Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Watching "So you think you can dance" on Fox tonight! : )


After dinner was eaten and bath time was over and jammies were slipped on. The boys and I sat downstairs in the living room and we watched my favorite show, while Noboru was working, poor guy! I see in this pic my book shelf is a mess and it will get a cleaning tomorrow, and yes they do this to my book shelf almost every other day, lol! Anyway the 3 of us watched this show until the very end! Here's the hostess asking the judges what they thought of Benji (one of my fav dancers)


Bravo, bravo that was just an excellent performance we just watched! The boys were clapping. Heck they're clapping in the pic even! Ha ha ha! I was clapping! We were into the zone watching this show, we were all totally sucked into this program!


Branden completely in agreement with Nigel, ha ha ha! So he was clapping once more! Noah fell asleep the second the show ended. And then Branden played some of his Nintendo DS for a bit before drifting off to lalaland as well! : )


Hey, if he's going to be a gamer, at least he's a polite gamer and so Branden wears headphones, so the rest of us aren't stuck listening to Mario and Luigi, while I try to watch television! Ha ha ha! : )

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yakitori tonight! : )


Noboru's working until midnight tonight so he won't be joining us for dinner, which is fine. I thought tonight would be a good night to make yakitori. Because kids love to eat anything on a stick! Ha ha ha!

Three chicken breasts, and a bottle of my favorite yakitori sauce and some yakitori sticks/skewers I bought from the 100 yen shop. And I started dinner.


Boneless, skinless white meat. I placed on skewers.


I poured the sauce on top and got everything soaked in pretty good. Then I put the lid on so they could marinate in the fridge while I got the rice made and veggies chopped.


Stir fry veggies on the right and chicken yakitori frying on the left. I really should buy a cheap little grill for indoor use huh? But oh well, this worked nicely and was quick for just the boys and I. Yup, see that clock? 5:10 pm and there I was still working and getting my kids meal finished. Us mom's, we may not get paid, but we sure do work hard though! : )


Chicken cooking up nicely and when it's finally 100 percent done, I will add more yakitori sauce!

Done. The boys and I ate. They both loved eating chicken on a stick, lol! Yakitori! They actually ate more this way, then they normally eat! We all ate by 5:45 pm. and I got the kitchen cleaned up and the dishes into the dishwasher by 6:00 pm. After that I felt exhausted really. So we all sat and watched TV for about 45 minutes, before I finally set the bath and we all got cleaned up and I finally earned my night of utter laziness and doing absolutely nothing! I loved it! The boys watched TV and played around the living room together, until they fell asleep and I carried each of them one by one to bed upstairs, but I just laid in my jammies and watched TV the rest of the night!

Cleaning house!


Today was my weekly "big cleanup" of the house! I do clean a bit everyday, but I do 1 big giant clean up once a week and today was that day unfortunately! : )

Empty Mr. Clean bottle and a mop means, I used it all, thank god I have another bottle! But it also means my downstairs floors are squeaky clean and my genkan tiles have been scrubbed cleaned with the red hard bristle part of my mop! Clean floors downstairs, phew! : )



Orange Cleaned my table and threw my place mats in the washer on the gentle cycle. And actually had to hand wash my table runner, that was some work I tell ya! And still not even barely done yet!


They are cleaned and dried but slightly wrinkly and curling on the ends. Hmm. You know if I was a proper wife (which I sadly and totally am not, ha) Or a good stepford (sp?) wife, I'd probably get my iron out and iron them up nicely! Sadly they'll have to stay slightly wrinkly! Sorry but I'm busy, hellishly busy today in fact! So clean has to be good enough for my family. They'll have to suffer and ganbatte through the wrinkle-ness ha ha ha! : )


Alright feeling sorta guilty, I did hang them on the back of the chair to unwrinkle a bit! Ha ha ha!


If only my kids knew! Ha! Playground for them, yes! But secret place for mommy to hang the couch cushions to sit under the sun. Because in Japan they say letting things sit under the sun makes them fluffy and they are actually right. My couch cushions were really fluffy after this! Ha ha ha! But shhh please let's not tell the kids I use their playground okay? Wink! Ha! : )

The "table runner" hung in the breeze and dried up rather quickly and then I had to go in the house and situate everything. Cushions back on the couch and table runner back on the table. Phew! My day has been long you guys. Awake since 7:00 am making obento! Cleaning house and yes I still gotta make dinner after I pick up B from the bus stop! I really do get tired when the night hits! And right now I gotta go vacuum the upstairs, sigh! : )

Bacon egg and cheese croissant obento! : )


So this morning I quickly got out the croissant I bought yesterday from the bakery and sliced it up to fit the size of Branden's tiny metal obento. I also put a hash brown in the toaster oven, so he could take that as well. And it's a bit healthier to use the toaster oven.


