Monday, February 27, 2012

Plenty of Pelicans.

There were many pelicans with us on this weekend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Homework... how to do the most productive/valuable amount and still get time to play outside?

13 year old son has to basically organise himself this year, however we are on hand for editing, advice and nagging.
10 year old daughter likes to start things 'yesterday', however I still feel the need to monitor spelling/phonics etc.  I have therefore gone back to blends/sounds and made her a separate list each week.  If she gets them all correct in my weekly test, we try to go out for a cafe treat.
7 year old daughter needs a lot of rehearsal and repetition.  She also needs to stay focused.  I have many concrete materials for maths (see above) and a new 'bead' system.  As she progresses, if she is putting in a lot of effort, the beads keep being put into the heart shaped box.  If she complains or gets distracted, the beads start to be taken out.  I do not need to interrupt the homework session, but she is aware of the 'bead' movement.
At the end, she needs to divide the beads into groups of five and those are her 'points'.  She then can choose from a list of rewards:  a game with Dad, some extra time outside, a story of her choice, a jelly bean (!) etc.
5 year old daughter has waited so long to get homework of her own, that she just loves doing it at the moment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sauces and Soy Beans...

As I survey my stove top selection of bottles, I noted that quite a few came from Aunty L.  Today she brought some Indonesian sweet soy sauce which is just wonderful and adds so much flavour to anything; meatloaf/bolognaise etc (and I have not even used it in Indonesian cooking yet)....
She has also found some edamame for me (Japanese soy beans) which we loved whilst in Japan....
Food is so rich is it not?

We are Fans of Fans.

As I came into the entry area the other day, I noticed that there was a fan opened on top of the blue jug... perhaps one of our daughters felt we needed a reminder of  Japan at home.
The top fan came from my parents and I think that it is Indonesian.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day....

...which in this house means "Happy Chocolate Cake Day".
This recipe was in the Sydney Morning Herald about a decade ago and titled
"The Great Ocean Road Cake".. as the person who submitted the recipe was in desperate need of a chocolatey cake whilst on holiday.  This recipe pretty much flings in chocolate and ingredients in a mad frenzy in order to reach the product as quickly as possible.

200 g dark chocolate, broken
125g butter (melt butter and chocolate)

add 1 cup sugar
half cup SR flour
5 eggs.


The original recipe called for a cup of strong, black coffee and crushed nuts as well and does not recommend the need for icing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Venetian Carrot Cake.

Venetian Carrot Cake as viewed on an episode of Nigella Lawson's recipes.
Ingredients include rum soaked raisins, almond meal, carrot, olive oil and pine nuts.  Serve with mascarpone (with icing sugar and rum).

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yes, the header is back to what I prefer; a section of 7 year old daughter's artwork.


As I look around the house, I have found that I must like coathangers or find them useful.  Perhaps they are like hooks without the need for drilling holes.

Ikea Equals Organisation.

A lovely bread holder which "The Private Lady" bought for me at Ikea.  I love the fabric so much that I am storing books and my Bible (bread of life?) in it.

We have had so much rain that I cannot store boots and wet/muddy shoes in the front area ANY LONGER. 
Shelves at the door; for quick access or for drying.  The 'bin' is actually a pot for plants and it now holds gum boots.

An Ikea noticeboard...before....

And after; filled with lists and a timetable.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Local Smiles.

The great thing about living in a flat in a part of Tokyo for a short time, is that you can greet local people and perhaps get to know them a little.  These were the men who were in the octopus ball shop everyday.  They were so friendly with huge smiles.  It was really a highlight to see them everyday and quite sad when we waved goodbye as we left this area.


Gomi (rubbish) is an interesting process in Tokyo.
To the right is a cupboard to hold our shoes and the left is a slipper storage rack.  In the middle is a complicated recycling system to be used during our stay in Tokyo.  Combustibles, incombustible, plastic bottles (lids were separate, as were labels), general plastics and paper.
There were different collection days for various categories.  The bins would be unlocked by the local garbage person, and that night, the bins could be filled.  The next day they were emptied and locked up again.  If people had made a mistake rinsing or separating garbage, a large sticker is placed on the bin and the rubbish is left.

There is not a great deal of space for garbage in Japan, hence this highly organised system.

We did not see any litter whilst in the cities we visited in Japan.


The Imperial Palace, Tokyo.

Nagoya Castle


And these days in Kyoto, were precisely as I imagined traditional Japan to be.  We were so very comfortable in our old house right in the traditional part of Kyoto.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Stig in Train Design.

The Stig
Google Images.

Husband E.

Hikari, Hayabusa, Nozomi, Kaiji.... all names of trains that we got to enjoy in Japan.  I just think that these trains are so handsome!
13 year old son first thought of the Stig simile.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meals near Mt Fuji.

All part of an amazing dinner near Mt Fuji.  Dessert was jelly with gold specks through it.  We did not photograph the dessert plate in time.

Meal Plan.

Unlike the amazing meal photographed above which we enjoyed near Mt Fuji, my meal plan is less spectacular.

Since the children are at school (including 5 year old daughter who started school this year), a fast and easy weekly meal plan is necessary.
For week one, this worked well:
Monday: steak and salad (fast after coming in late from visits with cousins and Grandad)
Tuesday:  chicken (this week 2 varieties: teriyaki in one pan and olive oil and herbs in the other).  There were leftovers for lunches and Thursday's dinner.
Wednesday: bolognaise or mince.  There were enough leftovers for the next night.
Thursday: A very busy night for us; so the leftover bolognaise and chicken came in handy.
Friday: pizza and sausage-relaxing night... but we might change that a bit next week.
Saturday: pasta and possible a bbq at lunch..
Sunday:  Bbq chicken at lunch and curry/roast/casserole for dinner.  I hope to use the oven only if the weather is cool enough.