Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from our family to yours! : )

Just wanted to say, our family here in Chiba, Japan, is wishing all of you, our friends and family a very Happy Halloween! : )

The plug in pumpkin on the right and the real one on the left. And yes, my hubby messed up the eyes, I thought. I told him yesterday, the eyes are not the same. They look different to me. He said, "well they aren't supposed to be the same...he's a scary guy" Yup, that's his story/reasoning/excuse, he he. I think he goofed and so I didn't say anything. I just said..."yeah I think you are right honey" Ha ha ha! Oh well, I don't wanna hurt his feelings, he did try his best, you know! Anyways, Happy Halloween you guys!

A close-up of our Mr. Jack the Pumpkin head man! And just because it's Halloween, I keep telling my husband every 30 minutes or so.....Che che che, ah ah ah! You know the sound from Friday the 13th? Ha ha ha. I know it sounds stupid, so be it, but he finds it amusing, since he's seen the movie a bunch of times. And I find it funny to do that to him. And no I will spare you the story how Noboru jumped out of nowhere last night to scare me, when I walked out of the bathroom late last night. He found that hysterical, meanwhile he nearly gave me a heart attack! Smiles! Anyways our plan tonight is, we are watching a Charlie Brown Halloween DVD with the kids tonight and then as soon as the kids go to bed, we are throwing in the original Halloween with that freaking scary Michael Myers guy! Yikes! Anyways, have a wonderful night everyone and Happy Halloween! : )

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

From a pumpkin to a jack o lantern! Ha ha ha! : )

Tonight right after dinner was when our family pumpkin carving was under way at our house! Since, I carved the one last year (that I blogged about last year) with the kids, we nominated daddy/dh to carve it this year! He was up for the challenge I must say!

Ewww, pumpkin guts! Ha ha ha! : )

Both of the boys cleaning out the pumpkin! They did a very good job, I must say, I only had to help a bit at the ends! : )

Some serious laughter coming from Branden in this picture! By looking at this picture it's obvious how much fun we had! We really had a good time carving this pumpkin! : )

Noah had a blast as well! : )

Eyes and nose carved... check! The mouth was coming up next.

Noboru drawing on the mouth before the big cut! Ha ha ha! : )

I thought the mouth came out really wicked! I told Noboru he did an excellent job! And what does the final pumpkin look like, with candle inside and all aglow? Well, you'll have to wait until Halloween and I'll post a pic up then. Ha ha ha! : )

And I rinsed all the pumpkin seeds out really well and roasted the seeds in the oven with a sprinkling of salt. Boy, did they come out nice! Branden and Noah and the hubby and I munched on them tonight. : )

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trick or treat, it's in the bag! : )

So today after B was sent to school, I started to get 7 Halloween goody bags all filled, for Branden's closest friends from yochien.

Aha, yes that is the main reason for all the Halloween candy collecting I've been doing, ha ha ha. I knew I was going to do something special for the friends of my son.

Each bag was filled and stuffed with an assortment of some of the best American Halloween goodies around! Each bag has, 1 mini peanut M&M's, 1 Rice Krispie treat, Reese's peanut butter cup, Milk duds, Twizzler licorice, Almond Joy and Raisinets. I bet the kids are going to absolutely *love* getting these as a Halloween treat surprise, tomorrow.

And there they are all stuffed and ready and rarin' to go! I wish you could see the detail on these treat bags, it's fabulous. The string on the witches hair, with the big nose to boot, the candy corns on the ghost bag, etc. They are such cute bags, I was really happy and lucky to find these bags at the 100 yen shop! Talk about a super find! Best deal ever, because they are really nice and the details on them are perfect! Oh, the kids will love getting them, as much as B will enjoy giving them! : ) And yes, my son is going to give them out discreetly at the end of the day. Halloween day, they have a field trip, and so all us parents will be at the school to pick up our kids. And so he can just run them to each of the kids/friends parents car after class privately, with Noah and I. But, I did want to give Halloween goody bags to the kids that are closest with my son though. Just trying to spread some Halloween treats and good cheer, around is all! : )

Monday, the day we went to go and buy our pumpkin!