Fried up some crispy bacon.


Making an over easy egg! Just about to flip him over actually! : )


Drained off any excess drippings from the egg. Placed the egg with melted cheese on the croissant and put on the bacon and done! Ahead of schedule I might add. I was on a roll this morning and listening to Wings! Ha ha ha! : )

Got it all put together. And this is what we have! Toasted hash brown sliced in thirds into a cheap 100 yen Shinkansen plastic ware. Fresh grapes in his regular fruit container. Bacon, egg and cheese croissant with a flag from Sweden today! Okay, I've got maybe 2 flags left so I better buy myself some more! Ha ha ha!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Yochien art mat!


Okay so last year when we first started this new school. One of the teachers told us to buy an art mat about the size of a place mat for meal time. Okay, sounded simple enough, so since she mentioned "place mat" I went and bought Branden a cheap/affordable little Buzz Lightyear place mat. It was under 500 yen and I felt pretty happy I got it right! Yippy! Or so I thought! The lunch/place mat wasn't acceptable because it didn't bend and they wanted something "that" size but not that exactly! Errrrrr okay! So last year I felt really unsure what to buy then after that. Something plastic and washable, smooth! So a typical mendo/Play doh mat is out of the question as well! I finally had that eureka moment while I wandered aisle after aisle last Spring at the DIY. Why not a plastic table cloth? Okay true the selection was pretty slim pickings, unless you count the lace ones in plastic, lol! I ended up buying a aqua plaid colored one and he has used it since last year. Price was under 500 yen and I cut 2 of them from the material I had. Fast forward until January this year. We were at that "parents day" at the yochien last week remember? Branden was the only one with no plastic mat!!! What? My heart fell. I worried if a few mom's would notice or not. Oh my god, I hope they won't think I purposely send him with no mat! I worried some more! I'm truly not a bad mom, I'm actually a pretty okay mom! My heart pounding a bit, I said where is your mat Branden? He said "oh I forgot it at the house a month ago! Oh the horror! I said why didn't you say anything? I woulda packed it in your backpack! Too late! My son was the only one last week who used, freakin' newspaper to do his art project on! I took a few quiet deep breaths and just got over it and figured the mom's having kids themselves must know that kids actually *do* forget stuff sometimes and as they say, shit happens! Except mine happened last week in front of everyone. Ha! Life is sorta funny that way! I did however pack his old plaid aqua and lilac plaid mat that same day! Ha ha ha!

But today I decided to buy a newer mat. So I ran down to the local DIY and actually was surprised they had a better kids table cloth. I had the lady cut a strip the width I needed. The length is what you get and you can't change that. So I bought it and it was actually only 340 yen! I went home and cut it up, the size of his Buzz Lightyear mat and ended up with 3 new art mats! Yippy! I put his name on them with the name tags. And I told B a few times. Don't forget I packed one of these in your backpack and you use this new one and bring home your old plaid one okay? I reminded him the next morning as well. And he got it right! He left the new one at school and brought home the old one! Phew!

So hopefully if someday someone gives you a *very* broad description of a bendable art mat for your child and you need one pronto. And a mendo mat is not allowed. Please grab yourself a child's table cloth! It works! And it's cheap! : )

On our way to the bus stop Monday morning! : )


So this morning, I was on my way to drop off Branden at the bus stop with Noah in tow of course. I haven't snapped them on the way to school in ages and I thought why not today! Here's Noah on the way out of the house and about to go down the porch steps.


Thank you Branden, excellent job, bravo! I asked you to just be yourself and smile for mommy to take a quick pic and you did a fantastic job! And in your shorts/school uniform in the dead of winter, you're probably freezing to death, I totally give you credit kiddo! Ha! And umm Noah honey? You said no way? And wandered away huh? LOL!



Okay, Branden can we do it one more time and hopefully your brother will actually be in the picture this time? B says "no problem mommy" and ummm Noah, did you just close your eyes when I just clicked the picture? You are sure you don't want any part of being in the pictures today aren't you? Ha ha ha! I gotta you credit...kid you sure are stubborn! But I sure do love you! : )


Mommy still not giving up! Trying one last time! Smile Noah! He says, "unh ugh" and makes this face! LOL!




Your brother looking on wondering why you are so stubborn! Ha ha ha! Still no picture!


Actually my youngest son gave me a roll of the eyes!!!


And yet still sure he didn't want any part of the picture taking this morning. Hmm, dear ol' mommy is about to give up here!


Okay Branden you try it, you smile! Okay that was easy! Now your turn Noah! Taking turns and now it's your turn! Okay well that junbon tactic went down like a lead balloon! LOL!


