life in Japan

rice pudding and this week’s meal plan

this week’s meal plan

We did well last week and stuck to the plan, landing on broccoli for the veggie pizza topping of choice on Friday. Things may get shuffled around this week because our night to meet friends is not 100% decided, but it looks like I’m craving hearty vegetarian comfort foods (read: carbs with cheese). READ MORE

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kiwi kale smoothie recipe and this week’s meal plan

What did you eat over the holidays? In Japan it’s traditional to prepare an elaborate collection of osechi ryōri in advance and pull them out for oshogatsu (New Year’s day) celebrations – and then for easy meals over the next few days, rather than cook on a day meant for resting. I like the idea, but don’t love all of the classic osechi flavors so we decided to go rogue this year and skip it altogether. READ MORE

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2018 fukubukuro (and what I bought at LeCreuset instead of a Lucky Box)

Over the years I’ve had limited success with fukubukuro (lucky bags) and generally try to avoid the crazy lines that accompany New Year’s bargain season here in Japan.

This year I tried the online application system for a Starbucks fukubukuro and failed to get a ticket, so I thought about reserving one of the Lucky Boxes that LeCreuset was offering instead. READ MORE

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easy DIY Christmas Gifts to make with kids

We’ve gotten into the habit of letting the kiddo make (at least part of) the gifts he gives to family. Starting when he was just a toddler, we set up easy projects for him and they’re always a hit. If you want to do something with your little ones, there’s still time! Here are a few quick and easy ideas that could be pulled off this weekend: READ MORE

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creamy tomato gnocchi & this week’s meal plan

Did you celebrate Thanksgiving last week? If so, I hope you had a great one! We made a little feast, including this pumpkin pie and the pecan slab pie from Smitten Kitchen‘s new cookbook and both were great. The kiddo loves baking, so it was nice to have the day off to slowly prepare everything together. He also made our cranberry sauce and is so proud of it!  READ MORE

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why we’re loving Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

We spent over 2 months in the US this summer and found ourselves visiting the local library several times a week. Having access to so many beautiful children’s books (in English) was such a treat for this little Tokyo family and we fell in love with a range of new authors, illustrators, and characters. But out of all those books, the one we *had* to buy as soon as we got home was Not Quite Narwhal. 

The illustrations are adorable, but that’s not the only reason we love it. READ MORE

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Thanksgiving in Tokyo & this week’s meal plan

This year marks my 13th Thanksgiving since moving to Japan. It’s probably my favorite family holiday, which makes it my most homesick weekend as well. Over the years I’ve celebrated in every way from turkey delivery at work to fancy course menus, and with anywhere from one other person to several dozen. These days we mostly celebrate as a little family, enjoying a comfort food feast with all the sides I love and as close to a turkey as I can manage. Luckily, Thanksgiving Day coincides with a Japanese national holiday this year so we’ll have all day to prepare together. Our little guy loves to bake and help mix things (and is actually old enough to be helpful now!), so I think it will be extra fun.  READ MORE

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preparing for hoikuen (Japanese day care): sewing project tips

Our little one started going to hoikuen (day care) recently and I’ve been slow about getting all of her prep done. And there can be a lot of prep to do!

I’m sure it’s pretty standard to write names or iron tags into everything, but most of us in Japan also have a list of items to sew. READ MORE

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