Monthly Archives: May 2013

An Irish Rainbow!

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I’m looking for a rainbow on this gloomy day.  I guess I’m always looking for rainbows.  My confession of messiness for today: I still have my rainbow-colored papel picado banner up from the Cinco de Mayo (personally I don’t think this is too awful as we are still in the month of May!!)denna's ideas: papel picado banner

There is something in me that is always looking for color and something beautiful to gaze at……and something in me that craves something beautiful and colorful to listen to.   On this gloomy day, I found it all in what I’m calling my Irish Rainbow!!  It’s my new favorite band, straight from the emerald isle of Ireland!  It’s Rend Collective Experiment.  A home-grown organic group….. here’s a fun video for today, just what I needed…colorful and fun….

I recently heard about this band from my friend Amber from Because Love is a Lifestyle and I guess I’m copycatting her by saying that the Campfire Album is my new favorite! 🙂  Rend Collective Experiment is not a new band (just new to me), it started as a group of friends in Ireland, eventually joined by almost 100 other artists, musicians etc.  The core 5 of the collective have gone on to an international success,with major tours all over the world.

Concerning the band itself Gareth comments,”We are a collective of people like a family and not just a band. We want our music to be what we call Organic worship, an honest and natural connection with God, something which is authentic and not artificial. We want to create an environment for people to have genuine encounters with Him and to find themselves singing to Him in ways that they find real”

I love it that their album Homemade Worship by Handmade People was recorded in a living room!!  Here’s an excerpt from Rend Collective Experiment‘s website:

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that anything homemade is typically better than its slick, factory-produced counterpart. Much like a handwritten note, a birthday gift that wasn’t procured at the local mall or a mouthwatering, made-from-scratch meal savored with family and friends, Irish worship artists Rend Collective Experiment wanted to approach the follow-up to their universally praised debut, Organic Family Hymnal, in the same decidedly homespun fashion. So instead of holing up in a studio for weeks on end, Rend Collective Experiment held their recording sessions a lot closer to home—namely in Gareth and Ally Gilkeson’s own living room in Northern Ireland.

For some musicians, working at home would be the very definition of chaos. But for the group who’s always been less of a band and more of a family anyway, it was an ideal experience that culminated in the group’s exquisitely crafted (and appropriately titled) second album, Homemade Worship By Handmade People.

“The best way I could describe it was that we didn’t want to get involved in any clinical, polished studio where things felt detached from normal life,” Gareth says. “We wanted things to feel homey, and there was something intimate about that. Naturally, there were guitars and instruments everywhere for the better part of six months, and I’m not sure how my wife [Ally] coped, but it was an experience none of us will ever forget. It’s a fun way of making music.”

Love it!!  I know that the music from their CD Campfire is going to be my summer sound this year!! Some of my biggest favorites are: You Are My Vision, Praise like Fireworks, Movements, Build Your Kingdom, 10,000 Reasons….

My day has suddenly cheered up!!!!  Hope you have a nice one, too!

