doljanchi planning: doljabi

For baby horse’s doljanchi I made my own doljabi board and raffle tickets. I LOVE the raffle tickets. I printed them on turquoise paper (color theme is turquoise, navy blue, white and pink–hanbok colors) and they look really great. I’m having fun making things for his dol. I also made a baby horse quiz. I’m going to buy 떡 dduk to give as prizes for the raffle and the quiz. I also heard that doljabi items are supposed to be presented on a round surface under a red cloth. I have both.

doljabi items – a friend brought them back from Korea for me. They’re more traditional than what I’ve seen in the past but I like them nonetheless.

raffle tickets – I designed them in Publisher. They had a raffle ticket layout that worked perfectly.

I also printed up little signs to go with each container that will hold the tickets designating what people think baby horse will choose. I haven’t put those together yet though so will post photos of them when they’re ready.

leo doljabi board for blog raffle tix for blog


Dol update

We’re a little over a month away from my little one’s dol and here’s what’s been done and what needs to be done.

Photographer – Got one! Not sure why I hadn’t thought of this before, but we hired a friend of mine who also happens to be a KAD and also happened to have photographed my older son when he was three months and six months old. Of all the planning photographer and location were the most difficult things to figure out.

Restaurant/location – Around the end of December/beginning of January we went to the restaurant, met with the owner, and nailed down a menu. Oh and put down a deposit. That made me feel a lot better about the whole party. I need to know things are secure, so before we went there, in my mind, there was always the chance it wasn’t quite happening.

Favors – A friend got them for me in Korea. How sweet. I’d planned to reimburse her for them but she said to think of them as a gift for the party. I can add photos later. Things in Korea are so much cheaper. I highly recommend getting stuff there if you can.

돌잡이 – “Doljabi” or the items the little one will be choosing from that determine his future path in life. The same friend who got me the favors also got me doljabi items in Korea. I’ll have to post photos of them later. They’re more traditional than what I’m used to.

Left to do:

Cake – In the process of ordering. It’s hard though–I need to know how many people are going to order the cake.

Doljabi game – Still not sure if I am going to do one of these. Examples:
Doljabi game and candy arrangements I like
Framed doljabi game

Dol goim, or dol towers! – Making them this weekend. Very excited. Here are some of my inspirations:
3 towers: name, animal and v design
dol towers I like, also how-to with paper towels
3 cool towers–1 animals!, love the little bits of rice they used for the inside rectangles
colorful table and cool cow tower
cool panda tower, and love the yellow, grey and purple tower
like these towers too–also doljabi game

very very elaborate table, never seen 6 towers before, normally it’s an odd # of towers

Hunting down the photographer

Recommendations, recommendations, recommendations. I’ve been asking friends who are photographers for recommendations as well as posting ads on the NESOP job board, etc. Here are some of the recommendations I’ve received for an inexpensive photographer:

Heather Prohaska

Ellen Rogers

My ideal situation would be to have a student or photographer who is just starting out take simple photographs, nothing too fancy. All we need are the digital copies. The person could even use our camera. I know from past events that when hosting it’s hard to get time to take photographs, especially any that require any thought. I love hosting but it’s a lot of work. And energy. Ideally, in addition to the spotlight moments I’d also like for a photographer to capture the moments I’m not part of; the people I don’t get a chance to talk to in depth.

UPDATE: In talking to my co-worker (whose daughter’s dol I attended last year) she recommended one of my co-workers to photograph the event. This co-worker recently took a photography class and also took photographs of her daughter’s christening and did a fabulous job. Great idea–I hadn’t even thought of that! Talking these things out really helps.


Investigating catering lead #1

And we’re off!

The friend who is helping me plan things, I’ll call her Yuna. Her son is one of my older son’s bffs. (They’ve known each other now for 2 years and their friendship blooms out of a shared love of trains, specifically Thomas the. They’re equally silly.) Even though they don’t speak the same language they are able to communicate in goofy toddler boy motions and sounds. I love their friendship and hope it lasts a long time. Yuna and her son and my son, husband and I all went to the nearby restaurant I thought might have catering options, or at least suggestions. Score, it did!

