Monday, 31 March 2014

What Freezes Quicker Milk or Water?

These are the kind of questions I constantly have fired at me! This time, I decided we would figure it out ourselves, well with a little help from our friend google too.

What you need:
  • Ice-tray
  • Pen and paper
  • Different liquids to put in the ice-tray
  • Toothpick
  • Freezer
  • Timer

1. Start off by drawing a replica of your ice-tray, we don't actually have a proper ice tray so we used this tray that is for making chocolate skulls! 

2. Fill up each hole in your ice-tray with different types of liquid and make a note of which liquid is in which hole. 

3. Pop in the freezer and set the timer for 30 minutes. Go and play.

4. When the timer goes off, take out the ice-tray and use the toothpick to see how hard each liquid has frozen (if at all). Make a note of what is happening.

5. Set the time again for another 30 minutes and repeat.

6. After 2 hours, set the timer for 1 hour and after 4 hours set it for 6 then leave over night. Each time, make observations of what is going on.

Once we had a list of what had frozen at what rate, google came in handy to find out why.

7. Write a report on the findings.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Time Is A Ticking…

A wee reminder.. the doors close very soon for registration to Clear The Clutter, the bootcamp was a big success and we had loads of greatly improved kitchens by the end of the week plus the video interviews went down a storm. If you didn't get chance to watch them you can sign up now, they will be available until the en dog the month Click HERE to sign up for the videos.

I had to share this from one of the bootcampers because it really made me smile too! Imagine if the whole house did that for you!

Bootcamp is pretty hardcore, the whole kitchen in one week is a big job which is why in Clear The Clutter we do it at a much slower and more doable pace. We tackle one room at a time and give it a really deep clean and de-clutter. Once you have that done it is SO much easier to maintain!

So, if you are interested in the program but you are not sure if it is for you or not, drop me a line or pop a question in the comments, tell me what is bothering you or what you are struggling with and I will give you an honest answer about whether the program is suited for you.

At a mere $129 for the year, that is 35cents a day - seriously, it's a steal for you to know you are going to get your house back in order and you back in control, goodbye to chaos stress and hello to the new de-clutter you and home!

Time to act, the doors close in a couple of days, sign up for registration HERE

Friday, 28 March 2014


You know I am about making learning fun, well we had a load of fun with this crafty language lesson! We started off with a sheet with the word onomatopoeia on it, Ebi-kun had to get out the dictionary to find out the meaning and then he brainstormed more words that were onomatopoeic.

Then we hopped onto google and checked out the artwork of Roy Liechtenstein and talked about his use of colour and how that played with the word, why he used specific colours and the use of bold colour. And of course we couldn't resist a bit of the old Batman and Robin, Youtube provided us with some amusing fight scenes to watch. Ebi-kun declared that Batman was a bit rubbish, that cracked me up! 

Then we set to making out own words…

First, draw you word big and bold on coloured paper, use a thick black marker for the outline and think about how the work feels, drawing a font that matches the words. So the word pop might use bubble writing or slash would be very sharp!

Then cut out the word, including the bits inside the letters…

Now stick the word onto a piece of white card…

With the marker draw on some cracks or whatever matches the word that you are using…

Cut it out and the repeat the process with another colour, red in this case…

Ebi-kun did this one by himself…

Then the extra fun bit…take some action photos! we used a bit of card and masking tape to make a handle on the back of the word so he could hold it as I took the pictures…


Quick reminder! The registration for Clear The Clutter closes soon, if chaos reins in your home and you want to take back control, then come and join us! Click HERE to register.

***No children were injured in the making of this blog post!

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Spring As Sprung And I Am Suffering!

The weather has been beautiful this week, Ebi-kun had the day off school so we decided on a whim to go on a picnic. Before Christmas I had discovered a cycle path, not to far from out house and I knew there was a part along the way so we decided to go and explore.

It was a lovely ride over and we ate out lunch under the cherry blossom trees, not yet in bloom but the buds were out so it won't be long. Of course, Ebi-kun wanted to try out the equipment - this one doesn't look very challenging but it had the kids going back and trying again and again - definitely harder than it looks!

We decided to head back home but then we spotted the daffodil were out and Ebi-kun decided he wanted to do some sketching.

And why not? There is nothing that says spring is here more than a bunch of daffodils!

One thing we see a lot of are theses teeny little shrines dotted about the place, this one was about 4foot high but some are smaller.

And of course, amusing signs - Beware of two headed pandas !

