17 April 2012

Jam, Jelly, and Jell-O - The Difference

Since teaching English in Japan, I have often been asked what the difference is between jelly and jell-o. My normal response to this question is always that they're exactly the same. At one time, an American that I was teaching with was so taken aback by this and quickly stopped me and told the class that they were "completely different!" I was so confused, the class was confused, and when I tried to explain my reasoning and brought jam into the picture (not to mention preserves!), the American was confused too. It was a mess! But also a good teaching opportunity to share with the students that even though Americans and New Zealanders both speak English, that doesn't necessarily mean we speak the same "language." In truth, that probably confused them the most. That was over a year ago and it was only last weekend that I was able to finally settle the great JJJ or Jam, Jelly, and Jell-O debate!

Ever since that incident with that teacher, I have asked a lot of Americans to explain to me the differences between the three and they aren't always sure of how to describe it to me... but from what I gather, jam is pretty much the same in both countries and is thick with seeds and pulp inside, jell-o is what jelly is in New Zealand, the wobbly gelatin stuff, while Jelly in America (which doesn't exist where I come from) is a mixture between the two resulting in a watery jell-o or a watery jam with no seeds or pulp. It has taken me the longest time to wrap my head around this concept. Probably longer than needed (much to Jun's amusement). Growing up in a "jelly"-less land made me always raise an eyebrow whenever I would hear people on t.v. saying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because to me that mean eating peanut butter with the wobbly gelatin stuff! And that just sounded eewww >_<  

I asked the missionaries in my ward, Elder Willard and Elder Merrell, a few months ago the same question and they did a pretty good job of explaining it. I guess I must have looked really lost and confused (yet again!) because Elder Willard said that he would ask his Mum to send all three of them over so I could finally understand lol I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was really excited hahah! Despite me living in Hawaii for a few years, I don't ever remember eating jelly and I just really wanted to understand hahaha I'm such a geek I know :P

Anyway, we invited the missionaries over for dinner last Sunday. We have two companionships in our ward (Willard, Loud, Fry, Posey) so it was a little party even though they had to dine and dash to get home before curfew. We had okonomiyaki and Jun did such a good job! I think his Mum would be proud coz it was GOOD! And Elder Willard brought the JJJ!!! So THANK YOU to Elder Willard's MUM! ^____^ I lathered the jelly on to the bread and it got soaked up really quickly! It was just like a thin chunky jell. I put more on and then added some peanut butter. I told the missionaries that this was my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they were all like whaaaaat?! o_O?! They couldn't believe it haha. It was also the first time eating grape flavoured JJJ too, so an added bonus! Over here in Japan, they also have a lot of grape and even peach flavoured things. I don't think that these flavours are that big in New Zealand though. I took a big bite right out of the middle of the sandwich! It was actually pretty good, flavour-wise. I think I still have to get used to the runny texture though. I felt like it was slipping and sliding all over my teeth lol. And then Elder Willard gave me all three to keep! ^__^ It pays to be persistent sometimes. And before I forget, I love how they are stored in squeeze bottles! Such a good idea because I hate how the jam jars get stuck after being in the fridge for a while and then you have to bust out the tea towel for grip. But I can now happily say that I know the difference between jam, jelly, and jell-o! FINALLY!! Now Jun can stop rolling his eyes at me hahaha

This is what Elder Willard gave to meeee! I have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast since lol

Nom nom nom! Thank you America! lol

 We had Pavlova for dessert! I have made a few in the past and every time I make them, they come out differently but I think this recipe is a keeper! Ric did all the hard work, I just licked the spoon.

 Half way through devouring it. It was so soft and marshmellowy on the inside! Would have been even better if there was a crisp crust on the outside but oh well. The missionaries didn't know any better so all good ;)

Elder Loud had mentioned Gushers to me once before and I didn't know what they were, and he happened to have some on him so he gave us some! He gave us two packets, but I ate them both mwuahaha! They are SO GOOD! Where do I get more?! They are like my favourite candy now!

 And these are our awesome missionaries serving in Kunitcahi Ward! The next transfer is next week and so someone might be leaving :( I like talking to the missionaries just a little bit more than I did before because I have a brother serving in Brisbane, Australia and so I kinda feel closer to him. And if I make friends with the missionaries here, I feel like there is someone over there will wanna make friends with my brother :)

It was a nice ending to our weekend. Jun and I both agree that we should invite the missionaries, or just friends, over to dinner more often. So our door is always open if you ever wanna come over!

This was kind of a weird post... being about jelly and all... but now if a student asks me for the difference, I know what to say!

That is all :)

10 April 2012

Easter Weekend in Japan

Spring is finally here!

