December 30, 2007

I Heart Jesse

Happy Birthday Jesse!
My bestest friend in the whole wide world.
The dad who takes us exploring.
M likes when he takes her surfing.
I love hiking, swimming, kayaking, hot springing, and just being with J.
Have a great day and welcome to your thirties.

Ginger Castle and Men

Last year the kids and I spent an early morning making the Palmer Gingerbread Castle. And for the first time ever, the entire castle was eaten because it actually tasted good!
E was really into patterns. And G was really into eating those patterns (even though it was 8am).
This year, alack, I have no pictures, but we made gingerbread men at our friend's house in Takao. I used buttercream frosting instead of royal. When powdered sugar is so hard to come by, it's best to use it wisely. The recipe came through again, even though I forgot the ginger and had to use a mixture of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. I might just make it again since I love ginger cookies.
5 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 T ginger
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t allspice
1 t salt
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c dark corn syrup
2 eggs

1-combine flour, ginger, baking soda, allspice, and salt in med bowl

2-beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl at med speed of electric mixer until fluffy. beat in corn syrup and eggs. gradually add flour mixture. beat at low speed until well blended. cover; refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm. bake 375 degree oven 10-12 min or until done.


When Amy was here she mentioned that she LOVED leek soup. I've never bought leeks, though I may have inadvertently tasted them at some point. I bought some last Co-op order and stuck them on the back porch since there was no room in the fridge.

I went to my trusty cookbook...I mean website, and found this recipe for Curried Leek Soup. I doubled the recipe and had it for lunch and dinner today. YUM! Even Jesse liked it. (He doesn't usually like soup.)

I made turkey noodle soup with homemade egg noodles the other day. The kids we were watching liked them, miraculous!

When I was on my mission, our mission president's wife taught us how to make homemade noodles. I had just gotten back from Cabo Verde and was so excited to have lunch with Sister Brinkerhoff and all the other sister missionaries. She usually made quiche or lasagna or meat. And then dessert was always chocolatey yumminess. We got to the house and she gave us the noodles tutorial and then served us turkey noodle soup with a fruit cup for dessert. Sister Bagley and I felt completely robbed.

Turned out that all the sisters in Portugal had been snacking on the bolos de belem, a creme doughnut. They'd gotten what we call fofinha (fluffy). Meanwhile, Sister Bagley and I had been in Cabo Verde with intestinal worms. I'd lost about 15 pounds (this was when I didn't have 15 pounds to lose, unlike today) and was constantly hungry and Bagley was in the same boat.

I'm pretty sure we stopped at McD's on the way home. But I did learn how to make noodles.

1 Cup flour
1 egg
1/2 eggshell milk

Make indentation in flour. Fill with egg and milk. Stir until combined. Roll out on floured surface as thin as possible. Cut with sharp knife or pizza cutter. Drop into boiling broth a little at a time, making sure to stir so noodles don't stick. Cook for 20 minutes.

December 29, 2007

Christmas Morning

With the cousins. So much fun, so many new toys. No guilt, since our kiddies have close to nothing to play with. Jesse made them a castle out of a cardboard box. Of course it's their favorite present.

And this is what I wanted, but he's already taken. Maybe next year.

December 22, 2007

I Found It

Handel's Messiah by the Philadelphia Orchestra on NPR. Learn a little about the history and enjoy two hours celebrating our Savior in song.

December 19, 2007

I Do.

Have you seen Adam's new wedding photo gallery? Makes me want to get married again (same guy, just new pictures.)

Don't you wish you had such cool in-laws?

December 18, 2007


For me, Christmas is about the music. It's the Messiah sing-a-longs, the "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart" in the stores (even here), and the Mo-Tab. Last time we were abroad, I found myself hungering for the music of the season and not quite willing to buy ALL of it. But I found it for FREE on NPR. Bless Public Radio and its dedication to beautiful music. NPR even has its own media player that pops up and then disappears when you're done. Much nicer than the glitches with Realplayer and Windows Media.

This year I found their Christmas Around the Country concert and The 2007 Carol Contest winners.

I'm going to try A Holiday Mix from All Songs Considered if not today, tomorrow.

I can't wait to find more! I really want to find the Messiah. So if you find it, send me a link.


At the ward Christmas party, we had a LARGE flock of sheep. The primary president's main direction to them "Remember to be SILENT sheep!" There was the array of histrionics, attention seekers, wandering babies (bottom right corner). This was the best shot with my 3 favorite sheep: G, M, and neighbor Miya. G, who isn't officially a member of primary until next year, proved to be a perfect sheep. I have a feeling she is going to LOVE primary. The best part about the primary party is that the kids were already in their jammies!

December 15, 2007

Orange You Glad Part 2

Nihon Minka-en

When we were here 5 years ago and M was a wee tot, we visited the Nihon Minka-en. We've been looking for an excuse to visit it again, and Amy was IT! It was better than ever since the kids enjoyed it as much as we did. This is THE BEST museum for kids because it's a huge park. 23 old farmhouses were taken from their original sites and brought here. In some of the houses, docents hang out by the fire pit waiting to talk to visitors. Perfect on a drizzly day. So beautiful.J loves the curved and crooked crossbeams in the houses.

