Thursday, 30 July 2009

make a footie pitch

This all started because I couldn't find footie cake toppers for his football pitch cake, well none that I was willing to pay for. I looked on Ebay and although I could get my hands on games at a reasonable price the shipping would have bankrupted me. Then I had a brain wave!
I bought these little wooden unpainted dolls with completely a different project in mind, you should go and have a look at Wunderkind, she has some really cute dolls in there. Anyway, I counted up the dolls and I had enough for two teams so I broke out the paints. I gave them a couple of layers of acrylic then added the details, the numbers were a nightmare, they are so wonky but the faces weren't that hard to do. Ebi-kun supports our local team, Omiya. So, I got the team sheet out and painted them like the real players, well as far as hair styles and skin tone goes :o). Omiya play in orange and blue. The ball was DIFFICULT to paint, don't look to closely.

Next job was the pitch, I bought a wooden tray for ¥500 and stuck a piece of felt to it (felt was from my favourite felt lady, Sarah. I used fabric paint to paint on the white lines. I also covered the top of a little wooden box I had so he would have somewhere to keep the players. The goal posts are made from bendable wire, I am sure they will get bent out of shape but they are easy to re-bend. The are hooked over the side of the tray to stop them from falling over but they come off and can be stored in the box.

So all he needed was someone to play with, isn't that what daddies are for?

Birthday MTD

We just stayed in yesterday, Ebi-kun wanted to play with all his new toys and I promised to play with him and not get bogged down with work. When I asked him what he wanted for dinner he said, a fancy muffin tin, well it's not that fancy but here we are...

back row : yellow pepper and tomato, mini sausage, yellow pepper and tomato
2nd row from back: broccoli, yellow pepper and tomato, football rice ball*
3rd row from back: football rice ball, football boots mini sausage, broccoli
front row: yellow pepper and tomato, lychee, birthday cake - the last piece.

*I bought nori which is precut so that when you wrap it round the rice ball it looks like a football - pretty cool but over priced so it is just for special treats :o)

The picks were left over from the party.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Ebi-Kun

It hardly seems like yesterday since you were born,
you were so tiny
but by the time you were one you had bulked out and your cheeky character
was showing through and you were into everything
By two you knew exactly what you wanted and
had no problem on letting us know what it was!
Then you were three and your favourite words were why, how and what, you are interested in anything and everything, and you are cute, smart and funny.
and now you are four (not until 10:10am, you do keep reminding me!) and I wonder what the next year will bring, in which direction will you grow and change?
I know you are four now and not a baby but you will always be my baby xxx

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Make A Football Pinata

We made a football pinata last year too but this years turned out a bit better.
You will need:
A large inflatable ball
plain white paper
wall paper paste
treats for inside the ball
black marker

Blow up your ball and place it on something to stop it rolling, we used a cardboard box on top of some bin bags. Last year I tried hanging it whilst we covered it but it was more difficult to do.
Rip your newspaper into strips, then soak each one in the newspaper paste. Place the strips all over the ball but leave a space near the valve.

Place an extra couple of layers around the opening to make it stronger, then leave to dry. It had been very wet and humid here this year so it took 3 days to dry out.

Let the air out of the ball and remove it from the shell, place the shell on your head (this step is optional but makes for comedy photos)
Fill the shell with treats, we put in packs of bubbles, sweeties, pencils and balls.
Cover the whole thing with white (computer) paper using wall paper paste again, make sure the hole is well sealed, leave to dry again. Then get your husband or some other poor mug to draw the design on the ball with a marker pen.
Take it to the park and let the kids kick it to bits! What could be more fun?
If you don't want a football try using pretty origami paper for the final layer.

Ebi-kun's 4th Birthday Party

Ebi-kun doesn't actually turn four until tomorrow but we had his party on Sunday at the local park. I was praying the weather would be good and luckily the sun gods smiled on us. Ebi-kun wanted a football theme (soccer) but I wanted to do robots, it was his birthday we we eneded up with footballs.

