Showing posts with label Central America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Central America. Show all posts

New Multicultural Books Perfect for Women's History Month


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

March is such a funny month. In New England it can be a long month without much to do. The weather is sometimes amazing and often awful. It can be snow or rain and it really depends. Spring begins in March which is always my favorite but it is early spring so it isn't the beautiful part of spring yet. And of course there is Pi Day! One of my favorite holidays!! Mathematicians don't get too many holidays. The other thing that excites me about March is that it is Women's History Month. It is a month for us to discover and learn about the amazing women throughout history that we probably haven't heard of. Most of our history was recorded by men (and around here it was white men) so it is very biased and often doesn't cover the amazing things women have done to support society. I have big plans for this month but to begin I thought I would share two new books that are perfect for Women's History Month. The first is a picture book that shares a favorite story of Dovey Johnson Roundtree liked to tell. Last month I shared a middle grade level book about Dovey but today's book is a perfect way to introduce younger kids to this amazing woman. The book is We Wait for the Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe and illustrated by Raissa Figueroa.

Mommy Time Posts--Otomi Journal and Quilt Update


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this journal in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you make time for yourself? For self care? As mothers we tend to have the weight of the world or at least of our homes, families and work on our shoulders. It is hard to find time. A friend recently shared a post on Facebook of a conversation between two women. It involved finding time to meet God in mountains. In the Bible men are often climbing mountains and meeting God. Women however are back tending to the house and family. Does this mean women do not have God in their lives? No, the conversation shared that God knows the role women play and meets them at home. God is always with us to care for us because we don't have the time to just take off and climb a mountain. However it is important for us to take the time to take care of ourselves. I have decided to try to share products, activities and things about self care and mommy time on Fridays. First a quilt update. A few weeks ago I shared a review of Wintertime Shimmer. I decided to try the wall hanging option and instead of winter try to capture the beautiful autumn colors outside. I still have to do the applique on it and am planning on putting a female cardinal on instead of the male. (Yes I have an obsession with the female cardinals.) Anyway, here is the pieced portion of the quilt.

 I have to say it was very quick to piece and I love the pattern. I may make a winter one as well. I do find quilting, sewing, and crafts as part of my self care. I have a strong need to create and if I ignore the pull towards crafts I find myself lost. 

One of my favorite self care activities is journaling. There are times when the emotions are too much and I just need to let them out. I find my journal helps with this. Do you love journals? Hazel and I love them and tend to collect them. I was fortunate enough to get sent this beautiful Otomi Journal to review.

This journal has embossed Mexican embroidery design all over the cover. It is based off the traditional embroidery of the Otomi People in Central Mexico. They are an indigenous group to Central Mexico.

Inside the journal there are lined pages. Then every fifth page of so a print from the traditional embroidery appears. They are animals or flowers. 

I love the little surprises of the print. The pages themselves are thick and a good quality. I haven't started to use it but plan to keep track of some health data so I know what to tell doctors when I have appointments. Nowadays they tend to be telehealth appointments so it is important to be able to tell my doctor everything I need to since she is not really examining me. 

Plus if I get my act together I will be able to use it to track my diet and exercise. How would you use a journal? This one is absolutely beautiful. I love the added touch of its culture. They also have Otomi Notecards if you would prefer to send the beauty to your friends and family. I would love to hear how you are doing some self care these days!

Monarchs and Mexico -- Global Learning for Kids

As I mentioned yesterday this month's country for Global Learning for Kids is Mexico. Yesterday we explored art from Mexico. Since Hazel loves animals, I thought we would focus on an animal with a connection to Mexico and the perfect one is the monarch butterfly!

A Look At Mexican Art -- Hispanic Heritage Month

This year for our Hispanic Heritage Month post I thought we would share a bit about artwork from Mexico. Mexico is the country of the month for Global Learning for Kids, so we have been looking at it quite a bit this month. More posts to follow on it. In previous years we have looked at Frida Kahlo, papel picado Jose Guadalupe Posada and Juan Quezada. We found even more books at the library about Frida Kahlo.

Learning about the Day of the Dead with Books & Crafts

I have 2 current giveaways!! One for an Origami Toy Monsters Book & Kit and the other for 2 DVDs.

 Not being Mexican or even Hispanic and not being Catholic, I did not know much about the Day of the Dead. In fact I found the skeletons a bit creepy. The past few years I have explored the holiday with Hazel and realized what a touching holiday it really is and now I like the skeletons and especially the skulls. This year we took two new books out of the library to explore the holiday a bit more. 

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Cuba

Have you entered my giveaway for 4 Christmas DVDs yet? It is ending soon!!

This month we are exploring Cuba with Around the World in 12 Dishes. I was rather excited to learn more about Cuba since it is such a mysterious country to me. With all the trade and travel restrictions it seems like an unknown place. We have explored Cuba with books, stories, music, crafts and food from home. To learn more about Cuba and see more resources check out my introduction post at the Around the World in 12 Dishes blog. We had also learned a bit about Cuba during the Hispanic Heritage Month when we read about Celia Cruz, a Cuban-American salsa singer. 

