Reviews · Seen/Heard/Tried

Uncle Goose Japanese Blocks

Sometimes you learn that super cool places exist right in your own area after months of living there and not knowing about them. We discovered such a place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, yesterday after receiving a very special gift for Lillian. The place is called Uncle Goose, and the gift was a set of beautiful Japanese blocks.

japanese-blocks-2
These blocks are just awesome. They include bits of all three systems of writing in Japanese as well as English translations. There are animals on one side of each block, and on another side there is a chrysanthemum pattern from a fabric designed in the 1800’s. The blocks not only look beautiful, but they feel pleasing to hold as well. Moreover, they are responsibly and sustainably made, and are printed using child-safe inks so I don’t have to worry about them going in Lily’s mouth.

I was so shocked that it is possible to find blocks that have Japanese and English on them handmade in the states, let alone in West Michigan, but Uncle Goose actually makes sets of blocks in many languages, ranging from Korean to Polish (23 languages are available total, to date!). They also craft other wonderful sets, like one with bugs and another with nursery rhymesย (I’d love to get those for Lillian one day, too!).
uncle-goose-japanese-blocksLillian’s gift of Uncle Goose blocks will be a treasure for years to come. Chad seems to think they are a sign we should actively teach Japanese to Lillian and then move back to Japan, but I’m not so sure about all of that ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, Uncle Goose is based in Grand Rapids but sells their blocks in 6 out of 7 continents worldwide. Check out their website and drool over these blocks (like I mentioned, you canย literally drool over them and you’ll be a-okay!).

Have you found any fun places in your area lately? Thanks for letting me share!
xx Caitlyn

Food & Cooking

Resolutions: What do you want to eat more of in 2017?

  • happy-new-year

I was listening to an episode of The Sporkful the other day and the host, Dan Pashman, noted that the episode would be the last of 2016. I thought it was rather early to already be having the last show of the year when I realized suddenly that 2016 wasย already over. How did that happen? I feel like after giving birth to our sweet baby (who will already be one at the end of this month–eek!), time has been more of a whirlwind than ever before. Days, weeks and months have been sneaking their way into the past in what feels like the time-span of a few breaths.

Realizing that 2016 had already come and gone naturally led me to reflecting on the crazy, sometimes crummy (but often amazing!) yearย we had, and then, of course, to thinking about what’s to come in the year ahead. And that brought me back to the fun request Pashman asked listeners in the episode of The Sporkful I’d been listening to:ย call in and describe what you resolve to eatย moreย of in 2017. I thought that was such a fun resolution because rather than making a difficult,ย potentiallyย unattainable goal, you’re making a resolution that is more about enjoying yourself.

So what’s your answer? I for one would like to eat more onigiri in 2017. I loved grabbing tuna mayo onigiri from convenient stores in Japan whenever I needed a quick snack, and I always miss eating it when we’re in the states. Chad even got me a cute kitty onigiri set for Christmas in Tokyo last year so I can try to make ones like these cute ones from Bento and co. below!
neko-onigiri-set
I’m looking forward to hearing about your food resolution in the comments, and to posting more frequently in 2017!

Happy New Year!
xx Caitlyn

PS Remember this little onigiri needle felt cutieย I made a couple years ago? So easy and fun!