Last year I made him a three t-shirt so I decided to make a 4 one this year but keeping in with the footie theme (I have blurred his name on the picture but his name is sewn on too)
We got to the park early to bagsie a good space under the trees and used footie bunting to claim it as ours! I just printed out large footballs onto printer paper and cut them out with my Fiskars tool. Punch holes in the top and that was it, easy.
I opted for paper plates and cups this time, we usually take plastic so they can be washed but as a one off we did it the disposable way, to jazz them up we stuck footballs to the cups.
I found some big inflatable footie balls in the ¥100 shop, which we perfect for playing in the wading pool with.
We did it as a potluck picnic, we took sandwiches, mini sausages with the team shirts on picks
and cheese and pineapple with football picks (again just printed off the computer)
We kept it pretty much low key, it was a really hot day and the kids were happiest playing in the water, the only thing I organised was a football pinata. I like the concept of pinata's, I don't like the idea of letting kids loose with a big stick and encouraging them to hit things. So I made a football pinata instead, I did this last year and it went down well. We started off with each kid having a couple of kicks, kicking to the next child, so that the little ones got a go too, then we let them loose with it.
There were a few fouls and it ended up with Seiyu with his foot stuck in the ball, very amusing!
Then the kids scrabbled to get the goodies, bubbles, sweeties, balls and pencils.
To round off we, we finished with a football cake* of course. It was a plain sponge with green butter icing and green shredded coconut for grass, luckily he was 4 which meant each of the goal posts were candles and the players...well I looked everywhere to find players, even considered buying a game off e-bay until I saw the shipping would be 70 pound. Then I remembered I had these little wooden pieces, which I had bought for a completely different project. So I sat and painted them all, we actually have a full team in both colours, I have made it up into a game but he hasn't opened it yet, I will share later. There are white lines marked on the cake but you can't really see them.
The cake went down well, everyone seemed to have a great time, Ebi-kun especially, thank you to all his friends and family for helping to make his day a special one.

*When I was making the cake, I planned to slice the sponge through the middle and add a jam layer but of of the sponges had stuck to the pan and crumbled somewhat. I said to Ebi-kun, I don't think I can put jam in it, it will have to be a plain cake, his eyes filled up and he said,
"I don't want a plane, I want a football cake" LOL.

I over estimated the amount of shredded coconut so if anyone has any bright ideas on what to do with a load of green coconut please let me know!

Monday, 27 July 2009

A new pet...

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has voted for Di, she is still needing votes, so if you haven't already done so, please pop over and vote for her!

Also, thank you for adding Montessori links, I will have this as an on-going post so please feel free to add more when you find them.

Our neighbour came home with a big box full of beetles the other day and asked if we wanted a couple, hubby of course said yes! Kabutomushi are THE thing to have if you are a kid in japan, it goes hand in hand with summer foods like watermelon and shaved ice! Ebi-kun was a bit squimish at first but that lasted about 5 seconds. I am not such a bug fanatic so as long as it stays in the box it is OK. Usually you buy these beetles for a a few hundred yen, a couple of dollars but some types can go for as much as ¥100,000, about $100. Can you imagine paying that amount of money for a BUG?

We also got our first decent cucumber this season, this looks quite small for an English cucumber but compared to Japanese cucumbers it is quite a whopper.

Yesterday we had Ebi-kun birthday picnic/paddle/party in the park, I haven't got round to loading up the photos yet but the weather was good to us and we had a great time. Will share with you tomorrow - my cousin is also up for a couple of days so I am hoping to get a load of sewing done whilst she distracts the monkey :o)

Friday, 24 July 2009


will you help out my best mate?
She has entered a competition to win a family car, this is because she is pregnant and their current car is not really baby friendly.
Anyway, she is into the 2nd round but needs more votes to get through to the final, it is an amusing video, please watch it, vote for her and pass the link onto all and sundry!

***Plus*** you get the chance to win something yourself...

I will keep you posted on her progress

Montessori Links

This is where you will find everything Montessori related!


montessori crash course

Are you new to Montessori or you know a bit but struggle to know where to start? Then this is the right place for you!  Montessori Crash Course is designed to help busy mamas get to grips with what they NEED to know to get started on their Montessori journey today - no need for year-long training! Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now and myself have a free workshop to help you out, there are limited spaces so click HERE to register now!


