Thursday, November 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday...

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!! Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday! And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, that's A-okay, hope you are doing well too! We are a day ahead here, so it's Thanksgiving here! It's still morning 11am-ish. And both Bran and Noah are at their school today since it's not a "holiday" here in Japan. The pumpkin pies, I baked from scratch, last night are in the fridge as we speak (or type) The turkey is in the oven. I went to Costco yesterday with my dad to get last minute Thanksgiving things (like a big fresh mixed salad and Costco amount of potatoes, etc) It's cold and rainy and gray outside. But it's toasty warm in the house. Umm, what dad's here, you already know that part. : ) We will be setting the dinner table soon, since we like to set it early. Not with food down, just with holiday place mats and pilgrims and stuff, you know what I mean, I hope. : )  Noboru is at work and should be home by 3pm. Noah gets out at 3pm. And Branden gets out at 3:30pm. So we should be having dinner around 4pm-ish tonight. We will be putting our Christmas lights on the house this weekend, so by this Sunday our house will be looking like this pic. This was a picture of our house here in Japan, taken in 2008. 

Happy holidays everyone! : ) 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bits and pieces. The boys dental cleaning, tons of meal pics (homemade tostadas, taco night, chili beans, plus obento pics) The boys flu shots taken. My morning standing and greeting the kids (Aisatsu Undo) and lots more...

Good morning ya'll! My dad is in the air flying to Japan as we speak. Thanksgivings this week, yay! So, as you can imagine things are *crazy* busy here, this week. And this post is so long over due. I have *tons* of tiny bits and pieces of stuff that happen.... every week, every day. And sometimes I have the time to post them and sometimes, I am so busy. I just have time for bullet point type posts for example...The Guam trip. Or going to the movies. Meaning that's all the time that I have to do 1 subject ones. Meanwhile I have many *many* small things going on too. And I do want to document as much as I can. So this is my chance today. However, I will have to do this at lightning speeds. So here it goes! Made homemade tostadas one night. I boiled the beans in the morning and when they were done I turned off the pan. I also fried up the corn tortillas in a little bit of oil in a skillet during the day, that way, by the time everyone came home, everything was ready to go and everyone could dig right in! I also, grabbed 2 cans of that super cheap salsa that I buy at my nearest Besia store and put... in the blender on liquefy. And wrapped with plastic wrap. Cleaned the blender bits by hand in the sink and put the blender away, all this stuff I did during the day that by the time... everyone got home. We were ready to eat!  

About 30 minutes before I went and swung around to pick up the kids. I refried the beans in a big pan and mashed those suckers and seasoned them all up. With a sprinkling of salt and a small handful of grated Mexican cheese (form Costco Japan) to add some creaminess to them. Put a lid on them, turned off the stove. And hit the road to get the boys! Noboru meanwhile came home, while I was busy picking up the boys. And we all ate right away! 

This was a random pic from a lunch in October for the boys. How can I tell? Because all October, the boys used  those Halloween-y black cat fruit forks, for their fruit for their lunch. And the chicken breasts, I prep the night before, I cut off all the skin and fat and then in the morning, I dunk in some egg and then roll in flour and fry up fresh. 

Their lunch that day. Freshly made chicken breast sandwich with Miracle Whip and lettuce. Some fresh apple. And inside their thermos was those envelop packets of soup. I made the soup that morning on the stove. You those Lipton foil noodle soup packets. And these Japanese made thermos are THE best and keep things as hot as it just came off the stove. So a nice thermos of chicken noodle soup, a sandwich and some fruit. Noah only got a half sandwich because his tummy tank is smaller. But a nice fresh lunch for them Monday through Friday. 
Random date pic. My husband and I still go out to lunch once a week. We don't "have" to. But we want to. We love spending time together and talking. This week we went to our favorite Indian restaurant. I had the pumpkin curry. I love pumpkin curry. Though...I do love pumpkin anything really. : ) 

Noboru reading a book at the dentist office. Bran reading his new tablet. Noah was in the back getting his teeth super cleaned. And Bran went afterwards. No cavities for either of the boys. Neither of them have EVER had a cavity! So, they got their cleaning and check up and we went home after that. This visit was last week of October 2015.

