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Eating Overseas

August 11, 2022

When I first moved to Japan, navigating the grocery store was a huge challenge.

I struggled with reading food labels, and had no idea what people ate on a regular basis, what food was available seasonally, or how to make a meal out of the random ingredients on the shelves.

I had plenty of experience cooking, and my mom made sure that I knew the basics of making good food and shopping thriftily.. but it took several years of living abroad before my language skills and foundational understanding of Japanese food ingredients matched my abilities in the kitchen and with a calculator.

The first few months of living overseas I had no idea that I was shopping at an “expensive” grocery store that closed early in the evening, and that there was an affordable, 24-hour grocery store just across the street!!

(Granted, the cheaper store was underground inside a shopping center so not super visible, but I would have had no clue without the tip-off from one of the ladies in my sharehouse!)

The first few weeks of my overseas life especially, I had very little money as I was 23 years old and had just bought the things to supply my basic living needs. I didn’t know when food went on sale, and often rushed into the grocery store after work just before closing time, grabbing whatever random pre-cooked items were left and hoping that they tasted okay.

As time went on, I began to realize the flow of sale times, what tasted good, and locate familiar ingredients and read basic labels. Slowly – very slowly – the grocery store became less intimidating, and I knew how to navigate the aisles, and even use the self-checkout machines using the Japanese language setting.

Eating became much easier (and tasty!)!

Yet, this was only the beginning of my overseas food journey!

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Early Potty Training

July 19, 2022

When you talk about early potty training, there are often several negative responses.

You shouldn’t potty train early, you’ll harm your child.

You have to wait until toddlers show “signs of readiness” and are developmentally ready to train.

You can’t train a child before they can talk. Why force your child to potty train early?

There is no rush. It’s not a race to grow up.

And so on..

The truth is that there is NO one way or perfect timeline to potty train a child, and every child (and family) is different.

A child is not “better” or “worse” for starting potty training later or earlier. However, it is also incorrect that early training is harmful, forced, or reflects a parent’s desire to “rush” childhood milestones.

In fact, early potty training can be gentle, relaxed, fun, and have many benefits.

Our son started early potty training in January 2022 at 10 months of age.

Below we share our experiences with early potty training as parents still currently in the thick of raising a toddler: the method we are using, how it’s going so far, and answers to some questions about early training for those who might be interested in trying it with their child.

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Cloth Diapering in Japan

July 18, 2022

Our son has used cloth diapers since about 3 months of age.

We love that cloth diapers can be gentle on baby’s skin, cost-effective (especially for families that hope to have more than one child), leak far less than disposable diapers, make transitioning to toilet training easier, and have the potential to be environmentally friendly, depending on how you launder them.

While cloth diapering is not for everyone, we have had a great experience so far with cloth diapering our son (now 16 months), and are excited to share what we’ve learned!

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Postpartum Essentials

July 9, 2021

During pregnancy, so much focus can be on preparing the baby.. but preparing the mother is important, too!

Especially for new mothers, it can be helpful to know what to expect after giving birth, and how to make the transition to motherhood easier.

Below I share a list of what I found useful during my postpartum recovery, and my thoughts about each item. Or, scroll to the bottom of the post to discover what items were “not worth it”!

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