New Clothes for Vintage Barbies

When we last visited Manila, Little A inherited two vintage (aka old) barbies from her aunts. These came with clothes, tons of shoes and a suitcase. The clothes are faded, the hair is frizzy, but still, Little A plays with the dolls. 

I read somewhere that conditioner works wonders.  We tried it. Little A squirts half the tube, tried to weave her fingers between the tangled golden hair, washed the greasy substance off while spraying water all over barbie (and us). We use a small towel and wrapped their hair so water doesn’t drip down the floor. She squeezed the towel. Squeeze and squeezed some more. The hair, now less tangled but very shiny. Oh well. We can still sing “flower blooms” while pretending to comb the blonde mane.

The clothes are a different story. Barbie clothes are so short and tight. It’s really hard to put them on (it’s my job so I know what I’m talking about). But the cheap mama doesn’t want to buy new barbie clothes that are just as tight. With virtually no sewing and designing skills, I set out to make new clothes for the dolls. 

I took some  scrap fabric and fabric glue and started working. 

My first experiment was a short skirt so in case I fail, I’d still have some fabric left to work on.

I made pattern out of paper to check if I got the dimensions correctly. Cut out the fabric then glued the edges so it won’t fray. Then, I placed velcro strips to fasten the clothes.

Not clean but these are prototypes (wink)


There we go. A new outfit but still short and tight. :/

With newfound confidence, I present the two new outfits I made. 

And as a happy coincidence, the back of the star dress can be another outfit!

The glue.

The fabric glue isn’t permanent and could be washed off. As far as I know, it’s a temporary solution to sewing issues. So I guess unless I learn to sew, these new clothes won’t get washed. 

I had to do these by trial and error. Maybe I should’ve searched for patterns online or read up on doll dress making. I’m sure there’dbe something   that would’ve made it easier. If you have any tips, please feel free to leave a comment.


A Birthday Celebration, 2015

We celebrated Little A’s birthday recently.

In the morning, we had the compulsory birthday misua.


With mushroom and boiled egg


We spent the day here.



Played in the ball pit with 80000 balls!


They had a market place. You can be a fruit and veggie stand vendor…


And sell takoyaki…


Soon after, the tummies are a-grumbling.


We went to Coconoha, with a semi-open kitchen.


Grandpa H might have been a little surprised with japanese style pastas. I know I was when I first came to Japan. This one is mushroom asparagus spaghetti.


Salmon and tomatoes.


Because it was scorching hot, we had these delicious drinks


And then, we had to have dessert, too!


And this!

We explored the skytree mall but decided we better eat some moaaaar!


So we let Grandpa H try this fresh chips with Royce chocolate


Then we figured why not stay in their resto. We ordered the sampler chips with curry, cheese and mayo dips.


And then we chanced upon a robotics and space exhibit. That’s Little A on the moon and a view of the Earth. It’s a small yet fantastic exhibit!


And we ended the day with fireworks!


And birthday pie!

Happy birthday!

Kodomo no Kuni

Kodomo no kuni is literally Child’s World. It an expanse of open space and play area for children to explore.

We visited the mini zoo where we saw sheep and cows. Little A was cranky and didn’t want to look at them.


But, the horses! She loved.

We decided to eat because it was just too hot. We brought bento from origin. There aren’t much to choose from inside the park, so best to bring food with you if you can.

Afterwards, it was time for water play!


The larger water areas have bigger, rougher kids playing. We stayed in the gentle parts where there were fewer kids.


Kuya H playing with his water gun

There are a lot more things you can do like ride the bus train or go karting. There are also a barbeque area, water bottle launcher, and flea market.

When the kids woke up from their naps, they checked out the slides until they were ready to try them out. Little A slid from the top! Whoppeee!

Twas a good day save for the scorching sun! Go on a cloudy day!

Website here.

Chia Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

It has been raining on and off this week. To entertain Little A, we baked some goodies!

I saw the recipe below and figured we could do this easily.  I didn’t have some ingredients on hand but I suppose it would be alright to substitute whatever we had on our pantry.

Vanilla Almond Milk = Soy Milk

Shredded Coconut = Ground Flaxseed

Dates = Prunes

Almond Butter = regular unsalted butter

 Chia Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (recipe from the link)

  • 1½ Tablespoons chia seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks or carob chips
  • 1 Tablespoon creamy almond butter
  • large pinch of cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and almond milk and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, or until the chia seeds have created a nice gel-like consistency.
  3. Pour the chia seed gel into a medium sized mixing bowl and add in the mashed bananas, oats, coconut, almond butter and cinnamon until well combined.
  4. Gently stir in the dates and chocolate chunks.
  5. Scoop out dough (about 1-2 tablespoons worth) onto a baking stone or a greased cookie sheet and use a fork to press the dough down a little to make more of a cookie shape. You should get about 15 cookies.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies have browned a tiny bit.
  7. Take them out, let cool and enjoy.
It turned out really great! She had fun mashing the bananas, measuring the ingredients and mixing everything together. She even ate some of the chopped prunes before she dropped them into the bowl.
Little A ate three cookies right after we baked them.
A success!