This Easter weekend was so nice and WARM! I actually wore JANDALS for the first time in ages!!! I don't know why everyone is still wearing warm jackets and shoes lol. I would wear my jandals all year long if it wasn't for those awkward stares I get :/ I already stand out enough as it is over here. Between jumping back and forth between Japan and New Zealand, I managed to accumulate an 18 month long winter which sucked! So I am soooo ready for some HEAT!

Reia isn't quite old enough to do anything fun on Easter like an easter egg hunt or egg painting... and it doesn't help that she might be allergic to eggs so... we kinda laid low this Easter. It isn't a big thing over here anyway. Probably because it is the same time when the cherry blossoms come out which are gorgeous! This photo was the best one we could get of all of us together. Reia was a little sleepy so taking pictures was the last thing on her mind. Cheeky monkey!

All I really wanted was this Easter was a bunch of Cadbury Crunchie Eggs *sigh* but there's nothing like that around here, or my area at least. So for Good Friday, I settled with home made hot cross buns.
They were OK. I had to cook them for an extra 10 minutes to get some colour on them, but then they went really dry after a while, so I probably shouldn't have done that haha. Really nice straight outta the oven with a big dollop of butter! But they took so long to make. Ugh! Like 2 or 3 hours or something. So much easier to just buy them. And the crosses were such a FAIL. It was so hard to get them all the same width and then in the end... they fell off -_- Never again.

Saturday was spent at home with Reia while Jun worked. It was a beautiful day and so I took the opportunity to do all the laundry that I could. For dinner, we went to the new pasta place by our house and had to wait an hour to get a table coz it's always packed! Probably because of the all-you-can-eat Haagen Dazs ice cream parlour (which if you asked me, wasn't all that). I met a lady while we were waiting that absolutely loved New Zealand and was so excited to meet me lol. She honeymooned in the South Island and is dying to go back. It is always funny to me to see Japanese people scrambling to use the little English that they know in order to communicate with me. Not because they look so flustered and slightly stressed, but because that is how I feel every time I open my mouth to say something in Japanese! I must say, it's kinda nice when the tables have turned. Although, when the tables turn only half way and both of us are scrambling, it's kinda ridiculous lol. I am now a master at charades. 

On Sunday, we went to the Stake Center in Kichijoji to watch General Conference which was good. Wasn't that last song a tear jerker! When the Tabernacle Choir sings that arrangement of Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing, I always get that stirring feeling in my heart. After conference, we went to the local park to see the SAKURA! This was my first time seeing sakura in Japan despite me living here for a year and a half because I always seem to leave right before the season. But it was sooo worth the wait! I have seen them before in New Zealand, but it's just not the same amongst our green landscape. Over here, the flowers stand out so much more because everything else is a dark. It's gorgeous!! 

The place was packed! One of the downfalls of living in Japan in my opinion. If you want to enjoy something cool in Japan, be ready to share it with thousands of other people trying to do the exact same thing. There was no where to sit and so we had to settle for a wooden fence by the lake. The trees looked snow laden, it was so pretty. After coming home and realizing I still had a bunch of stale hot cross buns... I whipped up this Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding, thanks to Sorted! Tastes better than it looks I promise :) I was in no rush to pretty up the plate coz I was starving!

On Easter Monday, I was determined to visit Kunitachi which is one station over because of the blossoms there. The sakura don't have a very long lifespan and so I made sure I got to see them before they died. By the station, there is a street with about 300 huge sakura trees planted along side it and I have only ever seen them green, orange, or bare but never with flowers! And it was so amazing! Reia and I strolled down the road which seemed to go on forever. I saw a small clearing of grass under a sakura tree and pulled over to take some pics. It proved kinda difficult because Reia was more interested in the dirt and grass than the camera, but then a random lady saw me and came to help get Reia's attention so I could get some shots! So nice of her :) So thanks to her, I managed to get these pictures :D

Later on that night, we ate dinner with Jun's sister and his nephew who is going to BYU next week. Didn't manage to get pictures of them... but I did get pictures of dessert lol! It was goooood :D I had the mango looking cake thing down the bottom. There were big chunks of mango and cream in the middle. It was kind of a like a bomb? Is that what they're called? Jun got the huge fruit parfait which was equally as yummy. The berries were very sweet, not tart at all. MmMmmMmmm!

Phew! Well that was our Easter weekend :) Hope you all had a good one.

Quick Reia update: Her first tooth has come through! And by the looks of it, the second one is just about there :D

03 April 2012

Quick Tip! How to Dry Your Nail Polish Super Fast!