Celia Cruz 1
Celia Cruz By Lionel Decoster (Own work) 
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

This is the third week of the Hispanic Heritage Month. We are participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop and Giveaway. You can enter the giveaway here by scrolling down as well. We are sharing something we have done to celebrate or learn about Hispanic cultures each week during the month. Today we are sharing the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. We discovered this story by reading The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe by Pat Mora. There are however many books that discuss the story and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We also have enjoyed thus far Tomie de Paolo's Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here are some other books we found at the library that share some part of the story or how the festivals are celebrated.

Easter Around the World: Guatemala

As Easter is approaching, I started wondering how it was celebrated differently throughout the world. I know every church seems to have its own way of doing it as well as every family, but I wondered what traditions were out there. I have close friends who are Greek Americans and gone through many Easter seasons with them. At some point I will share some of their traditions.

The first thing I discovered is that the different celebrations seem to also incorporate Holy Week. Holy Week is the week starting with Palm Sunday (one week before Easter) until Easter. The special days differ a bit but the major ones include Palm Sunday (the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem), Good Friday (the day Jesus died), and Easter Sunday (the day Jesus rose from death).

Flag of Guatemala
Today we are focusing on Easter and Holy Week in Guatemala. Guatemala is a country in Central America. It borders Mexico, El Salvador, Bolivia and Honduras as well as the  Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Guatemala has had many different types of government including Mayan rule. It also had a Civil War being fought from 1960 to 1996. Since the Civil War it has had economic growth and elected a new president in 2011. Nearly all of its residents are Christian with only 1% following the indigenous Mayan faith. During Colonial times Roman Catholic was the official religion, but in recent years Protestant religions have been popular with nearly one third of residents being Protestant. (Source)


The first thing that peaked my interest in Easter in Guatemala was a book we found at the library called Sawdust Carpets by Amelia Lau Carling. The book is written by a Chinese woman who grew up in Guatemala. One of her fondest childhood memories was the sawdust carpets or Alfombras de Acerrin made for the parades re-enacting Holy Week or the procesiones. The most famous of these occur in Antigua, Guatemala. The author remembers a trip to visit her aunt, uncle and cousins that lived in Antigua one Semana Santa (Holy Week). In the story she describes seeing the neighbors making the beautiful colorful sawdust carpets and even helping a neighbor with one. The neighbor gives the leftover materials to the children so they can make their own. They design and make one just as the procession is beginning. The young narrator tries to stand in the way of the procession so their special carpet will not be ruined. The neighbor steps in to explain how each carpet is an offering to life. They then watch the procession and see the different floats with statues portraying the story of Holy Week. There are bands who follow each float playing music to set the mood of the float. Overall the day is exciting and sad all rolled into one which seems like a wonderful description of Holy Week to me.

Corpus Christi alfombras 9
Source: By Municipio de Patzún (Municipalidad de Patzún)
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We also researched some more of these sawdust carpets by reading about Semana Santa in the Fiesta! series Guatemala. This book describes Holy Week or Easter as the most colorful and biggest fiesta in Guatemala with Antigua having the best festival. During this time planting is done and Indians ask their gods to give them a good harvest. The week however is very solemn. The stores close and there are long religious rituals. Antigua was the capital when the Spaniards ruled and the traditions date back to that time, so this is why it has the biggest festival.

To make the carpets, local people make big stencils of birds, flowers, and religious symbols. They first lay down plain sawdust onto the wet ground. Then they use their stencils and colored sawdust to make the designs. They also embellish the carpets with flowers, pine needles, and fruit. To reach the middle of the designs without messing up what is already done they have raised pieces of wood to walk upon. These are made before Good Friday. The procession beings very early. Riders, dressed as Roman soldiers call for the death sentence of Jesus. Floats carry the figures of the Virgin Mary and Saint John as well as the effigy of Jesus. The men who pull the Christ floats are allowed to walk on the stenciled shapes on the street. They wear purple until 3 p.m., the time Jesus died on the cross. They carriers then change their clothes to black until Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is a day of joy with music and dance. (Source: Fiesta! Guatemala by Grolier International)

Dyed Sawdust Carpet (Alfombra de Aserrin) 3
Source: GuateRob at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

The largest float requires 80 men to carry it. They are switched every 10 to 15 minutes so the procession can require more than 2500 carriers. Women carry the float with the Virgin Mary on it. It is an honor to be a carrier and often it is passed down through generation to generation of a family. Incense is lite before the procession starts and the streets fill with spectators as well as carriers and smoke and scent from the incense. (Source)

Semana Santa Antigua Guatemala
Source: By Jialiang Gao (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

The entire procession sounds like a perfect way to celebrate Easter. I hope some day to actually see it. I wanted to do a craft with the idea of sawdust carpets using colored sand, but we have not had time yet. If we do make one, I will be sure to post pictures here. How do you celebrate Easter? What are some of your family's traditions?

For a great first hand experience of the flower carpets in Antigua, check out World Travel Family's post Flower Carpets in Antigua Guatemala.

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