Category Archives: Other

The after birth meal

The first meal after giving birth, which was brought to my room. It was delicious the reason there is no soup in the bowl is because, clumsy here spilt it.

Sent from my iPad

Flying with small children; the hand luggage

{For THEE most impressive and detailed advice for travelling with kids, there are two blogs I can’t recommend enough. Please see Tips for travelling with kids (journeysofthefabulist.wordpress.com) and Travel (freebutfun.wordpress.com)}

As I struggled up the aisle behind a dawdling 4 year old, a clumsy 2 year old and with a 1 year old strapped to my back, my arms weighted by 4 winter coats, a big sports bag and a cloth shopping bag, I thought to myself am I mad to bring so much hand luggage. When I landed in Dublin having stopped over in Amsterdam with most of the sports bag contents untouched, I concluded I was. However, on the return journey, with woes of foregone journeys taunting me, I decided to be “mad” again and I was glad by the end of it all that I was. By the time I landed in Tokyo I had used all and ran out of some of the contents of my hand luggage.

What I have learnt about flying with young children over the past 4 years of flying solo (without my husband) with first one, then two and now three children under five is;

  • Anticipate the worst; and prepare for it
  • Distraction is the key

And what I have learnt to pack;

*Spare clothes for everyone, especially yourself. Having been thrown up on three times on one flight (turned out it was a tummy bug), I not only dress in old clothes that can be binned, I also bring at least 2 spare upper wear for everyone and trousers for the kids. Leggings are great, because they fold up small. This past flight 1 year old did a “code red” nappy, it was just everywhere. 3 year old spilled orange juice all over her. 4 year old got saturated by a gush of water from the bathroom tap. It can and does happen.

*Food, food and more food. On a long haul flight food is provided, but sometimes it is not to the taste of a young child (I recommend ordering the children’s meals, which you often have to do in advance). And sometimes it’s not to the child’s schedule. I bring at least one instant meal for each child, sometimes a spare, lots of healthy snacks and one or two not so healthy ones for when emergency distractions are needed. Don’t pack drinks in advance, because they will take them off you at security unless it is milk for a baby. They usually have ample supply of drinks on the flight.

*For smaller children; a nappy (diaper) an hour. Seriously, Murphy’s Law is the only law of the airs when flying with babies. Babies can be sensitive to the change and have upset tummies. Plus, if you are giving them more to drink to settle them and keep them hydrated it only makes sense they’ll go through more nappies. Every single time I have flown I have used at least 12 nappies and sometimes I’ve even given some to other Mothers whom have been caught out. Sometimes an airline will have some, sometimes they won’t and sometimes somebody else will use up their supply before you need them.

*Tissues and wet tissues.

*DISTRACTIONS. A lot of, if not all, airlines provide inflight entertainment on long haul flights. However, for young children they often can’t hear it very well, or they may not be in the mood for TV, or (as has happened me twice) the inflight entertainment system may not be working. It is really useful to have some things packed to keep them entertained. The list of possibilities is endless, depending on what your child likes. Having something they’ve never seen before in the goody bag usually goes a long way. If you want to pack light, what worked really well on one flight was buying the kids a new toy in the airport. It kept them entertained for a few hours. I like light things such as Origami paper and finger puppets. However, here are the 3 things I have found to be useful each time for children between one and five.

Activity Book

  • Activity books for their age group. Coming from Japan the “baby books” are brilliant as they are loaded with crafts (necessary supplies provided), stickers, stories, games and other activities. (The one pictured also came with a DVD, all for 700 yen). I always carry a small scissors and tape in the hand luggage, but these aren’t even necessary for some of the crafts. On our last outbound flight, 4 year old and 3 year old spent most of the time playing with these activity books. On the inbound flight they had activity magazines (Peppa pig and Thomas the Tank Engine), which weren’t as effective, but did keep them entertained for about an hour.

