Saturday, December 7, 2013

Keila's 37 Month (And One Day) Update

  I haven't forgotten about the blog...but I have been rather busy lately. Christmas is fast approaching, meaning lots of shopping, packing, and just preparing in general. Don't even remind me about all the Christmas cards I still have to write. Plus we did a full-on Thanksgiving dinner this year, even though it ended up just being the 3 of us thanks to illness. Speaking of illness, Keila has been sick for the past 5 days and is only finally coming out of it thanks to some much-needed antibiotics. It's been a long week, and our house looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years. Does anyone else with toddlers have that problem? No matter how much you clean, it's imposible to keep the mess at bay!
 But enough rambling. Here is Keila's monthly update, before I get back to frantically working on her annual photo album!

 1. Keila talks. A lot. I've probably said that before, but not it's even more so. I can't remember how much more from last month, but I'm sure it's a lot. Daddy has been working on her colors with her in Japanese, so she's got a lot of those down now. Keila also understands that not everyone can speak Japanese, although she tells me that her nursery school teachers can speak 'a little' since they know some of the words she has taught them.
 2. Keila has set a new record for number of wake-ups in one night!! I think it was somewhere around 15, although I lost count after 10. To be fair, the poor girl had a terribly stuffed up nose and cough along with a fever, so she was just miserable. And we all know that misery loves company! Fingers crossed she sleeps better this week...
 3. Keila will be in a nativity play at her nursery school this coming week. She's been practicing singing songs for it and is quite excited. She also tells me what all the other children are going to be, too. Not quite sure of the valdity of all of these costumes, as I was told that Issac was going to a shark. A navitiy shark, hmmm....
 Keila is REALLY into counting money now! She received a bank for her birthday, and she's somehow managed to weasel 20 coins out of me for said bank. Lately, she will repeatedly take the coins out of her bank, line them up, and count them. She can count to 20 pretty well all by herself, although the 'teen' and 'ty' parts confuse her a bit.
 We also love making up rhymes and songs about objects, although Keila will usually only sing these in front of Mommy. The latest song was 'Cheese and Chive went to town, to buy some beer for Daddy!' Did I mention that she likes food??
 4. One of Keila's best quotes of the month was from when I asked her which of her kumas (teddy bears) she wanted to take to Grandpa's. She said she was only taking her big bunny rabbit, as Grandpa was going to have lots of kumas at his house! There is lots more, but I'm too tired to think of anything right now! Will post them if they come to mind...
 5. Still no idea how tall or heavy she is. People keep telling me that she's tall, though?? Will try to check and post it next month. Until 2014......

        Oh, and she's been practicing with her chopsticks lately, too....

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Few More Keila Quotes

 I forgot to add these to her monthly update, but I don't want to forget them!

 (While smelling her favorite blanket) 'This smells like a Japanese doctor!'  Upon questioning, she couldn't really explain what exactly that smelled like, but she's said it of the blanket a few more times since. Hmmm?

 'Why do women sometimes have moustaches???'

and yesterday, 'Where does the sun sleep?'

Also, Keila has been learning her letters and will often point out 'K', 'M' etc when we are at the store or anywhere there is writing. I'm fully expecting her to start reading some time soon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Keila is 3 Years Old Today!!!

Wow, the last month has pretty much flown by. And now my little girl is 3 years old!!! I swear that she's getting visibly bigger and more grown up by the day--much too fast for my liking!
 Here's her update from the past month:

1. Keila's vocabulary is still exponentially expanding, and she is often asking me what a word or phrase means. While she still tends to only speak in English, it's not for lack of understanding a lot of Japanese. I was quizzing her today on her fruits and vegetables, and she easily answered with the English word for every Japanese one I gave her. Smart girl!
2. Keila is now in a 'big girl' bed as of last Saturday night! We did opt for a gradual transition by putting a baby gate across her bedroom door, however. So now when (note I saw 'when' and not 'if') she wakes at night, she still can't come crawling into Mommy and Daddy's bed. Still hoping she will start consistently sleeping through the night at some point! Gro Clock is now being utterly disregarded unless it happens to work in her favor.
 3. Nursery school is still looked forward to with excitement every morning that Keila attends. She is also still asking when she can bring her lunch and stay longer, although she understands that it will happen after we return from visiting Grandpa for Christmas.
 Keila now has lots of imaginary friends, although Pho-Phen is the most consistent one and is always around. He is a 'big boy' and can do lots of things on his own, plus his mother is very talented and can make him a Dokin-chan birthday cake. (Look up Dokin-chan of the Anpanman characters if you are curious). I was informed of this fact after I told Keila I could probably only do well enough to make her an Anpanman birthday cake. Thanks a lot, Pho-Phen's mom! Putting me to shame!
 Keila is also still cooking up a storm and was thrilled with the chef's hat and new apron I found her last weekend. Play dough and clay are also favorite mediums, and Keila uses them to make all sorts of 'food'.
 4. A few quotes from this month: 'What happens if I go pee pee in the pool?? Will they have to go under water and get it out?' and also 'That's not right! That's not the way Mommy does it!' (this said to Yuki as he was trying to wash her hair). Finally 'What is nobody comes to my party? I will be saaad!' Luckily lots of kids showed up, so we didn't have to worry about that problem. =)
 5. I have no idea how tall Keila is this month or how much she weighs. More than 15 kilos by now, I'd guess!
 Happy Birthday, Keila!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Keila is 35 Months Old!!!

