Breakfast in the woods

I haven’t gone camping since I was a kid. It was a school camping trip and I remember I didn’t like it because it was raining and I got sick there. However, I decided to go camping again. Why? I wanted to take a picture of stars. I needed to go to a place where has a very dark sky.

My husband and I took our two wiener dogs, Cocoa and Haru to Lake Wenatchee located northeast of Seattle about 2 hours drive. We relaxed by the lake, enjoyed paddle boarding, and headed to our camp site. Our tent was big enough for us with two dogs and very comfortable. Unfortunately it got cloudy at night and we were not able to see stars. However, it was really nice to spend a relaxing time in the tent with my husband and dogs listening the wind at night.

I think Haru doesn’t like a camping. When she was eating her meal, a bee flew around her. She immediately lost her interest to her meal and she escaped to the tent. After that she rushed to our car crying. I think she was saying “Let’s go home!”.

Haru and Cocoa

Next morning my husband cooked the breakfast. He usually makes pancakes, omelettes, baked potatoes on the weekend at home. The breakfast he made was a typical one with pancakes, sausages, and sunny side up eggs. I added berries on the plates and prepared coffee. It was one of the most delicious breakfast I’ve ever had. I think that’s because we enjoyed our breakfast in clear air surrounded by the trees with a partial lake view with chipmunks saying hello.

This camping was a completely different experience from the one I had long time ago. We enjoyed being in the outdoor and appreciated the beauty of the nature.

前回キャンピングに行ったのは中学生の頃、学校からのキャンプトリップ。雨は降るし、テントや毛布もきれいじゃないし、おまけに体調も壊していい思い出は無かった。そんな私がキャンプに行こうと思ったのは綺麗な星空を見たかったから。そしてその星空をカメラに収めたかったから。

旦那と我が家の愛犬、二匹のミニダックスフンド、ココとハルを連れだってシアトルから車で2時間ほど東にあるウエナッチー湖にあるキャンプ場へ向かった。山に囲まれた湖でたくさんの人が思い思いに楽しんでいた。私たちもパドルボーディングをしたりビーチでのんびり過ごした。

キャンプサイトは私達には十分広すぎるぐらいだった。テントは大人二人と犬二匹と荷物でちょうどいい大きさ。寝袋以外にも枕や毛布、マットなど持って来たので快適だった。夜は残念ながら雲が出てきて星空は見えなかった。でもみんなで風の音を聞きながらテントで過ごした夜は不思議なほど楽しかった。

ハルは少し敏感な犬で周りの環境が変わるとちょっと難しい。外でご飯を食べてると虫が飛んできて、ハルは食べ終わってもいないのにテントへ逃げ込んんだ。その後、車までキュンキュン泣きながら走っていった。きっと「早く家に帰ろう。」って言ってたのかな。

翌朝、旦那が朝食を作ってくれた。普段から週末はパンケーキやオムレツなど作ってくれるのだが、今回も普通の朝ごはん、パンケーキとソーセージ、目玉焼きを作ってくれた。私は苺とブルーベリーをそのお皿に足し、コーヒーを淹れた。普通の朝ごはんだけどなんだか今まで食べた中で一番美味しく感じた。きっと外で澄み切った空気と木々の緑、少し見える湖、そして人懐こいシマリス達と一緒に食べたからだろうか。今年の夏もそろそろ終わりを迎え始めてるそんな森の中で食べた美味しい朝ごはん。今回のキャンプは前回よりもとても楽しいものとなりました。

Joy of Yoga

I was never able to control stresses from work. My teenage child was out of control. My body was changing and lost a balance of hormones. In the end my health was dramatically deteriorated. That was a few years ago.

I always knew yoga is good for our health but I really didn’t know what it meant until I happed to find my old friend was a yoga instructor. We reconnected on Facebook and I learned she shares her class on Facebook live. I never took an in person yoga class before. It didn’t last after third day when I tried to do yoga looking at YouTube. That changed when I started my friend’s yoga class.

Her class is once a week in the morning. I am not able to participate in live because I work from home full time, but I jump in my friend’s yoga class right after I finish my work. All stretches and the poses make me feel so good and I can feel my body gets relaxed and feels more energy. The breathing makes me feel calm and release my stress. Since then I have continued to do yoga almost twice a day.

This is a discovery to change my life more or less. Because of yoga, I am able to disconnect myself from work and refresh myself every day. Doing yoga, I can focus myself and found the more important things in my life.

Our family had a trip to Oregon coast this summer. One of the things I wanted there was a yoga in the beach in early morning. The sky was clear. The air was fresh. The sound of the waves was soothing. I enjoyed yoga in my dream place.

