Saturday, May 27, 2017

Our anniversary dinner...

Last Sunday, the 4 of us made the 2 hour drive to the city, for our anniversary dinner. We drove to Makuhari to go out to our anniversary dinner. If we would have taken the toll highways, it would have been about US$20 each way/one way and we would have still taken over an hours drive. But if we drove the regular roads, it saved us $40 bucks round trip. Plus we enjoyed the drive. Yes we live in rural Japan at the very end of Chiba prefecture, but we love where we live. When we do get to the city it's a nice couple hours...but boy oh boy is it a pain to get there. But we don't go to Makuhari or Chiba city too often. So it was a nice rare thing for us. And we went to the Outback Steakhouse because it's one of our favorite American restaurants that is available in Japan. : ) 
They bring you fresh hot honey bread with butter and they keep bringing out more all throughout the meal for free. When we lived in the city before our home was built in our rural town, we used to go here once a month. Yep, we used to come here often, when we lived in the big city, when we first moved to Japan. But ever since we moved to where we live now. Wow...we haven't been in here for at least a good 10 years. So a good pick for our anniversary dinner for sure. : ) 


If you show your Costco card you get a free appetizer. I have mentioned that on here before. About 10 years ago, lol. But I'll mention it again now, in hopes this can be of help to someone. : ) We ordered the nachos. The kids and I were not really fans of these nachos. And we *love* nachos as you know. For starters these nachos had zero cheese. What kind of nachos have no cheese? @_@ Just lots of chili beef. No beans at all. Just very...different. Noboru ate them... but he didn't love them either though. And fwiw, they used to sell fried mushrooms here and we would always have that as our appetizer. But not at the Makuhari location anymore. : (  But not bad for free though. Next time we'll have to pick a better appetizer for our family. 

I had the Alice Springs chicken. You can pick any 2 sides and I always pick 2 cheesy butter baked potatoes. Noboru picked the ribs. 

Noah had the chicken strips meal and Bran had an adults cheeseburger meal. The drinks were unlimited. And it was just a nice dinner. I see your dimple Branden.

We also shared a hot fudge sundae on a warm brownie. This was so good. We all left the restaurant so full. Considering the lengthy drive. We all enjoyed our dinner and dessert. We talked a lot. It was just such a nice chill... low key way to ring in 20 years of marriage. Enjoying our dinner with our family was the perfect way to celebrate for us. We hopped in the car and made our trek back to the countryside. We left our house at 3:50pm, because we wanted to eat around 6pm. LOL. We got there around 5:50pm. So we did good timing. We left the restaurant around 6:50pm. And we got home just before 9pm. The kids quickly showered and went to bed. Because they had school the next day..Monday.

Anyway, anything to add? We're having a backyard BBQ for dinner this evening. We're going to be grilling racks of ribs. We bought ribs at Costco when we were there yesterday. So today's plan? Just chilling at home. Watching some good TV. And later in the evening we'll BBQ. Have a good weekend everyone. : )

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today...

Today I have observation day today at Noah's elementary school. It is an "open" or go any time today that you'd like... type of observation day. I will be leaving my house today at 11am and stay until the end. I will of course though pop home for lunch, where I have salad fixings here at home for me already prepared. : ) Today is also the "emergency drill" at Noah's school today too at the end of school. Where all parents must show up and all grades wait in nice little rows and you must stand to the side of your child and the teacher goes..."Noah is this your mom?" And he says, yep! : ) And then the teacher will scratch his name off the list and we can go home. So that's happening today too. I have my name badge with our last name on it. I have my slippers in a bag already waiting in the entrance way of our house. And my makeup is on. I have on a navy blue short sleeve tee shirt that's a v-neck. And a navy blue summer (light weight with UV protection) cardigan, I love Japanese summer cardigans so much. I am wearing distressed capri (boyfriend cut) jeans from Old Navy the really faded ones. And I will be using my Ralph Lauren with big pony bag I bought last week at Costco, you know the one. : ) Just wearing regular casual clothes (jeans, tee shirt and a cardi). It's 69 degrees F today. It's superly gray outside today, it's been raining off and on all day long. It's not hot, but it's not really cold either. But it's humid though. I will be carrying a small foldable black umbrella too, just in case.

I went to the Farmer's market yesterday bought a ton of fresh veggies for super cheap. Bought 4 zucchini (2 yellow 2 green), a bag of onions 2 bags of potatoes, button mushrooms, 2 carrots (because I only need 2), lettuce, salad stuff. I bought more veggies. But I can't pinpoint, right now because my minds on Noah's observation day right now. Oh I also bought 3 fresh melons for 500 yen for all 3 of them. Tonight we're having cream stew. I have 2 chicken breasts defrosting in the fridge as I type. Noboru is home today, because he wants to go and see Noah in class. Aww. : ) And that's about it really.