  Once again I've been awful about blogging. Maybe one day I'll get back on track and actually start writing some posts again. Until then, I'll at least be sure to keep Keila's monthly updates going. Still can't believe that she's going to be 3 next month!! I feel like I'm going to turn around and she'll be off to college soon. Guess at least I'll have these updates to look back on when that time comes!

 1. Keila is still really interested in learning Japanese, and she continues to ask what words mean in both languages. She also recognizes Japanese characters on books, or she will at least recognize that they're not the English alphabet. Her English vocabulary of course is also rapidly expanding, and I'm not even sure where she's heard some of the words she knows!
2. The Gro-clock has been somewhat of a miracle! Keila fully understands that she's not supposed to call for use until the sunshine appears on it in the morning. That doesn't really mean she follows it all the time (she will often call for me and state that since there's only one star left in the countdown, can she please get up now?) but her sleep is way better than before we bought it! I can't remember if I mentioned in the last post how Keila had dropped her naps, too. That may have been within the past month; I honestly can't remember when it was, but it was a Thursday. She just stopped them cold-turkey. Meaning that bedtime is now 7 pm and I have a bit of the night back. But no break during the day!
 3. Nursery school is going amazingly well! Keila adjusted to it quickly and loves going so much that she's already asking to take her lunch and stay with the other kids. She adjusted so well, in fact, that she let her stubbornness show on the 4th day and earned herself a red card for 1. Refusing to hold a boy's hand during prayer, 2. then refusing to say sorry, and 3. finally, refusing to help tidy up! Poor girl was sufficiently traumatized by not getting a sticker at the end of the morning that she's been on good behavior since, thankfully!
 Keila has been quite interested in cooking and toy animals lately (more so than usual). She's asking for a barking, moving toy dog for her birthday, since she saw one at a friend's house. We got her some new toy food yesterday too, since she loves to 'cook' and serve me various dishes while I'm preparing our real meals.
 Pho-Phen is still alive and well, although Keila got mad at me a few weeks ago because I 'forgot' him at the swimming pool and then refused to literally get in the car and drive back to get him once we got home and she reminded me. A major tantrum ensued that time, although Pho-Phen did somehow make his way home in time to join us at the coffee shop later that afternoon. At least he's a resourceful imaginary friend!
 Another development: as of today, Keila has started mimicking me, word for word and action for action. She finds it hilarious, and I do too....for now!
 4. No real story of the month, just a few quotes/incidents. Apparently we have a music critic on our hands, as she heard a Maroon Five song and said 'This shouldn't be a song! It's terrible!' (I disagreed and she told me I was wrong). Also, last weekend when a friend was moving his car and Keila was getting into ours, she smelled the diesel and said 'I smell smells like appetizers!' No idea where she got the word appetizers from, or why she thinks diesel smells like them!
 5. Keila is 96 cm and just over 15 kilos.
 That's it until her 3rd birthday!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recipe Post: Secret Ingredient Mini Mushroom Tarragon Frittatas

  Well, finally I'm getting time to post something. It's long??? since I wrote anything other than Keila's monthly updates. And yet, I'm still not going to post anything about Istanbul or Greece just yet. For once, there hasn't been time to sort through all of our photos yet. And two, I REALLY loved what I concocted for dinner tonight and don't want to forget how to make it. Hopefully more posts about our travels will follow shortly. Seeing as how Keila has suddenly dropped her naps though, don't hold me to that!
 For now....some amazing mini frittatas that I baked in muffin tins tonight. I got the inspriation from some Pinterest recipes (particularly this one:, plus the fact that we only had 4 eggs when I wanted 8. That, and I'm on a really big bean kick lately, but my husband actually begged me last week for a few less bean dishes. I figure he won't even know they're in this recipe, unless he happens to read my blog (Sorry, honey!). you go! Added fiber, with all the goodness and taste of a fritatta. I wonder if I can somehow make these things vegan for next time, though....

 Secret Ingredient Mini Mushroom Tarragon Frittatas
Makes 12-14 mini frittatas in muffin cups

  1 large onion, diced
  1 8 oz package of mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  dried tarragon, about 1 Tablespoon
  garlic powder (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  salt (maybe a half teaspoon)

  4 eggs
  about 3/4-1 cup chickpeas, drained
  3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2 TB nutritional yeast
 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 180C/375F if using the oven. If using silicone muffin tins, you may also just microwave these little buggers.
First, heat the onion and mushrooms in EVOO in a frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes, then throw in the dried tarragon and garlic powder, plus a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until everything is soft and golden/brown, adding a bit of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Set aside and let cool a bit.

 In a food processor or blender, combine the rest of the ingredients (from eggs to sea salt), blending well. Then take maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the mushroom mixture and puree that in with the egg mixture, too. (You probably don't have to puree any of the mushroom mixture if you don't want to, but it increased the overall consistency of flavor, plus Keila never knew she was enjoying mushrooms, the one food she seriously dislikes).
Finally, stir in the remaining mushroom mixture and spoon into muffin tins greased with EVOO. (If using silicone tins, you won't need to grease them, of course). Fill maybe 3/4 to almost full, but not quite. Bake for about 20 minutes, until set and slightly browned. Allow to cool a bit before eating. Or if you're impatient like me, pop a few out with a spoon right away and burn your tongue scarfing them down. May also be eaten cold. In fact, I may go chomp on another one right now....