Sour puss face!!! He finally said..."no mama", I sighed and gave up, and drove away! This actually took only about 2 or 3 minutes in total, but he was very unwilling to take part of pictures this morning! So be it! Ha ha ha. Kids ahhhh they truly aren't little darlings *all* the time are they? We'd like to believe so, but honestly no!


Dropped of Branden at the bus stop. And drove home. It was just to cold too walk this morning. However I turned around in my seat and I managed to snap this! Not perfect but I got it! Ha ha ha! : )

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday


The ExpatExpres order from Old Navy got here today (getting Sunday mail in Japan for express or whatever still surprises me because in the US we never get mail on Sunday's, lol) and everything was absolutely fine. Here's some info. Yes, they do open your order/original box, but that is because they are repacking it in a smaller box. I've had Old Navy order's sent to both my mom's and dad's house and the Old Navy boxes are bigger and are wrapped in Old Navy tape. The part that they repacked it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I actually think it's a better idea. Only reason I mention it to begin with is I know a few of you asked me this question by email and to follow up on this. I think it's a good idea. Besides everything Old Navy sends is wrapped in plastic anyways so again it shouldn't matter if they repack it at all. Good idea they do this actually. : )


Today with Noboru at work and all. I thought it would be a good idea for the boys to go outside in the backyard and work off some steam. So they played and ran around for a few hours! They made dirt cakes and pies. It was a quiet day at home just the boys and I. Later, we all came in the house and I made dinner. Very quiet Sunday! : )

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Valentine's plans anyone? : )

We have none. I haven't checked his work calendar yet to see if Noboru's working that day or not. But most likely he'll be working. So, I will be planning to cook my family a homecooked meal of something or other. Thinking about lasagna, unless I make it before then. And I will be making cupcakes as well. Very boring and ho hum I'm sure. No fancy restaurant or anything for us. However if he isn't working, I wouldn't mind a trip to the local yakiniku restaurant or something, like that. How about the rest of you all?

Also, for the people not reading this in Japan. In Japan, Valentine's Day basically is a day where women buy men gifts or chocolates and stuffed animals and the likes. Women get nothing in Japan. We get another day...called White Day, which is after actual Valentine's Day!

Any ladies in Japan not putting up with it and requesting a Valentine's day gift anyway? Ha ha ha! : )

Some thoughts on obento here in Japan!

For me if I was living in the US. I'd happily let my kids buy school lunch from school every single day! Ha ha ha! And with B's last school. They made lunch twice a week, which the parents paid for of course. I liked that because I only had to make obento 3 times a week. Ahhh, those were the good ol' days! This school is strange because we have to make obento every single darned day! It gets tiring. And plenty of times myself, I think whoops, I better not make that again, I made those chicken cutlets 4 days ago, better not use them again. Sigh, lol. It is pretty hard. I wish this school would provide lunch twice a week at least and give me a break! When I first started with my obento's. I made a billion mistakes. I used chips in my obentos for 1 week until the teacher told me different. And she told me after school let out and all the other mom's heard I used chips since they were all standing within an ear shot! Meanwhile the teachers told me, chips are junk food (hmm we used chips in sack lunches in the US, again it was a different story here) Got yelled at/in trouble about it! They said jello is fine, well okay. And I mistakenly bought giant adult size jello and sent my child to school with them and Branden told me, mommy she said "my jello is too big!" Poor B, got reprimanded for my mistakes in obento making 101!!!! Whoops got in trouble about that too! My first year, I got *so* many complaints from the teachers about all the hundreds of mistakes with my obentos! Many times I was practically in tears while I picked up B from school! Seemed everyday I'd pick up Branden they'd say something was wrong with my obento!

I wondered if they just had it out for me or what! Which of course they didn't! It was just I really had no idea about obento at all! I checked online and saw hundreds of Japanese women's obento sites, I bought obento books. But they were really more suited for Japanese mom's. Not a novice American mom at all. Or for a hafu child with very western tastebuds. There was no website for fusion obentos. I learned everything the hard way. From utter scratch.

What is right? What is wrong? The first time I heard some mom at the last yochien tell me, yeah you gotta have all colors in that obento" I thought what the hell is she talking about? Seriously? WTF? And I pondered does one really seriously need all that color in a lunch anyway? Is it for making rainbow poopies or what? Not to be a smarty about it, but yeah I had one heck of a time with obento making.

And obento making for a western women starting from scratch. Hard as hell!

