Monthly Archives: March 2013

Preparing for Easter

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Preparing for Easter

What do you do at your house for Easter? Good Friday?  Holy Week?  Semana Santa?  Passover?

It’s a special time of year, and I had all sorts of plans to decorate, do crafts, bake goodies, etc.  You know, that stuff I like to do.  🙂  But this year it’s going to be all about family, and spending time visiting!  And not about food and decorations.  So I thought I would just post this with a link to my Pinterest board (see below)  where I have been saving up ideas for this time of year, then if you feel like checking it out, you might get some crafty urges 😉  While I spend my time talking and visiting!

Here are some ideas:

birds’ nest treatsand  Crown of Thorns cookies:You can find that post here.

For more ideas, super cute crafts and lovely bakedy baking, click here for my Easter Ideas pin board.

I’m sure we’ll make a few special treats and of course we’ll have a lovely time, but I’ll be so busy doing it all that I won’t be posting about it till much later!!

I hope that you have a very special Easter.  🙂

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Spring is here?

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So we’ve passed the first day of spring….and guess what we are doing…..here are some photos of what it looks like outside my front window.denna's ideas: first days of spring=blizzardCan you see what this is?  It’s my son, making a snow angel….in our front yard.  Right beside him on the left side is the walk to the front steps and right above him is the sidewalk.denna's ideas: first days of spring=blizzardSomeone wasn’t too happy about shoveling the walkway….denna's ideas: first days of spring=blizzardwhat walkway?denna's ideas: first days of spring=blizzardThere’s one under there somewhere….it’s no wonder we didn’t get any mail delivered that day….denna's ideas: first days of spring=blizzardStill snowing….denna's ideas: first days of spring=blizzardThis is a photo of an elderly gentleman walking down the sidewalk to pick up his newspaper from the machine by the bus stop.

And so that is what our first days of spring look like here in Alberta, Canada.  How are yours??  Hope they are a bit brighter!!  🙂

Easter Traditions in Antigua, Guatemala

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Could this be the most colorful Easter Tradition ever?  During Lent and Easter Week in Antigua, Guatemala there is some amazing color fabulousness going on!  Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is the time when Guatemalan Catholics take to the streets in Antigua and create gorgeous carpets made of colored sawdust, flowers and even fruit,  to show their devotion and faith.  Later on, processions of people carrying huge floats and led by priests will walk over the carpets.  You can find some history and interesting facts about these traditions here on Revue Magazine.

I don’t have any personal photos of these carpets, but have found a few links for you to check out.   over at AntiguaDailyPhoto.com has some cool articles and photos of this season, and check out the Home page for up-to-date articles and photos about the Lent processions.

Here are some of the fabulous carpets (found on AroundAntigua.com):

Easter week in Antigua Guatemala easterweek-5 easterweek-6 holy-week-antigua-guatemala1

To see some more, really awesome photos, check out this set of photos:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/brswanson/sets/72157603296294473/

Now that I am more into photography than I was as a teenager, I’d love to go back for Semana Santa and photograph EVERYTHING about these amazing works of art!!  Someday……. 🙂

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbows

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St. Patrick’s Day Rainbows

Top of the Mornin’ to ya!!  It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and we do have a few rainbows around here on this cold and frosty and blizzardy day!  Like I mentioned before, I feel the need for rainbows!  Especially since it’s been snowing for a few days and my son is feeling discouraged that the walks that he has shoveled keep filling in!  Every morning it looks as though the walkway was never shoveled at all.  At least we’ve had a bit of sun, in between the snowy clouds.  But we need some cheering up, an assurance that spring really is around the corner!

 So indoors is where we must fabricate our own rainbows….
denna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas Leprechaun Hatsdenna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day CookiesWee little Leprechaun hat pops!!  I found them and a tutorial on how to make them here.  I made my own cookies with holes in the middles to help out when dipping them in chocolate, and in order to have the hats on sticks so I could call them Pops.  Leprechaun Hat Pops.denna's ideas: making leprechaun hat popsdenna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas Leprechaun Hat PopsI made a few more St. Paddy’s Day cookies and my daughter and I were trying to take some different photos of them for LilaLoa’s cookie photo contest where she’s challenging us to change up our cookie photography.  It’s very hard to photograph in our weak winter kitchen light, but we did our best.  Lyra took some shots that are a bit different than I usually get….  🙂  Shamrocks and Rainbows!denna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas Shamrock Cookies denna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas Shamrock Cookies denna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas denna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas Rainbow Cookies denna's ideas: St. Patrick's Day Ideas Lucky Rainbow Cookies

I keep forgetting the order of the rainbow so I found this fun little video to help me remember….I watched it before I iced the cookies (I know I have different colors on my rainbows, but that’s all I had at 10pm last night!!)

