Thursday, October 08, 2015

Throwback Thursday...

 This weeks TBT, takes us back to October 30th, 2008! It was passed Bran's birthday, so he was 7 years old at the time, of this picture and Noah was a wee 3 year old at the time. Noboru and the boys were excited to get the pumpkin carving underway!

Branden thinks his dad "hangs the moon"... he thinks he can do anything, both the boys think that about their dad. Aww. So, he looks on and watches, his dad work his magic!

Okay boys, time to pull out those pumpkin guts! Hahaha. And then I'll clean the seeds and then we'll roast the pumpkin seeds afterwards, yum. : )

It's a dirty job! But one, I know you two look forward to each and every year! Even though we live in Japan, this is a tradition we have always had, just always! : )

Does this look like that mask from Scream or what? Hahaha. : ) 

I love you guys very much! And I can't wait for our great pumpkin carve later this month too!

Hi kiddo, are you ready to enjoy some freshly roasted pumpkin seeds with your brother and get ready to watch the Charlie Brown Halloween DVD? I'm ready for that too! Anyway, that was this weeks, TBT, from October 30th, 2008. : ) 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Halloween pumpkin has been bought, the wreath on the front door has been switched for Fall. Costco huge pumpkin pies are for sale now at Costco, Japan. We have officially been Fall-ified and Pumpkin-fied...

Fall is here! And it's my most favorite season! Summer is amazing too. But, by the time summer is done, we are all *so* ready for the cooler weather. The cozy foods. The baking. The sounds of stepping on Fall leaves (crunch crunch crunch). The fresh crisp air in the mornings and evenings. Halloween, Thanksgiving! I love this time of the year! Love it! Anyways, last Friday, October 2nd I went to Inzai/Chiba New Town to pick up our pumpkin for Halloween this year! This one looks amazing! 

I went and paid and loaded up "Jack the Pumpkin Head" right in my car and before I left Inzai, I zipped to Costco and guess what they had! I'll share a pic down below!

I also switched my wreath from the regular one, to the Fall wreath!

Hi lovely Fall wreath! This is your time to shine, you two!!! 

Hello scarecrow. 
I went there to pick up a rotisserie chicken for a simple roasted chicken dinner for October 2nd, Friday nights supper and mashed potatoes and gravy meal and the other chicken went for taquito night the next day (yes, I know I seem to be on a taquito kick lately, bare with me, friends). Meanwhile...hello Costco enormous sized pumpkin pie! While I resist 99% of all things at Costco...I look, I think I want to buy whatever it is... but I don't. My resisting skills are pretty good, however the second I saw this...I said...let me find the best date on the pies and let's go home pie! : ) I grabbed a 60yen soda on the way out, for the drive home! With 1 Halloween pumpkin in the trunk already and this jack o lantern looking pumpkin pie...I headed back to my town last Friday...very Fall-ified! Very pumpkin-fied! Am, I inventing words left and right here? Geeze! : ) Anyway. Hahaha! : ) I arrived home at 1:30pm and the boys both got out of school at 3:45pm, so I had just enough time to peel some potatoes boil them right up, mash the daylights out of said potatoes, grab my gravy mix and made some gravy, turn off the pans. And go and get the boys at the plaza. And of course, I was just bursting with smiles as I picked up the boys. All I said was..."wait til you see what I bought today"...they both were in the car like..."what what?"..."Mums the word", I said! I can't say anything more! I can't, I won't! I put a button on it and we drove home! : ) I drove with big cheesy grin all the way home. The kids were like @_@. They loved the pumpkin and every day since... they ask when they can carve it. I tell will rot, as soon as we cut it, so we have to delay the cut, until the last minute. Sorry. And then...the boys had a small sliver of a slice of pumpkin pie as soon, as they got changed and came down the stairs. Can't ruin their appetite, you know. I reheated the potatoes and gravy real quick and we sat down and Noboru came home while I was picking up the boys, so he was home and ready for supper too. The boys also had a slice of pie after supper too. Dinner that night was rotisserie chicken (store bought) and mashed potatoes and gravy and broccoli. It was good, simple and easy. The delicious pumpkin pie did not survive to see Monday, but Jack the Pumpkin Head has been enjoying his first full week with us here at our house. He's in the kitchen. So he gets to see the crazy mornings.... obento and the breakfast rush, the quiet of the day and then the frenzy of getting dinner done and dishes and kitchen cleaned back up. All the music we play in the kitchen, that Jack gets to hear all month. I think Jack The Pumpkin Head will have a lovely October with us, in the kitchen. He's definitely a family owned pumpkin.  : )  Anyway hope you all enjoyed my lighthearted and silly pumpkin and Fall post today! : ) 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Noah's 4th grade Undokai! Sports Day 2015...

