Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Sunday spent at the homecenter and curry udon for dinner! : )

We ended up going to a DIY homecenter today. This is the Joyful Honda superstore in Chiba New town. Since we built our new home this year, Noboru's and my biggest hobby is our home. Anywhere from home decorating to landscaping and more. Anyway, we are about to buy ourselves a shed. And we have been looking for one. In a nut shell, we don't want the metal Japanese style one. Don't get me wrong they look nice, but since our home is an imported American house, we wanted something a little more western looking. We found one we like, and it's medium sized not too big and not too small either (my best guestimate is it's about 8-10 tatami mat sized). It's about $3,000 US. So it is quite pricey, but it's a good piece and we figure it'll be a one time buy, so it'll be worth it in the end.

Anyway we have an appointment with the Joyful Honda people and they are coming to our home this Friday in the *early* morning. (since we also have afternoon/evening plans already made on this coming Friday) To take a look at the back yard and give us our complete estimate (including installation and foundation that needs to be laid down as well) and then we will be ordering it. It should take us about 2 weeks for it to get here and installed. It looks like a mini log cabin sorta, sorry I'm horrible at describing what it looks like, but it's gonna be cute, we even get to choose the color of roof and color of the actual log cabin shed itself. Even though my description doesn't do it justice, it really is a cute shed. : )

Noboru also bought 4 bags of dirt/soil. And some bricks for the front yard. So basically we spent the entire day at the "Do it yourself " /DIY homecenter. And since there is a grocery store there as well, we also picked up a weeks worth of groceries.

We went home and I made curry udon for dinner. We had a very nice laid back Sunday.

Pics are of the curry udon dinner I made on Sunday night. I made one mistake though, that I will tell you openly. I bought curry *udon* base or roux when I shoulda just used what I normally use. The flavor came out sweet and mild, but since my husband and I don't care for mild curry *at all*, I knew I had to make some changes to spice it up. I even gave my husband a taste of the sweet mild curry flavor and he said and I quote, it tastes bland and like curry they'd give you in the hospital. My husband and I like our curry with a kick and a punch! Some flavor, again, not to burn our mouth's off or anything, but yes we do like some flavor other then just bland mild curry. So I won't make the same mistake twice and I won't buy the "real" curry *specially for udon* ever again. From now on I will just buy the regular curry roux, I usually buy when I make our curry for curry and rice. I ended up turning off the stove and driving to the convenience store and buying a "normal" or standrad regular curry and added it for hotness and it tasted way better after I did that. Phew!

I just got my skinless boneless chicken breasts and cut them up and fried them in some olive oil. Meanwhile I browned a small onion in a pan all by itself. After the chicken browned and cooked, I threw in the veggies which consisted of potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and the already cooked onions. Boiled that up until the potatoes got a bit soft (not obliterated), then added my curry. Errr this is when I realized the curry tasted like super bland nothing! Hopped in the car with my sons, grabbed a normal curry (my husband was doing yard work which is why I didn't leave the kids with him or I would have). Hopped back home and then it tasted beyond delicious! I boiled the udon noodles a bit by themselves in some hot boiling water. And presto chango! Dinner was done. Sorry I don't have a special udon bowl or anything fancy like that. I just use the same bowls we've been using for ages and and yes, I got them at the daiso! Ha ha ha! But I must say, our meal was so yummy! The mild curry before I added the hotter curry, I took a big heap of that out for both the boys and so they had a real nice mild curry udon complete with noodles and chicken and veggies. Meanwhile Noboru and I enjoyed a spicy hot curry udon! It was fun watching both the boys slurp and enjoy their yummy homemade curry udon that mommy made especially for them!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Our fun filled weekend singing karaoke! (together as a family of course!) : )

Saturday night,we went to sing karaoke like we have been wanting to. It was quite fun and shockingly cheap! We usually go to Shidax which is a chain here in Japan. But this one we went to isn't a chain, I don't think. They specialize in pizza and karaoke, but also had the other regular snacks associated with Japanese karaoke rooms, like pocky, french fries, ice-cream, chips etc.

We sang for two hours! This place also had a free drink bar which was something we've never seen at a karaoke place. So the boys had slurpees/ice-ees. We had sodas and ice coffees the entire time. Branden had some ice-cream. I had a huge ice-cream which we all shared some of. Noboru ordered some yakisoba, even though we ate a delicious dinner at home right before we got there. Noah had his own little baby snacks that I brought from home.

