Monday, February 09, 2009

Bits and pieces! Like American Idol started for us Saturday night. Pineapple Upside down cake, the Superbowl and going to Costco this coming week! : )

Last weekend, last Friday actually, since it was raining cats and dogs and the weekend was about to start, while the boy's were at school, I made a great big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I took a little short cut and used consomme/bullion cubes as a base but I think we can live with a shortcut here, ha ha ha! It was absolutely delicious and hearty! Perfect for last weekends weather too! We had it for Friday night's dinner and Saturday night's supper as well. Lean chicken, onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots and potatoes. And some delicious pasta was added at the last 8-10 minutes of course. Yumm!: )

The chicken boiled alone for about an hour, and then I added the onion and celery and let that boil for about 45 minutes, and then the rest of the veggies were cleaned and chopped or diced and were sent to the pot and simmered for another hour. After it had the taste, I wanted, I turned off the pot and went and picked up both boy's from both schools in the rain nonetheless. They got home, changed clothes into some warm comfy house/play clothes, like sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt for both of them and then I got the pot of soup back to boiling again. With our warm floor heating and the central heating the house was toasty warm. The boy's kept asking..."what's cooking?" I said chicken noodle soup!

About 4pm, I started making the sandwiches that would go with our soup. Branden's sandwich looked like mine except he wanted mayo both sides. Noah's looked like mine except he wanted mayo both sides and no lettuce. Phew good thing I could keep track of every one's sandwich preference, lol! About now while making the sandwiches is when I added the pasta to the soup. When the sandwiches were done the soup was done too. The sandwiches were great because the thinly sliced ham and the thick slice of provolone cheese ahh, so delicious and the crunchy lettuce and the bread was the good stuff from the bakery!

A simple but delicious supper nonetheless! A ham and cheese sandwich and a nice bowl of hot piping hearty chicken noodle soup! And a glass of iced tea with ice! The boy's ate it all up! Branden had 2 full bowls of soup plus his sandwich! Noah had a full bowl of soup and his sandwich. After dinner, I sent B upstairs to jump in the shower. When he came down, we went up. Noah and I showered and got our jammies on. A bowl of popcorn and a few hot tamales later, is when the hubby came home. He had a long day, was tired and glad to be home with us. I warmed him up some soup and made him a sandwich. He was happy to be home! And we were happy to be enjoying the weekend! : )

Saturday we all slept in, until about 9:30 am. Boy did we all need a nice full sleep! :D We relaxed all day and night Saturday. And on Sunday, we did the same, slept in and the whole shebang. : ) Sunday night however, I made chicken fajitas! A perfect way to end a nice weekend.
A nice pan of fajita stuff. Like the directions said, fry the veggies and then take them outta the skillet, then fry the meat and then when the meat cooked add the veggies back in again. Yup, check, check and check! And then I added the water and spices and let it boil and this is what it came out like. Smelled wonderful!

Okay, no fancy shmancy sizzling skillet like at the Hard Rock Cafe, lol! But I tell ya! These tasted fantastic! And so the hubby and the boy's and I enjoyed our last Sunday's fajita night completely!

Monday morning for us in Japan is when the Superbowl came on live for us! Which would make it Superbowl Sunday time for those of you in the US! So, Monday morning, since hubby had the day off. We both got up and got the kids ready together, breakfast made for the kids and everyone sorted and then hubby drove them to both of their schools! Meanwhile what was I doing? I was fixing Superbowl breakfast for the hubby and I! Ha ha ha. When he came back, omelets, skillet fried potatoes, toast and coffee. We watched the 2 first quarters and shouted and screamed! I bet our neighbors wonder why, every January we scream but happy screams for 1 day? And we are usually a quiet household normally, except for giggling in the backyard on weekends. Well, it's the Superbowl, that's why! Ha ha ha. Then half time. It was Bruce Springstein. He's okay I guess, not really my musical taste though. Wish they would have had somebody a little more current. My dad was watching in Denver at my aunties house, they had a Super bowl family party there, dad has a lap top, and brought it and so I would check my emails every now and again and we would type to each other every hour or so and so we sorta watched the game together too, my family and I! : )

