Washi Wires

So by now you’ve probably figured out that we have just a wee bit of washi tape around the Felt So Cute household.

I’m on a mission to use it in as many ways as possible.

Which is completely fueled by my desire to justify wanting to purchase each and every new tape design I see.  It’s a sickness, I tell ya!

So the other day I stumbled across the adorable idea to embellish my charging cords here.  Which reminded me I’d also seen a related idea here.

The Cuties {and let’s be honest ~ my husband, too} are constantly pilfering my cords and then claiming they didn’t take them.  But now, everyone will clearly know which cords are mine and which plain white ones are theirs {actually the other plain white ones will be the Husband’s since Big & Little Cutie got brightly colored ones for Hanukkah in an attempt to curb this problem that has so far been unsuccessful}.

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{the above project was done by placing a piece of tape over the Apple logo and pressing it down into the inset.  I then took an X-acto knife and gently cut around the logo’s inner edge and peeled away the excess.  It comes right off if you want by lifting a corner with the knife blade ~ I know because I messed up once and did this}

Do you have pretty cords?

Posted in Craft Projects | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Sanshoku-don Bowls

We have a new family favorite for dinner since moving to Japan.

And I’m going to share a secret with just you readers, but not my family.

It’s delicious, healthy, easy and involves no actual cooking on my part.

Seriously.  You can’t tell my children I haven’t been slaving in the kitchen all day while they’re at school to make their favorite meal.

So now that my secret is safe between us and the whole Internet, let me share.

sanshoku-don bowl is literally “rice with three different seafood toppings.”

Yup.  That’s it.

Here’s all you need:

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{from left to right across the top: rice, tuna sashimi, negitoro [tuna belly], ikura [salmon roe] and across the bottom: nori sprinkles [seaweed], scallions, wasabi root and shiso leaves [mint]}

After rinsing the rice and making it in my rice cooker, I scoop it into our bowls to let it cool a bit and slightly salt the rice.

I then add a shiso leaf to the middle of the bowl {this is a yummy minty flavor and makes an outstanding addition to a mojito ~ but we’re not discussing cocktails, now are we?}

shiso

On top of the shiso, I add a dollop of wasabi that we’ve grated ourselves.  If you have an Asian market, it’s absolutely worth it to hunt this down.  Fresh wasabi is so much yummier than the paste you squeeze out of the tube.  More importantly, its great fun to grate it yourself, and a way kids can help if you use a ceramic grater instead of a metal one {be sure to peel the wasabi first}.

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Then I simply add chopped scallions, a spoonful of ikura, a large spoonful of negitoro and several slices of tuna sashimi.  Now that we have our three seafood selections, I add a bit of nori shreds, and serve!

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This is an especially great and filling meal on a night when kids have activities and we get home right at dinner time.  I often start the rice cooker in the afternoon and slice up the tuna and put it back in the fridge in a Tupperware container so all I have to do at dinner time is assemble.

Itadakimasu!

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We Rocked

Little Cutie had her 9th birthday party this past weekend.

In a bar.

Yeah, I’ve become that Mom.

OK, in all fairness it was a Karaoke Bar, and they regularly rent the place out for children’s birthday parties on the weekends, but still, in the end, my child had her birthday party in a bar.  Even better, my parents were in town for the big event, so her grandparents were in a bar with their granddaughters at a birthday party.

And it was awesome.

I found these great invitations at Polka Dot Designs that I could completely customize online right down to the font and placement on the card.

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There was much thought, of course, put into wardrobe selection for the big event, and Little Cutie opted to wear this fun ensemble from Chasing Fireflies with a sequined skirt from J.Crew’s Factory Store.  Big Cutie wore one of the fabulous petticoat skirts from our Heather Golde photo shoot close to two years ago ~ love recycling!

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You’re dying to know what the adults wore, right?  I had grand plans for custom shirts, but alas the whole moving the week of the party while recovering from some sort of plague put a damper on that, and I reverted to the all black I wear about 99.999% of the winter.  So disappointing. My husband, busted out his classic Will Ferrell cowbell t-shirt, which was meaningless to the children, but amusing to us.

Little Cutie’s friends are still split fairly evenly between girls and boys so this was a great co-ed party.  However, the first hour was spent mostly like this:

girls

boys

And then we fed them and they were willing to get on stage at least at the same time…

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And then I learned that if 3rd graders know cupcakes are imminent they don’t care one iota who they are standing singing next to, and hop on stage to sing to the Birthday Girl!