We sang ourselves silly! We had just the best best best time! Branden loves to sing karaoke now, so he sang, "It's a small world afterall", and a couple other ones, as well, as one in Japanese that he learned from yochien! I was impressed by my son! Ha ha ha : )

Noah had a great time as well. Ahhhh it was a very nice night! And you betcha, we will be going back there quite a bit, especially since Noboru and I both love going to karaoke anyway. : )

Alright, I'll share some more pics from our wonderful night of karaoke! : )

Friday, April 28, 2006

Time to break out the ukulele 'cause we're heading back to Honolulu baby!!!

I've known for a couple weeks now and I know a couple of you reading this, know already too because I told a few of you myself, but asked you all to keep quiet about it until I decided to let everyone else know! But yes, we are heading back to Honolulu.The airline my husband works for, gives their employees confirmed round trip tickets to their employees and their families once a year! Meanwhile the rest of the year, we get to fly unlimited anyway, but it's stand-by. And stand-by is cool too. My family has *never* had problems with it. As long as you check and make sure there is *seat availability*, which can be easily checked online for us employees and families of the employees, then you know you will get on or not, before even wasting your time sitting at the airport, it's a total no brainer. And since my family is smart and pretty flexible schedule wise with stand-by and we never even *try* to get onto an aircraft unless it is only 85% full, meaning 15% seats are available so we know for sure, we will get on or not. It's only when people risk it and either #1 don't even bother to check and see how full the airplane is. Or #2 they ignore the fact the airplane is 99% full and then bitch to high hell, that they got bumped! And this just boggles my mind to no end! To me, as long as you are smart and check *first*, you'll never have problems and since we plan things quite well, anyway we've *never* been bumped! Sorry but I've seen a few angry stand-byers (airline employees and their families) at the gate on flights at gates *next* to our gate a few times and we've always wondered, why they just didn't check their flight *first* before coming down to the airport, thus making themselves all upset for nothing. (Sigh) I digress, anyway, the employees/guys in Japan, options were to choose destinations to, Hawaii, Guam or some other destination in Asia. Our choice was a pretty easy one to make because the flights to Guam are almost always open and available, so it didn't make much sense for us to waste our confirmed passes to go to Guam, when we can get to Guam no problem anyway on stand-by. So we figured we haven't been to Hawaii in about 7 month's, eeek! That's a long time for us. So we figured we should just go for it!

Noboru requested his days off last month and was granted his vacation long ago. He also called the airline and requested our tickets and they were granted. Like I said, we've known for a couple weeks. But we've all just been so excited, that we really haven't wanted to say anything about it to anyone!

We leave the week after golden week! And we will be gone for a very nice seven day vacation! Our vacation will be from May 12-18/19, we leave Honolulu on the 18th and get back to Japan on the 19th!

Branden's school was notified last week, by us, that he will be off on those dates. So for Branden he is nearly getting off two weeks, lol! He has no school during golden week, since it's a holiday here in Japan, so we can stay home, snooze or get ready and pack for our upcoming trip! And the following week, we will be in Hawaii! I think he may have to go 2 days between golden week and the actual date we leave to Hawaii but he is going to get a nice lengthy vacation from school.

Rental car has been reserved and the hotel reservations have been made.

I've secretly been making my shopping list for the past couple weeks now. I can't wait to do some good shopping at the Ala Moana shopping center (Old Navy, Gap, Sephora and a few other stores), And the Waikele Outlet Mall for Carter's and Osh Kosh, Banana Republic etc., (this is in the center of the island. Walmart (again in the center of the island), and I wanna go to the mall near, where we used to live, the Pearlridge shopping mall as well! And also Kmart too.

I will only shop for one of the days, so I better do some killer shopping, the rest of my days will be spent strolling Waikiki beach and *willingly* hanging out in a few tourists traps, like the International Marketplace and stuff! Or going to Hanauma Bay and a couple other beaches where just the locals go. Or basically just splashing around in the ocean on Waikiki beach.

And food, ohhh! You'd better believe there's a few local places, I have been missing big time!