I didn't have a favorite to win, I was really either way. It was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals and the Steelers won! Now if it had been the Denver Broncos in there, I would have obviously wanted the Broncos to win and I probably woulda lost my voice with all the screaming I would have done. However, since I really didn't care too much either way this time, we screamed and shouted at the awesome runs and plays that were made! Nobo and I both love football a lot, so we enjoyed the game quite a bit on Monday morning! : )
And these are some of the pics that my dad sends me every now and then. What is this you ask? Well, as most of you know, I'm Italian American. And if you recall when I went home last September to Denver, and saw my aunties house and all the saints through the yard and house, I also come from an extremely Roman Catholic family as well. Catholic school and the whole bit for me and all my cousins. So anyway, every Sunday, after church, and yes I mean literally EVERY Sunday! We would have a family dinner at my grandma's house every Sunday directly after church. My grandma had 10 kids and from those 10 kids are my aunties, and uncles and my dad of course, and then it is all of us cousins, their kids. I have tons of cousins. Typical Italian large family, I guess. Anyway after my grandma died (the year B was born), my head auntie, the auntie I am closest too, started the weekly Sunday dinners at her house, which is so awesome the tradition was continued. So every Sunday is a family dinner and get together. Every Friday night and Saturday us girls of the family, get together to make homemade pasta, and the day before, on Saturday if you have time and an hour to spend come over and help your cousins and aunties roll a mountain of meatballs. It's not all work, it's also bonding time. Talking time. Who's dating whom. Is anyone having a problem they wanna talk about to the other girls of the family, we surely all can help! Did anyone catch the new Target Sunday ad? Anyone wanna go shopping during the week together? Just family chit chat. It's been the anchor at keeping our family as super tight as we are, these weekly family dinners! And that's how I grew up! But then you all know that, I've discussed this through the years on this blog. Or how we, would volunteer at the festival at our church every July and how I grew up always working there. My dad and uncles and aunties making the Italian sausage sandwiches of the bazaar and us younger kids working the raffle booths or the cake walks. And when I got older, I started helping with the sandwiches too. Again, it's just another thing that bonds us that's keeps us as tight as we are. And when I told them all, I was moving to Japan, talk about silence and then tears. They were shattered, heart broken and everything else you can think of and so was I. But then, hubby's job wanted him in Japan and that was that. Doesn't get better with time and I will forever and always deeply miss my family with such a deep ache. : ( However, to help, I go home maybe once a year or so and I try to call them on their Sunday evening family dinner time, my Monday mornings, twice a month. They pass the phone around and I get to talk to as many as I can. Anyways so what's in this picture? A typical average Sunday at my aunties house. 3 types of homemade pasta. And her homemade Sunday gravy (pasta sauce)! I can make a homemade sauce that would knock the socks off anyone. I have family recipes that I have here in Japan. That I will treasure and someday pass down to my boy's. I love my family very much. Anyway, I guess there's a bit of homesickness going around blogland and I understand that too. It makes me pause and think about my own family and what I too am missing. : (And sigh. I understand it too. : ( I think that's what sorta bonds us ladies in Japan, we all sorta "get it" Anyway....

Last lovely shot of a pic at my aunties house in Westminster, Colorado. Delicious homemade pasta, salad and some homemade pizzelle, oh what I wouldn't give to have just one pizzella right now! Ha ha ha. I will have to dig out pics from Christmas, the spread is even bigger and more gorgeous. I love and miss you guys, my family in Colorado very very much!!!! : (

And now, this picture was taken from my house on last Wednesday. (Wednesday's) Swimming day in our house, aka busy as heck day! Ha ha ha! Yes, it is true this meal would surely cause my family back home to frown and shake their heads, my auntie might even faint straight away. And I can almost hear them saying..."Gina, Gina what happened, why not homemade?" Ahhhh, all I can say is. Lifestyle. My life with 2 school aged boys means I am indeed quite busy and hey. Sometimes a frozen lasagna will have to do! Could be almost sinful to my family. But sorry guys. I gotta cut corners when I can! I will bake a homemade one soon. And I promise I have that ham bone saved from our Christmas ham, still hiding in the freezer just dying to be turned into minestrone stock for soup ha ha ha! : ) But for day to day type normal stuff, yup, I cut corners when I can! And I'm fine with it! : ) So, Wednesday night after swimming this week, we got home, I preheated the oven, whacked the lasagna in the oven for an hour. While the kids rested, I chopped lettuce and stuff for salad and made garlic bread. And then got everyone served. Don't shoot me auntie V, but it was pretty good. And it was filling and the kids got good and full and we still had time for everyone to get a quick shower and bath and a bit of extra time for reading the Wizard of Oz before bed!

