16 February 2012

Valentine's Day

This years Valentine's Day was different to what I would normally expect to happen on a typical Valentine's Day. Usually, or at least in my understanding, February 14th is where couples, lovers, and friends do something special to show each other that they love each other. Am I right? It's a two way thing... 90% of the time, right? Well here in Japan it's not. You saw that one coming didn't ya lol. It is a day where girls give the guys chocolates!

There are a bunch of other varieties too like tomo-choko which is when you give chocolates to your friends (tomo is short for tomodachi which means friend and choko is short for chocolate!), giri-choko which is giving out of obligation e.g. co-workers (giri means social obligation or decency), and gyaku-choko (gyaku means opposite) which is where guys give chocolate to girls... which to me would just be like a regular Valentine's Day... but it's not coz it's Japan lol. I just think it's funny coz they have names, like I'm sure if I wanted to give chocolate to my sisters I wouldn't start calling it sibling-choco. But it's all good. On March 14th it's White Day and that's when the guys give back to the girls! ^__^

I don't have a lot of money to burn and so all I can really do is cook lol. I do this every day though so I had to make it special some how. I make Jun's lunch and so I thought I'd be tricky and put a big fat heart right on top of the tuna rice! Well it was supposed to be a surprise, but he thought he'd help out and opened the lid while I was attending to Reia and saw what I was up to, grrrrr! But it's okay ^_^ I also cut out the sweet potato into hearts as well and added a strawberry for extra sweetness!

I made cream cheese and spinach chicken roll ups for dinner (which I forgot to take pics of) and for dessert I made a strawberry and custard tart! This was the first time I have ever made a tart before and I didn't really know what I was doing lol. Cutting into it was... challenging ^_^ The crust turned out just like a hard and crumbly biscuit (or a cookie for my American friends) and after Jun took a bite he goes "Did you add the sugar?" (-__-")ARGH! YES! I DID! But I admit, it was lacking :/ Oh well! Next time I will make it so sweet he will regret the day he mentioned SUGAR!! Haha nah I'm just shame that's all.

I also gave our house a "heart attack" makeover at the last minute. Mostly because I forgot to get a card ^_^

Made some candy hearts for the Young Women :) I had a lot of candy canes and white chocolate left over from Christmas and so I made these (idea from Pinterest). Really easy and cute!

And just quickly, yesterday it was my brothers 21 birthday!!! He is a MAN! Elder Huysmans is currently serving in the Australia Brisbane mission and only has 7 months so go before he's finished!
He was inited over for dinner by the Milner family (THANK YOU!) and got all his presents on time :D
Love you bro! xoxo

Hope you all had a sweet day!

10 February 2012

Baby Led Weaning

Apparently this has been around since forever and like always, I am the last to know! What it is, is basically letting your baby feed themselves normal food instead of being spoon fed. I think that this sounds like so much fun! And will also save me time and hassle cooking and mashing her own food. Mothers have been doing this for ages so it is nothing new. But now it has a name! Baby Led Weaning:) If your are worried that this is a program to get the bub off the boob, don't worry! I assure you it is not. It is just another way to introduce solids :) 

I started experimenting with this yesterday and Reia loved it! As you can probably guess from the last video of her grabbing the spoon outta my hand, she likes to be independent and so this is perfect! I started with apple in the day and broccoli at night. Obviously she isn't going to be able to eat the apple because it is too hard. She just nibbled and sucked on it. With the broccoli, she was able to eat the florets and hold onto the stem. The goal is not to actually have your baby eat apples, but more to let them explore through touch and taste. Baby's primary source of food should still be breast milk or formula for her first year. It is also a good way to include baby during family meals. This method improves motor skills and studies have shown that it lowers the chance of obesity in the future.  When it comes to choking, it is said that they are no more likely to choke than if they were to be spoon fed. As long as the baby is the one in control of what is being put in the mouth and is sitting up straight, they should be fine. The down side to this is that it can get verrrry messy very fast! But if you have plastic mats and what not, you'll be sweet. More info can be found here! If you search in youtube as well, there are heaps of videos of babies being fed this way. Some are eating chicken drumsticks!! o_O I don't know if Reia is ready for that just yet.

This morning I gave Reia some banana and there was one point where she was gagging on a piece and it freaked me out! But she just spat it out, so she was okay... but it was enough to make me think about how I want to present food to her. With foods that are harder to swallow, like banana or sweet potato, I may have to give them in smaller pieces or even just mash it up rather than giving big chunks. At least until she sorts out her gag reflex. The only problem is that smaller foods will be harder to grab. It is very important that you never leave your baby alone with food or any small objects for that matter! That being said, I am still looking forward to this method of feeding and to see how she will develop :D 

Here is how our little experiment with food went :)

 FYI, she did not eat that whole banana lol it just fell out of the skin :D But so far so good! Tonight we are trying avocado!

04 February 2012

Quick Tip! How to Stop Meat from Sticking to Your Metal Frying Pans

If you have a non-stick pan or pot, then you probably aren't having any problems with your meat when frying. But if you use a stainless steel one like me, then you know what its like trying to fry those chicken pieces with out breaking them up or creating that brown crust on the bottom of the pan! 

It's quite simple really. All you need to do is heat your oil up in the pan, take it off the heat and place it on a damp cloth to cool it back down again. Then add your meat to the pan, give it a quick stir and place it back onto the element. Your meat should now have no problems sticking to the pan while you cook!

I don't know why cooling it down first works, but it does! Knowing this has really saved some of my meals. Some Japanese meats are cut really thinly and if it gets stuck to the pan and I try to save it, it just turns into something resembling mince hahaha! Of course this works for vegetables too. I do this quite often when I make curry or nikujaga  (beef and potatoes). So if you have just realized that this happens to you too, give this a go :D

02 February 2012

Island Treasures Launching!

Island Treasures is our new website that is exclusive to Polynesian inspired jewelry. It is all made in New Zealand and is available now in Japan! So far we have a mother of pearl range and a paua shell range and they are all gorgeous ^_^

This has been in the making for MONTHS now and it is finally UP! There are still some things that need tweaking and more stock that needs to be uploaded so look forward to that ;). If you haven't already, go check it out and leave us some feedback! :D

Our beautiful model, Tomomi ^_^

6 Months Today!

My little infant has grown into a big girl already! She is finally 6 months and nearly a 1 year old! K, extreme, but I have a feeling that these next 6 month will fly by super fast. I can't believe she is already at this mark! It's funny how I can't imagine life without her or remember what it was like before she was born. It feels like she has always been with us somehow.

Here are somethings that she can do:
She can kinda sit up, she can kinda roll over (after 1 roll she gets lazy and lays her head on the ground to have a rest haha), she can put herself to sleep at night, she is starting solids and loves food, she cries if I leave the room, she likes to grab and chew on everything, and she may have developed a small crush on elmo lol.

I'm looking forward to the next 6 months and the surprises and challenges that will come! I am tired all the time and sometimes I get frustrated but when I see that cheeky little smile, it all melts away :)

Mummy loves you Reia xoxo

Can she not grab the spoon out of my hand? Hahaha ^_^