Saturday, December 06, 2008

A nice hearty baked potato soup, so yumm!!! Swim school and a few other odds and ends! : )



Today is Saturday, the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day here! : ) I wanted to catch up with you all a bit first though. : ) So, like I said earlier, I did indeed make potato soup on Tuesday evening and sure enough Noboru flew to Okayama that day as well, to pick up the car. This was what we had for dinner, the boy's and I on Tuesday evening. A nice hearty baked potato soup with all the yummy toppings a baked potato would have as well. : ) And a grilled cheese sandwich to go with. : )

This is not my original recipe, but a recipe I had got online a while back. You can double click this picture and print out the recipe, if you'd like. See the recipe or write it down. I also will link where I got the recipe as well, seeing as that is only fair. : ) I do love to cook, and a lot of my recipes are passed down from my family and also a lot of recipes I have are from a lot of the cookbooks I lug back from America. I have a Southern cookbook that will knock the socks off anyone. It's good! Ha ha ha. And I also find excellent recipes online as well. Thank goodness for the internet age, for this type of stuff. It helps. : ) But yeah I love potato soup, I always have. I have tried watery almost milk like consistency ones. Didn't care for those, sorry. : ( And I have tried so many thicker types. For example from Tony Roma's they make a very good thick potato soup, nearly exactly like the recipe I made on Tuesday. When I went looking online, I read through many a recipes and could tell some would be the watery types of the potato soup. And then I happened across this one. So, glad I found this recipe. : ) Anyway here it is. I know some of you were interested in the recipe and so that's why I am sharing it.

It's not so thick it's like cement and it's not so thin it's like water either. It's just a perfect creamy thicker type texture! I topped it off with, crunchy bacon, red cheddar and green onion! It made enough to last our family of four, two nights. I am saying this, to give/help you sorta gauge, should you make it. I can see me making this, once a month or maybe once every month and a half because it is quite fattening. But as an every once in a while hearty soup this is excellent! : )

Funny, at yochien, all the kids at our school, bought all our school supplies at the actual yochien that way all the stuff would be the same as their classmates. I thought that is an excellent idea. And I always did that. Then when Branden started elementary school it was different. Pretty much like how we do things in America. They give you a list of what to buy, for example, buy your kids a 20 piece crayon set, can be any brand whatever as long as it's a 20 piece or whatever # they give. Okay....I just bought all of Branden's supplies in Japan. So that way he could have the same as everyone else basically. So no worries. Anyway here's the interesting part. Tuesday...he brought home a note. A note sent to everyone in the class, as well. Saying the kids were making a special Christmas art project and to bring any crayons or colored pencils or anything that the kids had at home. "okay, okay, I thought, hmm but he does already have crayons at school though and colored pencils and stuff same as everyone else" The note is basically for the kids to bring anything extra. I went next door to, "boy next door's house" rang the bell and asked the mom and grandma about it. They said "Boy next door is going to bring some markers he usually uses at home and some crayons he usually uses at home. Okay, I said, thanking them and went inside my house. These are what the boys use at our house. Just some cheap American Crayola brand stuff, that's all we had and use for at home stuff, so that's what I sent him with. No biggie, I thought. Branden reminded me I had to name everything. Again these were house use, so obviously they had no name before now. Ha ha ha. : ) This was all after making homemade potato soup from scratch you guys. Ha ha ha.
I made about 100-200 stickers off my computer with Branden's first and last name on them when school started last year. I still have over half. So, I just started, sticking stickers on everything Crayola on Tuesday night. : )
And every crayon and marker as well. Sigh, lol. And then I also wrapped a piece of tape over the name sticker, so no one can peel it off. : )

With Branden and I both doing this, we got done twice as fast. I placed them all in a Zip Lock bag and since his school cloth bag was at school, I dug out an old one of his and put the crayons in there. : ) I like those new plastic twistable crayons that are encased in plastic tubes so no more broken crayons, lol.