It's been a while since I've done a quick tip! I've got a good one for you today :D I found this awesome tip online somewhere last year on how to dry your nails SUPER FAST because I was sick of playing the waiting game each time I wanted a bit of colour of my nails.

Have you ever painted your nails before and have then sat there for 10 minutes waving your fingers like a maniac? Or blowing on them until you feel dizzy? Or even getting the hair dryer out in the hope that they'll dry quickly before you put a big dent in that final coat?! Have you ever thought that your nails were dry enough to continue on with your daily activities only to discover later that the paint is smudged or has something stuck in it? I don't know about you, but that pretty much describes the life span of polish on my nails. If I asked you what you thought the fastest way to dry your nails would be, you would probably say cool or warm air, right? I would have guessed that cool air would be the fastest because that's what they do in the nail salons. But it ISN'T! The answer is actually *drum roll....* cold water! Not air at all! Betcha' didn't see that one coming :P I don't know how many of your already knew this, but I LOVE this tip!! Makes my life a little bit easier :) I'm guessing that the colder the water is, the faster your nails dry so make sure that the water is pretty cold, but not so much that your fingers go numb >_< I like to fill a small bowl up with water and add 1 or 2 ice cubes to make it a little bit chilly, but bearable. Then after a coat, dunk my fingers in and let the water do it's thing. It only takes a few seconds! And then you can apply another coat or just leave it as is :D

That's all for now :D And seeing as it is Easter next week, I leave you with fun Easter nail art! 


02 April 2012

8 Months Today

We pass Reia's 8 months mark with a COLD! That's right, Reia is sick for the first time, and just when I thought I was getting the hang of things lol. We have both been sick for about a week now but it doesn't seem like we are out of the woods just yet. A few more days and we should be good as new!

I can't believe that it has been 8 months already! That means that there's only 4 more months until she turns ONE!!! Aaaah! I have been planning her 1st birthday party in my head for a while now I must admit... Although, being in Germany for it may change some of my plans. That's right! We are going to Germany in 4 months! And hopefully we can jump across the border and visit Holland and France as well! We have never been to Europe before so it's very exciting! I can finally get in touch with my Dutch side. Would be nice if I had my Dutch passport by now... I only have 3 more years to claim it! Have to get on to that!

I have really not been on the internet at all lately. With a lot of people visiting and Reia being sick, there has just been no time to do anything for myself! Although, I am still constantly finding myself taking pictures of things that I make and putting them in the to-blog-about pile. One of these days I'll get around to them.

But back to our little princess...

We completely forgot about going in to get her 6-7 month check up (woops!) but we were able to do it last night, the night before she turned 8 months haha. Her next check-up will be between 9-10 months. So according to the latest stats, she is 8250g, and 65.5cm long! So my measurements last month were wayyy off hahaha

Things she can do:
  • Her favourite word at the moment seems to be a silent tatata and occasionally mamama. Not quite Mama, but I like to think that she means ME even though she says it when playing with her toys... The tatata thing is pretty cute too. There is barely any sound when she says it :)
  • She can feed herself finger foods and also hold her own bottle if she lying down at an angle. She likes very much to be independent.
  • She can recognize me no matter how hard I try to disguise myself. Sometimes if others are holding her, she will look for me and will cry if she sees me so I have tried to hide myself but to no avail. She is one smart cookie!
  • She can breathe through her mouth! I don't know if this is a thing, but I have never seen her make a conscious effort to do so... until she got a cold :/
  • She can pretty much sit now without falling over at all
  • She likes to stand and hold on to things 
  • She likes to flap her arms up and down
  • She can shake her head when she doesn't want to do something
  • She can fall back to sleep if you lie beside her and hold her hand
  • She loves going outside and seeing all the different things and people! When we are inside I am the apple of her eye, but when we go outside she completely ignores me LOL
Things she can't do:
  • She has the ability to roll over, but for some reason she just still doesn't seem interested in getting mobile. She actually sometimes resists turning over if I try to help her. She will literally force herself the other way lol. No crawling either. But no real rush though. Maybe this month she'll start getting active! Although, I am starting to think that she might start walking before she starts crawling!
  • Can't pick up very small objects. Still hasn't quite got her pincer grip down yet!
My poor sick little girl
She is such a big girl already. I know I say this every month but man has she grown! Her hair is so long now that it keeps getting into her eyes. She pulls on my hair and ears and will sometimes get her fingers up my nose lol. She has done this a couple of time to my sister, Ericca who is living in Japan now! Oh the fun that will be had!

After she recovers from her cold, we are going to do some serious exercise her and I! I seriously need to get back on track and little missy needs to get a little active too! Hope she gets better soon. Her little coughs are so heartbreaking :(

Hope everyone is well! Have a great week :D