We have a parent teacher conference for Bran the 2nd week of June. His grades are so super high though and he literally gets along with everyone, same with Noah too. So, it's just a routine conference though. Anyway...I better motor. Have a good day everyone. You know where I'll be at today. At an elementary school in rural Japan watching my kiddo. : )

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Costco cart pic from last week...

When was it? I think it was 1 week before Spring break started for us. So maybe the 3rd week of March? Somewhere around there. Anyways, remember I had bought that really fabulous red plaid tote bag first week of January at Sony Plaza in Ikspiari shopping mall. I think we took the kids to a movie and to some Kua' Aina for burgers afterwards. I was happy because I wanted a tote bag that looked like a nice classy red scarf material but sturdy and nice and big. My bags *have* to be big! Because I lug a lot of stuff with me everywhere I go. : ) I got it on sale too and I was happy. I think I got it for like 6,000 yen or so, right? I blogged about it, so I am sure some of y'all remember. Anyways, when mid March was here I kept thinking to myself...soon this nice wintry red plaid bag will look too hot to use, now that Spring has sprung. Anyways...I sorta filed it in the back of my mind. And anyways...so I was at Costco we were stocking up because we knew we would avoid Costco during Spring break. Because of the crowds. So...anyway...I saw a perfect sized Ralph Lauren tote bag in a nice preppy navy blue. Now you know...like I have said a hundred times on here. If you see it at Costco...and you *love* it...you better snatch it up, because next time you go it may be gone or sold out. So many bags and shoes are like...they get 1 shipment in and that's it type deal! And I should have bought that navy blue Polo tote. But...I was so busy looking for lean ground beef. packs of chicken breasts. 2 types of cheese. Eggs. You name it, we stocked up on it. And I did not take my own advice. I told myself..."oh they have thousands of those polo bags they will survive 1 week of Spring break. I'll catch it next time. So, I went back the second that Spring break was over and they were gone 100%. I was so pissed off at myself. Why did I *not* take my own advice. OMG! All April, nothing. I screwed up so bad you guys! Now what?! It's not like I live in the US, where I can just zip to Target. Or to my nearest outlet mall. Outlet malls in Japan are super pricey in comparison to American outlet malls in the states. Double sigh. So...I started to think...of a back up. I can check Gap at the malls here in Japan for a summer bag? I can check Old Navy online. I can look locally at the small city nearest me? However...for my day to day type bag. I want my bag to be good quality *but* not over $100. Sure I have fancy bags for important occasions. But I'm talking a normal just run to the town store... to buy a carton of milk type everyday bag. Last week, I was telling Noboru...he knew all about my bag fiasco and how mad I was at myself for not buying it in March like I should have and yada yada. So anyways....I told him last week. You know what...way in the back...where nobody walks...lol...past the washing machines. They used to keep like...computer bags and stuff there. Maybe they're there. Meaning the Ralph Lauren bags. Noboru was like. @_@ I don't think so. @_@ But yeah...we can check if you want. So we had 3 grocery stores to shop at that day and so I snapped this pic at 9:58am that day! May 18th! Considering they had a huge towering stack now they have this tiny puny amount. I was just so overjoyed. I was practically giddy to find them! And the price...sure enough it was under my budget for what I want my everyday bag to be priced at. So awesome! : )  This is about $80 US! So an acceptable price. 

Clearly navy blue is the most popular color, because they had only about 7-9 left in the whole selection of bags. And yes I compared all the navy and found the best of the bunch. And I zipped and unzipped the zipper a couple times... to test it and to make sure it ran smooth back and forth. And when I knew it was a keeper... I threw the bag into my cart and was tremendously relieved. Phew! I have since nicely packed away my red plaid warm winter bag away for next winter. And have been using this one since I brought it home. 

Just so relieved to have found them again. : ) 

We had some lunch and then we headed to Besia and then to Joyful Honda. Then we headed to our town.

Cart pic from last week. 1 navy blue Ralph Lauren Polo tote bag. 1 huge pack of eggs, black pepper, shredded cheese, milk, tortillas and I often spend 35 yen to buy a water, so I can drink it with my lunch and also to and from the stores along the way and for the drive home. Anyway, this is what my Costco cart pic looked like last week. : ) 

Blanket washing...