Crayons all nicely packed away and ready for taking on Wednesday morning. What did Branden say after school on Wednesday? He said, "mommy the whole class including my sensei thought I had the coolest crayons!!!" He was so happy! That gave me the biggest tickle! Because in truth, Crayola crayons are really no big deal, not at all. I guess, it's because I grew up with that American brand, maybe that's why. But yeah, thought that was sorta funny, they dug his stuff so much...we weren't even trying to be impressive, it's just all we had at the house, and after cooking, I wasn't even going to run to the store to buy extra, so he just used what we had at home. Anyway just thought I'd share this little story.
Wednesday, Noboru arrived back to our home around 2:00 pm! Remember, I have to leave to pick up Branden at 2:20 pm most days. So when Noboru got back on Wednesday, I barely had time to see and talk with him. He looked exhausted, his eyes were all puffy and red. So blood shot! He brought in the few things he got from Costco. He said it was so packed and busy at Costco he could barely maneuver his cart! And as sleep deprived as he was, I take my hat off to him for even trying to make his way around there! He had a very small shopping list, 2 things were on there that they were out of. I actually was on the cell while he was talking to the woman who worked there. Poor guy! He just got an extra bottle dishwasher soap, another big bag of cheese, yes the big bag of this, we just got a few weeks ago is gone, we eat a lot of cheese around here. : D Dinner rolls, I already bagged and froze these, for Christmas dinner.

The large pepperoni pizza was for our dinner Wednesday night. Wednesday's dinner was just leftover potato soup, and pepperoni pizza. And Noboru brought me a slice of the combo pizza because while he hates onions and stuff, he knows I love it. So he very nicely bought me a slice, he really is so considerate! That really made me smile. : ) By now, we had about 10 minutes before I had to leave. Noboru got the spare car seat for Noah and hooked it into the R2 and next thing I know, I was hopping into my new car, and picking up Branden.

Noboru went to sleep, and he slept from 2:20 pm, until about 6:30 pm. He should have slept longer, but he got up and had dinner with us. It was just pizza and soup, nothing fancy. He told me all the stories he had to tell me about his driving adventure from Okayama to Chiba. How it was 2am when he passed Osaka on the highway, how he thought of his dad and mom, but considering the time of night, and he was in a mad rush, he drove on! How he stopped along the way 2 times and closed his eyes for about 15 minutes each.

These were taken on Wednesday, while Noboru was still sleeping and meanwhile Noah and I were at swim school watching Branden take his swimming class. I think if I take the picture on the "portrait but night time" setting the picture will somewhat come out. But again through glass and all, it's never going to be a perfect shot. But you can see Branden on the far right, with the blue swim cap on. Coach is giving everyone instructions. How best to position your hands and fingers!

His swimming is really good!

Thursday: I had already sent Branden to school, I am already dressed for the day. Sorry, I didn't switch to exercise clothes or anything, but hey treadmill time, is treadmill time, no matter what I am wearing, right?! : ) Wide leg jeans and my funky sneakers! : )
As you can see, I had walked for 53 minutes, and my steps up until that point, were 6,840 steps! For Thursday. I did log way more by the time the night rolled around. But for me personally, I have to fit, my treadmill time in, wherever and whenever I can. I frankly don't care if I can walk 20 minutes in the morning, 55 minutes for lunch, and 40 minutes while dinner is baking. As long as I can log my goal of 8 thousand to 10 thousand steps of treadmill time each day, I don't care how I break it up, as long as by the end of the day, I get my pedometers steps on there, so be it! So as of right then it was 6,840. And 53 minutes of exercise I think is damn awesome, even if I do say so myself! : )

A few more walks before lunch and that 6,000 number has now grown to 10,428 steps. My goal has been reached for Thursday! No more treadmill for me on Thursday, and the rest or extra thousand steps were just natural steps, like walks to the kitchen, walks upstairs etc,

I have a scale, I just rarely get on one. I also have not tape measured myself when I started this walking regime a month and a half ago either. Whoops. I guess, I just thought at the back of my mind I would fail. : ( And I am not a negative type person *at all.* But yeah honestly that's how I felt. : ( For now...I do not see any dramatic result yet. However, I am starting to notice that my jeans and all my pants now seem a pinch (literally) big. As you can see in this picture, I can pull, a whole inch of extra room on the sides of my pants. It's no lie. But again, I don't wanna go shouting it off the roof tops just yet at all. I just wanna be really conservative about this and quiet about things for now. Aha and you can see the tiny black pedometer clipped onto my jeans pocket in this picture as well.