Montessori Inspired Activities for Pre-Schoolers is perfect for you if you are you interested in Montessori but you can’t send your child to a Montessori pre-school or do you love Montessori but can’t afford to buy all the equipment, or maybe you want to supplement your child’s Montessori education? Or you don’t give a hoot about Montessori, and you are looking for activities for toddlers to keep your child quiet and busy so you can get your jobs done!. Then this book is perfect for you, many of these activities are used in the Montessori classroom but don’t use any specific Montessori toys or equipment which means you can set them up at home, at very little cost. . Available on Amazon and The Book Depository or ask at your local bookstore!

The Gallery and Museum Survival Guide For Parents: Turn Tantrum Throwers Into Mini Art Lovers
The Museum & Gallery Survival Guide is a quick read guide to help you make the most out of your visits to galleries and museums. . This book is perfect for you if you are an art lover but fear your gallery days are over since becoming a parent, or you want to help your kids learn about art and the world around them but struggle with how to start. Inside the guide has plenty of easy to apply tips and tricks to show how taking kids to a gallery can be fun for everyone. 

You will learn how…
+ To choose the right museums and galleries for you and your kids
+ Tips on pre-planning your trip
+ How to 'wing it' on a spur of the moment gallery visit
+ Games and idea to make it fun, even for the littles family member
+ 2 free sets of art card printables available to download
+ A print and go treasure hunt for those short on time
+ Tried and tested resources page
Available on Amazon or ask at your local bookstore!


montessori 3 part cards
Looking for printable 3 part cards and other Montessori style PDFs? Pop over to the SHOP

Blog Posts


Here is a list of FREE resources

Montessori Primary Guide - online albums and videos of presentations
wikisori - online albums and lots, lots more
Montessori - lots of free downloadable resources
Free Montessori Resources - PDFs and lessons - has a couple of albums for 3-6, more for the 6-9 ages, plus the great lessons
Shu-Chen Jenny Yen - On-Line Montessori Teacher Albums for 3-to-6 year olds
Montessori Mom - lots of free downloads, newsletters and printouts.
Cultivating Dharma - a blog of free downloads and some albums just made available
Montessori fossils/geology timeline and printables
Miss Barbara - list of lesson ideas etc and the great lessons

Fellow Montessori Bloggers

Big list of bloggers here (updated Sept 2014) Study At Home Mama

Montessori By Hand - Now Sew Liberated but there is a lot of Montessori goodness on the old blog
My Childs Diary (in Hebrew)
Montessori House - for infants and toddlers

I know I have missed loads out here, so please help me out, if you are a MONTESSORI blogger or you have any favourite Montessori blogs please add them to the comments section, thank you.

A Round Of Thanks

We are busy, busy, busy in the jojoebi camp at the moment but I thought I would share with you the cards I made yesterday. I wanted to send a pile of thank you cards but I don't really have the time to sit down and write proper letters to go with them all and just scribbling a quick 'thanks' in a card doesn't seem quite right to me. So, this is what I came up with. It is easy to do and I am sure you could think of other uses (I already played around with Christmas colours but then decided I couldn't be doing with Christmas in this heat!)

You will need:
coloured card

Cut out 5 circles each one a bit smaller than the last, I used my new fancy toy. I mixed up the colours but always had the biggest and smallest the same.

Place the circles on top of each other, like so...

Punch a hole in the top

Push a brad through and open the legs to secure


get addicted and make more and more and more....

Then write on your message, hiding the secret messages under each circle
(click on the image to read the message to YOU)
and how do you keep the little monkey out of the way whilst you are doing all this?
Give him a pile of circles, a piece of black card and some glue....
I love how this came out, I am tempted to make one myself!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

MTD Dips

This weeks theme is dips, which is a favourite in this house.
TOP - veg crackers, carrots from the garden, parma ham, pretzels
MIDDLE - pepper, beets from the garden, cucumber, biscuits
BOTTOM - mayo, sesame dip, mascapone, peanut butter.

We decided that cucumber and peanut butter is BAD but pretzels and peanut butter is GOOD. I think we (yes, I had to do it too) tried all the combinations possible.

