Friday, 24 October 2014

Spooky Cocoa Anyone?

Well yesterday turned out to be one THOSE days - you know the sort. Ebi-kun only had a half day at school so I tried to jam as much as possible in for the day before he got home.

Hubby had left late because he had a seminar to go to in town and it didn't start until 9am so he stopped for a Starbucks and some downtime, only to find that he got the date wrong, so he'll be doing it all again next week!

We have a Halloween party this weekend so we decided since Ebi-kun was going to be at home that we would use it as prep time, finish our outfits etc. Only to have it disrupted because I discovered a big water leak in the kitchen, that had gone under the counter and was coming out the other side. The side where I had piles of books and parcels ready to go to the post office *scream*

Luckily, I spotted the water before it got to the packages *phew*

Now I am sitting in waiting for the plumb to arrive and feeling grateful for the constant water supply we usually have, it's so easy to take for granted these things! But not having water (we had to turn off the mains) is driving me mad, that and all the chaos I'm sat in...add the contents of the kitchen drawers to the piles of packages to go out! I just want ti fixed!

On the upside, I was inspired to make Ebi-kun spooky hot cocoa.

Basically, hot cocoa with marshmallows, I used black food colour to paint on ghost faces, looks really cool when they were half melted and pretty disgusting when just the face was left! Big hit with the boy though, try it!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Quick and easy spooky healthy Halloween snacks....

Halloween is coming and as you know it is our favourite season! Now, I have to admit I have kinda fallen off the crafty wagon the last couple of months but I know with all the spooky inspiration that is coming I will soon back back up and running!

This is an oldie but a goodie and fun for little ones too, it would be a good activity to keep them busy as you are cooking dinner!

What you need:




And a mat to work on is a good idea too! Simple draw eyes on the stickers then stick them on the fruit to make spooky faces. You could use googlie eyes but if you want to stretch the time out a bit the draw the eyes instead. You could get really fancy and add other facial features too.

I have seen faces drawn directly onto the fruit but personally, I don't want to eat anything that might have seeped through the skin!

Want more fun ideas to keep the kids busy? Hop on the playbook...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ready to Declutter Your Home In Time For The Holidays?

Yes it's back! We are doing the Holiday Havoc Bootcamp again as the run up to the November in take of Clear The Clutter.

How does it all work?

1. Sign up using the form below

2. Go and click the link in the email sitting in your inbox - or you won't be in!

3. Join the Facebook group - you will get the link when you sign up

3. The bootcamp kicks off October 20th so expect an email from me on the 19th

4. Each day of the bootcamp you will get a mission in the form of an email, complete your mission, take a pic and post it in the facebook group with any brags, a-ha moments and funny finds!

Why does it work?

OK, this is not a solution to your chaos in your home, this is like doing a detox to kick start your diet. So when you do a detox you take a few days to concentrate on all the crap in your body and work on getting it out, but a detox isn’t a long term solution is it? No way Jose, you need to change your diet, your way of eating, what you put into your body for it to work. Well, the bootcamp is just like that. 

For a week we concentrate on getting as much crap out as possible then, those who continue with Clear The Clutter will be on the healthy eating plan but for their home. Consciously being aware of what is being bought in and which habits need to be broken.

Doing it with friends, in a group, keeps you accountable which means you actually DO IT rather than think about doing it!

Holiday season is when we welcome friends, family and gifts into our home, it shouldn’t be a time to feel ashamed or stressed at the state of your home, so grab yourself some empty bags and boxes and let’s do this!

Sign up below…don’t worry, I will never sell or do anything dodgy with your email address, it’s safe with me. I will be sending you my weekly playbook filled with cool ideas, tips and tricks but if it doesn’t rock your boat, you can unsubscribe after the bootcamp – I won’t be offended and we can still be friends

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Typhoon That Wasn't...

Again we were all braced for this super typhoon that was headed our way but it was nothing more than heavy rain again, although some parts of Japan, Okinawa especially took quite a battering. It was a 3 day weekend but because we were expecting a big nasty typhoon we didn't plan anything. Instead we had a major clean out, which was good because I had been putting off doing it for a while.

The studio was full of piles of stuff to be thrown out, so it is all sorted. A big box of clothes to go to Joni in Iwate for the tsunami survivors, who are still living in temporary accommodation - temporary my arse!

Another big box of boys clothes. A selection of outgrown toys and puzzles, a box of Japanese books that we took to Book Off (yes, it really is called that) and made a bit of money there plus a beer pump that hubby had gotten for free - don't ask, we managed to sell that too!

Then there is this big pile of books... mostly English with some Japanese kids books thrown in too. Hoping to sell all of these. 

To motivate the rest of the family to help with this wee project, we decided that all the money we make will go towards or winter skiing trip, maybe an extra day skiing or a hotel upgrade, we will see!

I do wish Japan had charity shops like they do back home, I would be totally happy to just donate it all if I knew a charity were going to be able to make money from it. Where my mom lives, they are spoilt for choice when it comes to charity shops, there are about 10 in the town!