So Monday morning, I rolled outta bed and got lunch for B ready and breakfast as well. Music courtesy of Gwen Stefani, ha ha ha! Very simple lunch this morning. A grilled cheese sandwich, french fries, steamed broccoli. Mikan, fall fruits are all out now in Japan. And 2 jelly's. Got Branden sent off to school this morning. My morning walks to the bus stop are growing a bit chilly these days, brrr! : )

This is the funny and yes the gross bit of my post. You know how when you are a mom, your kid will sometimes leave a half of his sandwich, and us mom's get used to eating all those leftovers. Yes, whatever they may be. Ha ha ha. In my 6 years of being a mom, I've eaten, all sorts of weird, funky leftovers. Ha ha ha. So, anyway, Noah had been munching on a few shredded wheat this morning in a tiny little bowl. No big deal. He was full, and so, as I just finished cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom and was now giving the living room a full cleaning, I picked up this tiny plastic bowl and proceeded 2 toss a leftover shredded wheat square into my mouth. Yumm, I thought. And tossed another square into my mouth as I walked the cup into the kitchen and about to put the mini bowl/cup into the dishwasher, I tossed the final mini shredded wheat into my mouth. And got a very rude awaking! It was wet and felt like mush. I immediately spit it out and put it back into the bowl. I turned to a giggling Noah, and I asked him. "Did you suck on this?", he coyly replied....."ungh huh" I didn't say anything, I just gave him a pat on the head and shook mine. I just tossed that last one into the trash can. But sheesh! It was a total "eww" moment for me this morning!

After B went to yochien and came back from Kumon, we were off to go and get our pumpkin. Last year, and the years before that, since I've lived in Japan, I always got my Halloween pumpkin from Costco. Expensive yes, but what can you do. We live in Japan and that's the price. And I don't really wanna forget all holidays that I grew up with, ya know. I wanna pas them down to our sons, as much as Noboru passes down the Japanese traditions. So, last year, after we already had bought our pumpkin from Costco, a few days after, we saw them being sold, somewhat near where we live now. Which is much closer. Because Costco is an hour and a half drive each way. So forget that, we knew we would get our pumpkin here this year. This was a 25 minute drive, there and a 25 minute drive back, sorta far but *way* closer then Costco. And the price was cheaper here. So we actually got it cheaper and it was closer, so it was a win win. So, the 4 of us, looked and they had about 10 large pumpkins left. They had tons more earlier, the lady working there said. We looked at all the big ones and found the one we wanted to take home and make him into our very own jack-o- lantern! So, the 4 of us, plus one "Mr. Jack the Pumpkin Head" all drove home! Ha ha ha! : )

We have had our cool but fake lit up jack o- lanterns, nicely lit up since October 1st at our house. And they have illuminated nicely every night on our front porch. You know, how much our family likes the holidays around here! : )

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Puppy love or just super good friends, who knows with kids! : )

If you have or have had a kid in yochien in Japan, your child has probably received many notes and pictures/drawing from their fellow friends. Branden gets at least one a week. Cool, boy drawings from his guy friends. And cute little girlie pictures drawn by his female classmates. All in good fun and all because they consider each other friends. We don't do stuff like this in the US. But I'm used to it now. Branden reciprocates and draws pictures to people as well. Anyway, there has been a little girl that had a crush on B before. She liked him, but he didn't like her. : (He was only 5, ha ha ha. Now it's this new girl, she likes to play all the games Branden does, running and jumping and the monkey bars. And so they pal around together a lot. He likes her, no not like mushy gushy type love. And I assume she has no mushy gushy type love for B either. They are just we little kids still. More along the lines of the movie...."My Girl", where they were just young and pals. But yes, Branden talks non stop about her! For days, he talks about her. She must feel the same way, because come Monday afternoon, this was sitting inside his backpack. She wrote him a letter, err, they are so young, so she drew him a picture rather. I covered her address with my finger, not sure why she put her address on there, how cute! She's only a wee 6 six year old, so maybe she didn't know. : )

Branden was so happy, he was beaming from ear to ear. He said, "look mommy, didn't she make a good picture", I said...."wow, she is *quite* the artist, honey" He he. And she even drew them holding hands! How adorable! And since this is Japan you know...she even drew herself giving the peace sign! Ha ha ha! : )

Her name is Suzuka-chan. I don't mind sharing her first name, because I've never mentioned the city I live in and all anybody really knows is, I live in Chiba (a huge area btw) and somewhere near Narita but geeze, that could be absolutely anywhere. So, I think me sharing her first name only, is fine. And no, I would never share any one's last name, not even our own. But anyways, according to Branden, she's just the bees knees! How cute and lovely and truly innocent children are, aren't they! : )

A perfect split, ha ha ha! : )

I know, I know, I blogged about it before, but I really think those roux (sp?) blocks are so helpful to mom's like me. Somedays if we just want cream stew, yes that's easier. But on an off chance, Noboru or I are tired of cream stew and are wanting curry instead, those roux's the way they are sealed in those 2 separate parts of the packs, make it easy for us to make 2 meals outta one. Ha ha ha. Since it' s cream stew, obviously I had to use chicken. So it would be chicken curry, as well then. I just fried up my chicken first. When it was cooked, I added my onions, when they got soft, I added, the rest of my veggies. And stir fried them.