Our two favorite and closests neighbors know already and will be watching, our house and keeping an eye on things, while we will be away, which means we better buy them a thank you souvenir/omiyage! Ha ha ha : )

A day well spent at Ikea Japan : )

We hit Ikea like we have been wanting to do! Our thoughts on Ikea Japan? This place is bar none absolutely the *best* place to buy home furnishings in Japan! And *believe* me, I have honestly and truly looked all over the place. Especially, if you recall my bad review on Home Deco and also Tokyo Interiors? LOL.

So today, we went to look around for a couple hours and took some notes and jotted down a few prices of what we liked! However, the styling was so gorgeous that we loved practically everything in the store! Ha ha ha!

If your recall, I really liked the couch at the IDC in Makuhari in January, but passed on it at the time, because we really wanted to wait to see if Ikea had something better. And didn't want to buy something we only 95% loved and ended up kicking ourselves later for it, know what I mean? Well, *thank god* I did wait!!!! Because we found a couch that is a million times better for us! Remember how we wanted an L shaped one in the first place? But the couch at IDC wasn't an L shaped one? A strong enough reason to make me wait or take pause, because it was a good couch at IDC, don't get me wrong but something was telling us, it wasn't *the one* kwim? No doubt about it! I sat on the one from Ikea today, for about 8 minutes while passers-by walked by and I didn't care one lick! I was just so happy we finally found the right couch and truly digging the couch so much, that's why I guess I sat there so long! So the couch we are getting immediately!

We also saw, a dining table that *is* perfect! Thank god we waited too! And we found a TV stand we liked a lot and we found the best looking computer table *ever* and also a bed for Branden! Geeze, we adored everything at this store! We are so glad we didn't buy furniture for this house yet someplace else! Good thing we waited because we found everything we just love! And we will be going back in a couple weeks and buy a good amount of home furnishings!

Now, we agreed we wouldn't buy anything from Ikea today! I seriously tried! However I found a cheese grater that was so cool, because it had a connecting bowl, so the cheese can fall easily in there! And it also has a lid as well and a non-skid bottom too. This thing was so cheap, I had to break the rule. Also the oven mitts, again the color doesn't match my kitchen color scheme at all! And I wasn't going to buy them but would you believe they were only 79 yen? Come on that's about 75 cents for my readers in the US. And did I mention, I threw my old ones out when we moved so I have been roughing it for a while with *no* oven mitts! So, I figured oh what the heck! And so I bought them anyway!

I didn't shop til I dropped or anything like that! But, we love Ikea Japan! Also wanted to add, I know somehow sometimes stores change merchandise, when they make stores in other countries, so I was worried how Ikea Japan would be. But they rock! This store is unbelievable! And I think, other furniture stores might close and go out of business now that Ikea is in town!

We went right home and looked at our living room and took measurements to see if the couch etc., would fit and seems everything will fit perfectly! And yup, the L shaped couch will at last be mine! Yippy! Didn't think we'd ever find one we truly loved, but sure enough Ikea really came through!

Pictured is my nine month old son, Noah holding, errr chewing the Ikea map. He was helping us navigate around the store today. He was our trusty map holder! Ha ha ha! : )

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My dad found the condo of his dreams and leaves Japan this Saturday.

Dad found a wonderful condo on a tropical island, like he has been looking for! He ultimately chose the island of Guam, only because it's only a three hour flight from Japan and plus it's still the good ol' USA, well a common wealth actually, but it's no different then the US at all, and still has all the amenities to make my dad's retirement wonderful! The island itself has two shopping mall's that have Macy's, Ross Dress for Less, Anne Klein, Nine West, and two different movie theater's, Taco Bell, Carl's Jr., Burger King, a "real" Denny's and a Kmart and much much more.

His condo has a secured gate to enter and a security guard is on call all the time. It's got a killer ocean view and the condo itself is in a *very* nice middle class area. His condo also has a private swimming pool, and a large BBQ area for bbq'ing and a nice playground, which will be great for when the kids and I go to Guam, they'll have some place to play at!