    Delicious and healthy!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Keila's 34 Month Update

 Well, Keila is 2 months away from turning 3. Where has the time gone?? I've started to think about planning her birthday party....and FYI, in case you're hoping to book a party venue in the UK, try to reserve it at least 6 months in advance. Who knew that children's party sites would fill up so quickly?? Luckily I've found one and am going to reserve it tomorrow. Keila is VERY excited for the big day!
  As for what we've been up to since I last posted....

1. Keila is becoming more and more interested in Japanese the past few weeks. She has fully grasped the idea of one object having more than one word attached to it, and she will often ask me what is the word for various objects. For example 'What does 'book' mean?' is her way of asking me 'How do you say 'book' in Japanese?' I'm not sure how many of the words she's retaining so far, but she does seem to take everything in very quickly.
 2. SLEEP! I feel like I could write post after post about how this kid won't sleep through the night. Except that nobody cares to read it. But....hopefully a modern miracle has arrived today in the mail! We got something called a 'gro-clock' that shows a star on a lit-up blue background for sleep times...and it will change to a yellow sun for morning. I've told her over and over that blue means go back to bed, while the yellow sun means she can get up. I'm sure the clock will do its job, now we just have to wait and see whether Keila listens to it!
 3. Keila has been up to a LOT lately. I forgot to mention last time that she has an imaginary friend! His name is Pho-Phen (Foe-Fin??) and he's just a year older than her. Sometimes he goes and lives at his house in Japan by Grandpa, and sometimes he goes to live in his house in the US by Grandma. Most of the time he hangs out in our living room and plays with Keila's toys, though. Last week, we had to buy Pho-Phen some ice cream at the story. Only when we got home, he no longer wanted it and said Keila could have it instead. Funny how that works.
 Keila also has her first morning of nursery school yesterday! She will only be going 2 mornings a week at first, just to get adjusted. She did great on the first day and didn't really seem to notice I was gone (nor was she excited to see me when I came back, hah!).
 Keila has also been really interested in numbers and counting lately. She will count anything and everything she can. I'm trying to work on the concept of addition with her, but so far she is pretty satisfied with just counting things.
 4. Story of the month, just a quick one but pretty funny. I smacked my leg on the handle of the refrigerator the other morning while Keila was having breakfast. I yelled something like 'OW! That stinking handle!' and Keila didn't seem to notice much....until I turned around and saw her sniffing the handle. Yuki laughingly asked her if it smelled, but she said 'No, it's cold!'.
 5. Keila is at least 95 cm and almost 15 kg now, depending on whether we weigh her before/after a meal.
 Until October.....

                New backpack for school!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Keila's Belated 33 Month Update

  Apologies for this update being late....we were on holiday and it's been a busy week playing catch-up now that we're finally home. Hopefully I can remember all the progress Keila has made in the past month!

1. Keila continues to ask more and more complex questions. 'Where does God live?' 'Why can't I see him?' 'Why does Daddy have to go to work?' She's also using full sentences most of the time, too. 'Mom, I don't WANT to go home! I want to stay on holiday!!!' Her vocabulary is rapidly expanding, too. Yesterday she asked me what 'disappear' meant, and then after I told her said 'So what does 'appear' mean?' Smart girl!
2. Oh sleep. Will this child ever sleep? Of course entirely our fault for dragging her everywhere, but lately Keila has been waking around 2:30 or 3:30 in the morning and asking to come to our bed. Hopefully that will calm down soon.
 3. Keila's favorite activites lately have been: playing Mommy, playing doctor, 'reading' stories, trying to use her kiddy scissors to cut anything and everything (we had a HUGE fit when I wouldn't let her cut her hair), and also picking Wasabi up every chance she gets.
4. Story for the month: Keila, usually a really sweet little girl, especially when we are out, growled at another child during a play group session. When I put her in time out she got very upset of course. Later, when I tried to explain that she couldn't growl at people, she said 'Why not? Bears growl!!'.
 And a bonus story: While out driving, I told Keila 'Look, cows!!' to which a little voice from the back seat replied 'Actually Mommy, they're bulls'. Hah!
5. Last time we measured Keila, she was 94 cm. Not sure if that's accurate since everyone keeps saying she's tall for her age? We haven't weighed her recently, but she's definitely heavier to pick up than she was last month!

 Until September....