Osaka’s Universal Studio Japan

Hooray! USJ time! It was raining but stopped when we left the apartment. IMG_1405

The magic is here! (Oops, wrong theme park! This isn’t Enchanted Kingdom)IMG_1407

So, we were able to buy tickets and enter USJ at 11am. There weren’t any express passes anymore. We weren’t planning to purchase them, but, just so you know, they were sold out by this time.

Our first order of the day was to look for the ticketing area where they give out passes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. These are free but timed passes to enter the gates of HP. By the time we were there, there were only 3 schedules left. My sister told me when they went to USJ, they weren’t able to get tickets anymore.

After securing the passes, we listened to the band singing and dancing on stage. They were playing Taylor Swift songs, Shake It Off and Blank Space– the same songs we played the night before for Little A.


Then, we decided to look for a place to have lunch. Funny story– I really don’t have a good sense of direction! We were looking for the Studio Stars Restaurant. DrG and Little A were behind me. I entered the restaurant. Scored a round table for the three of us. DrG went to line up to buy food. I look around and saw people were just eating sandwiches there. I thought this place served a popular roasted chicken dish. Then, I realized it was the wrong restaurant! We were in the Boulangerie! Ugggh!  I went to DrG and he said he thought I changed my mind about Studio Stars. Hahaha! So off we went to go to the correct one.

With the bellies happy, we went to Universal Wonderland.


Hello, Kitty!


Carousel fun! Little A was afraid at first but got some courage after a few minutes. Bravery was short lived though as the carousel started to turn. We just have to try and try again!


View from the (carousel) high horse


Elmo and Cookie dancing


The Delorean

I wish the Back to the Future section was a lot bigger than this (one ride). The city square would’ve made a good theme park section, don’t you think? DrG said maybe because the movie isn’t as popular as I thought. Are there no BTTF fans in Japan?


Mr. Walt (oops, wrong theme park again!) This is probably someone important

Little A was asleep; we were full; we already took photos (Jaws, Spiderman, etc). We were just killing time walking around the park waiting for….


Harry Potter! Could hardly contain my excitement!


Welcome to Hogsmeade Village


All aboard the Hogwarts Express

But, didn’t see the platform in Kingcross anywhere! Maybe because we were already in Hogwarts?!

At the back of this area, people line up to have their photos taken (3000plus yen per!) on the train coach.


It looks amazing! Just like in the movies/books/my mind!

There were long lines everywhere. So we decided to eat first at the Three Broomsticks.



The great feast looks good! But seems to be too much for just the three of us!


Three BroomsticksIMG_1544

We had to try the butterbeer of course! It tasted like the butterball candy and cream soda. The cold version tasted better than the warm one. I wish they served a frozen one, as well. I imagine that would taste even yummier! IMG_1545

Ribs and Corn


Baby Mandrakes


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


A better view of the castle from this side of the Black Lake


The Ride. 120 minutes wait if you don’t have express pass.


We took the Castle Tour instead. 50 points to Ravenclaw!


The password is Sherbet Lemon

You’ll be entering Dumbeldore’s office. Check out his pensieve, too!

IMG_1576Some of these are moving portraits!


Dumbledore shows up


His office window


The trio in a classroom

 IMG_1590 IMG_1593 IMG_1595 IMG_1597

Souvenirs. The time turner is ❤

IMG_1599Even though we didn’t get to ride the main attraction, I was quite happy strolling along Hogsmeade Village. Hogwart’s choir also sang some songs a cappella (Can You Dance Like a Hippogriff?)

Don’t forget to check out the toilets to visit Moaning Myrtle!

Drop by Ollivander’s, too! You might be the lucky wizard/Muggle. Remember, the wand chooses the wizard.

Website here

Kyoto with a Toddler (Toei Kyoto Studio Park)

On our third day, we decided to go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park. It is a place where they shoot japanese (Edo) period dramas. It is a fun place to spend an afternoon. You can play dress up (all ages!) and pretend to be ninjas/samurais.

