Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7, seven, shichi, δΈƒ

It has been about seven months since I came by here to post something aside from a card. So, I'm blowing off the dust (stand back dust is really kind of gross stuff), and getting back to the posting of things. Those of you who have stayed, arigato! For those of you who haven't, I don't blame you it's been kind of boring. I thought I would break it down to a play by play on what our life on the island has been like. I haven't decided if I would do more than one post or not. I think it all depends on what the kids get into as I'm typing, or if my fingers start to cramp up.

First off, I'd love to show you all our new digs. Here is a view from our 8th floor balcony:
Needless to say, I don't get a lot done with a view that beautiful. We are right on the East China Sea. The water is home to a host of lovely creatures we have had the privilege to meet, including a sea horse, octopus, NUMEROUS sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, urchin, and tiny fish. It's a lot of fun. Our move in was quite the ordeal. With Ron having been gone for two years and being the culinary diva he is (I didn't type that), we had A LOT of STUFF. Our home is not big by American standards, about 1400 sf, but it's quite large by Japanese standards. The average Japanese home is about 1,000 sf. I had thought we might want a new sofa set when we arrived, but we needed a crane to lift and place our CURRENT sofa in the apartment. I knew then & there I was NOT getting a sofa until we left Okinawa. We donated eleven boxes of stuff to the local thrift shop! We're still trying to find a balance, but at least most of the boxes are gone.

In January, we added a new member to our family when we adopted Milo (named after the ridiculous dog in "Mask").
Milo is a rescue from Ozato. If you go to the link, you'll learn heartbreaking statistics on the gassing of animals here. Long story short, owners have five days to collect their animals. If there is not an owner, the dog is NOW offered to American Servicemembers and Japanese citizens to adopt. If the animal is not adopted or fostered (or if it is turned in by its owner), it is gassed. In 1992 over 13000 animals were gassed. In 2008, almost 5,000. This was prior to a change in management and policy, although there are still many gassed. So, Milo became our new rescue and he is an amazing little beast. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't. Most of the time he's sweet, then he likes to pretend he's much bigger than he is and pretends to growl. He's supremely spoiled rotten. We are very lucky to be his humans.

In March, we had a visit with the whales. The humpback whale cruises on through the warm waters of Okinawa around February to May, while the polar bears freeze their keesters off in the North Pole. The annual migration is an amazing spectacle. Words just cannot describe how amazing it is to see these magnificent mammals in their natural habitat.

Well, I'm off to take care of my domestic duties now. I promise to be back to share more of our island adventures. Sayonara for now.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Here's a card I made for The Pink Elephant's latest challenge. I hope it makes you smile. Make sure you head over to TPE & check out the other beautiful DT cards.

Monday, May 14, 2012


That would be what's on the menu for this week's challenge at The Pink Elephant Challenge. Crack open some polka dots, add a side of stripes and ... Voila! So mix some up yourself and come and play. Here's my take using polkastripes & a sketch from Deconstructing Jen.

Make sure you check out The Pink Elephant for more inspiration. Hope you all had a lovely Mama's Day Weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Did you all just hop on over from Simonne's ? No? Well, be sure to head on back there before you come here. You don't want to miss out on all the loveliness over there, now do you? If you've made it here safe and sound I'd like to welcome you to my humble little blog. I know you're only here for a bit, so I hope you enjoy yourself. Here is my creation with one of the newest Bug & Roo stamps. This is Bunny Girl One.

Check out Hannah's other new Easter Bug & Roo stamps here.  Don't forget to hop on through and see what the other By Lori Design Team members came up with, too. At the very end there's a lovely treat of $20 shop credit! Remember to comment on every stop you make and enjoy! You should hop on next to Arielle.  I sure hope you'll come back by again!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rabbit Ears

Why, hello there, friends. I hope you are starting to welcome Spring in your part of the world. Seems like the U.S. has been faced with some really ugly weather as of late. I know in my hometown of Albuquerque there was a lot of wind and damage. Well, you know what they say about March, or is that April? In any case, I wanted to share a little Easter with you today. Lori has all kinds of super cute Easter digi stamps, and lots of inspiration to get you in a hip-hip-hop-ya-don't-stop kind of mood. So go on over to By Lori Designs & get inspired. Keep your rabbit ears open for an upcoming BLD blog hop, too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Oh, Baby!

I have been a little out of the loop here, haven't I? I do apologize. We've been soaking up some sun in our beautiful new home, doing a little exploring, and trying to get into a groove home school wise. I have been playing with some paper & thought I'd share here some of my recent creations. Thank you for hanging in there with me. I promise I'll post some about our adventures.

One of the soldiers in Ron's battalion just had a baby boy. It's always so exciting to see babies. It seems like they are everywhere here. I think there's something in the water- it can't be all the separations and reunions with military life, right? Here's a card I made celebrating this new family.

I was working on one of my projects for By Lori Designs and got very flustered because some of my Copics were running low on ink. Little did I know Copics are made right here in Japan! So, I was able to find a local store that was a Copic mecca. There were so many colors, I think I must have just stood there with my mouth hanging open for several minutes. I'm sure the very kind Japanese sales women were thinking, "Do you think she's okay?" Needless to say, I was no longer flustered and I was able to finish my latest card for BLD.

I hope to be back with more. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, TPE!

I have been so very blessed to be a part of a fabulous group of designers for the past three years at The Pink Elephant Challenge. This week we celebrate TPE's third birthday! I can't believe how the time has flown! Sadly we say good-bye to some amazing designers, including Trudi who has been with us from the start.