I only used a half pack of the curry and a half of the cream stew. Three cheers for the roux's, boy they help out mom's with youngsters where the curry would otherwise be too spicy and hot.

Since the chicken was 100% done and the veggies were soft and stir fried already, I set my timer for 25 minutes, boiled it on high and covered with a lid. And in 25 minutes, I took the lid off, snapped this pic. And then I separated the boiled chicken and veggies, half and half. 4 cups for each. I think the curry called for an extra cup, so I added an extra cup of water to the broth once it was split in 2 pans. And boiled for 5 minutes. Turned off the heat and melted the sauces in.

There you have it, a meal for all 4 of us. And it came from just one meal to begin with. Easy peasy and I was happy I didn't have to feel like a short order cook and make 2 separate meals. Ha ha ha. This really works well in our house with a young 2 year old. Branden is getting older, his first serving tonight was curry and his second serving was cream stew. Noah had 1 large helping of cream stew. And the hubby and I, enjoyed the curry.

A very relaxing Sunday, whole weekend actually. I washed and dried all of Branden's yochien things that he would need for the following day and week. But mostly we just lazed about and enjoyed our weekend! : )

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Typhoon Saturday and a very thoughtful friend! : )

Saturday all morning and all evening, hmm basically all of Saturday it rained where we lived. From what the news says, Tokyo was hit with yet another typhoon. We were lucky not to be near the eye of the storm this time, but we got a nice rainy day, all day and it lasted until about 8:00 pm around here. But again, no real big gusts of wind around here, but again we were not really in the eye of the storm. I hope you Tokyo girls, thinking about you Heidi, were okay. Meanwhile we had planned to just hang home all weekend long, same ol' same ol' basically. We were really glad we went to the grocery store the day before and bought about 4 days worth of food because with all that pouring rain, we really didn't want to be outside. We had the great big 2 patio window blinds open so we could watch the rain. It was nice to watch through the window. Ha ha ha. We lazed around all day and in the evening, I made a simple meal of chicken teriyaki and veggie, rice and a simple/plain salad with goma dressing, the usual dressing of choice. That was it basically. We enjoyed dinner.

By now it had grown dark outside and we had closed the blinds for privacy. We ate, talked, ate some more. Pretty uneventful, ha ha ha. But nice.

Noboru likes to sprinkle that Japanese chili powder stuff on his chicken.

After dinner, we all showered and bathed. I showered with Noah first and then we soaked in the tub. And then Branden and Noboru came in. You know, the Japanese communal, type way, he he. And they showered and soaped up, while Noah and I soaked. It was still raining in bits outside. And so we popped some popcorn and watched a DVD. A very nice night.

Also, on Saturday, I received a nice letter from my dear friend Tigermama. I hope you are not blushing too much Tigermama. I wanted to email you right away. But then I had decided to shout it from the roof tops instead. I wanted to let you and everyone know, what a wonderful person you are. You guys, Tigermama, sent me some coupons for free ice-cream. Haagan Dazs, even, yumm! She said it was a belated thank you for something. But you know what, you guys. I think, she is just thoughtful plain and simple. People rarely give me anything. They figure, she probably doesn't need it, she travels too much what could she possibly need, lol... whatever and it's sad. But, it still feels good to be thought of and people rarely do that to me. And I haven't been thought of by a friend is so long and I wanted to say, thank you for being the thoughtful, caring considerate person, we all know you are! She's a good person and an A#1 heart! Thank you Tigermama, for being my friend. I really value our friendship! I will remember this 10 years from now even!Acts of kindness are never forgotten by me. : ) A very good Saturday at our house, thanks to a nice night at home and a stellar good friend!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy 6th birthday Branden! : )

