Tokyo take Three

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We have less than a year left in Korea. We were thinking about one more trip for the fall, but since we don’t know when we’re leaving, we decided to go to Tokyo one last time for Tim’s birthday instead.

We planned a morning flight to give us an extra half day in Tokyo. I booked the flight on Orbitz with Asiana which I read great things about. So we arrived at Incheon and waited in line for Asiana only to be told that this flight was actually run by Seoul Air so we had to go check in with them which was a horrible experience. We were beginning to think they weren’t going to let us check in because we didn’t have an army leave form. Tim isn’t in the army…

Anyway, we got through security and immigration and to the other side of the airport just in time to board the plane. By this time we were very hungry. We took the 6am bus and our flight was at 10. Thankfully they served some fruit and a salad to hold us over until we landed in Narita. The seats were very comfortable. There was no in-flight entertainment but it wasn’t an issue because we brought our own electronics anyway. The flight attendants were nice. I don’t think we will fly Air Seoul again though.

We tried something different this time and took the Keisei Skyliner into town instead of the airport limousine bus. It cost more but took half the time, so I think it was worth it. As a side note, the reason that the skyliner worked for us is because Tim could handle the suitcases and I was in charge of Clarissa. If you have several bags or multiple small children, you are probably better off with the airport limousine bus because it is basically door to door service from the airport to your hotel.

The Skyliner ended at Ueno and we needed to switch to the metro to get to Shinagawa. We decided to have Hard Rock Cafe for lunch before heading to the hotel since it was already after 2pm. As usual our food was delicious and Clarissa picked some fun pins for our collection.

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After settling in to our favorite hotel, Tim headed to Family Mart to pick up his amazon order. This was something new for us this trip as well. Tim usually has a list of electronics items that he wants to find. This time, he found some on Amazon Japan ahead of time and had them shipped to a convenience store down the street. This eliminated some of the searching since we had a shorter trip this time.

It really can’t be Tim’s birthday trip without visiting Akihabara so we headed to there next. Tim found a few things at BIC Camera and Yodobashi. All of us enjoyed Kotobukiya, with Clarissa and I both finding some treasures. Another fun surprise on the way back to the train was the Square Enix Cafe which had some fun things to see as well.

I learned how to make kimbap!

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I went to a church baby shower last week. I brought my usual veggie tray with hummus and some sugar cookies.

When I arrived the ladies were in the kitchen making kimbap. Kimbap is a traditional Korean dish, often used as an appetizer or side dish. I wanted to watch because I have never seen anyone make kimbap before. They invited me to join.

The ingredients were already cooked and cut. But basically, you need seaweed and sticky rice. Then you can add whatever veggies or meat that you like. We had spam, eggs, tuna, carrots, spinach, and radish available.

First, you lay two sheets of seaweed on the tray. Next, you add the sticky rice to the seaweed. You can fill the entire sheet of seaweed or do less if you want. Then you add whatever filling you choose. You might choose to make one with spam, carrots, and spinach. Another may have tuna with egg, radish, and spinach. The possibilities really are endless. Only fill about two inches of the seaweed.

Now it is time to roll the kimbap. You use the wooden mat to roll the seaweed over the topping, making it as tight as possible. Once you have rolled your kimbap, roll it again to make sure it is tight.

Once you are satisfied with your roll, cut it into pieces about as thick as your ring finger and serve.

Kayla Jarmon Books Review

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Discussion Book Series and A Boy and His Dog by Kayla Jarmon

Kayla Jarmon is an author who writes books from a Christian perspective. For this review, I was able to read three of her books: A Boy and His Dog, Don’t Forget Me, and Dying is Part of this World.

Clarissa was very excited about A Boy and His Dog. This is a great story about a day of adventures in the life of a boy and his dog. They wake up together, eat breakfast, play outside, take a bath, go to bed, and even dream together before they wake up the next day to start again. I like this book because it reminds me of Clarissa and Mittens (her cat) and all the things they do together each day. Clarissa said, “I liked it because they had fun.” She was frustrated when they played chase. She said, “It’s called tag, not chase!”

The next book was fun as well. Clarissa really wanted to read Don’t Forget Me because it is about the conversations that God would have with a baby before he is born. My sister is pregnant with her first cousin right now so she is very excited about all things baby related. We were not disappointed with this story. I really liked that the baby was comfortable talking to God. The baby also recognized the voice of his mommy and daddy while in the womb. God kept reminding the baby not to forget Him once the baby was born. I liked that the mom and dad prayed for their baby once he was born. Clarissa thought it was funny though because she thought the baby kept interrupting his parents while they were praying. I guess you can tell we have been working on being quiet while mommy and daddy pray…I think this is a great book to talk to kids about what life was like before they were born. It would probably also spark great discussions about siblings as they grow inside of mommy’s tummy.