Japanese Gardens on Kodomo-no-hi Children’s Day

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Take a trip with me for a few moments to a place long ago and far away…to celebrate Kodomo-no-hi.  Or just to see how we celebrated Japanese Children’s Day on the fifth day of the fifth month!  We discovered the Kurimoto Japanese Garden at the Devonian Botanic Gardens near Edmonton.  During this Japanese national holiday, families fly colorful carp-shaped streamers (koinobori), display special dolls and ornaments and generally celebrate children!  We started our celebrations with a picnic, then wandered the gardens under the flying carp!denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DaySpring has hardly sprung around here!  This was the first really warm weekend we’ve had since winter…which ended about 2 weeks ago!  The gardens are beautiful, even so.  The kids were fascinated by this waterfall which leads to a pond with koi fish.denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayClimbed the hill to ring the big bell….the kids enjoyed hearing the tolling over the quiet garden!denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayAnd then crossed the bridge and watched the fish for awhile….denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayIn the Temperate Zone Greenhouse, surrounded by tropical plants drinking in the sun, we heard a traditional Japanese folk story told with a kamishibai story box!denna's ideas: Japanese traditional storytelling with a kamishibai story boxThe story was about Momotaro the Peach Boy and then we listened to another story from a book…denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayAnd then back to the gardens where my little friend was convinced to wear her costume that I had been carrying around all day!!  It’s not “real” but we had such fun!!denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayI’m loving this photo!  It makes me think of a photo in a 1960’s magazine!!  Then my friend and I watched the huge carp streamers, lovely to watch in the breeze…denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayIn the classroom, we made our own flying carp kites and did a little origami…denna's ideas: making koinobori flying carp to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: making koinobori flying carp to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's DayAfter flying our koinobori carp streamers, we headed for home to display them and eat popsicles!denna's ideas: making koinobori flying carp to celebrate Children's DayWe had our large carp that we made, then some smaller more traditional looking windsock-type ones from the gift shop.  Each carp represents a member of the family.  Usually the father is a large black carp, the mother is usually pink or red, then the children.  I made a few extras to even out our carp numbers using the pattern I linked up to the other day from HERE.denna's ideas: making koinobori flying carp to celebrate Children's Daydenna's ideas: making koinobori flying carp to celebrate Children's DayIt was a lovely way to celebrate the day, being together, discovering something new and learning about customs from another culture.  And taking photos (of course!) though I mostly relaxed and let Henry snap away!!denna's ideas: Kurimoto Japanese Gardens to celebrate Children's Day

A glimpse of home…

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denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

These hibiscus type flowers grew like weeds in our hedge…

Yesterday we visited the Devonian Gardens for the first time.  I wasn’t expecting a glimpse of my past!  It was our first visit to the Gardens and I was surprised to see so many plants and flowers that reminded me of my childhood.  I grew up in Guatemala City and our yard was always full of flowers and green leafy things!  Here are some of the plants that I was happy to recognize (though I can’t name them all!)

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

I have always loved bougainvillea of any color and you can see it everywhere in Guate!

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

I was so surprised to see this flower as I have never seen it outside of Guatemala before…it was in the butterfly greenhouse. Just 2 small branches of flowers…a taste of the masses of lilac blooms I remember…and I remembered exactly how the leaves would feel…like stiff sandpaper….

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

We had a small coffee bush growing in our yard, and I remember popping the red berries into my mouth to see what they taste like, not like coffee that’s for sure!!

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

These papyrus plants used to grow in our back yard and we would use them for pretend umbrellas when we were little….

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

Papayas!!

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers

My Mom always had cacti around and we were always picking up spines in our feet and knocking into the prickly things!! (Ok, and even licking them! That was me…)

denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowers denna's ideas: tropical plants and flowersWhat a beautiful day we had!  After a long long cold cold winter, seeing the flowers and greenness was a site for sore tired eyes, that’s certain.  And the gurgling of a little stream….nice!   Ahhh, my tropical memories!

Japanese Children’s Day

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Along with being the Cinco de Mayo, today is also a fun festival in Japan, Children’s Day!  Originally it was called Boy’s Day, celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month, and Girl’s Day being the 3rd day of the 3rd month, but more recently the 5th of May has been remade as Children’s Day to celebrate all children.

I happened upon this fun and cute craft on Squirrelly Minds that is perfect for today!  How to make Japanese flying carp streamers, which is the traditional symbol for this day…a carp for each boy of the house!  (Now I assume that it would be a carp for each child!)  I have been saving up toilet paper rolls for the last few days so we can try our hand at these cute crafts.

Koinobori (Japanese Flying Carp) DIY from Squirrelly Minds

These photos are reposted with the  permission of Tan from Squirrelly Minds and here’s the link to her blog with the photo tutorial on how to make these colorful carp!  Aren’t they the cutest things?  Thank  you Tan!!

I had thought we would make these Japanese carp yesterday, but while we were looking at her site, we also found out that there is a Kodomo-no-hi celebration at the Japanese Gardens near where we live, so have decided to check that out!  There will be carp and kite making for the kids, stories and other fun stuff!  I’ll post a photo of our Japanese inspired creative efforts later!!  It is very early spring here, with yesterday being the first really really warm day of the season….there are still patches of snow around and yesterday I saw a pond still mostly covered in ice!!  It has been a long long winter this year….and finally it feels like spring!!  Nice weather to fly a kite or a carp!!