If you noticed, we spend just half a day outside the previous days. I don’t think I could do multiple locations in one day that would involve navigating ourselves plus the regular stuff (like feeding, changing diapers and scheduling naptimes). That’s right! I can’t navigate and do other things! If you can just hear the conversations I’ve had with the hotel receptionists. I specifically ask where I should take the bus, what stops, how many minutes, where to find the next bus.  Directions have to be as specific as possible!

And no, I can’t read maps. Google or otherwise.

So, I was told that I can take the tram to the Toei Kyoto Studio Park. Tram? I didn’t know Kyoto had trams! How fun!

IMG_0953This is the Randen station – Shijo Omiya stop. A 10 minute walk from the hotel.IMG_0954

This tram actually takes you to most of the sites!

Unfortunately, the receptionist forgot to tell me that I could buy a Toei Kyoto Studio Park ticket plus a round trip pass for the randen. I could’ve saved me some 300yen! Teehee!

As a side note though, you can buy an all day pass for the tram and use it to go to different stops. It goes all the way to Arashiyama where you can see the Bamboo Grove, ride the Romance car, go to the zen temple, etc. But, like I said, one location per day.


Insides. Just one coach for the tram.


The Studio is a short walk from the randen station (Uzumasa Koryuji). They play a song that is distinctly edo drama music so you know it’s your stop!IMG_0961

2,200 yen ticket


 We got there close to lunch time so we decided we would eat first before exploring the park.IMG_0966

Themed menu


Is that a famous character?


You can explore and take photos all you want!IMG_0978

We decided to go inside the Trick Art museum (extra fee) but I had fun. Little A was a bit scared!IMG_0994

Giant and dwares


They had shows almost every hour.IMG_1023

In this theater


And outdoors


Street performer of the olden timesIMG_1052

Location shoot preparationIMG_1058



I saw these two guys earlier in the day wearing modern clothes. The next time I saw them, they were wearing these cool costumes.


I asked if they wanted me to take a photo of them in their glorious outfits.IMG_1064

I took several photos using their camera. Then, I asked if I could take one on my camera. They obliged and posed for three!

There are many other attractions and shows in the Studio Park. There are samurai lessons, ninja lessons, behind the scenes talk, ninja shows, haunted house!, a mystery house, costume rental including hair and make up, a theater and multiple museums on wood prints, animes and Japanese super heroes (Voltes V and Shaider!)

The park is stroller friendly! You can even borrow a cart if you didn’t bring one. Baby changing rooms and nursing rooms are also available.IMG_1080

It was a very interesting afternoon for Little A and I. I just wish DrG was there with us! We probably would have much more fun.

Website here

Kyoto with a Toddler (Kinkakuji Temple aka Golden Pavilion and Ryoanji Temple aka Zen Rock Garden)

Day 2 was sunny although a bit colder than the first day.

We took a 30 minute bus ride to Kinkakuji as instructed by the very friendly receptionist. Since it wasn’t forecasted to rain, I brought along the baby car. It was easy enough to lift the car in and out of the bus. But, when it got a little bit crowded, I had to protect Little A from getting crushed by bags (also wished nobody would fart while standing near her– my worst fear!)

Since I will be riding the bus thrice that day, I bought an all day pass from the bus driver. 500 yen. All you can ride within the specific areas listed on the map. It’s great for tourists hitting many locations each day. The standard fee per ride is 230 yen.

The bus stops just across the Kinkakuji’s gate which was great!

After paying for the ticket though, someone approached me to inform me that there are several areas that have stairs and it would be difficult to maneuver the cart on my own.  I only wanted to show Little A the main temple anyway so it was fine by me.


It is so pretty there!


Heavier Snow Fall

After enjoying the Golden Pavilion, we headed towards Ryoanji Temple. It is just a bus ride away and it is pretty near by. When we got there, I was advised (once again!) that the temple isn’t wheelchair friendly. Uh-oh. I was told that I can’t leave the stroller anywhere, too. So, that meant carrying Little A and dealing with the baby car! Double uh-oh.

I found out that there are many steps before you could get to the Rock Garden, hence the warning. Lots of people asked if I wanted help which I think is great! I refused as I was pushing the cart slowly anyway and didn’t want to bother other tourists. But, still I was thankful that there are still friendly people (at least in Kyoto!).

IMG_0914Teenagers in traditional costumeIMG_0900

Meditating. Nah, just making sure her slippers won’t fall off her feet

On the way back down, you can choose to exit the same way you came or go through the scenic route via the pagoda but still…stairs! Anyway, it is only a problem if you’re on your own with a kid and you brought a stroller with you 😉

Afterwards, we took the bus back. A quick Takashimaya depachika tour for the hungry tummies were in order and someone promptly fell asleep soon after. Luckily, we found our way back to the hotel before snow fell again.