Sunday, September 20th was Noah's Undokai (Sports Day) at the local elementary school. This picture here, is a group shot, of all the kids who attend our elementary school, all 6 grades (1st-6th grade) And as you can see, by the flag colors waving in front of the kids, it was of course, Team Red versus Team White! With us living in a truly rural/country town with a population, just under 5,000 people. I think our elementary school has 190 kids or so. The other elementary school in our town, has a population of like 40 kids all 6 grades. Hahaha. : ) Meanwhile my girl friends, who live in the city nearest our town. Their elementary school is super huge population wise and they have, all sorts of different teams, not just red vs. white. So, I guess it just depends how big a population of a town or city you live in. Ours is, super puny teeny tiny and we really *love* it though! Which is why we picked this town. So Team Red versus Team White, is more than plenty for us! : ) 

Hi Noah!

Noah about to run this race! In this particular picture, he is far right, however in the pic down below, there is one kid to the right of Noah.

Good luck kids!

There they go!

Go Noah go! Far right in this picture.

Noah came in 3rd place! You did real good kiddo! You tried your very best and that's all we could ever ask for! Proud of you!

How's about a little fire...scarecrow! Wizard of Oz reference, hope ya'll caught that! : ) I have shown scarecrows on my blog before and even used the same cheesy Wizard of Oz reference too. Hahaha. Anyway at our local elementary school, the Father's Club dad's and the 6th graders get together in the school gymnasium and they make these scarecrows every single year! I look forward to seeing the new ones, the kids make every Fall! These are our school 6th graders scarecrows for 2015! I think they did a fantastic job! Also, I want to point out, I love that these scarecrows are just hanging in such lush greenery! Not next to some big city landscape or buildings or houses! Truly lovely scarecrows with *the best* and most greenest truly inaka countryside surroundings!

So imaginative, so truly creative! Kids are so cool!

Branden catching up with his most favorite teacher! D-sensei was BrannyB's 5th grade teacher. And he was such an amazing teacher! He was newly married back when B was a 5th grader and D-sensei also became a father for the first time that year. He thought every kid in his class was special and had their own unique good points. He bought the class... a class pet, some fish, the fish were the breed "ooper loopers" or something like that. I saw how the kids all flourished when he was their teacher. He used to tell Branden how amazing he was, that he was bilingual. Before teacher had ever told Branden that before. As a young 5th grader... hearing that...meant the world to my son! All the kids at our school adored this teacher. He sadly last March, was transferred from our elementary school. We all miss this teacher because he was awesome! But, he came by, for undokai and he has always enjoyed catching up with Branden (since Bran is at every undokai for Noah). He told Branden, that he hears he's doing very good in JHS and he's very proud of him. Again, hearing that from such a great teacher like that...made Bran very happy hearing that. This will more than likely... be the last time, we ever see him again, so I was glad Branden got the opportunity to speak with him and glad I could snap this picture, that way, 10-15 years from now, if the memory fades, and we all forget what he looked like, we can have this picture to remind us/remind Bran. You were such an amazing teacher!!! : )  

And another event! 

And another event!

On your mark, get set...


Go Noah!
Bounce the ball, dribble the ball...go Noah-chan!

Lunch time! Karaage, yakitori, rice balls, fresh salad, meatballs and omelet for Noboru, he enjoys these Japanese style meatballs and Japanese omelet every undokai. And some fresh fruit, of course, some big super sweet grapes. Also because it is an undokai obento and yes...people do take peeks of what other peoples lunches look like. It's true, they do, they do. : ) Presentation is pretty important. Make sure it's colorful and pretty. Pack it nicely, if you know, what I mean. We also had some killer.... store bought chocolate cake, omg it's so good that cake. I also packed us 2 two liters of lemonade and 1 two liter of Kirin straight tea and 1 big two liter of mugicha. Clearly, I didn't want anyone to be thirsty. Hahaha. My 2 boys Bran and Noah, knew what was in our obento and all morning, I'm not kidding, they kept mentioning, "I can't wait until lunch!" I can't wait to eat. Noah told us as he passed by our tent once, "I want to eat yakitori." And Branden mentioned a few times...I can't wait to eat the karaage. And yes everyone ate breakfast lol.  And Noboru mentioned once around 10am, that he couldn't wait to eat our packed lunch. @_@ Hahaha.  So, yeah I try to pick delicious food, I know my family will *love* and look forward to all morning long! And to be fair, all families seem to pack very nice lunches, not just us. For what it's worth, a family near us packed ebi fry/furai, and another family brought sushi. Simply put, most families go all out, when it comes to the Sports Day obento. Ours is more on the simple side, but it's all homemade, except the Japanese omelet and Japanese meatballs. But, I do try to pay attention to how I pack it up. Placing a lettuce leaf under the omelet for added color. Placing some cherry tomatoes near the karaage or yakitori, again adding some extra pop of color. So besides being delicious, you also want it to look really *really* good too. 

