Friday, May 27, 2016

Mother's Day...

If you are a mom, mommy or mama, I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! If you are not, hope you either got to spend it with your mom or at least enjoyed the day anyway! : )  How was my Mother's Day 2016?  As always it was low key (story of my life, haha) Restful, relaxful. Quiet and nice. Branden as you know had left that morning on his final 9th grade school/class trip on his 3 day trip to Kyoto. Noboru left home after breakfast to head to work. And it would just be Noah and I. We watched excellent TV. We lazed around on the couch and relaxed. Knowing how busy I am during the weekday and Noah too. It was good for us to just get 1 day to rest and relax. Did I get anything for Mother's Day? Yes, but honestly I don't really "need" anything. But Noboru did give the boys 2500 yen to buy me something. While we were at Sanki and I was looking for a towel for Branden for his school trip. This towel did catch my eye. It's brown and pink. It's so thick and big and fluffy and wonderful. Granted I wasn't looking for anything for myself at all. But this was just there. It was gorgeous. And... given the fact that I have been using my same blue and white striped towel for 12 years. @_@ Should I be admitting that? Hahaha. Holy goodness you guys! And yes, I bought that too at Sanki. @_@ Anyways...I think I definitely got my money's worth regarding my well loved well used... blue and white stripe towel. So it was definitely time? Hahaha. I'd say yes. This new brown and pink one was 1,790 yen. I don't think I have ever had a towel that pricey before? Yep...I told you I'm not fancy schmancy! See? Hahaha. The kids saw I liked it. And I was like no....it's 1790 yen. US$16.50. Granted I won't hesitate to buy my kids something 1790yen but for myself. Ehhhh, I hesitate. Anyways...the kids were like. "We have this Mother's Day money" Let us buy this towel for you. And so I was like...ehhh okay. : ) And so they went and paid and were all super happy! And they handed me the Sanki bag and were like...should we wrap it for you? And I was like...no that's quite alright. The towel as is...is plenty fine for me. : ) And no...I have not thrown out my blue and white stripey towel. I am still keeping it. Why? I don't know! LOL! 
Definitely the thickest softest towel I have ever used. My last towel was so nice and a little scratchy and I was just used to it. With this one...I'm thinking...wow this is so nice... too nice? Too thick? Too fluffy? I'm trying to get adjusted to the new towel. It may take me some time. But I do love it. : ) However...I'm still not ready to throw out my stripe towel...because what if...for some odd reason I should need a 2nd towel? You never know...right? So, I think I better keep it for safe keeping. But I am loving my new bath towel. : ) 

This order from Koreadepart was only like US$20, it's just all I needed. Noboru gifted these to me for Mother's Day. I usually pick gifts...that are basic. Like gifts I'll actually use. Take this 450 yen face wash on the left for example. It smells good,  and ya'll know how weird and picky I am with scents. Also it doesn't dry out my face or make it oily. It's just a basic face cleanser and I finally have 1 that I really like, and the price is fair/cheap at 450 yen a tube. And it's practical and I picked 2 of those. Plus 1 jar of makeup remover. This takes off all my makeup. And that is a good thing. I wear makeup 3 days a week if I'm going out...but I can't stand wearing makeup. @_@ I hate the feel of it on my face. I mean...I am a girl so I do have to wear it. But...as soon as I come home...first thing I do is grab a steaming hot wash cloth and take my makeup off and then I was my face with a tube cleanser afterwards. And also in this box is... I picked up a foot peeling mask thing. You soak your feet for like an hour,,,and 5 days later your feet peel and shed like crazy and then they are baby soft. They all work the same and I don't care which brand and this one was like 300 yen for this one. So that's it. 2 tubes of face wash, 1 mini pot of makeup remover and 1 foot peeling mask. Super duper practical. Again not fancy. But just very practical things. And for them all, they totaled to about $20.  

Manufactured 4/13 2015, expires 9, 2017. This is the coconut makeup remover. 

Face washes (2), expire 12 (December), 21 2017. A good long while on those 2 tubes of wash face. That I am sure... will be long gone by that expiration date. : ) 

Some might say...that's pretty boring stuff. I say, I don't care. I love a practical gifts that I will totally use. : ) 

In that little circle dot it says firming. It has fermented products in it. Just like the SK-2 has fermented products inside, this is just tons cheaper... but still so good. 