I realized leftovers are your new best friend!!! And don't be intimidated and at first I really was, I won't lie. For me, I try to blog as much as I can about my fusion obento making, because I know so many western mom's who live in Japan read this and they are either with kids or will have kids someday and I put this here to help. It can be referenced, anytime. I only wish I had this for myself when Branden first started yochien, it would have helped me a lot. If anything it gives you tons of inspriation and then you set off on your own path and get your own niche. But I really want to take the sting/intimidation out of obento making as a westerm mom. And hopefully I do that! : )

Planning a get together soon with some yochien mom's! : )

Friday (yesterday), right after school. We picked up Branden from school. And then afterwards we headed to Toys R us. The boys get otoshidama for New Year 's (like most kids in Japan do) and since Branden has been asking to go there for weeks now, we finally went. Branden wanted King, which is a car from Cars. They however didn't have the car he was looking for, so he ended up not getting anything. Although he did get another Cars handkerchief/chisai towel thing they use at school. He wasn't a brat about it at all either. He said he'll wait until he finds King and I like that he is such at a cool age! Noah only spent 1900 yen of his. The rest, the boys will save for a rainy day. He didn't get much toy wise, he got a plastic truck that carries many tools....outside digging tools and pail and stuff. Great for sand or dirt. And it was only about 900 yen. And he got an Anpanman ball. Their selection was nil for balls. They had a princess ball and plain balls or Anpanman. Of course we like Anpanman at our house, he's a good cartoon, I personally like the girl melon pan, lol, and with the selection being what it was, he got that one. It was only like 700 yen. So that way he can have a few things to play in the yard and he can share with Branden.

We went home and made sukiyaki, it was good. Watched TV all night and were generally lazy bums. We have over half the sukiyaki left, so it will be leftovers for us for this Saturday night. Noboru's at work this Saturday day, he won't even get back until 9:00 pm. So it's just the boys and I today.

I didn't get all my stuff done on Friday like last week, darn, so I got to do 2 loads of laundry today. One of my loads is in the dryer right now. After my laundry gets done I will go out in the back yard and let the kids play for a few hours. Sun is shining but it is really chilly still.

I made breakfast this morning, cripsy bacon and omelettes and toast. And I should be making lunch soon. Hmmm what should I make? But I do have about 6 tiny sweet potatoes roasting in the oven as I type this, because I love sweet potatoes for winter time snacking. By the time spring comes, I will be sweet potato-ed out! Ha ha ha!

What else....I'm thinking of having a party. Errr maybe party is not the right word. Maybe small get together? About 6 mom's from Branden's yochien. I was thinking of inviting them over while all the kids are in school and having a lunch snack type thing. Many have never been to my house. I've hung with them. And I think maybe I should make a bigger effort to do stuff with them. I want to host a big BBQ this spring or summer. But with it still being winter and cold. I figure just a small more intimate get together. So, right now, I'm sorta thinking possibly this Thursday? Or maybe the following Thursday. And as for menu. I am thinking of having 2 great big party platters from Gusto. They're huge, have karage, gyoza, ebi fry and everything. Enough to feed an army especially if I buy 2. Buy many drinks. And some other things. I figure if I cook, I worry if they'd be able to eat the stuff I make etc. Also the work involved is also big. So to keep it low key, 2 big Gusto party platters is what I'm thinking. So yeah, I'm slowly thinking small get together with some fellow yochien mom's.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday's obento! : )


I peeled and sliced 2 carrot slices and used my veggie shape cutter to make 2 flowers. I only needed 1, but I always make an extra, because sometimes one can get broken or accidents happen you know. I didn't waste the rest of the carrot either, because he'll be used for something in our dinner tonight, so he's back in the fridge now. : )



I boiled in water (which is now drained in the pic) 1 broccoli and 3 green beans and 2 carrots. Made them semi soft, drained the water and buttered and salted the veggies. Which in this pic they are sitting in the pan all nicely buttered and salted awaiting their turn to be put into the obento box.

By the way, it's fair to say while I made the obento, Noboru made breakfast for the both the kids. Easy waffles, but still it helps that he helps.


That is not mayo on top of that chicken, that is mozzarella cheese oozing out of the chicken breast sandwich! Yumm! Buzz lightyear liner, liners like this are used by all/most the Japanese mom's at yochien's. I buy mine at the 100 yen shop, well because I'm cheap! LOL.