Hope you have a fun Rainbow Sunday!!!  😉

Need a Rainbow?

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It has been one of those weeks….one of those months…..a long winter month.  After living in Canada for quite a few years now, I guess I have to admit that the long winters we have (at least where we live) do really take their toll on you.  (It’s not just in your imagination).  January and February can be kind of hard.  We do see the sun sometimes, even in winter, but the days are so short.  Lately we’ve been remarking in the mornings “wow, look, there’s light!!”  So that the kids aren’t getting on the school bus in the dark…..and getting off the school bus in the dark…..now there’s finally some light!!  (Until we hit Daylight Savings Time, now we’re back to darkness in the morning, but I know that it’s only for a short while).  And the dark winter months seem like a great time to get a cold, or the flu.  Some sort of bug just hit us and Henry and I are still recovering.  I said that I can’t remember when we’ve both gotten sick at the exact same time with the exact same thing….usually one of us is ok, while the other deals with the sickness, but this time we suffered together!!  (It was kind of sweet, in a weird sort of way.  We both had to be kind and give sympathy, because our symptoms were the same….)

What with the winter, the darkness, the dreariness, the sickness…..I’ve been thinking that I need a rainbow.  Lots of rainbows!  There is just something in me that is craving rainbows.  I need to see those bright colors.  Mostly, I need the promise. The  Rainbow symbolizes a Promise.  And not just any promise, from any old person.  The Rainbow appeared to symbolize a promise that God made to us.  Which is really the best kind of promise that there can be.  I need God’s promises, those are the ones you can count on.  I’m looking for His promises to get me through the dark days.

There are the “natural” promises:  in the middle of winter, there is the promise of spring, it’s coming, just hold on.  Summer will be here sometime this year.  The sun will shine, the snow will melt.  But I need even deeper ones.  Promises of a hope and a future.

This longing for rainbows could partially explain why, in the last few years, I’ve started celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s a rainbow sort of day, pots of shiny gold at the end of shimmery rainbows!  Coming at the end of a long winter.  And, boy, do I need those rainbows!  I’ve started planning a few little rainbow things….and eats.  The other day we made a rainbow dessert….I took photos, but…

Did I mention that my faithful old computer died?  Right on my birthday.  I haven’t transferred over my programs, so I haven’t been doing anything with my photos, and so haven’t been blogging.  That doesn’t help dispel the last of the winter’s gloom!  So today I grabbed a few photos of rainbows from days gone by…funny how they are all edible rainbows!
denna's ideas-cupcake gallery - Page 007I need to see those bright colors!  Even on a cupcake paper!  Eating a rainbow is even better than staring at one!  There is a “rainbow” movie that I really like.  It’s for kids, of course!  I made spaghetti and meatballs for supper a few nights ago, and just had to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!  There are a lot of satisfying rainbows in that animated movie, from the title to the end credits!  I also really like the story.  And how everything starts out so grey and sardine-y in the town.  Then comes the food and rainbows!!  Oh, and there are so many other things, too, deep stuff, like fathers and sons, being yourself, friendship and understanding, and then throw in some fun songs and a Guatemalan and a monkey, and it = one of my favorite movies ever!  (I was trying to add a few photos from the movie here, but couldn’t get it to work! And while I was looking for pictures, I just found out that a sequel is coming out in the fall!  Of course I had to watch the trailer…..might not be as awesome as the first movie, but still looks fun and foodie!!! Ahh, gives me something else to look forward to!)

Denna's Ideas- cupcake gallery - rainbowAbout rainbows…..what do you think?  I think I’m going to go hang up a rainbow in my kitchen today!

A rainbow a day keeps the blues away!

A rainbow a day keeps the blues away!

St. Patrick's Day Green Rainbow Cake

St. Patrick’s Day Green Rainbow Cake

It’s The Amazing Sock Carnival!!

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The other weekend I made the mistake of writing something incendiary on our chalkboard, having one idea but getting different results.  (I love the dicitionary meaning of incenidary: tending to arouse strife, sedition, etc.; inflammatory. yup, that’s what I mean!!)  It wasn’t incendiary at first…just way more exciting than I meant it to be….

The real story is this:  I had just set up a chalkboard in the living room and wanted to practice some cool-and-so-in-style-right-now chalk lettering.  And it was a weekend.  And I really really wanted everyone to pitch in and get some chores done.  So I wrote this:the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasThat’s all I did.  Then I left it.  Well, it was surprising how much excitement and speculation stirred up suddenly!  And then I realized….they actually were expecting something exciting and amazing.  Oh no!  I had just been hoping to get some socks folded and put away….now what was I going to do?