This smells so good. Not like fake coconuts like suntan lotion type scent... this smells more like coconut cream pie. Or coconut pudding. I love this one. I prefer this way more than my Clean It Zero by Banila Co. The Clean It Zero regular one smells like...Kool-Aid powder exactly. That's what it smells like to me,,,cherry Kool-Aid to be exact. And that isn't my most fave scent to rub on my face. Granted the Clean it Zero scent doesn't suck but...I won't repurchase the Clean it Zero because of that scent. This one smells so good. I love the way this Coconut makeup remover smells like. So, I was happy to get the coconut one again.

I do enjoy the free samples. 

And the kids bought me a value size bag of the Mint Choco Kit Kats the day before Mother's Day. These are so good! Anyway those were my Mother's Day gifts this year 2016. Very nice useful things. A nice plush bath towel, some essential toiletries like face wash that I'll actually be using and some choco mint Kit Kats. I'm a lucky mom. : )

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Throwback Thursday...

A visit from grandma Mitsuko for this weeks TBT! She went to watch the kids at swimming school. She is a very proud grandma! : )  
Having her special time with Branden and Noah in our backyard. We don't get to see her very often but that's just because she lives far away in Osaka city. We live on the opposite end of mainland Japan. We did see her this New Year's though. However she has her chain of restaurants to look after. Plus, lots and I do mean lots of real estate-y things too, like collecting rent etc (she's very good at real life Monopoly, let's put it that way hahaha). She's quite the busy grandma, so we totally understand. But we're very proud of her and understand how busy she is. She's very genki though. Very healthy and full of energy.  

Grandma chasing after the boys. Run boys! Run! : ) 

Grandma was so fast...that Bran thoughtfully picked up his brother so she wouldn't "catch" him. Hahaha. : ) It was all in fun. My MIL (mother in law) really enjoys getting the chance to come to our rural countryside and relax and spend time with the boys.

You can see our fence and yep that sure is rice fields as far as the eye can see to the right...right behind our house. We live in a VERY rural area. And we love it. It's so quiet and peaceful here. 

Grandma M squatting down to be at Noah's height and they played so many games and talked so much that day. I am so glad when she comes to visit. 

We had a BBQ the night she was with us. Yakiniku. 

It was such a nice dinner that night. Much too short of a visit. 

The next morning, her flight back to Osaka was at 9am. I woke up first right away, washed my face. Put a little makeup on and got dressed. And came downstairs to make my MIL some breakfast because I want to show her....my appreciation for her coming. And the least thing I can do is send her off... with a full tummy. : )  I made her 2 slices of crispy bacon and some eggs and some toast. I had her coffee waiting for her... when she came down the stairs. Everyone else got yogurts and juice and I did make everyone breakfast...bacon and eggs... after we dropped off my MIL at the airport. But...I just wanted to send her off...on the right foot. : ) 

Have a safe trip, I gave her a tight hug and kiss on the cheek. I had the kids jump out of the car and hug grandma at the drop off area at the airport.... And I even asked Noboru to walk his mother inside and make sure she got checked in and stuff. : ) I just worry! Good bye! Thanks for visiting us. I know how busy you are, but sincerely thank you for coming! Anyway...that was this weeks throwback. A visit from grandma M. : ) 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Getting Branden ready for his Kyoto trip. And a few other bits and pieces for good measure...

April 29th the 4 of us went to spend the day in a city we have never gotten the chance to hang out in before. We went to Kashiwa! A very nice city! And we had a lot of fun walking around and exploring that day! Anyways one of our stops was to Lalaport. To get a new backpack for Bran and a new pair of Crocs for Noah!

Branden picked up the backpack he wanted. In the style and color he wanted. He said even before getting to Kashiwa he was looking for a rectangular backpack. After checking out many different shops and stores he found this bag! He was very happy about this backpack for his final trip in JHS. : ) 

Crocs Crocs who's got the Crocs. : ) 