By the time we had got home, the allergies had well and truly kicked in, seriously, I want to scratch my eyeballs out. Luckily it doesn't affect Ebi-kun, poor hubby is sneezing like a mad man and I am squinting like loon! We make a right pair. Not fun!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Magic Water Trick

A quick and fun trick for you to try! Can you pour water out of a jug and get it into the jar without the jug being over the jar?

What you need…

A large jug
Piece of yarn/wool
A jar
A tray
A small assistant

  1. Fill the jug with water
  2. Dip the yarn in the water to get it wet
  3. Tie one end of the yarn to the jug handle
  4. Place the jar on the tray (to catch any spills - easy clean up)
  5. Pull the yarn so it is taut over the lip of the jug and the end goes into the jar
  6. Now pour the water out of the jug, slowly. It should travel down the yarn and into the jar, you will probably have some spills as you try and get the hang of it.


Want to et your mitts on more amazing tips and tricks to keep the kids busy and amused? Then hop of the MOC playbook list and you will get it delivered to your door weekly!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Last minute trip to the mountains…

It was a long weekend here this last weekend, so Friday we went to watch the new Hobbit film  LOVED it. Half expected Ebi-kun to have orc related nightmares but all was good! Then Saturday, we checked the weather and decided to sneak in another day of snowboarding!

When we got there, the weather was glorious…

We had hoped to book Ebi-kun in for a private lesson but they didn't have one available so it was down to daddy to do the teaching…

We headed up the gentle slope for the first couple of runs, it is wide and not so crowded, perfect for beginners and there are also some small side runs for those wanting to go a bit faster or harder!

We saw loads of little kids out, all about 3 or 4 years old, having 1:1 lessons. I would say, the first time we went up, 90% of these kids were bawling. Screaming, I don't want to, I'm tired, no, no, no! It looked like the same group of kids still at it in the afternoon but by that time they were all just glazed over. A few of them did actually look like they were enjoying it but I would say the majority were just resigned to the fact that this is what they had to do. Poor things!

Brief break to top up on energy - which was an extremely over priced cup of hot chocolate with about 5 tsps of sugar in it! I love this picture of Ebi-kun, I can see him hanging out with his mates in another 10 years time, with a flock of girls swoon after them!

All in all and excellent day, we left the house at 7am and got back around 8.30pm, absolutely shattered! I doubt we will be able to make it up again as it is near the end of the season, but now we know it is doable in a day, we will plan more for next season!

Spring break starts on Thursday so we will be able to get some serious crafting and exploring done! That said, he is off today and only at school for half days on Tuesday and Wednesday. We also have to go through all his school stuff, make sure everything still has its name on it, change all the class labels and all that jazz! And then he will be a third grader!


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Healthy 2 ingredient - fill me up cookies

That's right, only 2 ingredients for these. So, these came about because Ebi-kun eat like a horse in the morning so I wanted to have some 'extras' on hand to help fill him up if he was still hungry after his breakfast (we usually have porridge or toast and eggs with fresh fruit and yoghurt). These have gone down well, simple to make and adapt with the extras you can put in.

I'm not sure cookie is the right name for them, they have more of a cake like texture rather than cookie.

What you need…

2 bananas
2 cup of quick cook oats

Any extras…(I didn't measure, just chucked some in)
dried fruit
choco chips
desiccated coconut
cocoa nibs
dried cranberries

  1. Heat the over to 190deg C
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the over tray
  3. In a blender, whizz the oats until it makes a flour.
  4. Remover the flour and next do the bananas until well smashed
  5. Stir in the flour until it makes a dough
  6. Mix in your extras
  7. Roll into balls and place on the parchment paper - makes about 10 (depends on the size of your bananas)
  8. Bake for 10 minutes
  9. Allow to cool - store in an airtight container

Another thing we tried was Claire's secret healthy choco sauce, she shares it in tomorrows video interview! If you haven't registered yet, sign up HERE.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

How To Scare A Bunch Of Kids…

For those that are new here… in Japan the kids walk to school, they are organized into walking groups with an older child who is in charge and they have to walk along a set route. On a whole I quite like the system, Ebi-kun doesn't have to walk too far, takes them about 20-30 minutes and it is pretty much flat all the way.

There are points along the route that are deemed dangerous and of course, first thing in the morning the traffic is much busier so parents have "voluntary" (you have to do it) flag duty. There are several of us along the route, and we are placed where the kids need to cross the road or if there is a dangerous bit of road that they have to walk along.

We get a high viz jacket, cap, PTA sash and a yellow flag - oh so stylish! And as the kids walk past we are supposed to say ohio gozimasu (good morning) and they are supposed to reply. As I am one for not following the rules I wear the sash and take the flag and I also say Good Morning in English to the kids - with amusing results….

1st & 2nd graders look at me terrified, eyes about to pop out of their heads!