                Drinking water from a big girl glass

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Clives Fruit Farm in Upton-Upon-Severn

   It's been quite a while since I've posted anything other than Keila's monthly updates. I can't actually remember what topic I was covering last, actually. Was it Palma? In any case, I give up. We have been too busy this summer, what with traveling back to the US, trying to maintain a normal schedule while dealing with a (still) bum leg, you name it. So....I'm going to just skip over whatever topic I was on last and move ahead to....berry picking!!!
 This past Sunday, we overslept thanks to jet lag and didn't make it to church. So, instead we headed to Clives Berry Farm for some pick-your-own (PYO) berries. We were a few days too early for the cherries, but the strawberries were nearly over-ripe, and the raspberries were perfect. Keila had a great time stuffing her face full of strawberries. She apparently doesn't like raspberries quite as much, or else she was full by that point, since she did a better job of putting those into the basket.
 In addition to the PYO plots, Clives also has a really cute farm shop with free range eggs, a butcher's counter (no thanks), and an assortment of home-made/hand-made/local products. There is a small cafe in the shop too. Service at the cafe was rather slow since Clives was crowded (there are signs stating that there will be a wait during peak times, but this was slow even with the warning), and we felt that the cafe staff could've been a bit more polite. One woman was nice; the younger girls...not so much. The rest of the farm shop staff were very friendly and helpful, however.
 Clives is a working farm (I'm not sure what all they do, but there were signs to beware of the tractors), complete with hens, pigs, geese, ducks, and even a peacock. They also have a children's nursery there, which would be great if they weren't a half hour drive from our house.
 I did a quick search online, and apparently Clives is best-known for their apples. I guess we'll be heading back in the fall to see how they are. If they're anywhere near as good as the berries, I will be buying a lot!

         Heading to the strawberry plots at Clives Fruit Farm

Raspberries at Clives Fruit Farm


We were too late for the PYO eggs

Clives Fruit Farm....inside the farm shop


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Keila is 32 Months Today!

   First off, I just realized that I cannot count. For some reason, the past 2 months, I've posted that Keila has turned 37 and 38 months, respectively. Where did I get that from?
 Anyway, today Keila is 32 months! Really. We've been back in the US visiting Grandma for the past month, and here's what we've been doing.

1. Keila is using complete sentences most of the time now. She also loves to ask WHY? thanks to listening to her cousin say it all the time. I was hoping we'd hold off on the 'whys' for a bit, but no such luck. And yes, responding to one 'why' invariably just leads to another one!

2. Nap time isn't really happening while at Grandma's. I'm hoping we get back on track when we return home in about a week, as Keila still desperately needs them and has been pretty worn out lately.

 3. Keila has been having a blast playing in the sprinkler and the kiddy pool outside on sunny days. She also has a favorite construction hat and binoculars, which she sometimes wears when playing doctor.
 Keila was pretty excited to go see the fireworks for the 4th of July, although in the end she much preferred rolling down a hill at the park where the fireworks were instead of seeing the actual fireworks, declaring them 'too scary'.
 We're also having a bit of a daily battle with her little cousin: he throws things at her and pulls her hair or pinches; Keila retaliates by knocking him over or smacking him. Toddler wars!

 4. Story of the month.....not really a story this month, but Keila did see her first movie in the cinema! We went to see Monsters University a few days ago. Keila easily sat through the entire movie, although a few points did scare her onto my lap. Poor girl had a nightmare that night, too, so perhaps we will hold off on any  more Disney movies for a while.

 5. I haven't weighed Keila or measured her height recently. I'd say that she's at least average still, but maybe we'll stick her on the scale when we are weighing our over-stuffed suitcases later in the week.

  Until August.....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Keila is 38 Months Today!!!

   Yet another month has flown by. What's happened since last time? Mommy's got a broken leg, we've visited Barcelona, and now we're prepping for a trip back to the US. Keila is a busy girl!

1. Keila talks. And talks. AND TALKS. She's outgrowing some of her shyness and will tell random people all about what's going on in her life. The stewardesses on our Monarch airlines flight back from Barcelona all got to hear about how Keila's little friend Sammy was coming to her house in a few days. Take the kid to Barcelona, and all she talks about is a playdate at home. =)
 Keila is also repeating a lot of what we say, word for word. She's showing more interest in what Japanese words mean too, and she will ask me what I'm saying if she doesn't understand some of her Japanese books.
 2. We've gotten our naps back on schedule, and sleep is going much better at night, too! I'm of course waiting for jet lag to kill any and all progress that we've made, however.
 3. What has Keila been interested in this past month....well, anything on the iPad still, but she's also been liking to play doctor and also dress up as a princess or in a 'wedding gown'. The blanket on our couch is cream-colored, so it is therefore a wedding gown. And she's started doing my hair too, since the new unicorn we got her came with various hair clips and brushes.
 4. Story of the month. Just a quick one....but when I asked Keila what she wanted for dessert, she yelled 'Daddy's beer!' Needless to say, she did NOT get any of that dessert! I think she was quite happy with some chocolate pudding instead, after we had a talk about how Daddy's beer is special just for him.
 Yesterday was Keila's (belated) 2.5 year check. She scored well above average on everything except for the section where she's supposed to be able to climb stairs with alternating feet. Honestly, what 2.5 year-old climbs stairs like an adult already? I'm more than fine with her taking them one at a time; better safe than sorry.
 5. No idea how tall Keila is still. People keep commenting that she's tall for her age, but she seems just about average to me?
  It's late, so that's it for Keila's June update. Until July....

                      Golfing with crutches....