Sticker puzzles

  • Sticker puzzles. I brought both jigsaw and sticker puzzles on our outbound flight. The jigsaw puzzles were a bad idea. 1 year old got her hands on them and the pieces went everywhere. 4 year old and 3 year old enjoyed the sticker puzzles, where each sticker is numbered and you stick it to a corresponding numbered grid to make a picture.
  • WASHABLE markers and paper. This kept 1 year old happy on and off during the flight. She did draw on the seat and bulkhead while I was distracted with the others, hence I stress “washable”! On the inbound long haul flight 4 year old enjoyed writing in a notepad with just a pen for about an hour.

There you have it, the bones of the hand luggage I cannot be without. Don’t forget to visit Tips for travelling with kids (journeysofthefabulist.wordpress.com) and Travel (freebutfun.wordpress.com) for even more great tips.

Flight pending

So both the blog and I have been quiet in preparation for the big flight home on Friday. I am flying solo with my 4yo, 2yo and 1yo. I can’t wait to get to Ireland, but I am DREADING the flight. I will, no doubt, have a post about it when I’ve had time to recover! For the moment, regular transmission is interrupted…

The Fickle Finger of Fashion | K-A International Mothers in Japan

A fantastic new addition to the KA International Mothers blog. A perfect summation of how to handle the contents of your wardrobe

The Fickle Finger of Fashion | K-A International Mothers in Japan.

Liebster Award Nomination

liebster-award

I have been itching to come on the computer all week, to share my exciting news from last Sunday. Last Sunday night, just as I was planning to turn in for the night, I saw a surprise comment I could not leave till the morning. It was from the most wonderful and effervescent blogger at Through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole , a foreigner in Japan, blogging about  fashion, make-up, food, life and much more. I find her blog  so versatile and personable and I love her style of writing.  So I  was overwhelmingly psyched that her comment was informing me that she had nominated me for the Liebster Award. I was so stoked I wanted to write straight away, but thought it best to wait till the next day. Wouldn’t you know, Murphy’s Law decided to intervene (mainly 3 sick kids and visiting rellies) and, well, here I am a whole week later.

I have copied the idea and rules behind this award straight from Through the Looking Glass and Down the Rabbit Hole’s Liebster Award post.

The Liebster award is intended to give some exposure to small blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are as follows:

1] Link back to the blogger who nominated you
2] Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3] Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
4] Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination
5] Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.”

My answers to the questions from Through the Looking Glass and Down the Rabbit Hole;

1) What was the last thing you bought?

P1005533

You know you’ve been in Japan too long when you not only like “canned coffee”, but drink it daily! It falls into the genre of “canned coffee”, but as you can see its clearly bottled! It’s hot. Yes, I drink hot coffee out of cans or bottles from a vending machine. I never thought I would, but sure there you are!

2) What’s in your handbag?

Ah, the handbag.  Purse, keys, tissues, diary/organiser, lip gloss, mascara, loose coins, hand sanitiser, a nappy and one sock.  This is a good day, as a mother of three small kids there’s often a lot stranger things in there!

3) Tea or coffee?

See number 1!

4) What are you most looking forward to at Christmas?

Having my immediate family in the same room for the first time in 7 years. We all live in different countries and between pregnancy and all sorts of other stuff it is 7 years since all 6 of us have been able to get together. Related to this, I am also looking forward to seeing nieces and nephews I haven’t seen for 2.5 years and to meeting 2 new nieces!

5) If you could choose a wardrobe from any given decade and century what would it be?

I think I’d have to step into “Gone with the Wind”. I always loved the dresses they wore, I wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara when I was too young to realise how messed up she was!

6) What was the last book you read?

Wow, I had to really think about that, its been so long. I love reading books, I just don’t get the time anymore. It was The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

7) Name the first 5 items you see right now if you open your fridge.

Beer, tofu, yoghurts, kimchi, natto.

8) What was your favourite childhood story/book and do you still like it or have you grown out of it?

I loved a lot of books as a kid, I struggle to remember what was my real favourite. A lot of books I read as a kid I re-read as an adult and enjoyed.

9) When socks disappear, where do they go?

Ah, this one I can answer… the aliens use them to fuel their space ships. LOL!!