The white window above the door (hard to see) is also the winter door when the snow is 10 feet deep. Um...COLDIE.

The straw around the house is to keep the snow off the house during the winter.

Mochi Party

After dragging M to school today, and then realizing I had pretty much forgotten EVERYTHING I was supposed to bring (cups, chopsticks, empty bento boxes, etc), I went home, cried my frustration out, then trooped back with a desperate note to Jesse to save me ASAP. He, Amy, and Ez went to watch am sumo practice. He did come. In time to pound some mochi, hold G, make small talk, and pretty much save me. We all had mochi for lunch. Salty with nori, sweet with peanut powder, and sweet with azuki beans. And pickled vegetables. I think that winter would be VERY LONG for me back in the day. The mochi was good, but it just sits like a sticky stone in your gut.

Jesse saved me again in the afternoon, letting me nap away my exhaustion. And of course he cleaned while I slept. LOVE HIM!

December 11, 2007

Seeing Red

At the Ghibli, Inokashira Park,and Shibuya with Ez ("He's fun to play with" says G) and Amy. No shots of Enoch, though. But we did see him.

December 9, 2007

Paper Dolls

The girls don't have very many toys here, but they do have paper and crayons. I'm so proud of M and her creativity. Don't you love the anime inspired eyes? The girls tape the head, arms, and legs to the dresses. I designed the two dresses on the right, but M's is on the left. I'm sad that when they get toys for Christmas, they might lose interest in some of these more creative outlets.

December 7, 2007


For me, they mean Christmas, birthday, birthday and birthday. And don't forget New Year's/birthday. But this year, since I'm a little low on responsibilities/expectations/social engagements, I've done a lot of shopping and seem to be almost done with the gift buying portion of Christmas. And since I can't show you after Christmas, here it is now!The kids are getting Tokyo, Paris, and NY in a bag from Muji.

G is getting Popo chan from me and my mom. She picked out another doll, but I really like Popo chan and she has some classic outfits that just can't be duplicated in the states. And M is getting a backpack for school next year. It's not this leather one, but a bit like it. It's also from Muji and the cheapest on around at 9900 yen. You can calculate that into dollars if you want to. I prefer just not thinking too much about it. She will be using this backpack for the rest of her life.

Of course there's more, but must save some for later!

December 6, 2007

Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park

J & M at the shrine Heart detail on a door Lots of sake for thirsty gods

self portrait w/ bicycle seat The fam

I think I got some decent photos, but I still can't figure out how to rotate them on image capture in a way that Blogger can tell they're rotated. The autumn leaves are so delightful. I really can't get enough, even though they are littering our genkan and I find bags stashed throughout the house. I also love wearing TWO wool sweaters at the same time.

Be Our Guest

We are thrilled and delighted that we will have HOUSE GUESTS!!! Jesse is taking this opportunity to organize the kitchen (bless him). I'm using our upcoming guests as an excuse to throw out art projects and various cardboard boxes that have accumulated in the kids' room. We're so excited to be tour guides. I'm so excited we live in such a cool place. I can't wait to explore with Amy. And I can't wait to ask Yuki every question that I've been to embarrassed to ask anyone else. For instance there are complete aisles in the grocery store where I have no idea what anything is. How do I get a point card at Tokyu store? Is there any possible way I can earn the Miffy water bottle at Lawson's through their point system? Exactly how lame do I appear to the moms at youchien? Do you know how excited I am to have an adult to talk to for hours for 3 consecutive days (that's not my husband)?

Bento IV

It's December and at M's Youchien that means we've switched to the two tiered obento box. The teachers heat up the rice for the kids. Of course I got it at the 100 yen store. They're about 1000 at Akachan Honpo for the cute Miffy double bento box. I love Miffy, but not that much. Today's obento looks good, but as I suspected, M didn't eat the cherry tomato or the dumpling. For some reason she doesn't like them, though they add variety and color in my opinion. Theh quail eggs are a recent addition that Uta's mom told me about. She only ate half of the rice, but she says it's because she prefers her rice cold. Umm, how do I explain that to her teachers? Do I even bother? G insisted we take a picture of her lunch today. She usually eats it around 10 because she doesn't eat enough of a breakfast. The picture of her obento is fuzzy, so I'm not going to post it.

December 4, 2007

If I Could...

I'd post pictures of beautiful autumn leaves and our last few outings. But...Someone who will be named-Jesse- messed with my iphoto program and is now inoperable. And I'm not really, how do you say, competent in any other program. Oh right, and aforementioned Jesse also turned on Raw feature on camera, so pictures are in too large format for lay folks such as myself.

But as I love him and have committed myself to our partnership, I've forgiven him. Though he is to never do anything on my computer again. I just wanted my huge readership to know why I've not posted in a bit.

The Yerba Mate Diet

Though I don't have my own gourd, I bought some mate teabags at the store. It's so dang cold, and I love my hot beverages. And Paulie says it's good for you. And I swear its an appetite suppressant. It's really wild. I'm super squishy (not exercising), but thinner. Go figure. Go Mate!
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