And presto chango! Ha ha ha! Here it is, all finished! Phew! And yes, I have to lift things up delicately with my hashi/chopsticks so everything stands up and that carrot stands at full attention! Sheesh and I grew up in the US, so this is not first nature to me at all! It doesn't come out automatically for me. And I made sure it was colorful although I really don't care if it has all colors you're supposed to or not as long as it's not all monotone, then I'm fine with it, ha. Red bear plastic thing to pick up the mikans. Purple jellie. Green broccoili and orange carrot. Brown breading and white bread. Phew! Only in Japan would something as simple as lunch, turn out to be something so difficult, ha ha ha! And yes.....in September all mom's went to school one afternoon and had lunch with our kids. Every mom peeked at B's lunch, I saw a few mom's stretch out their necks like giraffes and peeked, some walked by and did a quick peek, it was funny but obviously noticeable they were curious and I didn't mind them being curious at all. I don't blame curiosity at all, even I was curious what the Japanese mom's were doing with their obentos as well. I think they were expecting this American mom's lunch would be all sloppy or something! I gathered that by the sheer look on their faces after they peeked, because boy were they surprised! Again not that my lunches are perfect by any means. But as I said, my lunches are a fusion of both American and also of Japanese stuff. So, I think their lunches are pretty okay. But, it's funny they really weren't expecting to see his lunch look like it did at all. Hmmm, do not under
estimate us foreign women in Japan! And hear us roar! We might just surprise you! Wink ; )

ExpatExpress totally innocent, it was and get this Target's mistake!

I decided to get to the bottom of it all this morning and so I called and checked with Target first and find out for sure, and if what they said is true then I would begin to worry. After having to phone Target myself this morning, total international call here (thank god for Skype.) Trying to find out if they did indeed ship them?

I was politely explained my situation. Not accusing either side really until everything gets properly sorted. Only fair to do really!

Telling them they indeed emailed my home email address, confirming all 11 items of my order were indeed shipped. Which I take as the truth. However ExpatExpress says they didn't receive them yet. I told them I have friends who ordered from them and they seem like a good company. So, I really just want to...find my shoes first and foremost! I don't care at this point what happened.

Being on hold a few minutes. And they came back and get this! The email they sent me was incorrect and the boots are on back order and they couldn't explain how the mix up happened that they admit they shouldn't have said they shipped them when they didn't. Whoops, their bad!

I was not mad. I wasn't angry. I was more just happy the mystery was solved! I'm glad like I said, I wasn't going to slam either company. I was just stuck way over here between the "he said, she said emails"

So all in all....seems ExpatExpress is pretty right on then! Sorry for ever doubting you ExpatExpress! So as for right now, will I ever order from ExpatExpress again? Yeah, I'd say I totally would order from them again. First time ordering sucked, but I think I got the hang of it. And I was very disappointed with Target saying they shipped something they didn't really in fact ship!!

So anyway....I guess I coulda deleted my expatexpress posts and wormed away from the topic altogether, but I will leave them up, because again it wasn't my fault way over here in Japan, sometimes it's hard to find out what's going on when you're way over here. It was Target's bad here! But again accidents happen. And so, I'm posting this to say, I'm glad the mystery is solved. I'm glad ExpatExpress sounds like a good company. And I can't wait to get my boots! I will totally believe in you Expat Express from now on! So sorry! : )

ETA, I bumped this post here because I thought they should be kept side by side. That way, if next year for example somebody wants to read blogs that mentioned ExpatExpress, the posts would be right next to one another so they could see the end resolution and what happened. And once again come find out ExpatExpress worked out just fine for me as well. So that's why I putting them together. Doesn't matter too much since they're only 1 post between them but I think I should move them side by side. Okay...Mrs. Tidy Blogger shutting up now...lol!

PS, I just realized that Thursday pasta curry thing is between this post and the other ExpatExpress post...and I'd move it once more so they would be together. But, I have to get dinner done and so this post will have to come to rest here. : )

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday night


After yochien, we headed to swimming class. Spent about hour and a half there. And then, we headed home after making a pit stop off at the video store. Noboru offered to cook dinner and he hasn't made dinner in a while so it was nice. Since it was a bit late, it was nearly 5:00 pm already he was going to cook something really quick! Curry spaghetti and the simplest salad. So simple the darned thing only had lettuce, lol. The curry he boiled up since it comes in a boiling bag type thing. The boys had an instant cream stew spaghetti and salad as well. So while Noboru quickly boiled the pasta and cleaned and chopped the lettuce. I ran upstairs and threw both the boys into the shower. No bath tonight. Quickly washed and scrubbed them down. Soaped them up! And I got a fast cleaning as well. We popped on our comfy house crappy clothes and headed down the stairs and ate. It was good. Not fantastic or gorgeous looking at all, but it was tasty. We quickly ate and then we popped the popcorn and got out the snacks and started watching the DVD's we rented from Tsutaya.