3rd and 4th graders - the girls giggle and answer in English the boys try to be cocky with their Herro and Good-bye comments.

5th and 6th graders - the girls look at me with mild bemusement and the boys roll their eyes in that 'oh you are so not cool' kinda way.

Keeps me amused! Other observations I made today…

  • Turquoise and blue in on trend for boys
  • Pink and black for girls
  • 6th graders look ridiculous wearing the hat they started school in because it is way too small and their back packs look daft too.
  • Workmen must find the PTA sash and flag attractive, I had several wave to me this morning!
  • Junior High school kids on bikes are idiots - non of them stop, it is a blind junction onto a busy road and they just fly straight over to the wrong side of the road - only a matter of time until one of them is being scraped off a car bonnet.
Other news… The Kitchen Bootcamp kicked off yesterday - some amazing before and after pictures already, the Facebook group is a hive of activity and I am loving everyone sharing and encouragement, what better way to tackle the cleaning? If you want in, you can still join, click HERE to register.

Monday, 17 March 2014

On Being Stopped In The Street…

Ahh, the price of fame! We went to the grocery shopping yesterday and I got stopped by a Japanese lady who wanted to tell me she had seen me in the Ikea magazine, it's not actually as an impressive tale as that, she is the mom of one of Ebi-kun's classmates. It was still quite funny though and although it is nearly the end of the school year, she has never spoken to me before.

Talking of Ikea…We went on Saturday, there were a few bits and bobs that I needed (yes, I include cider in that list!) so when we got there we asked for a copy of the magazine. from what I gather it is sent out to people who are members of their "family" club but when I explained that we were actually in the magazine, the member of staff went and got me one.

Of course, that meant we had to get the cheesy photo…

The Ultimate Kitchen Bootcamp started today so I have been super busy making sure everything is set up and ready to go, there are 265 fabulous ladies raring to go, the fun has already started in the Facebook group, it's not too late so if you want in, hop over here to sign up. I had better get back to it but I just wanted to leave you with this quote from one of my Clear The Clutter Rock Stars, it totally sums it up for me!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Getting to the bottom of it all…

The last couple of weeks I have been busy interviewing and then editing the videos for part #2 of the Kitchen Bootcamp - this requires no work on your side, just grab a cuppa and soak in the wise words from these fabulous ladies!

I have picked up some top tips and I know you will too! Make sure you are signed up so that you get access for these limited time capsules of goodness!

Sign Up Now! 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Falling In Love With A Book All Over Again

Before we start, a quick reminder that The Ultimate Kitchen Bootcamp starts on Monday, if you are sick of your kitchen looking like a tip and fed up that you can never find the potato peeler because of the chaos then come and join us. It is totally free too! Click HERE to register.

I know some people love reading the same book more than once, I am not one of those people, usually once I have read it, that is it. Done. You can imagine my pain when having to read the same pictures books over and over again - thank goodness we are past that stage. 

Even though Ebi-kun is eight and a half, we still read to him at bed time, daddy does it at the weekends in Japanese and I read to him during the week. It is part of the bedtime routine and we all love it, it is also the time of day when Ebi-kun will open up and tell me things that are bothering him. Some nights I just want to stick him in bed and be done with it but reading somehow diffuses any tension, a good way to end the day.

Brendon Chase was one of the few books that I did read several times when I was a kid, loved it! And it is one of the only books that I kept from my childhood. I didn't realise at the time but it is very much a boys book. It is about 3 brothers who have to stay with their aunt whilst their parents are in the colonies and they decide to run away rather than return to boarding school.

They find a hollow oak tree in the chase and make it home and then have all kinds of adventures from catching rabbits to stealing the policeman's trousers! I wasn't sure Ebi-kun would enjoy it, it is set in a different era and different country to where he is growing up so I thought maybe he wouldn't 'get it' - I was wrong, he is loving it as much as I did and I am loving reading it again after all these years!

Is there a book you loved as a kid and your kids are now loving it too? We have read many of the classics too but this book never seemed very popular and I have never met anyone else who has read it!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


It is hard to believe that the Great Tohoku Earthquake was 3 years ago, in some respects it still feels so raw although we have to move on with our lives. That day changed so much for so many people, for myself I realised that I needed to have allocation independent business so that if we need to leave, we could and we would have a financial safety net.

It took me a while to get going but I am grateful for finding B-school and the amazing communities it introduced me to. Now I no longer feel trapped, I get to hang out with cool people who are on the same wave length and I now believe it is totally doable to have a location independent business and still do the stuff I love.

