Hey all you wonderful people who bought the key fob kit!
I realised that there isn’t a very easy way to find the link for the video, so I’ll attempt to place a widget on the home page for that.
In the meantime, please use this to link up.
Here it is!
ETA: I realised I could add a little link at the top of my website- if you click on Tutorials all the way at the top of the page, you’ll see this video! Otherwise, it is also on the link at the right side -> called My Other Pursuits! Happy Crafting!
You’re finally 9!! You said to me last night that you almost feel like you’re 10, cos you feel like you’ve been 8 for a REALLY long time!! Haha…. so cute.
As always, you spent a loooong time planning your birthday. Every year, we will give the girls a birthday budget, which they can then spend on organising a birthday party with friends, or have a smaller group of invited guests (e.g. BFF like last year) or to just use the budget to buy presents and have a small family celebration. Being the sensitive girl that you are, this year, instead of inviting your current BFF (as you were worried last year’s BFF will be offended), you decided to just have a tiny celebration with our immediate family instead.
Part 1 of the celebrations – a much awaited Gold Class movie! We were thoroughly spoilt by the fantastic service at Gold Class!
Super luxurious plush recliner seats, cuddly blankets, service at a touch of the button.
Part 2 of your birthday plans was to get your ears pierced! You have been thinking about doing this I know, for quite a few months now, but you’ve never really confirmed it until a few days before your birthday. In typical Katie fashion, you made the decision to do it and there was not much wavering or backing out when you got there. You just sat yourself into the chair and said that you’re ready!
So proud of you and you look super pretty with the earrings!! 🙂
The final part of your birthday celebrations are with your nearest and dearest family. You love chicken rice & cupcakes, so it’s celebrations at the club again and we made sure we bought 9 cupcakes for your birthday!
As the girls grow older, we are able to fit more activities into our trips. They’re just able to absorb more, there are no longer any needs for naps and other logistics with younger kids. The more activities we have packed into each day, the longer the trip seems! So even though it is the same duration of all our annual trips (usually 9 or 10 days), this trip just seems a lot longer due to the many activities we managed to pack in!
Our first full day in Osaka was supposed to be a fun filled one, starting with the Instant Noodles Museum! We researched it and was super stoked to go there, but unfortunately, the Museum was closed for renovation! *insert sad face*. Lesson learnt- check the ACTUAL website to know if the venue is open on that day! Do not trust recommendation websites…. they are usually of past posts – which could be years ago!
To our delight, and a much needed consolation – there was a very good Ippudo cafe at the train stop.
Super yummy ramen and great onsen egg!
Interesting fabric architecture (taken while wandering around the streets)
They really are the “Mian Weng”!
YUMMMMM…… Look at that egg!!
Since we didn’t have much activities planned for the afternoon, we decided to be a “local”. We just walked about the neighbourhood…. going to the parks, playgrounds etc.
Enjoying each other’s company. Most of the times, we try to do too much on trips, sometimes, it’s just great to be just living “in the moment”, enjoying each other’s company, just being us 4.
Ice creams from the local minimart. K’s looking glum as we forgot to get a wooden spoon for her ice-cream tub. Oops!
Finally G finished her popsicle and K could use the wooden stick as a makeshift spoon 🙂 Happy Girl!
G being a sculpture. She’s always had a very quirky sense of humour!
Having fun at the playground.
We had a super healthy lunch! It’s somewhere around the “glico man” square. Lots of shopping places there, so it’s great to stay put in a cafe – settle lunch + dessert for the girls, and we get a chance to do our own solo shopping excursions.
Enjoying a healthy carrot cake dessert….
And a super unhealthy macdonalds’ fries after dessert dessert! haha!
Some links for the websites that we referred to while planning this leg of the trip:
We usually do this on our trips with the girls – split the destination into 2 main chunks, so that we don’t have to drag our luggage over too many places, and it has worked out pretty well so far! For this trip, we arrived at Kansai Airport in Osaka, but took the Limousine transport directly to Kyoto upon arrival. We spent the majority of the trip in Kyoto (with 2 day trips out), but for the last few days, we decided to travel back to Osaka, which will be where we will be departing from.