One thing that surprised me about this trip to the Crocs store was as we were making our way to the junior department for Noah. A *very* nice man working there. Young stylish mid 20's. Asked if he could help us. We said we were looking for a new pair of Crocs for Noah. And he pointed us to the men's department. My first thought was..."is this man on crack?" "He's only 10 freaking years old!" Not 15 or so! @_@ However, I kept an open mind though and thought..he works here. He must know better than us. So let's follow this young man to the men's department for my 10 year old. Hey, I have an open mind, like I just said... plus it was the start of GW and we had the whole day to browse. And yes he was right. Let me say that once again. He was 100% right. We had Noah try on the size men's 4/Japanese size 22cm (which yes Noah is wearing 22.5 and 23cm sneakers, so I guess it wasn't absurd to think he could wear a men's Croc now afterall). And while it is a tad big with a spot to grow. The man was saying...kids grow like weeds and there's a bit of room but not like overly too much room. And he further added...and I will forever remember this. He said "as long as the band at the back is on tight and isn't slipping he can wear them!" I was now 98% convinced. I did say...let's just try their size 21cm meaning the junior size to just ease my mind though...but adding. I do think you are right... but just to ease my mind. He didn't mind in the least in fact he ran...actually ran back there grabbed the 1 size smaller and it fit Noah exactly right with zero room to grow. And right then...I was now 100% convinced. Oh and btw these Crocs sizes do run bigger...bigger than sneaker sizes. I told him.."you're clearly the expert, you know what you are talking about!" You were right from the start. and wow...can't believe my 10 year old is wearing a smaller size men's Crocs now. We all were laughing and nodding right to the check out counter. He was so nice! He wanted us to feel totally sure. He was so helpful. And yeah...really truly appreciated that awesome Crocs guy! So yep...Noah is now a men's size 4! Holy crap you guys! : ) 

New Crocs for Noah. Now he's all set for when summer gets here! : )

Since we were in Kashiwa already we hit up Don Quixote for snacks for Bran's Kyoto trip.

We needed snacks for both ways...round trip! : )

On the way there...

On the way back...

The snacks for the way back home... went into his suitcase and our school mailed all the kids suitcases to Kyoto ahead of time. They shipped them via Kuroneko on the Friday, 2 days before they left to Kyoto. So their suitcases were already waiting at the hotel for them. : ) 
Don Quixote has some items that are so dirt cheap. A case of mugicha, name brand not brand X. 500 yen for the box. So we bought 2. 
For school trips electronics aren't allowed, which I think is a good idea. Like no Kindle, Ipad or tablets allowed. But the suggestion is for kids to bring card games and they mentioned Uno by name. So, I made sure to pack up the regular sized Uno cards and the mini sized ones too. They played a round while on the Shinkansen (bullet train)

I did buy a 3 pack of school socks for Bran's trip. And a new wallet for his trip too. And the sneaker socks. I bought Bran 1 pair and myself a pair. Those sneakers socks were 180 yen a pair and on sale. I will be going back for more of those super short sneaker socks. They're perfect and you can't even tell you are wearing them.  

While at Paseos getting Bran's school socks for his school trip. We found 2 pair of shorts for Noah. The price was perfect 980 yen about US$9 a pair. 

Comfy band and one band is orange and green and the other band is blue and red. 
Sanki has the best towels (cute and cheap). They just do, if you live in Japan. Love Sanki for towels.

While Bran uses his Hawaiian Spongebob towel here at home. He loves it because it's giant sized and comfy. However, I know he wouldn't want his friends to see his Spongebob towel either though. So no worries I picked up this ...more adult looking/ teenage boy cool...Hawaiian towel with sea turtles and hibiscus flowers on it!
I packed his suitcase all up on that Thursday because every 9th grader would be going to school Friday with their suitcases and Kuroneko would be picking up about 51 suitcases that morning. Good bye Hawaiian bath towel...fishy chisai towel. Toiletries. Underwear... new JHS white socks, spare uniforms and snacks for the way back home! Farewell packed up suitcase! : ) 

I also washed Bran's JHS white shoes super good and they dried out on Saturday, the day before his trip! I just wanted to send him off properly, you know! : ) Also washed up Noah shoes and Bran's shoes that they did the backyard yardwork with. Because there was so much dirt on their shoes. So, I washed those too. : ) 

Saturday evening, after supper... the night before Branden was set to leave to Kyoto. I baked blueberry muffins. That way... Sunday morning, he would have a quick breakfast already made and ready for him! : ) Yep, I thought of everything! Good mama Good mama! : ) 

