Menu for International day Brazil

I know this is very last minute but these thing happen. Tomorrow is International Day Brazil and the following is what we are going to eat if all goes well.


cuscuz, and Bolo de Laranja


Salpicao(chicken on the side), Brazilian Lemonade, pão de queijo, Coxinha, and brigadeiro


I wanted to eat at one of the Brazilian restaurants around but they all cost way to much. So I think we will just enjoy leftovers from the day and some fresh fruit.


International Day Japan

This day got a bit delayed due to p being sick, but was well worth the wait. We started off the day with P and I making a Japanese breakfast of Miso soup, sweet spinach, rice, and tamagoyaki. We got the recipes from Japanese cooking 101  and all of the food was wonderful.


Then the P’s spent some time teaching Shari how to make rubber band bracelets. Not really Japanese, but they had a ton of fun.

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After lessons – back to Japan. We all colored flags and learned some cool facts about some of the things that make Japan unique. Some of the more interesting things were that they eat more fish then any other country in the world, that it is made up of 6,852 islands, and that they have a holiday called children’s day on May 5th which is for sons and one on March 3rd for girls.

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We then all sat down for an amazing meal of Rice balls in a couple different flavors, Kabocha no Fukumeni and Roasted and marinated pork in a Yuan sauce.

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Chuck then took us riding though some streets in Tokyo using Google maps to see how the Japanese roads and cars look. We did side track for a bit looking at things they put in vending machines in Japan. It is amazing how many things they sell out of them. Besides sodas and candy, theirs have floral arrangements, french fries, clothes, toys, magazines,… and some things I did not show the kids.

Since many advances in robotics happen in Japan, we watched a couple videos about Asimo. P was very impressed and we both agreed that we would love to have one around the house. Asimo is near P’s height, so we talked about why that is a good size to be. Someone that size can reach almost anything, and has many places to hide.

We then enjoyed watching a few Japanese fairy tales on Amazon. We watched The Boy who Drew Cats and Peachboy. We found a series called The Little Travelers, and one of their episodes is from their time in Japan . I think this was a good touch and the kids seemed to really learn a lot from the show. I hope we can tie some more of their episodes into our future days.

We also decided that next month we will be doing Brazil. See you then.


International Day Poland: June 17, 2012

I decided that since we delayed International day Japan for a couple weeks I would write up a post about our second ever International day, which we did on Father’s Day 2012. Because it was Father’s Day, Chuck got to pick which country, and of course he picked Poland. He grew up in Pittsburgh and so ate a lot of their food. I, on the other hand, grew up eating more Asian style food, meaning Chuck got to introduce me to a lot of the Polish foods over the years. I now love many of these very much, and they are very common meals in our house.

Because this was only our second International day, we were still forming what these days were and how to execute them. Because it was Father’s Day and we had family that wanted to see us, we decided to do the cooking and the coloring parts at my grandmother’s house, letting more of the family join in. We then listened to music and drove the streets on Google maps later when we got home.

Flag coloring came first and we also did some flowers from Poland. P had dressed up in her chief outfit, so that she could run the kitchen.

P pol coloring pol flags

For the menu, we had apple cranberry kompat, cucumber salad, perogies, cheese babka, and of course curried chickpeas. Yeah – I know you all read that and went “…curried chickpeas?!?!?” My cousin made it up at home and brought it to share, and it was very good.

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It was great working on all the food as a group. We had a ton of fun messing around.

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Everyone even pitched in to clean up afterwards.

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and the kids slept the whole way home.

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Once home, Chuck and P played with Google maps and talked about the different cars and buildings they saw in Poland.

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All in all, it was a wonderful day, a ton of fun, and we learned a bit as well. It turned out much better than the first and insured that we would continue these days.

First International Day of 2015

This Sunday we are going to do Japan. I am very excited. This one was a bit of a challenge to make a menu for because we eat a lot of Japanese food already and I try very hard to make sure that we are learning and trying new things. P was very unhappy to learn we would not be having sushi, but after a lot of searching I have put together what I feel is a very yummy day of new things ahead for us.

Breakfast: I am taking this right from a site called Japanese cooking 101

Steamed Rice, Miso Soup, Tamagoyaki (I have always wanted to try making this egg dish), and Houren No Gomaae


Rice balls in a couple different flavors, Kabocha no Fukumeni and Roasted and marinated pork in a Yuan sauce. I am also going to pick up some desserts from a Asian baker near here.


I think we will order some Japanese from from the restaurant down the street. So the kids can see a difference between ours and the restaurants. Wink Wink.




The start of Xmas traditions

Last Xmas weekend, we went to the DC zoo. It was a lovely day. This post is not about that day.

This weekend, we had a four day weekend thanks to some holiday on a Thursday. Due to various illnesses and holiday preparation work that needed to get done, everyone had a bit of cabin fever. It was time for a dose of cure.

The weather cooperated beautifully; we had a warm winter day for our trip. The sun helped everyone keep a good mood.

We started the day with a stop at a donut shop that I probably can’t name due to advertising copyrights or something. Picked up coffee, breakfast sandwiches for the adults, and munch….. donut holes for the Ps. We got settled into the truck for a few hours drive to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, to the Salisbury Zoo.

It’s a small zoo, but the entrance fee is zero (they accept donations in a box at the door, so we tossed a few bucks in). It has a giant playground attached which was just what was needed for the children. We play a smartphone GPS based game called Ingress. If you didn’t understand that sentence, please ignore the next three and just know that it was just what the adults needed. The place was a forest of unclaimed portals. It’s now linked and fielded full of level 6 green portals. I wonder how long we can keep them, perhaps 90 days?