10) Give us a description of what you see when you look out the window this very moment.

Emmm… its night time and we’ve the shutters closed.  So right now, I can see myself reflected in the glass. A very pretty sight indeed!! 😛

11) What does blogging mean to you?

A RELEASE from the daily grind of being a SAHM to 3 small kids (4, 2 and 1 year old), in a rural area with limited opportunities to meet up with mamatomos and my friends here (Hi C.L.A.M!!), so far away from my first home, family, lifelong friends and my bestie soul mate(http://fionasjapanesecooking.blogspot.jp/) , in a country that challenges me everyday often in ways unimaginable…

Now to my nominations. First, just let me say, I don’t know how any of these blogs have less than 200 followers, because they are all awesome and deserving of more. Please check them out. To the nominees; I recommend you take your response to this in three parts as it is quite time consuming doing this in one fell swoop. You could break it into three posts; ① about your nomination and the answers to the questions you were given, ② the questions you want your nominees to answer and ③ your nominations and letting the nominees know about their nominations.

1. http://kajapan.org/ is a truly unique and innovative blog, run by a small team representing a larger group of 300+ foreign women from all over the world all living and raising children in Japan.

2. http://easycraftsforchildren.wordpress.com/ because it really is a practical website of crafts that (my) children can manage and really enjoy.

3. http://ensummerfield84.wordpress.com/page/2/ because this dedicated blogger showcases interesting places and customs in Japan with his awesome astute photos.

4. http://bentoandthegeek.wordpress.com/ because I love her colourful bentos.  {Off to the fridge now to get something to eat after looking at her latest bento!}

5. http://rbbaileyjrblog.wordpress.com/  because he’s a fellow Saitama-jin blogging about parenting and other things of interest.

6. http://recycledreadsaustin.wordpress.com/about/ because they use recycled materials  for crafts and so do I!

Hereafter all these bloggers I am nominating have something in common; they are all written by foreign women raising children here in Japan. I love the honesty. The emotion. The humour. The turmoil. The real life each of these blogs portray.

7. http://elemenopart2.wordpress.com/

8. http://hamakkomommy.wordpress.com/

9. http://chrysanthemummum.wordpress.com/

10. http://beingamominjapan.wordpress.com/

11. http://becomingsherilyn.wordpress.com/page/2/

To these wonderful bloggers, my questions are;

1. What was your favourite age?

2. Who is the last (music) band or performer you saw live?

3. What are you wearing right now?

4. What was your favourite toy as a child?

5. If you could have a super power what would it be!?

6. What is your favourite poem?

7. What type of kid were you in school?

8. Do you read a newspaper?

9. What is your worst habit?

10. If anything was possible, who (alive or dead) would you like most to go drinking with (or have a meal with for any non-drinkers)?

11. If money, time, commitments weren’t an obstacle, where in the world would you like to be right now?

I look forward to reading your answers!

Phew I deserve a drink after that, so I off I go. Kampai, Slainte, Cheers!

Halloween Books for kids

There is a wonderful list of Halloween books available on the kajapan.org website. The list of the best English books about Halloween was compiled from the suggestions of the wonderful Moms behind the KA website.

http://kajapan.org/general/halloween-book-collection/

Preview


Goodnight Goon


Room on the Broom


What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen


Go Away, Big Green Monster

 

See the full list at http://kajapan.org/general/halloween-book-collection/

Coccolo “Parent and child” restaurant in Omiya CLOSES

Saitama’s first oyako (parent and child) restaurant Coccolo has closed permanently.

Coccolo

There is a wonderful 親子 (oyako = parent and child) restaurant in the Ito Yokado near the Saitama Shintoshin Station, East exit. The play area is free for children of dining customers. The play area includes a large ball pool with slides and a padded play area for young children. They also have an area that shows children’s DVDs. The food, Italian, is quite good too and the service is excellent. They have some allergen free food and food suited to weaning babies. The phone number for reservations and information is 048-650-9335. For Japanese speakers, you can find out more on their website; http://www.cokids.jp/index.html

This restaurant closed permanently for business.