Exactly 7 days ago. Last Tuesday May 16th, was my great big blanket washing day. I wash everyone's top and fitted sheet and pillow case once a week like clockwork, because it's thin and can fit easily in my washing machine at home. However every 2 weeks, I wash the whole kit and caboodle of every one's bed. Thick comforter. Duvet covers. In winter the thick fleece type blankets in summer the thin towelket type summer blankies. With 1 queen sized bed of bedding and 2 twins. On big blanket washing day...it's best for me to just run everything to the laundry mat and do it all in 1 fell swoop versus doing load after load to infinity at home. So, everyone knew where mom (me) was going that morning. And as soon as Bran went to the train station and 45 minutes later I dropped Noah off at elementary school. I came home stripped 3 beds down. Put everything inside my trunk, grabbed my dryer sheets and headed to the one and only laundry mat in town. I used 2 huge blanket washers. This one has a lot of stuff from every one's bed. 

This one has the duvet from everyone's bed. The plain white comforters that go inside all our duvet covers. Duvet covers were washing in the other washer. After getting my 2 washers started. I sat in my car and read my magazine that I had brought. About 10 minutes after I arrived... here comes Saya-chan's mama. Saya-chan is the sweetest kindest girl who had been Bran's classmate since the first grade. She's also an only child. Anyway, so her mom was blanket washing too. : ) So a quick wave and smiles between us both. And back to my magazine I went, S's mom is about 8-10 years older than Noboru and I, super nice lady though. : ) 

Then I came inside and tossed my blankets now into the dryers. I used 3 dryers and put 3 coins each because I wanted my blankets hot and toasty and fresh and clean. At that point in came Saya-chan's mom too. Her laundry had finished and she put hers into the dryer. And she asked how Bran has been enjoying high school. He absolutely loves it, I told her. How's Saya-chan doing, I asked. She's really happy with her school too. Aww. Cool. : ) And after a brief chit chat, before you know it, my laundry was done. And I said good bye, see you around. : ) We live in the same housing community so of course we will still see each other. : ) And I left. : ) 
And now I was home and back to making all the beds now. I put Noah's fitted sheet down. Then this quilted yellow elephant fitted one on too. And now that the weather is getting hotter. I packed the warm fleece blankets away the day before. And I washed the towelkets for everyone. Noah's is Paddington Bear. These are perfect for sleeping on in the summer. And they also have one to cover up with too. 

Noah. : )

Now it was time to put Noah's freshly washed white fluffy inside blanket inside his duvet cover. 


And nice and fresh and clean. Smells so wonderful! You will have wonderful dreams in your bed kiddo. : ) 
Branden. : ) Yep, I made Bran's bed too. All nice and fresh.

You will sleep wonderfully with fresh bedding!

After making the beds. I vacuumed the upstairs. Then the downstairs. Swooshed and bleached both toilets. Bleached the kitchen counters. And then I took a 1 hour much deserved rest. I had a ham and cheese sandwich. And a jasmine tea. I laid down on the couch and watched a little TV. Oh yeah...I forgot to mention I also switched the couch winter blankets to the summer towelkets we lay down on the couch. So they're fresh and clean too. I laid on the couch after my lunch and about 60-70 minutes later of rest, I got a jump start on dinner. And then of course, I made my after school pick ups. Picking up Noah from school and then Bran from the train station. After supper. I quickly cleaned the kitchen and threw everything in the dishwasher. And I went up and took myself a nice hot soapy shower. And I relaxed on the couch in my night gown/sleep tee would be more accurate (knee length) and I felt myself starting to doze off around 9:30pm. I was exhausted. Really really tired. So, I went upstairs to sleep. : ) 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cool Japan! Clear tea, have you seen it yet? Suntory Premium Morning Tea...

Has anyone seen this yet? Or tasted it? I took this picture about a month ago, it's in my April 2017 file. Let me go and check for the exact date brb. I snapped this pic April 26th, so a few days shy of a full month ago. I also must point out, that I do a once a week big grocery shopping in Inzai City weekly. I hit at least 3 shops on that day. Costco, Besia and Joyful Honda. Sometimes others. So, I do get to see what's new. What just came in to the stores or shops for us in Japan. I also go to a handful of stores in the small city nearest me on a different day but once a week too and I do go to the 1 store in town too. So, I do go to many different grocery stores and get to see all sorts of new products. Remember when I snapped that Calpis Water? Yeah now it's everywhere and doesn't raise an eyebrow, but I remember when it first came out and I shared it here. Anyways back in April, I spotted this right away at the Besia grocery store in Inzai and I bought 2. One for Branden to take to high school the next day. Kids drink their own drinks or can buy them at the school. And I bought one for Noah too. Noah had it that very day, as soon as he got out of school. This sort of reminded me of Crystal Pepsi. Does that make sense? Because when most people think of a cola, they think a brown or caramel colored soda. That's the color I think of when I think of Coke or Pepsi. And so when Crystal Pepsi first came out, I thought...clear Pepsi? 7-Up, Sprite are clear, but a clear Pepsi was a tad mind blowing at the time. I do think the world did get over it. But yeah it was a bit surprising at first. And now...when I think of an iced tea in summer time with a twist of lemon in it. I think a nice light brown tea colored drink. So yeah as I was cruising with my cart at Besia and I saw this @_@ I stopped for a second and thought to myself...Crytsal or clear tea? What the....???@_@ So, like I said, I bought 2 for the kids. 