We rented the "Lady in the Water" and "Just My Luck with Lindsay Lohan. It was just a relaxing night well spent at home! : )

Update on my order with ExpatExpress

Okay My Old Navy order seems all in order and should get to my house by next Tuesday. And the Target order is all in, except for the cherry rainboots I ordered for myself for this coming rainy season here in Japan. Because well, you know 25 cm feet have no luck finding shoes of anything in Japan. So I bought these, they are cute and I was really looking forward to getting them. However Expat Express says they didn't get them. And I'd like to believe them except for Target sent me an invoice saying they were all shipped in the same box as the rest of the stuff. So, right now...I'm not going to say they stole my stuff and whatnot. All, I am going to say is, my rainboots appear to be missing! And I'm really bummed.

I emailed Expat and sent them this

Hi, I placed an order with Target and have had it shipped to you guys. My question is, it says my order according to Expat Express is still pending and everything was received but the rainboots so far. However the invoice I have from Target says they were shipped in the same shipment along with the rest of the things. Let me cut and paste the invoice I have from Target and you can see it's the last picture and was indeed shipped along with the rest of the stuff, thanks again.

Then they didn't email me for an entire day but this morning they sent me this

We have double checked your order and we have not received the boots. The packing slip does not list the boots as in the shipment. Our guess is they were shipped at the same time, but not in the same package.
Sincerely,Your Friends at ExpatExpress.com


So again, I'm not posting this to slam or damage Expat Express at all, but I think it's fair to share that while many people have good luck ordering with them. I for one am having a few bumps with them, and it might not even be their fault. Again, I don't know what's going on. I'm half way around the world here all the way in Japan. All I have is...he said...she said emails. Target says they sent it, which I did send them the exact invoice of it being shipped via Target. And I have Expat saying they don't have it. Now I hope it's Target's fault and it comes in a day or two. And if that happens I will totally say...phew Expat got the boots! But right now....I'm all the way in Japan and just watching it all unfold and hoping my boots eventually get here. But as I said. Target says they shipped them and Expat says they didn't get them! So, right now, I'm between a rock and a hard place! I'll wait a few days and if nothing happens, then I really will begin to worry. Sigh! But I am really and totally reassured that Medea and Illahee have had good experiences with them. And I'm glad I asked, seriously because it helps! And I trust them and so this gives me total hope and I just hope it's all a big mix up! But again, It's fair to show all sides of a coin and that's why I'm posting this. : )

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday




Today was, "go to school with your kid day" at our yochien. So, We all went to that. As usual, our school sent fliers out last week that no video taping or picture taking would be allowed.However 85% of the time they won't allow pics and every once in a while they will, go figure! To me they are a bit unusual about their no picture taking policy. Which I suppose is okay for safety reasons but sheesh! So, no pictures from today at all. How was it? Well, it was okay. They sang about 5 songs, boy that was a bunch of songs! Including one song all about bananas, lol! The 2 teachers played a few games with them. And then she had each kid and their parents help them make something out of paper cups. I thought the class was pretty well thought out. The songs were good, and she managed to keep all the kids attention, as well as managed to capture my attention for the full of it as well. LOL!

I had a great time making those cups. Who are we kidding....It was better then that, I had a blast! We got to use glue and put shapes of stars and cars and hearts and stuff. Also use stickers and crayons. I remembered just how fun kindergarten was when I was a kid! Ha ha ha! Man it was so much fun today! : )

We went to Mc Donald's after class. And now we're home.

Nothing going on here at the house. Nothing exciting or new. I watched Sweet Home Alabama yesterday on satellite and I think the movie is so cute! I'm also gonna pass out soon if I don't see the "so you think you can dance" program! I am awaiting the finale here in Japan and I can barely wait anymore, grrr!

Anybody ever order from Expat Express? I ordered from them last week. I'm not going to mention what I ordered because that's not really important. Just Old Navy and Target. But the reason I mention it is because I've heard of a few expats ordering from there. I've never ordered from them yet though. Why? Honestly it just seemed too complicated and I really wondered how safe it all was and whatnot! Anyway, I wanted some stuff and I hate having my family ship them for me, I always feel so bad about it even though I pay for the cost to ship to Japan myself anyway.

I thought I did everything correctly. A few problems and I have to share what they are with you all. First Expat Express gives you an American address and customer # however Old Navy would not accept an address that listed...C/O, meaning in care of. And they wouldn't accept an address with a customer # on it either! After trying to place the order about 1 billion times from Old Navy. Meanwhile emailing Expat Express with the problems of them not accepting the address they gave me. I almost gave up and said....NOT WORTH IT!!! Trying for 2 damn days and finally they said, okay don't use a customer # or put in "care of" and the order finally was acceptable to Old Navy. So that order was tough and barely went through! Total headache.

Target was and is so easy to order from. They do accept you to write "in care of" and they accepted my customer # from Expat Express. They also accept international credit cards where Old Navy doesn't accept them anymore!!!! So Target? Easy and nice. Old Navy? Total headache among headaches!