Thursday nights supper. Very simple as usual. A pork roast, some roasted potatoes and some steamed green beans.

Thursday evening after supper, I went to set the bath and I opened my pedometer and this was the ending numbers. Remember how early in the same day it was 6,000 some odd number, well by the night time it was indeed 11,735 steps. I felt really proud of myself, really accomplished. I set the pedometer on zero. And although yes I walked after to the bath, walked downstairs etc etc. I don't bother logging those steps after my bath,

Thursday night still, I had hoped Noah could watch the Christmas movie Jack Frost with us, but he went to sleep at 8:05 pm. And the movie barely started on the Disney Channel at 8pm. So he missed the whole thing. Branden and I watched it with a bowl of popcorn. In our jammies! Noboru came home midway through and watched the last hour of it with us. : )

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, on Thursday Branden brought home this certificate. He took a test on Monday at Kumon, in English reading, writing and answering questions hard test. It was about 6 pages long. And he got 99 points out of 100! We are so proud of him for that! He's been really trying hard, you guys! : )

Friday: Oh thank goodness for Fridays! Ha ha ha. : ) Let's see, what did on I do Friday? Well, I ordered our Christmas ham from FBC. Absurd price : (, $100 bucks! If I were in the US, we would have got it for maybe $20.00 at Safeway, even the Honey Bake store might have been just $60.00. But in Japan, foreign stuff is hard to come by. : ( So, it should be coming in about 5-7 days. And I'll just keep it in the freezer until a day or two before Xmas and then put it into the fridge to defrost. Ah well....not much we can do. We do want a ham for Christmas, a great big one, especially Noboru, so he doesn't mind paying the price for it. Ah, well, at least we know it's on it's way! : ) And it's only a once a year type thing anyway. Branden got out of school early Thursday and Friday. I picked up B on Friday at 1:30pm. And from there, we headed to the bakery. Picked up a few good things and some fresh bakery sliced bread. Should be good to snack on for today and for Saturday morning coffee. : )

Friday night, we had a simple nikujaga that I made. It did not rain all day on Friday, however I have heard it rained elsewhere in Japan. Japan also had an earthquake on Friday as well, but again where I live, we couldn't feel a thing. We got home from the bakery around 2:20 pm. Branden had no homework for the weekend, thank goodness. And he hopped on his bike and went to play with his friends. Meanwhile, I started in on the nikujaga. Dinner was nearly done around 4pm. I had an hour, I thought until B would be home at 5pm. Yet....I started hearing really loud thunder around 4pm! So loud, And bright blue flashes I could see out the window. Next thing I know, two 3rd grade girls, rode their own bikes, to follow/escort Branden home. I thought that was very sweet and considerate of them! They know he's just an ichinensei and they wanted to make sure he got home safely. I went onto the porch and waved at the girls and told them thank you in Japanese and to be careful, also in Japanese. They waved and left. About 6 minutes later, by now the girls must have gotten themselves home since it's a small community we live in. The rain came down. It came down so hard, so loud. I thought it was actually hail at first, went to look out the big patio window but it was just rain. Wild, hard falling rain. The winds were so strong! I had gotten all my treadmill out of the way by now. And TGIF! : ) Glad we had dinner already ready. And glad I went to the bakery too. Noboru was working until 9pm. So, the boys and I sat in front of the TV and enjoyed our niku jaga there. We usually eat dinner on the dining room table. But with Noboru being gone, ahhh what the heck! I was so hungry!!! Branden was too, he had 2 servings. Noah had a heaping 1 serving. After supper, I loaded up the dishwasher, started the dishwasher, wiped down the stove top. And started the hot water pot. I had a nice hot cup of coffee and a bakery good, both the boys had a glass of milk with a half of bakery goodie. And then I went, pushed the button to start the bath. Branden showered first, got his jammies on. Noah and I meanwhile showered and then took a bath. We made "pretend curry" in the tub Friday night. We usually make pretend meals in the bath, ha ha ha! Got our jammies on, Noah zonked out so fast as usual. It's like this kid was made with a sleep timer inside. Ha ha ha. Branden and I stayed up, watched some TV and then it was time for B to sleep. I stayed up, watching TV with pillows and fuzzy blankets on the couch until Noboru got home, at 9:25 pm. At 10pm, we watched the Ghost Whisperer together! : )

