Music Monday: Carol of the Bells

Music Monday: Carol of the Bells

posted in: Entertainment, Music | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s Music Monday is a Christmas song! Is it too early for a Christmas song? Absolutely NOT! We love Christmas music and listen to it all year round. One of our favorite Christmas songs is Carol of the Bells by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

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Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

posted in: Nonfiction, On the Road, Our Work, Travel, Woof Trekking, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

With the holidays coming up, many of you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Pet lovers may be taking their precious pups and furry felines on the road with them, perhaps for the first time. If you are new to the ways of Woof Trekking (road tripping with your pets), this may cause some anxiety for both the humans and the pets. But have no fear, we are here to help.
We have been traveling with our two dogs, Izzy and Nana, and one cat, Billy, for four years. We have gained a lot of knowledge to share with you. If you are new to our blog, you can take a look at our previous woof trekking posts here. We have also written a book about our experience with traveling with our cat and two dogs. You can get your copy on Amazon and Kobo.
woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets
You may be surprised that we travel with our cat, however Billy is a pretty chill cat who does fairly well on the road. If you want to take your cat with you (or a skittish dog for that matter), taking them on short, little trips to see how they handle going in the car is a good idea. We actually have two cats, but Tyra doesn’t travel well and prefers to stay home and be kenneled.

We have previously talked about what to pack for both your dogs and your cats. Some important items include: food, bowls, and kitty litter box.

Safety is very important while traveling with your pets and we have some tips to keep everyone safe. First of all safety in the car is very important, both of our dogs wear car harnesses so they can be buckled in. Billy also wears a harness so he too can be buckled up while riding in a human’s lap. You can read more about car harnesses here.

Some dogs and cats travel really well on the road and have no problems. Nana is one of these dogs. She loves car rides and watching the world pass by. Izzy is the opposite, she loves getting into the car but as soon as it starts moving, she becomes anxious and starts to whine. When we travel, we give her Dramamine, per the recommendation of our vet, and it takes the edge off. (Always talk to your vet before giving your pet medication.) Billy on the other hand gets motion sick in the car. He also gets Dramamine to help him deal with this. You can read more about Anxiety and Motion Sickness here.
pacific coast highway 9
The last point we would like to make is about hotel safety. Some hotels are better than others but all should be inspected before letting your pets loose. We have found some interesting objects hidden under the bed. Our biggest tip is to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight to clear the floor of any dropped pills and other foreign objects.

Go forth and don’t be afraid to take your pets on the road with you. If you want to read more about our travels, get a copy of our book. Bringing your pets on your travels will make your adventures even more memorable!

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Happy Boys’ (Children’s) Day and Let’s Make Mochi!

Happy Boys’ (Children’s) Day and Let’s Make Mochi!

posted in: Food, Side Dishes, Travel | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The fifth of May is well known in America as Cinco de Mayo, which is sometimes also referred to as Cinco de Drinko.

But for Japanese families, May 5th is Boys’ Day, also known as Children’s Day. The celebration has transformed over time to celebrate not only boys but all children on this day. Girls’ Day is celebrated on March 3rd, also known as Dolls’ Day.

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According to Chinese legend, it is said that carp (koi in Japanese) that swim through the Dragon Gate rapids in the Yellow River turn into dragons. (For more, read The Animal in Far Eastern Art by T. Volker (1950).)

On Boys’ Day, families in Japan proudly display carp windsocks affixed to a pole, one for each parent and one for each child. When the wind catches the carp it appears as though the fish are swimming.

carp, koi, boys day, childrens day, japan
A koi windsock pole we picked up in Japantown in San Francisco.

A traditional celebration of Boys’ Day includes the eating of mochi which has gained more popularity in the US over the past decade. For those unfamiliar with mochi, it is sweet rice that has been cooked in water, pounded into a thick, sticky paste and then formed into disks. On it’s own it can be kind of bland. You might say it is an acquired taste. I like to consume it in a brothy shoyu soup with shrimp and spinach. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water.

Zojirushi Mochi Maker

The process of making mochi is pretty easy now since we have mochi making machines (pictured above) that cook the rice and beat or “pound” the rice to the correct consistency. All you have to do is soak the rice in water overnight. Watching the mochi spinning, round and round is mesmerizing, as you can see in the video below.

The only difficult part is once it is done, it is an extremely hot (like molten lava hot) mound of rice paste. It can be difficult to handle if you have sensitive hands, but the end product is totally worth it.
The mochi needs to be portioned out into smaller servings before it has cooled and hardened too much. This is the time to put sweet red bean paste in the center of your mochi if you enjoy daifuku.
You can read more about how to make mochi with a mochi maker with step by step instructions at Of Rice and Ramen.
If your mouth is watering too, here’s a great recipe for Mochi Ice Cream from Just One Cookbook. The recipe uses Mochiko, sweet rice flour, which is a much quicker method than using a mochi maker.

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