We split up at first due to bladder size differences. Amber took p to deal with her issues, and I took P to start checking out animals. We spent some time looking at the small exhibits; asking p questions about the animals and asking P questions that she needed to read the displays for answers.

Once we got complaints about hunger, we broke into the excellent lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwiches prepared by Amber, with loads of different snacks. She even filled our water bottles and brought iced tea for me.

A few more animals remained until the other end of the park, then came the giant playground. It’s there as a memorial to a young boy that passed from a form of leukemia. The playground was just what they needed. They both got to play, and we all enjoyed some much-needed time outside.

Even though it’s tiny and none of the snack shops or guest services were open, the place is clean and nicely laid out. Some of the exhibit spaces are small, but overall the animals appear reasonably well cared for. I think that this is a nice stop overall for a laid back day with the family.

The drive home was quiet; P made a list of all the animals that we saw and drew pictures of some of them. p started a nap pretty much the minute we hit the highway. Amber got to soak her brain in a book. I got to drive through the last of the day’s sunlight and reflect on a fantastic family day.

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Ice Cream Accessories

This Christmas I decided that I did not have enough to do, so I came up with the idea to make a lot of our gifts for people. I won’t bore you with all of the different things we made, but now that the giving is all done I wanted to share a couple that I was very proud of.

First, every year my mom and I get together and make jewelry. This year P joined us and did a wonderful job making a few things. Not bad for a 6 year old. 🙂

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p was not to be outdone, so I headed off to the wonderful world of pinterest to find something a 3 year old could make. She happily made everyone a small jar of honey brown sugar scrub.

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Now what was I to make? I made some jewelry for coworkers and teachers. I made cookies for groups and even a few bakery boxes, but my crowning gift that I am most proud of was 3 Ice Cream Sundae Kits.

Of course, since I had been bitten by a crazy bug I decided to make all the things that would go into the box from scratch. Simple right? NO not even a little bit. I started with homemade sprinkles. I will not post tons of pictures of lines of icing but I will say if you are going to make them or are about to start making them STOP NOW and go buy a Multi-Opening Decorating Tip. I wish I had. They were not too bad to make (well except the chocolate, which was too thick and by the end my hands were killing me) but having that tip would have made making them a bit less time consuming and tedious. I made plain, cinnamon, and chocolate. They were wonderful. I wish I had made more so that I still had some around to eat myself.

I then moved on to marshmallows. I tried to make these once before and failed for some reason. I can’t image why? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don’t have a candy thermometer, and I probably did not wait 24 hours like you’re supposed to.  All that said, this time it was a success and well worth the work and effort. They came out well even though I still don’t have a candy thermometer. I did wait 24 hours this time. The kids even pitched in and helped out.

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Now for the part that gave me the most trouble: sugar cookie bowls. Every recipe I found said to just turn a muffin tin upside down, put cookie dough on it, and all would be good. This was a LIE.

For the first batch, I used a drop sugar cookie recipe but it was too thick. It just made cookies, so I crushed them up and added them to the box – since who does not love cookies on ice cream? The second time, I used the recipe I always use for chocolate chip cookies (minus the chips) but it was too thin and ran down the muffin tin ending up on the bottom of my oven. So I thickened the batch, added a bit of baking powder, and tried just one this time instead of a whole tray. FAIL. OK, I added more flour and tried one more time. NOPE. More flour and this time IT WORKED and they tasted amazing and looked very very cool. If I do say so myself –  and I do.

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I then made up jars of chocolate and salted caramel sauce. I have to tell you I have made these before and if you do you will never buy sauces again.

The only thing left to do was to put it all together. I also added some crushed up chocolate cake because it sounded like it would be good on ice cream. The kids decorated the boxes.

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I will tell you I did not have any sprinkles left, but I did have a little bit of everything else leftover. We all had a bowl of ice cream using the cookie bowls and both sauces. “OH WOW!” ,as the p’s say,  “BEST THING EVER”.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice,Happy Hanukkah, or just have a wonderful day.

Third and final birthday cake in December

YES I made it. That was a lot of cakes for me for one month.
The last and final cake was for my wonderful friend who turned 40 this year. Last year I made her a dice cake. It was a bit crooked but I did make sure the numbers matched a real set of dice. It tasted good which is what really matters.

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This year I remembered she has a great love of Penguins. Not that I could ever forget. ;). So I tried my hand at making a penguin, and lucky for me that cake pan I used for the dragon worked really well to make one. Well after I cut off a couple ears and arms. OH and making jet black butter cream is very hard to do. I ended up having to add cocoa powder to get the icing from gray to black.

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He looks very angry(I never should have given him eyebrows) but he was well received. Although she was a little violent with the cutting.

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All in all it was loved and devoured.

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Now what will I make her next year?

Second birthday cake in December

Tomorrow is one of the more important birthdays of the year, my mom’s, and every year I try to make sure we have a special night and cake for her. I asked her to pick whatever she wanted to eat, and she picked grilled cheese and tomato soup. You have to love it. I asked her what kind of cake she would like, and the answer was anything chocolate. So I made a dark chocolate cake with a plain butter cream icing.

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Doesn’t it look like a gummy bear? But wait, what will it become?

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A DRAGON. I am really happy and proud of him. I think it looks a bit like one of the pocket dragons.


The birthday girl really loved it, which is what really matters.