Here is the pedometer steps I walked on Friday, I did a little over ten thousand steps. 10,189!
*Next week, we will go and buy Noah's gym uniform from the uniform shop, socks from Nishimatsuya for school next month. He starts as soon as the Christmas and New year's holidays are over. So, I gather Noah will be starting school around January 1oth or so. So, we want to get everything out of the way before the Christmas holidays start. All the homemade school bags I've had for ions, ha ha ha. And I have a very cool Japanese lady sewing and creating Noah's seat cover right now.
* On Thursday, I sorta joined in spirit, 2 ladies, who are on an exercise regime of their own. They have their own goals and wishes for themselves. So while we are not competitors at all, since our goals are all different and we are not really like that anyways, we are allies and a good support system for another. And though they started the idea of being virtual exercise buddies/supporters first. I asked if I could join in as well, because frankly, I thought everyone can always use a bit of support and help, right? : ). So, I started that on Thursday of this week. And it will last 100 days from Thusrday. So while my own personal goal is different then theirs, *mine is to walk between 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day*. That is my own personal goal, I set for myself. Ahhh, I hope I can do it. And getting positive vibes and stuff is good for the soul and spirit, I think. So let me give you this weeks walk steps:
Monday Dec 1st...9,200 steps (however keep in mind I didn't officially start this support system until Thursday)
Tuesday Dec 2nd, 8,429 steps (again didn't officially join my fellow 2 ladies yet)
Wednesday...Dec 3rd, no walking logged at all, though obviously I walked that day, Wednesday's are my busy days, went to the swim school, but so much going on with Noboru bringing the car, swim school, no walking counted at all, but again though..(didn't join the group yet either though.)
Thursday, I asked if I could virtually join them in spirit and we could sorta support each other via our blogs. And so this is my start day...11,735 steps logged.
Friday 10,189 steps.
So far so good. I will try to post or update maybe once a week, how this is going during the next 100 days. : )
* Weekend plans? Nothing as usual. : ) Noboru is working this weekend. The boys and I will just hang out, stay home. Cook dinner together or whatever. Work on some reading a bit. And right now, as I type this Branden has been outside playing and riding bikes with his friends all morning and afternoon long! For lunch we had leftover nikujaga.
*Tv talk, Ghost Whisperer starts it's 2nd season December 22nd. I can't wait! I love that show. I think the US is on season 3 right now. So we are about a season behind? Right now, it seems some evil spirits are keeping all the ghosts away from Melinda. And these 2 shadowy figures look really freaking scary! Ha ha ha! *shivers*
*In the news.... OJ sentenced to 9 years for the armed robbery? I'm a little fuzzy on the details because this morning it said up to 33 years and now yahoo news says different, that it's 9 years (and I do remember all the news on this one when it happened, after that memorabilia stuff happened at the hotel, right). And the Michael Jackson suit was settled last week or so, as well, right? Madonna getting a divorce from Guy Ritchie, a few weeks ago this was big news. And the US auto makers asking congress for multi billions in bailouts. I have been keeping up with that bail out business, since before Thanksgiving. So much is going on in the news these days. Not to mention the world news with Thailand and India. Just so much going on in the world.
*Anyway, I better hurry and publish this so I can get back to my treadmill for my Saturday's ped steps. Just enjoying a nice well deserved lazy weekend, is all! : ) Have a lovely weekend everyone! : )