Another random lunch pic. Very very lean beef, I had marinating since the day before... in yakiniku sauce. I had skillet fried it up that morning. On a bed of white rice and some veggie on the side. They also took some sliced up apple. 
Out of this entire post, this is the pic, I have the most questions about. Meaning, did I share this pic before? Like mid October? You know...I might have. I might not have. I am really unsure and granted... if I had hours upon hours of free time, I'd back track my blog and find out. But...I just don't have the time this week for that unfortunately. So, if I did share this pic before, I am sorry for adding it here. And if I didn't then here it is. : ) I would not recommend anyone to see Dope. It was a terrible movie. I have not seen Dark Places yet. But, I am sort of saving this.. for after Thanksgiving. I can just enjoy this movie this coming weekend with some movies, I have been saving and looking forward to watching this! 
First week of October, I picked up these for Halloween from Daiso to be used at our house. Nothing major, just thought we could either use these for dinner or dessert on Halloween. 
I baked a yellow cake on Halloween. I also bought a huge tub of vanilla ice cream for our family too. 

About 5 or so posts down below some place, I said, we had tacos for Halloween dinner. And I thought we did. And we did not. I am sorry. It was an honest mistake. I knew we had Mexican food that night. And to be fair, we did have tacos a few days afterwards. So that's where I must have said tacos from. But we did have enchiladas for Halloween 2015 dinner. So while it was an accidental mix up. I don't want to be a liar face! So...hahaha. We did have enchiladas. And for what it's worth, if I had time to blog the daily bits...more often. I wouldn't have made this mistake. Oh well, I am human... it happens. : ) 

We had chicken enchiladas and spanish rice. Not on the Halloween plates because... if we did, we would run out and not have enough for our dessert. I think there were only like...6 plates in that pack. 

Halloween dessert on the Halloween plates. Cake and ice cream, yellow cake chocolate frosting, our fave. 
OMG, I have to post this in here, it's *so* weird. Or perhaps cool? Not sure. You know how every Halloween I decorate the front of our house, right? With lights and Bran made that wicked Jack Skellington real Jack o lantern and stuff. Well anyway, so I go and get the mail from the mail box on Halloween right? It's a Saturday after all. So anyways! Somebody left me these candies. They left 1 candy on this one fake light jack o lantern and another on the other one. Or perhaps they left it for my kids? But...I was like OH... EM... G!! @_@ Who did that??? @_@

The 2nd candy. You know that old song by Rockwell...Somebody's Watching Me? @_@ I could take it... in a freaked out way...a negative way... and think. How *freaking* creepy! Or, I guess, I can take it in a positive way! And wonderful! Somebody obviously loves my Halloween spirit and decorations and perhaps is a bit shy... but wanted a small way. Give us a treat! I opted to take it in a good and positive way! But yeah...definitely a surprise. : ) Hmm, I think my neighborhood likes us! : ) 

And no, I didn't keep the candy, I asked Noboru if we should throw them away or let the kids have them. He looked them over and said the kids could have them. : ) 
Another random lunch. I sliced up 1 chicken breast and marinated it in yakiniku sauce, same as I did with the beef up above and the morning of...I skillet fried it and onto a bed of white rice it went with some veggie and some sliced apple. Halloween was over... so they were back to their blue long neck giraffe fruit forks. : ) 

A rainy cold morning. The boys were already at school with a packed lunch. And I was about to mop the kitchen floor. Don't ask me why but...I love to mop my kitchen floor in Fall and Winter on a cold rainy day. Seems so cozy. With the floor heating all on and the central heating on, the house is so nice and toasty warm!