Here is my card for this week's challenge. I hope you can join us.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Everytime I think of this street I remember this song because I'm a child of the 80s and putting things to music is how my brain functions.
So instead of "Hey now, hey now...," I think "Heiwa (prounounced hay-wa), Heiwa Dori-i-i-i." Okay, I've tortured you enough, now on to the story...

Two weekends ago, it was raining as it is apt to do in Okinawa. We were all sitting around with a little cabin fever, snipping at each other (the truth, folks, nothing but the truth). Ron asks, "What should we do?".  I remember seeing an article about Heiwa Dori in a local newspaper and suggested going. At the time, I was reading this fine book:
Georgia Pellegrini (who is just GORGEOUS, isn't she?!) among other things discusses how we have a detachment from how our food gets from farm to table. We walk into these fluorescent lit supermarkets where our food is prepackaged into styrofoam and cellophane containers. We don't really think about how that chuck roast got there, just how we're going to pop it into a crock pot and have it for dinner.

 I lived part of my primary and part of my high school years in Japan. During the summers, we visited my mom's family in Taiwan. Going to market was a part of daily life. Yes, there was a fridge, but that was mainly for leftovers. We bought that morning what we would cook that day. This happens in many countries around the world. It makes a whole lot of sense to me, your food is fresher and there's less waste.  If we wanted chicken, the butcher would grab an unsuspecting bird from a cage and make it happen. At first, my brother and I were wide eyed and aghast. Prior to this our chicken came from the commissary or the local Winn Dixie, sans feathers. After awhile, of course, we adjusted. My husband spent part of his life in Guam and the Phillipines. He had a similar childhood, only his involved some of the actual harvesting of the animals. Part of us moving to Japan involved a longing for our kids to experience a different way of life that doesn't involve supermarkets and big box stores. This is a long way of me getting to part of why we went to Heiwa Dori. If you get a chance, take a look at this video and you can see what we saw and get a little bit of what my rambling is about.

Getting to Heiwa Dori is a bit like a treasure hunt. You park on a main street with lots of sounds and flashy signs to attract tourists. We ended up paying ¥500 (or about $7) per half hour for parking without realizing it. This is one of many reasons why I should really learn to read Kanji. 
Then you walk by souvenir stores with wares somewhat unique to Okinawa. 
Habu Sake {yes, that's a snake}

frog purse with Shisa dogs in the background

Hello Kitty store

You turn into an area that is like a tunnel with stores on either side. Still, you wind your way through souvenir shops until you almost miss the public market. I would have walked by it if Ron had not seen it and abruptly turned toward it. I'm so glad we didn't miss it because it was amazing to see all the shopkeepers and their wares. Most of the shellfish is alive. The fish is super fresh and in colors you've never seen before. The shopkeepers are all very nice.
brilliantly colored fish

fiesty lobsters with a topshell on the side

Fugu or Puffer Fish

I'm really glad we had the opportunity to experience the public market. We also took home some really tasty pickles after being offered generous samples by the shopkeeper. Pickled vegetables are a big part of a traditional Japanese meal.

I will be taking your orders for frog purses for a limited time, so take advantage. I'm only kidding, folks. Thank you for checking out our adventure. I hope there will be more to come.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm going to be a millionaire...

Well, we've been in Okinawa for a little over a month. We have moved into our new home. It's 1600 square feet of apartment RIGHT ON THE BEACH. It doesn't have a dishwasher, but if I look out my sliding glass doors, I see a breathtaking view of turquoise waters, so I refuse to complain. I've become a little more acquainted with driving on the left side of the road, although I still prefer to hug the right. Needless to say, people fear me and my husband drives most of the time. Our favorite foods have so far been the bento boxes we get at Family Mart, a kind of Japanese convenience store. If you balk at that you're missing out on some really good food. They'll even heat it up for you right there. My favorite is the rice with shrimp tempura and a small bit of salmon. Yes, this is convenience store food. This post, however, is not about my posh digs, my bad driving, or my addiction to Japanese fast food. It's about how I will come back to the U.S. and make a gazillion bucks from things that make so much sense, that would do so well in the States, but just haven't made it there. Or it has and I've just been living under a rock.

1. Public Toliet Seat Sanitizing Spray

The Japanese are VERY clean people. Proof of this is this FABULOUS spray that comes in nearly ALL of the public restrooms I have used. You simply stick your toliet paper under the nozzle of the device on the right, spray a sanitizer onto the paper and wipe your seat clean. It just makes me feel better. There are also SEVERAL automatic toliets that have heated the seats on cold days, and will clean your nether regions, but I'm just not down with that, so I haven't included it as something I will make a gazillion dollars on. Next...

2. Some Like it Hot

My entire family used this yesterday as it was a bit chilly. You want a coffee? You want it hot?? You want it now?? Or tea?? Or hot chocolate?? Simply jaunt over to one of the MANY (I am not exaggerating, they're everywhere) vending machines and pop one out. It will come out hot in a can. So not only will you have a lovely hot coffee at your disposal, you will also warm your hands in the process. It's so ingenious I tell you! Starbucks would not approve.

3. Bathroom Bliss

Yes, this is another bathroom invention that has made me very happy. I have a child with a COPIOUS amount of hair. My genes are responsible for her beautiful locks, and the vast majority of duties involving said hair is also mine. Her hair is best done wet, and allowed to dry naturally. I know this from LOTS of trial and error with my own hair. That being said, it's not always easy to wet her hair in the morning unless she takes a bath or shower in the morning. So when we moved into our house and I discovered quite by accident that the faucet extends like a sprayer IN THE BATHROOM, I nearly knelt down and kissed the vanity. It makes my life so much easier & why didn't I think of installing one before?!

I'm sure I'll remember many more for later posts, but I am just in awe with these for the time being, along with many things about my new home. Happy 2012!!!