He will be leaving Japan this Saturday! We will be very sad that he's leaving. I admit, I have loved getting all the extra help around here with the kids. I've also loved his company and just him being around and getting to spend some quality time with my dad. However it will also be so nice that I won't have to have such a long flight to visit my dad anymore. So that's a big bonus to me and also if he ever needs me, he knows, I am only a three hour flight away and can be there in a heart beat! And we all know with dad's horrible heart attack, he had last year, my dad living closer to me gives me a great deal of peace of mind and him too! Anyway, I'm glad he found a condo, he truly loves, because he deserves to have a wonderful retirement! : )

Monday, April 24, 2006

Some of the clothes, I bought for both my boys in America.

Okay, I know many of you were still interested in knowing what other things both my boys have gotten clothes wise from America. So I figured I might as well, just post about it and get it done and over with already! : ) So here is a final tiny peek at just some of the stuff my boys will be wearing this upcoming spring/summer season. I'll try to break them up in easy to see sections, meaning Branden's tops and add pics, then Noah's tops and share pics and so on.

I think by now, we all know Branden is the Gap sweatshirt king! Ha ha ha! Seriously the kid has owned so many of these, ever since he's been born! When I was back in Denver last month, I took it upon myself as a good chance to stock up on both my boys wardrobe. I know in the spring time, it still gets chilly, maybe in the evenings after the sun has gone down. Or if we head to Disneyland and the nights get sorta cold, a good soft spring time sweatshirt was in order! Note, these are not the fleece kind that I buy him when it's wintertime. These are just warm cotton sweatshirts, so they will stay warm but won't melt to death either, know what I mean? Also even in the summer time, being in an airplane (which we travel a lot anyway as you all know) it gets quite chilly in the airplane. So I know these sweatshirts will come in handy big time! I bought these in size 5T, granted he's barely 4 and a half years old. But I feel a bit bigger sized, is better to be on the safe side! This way he can wear these even next spring if he wanted to. So he got two sweatshirts this time. I bought the red one right away, because it's bright and eye catching and seems happy and bright, so I liked this for my little guy and I bought it. I also bought the navy blue one with bright yellow Gap lettering.

Branden also got two Gap t- shirts. I wanted to buy a couple more for him too, since the prices were so unbeatable! But the only other one, I liked didn't have his size! And the one that did have his size, I really didn't like the styling of it. So, I just bought these two so far and I plan to buy him more t shirts as soon as I find some more, I like.

Pics are of Branden's tops: first pic is of the two newest sweatshirts, I bought for Branden last month in the US. And the other is of the two t- shirts I bought for him at the Gap as well. And the final pic is showing, how I am still in the process of stocking up on sweatshirts in 5T for when fall/autumn rolls around. If you recall in a post I made in January (I think) that's when the other swetashirts were sent by my family from the US and I have been tucking them away in each of the boys closets ever since. It's smart to get a good head start on stuff while we can, huh? Especially if you live overseas like I do.

All in all, I think my boys got a good jump start on their Spring/Summer clothes. Of course they still need more stuff, but this is a good start at least! : )

A look at some of Noah's tops

Figures, that when I get my big chance to hit the Gap outlet, they only had *one* measly Gap t- shirt for my cute little Noah! What the hell? As I don't live in the states, when I do get my *big* chance to shop back home, they don't have his size! The irony was absolutely unbelievable, I'm telling you! I was sorta upset to be honest with you, but then what can you do, you know what I mean? : )

So, I bought Noah the one and *only* Gap t- shirt (meaning it actually said Gap on it) that was in his size. I also hit the Children's Place, if you recall in my earlier post, I bought quite a few shoes for the boys from here. Tops wise/shirt wise though, I only bought Noah this green t shirt, because I thought it was so preppy and cute!

I also bought Noah a matching Gap sweatshirt like I bought for his big brother. It's the navy blue with bright yellow wording and bright yellow inside hood part, that I just loved! I wish they woulda sold the red sweatshirt in Noah's size, but sadly they didn't, so he just got this one, so far.

I plan to buy both my boys a bunch more shirts for this upcoming spring and summer season. Again, I just have to find some I like and hope they got the boys sizes in stock as well. : )

Pics include the t-shirts I bought at the Children's Place and Gap. And the newest sweatshirt, I bought Noah last month. And the final pic is of the total sweatshirts I have so far, saved up for Noah. His sweatshirts are all 12-18mos and only one is size 18-24 mos (planned ahead a bit I know). This way even though he's only 9 month's old right now, he can cruise around in these cute sweatshirts for a good long time, since I bought them in a comfy enough size that he can grow into.