Yesterday we had a little Cinco de Mayo lunch at our house, though I made Guatemalan food! (of course!)  Last year I did a bit more Cinco de Mayo fun stuff, which you can see  here: cinco de mayo.

Have a happy Children’s Day and Cinco de Mayo 🙂

DIY Recycled 10-minute Mini Piñata

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DIY Recycled 10-minute Mini Piñata

Flashes of genius happen at the strangest times.  Like when you are shredding documents.  And then emptying the shredder.  And you think, “this shredded paper is so cool, what could we make out of it??”  How about a Piñata?  A mini piñata that won’t take much time to make.  A recycled earth-friendly piñata.  Sounds good to me, I say to myself.

First of all, I collected all the kids’ field trip forms that are always sitting around cluttering up my counter….they are usually printed on brightly colored paper….perfect for a cinco de mayo type piñata.  I mentioned that I had already emptied the shredder, so then my daughter had a fun time feeding in all the colored paper that I had decided to recycle.  Now empty the shredder again…denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñata

Lovely!!

I’d be happy to just have the shreds sitting around in a jar to decorate….not everyone’s idea of glamorous decor….denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñataFind some little boxes to use, and some tape and something to hang the thing with…like string or ribbon…we found a box from icing colors, so even the box looked colorful….denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñataNow would be a good time to fill the box with candy….if you want to!!  Then knot a length of string and secure it in the corner of the box, then fold the flaps down to hold the string in place and tape it all closed.  Can you see the loop of string coming out of the corner?denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñataCover one side of the box with glue, plain old white school glue…denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñata

Grab a small handful of the shredded paper and start sticking it on!  Don’t be a perfectionist!denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñataGlue paper on another side,  doesn’t really matter what order you do the sides in!denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñataMy 6 year old daughter and I each made one…denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñatadenna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñataSeriously, it took about 10 minutes to make one of these little guys!denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñata

Now hang it up!!  And add a little tissue paper tail….denna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñatadenna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñatadenna's ideas: how to make a recycled mini piñata(I “boosted” the color in these photos…I wish I had kitchen walls this lovely papaya shade of burning orange!)

Mayo Fiesta Parrot Cake

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El Primero de Mayo!  It’s May today…I’ll bet many of you are having a day off work…I guess I don’t need to point out that I’m not.  Heh heh.  Someone’s gotta bake cakes, even on holidays.

I was doing some research on what exactly is celebrated on the first of May, but have run out of time to post about it (I’m sure that’s a relief!!)  Needless to say, many things are celebrated in many places today.  There you go.

I made a cake today….to celebrate all the good stuff in May.  It also happens to be the 7th year anniversary of AntiguaDailyPhoto, a site with the most gorgeous and interesting photos of Antigua Guatemala.  So here’s a big Happy Anniversary to you!!  And some cake…..denna's ideas: mayo fiesta bird cake

Yum yum yummy….denna's ideas: mayo fiesta parrot cake denna's ideas: mayo fiesta parrot cake denna's ideas: mayo fiesta parrot cake

Here’s what is inside the cake: chocolate and mandarin orange….filled and frosted with Nutella!!!  What a flavor combination!denna's ideas: marble cake denna's ideas: marble cake denna's ideas: marble cake filled with Nutelladenna's ideas: marble cake

If the parrot cookie on top of the cake looks familiar, it is because I posted about it yesterday.  I entered it in Lilaloa’s “think outside the cookie cutter challenge”.  I made the flowers yesterday, too.  So today I just had to make a delicious cake.  🙂

I had some more blank cookies that I had made for the challenge…so I challenged my kids to think up something to create out of the “diamond ring” cookie cutter shape.  I think they came up with some pretty creative ideas!!   I melted up some candy melts and they decorated the cookies themselves…denna's ideas: kids entries for Lilaloa's cookie cutter challengeHello Kitty…denna's ideas: hello kitty cookieA good idea Lightbulb….denna's ideas: good idea lightbulb cookieA happy kid of some sort…. 🙂denna's ideas: happy kid cookieAnd Nemo the fish!!denna's ideas: Nemo cookieYes, yes they are creative kids!  Wonder where they get it from….?!

Well, after all the cake and cookies….I feel a diet coming on tomorrow!!  😉

Have a festive Month of May everyone!