Clarissa would not read the last book, Dying is Part of this World, with me. It has chapters and very few pictures (plus the pictures are black and white) so my four year old was not interested. Each chapter has a different fictional conversation that you could use to talk to your child about a life event like death. There are discussion questions for every chapter. The first chapter is about a conversation with a child and her mother about being afraid of her mother’s death and her mother tries to comfort her by talking about heaven and Jesus. The second chapter is about a mother telling a child stories about when he was born and very small that he doesn’t remember about his own life. I think these stories were a little awkward to read out loud. They might be okay to hand to an older elementary school child to read by themselves but you would want to actually have a conversation about them.

Kayla Jarmon has some great books for kids. I think that her stories would spark some wonderful discussions for families. I like that they are also from a Christian perspective. I look forward to the next books in this discussion series.

Discussion Book Series and A Boy and His Dog {Kayla Jarmon Reviews} 

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Princess Cut Movie Review

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Watchman Pictures

I love a good romance movie, especially one that doesn’t have any inappropriate scenes or themes in it. Princess Cut by Watchman Pictures, is one of those movies. The movie would be appropriate for elementary school students to see, but I think they would be bored with a love story. They use the word “intimate” instead of “sex” in this movie. There aren’t any kisses either. Someone tried to kiss Grace and she stopped him and said, “Not until you put a ring on it.” This is a movie that I definitely plan to watch with Clarissa when she is in middle school because it provides so many discussion points about relationships but also family dynamics.

Princess Cut The Movie

The movie is about Grace and her hard working, Christian family who lives on a soybean farm in North Carolina. At the beginning of the movie, Grace is kind of your typical college girl who just happens to be a Christian. She is so focused on her relationships with boys that she isn’t really paying attention to the people around her. She has two relationships before she realizes that something needs to change.

By this time, her dad has been encouraged by his pastor to study about the father’s role in his daughter’s relationships. He learns that the giving the daughter away during the wedding ceremony actually comes from Jeremiah 29:6. Grace and her dad have a conversation about how things need to shift so that they can do this God’s way. Her dad encourages her that “it’s not as much about finding the perfect person as becoming who God made you to be.”

During the second half of the movie you really watch Grace grow into this beautiful woman of God. She really wants to honor God and her family in the things that she does, including any romantic relationships. She goes to the library for some books about the subject and actually picks up some that I really enjoyed during that season of life, When God Writes Your Love Story and Boundaries in Dating.

A young doctor named Clint does get to know their family and asks for Grace’s parents permission to get to know her better before he even talks to Grace about it. When he talks to her he says, “Your heart is too precious a treasure to play games with.” That is the kind of young man that I would like to pursue Clarissa. I don’t want to give away the whole story. I will say that I really enjoyed it, which means it did have a happy ending.

There are so many good things that I will discuss with Clarissa when we watch this movie.

  • It’s not about waiting for the perfect guy. It’s about trusting God.
  • I want you to be able to talk to your dad and I about anything. God. Boys. Life. No matter how bad you think it is.
  • Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
  • Know what your boundaries will be physically before you start dating.
  • Not everyone believes that same things that we do, so you need to be careful about who you are receiving counsel from.
  • What kind of a friend do you want to be? What kind of friends do you want to have?
  • How should you treat your parents? siblings? How should they treat you?
  • What blessings has God given us that we can share with others?
  • How can we serve other people as a family?

I have seen a few “Christian” movies. Often you can tell they are lower budget than something that comes out in the movie theater. The actors were pretty good in this one. There was one scene that Grace was supposed to be crying and it wasn’t super believable. There were a few times when the camera angles were odd. For the most part, the acting and the sets were great.

Princess Cut {Watchman Pictures Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Trying to make Easter Real

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I guess I need to work on how Clarissa discusses Christmas and Easter with other children. We celebrate both of these holidays with a curriculum. At Christmastime, we do Truth in the Tinsel and at Easter, we do Sense of the Resurrection. Both of them are written by Amanda White. I like them because they are hands-on ways for Clarissa to learn scripture and experience things with her senses.