I seriously need to replace my mop in 2016. However, I do have a few replaceable mop heads, I am still working my way through so....

Not sure if you can see to the right of my shed. But a very polite farmer...only burns his weeds and whatnot on rainy days. He is so very polite! And I like seeing his bonfire! : ) Smells like camping! : ) 

Close up! Fall weather is definitely here! It's been such gray skies. And cold! Not freezing, but definitely colder. 
And taco night. Noah's job is toasting all the shells in the toaster oven. He does a very good job. 

A serious amount of lean ground beef from Costco, taco meat for the guys of the house! And 2 chicken breasts in taco seasoning for me. and of course the salsa from Besia that I zip through my blender and sour cream (not from Costco) and the cheese is from Costco. It was a taco feast, that night! : ) 

And the next day, I packed the kids soft tacos for their lunch. Taco meat inside a flour tortilla, with sour cream and lettuce and cheese and salsa. Bran brought 2 soft tacos and Noah brought 1. And they also brought some fresh apple too. 
Another random dinner pic. Beef stew. I skillet fried the lean beef first and then I boiled the beef all day long. It was fall apart tender. After a few hours, when the meat was tender, I added the veggies. And boiled until the potatoes were soft. 

Added the roux and we had beef stew with rice, we also had a sliced fresh baguette from the bakery with some of that healthy margarine from Costco, on it. 

Another random dinner pic. Wendy's style chili beans. You know, chili con carne. Sides, onions and cheese and sour cream.

A big pot of chili beans. Enough to last 2 dinners worth!

I also fried up a bit of the lean ground beef, I had in the freezer from Costco. Just a bit. And that way if you wanted to add beef to your chili beans you could. Noboru and the boys added beef to their chili beans. I don't like beef in mine. So, I didn't have any ground beef in mine, so mine is technically chili without the carne lol. 

Our 2nd pot of chili of Fall 2015. This was before we went to Guam, because we didn't have cornbread yet. : ) 

First batch of brownies for 2015. The kids had brownies with ice cream. we still had leftover ice cream from the Halloween cake and ice cream we had. These brownies had walnuts in them and were so good. : )