仕事のストレスは計り知れない。反抗期真っ盛りの子供にはお手上げ。体のホルモンバランスは崩れかけてる。今まで風邪もほとんどひいたことのない私が体調を崩し始めたのは2、3年前のこの頃からだった。

ヨガが体にいいのは知っていた。でも本当の意味では理解していなかった。ヨガのクラスを受けたことも無いし、YouTube を観てヨガをしても三日坊主だった。そんな私がヨガを続け始めたのはヨガインストラクターの友達がフェイスブックでクラスをやってることを知ってからだった。彼女のクラスは週一回。午前中のため仕事をしてる私はライブでの参加は無理。仕事を終えてすぐ録画されてるクラスでヨガをした。身体を伸ばしたり、ひねったり。もう身体が気持ちいいって言ってるのが凄く感じられた。呼吸に集中することで雑念から解放されて心身リラックスできた。それからほぼ毎日二回ヨガを続けている。

ヨガは私の毎日の生活の中で欠かせないものとなった。ヨガををすることによって仕事とプライベートをしっかり線引きできるようになった。ヨガは私にとって何が一番大切なことなのか教えてくれた。

今年の夏、オレゴンコーストに家族旅行へ出かけた。旅行でやりたい事の一つが朝のビーチヨガだった。果てしなく広がる青い空と海。白い砂浜。空気は澄んで、波の音は心を落ち着かせた。憧れのビーチヨガ。新鮮な空気をいっぱい吸って私はヨガを満喫した。

Let’s go to see the wild flowers!

Seattle summer is short. Whenever it’s sunny people try to stay outside as much as possible to enjoy sun. In summer National Park Mt. Rainier, the wild flowers are blooming. My husband and I decided to leave early morning so that we can avoid the crowds on Saturday. It takes about 2 hours for one way and it’s a perfect day trip on a sunny weekend.

We went to Sunrise where is east side of Mt. Rainier and the big mountain with snow welcomed us. We took some trails and enjoyed the beautiful views and wild flowers. Some trails have lots of trees and flowers where we can walk in the shade. Others are open trails and we could see glaciers, rocks, and chipmunks. I sweated but the cool breeze in high mountain made me feel good.

We ate our lunch with a company of chipmunk. The chipmunk was hoping to get something to eat but we know we shouldn’t feed a wild animal so we didn’t though it was so cute! Next time we will go to higher point to see a view from the lookout.

シアトルの夏は短い。暑すぎず心地よい夏。晴れの日は皆んなそれぞれに公園やビーチやトレイルに出かけアウトドアを満喫する。

シアトルから車で2時間ほどの距離にマウントレーニエ国立公園がある。この時期色とりどりの高山植物がたくさん見られる。ハイジの世界は子供の頃からの憧れ。旦那と朝早く出発してマウントレーニエへ日帰り旅行に行くことにした。

今回はマウントレーニエの東側サンライズへ行った。まだ雪をかぶった大きなマウントレーニエが出迎えてくれた。早速いくつかのトレイルを歩き始めた。カラフルな花がたくさん咲いていて、木々の間を縫うように木陰を心地良く歩いた。壮大な山の景色は言うまでもなく、氷河やクリスタルブルーの湖、岩だらけの山の斜面など全てが素晴らしい景色だった。

おにぎりと残り物のおかずのお弁当を食べていると小さなシマリスがやってきた。おこぼれが欲しいのか人懐っこく近づいてきて可愛い姿をみせてくれた。でも野生動物に食べ物をあげるわけにはいかないので残念だけど。ごめんね。

今回はもう疲れてやめたけど次回はもっと高い場所まで登って見晴台まで行ってみようと旦那と約束した。シアトルの夏の週末。楽しい日帰り旅行でした。

Continue reading “Let’s go to see the wild flowers!”

A simple Japanese style sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is a birthday cake or a Christmas cake with whipped cream and strawberries on a sponge cake. The sponge which is soft and moist perfectly matches with sweet cream and fresh strawberries. My parents got this cake from a cake shop or a bakery. Since then there have been so many different kinds of cakes I had, but this simple sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries is always my top favorite.

It’s not easy to make this cake especially the sponge. The sponge was always hard and dry, but my husband found a recipe from a Japanese guy in his blog and he tried it. It turned out the sponge was perfectly soft and moist. It’s dense but not too much.

Now it’s my turn to finish the cake. I checked the images of the cakes in internet and found one which I like. I simply coated the sponge cake with whipped cream and laid cut strawberries around the cake. For the accent of the color, I added blueberries and raspberries here and there. Finally I added powder sugar on top.