The kids were all set to meet at the train station between 6-6:15am. The train was set to leave our train station at 6:30am. I woke up at 5:15am that morning. Noah was sleeping, Noboru was sleeping. I went in and woke up BrannyMcB. He woke up right away. He was so excited you guys! All kids could bring up to 15,000 yen /US$150. He had that all packed up in his wallet. And I also gave him 140yen x3. That way I said...he could buy drinks along the way to Kyoto or for the next day for drinks... without spending any bills yet. I also froze him one 600ml of mugicha and another 600ml of mugicha was just fridge type cold... for immediate drinking. So his drinks for that first day were already in his backpack. He had his camera, kids were allowed to take cameras. Kids were allowed to buy drinks from anywhere along the way. They ordered obento lunch to be eaten in the Skinkansen. Branden ate 3 blueberry muffins and had a glass of orange juice. And then I dropped off my Bran at the train station. However I wanted to snap these 2 pics before we left.  : ) 

I dropped off Branden and he was the first kid to arrive, lol. It wasn't my intention for him to be first. All I knew was...I didn't want him to miss that train! Hahaha. So we left our house at 5:55am. We were there at 6am on the nose and I saw the two 9th grade teachers sitting and waiting and I head bowed them... while I was pulling into the train station. Branden got out of my car and I watched him walk to his teachers for a half of second and I drove off. I was super happy he made it to the train station. I knew he was going to have such a fun trip.  I wasn't worried or nervous or dokidoki at all. Because I know he's a smart kid, a good kid. He would be with 51 kids and a bunch of teachers and they'd all be safe and basically just having a fantastic time! So, I was very happy Branden was having such a great opportunity to take such a trip! I went home. As I was driving back home from the train station, I saw so many parents of Bran's classmates. I saw Kouta's mom driving him. I saw Go-kun's mom driving him and Genki's dad driving him and more. I saw a whole bunch of kids and parents on their way to the train station that morning. Don't ask me why....but it was a nice feeling. Like we were all going through the same thing. Does that make sense? I hope so. Anyway I arrived home within 5 minutes and I had myself a hot coffee and a blueberry muffin. I sat downstairs...and heck... by now...I was wide awake and clearly not going to go back to bed. So, I read my emails and I think I was able to update my blog that morning while the two N's slept. : ) This was Mother's Day morning, the day Bran went to Kyoto. After both Noboru and Noah woke up they finished off the blueberry muffins and we had some omelettes and toast. Noboru left for work a bit later and Noah and I just had a really nice little day and evening here at home together. It was a nice day. I'll be making a Mother's Day post, so I don't want to mention what I got for Mother's Day yet. Anyway that's enough for now.  : ) 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Deadpool, The Boy and American Sniper...

Deadpool, The Boy and American Sniper came via Amazon.com last Friday May 13th. Yep, they came on Friday the 13th dundundun, lol. Deadpool is so good, so funny that I have already seen it twice!!! The Boy is good too! And American Sniper such a great movie too. But Deadpool is love! It's THAT good! : ) I might just watch it again this evening for a 3rd time. Anyway, hope every one's having a fantastic weekend! : )

We went and saw Zootopia yesterday at Ikspiari. It's the only place in Chiba that has it in English. It was such a great movie! The whole family loved this! And we went to Kua'Aina for dinner afterwards! And came home with a dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme. Which I am eating one right now as I type this while enjoying my coffee. : ) 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Three recent Costco shopping trips...

During holidays and weekends I try my very best to avoid Costco in Japan. Why? Because they're notorious to be so crowded that you can barely walk around and maneuver your cart. Think packed like sardines and hard to get around and you get the idea. So, when I typically head to Costco, I go first thing in the mornings right when they open the store and during the weekday. Anyways, I mention this fact because towards the end of GW (Golden Week) I mentioned needing GW to be over...not that I don't love Golden Week, I totally do...but it's just because I need to run there for cheese for some homemade pizza night. Noboru suggested we brave Costco anyways. And stated it was like the last day or two of GW and most likely it would be okay and not too overly crowded. He also suggested we go in the evening hoping the crowd would be even less. I said okay. And good thing I did. Because it was actually pretty normal crowds the evening we went. We could maneuver the huge Costco cart just fine. And had absolutely no problems at all. We picked up a rotisserie chicken, some cookies for the kids. The mozzarella cheese. And as we 4 were checking out. The check out lady asked us in English (because lots of the staff are bilingual and since we were speaking to each other in English... she spoke to us in English) anyways she asked us "how many are in your family today?" We looked at each other and said 4" : ) And she said today everyone is getting free Ben and Jerry's ice cream! So she pulled out 4 ice creams since there were 4 of us. And we were like..."wow how cool!"  We thanked her and we grabbed a takeout pizza and headed home for an easy dinner and good thing we always keep our cooler in our car... because we brought the ice cream home with us and we had Ben and Jerry's ice cream for dessert. Courtesy of Costco! : ) So that was shopping trip 1. Of my latest Costco trips. : ) How often do I go to Costco? The least amount I will go is twice a month, every other week. But the most I will go is 4 times a month which means once a week. So...somewhere between 2-4 times a month I am at Costco. : ) I'm most definitely a regular customer. : )  The foreign woman (Russian) who works at the food court always speaks to me, she's so nice and her English is pretty great! She "knows" me already. And the American "greeter" at the entrance... talks with me almost every single week too and I her! : ) They all know me at Costco Chiba New Town. : ) 
Havaianas, my favorite brand of flip flop. They have sizes all the way up to a 27.5. The price is fair about US$17.50. Given my foots a size 9 (size 25cm) they totally had my size. However, I had just thrown 2 swimming towels in my cart that trip...so I resisted these flip flops. 