What with one thing and a lot of others….there was no time for the Sock Carnival.  At all.  For a whole week.  I couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty about not coming through with it.  And there were still enquiries about when were we going to do the carnival….”sometime” was my only answer.

Exhausted after all the events of the week, I wasn’t even thinking about Socks.  Until Saturday morning rolled around, and I was up way earlier than I ever want to be on a Saturday…and I felt that obsessive urge: I should do the Sock Carnival (whatever it will look like).  And so, to give myself some motivation, I dressed in the most brightly colored clothing I could find (it happened to be a mou-mou that my Grandmother made for herself out of woven Guatemalan fabric!) and started to decorate.  That took all of 10 minutes (I happen to have a stash of clowns, ready to appear at any moment.  Don’t ask why).  As I was throwing things together, I realized that my husband was face-timing his family in Guatemala on the iphone, and telling them about the Amazing Sock Carnival that we were going to have!!  Oh!  Now I really had to come up with something resembling fun…but I’m afraid that at that point, all I felt like doing was yelling at people (kids) to just help out without complaining and get their laundry put away!!  (My efforts to whip up something fun weren’t going over too well with the kids when they saw the giant bins of socks that really did need sorting, and when certain people realized that it wasn’t a real carnivalthe amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas(couldn’t resist adding that photo, though I know she’ll not be happy with me! heh heh, sweet revenge!  There were moments when I thought that this just might turn into an Amazing Carnival of Complaining like we watched years ago.)

And so I got busy and another sign went up to add to the “carnival decor” this time in Spanish….the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasthe amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasSend in the Clowns!!  Add some mate-less socks to my hanging display…the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasMy little friend joined the decorating…the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas

I happily modeled my mou-mou for my mother-in-law (even though I knew I that looked terribly exhausted and just, well..terrible)the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasAnd blew up a few more balloons while I tried to get myself into the party-type mood to happily persuade the kids that this was really going to be fun and not just plain work.  I must say that it helped to have an audience!!  (I had to get my impatience under control!)  3-2-1 and the Amazing Sock Carnival had begun!!

Festivities began with all the socks being dumped in the middle of the living room.  This might not seem like a big deal to you, but I’ll just say that there are 6 people in our household and no one likes washing or matching and putting away socks (that’s normal enough) and so bins of washed socks have been accumulating for awhile….

The first carnival activity: the timer was set for 5 minutes and a prize would go to the person who made the most matches of socks right off the bat.  I shouted gleefully  “this is not nicey-nice school where everyone gets a prize!!”  when there were comments like “where’s my prize?”  The winner received a yummy Ikea chocolate.  This prize-giving gave the whole proceeding a bit more of an edge!  The next round was a quick one, and involved pulling out all the clean underwear that had been mixed up with the socks.  The least said about this round, the better!the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas

By this time, we were all having fun!  (I’m not quite sure what our family who were watching by face-time thought about our antics….I’ll have to ask!!)  Another “sock round” involved everyone pulling out any socks that were theirs.  There were “breaks” when everyone rushed up to put away their armloads of socks.  Oh and of course, each person had a tally sheet to keep track of the pairs they were making.  I was really really curious to know how many socks we have.  It just made it that more exciting (for me anyways.  I don’t get out much).the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideas

Snacktime at the Carnival!  The smell of buttered popcorn kept everyone going.

the amazing sock carnival by denna's ideasAnd so it did turn out to be a fun carnival after all!  I’m afraid that not every sock was matched up, since some of them are still hiding in strange places around the house and haven’t come to light yet.  So there is still a small bin of matchless socks sitting around, but I did come up with a final tally……drum roll please……180 pairs of socks!  That’s 360 socks, not counting the rest that were in hiding.  It seems like a lot, doesn’t it?  It’ s not that we have a sock fetish or anything like that….I guess it’s just that I don’t throw out socks until they are really full of holes, and some of these socks have literally been around for years and years–they must have been well made!!  Anyway, yes it still is a lot of socks, and just imagine having to wash them, dry them and match them up and then put them away in everyone’s drawers…it’s enough to drive anyone crazy!!!

After the sock carnival (and after we had watched the previously mentioned Amazing Carnival of Complaining by the 3-2-1 penguins)  I wrote up these verses from Philippians 2:14, 15 which are mentioned in the cartoon.  A good time was had by all, and maybe a lesson was even learned. Maybe. 🙂

chalkboard with verse about complaining by denna's ideas