This was a cake for my Mother’s Day made by my husband. The taste was exactly same the one I had when I was a little girl.

子供の頃お誕生日とクリスマスに必ず食卓に上がった苺のケーキ。母がケーキ屋さんやパン屋さんで予約していつも買ってきてくれた。あの頃はあまりケーキの種類も今ほど豊富でなくケーキと言えば大体この苺のケーキだった。

あれから様々なケーキが出て来たけどやっぱりこの苺のケーキは大好きなケーキのひとつ。柔らかくてしっとりしたスポンジ。キメが細かいけど重くない。甘い生クリームとちょっと酸味のある苺が口の中でスポンジと一緒になって至福のひと時。

このスポンジを作るのはなぜか難しい。いつも固くなったりパサパサしてたり。でもブログで見つけたレシピでカズが挑戦。今回はメレンゲを使ったらしく出来上がりは昔食べたケーキのように柔らかくしっとりとしていた。

ここからは私の出番。インターネットで可愛らしいケーキのイメージを見つけて早速のデコレーション。半分に切った苺を外側、中側、交互にケーキの周りに並べ、彩りにブルーベリーとラズベリーを所々に。最後に粉砂糖を振りかけ出来上がり。今年の母の日、カズが私に作ってくれた最高のケーキでした。

Needle Felted Baby Penguin – Christmas ornament #2

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This adorable needle felted baby penguin was made for a Christmas decoration.  It’s so adorable with its present and its knitted red hat. I also made the penguin so that it can have a string attached to its head so that it can be made into a Christmas tree ornament.

 

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/kokobiyori

Baby Snow Monkey – Christmas ornament #1

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I made a needle felted baby snow monkey for a Christmas ornament.  It is a perfect ornament for a Christmas tree with a string.  This baby monkey wears a green scarf and plays in the snow.  He made a snowball and I put an “M” on the snowball because “M” is for Monkey! https://www.etsy.com/shop/kokobiyori

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/kokobiyori

An Early Morning Hike

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Sunday mornings are one of the only times that I can sleep late and eat a big breakfast.  I like to stay at home and spend the day crafting.  However, my daughter wanted to go hiking because it was going to be another beautiful sunny day.  The forecast predicted a 90 F day so we decided to go hiking early in the morning , when the air would still be cool and crisp and we could be able to avoid the crowds.

We headed to the Twin Falls trail, located about 45 minutes drive east from Seattle.  It was around 9 am when we started to hike and there weren’t many people on the trail.  As we expected, the morning air was cool and fresh.  It was a perfectly sunny day but the trail was in the shade and the sun beams that came down from in between the tree branches were beautiful.

imageWe saw a few chipmunks during the hike.  They are so tiny and cute, and they were moving so fast but somehow my husband managed to take a few pictures of them.

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At the end of the trail we could see two waterfalls that were very beautiful.

At first, I was reluctant to give up my lazy Sunday routine and go hiking, but it was very refreshing and energizing!

 

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I Opened an Etsy Shop! -Kokobiyori

Hello!

If you have visited my blog before, then you know that crafting is not just a hobby, but a huge passion of mine. For a while now I have wanted to open a shop on Etsy, which is an online marketplace for artists to sell their work. After much researching and planning, I have decided to open and to hopefully physically share my crafts with people around the States, and later with the world. I am starting out my shop, called Kokobiyori with only needle felted crafts, but hope to add some of my other crafts later on as well. I will link my shop in this post, so if you have a little time, please check it out!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/kokobiyori

Here are some of the products that I am selling.

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Gifts from My Students

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Last Saturday was the last day of my Japanese language school for the 2014/15 school year.  It has been 8 years since I started teaching Japanese to children.  Every year the students in my class are different and each class is unique.  Over the year I get to know my class by communicating, studying together, playing games, and doing activities, and by the end we have formed a bond. On the last day I had mixed feelings, because I was happy to finish another year and to send the students off to the next level class but I was sad to say good bye and not see them in my class anymore.  But I know that the next year holds new students and a different teaching adventure.

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Each year students have given me very special gifts; handmade thank you cards, paper cranes, animals made with origami paper, drawings, handmade stuffed animals, etc.  I love to see their short, handwritten  messages in the Japanese I taught.  I love to see pretty drawings with their names in Japanese characters.  Those are very special gifts from my students that I keep in a box.  But most of all, I love to hear how much they enjoyed my class and that they look forward to coming back to school next year.  I am fortunate to be able to receive these priceless gifts from my students.

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