Hats, hats and more hats! : )

I bought the boys a great deal of hats. But then, I always seem to gravitate towards hats for both my munchkins, because they both look so darn cute in them! I just can't stop myself from buying any that I get my hands on. Here's all the hats that I bought in Denver.

Note the patch work looking preppy 80's looking gilligan hat! That one reminded me of the shorts/pants the preppy guys wore on the movie Valley Girl. I grabbed that one right away. And we all know how *big time*, I am into Hibiscus printed *anything*, since we used to live in Hawaii and all. So when I saw the hibiscus floppy hats, I snatched them up right quick too! And by the way, the Gap denim hat, Noah has had that one before in a few sizes already, but this was the next size up.

I must say, my boys got a good selection of hats so far huh? You better believe that when I see more, I'll snatch them up too. I'm always on the lookout.

Noah also got three little rompers from the Carter's outlet. I purposely bought one in size 18 month's, yes even though Noah's only nine month's old right now. I did that because we also travel a bunch in December to the islands whether it be, Hawaii or Guam. So it's best that he have an outfit he can wear that's size 18 month's. Also I will certainly let him wear that even if it's a bit baggy this summer, because it'll still be very cute on him! So he has these three little comfy cotton rompers to cruise all over Japan and whatever else destination we may go. They are dressy enough since they are polo style and the cool rugby stripes look very in style. Yet they are comfy and soft cotton, so Noah can still feel relaxed and comfortable no matter where he goes! I was very pleased I bought these for him last month.

Some of the bottoms Branden has gotten so far.

Branden got two pairs of khaki cargo shorts in size 4T, he may wear 5T tops, but he's got a slim waist so he wears his true size and even these are sorta big, waste wise speaking! But these are cool because they have the adjustable waste band, which is a godsend for mom's like me, who have slim kids! I also stocked up and bought a third pair but I bought these in size 5T! So he can wear these next year. I also bought him a pair of lighter colored khaki cargo pants. I figured they'd be good for chilly spring days! I bought these in size 4T and I must say these are enormous! Good thing they also got the adjustable waste on these too! And I may even have to fold the length one time too, but it's okay he'll grow into them and will probably still be cruising around with these for a long good while since they are so big! Where did I buy these cargo shorts and pants at? Target! Sorry but like many of you, I also buy stuff wherever I find it and as long as it's cute and good quality, I don't mind where it comes from! And Target always has the best and cutest and coolest stuff! : )

PS, as all of you know I got a funny/strange habit of washing *everything* I buy first before my kids or I wear them first. So if these shorts or pants are a pinch wrinkly, sorry. I washed them the second I bought them! : )

PSS He also has brand new jean shorts and cargo shortalls as well, that I blogged about already. So anyway this is just a start for both the boys.

The Children's Place jean overall's for Noah, just in case it gets chilly and he needs to keep his legs warm this coming spring/summer. And a khaki pair of shortall's. He also got a couple pairs of jean shorts from the Gap outlet. And also a couple pairs of shorts from Target as well. So this is just a peek of what types of bottoms, meaning shorts, pants etc., Noah will be wearing this coming spring/summer.

Like, I already said, this is just a head start on their clothes for the upcoming warmer month's. And it's tough buying clothes when you live overseas, either the selction isn't so good or the prices are too over inflated. So that's why I try to stock up, whenever I get a chance to be back in America. : )

Sunday, April 23, 2006

We did our good deed for the day!

Sunday morning and we all woke up bright and early. And hurried off to the laundry mat. Yes, we do have our own washer and dryer here at our new house, but today was blanket washing day! Sigh, regardless of the day, I certainly do cruise to the laundry mat, once a week and wash all the beddings for both the beds (always do and always have)! Of course I could get away with just washing the sheets in the washer at home and once in a while washing the big comforter's, but I just feel better if everything gets fresh and clean *each* week. Makes me sleep better and feel better knowing both my munchkins *always* sleep on clean bedding!