In September, I ordered a huge 2 pack of Miracle Whip from FBC Japan. An online place that sells American food from America. Knowing Thanksgiving and leftover sandwiches and stuff were up and coming. So, I planned ahead and ordered these in September. Plus you know...that big squeeze tube of Miracle Whip, I also brought back from Guam too. So turkey sandwiches...we are ready! 
As soon as my kids started elementary school I started to have to be assigned to do the "morning greeting" once a year for Branden. When Noah started elementary school. Because Bran also went to the same school. That meant I had to only do the "morning greeting" once a year even though...I had 2 boys enrolled in the same school. This was nice! However, when Bran started JHS. We now, once again had to do the "morning greeting" for the JHS and also the elementary school. So, that meant I had to do this twice a year, since Bran has been a student at the local JHS. This usually means once in November and once in February or something you know what I mean. It is just something done here in Japan. And something every parent has to do, if you have a child in elementary or JHS. I did not have this, when my kids were in yochien. It's hard to juggle doing this in the mornings. Especially if you have to make and pack obento for your children...and drive them to school. The awesome thing about my husband is...if he has a work schedule that he is available to do this..he will not mind doing this. And he has done this about 4 times, in all 8 years. So while he doesn't do this every time, he helps when he can. Last year, I did Bran's and Noboru did Noah's. Since they were on different months. Is it fun to do this? Honestly no. It's not hard either though... but it isn't fun. You have to stand there outside looking like a complete dork.. for about 30 minutes. And usually it's Fall or Winter and so it's cold and/or rainy. Bran brought home a sash and Noah brought one too. Bran said we have to do his on Wednesday and Noah said we have to do his on Thursday. Noboru was available on Wednesday. and so he offered and said, I can do Bran's and you can do Noah's since he was not available on Noah's day. Okay. and then...we got an email from the JHS saying they all made a mistake and since that Tuesday was a national holiday. The street greetings was to be held on Thursday instead. So, Basically Noboru couldn't do any of the boys days this year. Though he *wanted* to help. His work schedule just didn't allow it and that's fine. However....again... it's all about how you take things. You can take things super badly and negatively and say...this sucks. And now I have to do this twice as long. Or you can take it super well and say..."you mean, I get both of my boys street greetings, knocked outta the way in 1 1 fell swoop?" Hell yes! And that's how I took it! I was like...this is sorta cool! I get both kids scratched right off the list, for 1 mornings work! I'll take that! Did I have to wake up at 5am that morning? OMG, yes I did. Did I have to make lunch by 5:30am? Yes, I did. Then I went upstairs and washed my face and then put some lotion on and sunblock. and then I did my eyebrows and eye make up and didn't wear a stitch of makeup anywhere else. No foundation, no concealer, not a drop. I just did my eyebrows (eyebrow mascara), 1 color of eye shadow, one very natural nude color. And that's it, not even eye liner or mascara. I did wear some lip balm though... so my lips didn't get all dried out and crackly... by being outside for over an hour. And I also didn't have any coffee that morning either in case, I had to go pee. I got the kids up. And ready. Noah walked to school with his friends. And I usually really don't care for him to walk. I know Japanese people feel safe with their kids walking. But, as an American, growing up with news stories like...Adam Walsh (abducted at a store), Polly Klause (granted she was taken out of her house during a sleepover), Jaycee Duggard (was abducted on her way to school) Etan Patz (a little boy who disappeared on his way to school) and even in Japan, that girl last year who was abducted on her way home from school. Again, I wish I could *not* worry. But coming from a country with that in the media. It sorta freaks me out. And so yes...I drive my kids. It just saves me the heart attack. Granted, I know some schools have a "don't drive your kid to school" policy but not all schools do. And our school does *not* have that rule. Our school is very unusual. So Noah walked with his friends. And Bran rode his bike. And for the elementary kids, I was to greet kids from 6:30am to 7:10am. And for the JHS, I was to greet from 7:10am to 7:40am. So, I walked with Noah to the entrance of our housing community. And he stayed with me, until his 2 besties came walking and then he joined them. There was 1 lady from the elementary school also doing hers with me that morning, she was a 5th grade mom and while I know pretty much everyone. I seriously do. I didn't know this lady for the life of me. She greeted me and I greeted her and she went to the opposite side of the road as me and greeted kids and that was nice. I basically greeted kids on my side of the road and she greeted them on the opposite side of the road. When the time was up, she left and we did the "job well done' greetings to one another. And she got in her car and left. : ) She drove from her house to our housing community's entrance and back home. I walked. I prefer the exercise, but then...that could be just me. : ) See the sashes in this picture? And don't forget the sexy arm bands either! Hahaha. And at 7:08am, I put on my JHS sash and so for a 3 minute period, I had on 2 sashes and 2 arm bands. I could tell by that...the elementary school only mom thought...oh wow, she has a JHS kid too. : ) Hahaha. I was the senpai there. : ) 