All white meat karaage and all white meat yakitori. And again lettuce and tomatoes for some added color.

I had salad and karaage and 1 yakitori stick and 1 rice ball, not two, I wrapped the spare rice ball. Hahaha. : ) 

See, that karaage next to the yakitori is totally gone? Yes! Hahaha, this makes me happy though! The boys finished that off immediately and they started right in on the yakitori. Noah had been apparently thinking about yakitori all morning long. He's even eating one, right in this picture. He had a handful of karaage, 3 yakitori sticks, 1 rice ball. He then had salad, then a few grapes, then 1 slice of cake. And a cup of lemonade with ice. The whole family ate *really* well. And it made me so happy, that they enjoyed the lunch! I make it especially for all of  them, anyways! : ) At this point, Noboru left! But, I made sure he ate and was stuffed before he left. Noboru did not want to leave but again the sports day was postponed by 1 day and so, it just was, what it was. I'm happy he could come and enjoy half of the day with all of us though. : )   

After lunch, everyone is just really relaxed and mellow. Every one's all nicely full from lunch. And we all know undokai is now, half over with. And we're all just enjoying what's left! The school kids all did marching band, they played a few songs. 

Hi gorgeous!

All of the kids did so well. 

The family "tug of war!" If your child was a red, you went to team red. Noah was Team Red, so Bran was on Team Red. A lot of these kids are JHS kids, siblings (brothers or sisters of an elementary school kid).

Go BrannyB! Go Team Red! : )

The kids were wildly cheering for their dad's or older siblings! Noboru could not be there, but Branden went in support of Noah...I could see Noah cheering, after he saw his brother pulling the rope for team red! My dad and I were cheering loudly!
And then one last "tug of war" before the last event of the day, the relay. This is 1st grade to 4th grade. And these kids pulled and pulled with all their might! Team red won! In fact Team Red won at the end of the day! All in all, it was a wonderful Sports Day! The weather was perfect! Noboru could be there for half of it. My dad was there to enjoy and cheer on his grandson and the entire red team! Meanwhile, so my dad, Bran and I dismantled the tent right away after undokai was finished, we managed to pack up all of our stuff, really quickly. And we even brought all of it down to the mini mini van (Noboru and I had to switch cars that day) we loaded all of our stuff, tent, cooler, leisure sheet everything into the minivan. And we walked back up the hill and waited for Noah to come out. Meanwhile, all the kids carried their chairs back into the school building and had a class meeting. All of us parents meanwhile stayed outside and waited for the kids to come out. Noah and the rest of the kids, finally came out around 4:15pm. My dad was to be catching the train around 5pm. Granted the train station is less than a 5 minute drive away from the school. My dad's suitcase was already in the mini minivan already. We smartly put them in the car that morning. As we were leaving the school, My dad offered to buy the boys a choco banana or a shaved ice. Bran picked a shaved ice and Noah picked a choco banana. I dropped my dad off early at the train station, because he prefers be early, then late. By now it was about 4:30pm because we also walked down the hill from the school to the plaza to where my car was parked. The kids jumped out and hugged my dad tightly! They told him, "I love you grandpa" "And I wish you didn't have to go"...aww, that is always nice to hear. : ) He hugged them back tightly and said, he loves them too and he'll be seeing them soon. And he waved and he rolled his suitcase right up and went and bought his train ticket and got himself all nicely settled. He arrived at Narita Airport in no time. And I could see online that he had indeed checked in and stuff, so I knew all was fine. : ) Noboru had mentioned to me that morning, that it was okay to leave everything in the mini minivan, after undokai, because he knows it's all pretty heavy for me and stuff. So he just said, as long as you bring the cooler into the house he'd take care of the rest the next day. : ) So, the boys brought and carried the cooler into the house for me, after we drained any water or melted ice from it. And we brought it inside. Noah immediately took a shower. I laid on the couch for like 30 minutes, like a zombie. A tired but happy zombie. Happy that we got both the boys undokais scratched off the list! Bran showered after. And I meanwhile started in on supper. I made curry. A very simple easy meal totally. We also had about 5 yakitori left and about 10 karaage left too. And 3 slices of cake and half of the grapes. So we had curry and rice and sort of munched or grazed on.... the leftover stuff from our packed lunch from Field Day. After dinner, I threw the dishes into the dishwasher, Bran wiped off the stove, gosh he's a good kid. And I hit the shower. A nice hot soapy sudsy shower. I came downstairs in my jammies. And I closed the blinds to the front of the house. And we just stood in for the rest of the night. Just relaxing and watching TV.  Anyway, there ya have it, that's Noah's 4th grade, Sports Day, in a nutshell.