Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mitsubachi - A Cafe Where Kids are Welcome

We met a friend for lunch today.  Since we don't live near each other and have little kids in tow we looked online for a place to meet in the middle that the kids could enjoy going to too.
 As you can see this isn't your normal kiddie lunch yet yummy enough for kids to enjoy it too.  The quiche lunch plate also had croquet balls, a mini hamburger, some veggies and the very popular bread sticks!  With the drink (non-alcoholic cocktail) it came to 1,300 yen.
The feature which got our attention is the play space.  Our table was to the left so we could keep an eye on the kids while we ate.  Including play time before and after eating we spent about 2 hours there.
Here are the pages which lead us to the Cafe Mitsubachi in Urawa:


What would it be like if instead of crying to be fed your 5 month old baby could let you know that she is hungry?  If you try using sign language you can find out!
Take a look at this on the Signing Way blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bicycle Seat Recall

I saw on the news tonight that the most common rear child seats for a bike (in Japan) are being recalled. Actually, the recall was issued last summer but so far only about 14% of the seat have been replaced. That got my attention and then I saw our bike seat is part of the recall.
The concern is that the foot rest can come loose allowing the kids legs to get tangled up with the rear wheel of the bike.

Here is the Japanese homepage with more info:

If you go to the bottom of the page they show what you need to be looking for on the foot rest of the seat.  From what I understand you can take your bike to a local shop and get the seat replaced for free. I'm going to have my husband check into it when he gets home.

If you have a rear child seat on your bike please check and see if it is part of this recall.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eat At Our Place!

Whenever Daddy is particularly busy I try to compensate by doing things that are extra fun and extremely involved to help keep the kids minds busy.  Today we took a long walk after lunch to the baby store, grocery store and post office.  When we got home we took out all the cloth/felt food that we own and set up a shop.  The Little Guy had such a great time!
Most of these food items came from Ikea of the 100 yen shop.  They've been collected over the past few years.  I have also made a few items but found it tough to sew with a toddler around! 

The blue box is the one which stores all of the food/cooking items.  I try to limit all toy categories to 1 box each as we have very limited storage space. 
The yellow thing on the end is a little wagon which is holding the spice containers.  I put a little rice or beans in the empty containers so they make sound but won't spill.  This worked well until today when the little guy figured out how to open one!  I guess it is time to glue the lids on!
The boxes which the counter is made of are empty milk and juice cartons.  They've become some of the most used "toys" in our home!  On top of the boxes are some of the dishes which are set aside for the kids to use.
The chef is busy filling orders!
After about 10 minutes he went in search of the apron because it has pockets to hold the calculator and note pad for taking orders. 
Here you can see the stove.  It is a picture of one burner on our stove printed out and taped to one side of a milk carton box.  The pan is the one we used to use for camping.  It is light weight making it perfect for a kid's kitchen!

As you can see by the smile this is a real popular activity.  Before bed tonight the Little Guy asked if we can leave it set up so he can play with Daddy tomorrow.  I love that!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Next Time won't you Sign with me? (ABCs)

Little Guy is 3 years and 3
Little Miss is 5 months old

In our house we use ASL (American Sign Language) as a link between spoken languages.  It also is a great way to reinforce English in a fun way.
Recently the Little Guy has been showing an increased interest in finger spelling and letters.  To help encourage his interest I've put out and ASL ABC page and the Signing Time ABC Signs flashcards.
Even Little Miss is getting into finger spelling.  She has yet to make a clear sign but loves to watch her brother and "babble" with her fingers!

You can learn more about signing with babies / toddlers on my other blog here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Exercise Time

The Little Guy is 3 years and 3 months old
We are running into a problem with the Little Guy having too much energy.  Part of it is the amount of time being spent indoors due to cold weather and baby sister.  The other part is that he is in a time of testing his body.  He wants to climb, jump, balance... try anything I'll let him!
The curbs on the street make great balance beams.

The (fake) sledding hill in a local park is a great place.  It is free and fun.  Plus, the climbing up to the top starts to wear him out.

This time of learning about physical movement is so important.  I once had a boy in class who, at 4/5 years old, still had to get down on all fours to climb anything higher than a step.  He was a little big for his age and a bit awkward with his body.  It turned out that since he lived in a small apartment with a mom and older sister who were busy he spent most of his time at home, sitting around.  After a few months of "freedom" to run and play there was a huge improvement but I sometimes wonder if he will ever regain some of the physical dexterity that usually develops during the end of toddler years.

 If you're kid is driving you crazy with trying to make roller skates out of legos and skis from anything he can stand on, just remember that important learning is going on!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Computer User

The Little Guy is 3 years and 3 months old

The love of dinosaurs has lead the Little Guy to become an independent computer user.  So far he has only been to the Dinosaur Train homepage but it is amazing how much he has learned from just one site!  He's also figuring out the move/point/click mouse action.
The biggest lesson though is learning to share.  We don't want to start buying the Little Guy everything he wants just because we can (which we can't really) so he is learning that computer time is special because we share the computer. Since the computer is also the one Daddy uses for work there is a bit of patience being learned too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Divide and Conquer

Little Guy is 3 years and 3
Little Miss is 5 months old
The past week has been crazy busy.  With 2 kids it can be hard to get things done around the house.  Here is one of the tricks that I've used when time was short and my to-do list was long.
Little Guy and Little Miss really enjoy playing near each other.  They don't play together very well yet so a milk carton block dividing wall works well.