Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jareth's 10th Party

I realize that I have been very lax in posting about my children's birthdays. And for a family that does incredibly random themes, I feel this is a major failure for me. With all the trouble that I have with finding things to fulfill themes my kids pick, I think I really need to share the ideas I come up with for these themes for others to use. I'll try to do better in the future.

This year my son decided he wanted to do a birthday centered around Miyazaki, the Japanese film maker that our family absolutely adores. So here is what we were able to come up for the party.

First off, my sister-in-law saved me by agreeing to do a cake at the last minute because I completely blanked on the that front as I got caught up in the fiasco that was the invites.
Cakes De La Vega came through for us and made an absolutely amazing strawberry cake that my son just loved!

In case you do not know, this is Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle. It became a funny joke that Vega saved my bacon from burning.

For a game we played "Pin the face on NoFace." Unfortunately my son thinking rationally and used a trick to figure out where to put the face on the black figure, so he won darn near right off the bat. But still, it was fun and the kids were able to take the masks with them after it was over.

If you do not know, NoFace is from Spirited Away.

The goody bags were the easiest to manage as we simply put things that we enjoy in them. Including a pair of chopsticks, some pocky, Swedish fish, bookmarks, and glowstick bracelets. The bookmarks I made from red cardstock to look like the bath tokens from Spirited Away. I love them. I am keeping a few for myself!

This party was so much fun! Even though nearly none of the guests knew anything about the films we took our inspiration from, they enjoyed the things we did and had. And once more my son was thrilled with the whole thing. And after all, that is what matters to me most!

Pork Cutlet Bowls!

Recently I discovered the anime Yuri On Ice. It is the story of a male figure skater who in considering giving up after a particularly bad loss. But then in struts the man he has looked up to his whole career, offering to be his coach and take him to gold. What follows is an incredible story about a man finding his inner strength along with love.

The night Funimation streamed the season 1 finale, my son and I binge watched all 12 episodes. This was a bad parenting move since it kept him up past 11 on a school night and the show-hangover I had the next morning had me sleeping through my alarm and waking just in time to rush him to school right before first bell. But it was one of the best nights he and I have had since we accidentally binge watched all of the first season of Stranger Things last summer. We have a problem, we know, and we love it.

So what did that experience have to do with our family cooked meal? Pork Cutlet Bowls were a big part of the show (you have to watch it to fully understand) and it led to a sort of obsession. So guess what we made for dinner this past week?

We found the recipe right here. But since none of us like onions we did change them out for noddles, something we will leave out in the future. The only other change we made was making our own pork cutlets. My husband bought a pork loin which he cut into small cutlets that we breaded with panko. He says they were a little bland, but I enjoyed them none the less. Plus it was fun watching my kids coat the meat in the panko together.

We had so much fun talking about the show while we cooked up this dish! And it will definitely be something we have again in the future!

Please, if anyone knows where we can get some good Katsu bowls, let me know, because we would love to have these made by professionals as well! Meanwhile, we have found a Ramen place next to the HMart where went for the kombu (and party favors for the party I will posting about shortly) that we will be visiting at the end of the month! We loved our trip into Japanese cuisine!

Next month, my son wants to try piroshki! Another Yuri On Ice reference. You should really watch the show!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Plans

How many of us have made New Year's Resolutions that don't go anywhere? Plans to do things like eat better, work out more, clean out the negative, and then two months into the year they are gone, forgotten, labeled as actually unobtainable and why did we even bother? I did it every year until about 2014 when I decided that I would give myself 1 thing to change and that would be it. In 2015 the only changes I made were lists in my journal: a spot to list what I was reading, a line for what I was thankful for each day, what I thought of the new movie I watched. Things I could write or not write but that I saw daily because of my journal. I still didn't stick to these things through the year, but when 2016 rolled around I put all the same captions in my journal and tried to fill them all in once more. Because these are little things, notes about my daily life that I feel that I can admit to. I won't be able to work out every day because I don't always have the energy. I can't say I will eat healthier because there are days that I don't eat at all. I don't make resolutions because when my depression hits and I don't want to do anything at all, I feel like more of a failure for not doing something I told myself would stick this time around. But I can give myself permission to leave a page blank in my journal because that is my safe space. I make resolutions that I tell myself I am allowed to stutter on because I can always try again tomorrow. Because I am trying to give myself a little slack.

This year is more of the same. My main personal resolution is giving myself a set of goals for each day, things that I want to get done before I go to sleep that night. Most importantly they are things I believe are possible to manage in the day to day, like finish reading the book I have been working on for two weeks and only have 10 pages left. Write that blog post about said book. Do that load of laundry all the way through so nothing wrinkles. And more than likely there will be days that "Get out of bed" is the top goal. Because I give myself permission to have off days, to struggle, and to make getting to a better place a top priority and something to acknowledge. Daily goals rather than something I am expected to do every day for the next year.

My other big goal for the year is pictures. I read in Health Magazine that the University of California did a study on taking pictures: smiling selfies, things that made them happy, or something to make someone else smile. After taking the photos the students felt happier. And I thought, that's easy! I take pictures, I love taking pictures, I wish I took more pictures! And I want to do this. So over on my Instagram (had it, never, ever used it) I am going to take a picture every day that fills this study, and maybe, for a few moments every day I can be a little happier. Feel free to come follow me @mommachristy2 to see what makes me happy and share your own pictures. I am using the label #happypics for this series.

I also have smaller goals that I would like to manage this year, things I can do sporadically enough that maybe I can manage them. Like writing letters to people I don't get to see, because it's great to know someone is thinking of you and everyone gets a little excited these days when they get snail mail! And I want to write daily again, even if it's just an outline for a story idea I may never get around to, it will get my creativity working. And blogging! I am going to try to post on this blog more. 2016 saw 58 new posts on my book review blog and nothing here since March. I want to change that since so much of my world revolves around me as a parent.

What will I be posting here? What do you have to look forward to in my parenting adventure?

Once a month my family and I will be cooking up a new recipe for our family night. All four of us in the kitchen, trying our hand at creating something new together. It should be interesting, to say the least! I will try to have pictures along with these posts.
We will also be trying to do something of a service project once a month. Whether it is helping out at a local shelter or taking dog food up to Noah's Ark. We want to teach our children to pass on the love, and we think this would be a great way to start. I don't love the idea of sharing these projects because it feels like bragging about what we are doing. BUT I want you all to see what they kids do, what they learn from these events, and maybe give you an idea of something to do with your own kids. So I'll be sharing these days as well.
We also ambitiously plan to have a family night out once a month. Maybe discover new things in our area through changing our nights up. So pictures and notes about the places we go will definitely be shared.

It seems like we have a lot planned for this new year, and maybe we won't stick with it all, but I look forward to trying. This year is going to be about getting back to our happy place as a family and for me as an individual. I invite you all to join me on the journey!

Our first #Happypics of the New Year! The birthday boy is ten!
Starting the year off right! #birthdayboy #parenting #newyear #happypics
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