Anyway, on the way to the laundry mat, somewhere near our house on the street as we were driving in the car. We saw a wallet. Noboru stopped the car and picked it up. It appeared to be a girl's or ladies wallet. It was a Winnie the Pooh wallet and it had a charm on it. No address or anything letting us know where this wallets belongs (we knew who, since the name was on it, but not where ). It contained a book card, a Harry Potter movie stub. A few other cards and a Tsutaya video rental card and also 12,000 yen which is about $120.00. Quick thinking by my hubby, he called immediately to the video store. And he told them the situation, that he just found a wallet and he said if they can look up the number and call the person and let them know we found their wallet and if they could call my husband's cell. Then they can arrange to pick it up. Sure enough they called and after our laundry was done, they met us at our house! They were so thrilled that they brought us a great big tin of cookies. Delicious cookies I might add!

Anyway after the whole wallet thing was over, we then went to Chiba New town, which is quite close to where we live, and went to the Joyful Honda, because like I said in an earlier post this place is essentially like a Wal-Mart Superstore or a Target superstore! They have all house needs, and also a grocery store! So we picked up some groceries and looked at the charcoal BBQ grills!

We bought stuff for our dinner stuff for the week. And also juices and teas, bagel's and raisin English muffin's, sandwich bread for Branden's bento's. And also fresh strawberries and super cute tiny sized bananas for Branden's obento's, since I like him to take a variety of fruits every week. And these bananas are so cool, perfect for his school lunches this week.

When we got home, the people who we returned the wallet to were actually chatting with our neighbors three houses down the street. We noticed their light blue box shaped car. And said "weren't those the same people we returned the wallet to?" What the heck? Anyway as we unloaded the car, sure enough they came back! This time with a box of shoucreams (cream puffs), she said, her friend actually lives down the street and she was telling them, that we were such honest people. And she told us that, she brought us back the shoucreams, and wanted to tell us that she is just so surprised *still* because in this day and age, most people wouldn't be honest enough to return a wallet back, much less return all the money back inside the wallet, like we did! And that it is very rare these days, to find people as honest as we are and she wanted to tell our neighbors about it and I guess she apparently told all our neighbors about our good deed!

It was a good feeling to know we did a good deed. And we certainly and absolutely didn't do it for the glory or anything! We did it simply because, Noboru has lost wallets in the past and he know first hand how it feels to lose something *that* important! Also, about the money! We've got money and a nice life now for sure! But we have certainly had tough times before and we know how that could be a lot of money for a family! And honestly, we'd never be so totally generic, as to keep the money or pocket it! It just wouldn't feel right! And finally, my husband is bigtime and I do mean *big time* into karma! He said, in the car, if we do a good deed, it will come back and if we were to do a dishonest thing with the wallet, it would come back ten fold as well! And I believe it too and totally agree with him! So for us,there was a multitude of reasons, why we would NEVER keep the wallet and we would never want to! However, it felt really awesome doing the right thing and we made sure, Branden knew what was going on and he knew our family did the right thing! : )

For dinner we were all so totally tired by then and really hungry. So we had fried/cooked some frozen gyoza in a skillet, this gyoza we just bought at the Joyful Honda superstore. This gyoza is so good! We keep buying two packages of this, each time we go shopping there! So our family had a super simple meal, we had gyoza and rice, and some ponzu sauce and gyoza sauce for dipping our gyoza with. And Noboru had instant miso soup. For dessert we had the shoucreams! They were really good! Then we all sat down and watched American Idol on Fox TV, here in Japan, thank god we have satellite! It was a good show! We had a good weekend!

Pics are of the cookie assortment the family who we returned the wallet to gave us. The other pic is of just some of the fantastic American groceries they sell at the superstore near my house! They've got about the best selection of foreign stuff, I've probably ever seen, since living in Japan not counting Costco. They also got bunches of stuff, even Costco doesn't even have. And we all know how much I love Costco, so now I got two options, Costco and this store (not even counting Kaldi)! Yippy! The other pic, is of the fruit I bought for this week, and the cute little mini bananas, that both my munchkins really love! And the other pics are of our simple Sunday dinner!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What we did on Saturday : )

We ended up going to a shopping mall in Tsukuba, called Crio. It's near our house and this mall rocks! They have GAP, GAP kids and baby GAP! Yippy! The Body Shop and also a Lush! Muji and MORE the whole place is huge! It's the same size as the other mall, I used to go to in Japan a lot (Lalaport), but I think this one is actually closer to where I live now. I'll still go to both, Lalaport and also this one. But this one is *very* nice and it's a brand new mall! So it's sorta cool that now I got *two* cool malls to chose from, depending on my mood or just whichever one I want to go to. I was really happy to make this newest find!