Clarissa tells her friends all about what we are learning, which I think is great because she is trying to teach her friends what she believes about Jesus. The problem is Santa and the Easter Bunny. Especially Santa. When she sees a book with Santa or someone taking a picture with Santa she makes it a point to say something like, “Why is that man wearing a costume? Santa isn’t real.” Which is only a problem when one of her friends insists that Santa is real and Clarissa wants to argue instead of just letting it go.

Usually, Clarissa really enjoys doing activities with her lessons. I was surprised that this time, she mostly wanted to read the story and talk about it each day. We had some great discussions at Christmastime this way, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. She was excited to read her Bible stories each day. She would look at the picture for each activity and decide if she wanted to do it or not. We only colored one flag, so I guess we won’t need to print them next year.

We started by talking about how Mary anointed Jesus’s feet with her hair. Clarissa had a great time smelling my essential oils and choosing her favorites so that we could smell nice too.

The first time we did Sense of the Resurrection, we had a great time studying the Triumphal Entry, waving palm branches and dancing to worship music. This year was very different. She didn’t want to listen to music at all. She was excited about the donkey that Jesus rode on. So we talked about the time I got to ride a donkey on a mission trip in Mexico. We looked at my scrapbook and had a wonderful discussion about why we would want to help people or tell them about Jesus. I wonder what kind of mission trips our family will take together as Clarissa grows…

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She always asks when it will be “foot washing day.” I think she really likes to play in the water. But I like that she is learning that Jesus was such a servant. He was God, but He still washed his friends’ feet. She actually washed my feet this year as well.

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We talked about how there was an earthquake when Jesus was on the cross and made some noise makers to remember.

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I think her favorite activity was putting Jesus in the tomb. We were supposed to make a place in our house that we could walk by for a few days that was shut in because when Jesus went into the tomb no one could get in and no one could get out. They even posted soldiers there to be sure. Clarissa decided that a dance party inside was the best idea. But we did talk about how Jesus was actually dead in the tomb and not dancing.

As usual, we had some books that we read on a regular basis. Our favorites are: God Gave Us Easter, The Peek a Bible Easter Story, The Parable of the Lily, Lily’s Easter Party, and The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story. New this year to our collection is The Miracle of Easter.

We usually do an Easter basket with a book and a small toy or two. This year, the things I bought didn’t really fit in the basket. Clarissa was most excited about The Come Celebrate Easter sticker book and her two magazines. We also gave her a God’s Little Princess Bedtime Devotional, construction paper, and stickers.

We went to church on Resurrection Day. It was fun to hear the pastor say that one of his favorite things about Korea is that “they don’t celebrate Easter. The Christians do, however, celebrate Resurrection Day.” So when you’re walking about Korea you don’t see bunnies or candy everywhere. The only place that Easter is commercialized is at the PX on base.

Since Clarissa and I have spent the past few weeks doing Sense of the Resurrection, we talked about the Last Supper as the pastor was explaining communion. She seemed to understand what was happening and how Jesus said his body was his bread and his blood was the wine. She said that she believed that Jesus died on the cross for her sins so I let her take communion. She definitely didn’t appreciate the wine…

Clarissa has been asking about s’mores since we studied tents and camping with Abraham. We can’t find gluten free graham crackers here, so my mom sent some in her Easter box. After church we decided to introduce Clarissa to s’mores. We roasted marshmallows on the gas burner of the stove and then put a piece of chocolate on the graham cracker. She really enjoyed it but couldn’t be bothered to roast marshmallows a second time so her second s’more she used a normal marshmallow.

On Monday, our friends invited us over to dye Easter eggs. Clarissa has never done this before. We tried a method that where we put dye in whipped cream. Clarissa really enjoyed rolling the eggs (and licking the whipped cream off her fingers).

On Tuesday, we finished our Sense of the Resurrection study with a picnic at the sand playground to talk about Jesus’s picnic on the beach with his friends.

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Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you order A Sense of the Resurrection through this post, I will make a small commission. However, it does not add to your cost.

Bee – bim-Bop!

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Clarissa has been very literal with her books lately. If it’s in a book, we have to do it. One such book is Bee – bim- Bop! by Linda Sue Park.

We got this book from the library before our Hong Kong trip to learn a little bit about Korean culture. My favorite Korean dish is probably bibimbap so I thought it would be fun to read about it. In the book a little girl and her mom go to the grocery store to buy ingredients and then come home and make bibimbap together for the family dinner that evening. At the end of the book, the author lists her family’s recipe for bibimbap, with specific instructions for children and adults.

