Japan: Sendai and Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture

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I LOVE Japan’s public transport system! Most places are easily accessible, even for non-Japanese speakers. We caught the Shinkansen from Hakodate to Sendai and apparently, for 20 minutes, we were way deep underwater. Too cool!

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There weren’t much to see in Sendai, for me at least. We spent most of the time shopping, which works for me. I am so good at emotional-shopping now! Japan has the best clothes for little boys, very unlike Australia. From my last count, I think we have about 50 items for Little E alone. Plus all the knick-knacks. We had to buy more luggage allowance…..

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Mr E and I finally got the chance to have a dinner date. It was so great, no time limit so we could go for as long as we want to. We went to a restaurant that specialises in beef tongue, which is a Sendai speciality. This trip has been good for us, I have been reminded frequently how good we are together. I am thankful ♡

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We took a day trip to Matsushima, which is apparently one of three most scenic spots in Japan. It lived up to its title! I loved it there 🙂

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We took a ferry ride to try take in all the vast number of little islands in Matsushima. Unfortunately, the ferry was packed to the brim, so we had to stand at the back of the ferry. The smell of the fume almost got too much for me. I still liked it though!

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My favourite of the trip: the Date Masamune museum, one of the most famous samurai in Japanese history. He was also the person who built up Matsushima to be a prosperous town. His childhood story was a little sad, being disregarded by his own mother, however, luckily his father saw his full potential and believed in him. I highly recommend this museum if you’re ever in Matsushima.

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More of the beautiful scenes of Matsushima: an iconic Japanese bridge leading to one of the many islands, a 700 year old tree and beautiful caves for meditation.

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Our stay in Sendai ended at a very high note: a slightly drunken night at a local Jazz bar. Ginger Highball is now officially my favourite drink! 🙂

Fussy Little Eaters: Homemade muesli bar

I went to Woolies the other week looking for one of those fruit strips for Little E, but couldn’t find any. I did, however, found and bought these. Little E had it for the first time this morning and liked them. I actually quite like them too but I don’t like the price. I bought a pack of 6 for AUD2.39, which isn’t too bad, however, they’re AUD3.23 full price. So today, I decided to try in making my own 🙂

There are lots of recipes online, each are quite different, but most contain a lot of sugar! Even ones that are supposedly for kids. I basically chopped and changed different recipes and come up with my own – based on what I have in the pantry and least amount of sugar possible. Here it is!

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Muesli Bar (with Gluten Free alternative)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 cups rolled oats (see note for gluten-free option)
  • 1 weetbix
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (I also mixed through some dried fruits and dried apples I have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates (can also use dried apricots)
  • 1/4 cup gentle fibre (can also use dessicated coconut)
  • 1/8 cup nuts or seeds of your choice (I used a mixture of pistachio, peanuts and almonds)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Melt butter and honey together in a pot
  3. Using a food processor, blend all the other ingredients together until fine
  4. Stir the melted butter and honey slowly and blend until all combined
  5. In a lined tray (I used a loaf tray), press the mixture firmly
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden
  7. Cool before cutting into sticks (makes about 12 toddler-hand-sized sticks)

Note: for a gluten free alternative, you can use crushed cornflakes and rice bubbles 🙂

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When kept in the fridge, these should be fine for a couple of weeks. I guess the good thing about store bought ones is that they last longer and so you can keep them in your nappy bag for emergencies. However, these would be a lot cheaper and if you have older kids as well (or husbands), they can get on these too 🙂