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!Spring 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.Climbed the hill to ring the big bell….the kids enjoyed hearing the tolling over the quiet garden!And then crossed the bridge and watched the fish for awhile….In 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!The story was about Momotaro the Peach Boy and then we listened to another story from a book…And 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!!I’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…In the classroom, we made our own flying carp kites and did a little origami…After flying our koinobori carp streamers, we headed for home to display them and eat popsicles!We 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.It 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!!
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!)
What 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!
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.
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
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…
I’d be happy to just have the shreds sitting around in a jar to decorate….not everyone’s idea of glamorous decor….Find 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….Now 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?Cover one side of the box with glue, plain old white school glue…
Grab a small handful of the shredded paper and start sticking it on! Don’t be a perfectionist!Glue paper on another side, doesn’t really matter what order you do the sides in!My 6 year old daughter and I each made one…Seriously, it took about 10 minutes to make one of these little guys!
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…..
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…Hello Kitty…A good idea Lightbulb….A happy kid of some sort…. And Nemo the fish!!Yes, 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!
May is almost here!! We just had 2 days of blowing snow…and finally this afternoon the sun burst out and is turning the snow to puddles.
Today I started thinking about May, since it begins tomorrow. In many countries of the world, tomorrow, May 1st is a holiday, but not here!! On the weekend there is el 5 de Mayo, which is another holiday also not around here! I’m late for holidays this year….but I did make some festive cookies today…kind of for May fiestas, but mostly for Lilaloa’s cookie challenge!!
The challenge is to think outside the box….or outside the cookie cutter shape! There is a diamond ring cookie cutter that is popular for engagement cookies, and Georganne over at Lilaloa has challenged everyone to make something different than a diamond ring, using that cutter. I confess that I have been thinking about it for a week (or more!) but just haven’t had the umph! to make anything, until today…inspired by the sunlight and the festiveness of May….I made some parrots. (I also happen to have been thinking that a parrot would be the perfect pet for our household. Years ago we had a green parrot and he had such a fun personality!! Ok, ok, lots of feathers everywhere….but he was my little baby….anyways…)
I’m liking the “1960′s filter” on these photos! The lighting is so awful in my house….I have to try and edit to try and get near the cookies’ original colors… I know I complain a lot about the lighting…really I’m just not a great photographer and never use Manual
Get ready to have a great May!!
I had been thinking for a long time that a Hello Kitty party would be fun, but here are the two things that made me feel really inspired to go ahead and go for it!!
My photos of the mug didn’t turn out so great, but really the mugs were my inspiration for the party. The girls have had them for years, and I am always seeing them! The mugs have Hello Kitty with ice cream cones and candy, and they are done in these pastel colors. So I decided that the colors for the party would be mint green, pastel pink and red, oh! and chocolate instead of black! And that it would be a Hello Kitty Sweet Shoppe kind of theme! Following are some easy how-tos for some of the Hello Kitty stuff we did for the party. Links to sources and how-to posts are in red letters, so just click on them!
(An Aside: my friend over at Paper Glitter did a Fab-U-Lous Hello Kitty Sweet Shoppe party for her daughter! It’s amazing! I decided to go with my mug-inspired homemade party this time, though. If my printer had been working, I would have printed some of Paper Glitters’ gorgeous Sweet Shoppe Party printouts and this sweeeeet stationary set! Linnette makes the most adorable things for parties! But my printer is on it’s last legs )
So mint and pink and red….and a little white cat! A package of pastel card stock from the dollar store made a quick and easy backdrop. Just tape the pages onto the wall with painter’s tape so they won’t stick forever! (We were able to print out one black and white kitty and my youngest colored it in. We found it on this site of coloring pages).
The little Kitty banner was so fast and easy to make. Check out the How-To here for a quick and easy Hello Kitty banner.
And now for the party table set up!We found some bubble tea in just the right colors…they looked super, but just are not my personal cup of tea! I made a plate of Hello Kitty crackers…um, those weren’t so fabulous, but might work out with a different recipe.Some easy party balloons in the shape of ice cream cones for the party table. Just add some “cherries” and sprinkles! There’s a quick how-to at the end of this post hereEverything was finally put together….with the Hello Kitty Cake, too!
I made a Pocky Cake and added Hello Kitty peeking over the top! Her whiskers are made out of Pocky, too. I posted about what a Pocky cake is the other day, what a quick way to decorate a cake!!The salad bowl was really a flash of genius, if I do say so myself!! So fun and tasty, but super easy to make, too!
Here’s the post about the Hello Kitty Fruit Salad Bowl containing my favoritist sweet salad ever! (I know that’s not a word! but it’s yummy)
My birthday girl!!! No girl is ever too old for a Hello Kitty party!!It was a whole lot of sugary pastel colored sweetness, with a few Japanese and Korean treats thrown in! The only things missing were these Hello Kitty strawberry treats!! They were easy to make, but just didn’t make it to this party, haha! The link for the how-to is here.