It’s a Japanese restaurant but the owner is Korean and he’s incredibly kind and friendly. We’ve been patrons there a long time and he’s seen my kids grow up, as much as a toddler and baby can grow up. He was working in the kitchen when we got there but popped his head out towards the end of our dinner. I told him I’d started to plan baby horse’s doljanchi and asked him for catering recommendations. He went and fetched a Korean newspaper and came back with an ad for (coincidentally) the same company the Pastor had originally recommended. Again, it was fortuitous that Yuna was with me because in speaking to him (clarifying things) he recommended another place, the place in Cambridge I’d heard about. He said many of the people who work there had worked at his restaurant so if we told them he referred us they’d give us a good price.

Over the years in living/traveling in Korea I’ve learned that there are countless unspoken things that pass between Korean people that if you don’t speak the language or live/grow up in Korea you aren’t privy to. In the past when I’ve learned about some of these things and I’ve asked Korean people how they know these things they’ve just replied: Because I’m Korean. Yeah, helpful explanation. That’s what happens when Yuna is around–she picks up on these things.

And I’m sure there will be plenty more of this in the future. It has only just begun.

Planning my son’s 돌잔치 (1st birthday party)

It’s been a long-a$$ time since I wrote about something personal here. Since I’ve started planning my son’s 돌잔치 or 1st birthday party, I figured I’d write about it so I can keep track of what I’ve done and who I’ve contacted. Here goes!

I stopped by the Korean Church of Boston to talk to my friend, a Pastor there, 목사님, about having baby horse’s birthday party there. I brought along one of my good friends who speaks Korean and has (however willingly) volunteered to help me planning. My intuitions were spot on; I was so glad I brought her cause there was a lot of conversing in Korean, some of which I got and some of which I didn’t. Stopping by in person was the only way I knew I’d be able to secure the location. Sometimes language barriers are just too great to overcome on email, text, and chat. We needed to see each other face-to-face to affirm plans and keep the confusion to a minimum.

Here’s what I gathered.

Date/time – Nailed down the day and time. The original time I wanted (brunch-ish) isn’t available because of church stuff. So we’ll do early dinner instead. After the meeting 목사님 sent me the form to fill out to secure the space.
Catering – 목사님 gave me contact info for a woman who caters out of Malden/Somerville area. Apparently she’s done a few other 돌잔치s at the church and the people were very happy with her. However 목사님 said she is expensive and that I may want to augment the order with food from another place. This woman’s 떡 or rice cake (imperative for a 돌잔치) is very very good. I’d rather get all the food done by one place though. I figure a lot of my guests won’t be Korean so won’t know the difference between good rice cakes and okay rice cakes anyway.
Size – The room I want to use holds 80 people seated. But 목사님 said maybe 10 people will have to sit in another room. I am going to aim for 60 people. Only family and a few close friends.
돌자비 – The church doesn’t have things to borrow/rent for the party. (During the party there is a “ceremony” where the baby will choose an item that determines his future career path. Photos are also taken in front of a fancy table setting with a banner, arranged fruits, candles and towers spelling out “happy dol” in Korean, and the baby’s name.) My friend may buy much of this stuff for me in Korea. 목사님 also joked we should buy it (say for $500?) and rent it out here for $100/party. Ha.

To do (boring for you, more for me to keep track of):
Catering – Instead of going with the first suggestion I am going to shop around. My plan is to go to the Korean restaurants whose owners I know and ask them for catering recommendations. I’m hoping they’ll either have good recommendations or offer to do it themselves. I have 2 places in mind.
Photographer – I need to start shopping around for a photographer. With all these little details I have a feeling this party is going to be expensive. So I’d only like to spend $150-200 on a photographer. Is that ridiculous? Totally not going to happen? At my older son’s party we asked a friend to take photos and that didn’t go so well. I think you get what you pay for, which in that case was nothing. (We actually did get photos they just weren’t what we were looking for.) So, like the catering my plan is to ask around to people who photograph and see if they have recommendations. Preferably it would be someone who is Korean or has been to or knows these type of parties and what they entail. Or at least someone who is open to them.