The Kuro Clan “Hisashiburi/Long Time No See”

Hi again! Man oh man, what a year 2015 was. Just a quick recap! We moved from Japan to the United States after being in Japan for almost 7 years. From Tokyo to Alabama…hello reverse culture shock, haha! Our son immigrated into the U.S. and now has duel citizenship…pretty awesome, but an incredibly grueling and frustrating process. My husband started a new job, well, I should say, “we started a new job” since we truly strive to approach life as a team. And in fall 2015,  we closed on a house and Kaipher started preschool on the SAME DAY! Needless to say, I’m thankful to finally feel settled after a very busy year.
Our little man’s first day of school. Can you tell he’s excited?? haha:)
The teachers asked that each child bring in a project sharing their favorite color, food, book, interests, and toys. Kaipher’s project was covered in the color blue, corn and onigiri, Obake Densha (Ghost Train), space and astronauts, and space-themed Legos. My heart beams with pride!
Our sweet, little home! It’s a work in progress…built in 1945, it is quaint, cozy, and an all around classic with a white picket fence(?!) Geez…feeling blessed! (Interior pictures to come!). Every one of our rentals in Japan was even smaller, so we don’t mind the size at all. And OH MY GOSH, central heat and air! (Can I get a hallelujah!?) My fellow Japan dwellers understand how lovely central heat and air is, especially during these winter months. Plus, having the ability to walk to Kaipher’s school, shops, restaurants, the library, and the park make the location perfect for us!
Ok, just a few “holiday photos”!
Kaipher trying to copy his cousin Karys at the Black family thanksgiving event. ❤
My little space lover’s ornament this year, marking his love for space and his move to the U.S. 🙂
Sibling love! Our first Thanksgiving & Christmas back in America since 2010. It was pretty special. haha:)

Ok, moving on! I had the pleasure of creating a commissioned piece for a local business here in Birmingham. After visiting the Wheelhouse Salon, I was happy to create a piece to honor the establishment’s 2 year old birthday. Such a cool place! If you’re a “Bham local” I highly recommend visiting the Wheelhouse Salon!
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And now, a skip, leap, and a jump on to Valentine’s Day!
Our living room on the morning of Valentine’s Day. 🙂 Lots of love to hand out!
Sushi take-out on Valentine’s Day for me and my boys. And now, some new goodies in our shop!
Introducing our “Always Hungry for More” enamel pin!
Available with a silver metal finish
And a black metal finish

Hope this year is treating you well so far! (^_^)/


Credits ~ Photography by: Denise Schepper & Taren S. Black

The Kuro Clan – “Here We Go, 2015!!!”

The Kuro Clan rang in the New Year with dear friends here in Tokyo! Below are some photos from our fun-filled evening!
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I made some intensely festive headbands with dollar store goodies (& my loverly epson printer) for my friend Annie & Me! We looked fantastic! haha 😉
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When we saw that Kaiph was still awake at midnight, we let him join in on the sparkler fun! Hope everyone had a wonderful (& safe) New Year!!!

Credits ~ Photography by: Nathan Black, Taren S. Black, and Eric & Annie Boerm

The Kuro Clan – “Our Halloween Tradition”

The Autumn Equinox has not even arrived, and we are already having lovely fall weather here in Tokyo (it makes me a little fearful of winter, but I’m actively trying to ignore mental images of my house covered in snow). We thought it would be fun to share our Halloween tradition with you. We kicked-off our 2014 Halloween festivities this week, and here’s a snippet of what we started the season with. Blog collage 4 years ago, we started a Halloween tradition that involves a festive meal accompanied by a “scary” movie. Now, I’m a big wimp when it comes to scary movies, so we tend to watch the old classics, the Harry Potter series, and our favorite Halloween TV episodes. On this evening we made “Ghoulish Goop” (spaghetti & meatballs served over zucchini, recipe below), and we watched the classic film, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. EEeeek!