Taking the train ride from Kyoto to Osaka. That’s all our baggage! Kudos to V who is always the luggage packer (OCD has it’s advantages! :))K with her latest fascination with toys in bubbles. We bought so many on this trip – everytime we passed a toy dispensing machine, she will spend her budget on these!Rare sisterly affection. She was feeding K some snacks.
The famous square with the Glico Man. We were very puzzled when people kept using the term “Glico Man” when trying to give us directions – eventually when we reached the square, we understood! It’s a big thing in Osaka and lots of people use it as a navigation landmark.
Sartorial shot of V
G wanted me to take a catwalk shot of her too!
As it was almost the New Year, lots of stores offered Happy Bags!
K being absolutely thrilled at what her daily budget (1000Y) yielded!
Osaka as a whole was sooo much more relaxed than hoity toity Kyoto! I think we all heaved a sigh of relief as there were no more stares and shush-ing to be done for the exuberant girls! 😛
Also known as the “Philosopher’s walk”, the Northern Higashiyama portion was a stretch of walking which we prepared the girls for!
All walks need to start with good breakfasts! And this cafe was one of the favourites – to us – for the old school but interesting interiors, to the girls – for the thick slices of milk toasts! K loved her butter especially!G pretending to be thinking along the philosopher’s walk! hahaDistances and directionsIt’s a rather long walk without much to do along the way, so it might get a bit boring for younger kids. The girls as usual found ways to amuse themselves- like walking along the path by balancing only on the kerbs!Beautiful flower / vegetable arrangements in front of the housesSo pretty!First time seeing oranges on trees!Some much needed retail therapy after a long walk!On the temple grounds. Love the greenery!A little break at the tourism kiosk – the lady there was really good and made a great suggestion for Soba noodles (see below)!One of the yummiest places we visited this trip.Waiting for our food in this traditional courtyard houseLittle japanese girls mastering the art of kneelingYum!Look at that slurp!I love this photo of K! She was waiting impatiently for her noodles to cool down!Happy girl after lunchPuppy fats 🙂A decent family shot by the very obliging restaurant owner. Highly recommended place if you do the same walk!
After the walking of yesterday, today was to be a relaxed day! We decided that we should bring them to an Onsen day trip. Kurama is the perfect place – it was too far away from Kyoto by train, but far enough to have very different temperatures and there was SNOW! Very important when you have snow crazy kids!! 🙂
As always, we relied on Hyperdia for the timetables. Here’s us waiting for the train. An aptly named “romantic carriage”K insisted that we had to look “romantic” for this shot!She took a shot of her sister’s toy as well. I love how she’s so into photography and videos!We arrived to a SUPER cold and wet Kurama!! No snow yet but it was definitely cold enough!Rain and wet weather means that the mossy grass and colours were ever so vibrant!More temples, which we gave a miss to, I think the girls were pretty templed out by this time!Love the mossy greensPaper crane garlandsWe literally spent the whole day at this little spa! It was great, we booked it online and they sent a van to pick us up from the train station. Highly recommended!!!My little yukata clad miss enjoying herself!Yummy yummy Nabe. A traditional soup dish that was so wholesome and good!True enough, it started blizzarding! We walked to the outdoor onsen in the snow! The girls were soo thrilled! What I couldn’t take photos of were the little “resting” rooms that had mud packs and beauty stuff to put onto your face while you nap away in a toasty tatami floor space. It was so relaxing and I think we all took a little nap!Beautiful sceneries!For our last night in Kyoto, we visited another cool eating place (again without any links as I did not take note… arghh!) this time with more italian / japanese sort of food.
We’re at the midway through our trip and the past few days had relatively little walking. Now was the start to test the mettle of the girls! Will they be able to sustain their little legs throughout this ‘leg’ of the trip? 😛 A tip with anyone attempting Kyoto with little ones – split up your walking days! There’s lots to cover in Kyoto and we kinda took it by feel, if they were too tired, we just went into the nearest cafe / touristy shop for them to take a breather. Don’t get too stressed about going to EVERY single destination, sometimes the journey is more important!
This is called the Southern Higashiyama walk and you can read all about it here. We took it really slow, so didn’t really hurry the girls or linger at the temples. The highlight of the day would definitely have to be when we spotted a very pretty kimono clad lady walking down the street! The girls were so stunned and kept staring at her! We also stumbled upon a home-cooked cafe, literally in the garage of someone’s house! It was amazingly good food, unfortunately I didn’t take note of the name or address (it was just off the main shopping street – just look out for signs!)
