Saturday, February 14, 2009

Best Chocolate in the World

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! As you may know, Dan and I haven't celebrated Valentine's Day since 2005. Why? One reason is that it is kind of silly to compete with every other couple in the vicinity to book a restaurant, then pay overpriced, special Valentine's Day prices for food, and especially the super expensive flower prices.

The other excuse we have for not celebrating Valentine's Day is (no, it's not because of the children, we try not to use them as excuses unless absolutely necessary)... we decided to be all Japanese about the holiday, and celebrate it like they do in Japan. The women go shopping and buy chocolate for the men. Yes, the women still get to be spoiled on another holiday, March 14th, White Day.

So, for Valentine's Day, I told Dan that he got to choose his chocolate of the day. We could go to Trader Joe's, which has tasty chocolate, Godiva, which has tasty expensivish chocolate, or Leonidas, which has the best chocolate ever. The only problem with Leonidas is that there isn't a branch near super close to us.

When we lived in Tokyo, there were two Leonidas' stores close to us. One was a few blocks away from where we lived in Kagurazaka. We had never head of it. But one day we stopped in. The chocolate was semi-expensive, but not unreasonably priced. We bought some. It was awesome.

So today, Dan said he wanted to get the Leonidas. We decided to drive up to Santa Monica instead of the trek to Pasadena. Success! The chocolate was a little more expensive than it seemed to be in Japan, but fortunately, the taste was as good, if not better, than we remembered.

If you are even in the market for the best chocolate ever, you have got to try Leonidas. Fortunately it is available on, but unfortunately, the shipping cost is absurdly high. Good luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Crafty Project

For those of you who know me, you probably know that I am not terribly crafty. However, I am embarking on a crafty project that I anticipate completing. Primarily I will be motivated by Will's excitement about the outcome. He is actually excited by the process too. Who knew an almost 3-year-old could be so interested in sewing.

Here is the first, not quite complete, crafty item:

What is it? It's a Phonics Miniatures Sound Pocket. The idea is that you create 26 pockets, one for each letter of the alphabet, then populate them with tiny items that start with each letter. That way, someone who is just learning about letters and words can figure out that "Apple" starts with "A" or "Zipper" starts with "Z". Will is doing great with letter recognition and he seems to understand that words are made of letters. He is very excited about the felt envelopes and the tiny items.

The pocket above isn't quite done. It still needs some felt sewn on to cover the top of the elastic button loop. We also need to add the letter, "W". You may notice that my button is a wine cask. You may also wonder about the appropriateness of including a wine-theme in a child's educational toy. If you like, ask Will about wine sometime. :)

Of course, this is not something I came up with on my own. I got the idea from a mom who is teaching her 3-year-old using the Montessori method. She has a wonderful blog about some of the activities that they do. She is also very crafty and made much cuter pockets for her son. She also was kind enough to organize a miniatures exchange. So Will helped me to shop for 10 little items that we could also send to our two exchange partners. As we live here in Southern California, we got some small wooden surfboards and some other sea-themed items such as a tiny finger puppet octopus and whale. We also got a neat little rubber lobster and a realistic looking rubber donut. We are still waiting on our packages from our exchange partners as they were sent from Singapore and India. We will post our sound pockets once they are done!