Branden, I still remember when you were this little. Heck, I even remember when you were first born. Or the first time you crawled. The first food, you ever ate, rice cereal, by the way. First veggie you ever ate, mashed peas. Ha ha ha. The time we took you trick or treating in Denver and you ended up with so much candy and chocolates, I had to hide them in the cupboard so you would not ask for one. Ha ha ha. The first time you went to yochien. And you cried for a whole 9 days, every time I dropped you off, you would cry, run after me and cry through the gate, screaming "mommy come back". I didn't turn around to see your face, only because I was crying and I knew if I saw your little face, I would grab you and take you home with me. We dealt with it and you got the hang of it, me too. The first time you had your sleep over at the school/kindergarten. The otomarihoiku, I think is what it was called. I didn't get much sleep that night. I missed you so much! The first tooth you lost. When you first learned how to ride a bike without your training wheels, I think you were age 4, I blogged it, I'd have to check for sure. I could go on forever, because you are my son and obviously I love you. But I just want you to know, I love you, I love you, I love you. I became a mom the second you were born. And it has been my greatest joy. I love you honey! I really do! I see the boy you have grown to be. How you are so thoughtful of others. Always caring about your little brother or the younger kids at the yochien. How silly you can be. How smart you are, you are as smart as a whip. You are just a good well rounded boy. And we think the world of you. So, anyway, I just want you to know, happy birthday from us. Happy 6th birthday! : )

Besides video taping our pizza making and small family party this evening. I will blog about it here. Maybe someday when you grow up, you can come read these pages and find out what was on your dear mom's thoughts. Ha ha ha. We just got back from Guam last night, however we still wanted to do something special to mark your birthday, even in a small way. Sometimes less is more, you know. No great big party. I know every family is different but when my kids hit elementary age, they can have the party and invite friends etc. But at kindergarten age, he's a bit too young for a full blown party really. But again that's just how we do things at our house, I'm sure every other family does things differently and it's okay. But for us, while our kids are in kindergarten and younger, we keep parties limited to just family. Either a trip to Disneyland, or Guam. Or have a small thing at home. Very simple. So we decided to make it a nice family birthday and we picked up Branden's delicious birthday cake from Baskin Robbin's, a very yummy ice-cream cake! God those are good. And we made homemade pizza. So much fun to make, the whole family could get involved and help. Lot's of laughs making it. Everyone got a turn to pound the dough, it was fun! In the pic is our flour we used and the yeast.

50% of the time I make my own pizza sauce but 50% of the time, I use this. It's basil and tomato and really good. Doesn't taste fake or like it came from a bottle, even though it did, ha ha ha. It's good.

The birthday boy requested plain peperoni. Meanwhile Noboru and I wanted mushrooms and bell peppers. So we made it a half and half pizza. The pizza was large. I'd say it was the size of a large Pizza Hut pizza size. My pan is a freak and it's a Costco pizza size pan, lol. But the pizza was large.

Just a very few presents. No, he didn't get a tower of gifts, lol. Just 6 gifts is what he got. And they were small and something he would like. The pizzas flavor was awesome. Best dough ever! Noboru actually told me, this pizza was the best he's had since living in Japan. And he compared it with a restaurant who used to make the best pizza in Denver. He also asked me to make more pizza from now on. Ha ha ha. I said okay. Why not. : )

Besides our 6 small gifts we got for Branden. My mom also got him an electronic gift card for Old Navy for $100.00 US. Thanks mom, I know you are reading. B doesn't need clothes right this second, but we will hold onto it, for Spring clothes shopping in March. We will use it and love it, thanks. Grandma Mitsuko send him a card with 10,000 yen in it ($100.00US) and my dad bought Branden a gift already and has been requested to buy him the DVD Ratatouille, when it comes out in Guam. He he. It's a few weeks delayed from the US. So he's on stand by about the movie, lol. But the most important thing wasn't the gifts really at all (might sound hokey, I know). He spent time in Guam, got to swim, spend time with his grandpa, who he completely adores. He had a good Tony Romas pre-birthday meal. And now he got to spend his actual birthday with mommy, daddy and Noah making pizza together. Laugh together, share together, talk together. It was a really cool night. We all had so much fun! Sure grandma called him and he spoke with her. Sure grandpa called him too and he spoke with him on the phone as well. But it was just a small little family thing. No acrobats or giant marching band ha ha ha. Just a nice quiet birthday.

We didn't even have to pull out the fancy place mats. Ha ha ha. We could use the ones, when just our family is around and no one is looking. How relaxing, that was! And yumm, he got to eat the pizza he helped make! That was awesome!

Noah also got to eat the pizza he also helped make. It was cool! Really cool, actually.

Six birthday candles, for turning 6 years old! : )

Little brother looks on.

