Friday, March 26, 2010

R for Rainbow finished

Here are the remaining activities that we did that were noteworthy of showing:

Rainbow cupcakes- YUMMY- we had to wait for Nana and Grampa to bring us the white cake mix so we could get the colors right!

Batter in the tins prebaking:

Post baking, what they looked like:


And we made these waldorf stars. I got the kite paper from this site, Palumba. And I got the directions here from Garden Mama. These were very simple to make and very fun, you can use all kinds of color combos for all different occasions. With each pack of kite paper, you can make about 12 stars! They look very nice in the sunlight. Below the photo, you can see some of the laminates shamrocks I hung on the window with different number values for Nathaniel to use as target practice with his nerf shooter, also aids with his addition practice adding up his points!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sumo wrestling

Today we went to Sumo Wrestling.

This tournament only comes to Osaka for 2 weeks each year, this year my parents were here to see it. We still haven't figured out how to take visitors that want to see Sumo to Sumo when the tournament isn't here. Here are the second to best group of wrestlers coming into the ring before their matches begin:

Check out the veins in this guy's leg:

There is no weight limit in this sport, so you will see some really really big guys pitted against some so to speak "smaller" guys. The way to win is to get your oponent to step outside the center circle on the "dohyo" (ring) or touch any part of their upper body to the ground (including their knee or fingertip). You may notice their hair, it is funny looking and in part, the style is to protect their head in case of a bad fall. There are certain rituals that take place before a match begins, such as the competitors clapping their hands together, to attract the attention to the gods, then extending their arms and lifting their palms to show they are hiding no weapons. Then, they lift their legs and stomp them down to drive evil from the ring.

Here he is squatting before doing the leg lift and facing the audience:

The match has a time limit of 4 minutes, most of them were over in less than a minute. The tassles in the front are made of silk and glue (for decoration only):

Here are some of the typically large sumo wrestlers we saw today and we didn't even stay for the highest rank group of wrestlers today:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patrick's Day (part II)

Here's the rest of our St. Patrick's Day, we had a small get together at our house to decorate cookies. I made green sugar cookies, in the shape of circles and colored icing for the kids to decorate them with. I made each kid a plate with a "color pallette" of frosting to decorate with:

For snacks we had green popcorn, of course. I made it by melting green chocolate and drizzling it over microwave popcorn:

Finally, my masterpiece, a fruit rainbow:

We also played find the pot of gold. I hid five clues around the yard and the last one led them to a pot of gold (a black bowl filled with any candy I could find that had a gold wrapper, resee's miniatures, twix, gold coins, and hersey's kisses with almonds). The kids were a bit disappointed that it was candy, not real gold, duped by the leprechaun again!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day (part I)

I just finished setting up the kitchen area for St. Patrick's Day, since it's already so late, I figured I'd post the pre St. Patrick's Day pictures, as I'm sure there will be a lot more to post about after our little party tomorrow.

I'll start off with our leprechaun trap. It isn't as elaborate as I've been imagining it would be, especially since we didn't start it until this afternoon at four and didn't finish it until after dinner at 8:30. Nathaniel came up with the idea on his own for it to be a rocket and then when the leprechaun got inside, it would blast off into space!

We had some action figure with boots I was able to twist off, I left one inside the house, where he had placed five fake gold coins and then one dangling on the ladder, shown here:

With the fake gold, I made a trail to the couch, where I left 4 ten yen coins and 1 five yen coin in a pile under it.

For decorations, I was trying to be environmental and used the same streamers we had up from Addison's birthday, that I conveniently just took down yesterday. I made a streamer rainbow, I realize the cloud looks silly made of the white streamers, but hey, it's all I had to work with.

I ran shiny gold ribbon from under the stuffed leprechaun to three different locations, each hiding a small treasure:

For our other decorations, I had printed some coloring pages from the internet, then I printed some outlines of shamrocks, which I had left on the table all week, with a set of watercolors, and our dot to dot markers. After they were colored, I cut them out and taped them onto the edge of the island, I think the colors look neat.

The leprechaun is sitting on a black pot filled with gold fabric scraps (if I have time tomorrow AM, I will finish the gold coins I started three weeks ago). Also, in the pot, are these lucky penny cards. I found the idea here at pumpkin petunia. I did wash the pennies with lemon juice/salt solution and they don't look brand new, but do look a LOT nicer!

I couldn't resist these wicked cute cupcake toppers! I found them at Living Locurto. For now, they are sitting on the counter, but tomorrow, they'll be on cupcakes, in my dream, they'd be sitting on some chocolate chip muffins right now.