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The Birthday Girl and her Groupie thoroughly enjoyed a stage filled with admirers.

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We blinged up an ordinary grocery store numeral candle with some rhinestones and a glue gun {I’ve seen the idea on Etsy and Pinterest, but can’t find an original source to link you ~ my apologies}

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The kids were absolutely adorable and sang non-stop the whole two hours.  I especially loved how many of the other girls showed up decked out for the stage.  Little Cutie was very pleased with the evening’s event.

I did want to share with you our lovely Karaoke Host {he’s holding a Flat Stanley we were sent from the States that we brought with us everywhere all weekend}.  One of the Moms at the party commented that she had been coming to this particular Karaoke bar for almost two decades and laughed that it was still around.  My husband and I  were laughing that the equipment behind him must be the original equipment he started using back when she was in college!  I imagine if you opened a Karaoke bar new today, you’d run the whole thing from a single laptop!

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Posted in Celebrations, Parties | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sweet on Sumo

We went to our first Sumo Grand Tournament this past weekend and I have a serious confession to make:

I’m totally hooked on Sumo Wrestling.

I truly think it’s the coolest professional sporting event I’ve ever attended.

There was great excitement from Little Cutie as we arrived at Ryogoku Kokugikan, the Sumo Hall, and saw the same kind of banners lining the perimeter as were at her  sumo tournament at school last Spring.

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The entrance to the Sumo Hall is also flanked by two incredible murals.  I thought the perspective of this one was particularly interesting.

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Sumo is just as much as about the ceremony and rituals as it is about the actual bouts.  I found the Ring Entering Ceremonies mesmerizing and loved the rhythm of the wrestlers entering the dohyo {ring}.

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After the Ring Entering Ceremony the athletes clapped their hands, then performed a leg-stomping shiko exercise to drive away evil spirits from the ring.  Very dramatic!

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And still, before the wrestlers could get to actual contact there was more ritual, including tossing salt into the ring to purify it.

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And now we were ready to get to it!

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And then just seconds later, it was over! {a match is won by knocking your opponent out of the ring or if you force your opponent to touch the ground with any part of their body except for the bottoms of their feet}

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The next big Sumo Tournament is in May and I absolutely want to go.  The burning question, however, is whether my very non-Japanese knees could handle sitting in the “premier” seats down on the tatami mats for hours on end!

Posted in Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Things I’ve Been Swooning Over

Or as the English Lit major in me knows better ~ Things Over Which I’ve Been Swooning!

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Because we are moving next week I’ve been holding back on buying things lately but have big plans for the new place once we’re settled {stop rolling your eyes, dear husband of mine, it’s true, I’ve showed restraint, I promise!}.  Instead, I’ve settled for late night Internet browsing and have found all sorts of goodies I wanted to share.

I’m a List Maker and Note Taker {do you like how I capitalized those as if they were actually official titles?}, so I regularly purchase lined, blank journals and notebooks for this purpose.  In my humble opinion, one can never have enough.  Minted has many choices, but I especially love the preppy stripes on this one:

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Because I’m limited in my ability to hang art in our Japanese rental apartment, I end up with a lot of blank, white walls.  I am, however, learning to get more creative with this problem, and so I found these precious prints at the Etsy shop 23 Madison Studio that are small enough to put in a lightweight frame and hang with small 3M hooks.  Isn’t this adorable for in my master bathroom or walk in closet?

23MadisonStudioWhile I’m all about practicality, there’s no reason things shouldn’t be cute whenever possible. So I’m pretty sure my purse needs one of these in case my iPhone dies on the go, don’t you?

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It’s the Year of the Snake here in Japan, and I’ve been wanting to get something fun like I did last year for the Year of the Dragon.  Except, I kinda really hate snakes.  But look how adorable this Iomoi scarf is, and would be great as a pop of color on a cold day with black or navy or crisp against air conditioning in summer with bright white!

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Finally, it took me a while to locate the source of these, as I’ve had them Pinned for a while with no link, but I did it!  Aren’t these the best Preppy-Girl pencils ever?  I still love to write in pencil, and really, these are pretty much all of my grown-up favorite things!

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So what are you eyeing lately?  Please share with the rest of the class!

Posted in Ordinary Days I Love, Organizing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

She Rocks

It happened again.

Time snuck up and my baby girl turned 9 years old this morning.

