Meg the cooking show host

It *might* be suggested that the girls watch a little too much reality tv.

We only watch top chef USA and Canada, Masterchef USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and My Kitchen Rules....

It's not like we watch them every day or anything but, if we get ready for bed early and have time we watch an episode before bed.

So, this has influenced Meg who has decided she would like to have her own cooking show.

On youtube.

And so we did:

(Unless you are a direct relative, these really aren't terribly interesting.  Except the first 20 odd seconds of the last video where she tries her hand at a 'we apologies for that interruption' speech.)

And of course that wasn't enough so we made another one:

But the phone rand and I was making them on my phone so we had to make a part 2:

And by that time I was SOOOOOOOO over being a movie director/ cameraman/ on the spot interpretor.

Meg is already working out ideas for her next movie.... I'm thinking of investing in a tripod!


for dad

My mum is a bit ill and the girls and I made some get well videos only Amy was having a Tigger kind of morning (Tigger is her favourite Disney Character- figures!) and Meg forgot what she was going to say the moment I pressed record....

I put them on FB and my brother and sister and everyone else saw them and showed mum.  

But poor FB refuser Dad is missing out on all the action so this is just for you dad:

Edited to add:

I am completely and utterly unable to add videos here Dad.

Suck it up and join FB already!


a little light lunch?

We are a school lunch school which is very very lucky as I am a function over form kinda girl and don't do cute lunches.

Especially for people who need to be out the door by 6:40.

At that time of day you're lucky to be getting brekky!

But in the school holidays we have a more relaxed schedule and Amy is on a real cuteify-your-meal phase and at least if it's a bento we get away with only one dish.  Her DIY at-home meals on the other hand.....

Anyway, Meg wanted me to surprise her with her lunch so I gave it a go.

My score is 0-2 for her being able to guess what I was going for but she's been thrilled anyway both times so it's a win-win, huh?

Exhibit A-

I was going for the sun and some kind of flower.  Meg got a ladybird and an egg octopus out of it.  Hmmmmmm.....

On that day Amy made herself two rice balls wrapped with labels and the seaweed held separately to keep it crisp (soooo fiddly!) a lunch box of stuff-that-goes-with-rice and a container of apple sauce (gotta use up that apple sauce!)  

She also arranged everything for the photo... 

And this is Meg making Daddy's lunch:

That huge slab of seaweed would have been fun to eat with chopsticks but Daddy was THRILLED to have a Meg-produced lunch.

I turned this pic around three times but it won't stay turned so please tip your head to the right for a moment:

I was going for a couple of birds under a sakura branch and some random tomato rocks for veggie-rifficness.  Meg got 'Two happy shu-mai and some eyebrows.'  Yeah, Coz eyebrows is an obvious bento choice right?

Oh well.  Thrilled is thrilled, right?

But then Amy went and upped the ante again:

Yes, she made all that by herself.  Right down to the blush on the panda's cheeks.

I'm really not sure we're related sometimes....

And I think, as a supportive mum of a budding food designer, I should probably buy the poor kid some more lunchbox dividers as that's the same Anpanman set I bought when she started kinder....


too much of a good thing (part 2)

I know wood and woodpiles is a bit of a recurring theme here but hey it's a blog of my life and wood and woodpiles are a bit of a recurring theme in my life so there you have it.

Anyway, we have been very lucky to have never had to pay for firewood and for the most part not even have to go and get it- it just turns up in the driveway while I'm out.

I truly am grateful for this and whenever possible (when I know who the donor is) I always make something to say thank you but it's not always obvious where the wood comes from....

Anyway, at the moment it's apple pruning season and riverside wood clearing season and we are just inundated with wood.

The carpark that should be able to comfortably park four cars across is fitting three at a squeeze:

And yes, that pile of sawdust and stray wood?  That's my poor long-suffering front garden.  Sigh.... poor garden....

K and I spent the weekend and then the Wednesday holiday hauling, cutting, splitting and stacking wood and have now run out of space in any of the five woodpiles we have made....

What to do, what to do?  We shifted some kindling around and made another space for more wood and decided that if we added another layer of wood on all the other piles as well we might, might, just get all that wood stored.  

K's other idea was to just burn the fire year round.  

That sounds a little uncomfortable mid-summer....

We finished up in the rain around 4:00 on the holiday afternoon.

Stretching out our sore muscles and congratulating ourselves on a job pretty well done when the phone rang.

'Is this the Fukase who works at XY company in Azusagawa?'
'Yes.  Just a moment and I'll get him.'

K is not very good at answering his mobile.  In fact I'd say he's pretty bloody shocking at answering his mobile.  Which is a misnomer in itself as he never has it on him.

Anyway, I was worried someone from K's work had been trying to contact him all day and finally looked up our phone number to get him.


No such luck.

It was the grandfather of a girl in Meg's year at school who had heard from his friend/ relative in our neighbourhood that we had a wood stove and took people's wood.  He knew our name via Meg and K's work through the neighbour and had looked us up in the book and wanted K to come and get a plum tree worth of wood.


K said yes.
(Of course. He'd give you a freaking kidney if you asked nicely enough.)

And so there is now a pile of wood in our driveway.


Make it stop!

(Just until next Autumn of course!)

too much of a good thing (part 1)

I was looking at our under-stair apple supply the other day and thinking 'ahhhhh only 10 or so apples left.  sigh.  Oh well, it is March after all.'

Then I just got on with the day and didn't think about it anymore.

Then Sunday morning bright and early (the only time anything happens around here) there was a knock on the door.