Christmas Day (2013)!! The long awaited (for us) flea market at the Kitano Shrine is here. If you are like us, and love looking for REAL bargains, check out authentic farmer’s food, talk (or attempt to talk) to fantastically passionate craft people….. this is THE flea market in Kyoto for you! The girls have also gradually been exposed to the wonders of Flea Market shopping – especially if they get to stretch their 1000 YEN daily budget!
Going bright and early to a flea market is a MUST!
Cute cute ceramic bowls!
Part of the fun is always trying out new food stuff sold at the flea markets. The girls didn’t really like these “chao tar” corn though!
Check out the crowd! Such a fantastic atmosphere….
Upon discovering a vintage toy shop!
The girls found something they likes after rummaging through boxes and boxes of toys! I think the fun of shopping at a flea market is to “discover” something in other people’s “junk”….
Touching the cow for continuous good luck!
The girls and their purchases. It looks so deceptively quiet and serene… in actual fact, the grounds were heaving with people!! All wanting to finish up their purchases for the 1st of January, which is a rather big deal here in Japan.
Cute cute moccasins which V bought for K before the trip.
My grown up little miss and her new raggedy doll.
After that eventful morning, we visited this place.
The cafe used to be a bathhouse, so the interiors were still had remnants of the bath tiles etc. Fantastic use of space!
It had a very hippy vibe and very healthy food with great coffee!
The best part of it was discovering that they also screen English movies! That afternoon was Toy Story Part 3! The girls were delighted and spent the time enjoying their chocolate cake with the movie screening…
Whilst mummy sneaked out and did my own little walkabout.
Something we have always done when travelling with the kids, is when there is a lull in their energy levels, we would take turns minding them (usually at a tea break somewhere), while one of us does a speed-shop around the area. It works out great as we get our own retail therapy, and the girls do not need to keep up with “boring” mummy or daddy!
The girls by now are well versed in the rituals of bathing in onsens, and take it for granted that it is THE thing to do on our many trips to Japan. 🙂
Dinner that night was at a cafe within the covered shopping street next to the hotel. Only after we went back and started to do some other research online, did we realise it was actually quite a famous cafe!
Unfortunately I didn’t have any record of the name of the cafe at all. But the food was really really good! Think – Muji Cafe – type of food – before Muji Cafe opened in Singapore!
Again, the location of the Hotel was key on this trip. It was within walking distance to the best food and activities that we chose to do in Kyoto. Plus it was next to a walking street that was covered and had the best 100 yen stall!
As with all the trips to Japan so far, Japan = SNOW in the girls books! We were a little bit doubtful about having snow in Kyoto though, so I did a lot of research before finding the nearest location to go to for snow from Kyoto was the mountains surrounding Lake Biwa.
Getting there was actually quite simple, especially with Hyperdia, a website which we use constantly on ALL our trips to Japan. You key in the location, and it tells you “to the minute” information on how to get there – using Train, Bus or Walking!
After much research, we settled on Biwako-Valley. It’s about an hour’s train ride away from Kyoto central train station. We then took the ropeway up to the top of the mountain for the snow. Details are on the website link – click on English to make sense of it!
It was BLIZZARDING!! when we arrived from the Ropeway. This was the scene that greeted us… much to the delight of Snow crazy G!!
She couldn’t get enough of the snow…. this was really the best place for her! We decided that the next trip will probably be just a snowy destination and that’s it!
Good wholesome food as always at the ski slopes. I love the warm soups!
Super cold!! Thankfully I had my trusty felted scarf (which I’ve since bought another from the same Etsy seller!) and the down filled Columbia windbreaker.
It was a tiny tiny slope for the kids, but it was enough for them to enjoy their fix of snow and sledding.
The sun came out for a little bit and we managed to get some nice photos of them.
This is after a whole afternoon of going up and down this tiny slope! Love their rosy rosy cheeks!
One of the best things about Japan has got to be the snacks. And the girls – especially K – love buying different snacks to try out everyday!
Lastly, some research which we did for our trip – some of the places we managed to get to, some not. But I thought I’d compile them here for posterity!