Next problem, is the instructions on their site (expat express) I read them over and over. I do follow directions easily and to the T. It said Old Navy (or as they called it, "the listed vendor") and the I listed the complete or total for the entire purchase. Next day they sent me an email and gave me a proper tongue lashing! Seriously! LOL. Saying I had to list each article one by one. Well, that was tedious and I did that. And I replied their email because they told me reply or they would hold it until I indeed listed them 1 by 1. Okay, fine I did exactly what they asked!

Have I received the order yet? Not yet but they said it should just take 5 days so, in the end will I end up liking this service? I am not sure right now. The verdict is still out on this one but I just wanted to say, it's not as easy as it looks. It is definitely a bit of work on our part. So all in all, it's about a medium amount of work ordering from here. Listing things one by one by one and unit price and total price. Not bad if you only buy 1 article, however since I would only very rarely use this service in the first place, I ordered about 10 items from each of the 2 stores and so, it took me all morning, the other morning. Not fun at all by the way! So definitely not easy peasy here! But again, I will reserve my judgment if I like this place or not when I get my items. So we'll see.

What else, travel plans....we have been deciding where to go and when. We first thought about heading to Saipan the first or second week of February. But, I think we shouldn't go and save his vacation days for a longer trip a bit down the road. So, I think that trip is off now. And right now, we are thinking about heading back to the mainland US. Either Los Angeles or Oregon. I honestly prefer Los Angeles but Noboru thinks Los Angeles is so dangerous and I don't really know, if he thinks we'd be shot in a quote unquote "drive- by" heading from LAX to our hotel or perhaps when we hit Starbucks or Jamba Juice, lol, but whatever he does NOT want to go to Los Angeles. Bummer for me because I love that city! So, I think we will be heading to Oregon in around April for about a week. He's done research on it and he says it's a tax free state so he thinks the shopping will be great. We've checked out the outlets and malls online so far and they look really great! And the hotel prices are really affordable. So, I think we will be heading to Oregon in a few month's time. But as usual we could always change our destination or time. But I really think Oregon it is! We might also take a weekend trip to Guam, so I can see my dad and he can spend time swimming with his grandkids, Branden and Noah.So, right now everything is just in "deep thought and preplanning stages"

What else? Noboru's has now switched from Christmas light to his beloved grass! I swear, he's the type of guy who can spend an entire day at Home Depot! He's one of those house upgrade guys that is never satisfied. I think we should find him a straight jacket soon you guys, lol! He hangs out at our local DIY gardening center, so often that they actually know him on a first name basis. He usually drags the kids and I there. And I stand there with this really bored look on my face. He buys grass vitamins. Bug killer for grass? WTF? I've told him, he should just forget the grass and throw down rock. He was not amused by my sarcasm! Ha ha ha! He swears he sees yellow spots on it. Now I don't see anything, but green. But the man bought vinegar for his grass yesterday you guys at the garden center. I am assuming it's to raise the acidity level in the grass. But damn...he bought vinegar for the grass? He's gone completely bonkers and he's become like some mad scientist guy about the grass. He even has a grass nursery!!! Ha ha ha! I watch from the window just shaking my head! Do you know what Noboru talks about at work with his coworkers? Does he speak about me, his lovely wife or his darling kids? Nope he speaks about his lovely grass! Ha ha ha! Seriously apparently other coworkers are also as obsessed as he is! Nuts!

I spoke with my dad tonight. It was a good talk. We talk about anything and everything. We talked about the President's State of the Union speech, I for one, actually watched it here in Japan on CNN. My dad watched it as well. We're both not crazy about Bush at all, so we had a good talk about that. We talked about who we will be voting for in the 2008 election and I told him, I will most likely be voting for Hillary Clinton.

Last thing, I've been feeling really Bridget Jones about weight loss recently. I recall seeing her on that damn excercise bike in the movie! LOL. Meanwhile here I have been on my treadmill every morning after I send Branden to school every morning, walking for 1 full hour. Now, will it work, or will I get poopped out with this after a while and give up? Who knows! But for now, I'm really working on it! The first 40 minutes are a piece of cake. Music playing loudly and I have MTV on mute, but it's good eye candy for me to watch. But the last 20 minutes are absolute boredom for me on the treadmill, I found myself keep looking at the clock wondering just when, would my time be up! Oh well, I'm just taking it day by day! : )

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A nap with Elmo and being a pinch mischievous! : )


Noah was taking his afternoon nap awaiting his brother to come home from school! He snoozed on the couch to catch a few zzz's with his best pal Elmo! I didn't even notice, until Noboru asked me to snap this picture. Noboru thinks we can use this to kid him/joke with him or slightly embarrass Noah about this pic when he's older! Ha ha ha, oh poor Noah! But all in good fun though : )

Yup one day he'll show up with a girlfriend in about 18 years from now. And we'll pull out the ol' Noah and Elmo picture! Ha ha ha!