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This whole meal took me about an hour to prepare. However, I am no pro when it comes to cooking, you may be a lot faster than me. Poor Kaipher fell asleep before the meatballs came out of the oven, so he had his “Ghoulish Goop” the next day. 🙂

“Ghoulish Goop” Recipe

– Spaghetti Sauce:

1~2 tablespoons of Olive oil (I use lots of olive oil when I sauté mushrooms, feel free to use as much as you like)
1 medium size onion coarsely chopped
5~7 cloves of garlic minced
5~7 Medium size Cremini mushrooms coarsely chopped (1 lrg Portobella mushroom will work too)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (We like the Classico choices because it best fits our clean eating diet)
Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions Saute onions & minced garlic in olive oil until onions are soft (about 5 minutes over medium heat). Add chopped mushrooms and additional olive oil, continuing sautéing until mushrooms are soft. Add entire jar of spaghetti sauce along with a pinch of salt and pepper if your sauce requires it. Let mixture simmer for 3~5 minutes then serve over zucchini and meatballs.

– Zucchini “Noodles”

3~4 zucchinis cut thinly. You can use a knife or vegetable peeler. If I had a spiral vegetable slicer, I’d use that! (yellow squash and eggplant can serve as a spaghetti base as well)
Olive oil or butter to taste

Instructions Pour water over chopped zucchini in a pot. Make sure the water covers the contents. Add olive oil or butter to taste. Bring pot to a boil. Boil for 2~3 minutes, until zucchini is soft (it softens quickly!). Strain cooked zucchini and serve as noodles with spaghetti sauce and meatballs.

– Meatballs/Eyeballs:

1lb ground hamburger meat
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon mayonaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of salt and pepper
6~8 green olives cut in halves to make the eyes

Instructions Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients together except green olives. Roll mixture into golfball sized balls, and place on foil-lined baking pan. Use your thumb or a knife to make an indention into the meatballs. Then, add the green olives. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with sauce and cooked zucchini.

This photo shows the meatballs right before I placed them in the oven. I actually doubled the recipe so we could get two meals out of all my hard work. haha. I would say this meal serves 3~4 when not doubled. BLK_0941 filter 01 BLK_0950 filter 01
Serve hot and garnish with parmesan cheese. As you can see, we used the cheese to create a scalpy dandruff on our ghouls’ heads, haha. That sounds so gross, but I mean, it is “Ghoulish Goop”. Enjoy with a Halloween-esque movie!!!

I’d love to hear your movie recommendations or any other ideas when it comes to fall family fun!!! This is definitely my favorite time of year, and I’m always curious to hear about how other people celebrate autumn holidays and festivities.

Hope you make time for a “scary” movie and festive meal sometime soon!


Credits ~ Photography by: Nathan Black & Taren S. Black

The Kuro Clan – “Cabin Getaway July 2014, Day 2”

Just a few more photos from our wonderful cabin getaway! July has been such a crazy month for us, it’s nice to look back at our mini-vay.
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We loved this little getaway so much, we’ve already booked a cabin for the end of September!

Hope everyone is having a lovely week!!!

Credits ~ Photography by: Nathan Black & Taren S. Black

The Kuro Clan – “Cabin Getaway July 2014, Day 1”

Day 1 of our mini vay-cay! Cabin A, you were amazing!!!
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A day of exploring an old Japanese military base, followed by a round of goofy golf, and finished off
with grilled cheeseburgers at our little cabin made for a wonderful first day at Tama Hills!

Credits ~ Photography by: Nathan Black & Taren S. Black, Cuteness provided by: Kaipher Black

The Kuro Clan – “12 Years of Love”

Konichiwa & Hello:) Here’s a little snippet from our 12 year anniversary. We had an overnight sitter (OMG! What? What?!!), and a night to ourselves in downtown Tokyo. Working for the military definitely has it’s benefits, including being able to book a suite at the New Sanno Hotel. Feeling very blessed!

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Credits ~ Footage Captured by: Nathan Black and Taren S. Black, Music by: Nathan Black, Video Editing by: Taren S. Black