Busy Summer

With the kids at home and a job from 8 to 5 Monday through Saturday, I am deprived of weekend sewing and blog time! Hence, I have no blog post for July. It’s a really crazy schedule that would go on until the 11th of August after which I would have the luxury of a four-day vacation which in Japan is called “bon yasumi”. I am certainly looking forward to that. In the meantime, to break the silence in my blog for the past month, I am posting some pictures of what I have been doing in my freetime, if you may call it.

20120805-104104.jpg

20120805-104219.jpg

20120805-104251.jpg

20120805-104313.jpg

20120805-104358.jpg

20120805-104431.jpg

20120805-104453.jpg

A Day at Aichi ken Gymnasium (愛知県体育館)

Yesterday, I went to my eldest son’s table tennis tournament (boys-team competition).  He did good, won two games.  But his other teammates  weren’t very lucky so the team placed only 16th overall.  Still, I’m proud of him 🙂  Here’s a video of him playing (he’s the one in blue).
I watched and took videos of his game until 1 pm…Got hungry around 12 so I went out of the building, thinking of having sushi at first but I decided to not go very far and just eat at the gymnasium’s cafeteria where I had miso tonkatsu tei-shoku.

The meal was okay and very filling 🙂 but quite expensive at 850 yen.  The place had very nice  lighting, and since such details appeal to me aesthetically, I just had to take a picture 🙂  The shot was quite good, being taken with my iPhone 4.  Wish I had my dslr with me, though.

On the way home, while waiting for the bus, I passed by Maruzen and bought these sewing books.

Tanya Whelan’s book really has some very interesting projects like bags and dresses that I can’t wait to try.  I’m so excited!

Chicken tinola (with togan and spinach)

Mada, mada, samui desu! These long winters really make me crave for hot soup and rice…So I prepared Chicken tinola for dinner. Chicken tinola is a Filipino dish–chicken ginger soup with green papayas and pepper leaves. It’s very easy to cook and I think every Filipino household in the world cooks this at least once a month. But in Japan, papayas are a rarity, so I have to improvise. The closest to papayas I could find here are the Okinawan togan or winter melon (which is a rather ironic name for it coz it’s a seasonal summer vegetable, and weird that I found it in the supermarket today).

And, chili pepper leaves are not sold in the supermarkets here so it’s either I maintain a chili pepper plant in our backyard or, again, improvise by using what’s available.  Usually it’s spinach.

If you’re not a Filipino and are curious about the recipe, you can find it here

I substituted the wintermelon for the papaya and the spinach for the chili pepper leaves. Here’s what I made…

Now, where’s my rice? Itadakimasu

Vito’s 7th Birthday

His real birthday is actually a few days from now, but the family celebrated Vito’s birthday today, Sunday, because his dad is scheduled for out-of-town work. My kids’ birthdays are the only times you would see me cook more than two dishes at a time. I cooked some Filipino dishes like beef caldereta and marinated the pork for our barbecue in skewers. My mom cooked kare-kare and bopis.

I baked Vito’s birthday cake, as I have been doing ever since his 3rd birthday. This year I proudly present a black forest cake which, to my surprise, was very easy to make…It was a four-layer cake, with natilla filling in the middle layer (which is really not supposed to be natilla-filled, but son number 1 requested it). I just really make an effort to bake their birthday cakes because we’re just so fed up with the strawberry shortcakes that are sold in the Fujiya bakeshops!

Not bad for a first try, isn’t it?

For extra, I also baked these carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, just in case we run out of cake for late-coming guests, which is mostly my cousins, aunts, and their families.

Happy birthday Vito! We love you! Oriko shite ne!