Monday, June 3, 2013

Forn de Sant Joan in Palma, Mallorca

  Finally getting around to our Easter holiday in Mallorca! Or Majorca, if you like.
After getting settled into our hotel, first stop was of course, lunch. We chose Forn de Sant Joan based on the fact that we stumbled across it while out for a walk, and I remembered it had high ratings online. Plus the 21 euro set lunch seemed like a great deal.
 Food was great, and the service was exceptional. Even though Forn de Sant Joan is obviously a rather classy and upscale restaurant, they provided a high chair for Keila along with some crayons and paper for coloring. Our waiter and the manager both made quite a fuss over her, so it was obvious that children are welcome (at least for lunch...we did eat there again for an early dinner, but I'd feel bad taking a child in to eat during later evening hours).
 Appetizers in the set lunch included a choice of creamy tomato soup with avocado mousse and herb oil; Alaskan salmon tartar with capers, coriander, lime, and mustard ice cream; or grilled vegetables with pesto and Parmesan shavings. We opted for the soup and the salmon. The soup was superb; the salmon was also quite good but the mustard ice cream was an acquired taste (I liked it, hubby didn't).
 Main course options were: Grilled sea bass with a Saracen wheat risotto and zucchini with chive aioli; duck Magret with red berries and vanilla potatoes; or giant macaroni with carmelized onion, mozzarella, and truffle cream. Seeing as the last one seemed like glorified mac n' cheese, we chose the first two. I still feel bad about eating the duck, however (sea bass was out thanks to the gluten-containing wheat). Both dishes were good, but I'm not just really a fan of fowl other than chicken.
 Finally, dessert! 2 choices here, so we got 1 of each: creme brulee and 'Banana connection'. I can't remember what the banana dish was, but it had gluten in it so I didn't taste any. The creme brulee was ok but again wouldn't have been my first choice since creme brulee in general is a bit boring.
 Forn de Sant Joan does serve gluten-free bread if you ask, but I the service charge for it (and for any other bread they bring to your table) is 2.50 euros a person. So be sure to tell the waiter if you don't want bread before he puts it the basket down.
 All in all, it was a really good lunch at a reasonable price. I'd give the restaurant 5 stars based on our lunch experience, but our return visit at dinner brought it down to a low 4.
 We arrived for dinner exactly at opening time, and only then realized that the set menu was for lunch only. Our mistake, not the restaurant's, but I doubt we would have returned if we'd known, seeing as how expensive the regular options on the menu are. For starters, we had grilled octopus (14.50 euros), some kind of pork that I did not partake of (15.50 euros), grilled eel (14.50 euros), a pumpkin soup (8.50 euros for a regular-sized bowl). We shared one main of seared tuna (24.50 euros) and one dessert (7 euros), along with an order of fries for Keila (4 euros). We (and by 'we' I don't mean me) also had some beer and a glass or two of wine, along with one bottle of water for the table to share.. Bill came to 115.90 euros, and I left still hungry! We ended up eating a second dinner at our hotel because I was starving when we got back. What we ordered sounded like a lot, but the portions were miniscule.
 I could handle the menu being over-priced, but our service wasn't nearly as good as it was at lunch, either. Perhaps because the restaurant was getting full, it took quite a while for a few of our dishes to arrive, and I was beginning to wonder if they'd forgotten our order. Also, when I told the waiter that I couldn't eat the bread, she didn't bother to even offer a gluten-free option that time. In her defense, maybe she was new?
  In summary: go to Forn de Sant Joan for lunch. Dinner was just too little for too much money.

Forn de Sant Joan
C\Sant Joan 4
Palma de Mallorca

            From the lunch menu: creamy tomato soup with avocado mousse

   Alaskan salmon tartar

       Quack quack!

 Banana Connection for dessert

From the dinner menu. Grilled eel priced at 14 euros. Wouldn't have been a bad price except for the portion size: tiny! (Compare it to the wasabi on the plate).

  Grilled octopus was delicious.

Tiny portion of seared tuna. Again, about the same portion size as the eel, for 24.50 euros.

 Rather small (but tasty) scoop of chocolate ice cream for 7 euros.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Keila is 37 Months Today!

  Yep, my little girl is officially closer to 3 than she is to 2 now. How has time gone by so quickly?? And it seems like the past month has gone by even faster. We had a visit to Thomas Land, a mini-holiday in London, a tour of Keila's future nursery school, etc etc.
 Oh, and I think I forgot to post last month that Keila has outgrown her peanut allergy!! YAY! After almost 3 hours in the children's clinic at the hospital involving 1 teaspoon of peanut butter followed by 2.5 peanut butter chocolate cookies, it was pretty obvious that Keila's peanut allergy is a thing of the past. And that she gets really, really hyper when given too much chocolate and sugar. She literally bounced off the clinic bed just before we left. Good thing it wasn't too far from the floor.
 Anyway, on to Keila's monthly progress report.

1. Language is still improving daily. Keila uses lots of full sentences now but we hear a lot of commands too. 'Dada! NO!' or 'Daddy, get up NOW!' are some of her favorites. Also 'Wasabi, get DOWN!'. Keila will chatter away at home but can be quite shy in public. People keep telling me 'Don't worry, she'll really start talking soon'....hah!
 Keila is also showing a big interest in Japanese hiragana, and she will make me sound out each sound while pointing to the matching characters in her books. 
2. Sleep is still hit or miss. Most nights Keila will sleep through, although it just depends. She doesn't tend to like going to bed still and will often make up excuses such as needing a drink of water or having to go to the potty. Keila is also dropping at least one nap a week, leading me to fear that she may drop napping altogether soon!
3. Keila's favorite things this month include: doing puzzles on the iPad, along with spelling and matching apps on the iPad. Basically anything on the iPad whenever she can get ahold of it. She actually calls it 'MY iPad'. Nice.
 When Keila can't get to the iPad (ie Mom hides it as often as possible), she's been enjoying 'reading' her books, taking her dollies on walks in their stroller, and since it's getting warmer, playing in the back garden. Snails are a huge hit. 'Where do they live? Where is their house? Look at this snail!!!' I'm going to haul out her little tricycle tomorrow and see how well she does on it for the first time. She's used some at play groups before so hopefully this one will be easy for her.
 4. Story of the month: I chopped up a big chocolate Easter bunny and used it to make chocolate chip cookies. Keila had been asking to eat that bunny for days (I kept telling her 'not today', and of course she noticed that it was missing and asked where it was. I told her that it was now in the cookies I'd made. Keila looked concerned for a minute then happily declared 'So Keila has to eat cookies!!!'
 In other news, Keila also finds passing gas hilarious. She will proudly announce whenever she 'toots' and then laugh about it. She also likes to tell Mommy and Daddy that they are 'stinky' in Japanese. I'm not really sure how this came about, although we probably don't help the matter by laughing along with her.  Here is a recent video for your viewing pleasure: Keila Kusai Kusai!
 5. Keila was exactly 14 kg last time she climbed on the scale. I don't know how much she weighs right now though.

 Speaking of not sleeping, Keila is up and yelling for me right now so that's it for this month.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wrapping Up Rome: Pizza, Shopping, and Some Sightseeing

  This is going to be the last post on Rome, not because I've run out of places/restaurants to review, but because I want to cover Mallorca (Majorca) before we go on another trip. So, I'll just mention a few places quickly.....
 First off: Dar Poeta pizzeria, located not too far from where we stayed in Trastevere. We'd really wanted to go to Ai Marmi (another pizzeria also known as 'the morgue' because of its stone tables) but they were closed for the holidays. Bummer. They must be amazing, as when we tried to go, we met another couple outside the gated entrance who'd come halfway across the city to eat there too. Much disappointment was had by all that night!
 Anyway, back to Dar Poeta. First time there (we ate there twice, since as I said, they were really close by), we got carry-out and ordered a marinara pizza and one with anchovies and olives. Marinara was good, anchovies one was way too salty for my taste. Second time, we ate in and had another marinara and then one with cheese and mushrooms. The restaurant got quite crowded while we were eating (we arrived maybe a half hour after opening and were lucky to get a table right away), and there was a line outside by the time we left. Service was efficient but hurried as the waitresses had so many tables to cover. I wasn't impressed by the mushroom pizza either, and we actually left about a third of it on the pan. Perhaps I'm spoiled by Chicago pizzas and all the good food we had in Florence, but I can't say that I was terribly impressed by this place, and we weren't sure why it had so many raving review.s Decent pizza yet, but nothing spectacular. However, prices are reasonable and as long as you don't set your standards too high, Dar Poeta is all right for a casual meal.
 Dar Poeta Vicolo del Bologna 45/46, Rome (in Trastevere)

Next up: Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, in the Torre Argentina ruins (home to Pompey's Theater, among other buildings). This cat sanctuary is non-profit and run entirely by volunteers. When you need a break from sightseeing and want some relaxation time with furry friends, this is the place to go. The sanctuary is home to about 250 cats, many of which love any extra attention they can get. To enter the sanctuary, just look for the sign at the corner of via del Torre Argentina and via Florida, then go down the nearby steps. Donations are always needed, although we didn't feel at all pressured to hand over any cash when we visited. They also have a little gift shop, so you can help out that way if you feel the need to get something material for your monetary gift.
  Here's the link if you want to check them out: Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

   I REALLY wanted to take this little guy home with us! Good thing we couldn't fly him back, as I doubt that Wasabi and Sushi would have approved.

    Cat in the Torre Argentina ruins

Finally, a great little store in Trastevere: Polvere di Tempo, literally 'powder time' or 'powder of time'. In a time when shops and merchandise is becoming increasingly globalized, Polvere di Tempo transports you back to the age of the artisan. This shop, according to their website, 'specializes in time-keeping devices- but not clocks or watches - and in all manner of scientific instruments, ancient measuring devices, and old fashioned curiosities'. The interior of this shop is simply amazing, and since I asked, the owner's daughter was kind enough to agree to my taking a few pictures. (Note, if you do get to visit this lovely shop and want to take photos, be sure to ask. I always ask, but apparently lots of people don't think to do so, and I can definitely see how it would get annoying to have unapproved flashes and shutter clicks going on in such a peaceful shop).
 We bought a lovely compass-inspired keychain to take home, and there were so many more items that I really wanted to purchase! Polvere di Tempo is definitely THE store to hit up for unique souvenirs,  or especially for gifts for the man who has everything.

 Polvere di Tempo, Via del Moro 59
Here is their website, complete with a map for locating the store: Polvere di Tempo.

                 Some of Polvere di Tempo's wares. Simply beautiful pieces.  