Branden said when he took it out at lunch back in April, the whole class was like..."what's that?!!!" He said, "tea I think...but I don't know either, my mom just bought it at the store the day before." : )Bran said he likes the taste of this too. Noah likes the taste too. And this is now everywhere in Japan and even at conbini's/convenience stores near Bran's school so even though I buy him/make sure he packs 1 drink from home daily... he also buys one at school or along the way to school too. And he often buys this. That's how much he likes this. : ) Anyway...would you believe I have not tasted this one yet? Maybe I'll give it a try this coming week. : )

Anything new to add? We went to the Outback Steakhouse last night for our anniversary dinner. It was awesome. Today, tomorrow and Wednesday Bran has major tests. However in high school you only take 2 tests a day and get to come home early. For example, Branden got out of school at 11am today. He will get out that time tomorrow and Wednesday too. His tests today were just math and science. High schools here don't want to stress kids out. And that's probably why Branden has zero stress at all. In JHS though, at least for ours...they tested you all in 1 darn day, all 5 subjects, so it was like 1 day of hell. And kids were stressed to the max. High school is *so* much nicer than JHS. I will be picking up Bran from the train station soon. What's for supper tonight? A nice tender big ol' pot of beef stew. Tomorrow night it's going to be American style fried chicken tenders and mashed potatoes and gravy and veggies. But tonight just a nice simple pot of beef stew and a side of rice. Anyway, I better hop in my car and get myself to the train station to go pick up Bran. Noah gets out at normal time 3:45pm, but we'll both be there to pick up Noah as soon as school lets out. : )

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Today's our 20th wedding anniversary...

This pic was taken at the free-standing Tiffany and Co. store inside the Narita airport after clearing security and immigration. They were expecting us and even had our names. : )

As soon as we gave our name we were seated down in a private table and chairs at the back of the Tiffany store. Noboru had been wanting to buy me a platinum ring for our anniversary and he trusts Tiffany and so we went with that. : )

Twenty years ago this very day. May 21st we were married in a Roman Catholic church in Osaka, Japan. His family was there. My family was there. And I married my best friend. 20 years later, 2 sons later. We're still head over heels for one another. And we dated for 5 long years before that, so we were super sure we were each others soul mates by that point. I'm not going to make this long. Not going to make this sappy or emotional. I'm just going to say, I love you honey! Thanks for always making me laugh in the best of times. Thanks for always holding my hand in the hard or sad times. Thanks for being "present" in our relationship every single day. Thanks for taking out the garbage every single week. Because you know..it's your guy job! Hahaha. Sorry! : ) Thanks for doing all the driving and letting me be your co-pilot (ha!) and letting me always get to pick *all* the music we listen to in the car! But to be fair... I do play good music though, so we're good.  Thanks for attending 99% of all Branden and Noah's observation days, you truly care (hey, sometimes he just doesn't get the day off and I *always* understand when he can't)...because you're such a rock star dad and husband and we know it! Thanks for every time that I see a spider... all I have to do is scream and I know you'll come running with a tissue to kill it! Thanks for the 2 times we saw a snake in the yard. I screamed and you without fear grabbed a stick and removed them to the field next door. You are truly a protector of this house and I love that. Thanks for taking such amazing care of our grass, we seriously have the best most fantastic lawn in all of Japan, because of you! Thanks for taking me for our once a year big vacation every summer, because you know how important that is for an expat living in a foreign land to go back to the US every summer. Thanks for taking me on husband-wife dates once a week for the past 20 years. That means to me... that you truly value me and value our marriage and so do I. Thanks for manning the BBQ grill like a total bad ass, all summer long too. Thanks for being such a wonderful family man, you truly put your family first. Thanks for just being you. If given the choice, I'd pick you and do it all again. 

What are we planning to do today or this evening to celebrate? I made everyone a special breakfast feast this morning. And after that Noboru went outside and did some yard work. Japan has suddenly been super hot the last couple days, but Noboru enjoys being outside in our yard working on things. It's been like 86 degrees F the last couple days. I miss the cooler weather days. Now I can see the hotter days are fast approaching. I rearranged my living room after breakfast this morning with the help of Branden and Noah. The furniture is totally flipped and looks totally different now and I love it. Remember I switched the boys furniture a few weeks back. Now the living room is complete. Anyway...in a nutshell. Our anniversary day has been rather uneventful and been spent at home. This evening the 4 of us will go out to dinner to celebrate as a family. And we're all looking forward to that. : )