'Fukase! The neighbour up the road asked me to dig him a big hole with my power shovel to bury some apples he didn't sell.  You'll take them right??'

Waste not want not K headed up the road and I went back into the kitchen to my coffee.

K came back and I asked about the apples.  Was there enough to make some apple sauce?

He laughed.

Oh no... not enough?


Yes, that would be a full 10 crates of apples there in my entrance way. (Slipper cameo!)


The apples are not really good eating raw anymore but they are wicked in apple sauce and we have eaten an entire crate of apple sauced apples already.  That's pretty incredible for five days, huh?

I took a crate into work in the city Tuesday (no point in taking them into work around here!) and some fast selling and smooth talking and I managed to offload the entire crate.

That leaves a mere 8 crates of cooking apples to go. 

I think I can, I think I can!

last snow

Japan has a saying 三寒四温 or three cold, four warm that describes the segue from Winter to Spring as one of cold, hot, cold, hot, cold and finally hot.  Well this March has been


don't want to jinx myself here.....


No really!

Of course the downside of that is that my hayfever sucks (even when I'm not around the revolting grape hyacinth) but the snow melting so fast is really inspiring.

I would really, really like to believe that this is the last of the last snow and not just the last of this snow but I'm not holding my breath I reckon....

Still, melt little last snow.  Mellllllllllltttttttt!!!!


Sometimes you just can't lose- no matter how hard you try

We went shopping Christmas Eve.

We do this most years as it's not the main Christmas event for me but because it is for most Japanese people it means that everything is already marked down and I can get turkey and ham and strawberries for a steal.  Win win. :)

Anyway, there was a present campaign at the supermarket and when we were checking out the cashier asked us to go over to the service desk to pick up our present.  Rolling my eyes and thinking ooooooo! Wonder if it will be tissues or toilet paper? (The usual not terribly exciting but pretty useful shopper gift) I went over and, to my surprise, picked up a pot with three bulbs in it.

The bulbs seemed to be sitting on top of the soil rather than planted in it but the label said 'just leave in a dark place and water sparingly' and so I did.

I showed mum on skype and she was very sceptical that a dak place was the best place for them.  And mum is the best gardener I know but having frozen poor plants to death before putting them by the window I decided to go with local know-how and put them on a bookshelf and subsequently repeatedly forgot about them so 'water sparingly' became 'water when resembling the Sahara'.  I was pretty sure this level of neglect was a dead cert for bulbular death so imagine my surprise when They not only grew leaves but flowers!

Wow.  How pretty!  

I moved them into the centre of the livingroom table.

And started sneezing.

And crying.

And itching.

Hayfever in February?  Self-inflicted hayfever in February???

Something had to be done.

If I put the flowers out in the snow that would be a death sentence for sure and I don't want to be a floral murderer so I moved them to the entrance-way.

That's a couple of degrees above outside at best but also the place where people put things on display so I could possibly- with a good floral legal team- get off with negligence.

These flowers are soooo strong though.

Their fragrance refuses to be confined to the entrance way and insists on making me itch and sneeze the length and breadth of the house.

And they just keep on living.

One month later after freezing twice!


Enough already, huh?

really good vegetarian food- no really!

Every now again I try something vegetarian for dinner and wait to see if anyone notices that it's meat-free.

This one was so good that not only did noone pick that they weren't eating flesh but even when I told everyone it was veggie-licious Meg and K thought it definitely had bacon in it.


Bad picture but:

The main ingredient is split peas (lentils- I had no idea they were the same thing- err derr moment) and......




Add some onion and garlic and tomato sauce and an egg and some cheese and walah!

Seriously this is SOOOO GOOOOOOD.

Amy and I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days till we finished it.

How can you go wrong when it's called 'really good vegetarian meatloaf'?

Go on- give it a go!

How cold was the winter?

Can't tell what's going on in that picture?

Any clearer?

Yup, that there is a frozen egg.

I didn't even know that you could freeze eggs!  

These eggs froze in the chook cage.  

Poor eggies.  

Poor chookies.  

But we put in heaps (literally- haha!) of rice husks and rice straw and dried grass and blocked off two of the netting walls with timber boards and all is as warm as it can be out there but still it's pretty shocking to find frozen eggs, huh?


no job for a princess

March 3rd is Girls' Day.

Most people celebrate by putting up decorations depicting the Imperial court.

We've got those too.

And we'll get them up.


But today our job for the three Fukase princesses was a little less princessy.

Well, actually a lot less princessy.

The annual free-for-all down by the river for the trees that were culled from around the big dams and alongside the rivers by the city has been and gone and K did his civic duty and helped out with the waste removal and our front yard, backyard and crapark are now swimming with wood.

And K has been spending all the oodles of spare time he gets splitting wood.  Which means he splits wood before work each morning and weekends.

So the piles of split wood are growing and needing to be re-homed.

Enter the Fukase girls with our princess power.

My job was using the pick to break up the ice so we don't slip out there and then use the pick to break up the ice that was holding the wood all together in one massive wood ice-block.

The girls then moved the wood from there about four metres across the yard in front of the storage area and then I stacked it in the woodpile.

Oh, and we let the chooks out for a bit of a run around the garden to hang out and de-bug the place for  us so every fifteen minutes or so someone would yell 'chook check!' and we'd do a head count to make sure the chooks hadn't decided the neighbours yard looked yummier than ours.


No job for any ordinary princess so lucky we're not ordinary, huh?

Not bad for an afternoon's work, huh?