So, that's it for Rome! Next up: Malloraca and all its amazing restaurants!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yotvata Kosher Jewish Restaurant In Rome

How do other people with toddlers manage to blog? I feel like it's all I can do to keep the house from smelling most days, let alone find time to write a post! So here it is going on May, and I'm still writing about our trip to Rome last December! This may/may not be the last post on it, but I definitely wanted to (quickly) talk about this restaraunt: Yotvata. We ended up here after another restaurant we'd been wanting to try was full, and am I ever glad our #1 choice didn't work out! Yotvata has the BEST Jewish artichokes! And basically just the best fried food in general. My husband said it was like eating tempura, ie not a greasy battered mess, but rather light and crispy. We ordered one of Yotvata's fried plates, which included white fish, some vegetables, fried cheese, and of course the Jewish artichoke. Yotvata's Jewish artichoke was so good that we promptly ordered another! They aren't cheap (5 euros per artichoke or something like 12 euros for a fried assorted platter), but they are definitely good.
 The decor and atmosphere are a bit dated, but the pasta was pretty decent and need I mention again, the AMAZING FRIED FOOD! Service was ok but nothing to write home about. It was quite busy when we were in though so that may have been part of the reason it was hard to flag down our waiter.
Don't go here if you've got a heart condition or are trying to be at all healthy. But if you're on vacation and want to indulge in some delicious fried goodness, then by all means hit up Yotvata.

Yotvata (Kosher Jewish Restaurant)
Piazza dei Cenci, 70 Rome Italy

    Homemade pasta at Yotvata

Massive fried platter at Yotvata

Fish egg pasta that I can't remember the name of...too salty for my taste, though

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ristorante La Campana in Rome, Italy

Still trying to wrap up Rome before I start blogging about our Mallorca getaway....hopefully I'll have time to get a few posts in this week!  

 Before we visited the Spanish Steps in Rome, we decided to lunch at Ristorante La Campana. Advertised as a local family restaurant with authentic Roman food, it had pretty good reviews and was recommended in a Japanese guidebook that we had on hand, too.
 We arrived just past opening time and there were only a few patrons inside already, but the restaurant filled up rather quickly (mostly with Italians) as the hour progressed. Our servers spoke English well, and they quickly provided a high chair for Keila and making a happy fuss over her snoozing form. In Europe, you never know if you're going to get a high chair or not, so it's always a pleasant surprise when a restaurant has some. Of course, since there actually was a high chair, Keila chose to sleep through most of that lunch in her backpack carrier. Murphy's Law. 
 I can't remember everything that we ordered, since it was over 3 months ago now, but I do know that arancini (fried rice balls), a steak, and some seafood risotto made the list. Didn't try the steak myself but apparently it was good, and the risotto was wonderful. We had the arancini as a starter, and they arrived piping hot and full of pumpkin (I think it was pumpkin) cheesy goodness. The menu was quite extensive and had lots of classic dishes on it, but I'm not a huge meat fan so baby lamb, ox tail, and other choices were definitely out. Other reviewers all seem to say that they're quite good, though.
 All of our dishes arrived promptly, and our waiters made sure we were happy but weren't overbearing. The only part of the meal that disappointed me was dessert: homemade flourless chocolate cake. It was way too dry for my liking, and I recall wishing that we'd just gotten some gelato afterward instead.
 Overall we had a really pleasant experience here: nice atmosphere, service was great,  and the appetizers and main courses were really good too. I'd go back again if we happened to be in the area.

Ristorante La Campana
Vicolo della Campana, 18, 00186 Rome, Italy

                    Most seats were full by the time we left

            Sleeping Beauty


   Arancini, dissected

Steak and potatoes. Sides are separate at La Campana

 Great seafood risotto

   The amazingly dry flourless cake

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Keila is 2 and 1/2 Years Old!!!

Quite a few things have kept me from posting anything this past month....various illnesses, a mini-vacation, tax season, you name it. I promise to get a few fun posts about our trip to Mallorca up within the week (and maybe I'll even finish up Rome at some point this year!). For now, we're going to keep on schedule with Keila's monthly update. And it's a rather big one: she's 2.5 years old today!!!

1. Keila's language is still progressing rapidly. So fast in fact, that even I notice how much it's increasing week by week. And I'm around her all the time. We are using more Japanese now, too, but still combining it with English into sentences. She also pretty consistently will say 'Thank you Mama' or 'You're welcome (Mama/DaDa)' whenever she's given/gives something. Very polite little girl!
2. I haven't come up with anything to fill in the teething category since last month. Maybe we'll just drop #2 altogether and move #3 into its spot.
3. Sleep is better for the time being! Keila is napping again and also sleeping through the night for the most part. Had a few bad bedtimes during which she'd lie down to sleep, then start screaming in terror as soon as I left the room. Luckily the pretty pink flower lights from Ikea that Grandpa was so kind to install solved that problem. No more darkness, no more fear!
4. Keila's favorite activites for the time being....she's started to get more into coloring (colouring if you're British), and I often hear her chattering away at imaginery play with her dolls if I'm just outside the room. Not sure if I mentioned that she was talking about an imaginary man for a while, but luckily he seems to have gone. He mostly resided in a corner of our dining room, and I was constantly being warned not to step on him if I was in there. Funny but a bit creepy at night!
 Keila also had a great time with her Grandpa when he visited last month, and she's been talking about going on the airplane to see him soon. Sometimes she will pack a bag and tell me 'Bye Mama', then head for the door. Maybe Grandpa should come see us again soon!
 5. Story for this month. Keila will do just about anything for chocolate. She fell down last week or maybe it was the week before. While crying as I hugged her and rubbed her knee, she wailed 'Chocolate! Chocolate make Keila feel BETTER!' Hah! Smart girl!
6. Have forgotten to weigh/measure her yet again. We measured her while Grandpa was here but I've forgotten what she was exactly...I want to say around 90 cm? Which, if you check the growth charts, means she's below average for height. I kind of find that hard to believe, since most of her little friends are all around her size. Either that or we only happen to have short friends.
 That's it on Keila until May!