I’ve timed the posting of this to coincide with the actual anniversary of her birth back in America even though we celebrated here in Tokyo today.  She likes to say she gets two birthdays as a result of this whole Expat thing, but I think the family celebration starting with our usual Birthday Breakfast Cupcakes {AKA blueberry muffins with cream cheese ‘frosting’} and presents bright and early in the morning is probably more than enough.

Fun fact about The Cuties:  both of them have 7:44 am as their official time of birth since they were born via c-sections during 7:30 am surgeries.  My husband swears Little Cutie was born at a different time and I totally believe him; being that I was being gutted like a fish at the time and vomiting violently from the anesthesia.  I somehow missed looking at the clock and am willing to trust him on this one.  But since both Mom and Dad happened to have been born during early morning c-sections as well, all birthdays in the Felt So Cute household are celebrated early in the morning.

And as usual, I’ve digressed.

So my baby is a year older.

She told me yesterday it was a pretty awesome year.

I sure think so.

She learned to ski in Shigakogen.

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She saw amazing snow sculptures in Sapporo

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She had her nihon buyo {Japanese fan dancing} recital

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She made a really big new friend

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She was mobbed like a rock star for her long curly hair in Thailand

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She tried sumo wrestling

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She did a good deed

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She learned to ride a bicycle by herself

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She made the Swim Team

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She danced in Bali

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and she tried SCUBA diving in Cebu

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An awesome year, indeed.

I think I want to be my children when I grow up someday!

Here’s to an amazing 9th year, my Little Cutie.

and more posts coming soon on her rockin’ birthday party!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

GoodReads and an Update

I love to read.

I love that I have a family of readers.

There are, however, a few problems in my world of reading:

1) I am prone to ‘losing myself’ in a book and either ignore all other responsibilities like laundry, dishes, or preparing food to feed my family or I stay up until the wee hours of the night vowing to “finish just one more chapter.”

2) I read ridiculously fast.  Seriously.  I’m a borderline speed reader.  In school, teachers constantly questioned my comprehension because of it.  Why is this a problem?  Well, in our digital age, where I can instantaneously upload the next book I want to read, I can blow through cash at Amazon at an alarming rate.

3) Because I live in a foreign country, in order to easily access books in English, I now read almost all of my books on my Kindle or iPad.  On occasion I forget to charge everything every night, and will suddenly find myself out and about on the train with zero charge and no more book to read.  Major bummer, dude.

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t really believe in them {not the idea of vowing to make changes in your life, but the notion of only doing it once a year – I think we should be empowered to enact changes in our lives whenever we feel the need}. 

However, this year, I want to be better about turning off the TV, shutting down my laptop, and reading.  Reading things I want to read, reading things my husband recommends {he’s also a voracious reader; one of the many things I adore about him!}, and reading more with The Cuties.

So I have added a GoodReads button to the blog, and will chronicle what I read this year.  Sometimes, you’ll be able to tell it was clearly, a book I chose ~ like Gone Girl that I read in a day at the beach this past week.  And sometimes, you will be able to tell I’ve read a book with one of The Cuties.  They are both well beyond wanting to be read to anymore, but over Thanksgiving, all four of us read R.J. Palacio’s amazing book, Wonder and discussed it {fabulous book, by the way ~ I recommend it for all ages!}.  It was such a great experience, that I’ve promised myself I will continue reading books along with them and discussing them to hear their thoughts and ideas about characters and the conversations that spin off of from the plot.  So that’s why you’ll also see tween books like The Black Stallion pop up every now and then, as well.

I’d love your book recommendations and to hear what you’re reading, too.

On a different note, after a brief hiatus, we are back in Japan, and I hope to get the blog back on track soon.  

To give you a brief glimpse of our craziness ~ we had my in-laws here visiting for almost three weeks and traveling with us, and then two weeks later I took The Cuties to America for ten days solo to see all seven of my nieces and nephews and all of my and my husband’s siblings in Chicago and Washington, DC.  Then we flew back to Japan, and less than 72 hours later were on a plane to Cebu, the Philippines for a week-long family vacation for the four of us.  We’ve returned, and now my parents arrive tomorrow for two weeks and in the middle of their visit we are moving to a new apartment and I’m throwing Little Cutie’s birthday party for 20 children.

At this point I think I’m going to pretty much survive on chai lattes, cocktails and chocolate!

Posted in Ordinary Days I Love, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments