Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our Last Day!

More pictures! Went to our curling match today.

Waiting for the bus to get to the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

NHK (a major Japanese network) interviewed Dama!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010: Part 2

Grandma took the kids for the day so that Dama and I could really explore the city. Without too many words, here are some pictures we took to share with you! Some from both days.

Robson Street: Shopping and closed to traffic:

Lots of amazing food in Canada. Here are some chocolate covered apples, Olympic style!
And this is the famous Japadog! Terimayo and Okonomi flavors:

While we were there, they were getting ready to serve a Gold Medallist!

Here comes the gold Cadillac!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010: Part 1

We finally made it up to Canada after what seemed like such a long wait! The spirit had been building in our house so it was great to finally get here!

We arrived yesterday to a sea of Canadian flags all over the city. Homes have them in the windows. Cars are flying them. People are carrying them. It seems like everyone is truly in the spirit and loving being Canadian.

Today, we went into the heart of it all in downtown Vancouver. The bus driver let us on for free, I am sure he could see our excitement and the kids all decked out with their stuffed mascots and he let us walk right on. The generous spirit of Canada.

We got off at the main intersection downtown and spent the day exploring. They've done a phenomenal job of the downtown core, changing previously unused portions into magical streets full of Canadian spirit. Some of the more crowded and popular streets are off limits to cars so it is a sea of red, touring around. You can stop here and there to watch the live action on huge tv screens. Live! Imagine that. So you just don't miss anything at all.

Our usual hot dog vendors on the streets are slammed. 5 block waits to get a hot dog. But people wait. And they are happy.

Look above and you'll see people flying overhead on zip lines. This is a cool city!

We wandered into Robson Square and...look! It's Scott Hamilton! The rink down there has snowflake lights surrounded by people dressed in their Canadian best waiting to take to the ice.

The kids hopped on a medal podium, a snowboard, and stood next to a native art eagle. Lots of pictures to remember this special time. They will remember it!

Shopping on Robson. Tiny souvenir stores you have to navigate through. Aisles that normally accomodate 1 wide are bustling and everyone is waiting, saying "excuse me". People trading pins on the street corners, strangers smiling at the kids with all their mascots.

Popped into Roots, the mecca of Canadiana. Jam packed from wall to wall, merchandise everywhere but everyone with a smile. Registers open all over the store. No wait for a Canadian team hat!

Picked up our tickts for the event. We have them in our hot little hands. More days of fun to come!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Keeping Summer Alive

One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh produce available and grown in the garden. The tomatoes, the green onion, and especially the fresh basil that I use in so many dishes. I finally got around to preserving some of that. Fresh basil is one of those things I wish I had on hand all the time so I bought a bunch of organic basil specifically to freeze it.

It's so easy and has been wonderful to have! I just cleaned the basil, took the stalks off and put it in the food processor with olive oil. Chop it all up.

Some instructions call to put it in ice cube trays but we don't have one so I packed it in small snack baggies to freeze in individual portions.

Yes, I know this looks kind of suspicious but I SWEAR it's basil ;P

So far I've used it in pasta sauce, tomato salad and it tastes just as good as fresh!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Celebrating Gold

GO CANADA! Finally a gold medal on home soil! A great reason to craft something, right? ;)

How cute is this? There's a cookie in there!

You will need:

  • Nice big cookies
  • aluminum foil
  • gold paper cut into squares and circles (to cover the back of cookie after wrapping)
  • scotch tape
  • ribbon
  • hot glue gun

First, we helped the kids wrap up the cookies with foil. You can make this project even easier by buying gold foil or just making "silver" medals. I was just too cheap to pay the $9 for the gold foil :)

Next, place the cookie face down on a square cut from gold paper and gently wrap it up making sure to keep the edges nice and round. Don't worry about gaps in the paper as it will all be covered in the end.

Finally, we took the lengths of ribbon and hot glue gunned them onto the back, then cover the back with a gold circle to cover everything.

We had a little fanfare and "medal presentaion" and the kids loved them. This would be a great favor for parties too or sports events!

Inspired by Skiptomylou


My passion is ...

crafting, photos, my family

I know too much about ...

the prison system (nooooo, never been in one as an inmate!)

My parents always told me ...

do your best. It's not so much what she told me but what she showed me...patience and unending love

My childhood ambition ...

it changed every week! I just remember wanting to be a mum

My favorite memory ...

a happy childhood filled with fun, and hearing "It's a girl!"

Why I blog ...

to share my gifts, to preserve memories

My first job ...

did lots of babysitting but first formal job was at a frozen yogurt store

My best moment ...

lots of small ones...when I shine as a mum

My inspiration ...

my Mum...she is creative, kind, strong, loving, inspiring and the mother I hope to be someday

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic Spirit!

We have been bitten by the Olympic bug!

Dama and I went to the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998 when we were engaged and had a wonderful time. Now it's in my hometown and we are heading up to watch some exciting curling action :)

We are making the most of this time before we go to get into the spirit and share the excitement with friends.
Of course, we get to annoy our American neighbors with loud displays of Canadian pride!

Had a lot of fun at the kids' school this week too when I went in to read to 3 classes about the Olympic mascots, what they are and how they were chosen. Brought all of my Canada stuff, the book about the mascots and the mascots themselves. Printed out some coloring pages for the kids too!

We've even been playing curling on the Wii in preparation! It's all about making the most of your experiences!

Stay tuned for an adorable Olympic project tomorrow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cute Valentines

We decided to forgo the traditional boxed Valentines this year and get creative. We made ice cream cone treats! They turned out very cute and the kids had a lot of fun helping me make them.

Stuff cotton candy into and ice cream cone. We used the colorful ones. You can stuff about 8 cones per package of Fluffy Stuff ($1 store or Target dollar bins).

Put the cones into individual cellophane bags.

Then we printed out cute sayings like "Here's the scoop: you are cool!" onto cardstock, cut them into tags, hole punch.

The kids wrote their names on the back of the tags.

Finally, tie the tags onto the bag with some cute ribbon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spread the Love: Heart Attack!

What a fun way to spread the love this Valentine's Day! It has hit our neighborhood and we are next to carry it on.

Cut out a bunch of hearts, write some heartfelt messages for your "victims". Get the whole family in on it! Creep out in the darkness and Heart Attack your friends and neighbors.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Yesterday was Setsubun. February 3rd, which is one day before Risshun (the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar), is called Setsubun in Japan. It's not a national holiday, but mame maki (bean throwing) ceremonies are performed on Setsubun.

Traditionally, people throw roasted soy beans at home, shouting "oni wa so to" (get out demons) and "fu ku wa uchi" (come in happiness.) These beans are called fuku mame (fortune beans.) It is believed that people can be healthy and happy if they follow this custom and eat the number of soybeans of their age plus one.

We celebrated at our Japanese school. It has become so much more than a place to learn the language for our kids but also the customs and culture of Japan.

Our teacher does an amazing job. She built the entire lesson around Setsubun themes. The kids had to find demons of certain colors she called out to practice their colors. So many fun things and all the while learning about their culture and language.

She even commissioned some kids from other classes to come and act as the demons for our kids to throw beans at. Of course they thought this was a blast!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pamplemousse French Toast

I am kind of in love with grapefruits. I remember my Mum cutting them up for us with the wooden handled grapefruit knife and scooping the juicy pieces out for breakfast.

It's the height of grapefruit season and I have been eating one every day. I made a delicious and easy breakfast the other day. This would be a fun thing to surprise your sweetheart with on Valentine's Day!

  • 1 pink or Red Rio grapefruit
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon maple syrup, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 slices Challah or country-style bread (about 3/4-inch thick) I didn't have any on hand so I used regular 12 grain.

Cut a small slice off each end of the grapefruit and stand it upright on a cutting surface. With a knife, remove the peel from the grapefruit in strips, maintaining the curved shape. This is a great way to cut up/peel citrus of any kind.

Holding the grapefruit in one hand, cut out the segments of fruit between the membranes.

When you are done, squeeze the remaining juices from the skeleton of the grapefruit into the bowl, and put aside.

In a small sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the almonds, 1/4 cup of the maple syrup, and the reserved juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until the consistency of light syrup, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Toss in the grapefruit sections. Stir very gently to coat the sections and set aside.

Beat the eggs with the milk, the remaining 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Dip 3 or 4 slices of bread into the egg batter and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a heated platter or keep warm in a low oven. Repeat.

To serve, place 2 slices on each plate and top with the grapefruit.

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