How does it feel to wear a sash? Well, perhaps if you were in a beauty contest with big beautiful crown and gorgeous dress and your makeup perfectly done and your hair picture perfect. You would maybe feel like a million bucks! You remember that old song..I'm too sexy? LOL. Yeah...maybe you could be all...I'm too sexy for this sash...too sexy for this sash! And do your little turn on the cat walk. Hahaha. But in reality. It is so totally *not* like that. Picture/think along the lines of... regular clothes and almost no makeup and sash. While freezing your butt off. 
See... random stock pic of lady wear a sash with normal regular clothes sans makeup. And you sorta get the idea. Except for it's freezing cold and so you're probably wearing a coat and maybe some gloves and quite possibly shivering to death! So very...un flattering. So very...not sexy. Let's put it that way. However the bright side is...I could get both boys scratched off in 1 fell swoop. So, while lady I didn't really know for the life of me... from the elementary sped off. I waited patiently for my fellow JHS mama's to show. I knew 3 others were to be there... besides me, so 4 total from the JHS. Two 9th grade mama's. One I know very well, her hubs works at Delta so there is a definite connection between us. And the other 8th grade mom. K x 2's mama. Meaning she has a son named K, who has been Bran's classmate since first grade and she also has a 2nd and final kid/son who is in Noah's class, who is also named K. So she is Kx2's mama. And we have known each other for ages. And so right away...they come walking down the road. We 4 greet each other and the two 9th grade mama's go across the street and us two 8th grade mama's stay on our side of the street and we talk to each other and also greet kiddos. She was like..."you're here early!" and I told her in Japanese..."I know...would you believe, I have been out here since 6:28am, I had to for Noah/the elementary school." She was like..."Say had double duty today?" I was like yep! And we were like lol! I tell ya, when you're out there with someone you is so much more fun! And time just zipped on past! Bran meanwhile rode by on his bike and we chatted for a sec or two. And then the older K, her son... zipped on by. Noah and little K walked to school together about 30 minutes earlier and their other friend. And Genki and all the other JHS kiddos we chit chatted and joked with that morning. And Saya-chan had the cutest pancake charm on her backpack. And us 2 mama's were like.."Saya-chan what a cute hotcake charm you have there!" And she was all blushing and stuff. And I swear time just zipped on by. In fact so much so... we were deeply chit chatting about random stuff...when our 2 senpai mom's the 9th grade mom's came to our side of the street and said..."our time is over ladies" and we all bowed and "job well doned" each other and stuff. And we all walked back home... all 4 of us. I was so happy to be home. Yes we 4 all looked super dorky with our sashes! But we were done. And fwiw, K's mom, told're lucky to get both yours out of the way today, and she added, that she has to go back and do little K's in December. Also...interesting...the JHS...a van of the senseis drove around with clipboards and took notes of whose mom was there and whose was NOT! @_@ They do not do this at the elementary school. And so, this surprised me a bit. The helper teacher, who was... in the science room when we dissected that chicken head, remember? He was one of the teachers, in the back seat with window rolled down so he could see us all...and taking notes of which of us was there or not. We were all no worries. 
I snapped this random pic, before the JHS mom's got there. This was "greet the kids" day. Aisatsu undo actually means, "greeting exercise."  Greetings (aisatsu) and undo means like exercise, so it was definitely a "greeting exercise" for us parents to do.  
Random pic while at Beisia in October. I picked up the lavender toilet cleanser. 

Lime Coke. I love lemon Coke! I love cherry Coke. But...this lime coke sucked! I tastes exactly how Mighty Duck at Costco Japan sells.... in the marine scent! I mean dead on...exactly like Mighty Duck marine scent. It was so awful, I didn't finish it. And Noboru also thought the same, totally Mighty Duck marine scent. For me not to be able to finish it...says a lot.
This super nice police car as Noah and I were waiting at the airport the day we got back from Guam. Noah was all excited to see the police car, so we waved at this police car and I took this pic and the policeman nearest this side of the car, he waved at us back! Such a nice guy! : )

Three big luggage we brought back from Guam, all contained food stuff. And the huge Gap package in blue. I don't have time to show what the Gap/ON clothes were in the bag. But they're cool. I'll show them another time. Not this week though. : ) 
Noboru picking up and checking much the turkey we wanted weighed. We were looking for the biggest turkey our Costco had. However....

The price...and yes it does say USA. Hahaha. 