I just had to share with you all what Noah's been up to lately! He pulls out one of my baskets that usually sit under the coffee table in the living room. Anyway, when he thinks nobody is looking, he will actually take it to wherever he wants to go and flip it upside down and use it as a make shift step stool!!! What a kid!!! He isn't really taking magnets off my fridge, he is pulling one off and looking at it and seeing what it is and putting it right back. So he's not really being naughty. He's just being very curious and I really like that! I walked in the kitchen and saw it first and snuck back out because he was so busy with the magnets he didn't notice me at all. I came back and snapped the picture.

He actually kept going at it!!! I sat there just watching this. I don't care if he touches the magnets at all, I actually was impressed, he's such a good thinker! I cleared my throat a few times and finally he turned around. He was pretty surprised at first and so I think I'm going to move some of the magnets towards the bottom of the fridge now, in case he wants to have a better look at them! : )

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday's obento! : )


As usual, here is Branden's Friday Obento! I fried up some mini chicken cutlet's with cheese. These are frozen and premade, and I just wanted to add that to be fair. If I cut corners, I will say what I did. I fried them up, this morning though and only took a few minutes. A few fries, some broccoli and a mikan and 1 jellie. Only 1 jellie today because Branden only ate 1 yesterday and although I have a big bag of them, I only gave him one today.

I just wanted to say, have a good weekend everybody! Today I'm running to the grocery store, as soon as Branden gets home from school, and I'm actually making my shopping list right now. Hmmm blog and shopping list at the same time? Multi-tasking at it's finest, ha ha ha! My weekend plans? Ha! Staying home, doing nothing!!! House is clean, laundry is done! So, I will be a lazy butt *all weekend long* and probably go rent myself a few DVD's from Tsutaya tonight and watch TV all weekend and bundle up with the boys and my hubs maybe, lol! Total deep freeze at night, here in Chiba! Days the sun is shining, but at night it's "Chilly Willy" over here! So just staying indoors and staying toasty warm! Have a nice weekend you guys! : )

January 18th, How we spent Noboru's birthday!!! : )


So, I went ahead and picked up the cake. After Branden finished swim class!



Here's a general idea of the menu of what we have in Japan. Japan ladies, I know you already know what we have here! Ha ha ha! The cakes aren't too terribly priced if you see in the pics of the prices. The cake was fresh and was delicious. Only like 2100 yen/US $21.00 which isn't too terrible considering a birthday is just a once a year type thing!

We dropped off the birthday cake and swimming bag at home. And headed to the restaurant where I had called and made a reservation earlier. So they were expecting us at 7:00 pm at the restaurant.


We had just about everything! We had 2 appetizers, salad. Main meals and they gave us free cake and ice-cream for his birthday! Free drinks for the dessert and meal as well.


Boy we were stuffed quite nicely I might add! : )


Out came this gorgeous plate of cheesecake and ice-cream! We split everything up and shared this! Everyone got some of each flavor ice-cream and everyone got some cheesecake. This was all complimentary! We didn't order extra dessert because obviously we had our own birthday cake waiting for us at home! Noboru and I sipped our hot coffee and the boys sipped on some tea and we bundled ourselves up and headed into the freezing cold wintry air and hopped in the car with the heater turned all the way up! And we headed home! We loved the sparkler on the dessert tray they brought out! It was cool! : )

The sparkler had just died at this second and the boys were still enthralled by watching this thing! So was Noboru actually though too, ha ha ha! : )


The lady said to take the cake out of the freezer for 10 minutes before we cut it, so the knife would easily go in. So we did just that! We sat the box on the counter. Meanwhile we all changed clothes and I started some coffee.


In Japan, they have the candle thing down a bit better, then we have in the US. The long candles signify 10 years each. So since Noboru turned 35 this year. He needed 3 long ones and 5 little ones, which the little ones, only count for 1 year each. This is better because in the US, when someone say turns 78 years old, we usually use 78 little candles and that's *so* many candles you can actually burn your house down if you're not careful! Ha ha ha! So, I like this way a lot! Ha ha ha! : )


Here was the birthday cake! : )


We all sang the "happy birthday" song! And I gotta tell you this cake was so good, that we actually each had a small slice of it this morning, lol! And we have a small bit left and might have that tonight! If you're having a big birthday party, it might be too small. And in Japan you can't change the size of the cake at all. But if it's a small family birthday, this cake is perfect and yes room for leftovers the next day too! : )

It was just a small quiet birthday and we enjoyed it a lot! : )