So, we hung out at the mall and did a little shopping. Didn't buy anything major because we really didn't need much except for some patches for Branden's school smock, we bought him some new Thomas patch's. We also bought a nice amount of snacks at Muji. We bought Taco flavor and also cheese flavor tortillas chips, yumm! And some peppered senbai (wowie these are the hottest peppered senbai's we've ever and I do mean *ever* had! these were delicious!), some caramel popcorn and Noboru got some freaky looking squid snacks.

We headed to Starbucks and Noboru got an iced green tea drink and I got my usual caramel machiatto. Then we cruised the town for a bit and ultimately wound up at the Red Lobster for dinner.

Red Lobster in the states in delicious and just the best! However and yes I will be 100% honest in all my reviews on stuff! I absolutely thought Red Lobster in Japan sucked! Here's why!

In the US, you go to Red Lobster and you order an entree and you get either surf or turf, depending on what you ordered. You also get salad and also a side dish with baked potato. You also get those gorgeous cheese bread rolls that are free! However and I do stress however. In Japan, they had no chicken or steak or anything really turf unless you mean the pizza they had available. But no real land animal, hence no turf. Also, we ordered the lobster and guess what it came with? Absolutely nothing! Yup that's right, it came with a big fat zero, nothing, nada, zip! Prices? Outrageous, the lobster was sized from regular, medium and large. And the price range was 3,900, 5,900 or gulp, 7,900! And did I mention no side dishes at all??? I'm sorry but for freaking $40.00! You'd at least think they'd include a damn baked potato, right? Ridiculous! And I am telling you the real truth, no glossy bull here!

What we ordered. We ordered two appetizers, we got the fried calamari and the popcorn shrimp! For our meal, Branden got a kids meal. And we ordered the ebi fry plate, and a margarita pizza, and a lobster! So we ordered a lot! They however did *not* bring our appetizers out first like they were supposed to! They instead brought everything out at once! And so we felt we ordered too much, but in actuality, if they woulda brought out the appetizers out first like they were *supposed* to we wouldn't have had this problem in the first damn place! No free refill\s like at the Outback Steakhouse! And worst part was no side dishes for any meal we ordered! It was a very odd experience and honestly I don't think we will be heading to the Red Lobster in Japan anytime soon! And the bill was nearly 10,000 yen which was nearly $100.00 US. isn't that ridiculous? We will just eat at the Red Lobster in the US, where the food is twice as yummy and where the bill is only half that!

It was late by that time, so we went home. And we got quick showers, no relaxing bath. We watched TV for about 15 minutes, by that time the kids had gone to bed after their showers. And then we also fell asleep! The shopping mall was cool. The meal was iffy! All in all, our Saturday was good though! We were all still happy and we all still had fun!

Edited to add, before we got to the mall, we went Toys r us and bought Branden a new train. And Noah got a blanket holder for using on his stroller. And I also got some things for Branden's obentos, like some Thomas dividers and mini plastic forks for picking up his fruit.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spring is in the air!!! Literally! : )

Good morning, ahhh it's sunny and warm and it's still just the morning still (I imagine it will heat up even more throughout the day). We've just finished a great big American style breakfast that I made complete with crunchy crisp bacon, yummm! I'm on my second cup of coffee as I type this. Both the boys are both so full from the egg's, potatoes that I cooked and the bacon and toast. Noboru is stuffed to the gills as well. Branden had two cups of milk as always (we all know how he drinks enough milk to keep all the cows in full service ha ha ha!) And Noah had 10% apple juice (baby apple juice) in his sippy cup.

You can really start to tell spring is in the air! Flowers are in full bloom all over my neighborhood. My neighbor across the street has some beautiful tulips that are just so gorgeous! Anyone who knows me, knows I've always been quite fond of tulips! Makes me think, maybe I should probably grow some tulips too!