Playing at the park today. Run ducky run!

On the swings

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Keila's 28 Month Progress Report

  Another month has gone by! And since it was February, it flew by even faster than usual. Keila's been quite active the past 28 or so days, however. Here's her update:

1. Vocabulary is advancing at the rate of a high speed train. Keila is asking LOTS of questions now, especially 'What's that?' and 'What's happening?' or 'What's going on in here?'. She's using a tiny bit more Japanese: the other day she was chasing Wasabi and yelling 'Matte matte! Wait wait!'. Wasabi didn't listen in either language, however. Keila can now also sing the first 2 lines of Baa Baa Black Sheep from memory, pretty good for less than 2.5 years old!
2. Teeth are in as far as I can tell. Now we need another category to fill this blank!
3. Yeah, sleep is off again. We've caught a cold and were up 4 times one night last week, from then on it's been her waking up at least once a night since. Plus Keila hasn't been wanting to nap in the afternoons, either, or really even go down at bed time. All of this adds up to a cranky tired Mommy. Here's hoping she starts resting better soon!
4. Keila is still wanting to do lots of crafts, help Mommy around the house, and she really looks forward to playdates now. So much so that she yells 'No go home' whenever we have to leave. Our house is apparently really, really boring.
 Climbing at the playground is great fun now, and why walk anywhere that you can run? Other games that Keila likes at home include a 'Go Fish' game we got her last weekend, and of course the old favorite Hide And Seek.
 Finally, Keila is allergic to walnuts! She'd eaten some ground up in a cake on Valentine's Day, and then about a week later she wanted more when she saw me eating some. I again ground them up and gave her some...the stomach upset commenced about 3 minutes later. Poor girl! Still praying that she's outgrown the peanut allergy, though.
 5. Stories for this month. Just a couple short ones, but I think they're cute.
5a.We were eating dinner on Saturday and practicing animal noises with Keila. Cow goes 'moo' etc. At one point she told Daddy that it was his when he made whatever noise tha was required (bawking like a chicken maybe), Keila turned to him, clapped her hands, and yelled in a voice just like mine...'GOOD JOB!'.
5b. Today, I let Keila try a tiny piece of Lindt Wasabi Dark Chocolate. When I first told her she could try a piece, she got really confused about the 'wasabi' bit and kept saying 'Beastie?'. Beastie is her nickname for Wasabi the cat, quite a good nickname seeing as how Wasabi behaves at times! Anyway, I thought I had thoroughly explained that wasabi the spice and Wasabi the cat were two entirely different things...until Keila finished her little bite of chocolate.....and promptly asked me for 'more Beastie chocolate'.
6. No idea what Keila's height or weight is this month. She doesn't usually stay on the scale long enough for it to register, but maybe we'll try tomorrow.
 That's it for this month!

                                              Keila enjoying some 'Beastie' chocolate

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cadbury Easter Products: Cadbury Egg N' Spoon and Cadbury Mini Eggs Dessert Pudding

I'm taking a break from Rome to do a quick Easter-themed post: Cadbury Easter treats, to be exact. We've got two Cadbury treats for this post: Cadbury Egg n' Spoon, which comes with filling in 1 of 2 flavors: chocolate or vanilla; and Cadbury Mini Egg dessert pudding.
  Now, I saw these Cadbury Egg n' Spoon chocolates back a few months ago, but didn't bother to buy them because they weren't on sale at the time (regular price is 3.99, too much for 4 eggs if you ask me). And then I went and forgot all about them until yesterday, seeing as I've been on a dairy-free, gluten-free diet and didn't want to tempt myself with any milk chocolate.
 But...then we rediscovered them in Selfridges department store up in Birmingham, retailing at 5.49 per pack. Seeing as Selfridges is always insanely overpriced, I didn't buy any and figured I'd just pick a couple of packs up at the local grocery store on sale instead. What I didn't figure on is the fact that everyone else had been snapping them up in the meanwhile. I tried 3 different stores today and they were all sold out. The pic below is from the ones at Selfridges, and I'm hoping to get some within a day or two by imposing on the good grace of a friend in a neighboring town. Will let you know how they taste if I do get ahold of them!
 While searching for the Cadbury Egg n' Spoons, I also came across the Cadbury Mini Eggs Dessert Pudding online. And then found it in Tesco this morning. I only had 2 small bites, seeing as I'm still trying to avoid dairy (and the fat and sugar content in this tiny pack is insane)...but it was quite rich and good. If you want a cheap fatty, sugar rush with an Easter theme, go for it.
 Next up...either more on Rome or more on Cadbury Egg n' Spoon, depending on whether I can get my greedy paws on some Easter chocolate by Wednesday....

                   Cadbury Egg n' Spoon chocolate eggs

 Cadbury Mini Eggs Chocolate Dessert Pudding (Cadbury Easter egg products)

                  The inside wasn't really all that visually appealing....5 eggs and a tiny pudding cup