From our R for Rainbow theme with the little ones, I traced the word rainbow onto paper and let them fill it in with their dot to dot markers:

Finally for this post, one of my favorite things, a game I made up tonight. I have been trying to think of an addition game to help Nathaniel be lightning quick with his single digit addition facts. I used our dot to dot markers and some shamrock stickers to make the game. I laminated it for more durability. I cut out gold coins from my shiny gold scrapbook paper, and I found these cute shamrock dice here, such an unexpected gem of a find! I'm not sure how we're going to play yet, if he'll just move based on the dice count and if he lands on a large shamrock, he'll get one gold coin, and a small colored one, he'll get 2 gold coins. I do know if Owen or Hazel plays, they will use the colored spinner from our other homemade games and just go by color. Owen could probably just do the one dice method too. Regardless of the rules, I just love to look at the colorful game board, don't you? Oh, did you notice the orange and green cars above the board? Of course, we love cars here, so being that they're the Irish flag colors, we laminated them to be our playing pieces for now :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Toy Police Car deal of the year

While at Toys'R'Us yesterday, getting a birthday gift for a neighbor, Owen, of course, took off and headed for the large ride on toy section. Of course, I found him on the toy police car. Never in a million years, did I think I'd be coming home from the toy store with this:

Well, lucky for him, he disobeyed me and got on it, then I saw out of the corner of my eye, the $100 price tag. I asked the sales man why (all in japanese). He said because it was the last one and it was scratched, of course, I was going to take it, it was originally $350. Who cares about a little scratch? It matched my real car now. So, after being rung up, they informed me it didn't work because of the battery and they couldn't sell it to me, I asked for a price reduction and they looked at me like I was crazy. (Who were they-you ask? They were the sales guy, who spoke some English, and his manager, who spoke no English. He would tell her the English to speak to me, I guess I had to hear everything from her(since she was the manager), even though I heard him telling her what to say.) So, she offered it to me for $40, heck yeah!!!! It could still be pushed around the house. Then, ten minutes later, they came back and showed me a crack in the underside plastic, just another aesthetic thing and apologized and asked if I would take it for $10!!!!!!!!!! WHAT?????????????? Of course, I'll walk out of the store with that!!!! They were laughing as I was leaving, thinking I'm a sucker, but little did they know, Dave is an engineer and a good fixer!

Behold, my $350 car that I bought for $10 in perfect working condition! You couldn't wipe this smile off if you tried!

While he was fixing the car, I was finally inspired to cut this fabric and start working on Owen's rescue vehicle quilt for his new bed. I don't have enough fabric to finish it yet, but here's a sneak preview:

And while Mr. Fixit was at it, yes, he went into the "brain" of my espresso maker and fixed it for me. What would I do without him?

Field trip to KIDZANIA

Two weeks ago, we went on a field trip with another homeschool family from our neighborhood. The place we went was called Kidzania, the whole 2 story building is set up like a kid's city, there are over 80 different shops that are mocks and minis of the real life version. The decor/uniforms are exactly the same (in case I never told you, Japanese people love their uniforms and almost everyone that works here has one). You get to choose which places you want to go to "work" or be a customer. Imagine my kids' eyes, when they get the chance to be a train conductor, a firefighter, a coke bottler, and many more. Each activity took about 20-30 minutes, so for our 6 hours being there, we only did 6 things. Each activity paid money (kidzos)- I'm not sure what you can use them for, I did see the ice cream shop, you had to pay to use them so that you could make and eat the ice cream.

Here are a few shots from our day:

At each activity, there was a sign like this, telling you the time the activity would take, the amount of money you would earn or be paid, and if they spoke English (most importantly):

First activity, gas station attendants. Someone started getting nervous, so big brother Nathaniel had to join in to help out:

Here are Owen and Addison pumping some gas:

Nathaniel washing the windshields:

Nathaniel in his dream job, train conductor, I got in trouble for taking a photo of their photo, but sorry, I wasn't going to pay $10 for it (played the I didn't know foreigner card for that one and walked away without deleting it):

Here he is learning how to do the job:

Poor Hazel, she was too young to participate, maybe if she fakes an injury, the EMT's will use her as a patient?

Did somebody say they needed an EMT? Well this one wouldn't do his training to use the stethoscope to listen to your breathing, don't let him near you!

Highlight of their day, ambulance ride!

Addison putting a sling on the victim:

I love this picture, he looks tired after a hard day's work:

Did I mention there was a bank and you could deposit your kidzos and get an ATM card and wallet? Talk about cool, they have been having so much fun with these wallets and counting their money:

Making coke:

You could make sushi, could being the key word:

Firefighters now, look who got the front seat:

Putting out a fire:

Construction worker:

Black cat delivery, we got here too late to do the activity, it was closing time, but still got a photo with the truck:

Put your hands up, there's some new sheriffs in town:

Talk about a fun day! After this, we are really making use of our dress up hats that we just got and they are already planning to go back. It made me realize that kids can have patience because at each activity, they sat quietly and waited for 20-30 minutes for their turn, I couldn't believe it.