It saddens me that so many people are still stuck living in temporary housing and that so much of the donated money is still sat there, not being put to use - poor management, I'm sure. And of course it makes my blood boil when we hear the latest news about Fukushima and the mishandling of the nuclear disaster.

Dwelling on the past doesn't do anyone any good so today I will be focusing on the future, thankful that I have the opportunity to make a difference and help other people. At 2.46pm, I will take a few minutes to remember those who lost their lives, homes, families and friends. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Snowboarding Fun…

We had planned to go to the mountains with friends a couple of weeks ago but we had to pull out but we all still wanted to go, so just the three of us went this last weekend. We are lucky where we live, it takes about an hour and half to get to the mountain but we have to use the shinkansen (bullet train) which means the train costs are expensive, if it wasn't for that we would certainly be going more often.

This time we tried a new resort, Yuzawa Nakazato and I have to say, it is our favourite resort so far! It is aimed at families, so there is loads to do even if the kids are not skiing/snowboarding yet. They have kids rooms to hang out in, plenty of sledging places. A great mini slope for absolute teeny beginners and plenty of green beginner slopes that are wide and gentle.

In the morning we didn't get there in time for Ebi-kun to join snowboard school so Yasutoki showed him the ropes, the basics and I had a bit of free skiing time. For those who don't know, when I was 17 I had a bad skiing accident where I broke my leg (some bloke skied into me on a black run, then he got up and left me lying there!) I was on crutches for almost a year and told that I would never walk without a limp - luckily they were wrong about that! This means that I really don't like skiing if it is crowded, that is one of the reason why I liked this place so much!

In the afternoon, Ebi-kun joined snowboard school and Yasutoki (who is a snowboarder) and I got to go and have some free ski/board time. When I lived in Iwate, I tried snowboarding but at the end of the day I just didn't 'get it', ski's suit me better, maybe because I learn't to ski at a young age?

After the first lesson, which was a big group, he had only been down the slope a couple of times and not been on the lift but he has already got the basics down…

We finished at 4.30pm and got picked up by the owner of the B&B we were staying at. The train station is literally at the bottom of the ski slopes which is perfect to get there and back and there is a free shuttle bus that goes to the shinkansen station. We stayed at Vingt Neuf which was lovely, the owners speak English, they have a super cute dog which is always a bonus and the food was great! It is a set evening meal and a buffet style breakfast.

Sunday morning we put Ebi-kun into school again, this time he was in one group but they moved him to another, so he was in a group of 3, the smaller group made a huge difference, he also got to use the lift. We met up for lunch then in the afternoon we took him to the top of the mountain. Even though we were using the beginner runs they have little offshoots, like the one through the woods…

And they have a slalom run - where I fell, first time since the leg breaking incident, it was kind of good to fall again, it of quashed that niggle that if I fell again it would end in disaster! 

Sunday was absolutely beautiful, perfect skiing conditions, the boys on the lift…

Oh to be 8 years old again, he picked it up so quickly, unlike skiing that he tried last time, he belongs on a board…

Proud mama moment, he rocked!

And yes, he crashed in style too! We were all shattered at the end of the day but it was so much fun, can't wait to go again!

I also tried my hand at filming when skiing, not the easiest thing to do and it is a bit jumpy in places but at least it didn't end up with someone in an ambulance…

Don't forget that the FREE kitchen bootcamp kicks of on Monday, take back control of your kitchen once and for all! Sign up now!

Friday, 7 March 2014

How To Get The Kids To Tidy Up…

By making them think it is their own idea…

Sneaky mama ninja moves here! For the full tutorial and freebie printable, pop over to My Organized Chaos. Do it now, the tutorial download is only available for 72 hours…

Thursday, 6 March 2014

There is nothing quite as delicious as homemade bread…

I recently got Paul Hollywoods book 100 Great Breads and I LOVE it. We do have a bread machine and I admit that whenever possible, I just chuck everything in there…I am sure I would get disapproving looks from Paul, but you, I have stuff to do! 
Some bread though, really needs to be made by hand and one of the great things to make with kids is bread, it is pretty difficult to screw it up and it is very tactile, a great sensory activity! Ebi-kun is getting quite handy in the itched these days, he pretty much did it all himself…

Weighing the ingredients…

Mixing to form a dough…

Cleaning up whilst the dough rested. He needed a bit of help with the rolling…

Chopped the potatoes and placed them on the dough…

Brush with oil and sprinkle on the herbs…

Pop in the oven - he is OK putting things in but I take them out because he is not quite tall enough to do it safely yet…

Ready to eat! Nom, Nom, Nom…

Don't forget, the kitchen bootcamp starts soon AND I have a fab video series with a panel of experts lined up for you too!

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