However the biggest one they had...had a cut on the wrapper and Noboru was like...the meat could have gotten frost bite because of that hole...let's not pick that one. And I was are so right! So we picked the 2nd biggest one instead. Without a hole. : )

One big huge honkin' bird! Oh and how funny.... as we were buying this, a group of Japanese older ladies walked passed us and one said all loud in Japanese..."look at that huge CHICKEN they just bought!" Japanese people for the most part, feel nobody western can understand they just blurt out anything and everything. Not all Japanese people are like that... but yeah... but many do, assume westerners can't understand. A small part of me... wanted to turn around...since obviously I can understand what has been said and say back...."Nope, it's not a chicken's a TURKEY!" But...I said...why? Granted I would have said it in a nice and polite way. Not in an offended mean way. But again...I thought...why? Would I gain anything by saying that? And my answer. No not really. So, I just said nothing. Truly though...I don't get super mad often. Unless it's undokai and you are holding 7 leisure sheets under your arm and you're in front of me. That is a definite trigger for me and I accept that is a trigger for me. But really nothing else... really rattles me. : ) Which is a good thing, I guess. We had a rotisserie chicken last week and the provolone, I bought for our upcoming turkey sandwiches. How many times, have I thought and contemplated a leftover turkey sandwich this 2015? About a hundred times! It's official. : ) 
I wanted the Big Bang Theory calendar for 2016. But it was $9.99. And I am a tad cheap's a calendar for goodness sake. We just need it for our American holidays. And I pencil in all flu shot appointments or dental visits and observation days and gomi zero (street cleaning) or morning greeting days. However when Bran saw it...first thing he said was..."umm, mom we had Wizard of Oz a few years ago!" And I was like...honey, I know. So, no, I won't be buying Wizard of Oz again. Oh well. : ) The bright side is...we have a nice American calendar for 2016! 

Thanksgiving plates! And napkins, gobble gobble! These are something brought back from Guam that somehow didn't get pictured. : ) 
I did make 1 pack of cinnamon rolls so far. We still have 1 pack of cinnamon rolls left. These are so good and so easy! A real blessing... on a Sunday morning. 

Two new movies got here last week. Terminator Genisys and Vacation! We will watch Terminator this weekend after turkey day. : ) Because Bran has been studying his ever lovin' brains out... for weeks. So this will be nice this weekend. And Vacation, we watched last weekend, on Friday and Noboru laughed himself silly! Which made me laugh even harder! We have more movies coming in November, December and 2 last ones, end of January/early Feb 2016. 

You know...this pic should have been way up above since it happened way earlier, first week of November. Our family all got our flu shots. Now that Bran is 14, he gets the adult dosage of flu shot now. So, Noboru, Bran and I only got the 1 flu shot, first week of November, so we 3 are all protected now. And Noah got his flu shot that day too, and this pic is of Noah's arm. However Noah is a child and needs the kids dosage and so he will have to go back first week of December and get his final flu shot. But he's protected now...just not completely yet. And of course no flu shot is 100% guaranteed, but...prevention is key. And early prevention... is even better. Anyway that's enough blibber blabber for now. 

Oh TV Talk...what have I been loving lately? The Blacklist. Black-ish. Little Women LA season ended but I watched every week. 90 Day Fiance is having a new season and I am watching that every week. AHS (American Horror Story), this new season is weird, but so far I am sticking with it. I preferred last seasons over this season. I am enjoying Scream Queens. Supergirl is brand new and I am really liking this! One of my most favorite shows though... is a TV show called "Arranged" it's a reality show, about  3 American couples in an arranged marriage. I love this show and look forward to it every week. 

Christmas plans? We were really on the fence about what to do for Christmas, this year. Should we travel and go on vacation for Christmas. As our Christmas present, meaning the gift of travel. Or should we stay home in Japan. My bil Jun and his family are traveling, they will be in Hawaii for Christmas. However we were just there in Summer. And so we decided to stay in Japan for Christmas and just do gifts and have a dinner for our family of 4 here. So that's what we're going to do. : )