dinner at Jon’s parents on Christmas Eve. We came home late to put the baby to bed, and then moved the tree from the shop to our apartment (Jon), assembled Caleb’s gift (Jon) and wrapped it (me!). Clearly we are not plan-aheaders here, and I had to unwrap one of Caleb’s gifts from his grandma to use the wrapping paper to make a bow for his bicycle. (Sorry, Lola! We wrapped it again in our boring brown paper).

Jon, fixing the lights. Caleb, watching, unaware that his gift is in front of him.

Jon, fixing the lights. Caleb, watching, unaware that his gift is in front of him. This kid is going to get some fast ones pulled over on him.

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