There is a MTD swap going on, if you are interested pop over here and sign up.

Camping Trip

Last weekend was a three day holiday so we packed up and went camping again. This time last year we had a camp with several families from the playgroup but this year on two other families could make it. My senpai, Madi found the campsite for us, she had actually been before and managed to get a booking, everywhere else in Japan seemed to be booked up.
We met up at the water park which was great, several small streams for the kids to play in and a big climbing frame too, it was hot so playing in the water was perfect, some parts of the streams were only about an inch deep so even the babies that are not walking yet could sit and splash. The wading streams flowed into the river, which was great for the bigger kids, Ebi-kun caught some tadpoles and a couple had started to grow their legs, it was great for him to see them in real life, he released them afterwards.

After lots of water play we headed up to the campsite, the other two families were staying in a cottage and we were up in the woods. We had a BBQ together which went down well, Mel had made some great burgers, I am not a burger fan but these were gooood. The kids had fun playing in the tent whilst we cooked.

Ebi-kun loved the corn and the adventure of staying up late. When we did get to bed we realised we were camped next to a bear, honestly, I have never heard anyone snore so loud, I hardly got a wink of sleep!
The next day we had breakfast as a group then went down to the caves, it only takes 10 minutes to walk through but it was so nice and cool in there. The other families headed off home but we stayed another night, so we basically did the same thing, went to the water park for a picnic and play then back for a BBQ.
Once we had packed up the next morning we decided to stop of at the Mukai Chiaki Children's Science Museum. Mukai Chiaki was the Japanese woman who went to space on the Discovery mission and the museum is in her hometown. It was quite good, lots of hands on experiments for the kids to use.
This one was a set of scales that you stand on and then you press the button for each planet to see how much you would weigh on that planet.
There was a lot in the museum that Ebi-kun isn't old enough to understand properly yet, I think school aged kids would love it, he did have a great time and it is somewhere we would go back to in a couple of years time maybe.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Dino Dig

Did you miss me? We were camping at the weekend, it was a three day holiday, so we went up to the mountains again, but more about that when I have downloaded the pictures.

We actually did this last week but I forgot to blog about it. I bought this block a while ago, it has dinosaur bones inside and you have to dig them out, Ebi-kun has been working on it for the last few days, he still hasn't found the skull but you can see the rib cage in this picture. It it quite a good activity and I am wondering if I can recreate it using plaster of paris...hmmmmm?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Like Mother Like Son?

When we were back in England we went round to see my old friend Vicky. We go way back and grew up riding ponies together, I had a little naughty Welsh Mountain called Toffee Crisp and she had a lovely strawberry roan who was blind in one eye called Sherry. Vicky now has two kids and her little girl is also pony mad so she took Ebi-kun for a ride.
First he had to learn to brush her down...

and get the hang of the basics, toes up, heels down, sit up straight....

and before you know it, he was going over trotting poles!

and he loved it, Poppy wasn't too keen mind you. Thank you Vic, he can't wait to have another go!

Now, I can't actually remember learning to ride, my gran saved Toffee from the dog meat factory when I was about 18months old, so that whole learning to ride thing is filed away with the learning to walk thing. My aunt and I kind of shared Toffee, she had him when I was too young to look after him then she out grew him and I had him back and then years later she had him back and her girls learnt to ride on him. He was a lazy, cheeky very naughty little pony, he would refuse point blank to go over a trotting pole but had no problem clearing a 3 foot fence to get at the grass on the other side. He lived to a ripe old age and is missed by us all.

I went on to compete in Western riding, I did the usual show jumping and dressage too but the western stuff was my thing really. I was the top British youth for 3 years running and the first youth to qualify to go to the European championships (lack of money stopped me from going!). I also trained with a lot of great trainers both British and American and did a seminar with the Monty Robert the Horse Whisperer - before they wrote a book and made a film about him :o).

Here I am in my awful red pants, on Duncrahill Pippit, who was a beautiful, yet head strong quarter Horse.

ahhh those were the days.....
promise not to bore you with my child hood rambling next post, we are off camping tomorrow so it will be more likely to be about our camp adventures...
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