Clarissa asked if we could make it for dinner. I assured her that we would after we returned from vacation. She would not let me forget! The day after our return she demanded to go to the commissary to buy the ingredients. She fought with Daddy one night about dinner because Tim wanted pizza and Clarissa wanted to make bibimbap.

When it was time to make the bibimbap, Clarissa was excited to help. She helped measure the rice and the water. She measured the ingredients for the marinade and mixed it up. She even helped with the eggs.

At which point, we had been working for at least 20 minutes and she was tired of helping. She went to the couch to read some books while I sautéed the meat and vegetables.

I think they should charge more for bibimbap in restaurants! It is always less than $10 and it takes a while to make. We all enjoyed our meal and plan to put it in our meal rotation. Clarissa even ate eggs and carrots with her rice. I am hopeful that she will continue to try new things and enjoy the other vegetables as well.

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Ingredients:

1 cup white rice
1 pound sirloin or other beef steak
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup mung bean sprouts (optional)
4 eggs
PAM cooking spray

Marinade:
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 tablespoons gluten free tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
1. Pour one cup of rice and two cups of water into a saucepot. Cook on high until the water boils. Then switch to low heat until the water is absorbed into the rice.
2. Mix all marinade ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Slice beef into thin slices. Place sliced beef into marinade and mix thoroughly.
4. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Spray small frying pan. Pour egg in sections into . Cook like a pancake. Slice eggs into strips. Put into small bowl for serving.
5. Spray frying pan. Saute carrots until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
6. Spray frying pan. Saute spinach until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
7. Spray frying pan. Saute mung bean sprouts until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
8. Spray frying pan. Saute beef and marinade until beef is cooked through. Put into small bowl for serving. Pour marinade into small container for serving as well.
9. Serve with rice in bowls. Each person adds the ingredients that they want to their bowl and mix it all up.

Carole P Roman Children’s Books Review

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Clarissa has always loved books. She has several in her bedroom and we go to the library on a regular basis. She has her favorites but is always excited to get something new. I had never heard of Carole P Roman before this review, but I thought we would enjoy reading her children’s books and collections anyway.

We were able to choose three books from a very long list. We chose Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?, If you were me and lived in… South Korea: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures around the World, and One to Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day. Clarissa was so excited to receive them that she HAD to be in the picture with the books.

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Clarissa’s favorite book of the three is Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?. The book has two sisters and an adult but you only ever see the adults legs so we can’t figure out if it is the mom or the dad. Clarissa really wants a sister so that is one reason that she likes this book. The story itself has a great message. The girls like to dress up and play princess and so they want to know if they have to stop being a princess when they grow up. The adult assures them that they will “always be a princess to me.” I also really like that the adult tells the children that when they grow up they should choose a job that they really enjoy and that it is okay to change your mind or do more than one career. As a mom, I want Clarissa to grow up to use her gifts to serve others but also to do something that she loves to do. I also like the message that you can change your mind or choose something new in a different season.

The next book we chose was If you were me and lived in… South Korea: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures around the World. Obviously, we chose this one because we have lived in South Korea for the past three years. I wanted a book for the house that would remind Clarissa about this culture when she is older and we live in America again. This book did not disappoint. It is written is a very conversational manner so that there is information but it doesn’t seem like a reference book. Clarissa really enjoyed the pictures. I was happy to see that some of our experiences are included in the book. For example, my favorite tourist site that we have visited is the Korean Folk Village in Yongin (you can read about that trip here). When we got to the page on Korean barbecue, Clarissa said, “We’ve done that before!” Each page also listed a few Korean words and their meanings.

 

There are twenty books in this series and I am sure we will order more. There is one on China which we will definitely read if we head to China before we leave. I was disappointed to see that she doesn’t have one on Japan or Hong Kong which are places we have already visited. If we move to Europe, there are several choices though.

The final book, One to Ten: Squirrel’s Bad Day, wasn’t our favorite. Squirrel drops his acorns and thinks it’s the worst thing ever. His friend Rabbit wants to help him with perspective by assigning a number from one to ten to the problem. I appreciate trying to teach kids perspective but Clarissa really couldn’t get into the book. I don’t think she enjoyed the illustrations. She is probably a little young for the concept as well. I do feel like as Clarissa gets older we can have some conversations about keeping things in perspective though so elementary school kids might enjoy this book.

I enjoyed the books written by Carole P. Roman. You can find both the print books and kindle versions for sale on Amazon. Because she has written so many books, you may want to read posts from the other reviewers if there is a different story that you are interested in.

Carole P. Roman books and collections {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

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