We all sang the happy birthday song to you. And then while video taping it, I said. "Make a wish, make a wish." And you closed your eyes and blew out your candles and made your wish. I wonder what you wished for? You never told us. Ha ha ha. But I do hope it comes true, whatever you wished for. : )

Two different kinds of cake inside and two different flavors of ice cream. This is our favorite ice cream cake. It's yummy. Anyway, that was how we spent your 6th birthday. Very low key, very simple. Just family, but really nice and super special! You had fun! And so did we, my sweet little man! Happy birthday Branden! : )

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The day we arrived in Guam! : )

We arrived, and stayed at the Hilton like always. But as usual, it's only because of our discount we get. So it's cheaper for us to just stay there. I've showed what our room looks like many times before. And as you can tell, all the rooms pretty much look the same. Very clean, calming colors. Relaxing. When I took the pic, we didn't even get the chance to change our clothes yet. We had to switch to shorts immediately. But the boys were still wearing their pants in this pic, since we just got into the room. Huge bed, which was awesome! : )

Our bath tub. Noboru took nice long soaks in there every night. Because when we got to Guam, my husband started not feeling too good. He had a fever and sometimes he would get a real sudden chill, and horrible sinus pain. Which is odd, since my husband never gets sick.

Glass shower, these always remind me of the "great glass wonkivator" from the book and movie Willy Wonka.

Marble sink.

Gorgeous view from our lanai/balcony.

Big lanai. Grrr, my husband is back to smoking! I really worry about his health you know. : )

Trolley buses, the one in this pic is a double decker. Many tourists, who can't drive, take the trolley's. It's affordable, and they zip you to the Kmart, to the Micronesia Mall and the GPO/ Guam Premier Outlets. Walking to these 3 places from the main road where the hotels are, is darn near, impossible. It would take forever if you attempted to walk to the 2 malls. Walking to the Kmart is doable, I guess. But we always rent a car for $30.00 US a day and zip to wherever we want to go. Trolley buses are good, if you don't wanna drive. But they are time suckers. You have to make all stops and stop at each and every hotel. It can take a whole day, just to get to one place. Plus we also like to go places the trolleys don't go, like Pizza Hut, Blockbuster video to buy videos, etc etc. However if you prefer to take the trolley's, that's cool, I would suggest buying a week pass though, versus the one day *only* pass. Reason? The daily pass is like 5 bucks and is only good for 1 day. But the weekly pass is like 8 bucks. The weekly, means you can ride unlimited for a whole week. It's a better deal.

The Kmart we stopped off the first day we were there. Reason? Noboru had a really bad sinus headache and he wanted to buy himself some meds. So, we stopped in there. It was very well stocked. However I didn't really need anything. They had all the Halloween decorations out and the Christmas decorations out, as well. Many things. But, we just didn't need anything.

Here's a pic of another type of bus that cruises the tourists around. He he he : )

When we checked out of Kmart is was seriously, like $40.00 US. Again, we just didn't need anything. We bought the boys 1 extra bottle of shampoo, that was on sale for like 89 cents. a big bottle of Dove green tea body wash. Need this gentle body wash, now that winter is coming. Thank god my hubby told me, we were out of Tums, and so we just bought 1 bottle. And extra toothbrushes. Very tiny things bought considering. But again, we just didn't need anything. And we didn't wanna force ourselves to buy, if we didn't need anything.

2 bags for $5.00 US. Again really cheap. And with Halloween coming, we got a few extra bags.

And the final few doo dads, we got from Kmart. A hat for B. It's so cute, it's actually a pinch big and floppy, but it was so cheap. I was shocked to find this at Kmart. Because it's so cute. And swimming trunks for Noah, in his typical Noah fav color, ha ha ha. We just bought these 2 small clothing items. And they were really cheap. That's all we bought from Kmart, again we just didn't need too much. : )

We put our small 2 little plastic Kmart shopping bags into our trunk and headed to Pizza Hut for dinner. We wanted to do take-out of course. And eat and relax in the room.

We waited for about 15 minutes and then we drove our hot pizza home with us. Carried our two little bags from Kmart into our hotel room, pizza and we all unwinded in the room for the night.

Peperoni and mushroom pizza. We ordered just a medium. And an order of breadsticks. Boy were we ready to eat! Ha ha ha. : )

We bought our drinks at Kmart because they were cheaper to buy there. Fruit juice for the boys and we also had 2 bottles of Evian the hotel gave us for free. And other drinks also bought from Kmart. We kept them in the small little fridge in our hotel room.

And yet another family hotel bed picnic, ha ha ha. We watched all sorts of good TV shows. Man, was I starved! It's nice to relax and eat this way, especially with kids!

After dinner and right before Noboru's bath and the kids and my shower. We watched TV and after we were all cleaned up, we all watched TV again until we all fell asleep. It was a pretty good first day! : )