They also have charities that post bags through the door, just fill it up and leave it on a designated day - how easy is that? Someone needs to start that here!

If you are in Japan and after English books, I will be posting them in Japan Garage Sale and Japan Garage Sale Kids (these are free facebook groups to buy and sell your things)

Friday, 10 October 2014

Zucchini Brownie For Kids To Bake

Ebi-kun has been pestering to make zucchini brownies so yesterday was the day. he is so confident in the kitchen now, he does almost all of it himself, I am basically there to take things in and out of the oven - he isn't really tall enough to do that safely yet.

What you need:

1 c wholewheat flour
1/3 c baking cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

150g dark chocolate
1/4 c vegetable oil (we used olive because thats all we had, would like to try coconut next time)
1c brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c grated zucchini/courgette (about 3)

9" square pan (greased)

Heat oven to 180deg C

  1. Grate the courgette/zucchini
  2. Combine the first 4 ingredient in a bowl
  3. Melt the chocolate and allow to cool slightly. 
  4. Stir the oil, sugar egg white and vanilla into the chocolate
  5. Stir the flour mix into the chocolate
  6. Pour into the tin
  7. Bake for 30 minutes
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack then cut into squares

Invite me round so I can check you made them OK !

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Stickers that stick...

A few weeks ago I was contacted by kidecals and asked if I'd like to test out some of their stickers - now since Ebi-kuns name labels are forever peeling off whatever he has them on, I said sure!

Ebi-kun took quite some time trying to choose because their are loads of cool designs - yes, boys get a look in for once too! He picked this design and we just got his name printed on it

His water bottle that he takes to school is the biggest problem usually, he has had a couple of stickers on it, on on the bottle and one on the lid and they have been on since the start of September with no sign of wear and tear or peeling - I'm impressed!

Kidecals have loads of designs so I'm sure you can find something for even the pickiest of kids, my only disappointment was that I couldn't use the Japanese script, it had to be in English, which doesn't help for school labels here. Ebi-kun has his name on his water bottle in Japanese too, although he is the only kid in the class that speaks English so I'm sure they'd figure it out! They do ship internationally so that was another big plus.

Top tip - when you go over to the site, there is pop up window, sign up and you get 15% off!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Doesn't time fly?

Well last week was all pretty hectic, what with the live call and the launch of this years MOC, techie gremlins didn't help the matter! It all went of in the end and I have 11 lovely mamas chopping at the bit, ready to get going this time round.

In other news, school has been cancelled today due to typhoon #18, very rainy out but no winds as of yet, like your average rainy day back in the UK!

I did manage to get into Tokyo on Thursday for a badly needed hair cut, in my head I had this idea that I would get my hair done then take a nice leisurely lunch before heading home, the reality was that i was in the salon far longer than I anticipated and ended up with no time for lunch, racing back home just in time for when Ebi-kun got in from school.

At least my hair looks good!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Were you there?

I had the live call this morning, I was somewhat nervous because I haven't done one for such a long time but it turned out to be heaps of fun!

I answered a shed load of questions from how to cope with siblings of different age to working with toddlers under foot to organizing the living room! Plus there were prizes and just cool people online!

If you already signed up, the the link is sitting in your inbox, if you missed it completely for whatever reason, then you can sign up below!

Sign up now, the call is only up until the Sunday, 9am JST

Monday, 29 September 2014

The national obsession that is Undokai...

Undokai - or sports festival is a BIG deal in Japan, we are not talking a 50 meter dash and an egg and spoon race here, oh no, it is hours of practice, sweat and tears. And the strange thing is, most of the kids love it!

Daddy-ebi has to work one Saturday a month and unfortunately it fell on Ebi-kuns sports day, neither of them were happy - I should include myself in that! It meant I had to figure out the whole standing in the right place at the right time to get the right photos! Talk about stressful lol.

I did have a bit of a mommy fail, I checked that the camera battery was charged and ready to go but didn't notice that the memory card was almost full! Which meant I had to resort to my phone, not the best pictures ever!

There are 1400 kids in Ebi-kuns school and they split them into 5 teams. Ebi-kun was Yellow this time round. They have various games and races which can get them points for their team and this is the whole school together. They have to get the ball from one end to the other without it touching the floor. Ebi-kun isn't very tall so he's somewhere in the middle!


Can you spot Ebi-kun doing his dance (blue t-shirt), he has been getting up extra early every morning to practice!

This is the 6th graders, they practice like mad for the gymnastics display at the end. There was this big pyramid and 4 smaller ones. As the last girl was climbing to the top, the whole things started leaning to the left, there was a united gasp as EVERYONE held their breath. Then a united sigh of relief as it righted itself and the girl made it to the summit. 

This one was 8 kids wide, I think 5 deep and 8 high, it was impressive but my inner Brit was screaming 'Where is Health & Safety?' I'm not sure if it is better to be a bigger kid and stuck at the bottom with a chance to be crushed or a smaller kid with the chance of falling off the top! 

The final formation looked positively tame in comparison! Luckily it was a lot cooler than usual although I still managed to burn my neck. Ebi-kun had a great day and i think that is the main thing!

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