I have now got the Easter flag all safely folded and put away in an air tight gallon freezer bag and stowed away for next year! And I now got our Spring flag outside, I got it all put together and hung yesterday! I put it out in the mornings. And I bring it in the house when it starts to get dark in the evenings for safe keeping. Isn't it beautiful though? It says Spring in green with white wording on the top! and it has flowers on it with button centers (totally love the details on this one) and a cute little butterfly too! Happy Spring everyone!

What will we be doing today? Well, we are not sure yet, but we'll do something fun that's for sure! Noboru's off today and tomorrow. We were sorta thinking maybe hitting Narita city and exploring around town. Or maybe look for our BBQ today and lawn furniture that we want to buy. Or hitting Toys r us. Or just hanging home and this evening hitting the karaoke room at this new karaoke/pizza place, yup you've heard right, they specialize in pizza and the private karaoke rooms. And we obviously love pizza a bunch, so we were thinking of heading over there too! Hmm! So not sure, but we will have fun whatever we do today.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some of the lunches, my son has had this week.

Here is a pic of the turkey sandwich that I sent Branden to school with on Monday, the day after Easter Sunday. He took along a gorgeous turkey breast sandwich that I lightly sprinkled with salt and a pinch of pepper, on some soft white sandwich bread, with that little bit of zip from our miracle whip, fresh crisp lettuce, and a Kraft cheese slice, I wanted to add a slice of tomato, but I figured the sandwich would get too soggy by the time lunch rolled around and I did consider packing it separately on the side, but figured my toddler would leave it out anyway, ha ha ha! I wanted to send him to school with some chips to go along with the sandwich, but since chips aren't allowed in Japanese obentos (lunch boxes), I sent him to school with a small amount of fries on one side of his bento and I cut the turkey sandwich into fun smaller and easier to eat (for toddlers) squares, that kids like. I also sent him to school with a diced up apple and two mini jellos/jellies. All in all, not a terribly fancy shmancy lunch, but certainly a well balanced good wholesome lunch if I don't mind saying so.

I have an option at this new school to send him with a homemade lunch 3 days a week and buy him a school prepared lunch twice a week. Or send him to school with a homemade lunch everyday! I knew it was going to be extra work and it honestly *is* however, I prefer to prepare and make my son his very own lunches every single day and this way I know what goes into my sons tummy everyday. And I know he gets a well balanced meal. Just sorta makes me feel better, I guess.

I made lunch all this week of course, and sorry I don't provide pics of *every* single lunch ever made by myself (lol), but as I am a typical mom, I'm usually running around like crazy in the mornings trying to get one son fed and dressed and his lunch made, while also tending to my other son. However today, I managed to take a quick snap of his lunch today, which is Friday.

Today, I prepared him some pasta and the sauce I made this morning with olive oil, garlic, and other ingredients as well (duh lol : ). I also bought some gorgeous bread at the bakery yesterday afternoon and that is what I used to make my garlic bread with this morning for my son's lunch. I also sent him off to school with a fresh homemade salad and I used goma dressing, only because that's Branden's favorite dressing at the moment. And of course, I never forget to add some fruit, and today I gave him 5 fresh strawberries that I cleaned like crazy and set in a matching little clear plastic tupperware type thing, that is the same as what I used for his salad. And I also included two mini jellos as well. Sorry it may not be a gorgeous picture of a bento, but it is probably the tastiest lunch outta his entire class today that's for sure (not that I'm trying to toot my own horn or anything but I do care what my son eats at school a great deal and I also don't want to send him off with the same thing day after day either, I do try to give him a good variety.)

Branden's sensei's are coming to our house this afternoon. I guess they come to each students house in Japan and talk about the progress our child is making etc. They'll be here at 3:30 pm today.

Also, yesterday I found a whole bunch of Thomas stuff at a store near my house, and I wasn't even looking for it in the first place ha ha ha. I actually found Thomas the tank engine tissues, go figure! About time, huh? I bought them just because I have been looking for them for so long (didn't really need them, since I just bought the candy ones last week), I also bought him a Thomas Japanese long washing cloth for the shower, and a new Thomas cup (errr I think this must be like his fifth Thomas cup, I'm embarrassed to admit), and a cute little Thomas charm that will go onto his school backpack (we stuck it onto his backpack this morning already and he already has a Spongebob Squarepants charm on his backpack as well), I bought a few other things, but I forget what they are at the moment.