They had so many colors but these navy and orange ones I LOVED....and yep I thought about for a full week. I regretted not buying them. : (

Costco Japan also has these. Not my style but for someone into that type of flip flop they're pretty good. 

Crocs. Noah just got new ones and so did Bran so, I didn't get these. But the price 1488 yen, that's about US$14, so a fantastic price. 

Costco in Japan also has these. Again not my style at all. Reminds me of the jelly shoes from the 80's that I used to wear. Remembering how my feet were all sorts of crazy....with circle shapes because of the pattern pressed up against my foot. Thinking of the sweaty feet... being in that hot plastic. Anyone else remember those plastic jelly shoes from the 80's. Anyways, yeah...a look I will pass on this time around. Cute for some one, I am sure of it... but not for me. 

Cart pic from May 10th, 2016. Big ol' bag of tortilla chips. Yep nachos have happened. That handmade pasta that I use for baked chicken parmesan. Pasta sauce. Case of peach cups, individual servings, my kids love these! Laundry soap and 2 swimming towels. Swimming season is about to start next month and the kids haven't gotten a new swim towel in 2 years and it's time for a new one. You know...I don't want any Raggedy Ann and Andy kids. No raggamuffins. So new swim towels are very much in order for Bran and Noah. 

Loved the design of this swim towel. They came in a girl color, pink maybe? Sorry, I don't have girls/daughters so I rarely pay attention to girl stuff. And black and this blue one. They came in 3 colors total. And the price was super fair about 1400 yen or so. I was really glad I snatched these towels up when I did. Because stuff like this sells out.

Peaches in peach juice. This reminds me of that commercial I see on American TV all the time. We don't drain it...we drink it. LOL. : )

This cart pic was taken this week. May 17th. My cart has, mozzarella cheese (yep pizza happening again soon), those flip flops I could *not* stop thinking about these. Had to get them. And good thing, I grabbed the last pair of navy and orange in my size. These Havaianas are honestly...nearly sold out at my Costco, the good or popular colors at least. The navy color is almost sold out. In my size and the bigger size...that's larger then the size I got... are all sold out. But they had maybe 5 pair of size 7 and 8's. And the white pair is still in stock but the nicer colors like the navy and orange are almost completely gone. Yep, when you see stuff like this, you gotta buy it right away... when you see it. I'm actually lucky I got to buy the last pair in my size... in the navy and orange because I know better... then to wait a week. I should have bought them the week before. But oh well. As long as I have them now, it doesn't matter really. But yep, when you see the things like swim towels or limited amounts of stuff like flop flops. You need to buy asap. Otherwise they'll be gone. The brownie mix was on sale at my store. They were 800 yen for the box and the expiration date is August 2017. So over a full year and there's 4 mixes in the box. A great deal for us in Japan. Also purchased this week... tortillas, 2 containers of pancakes (with butter and maple syrup inside. Salsa and hamburger buns. I'm making chicken sandwiches this coming Sunday. And made pulled pork sandwiches last night. The salsa was for the homemade tostadas for dinner 2 nights ago.

My lunch from May 17th. Anyway, I know so many of you really enjoy the day to day type of posts of what I'm up to. Again...just regular life stuff happening. And this just shares with you 3 recent Costco trips of mine here in Japan. : )