Saturday, yup this Saturday, I finally made my pineapple upside down cake. I've eaten pineapple downside cake bunches of times, but I have never made one before. I was honestly a bit nervous, what would happen when I turned it upside down, would it look pretty, would it come out okay or not come out? And I was happy to say it came out really really great! Yup, another short cut here. Story of my life, but that's okay! Ha ha ha. I used a yellow cake mix from a box as the base of this but it came out awesome! Hubby gave me 3 compliments about this cake. Kids dug right in and Branden wanted a second slice but we made him wait until after supper. I will totally make this cake again! The only thing I learned was....I bought one can of pineapples and I realized pretty much at the get go, I could have used 2 cans, meaning I could have got more pineapple rings on there, but then the cake was mixed and sitting and the oven was already preheated so, I said to myself, we'll make do with the amount of pineapples we have. It still looks cute but yeah, I might buy 2 cans of pineapple rings next time. But other then that, we loved it! Big thumbs up for us. : )

As soon as it cooled we all had a slice. Hubby and I had ours with a cup of coffee. It was great. Then we relaxed on the couch and I snuggled with my blanket and head resting on a big fluffy pillow. At 3pm, I started dinner. A bit early to start it, but I figured I had a burst of energy right then and so I got cracking on dinner then.

While I was cooking and singing some 80's oldies from my Ipod. Chaka Khan, " I feel for you"
Anyone remember the beginning of this song? LOL! "Chaka, chaka, chaka, chaka khan, Chaka khan, LOL! Some old UB40, Homely Girl....the words to this are so sad, poor poor homely girl, lol!
"It must have broke your poor little heart
When the boys used to say,
You looked better in the dark.
But now they`d give all they learned in school
To be somewhere in the dark with you"

Excellent song though, great beat! :D Yeah so anyway while I am singing away in the kitchen the doorbell rings. Branden looks on the security camera monitor thingie in our kitchen for outside and says in Japanese, "who's there?" And it was boy next door, lol! :D He brought us over some snacks from his grandma and grandpa! B and I both, thanked boy next door and he left. : )

These are Noboru's favorites! That was really thoughtful of our neighbors! And it's good to have such close ties to the ones we live nearest and closest too and we do!

My really good friend Noriko-san had given me this, last week! She's made it all by hand herself! They're OHINA-SAMA dolls. Folded completely with Origami paper! I really loved getting these from her and just knowing how long it must have taken her to fold each piece over and over again by hand. Must have taken her a great deal of time! Time spent for me like that, I honestly loved it and appreciated it a great deal! It was a completely thoughtful thing to do!!! She's got a wonderful heart and I'm lucky she's my friend. She also speaks fluent English. I am blessed to know a good circle of ladies at the yochien. They're all a good supportive group of ladies! I'm glad I have such a good bond with these ladies! : )

Saturday night, we had cream stew. I made a medium sized amount of cream stew. Just enough for one dinner and maybe a lunch. And for dessert we all had another slice of pineapple upside down cake. Fast showers because we were getting ready for American Idol to start at 9pm!
It was a bit different with the whole new judge thing. She seems sorta nice, I am not used to her enough yet to know if we like her or not yet, ha ha ha. Noah zonked out to sleep land and so he went upstairs. And Branden caught about 30 minutes of it before he headed upstairs, he was tired. And so it was down to the hubster and I! We munched a bowl of popcorn and watched!

This lady said she was the new judges #1 fan!!! Wow, umm okay! :D

#1 fan brought a book to show the new judge all the songs she's written etc, etc! Nope she didn't make it!
Also blog worthy was the infamous "bikini girl" You know how some people show up wearing weird costumes or "get ups?" Well, she came in a bikini! Don't get me wrong, she had a beautiful face and a fantastic figure! I personally didn't have a problem with her at all. However the new judge Kara didn't like her at all. Simon even made noises like a cats claws coming out. Honestly she sang really good. Meanwhile Kara said, "you didn't sing it so good" And so the new judge actually sang a bit of the same song and bikini girl shot back and said, "but you didn't sing it any better then me"!!!! It was a tense moment between "bikini girl" and the new judge Kara. I didn't have any opinion either way. I personally thought she did sing well. But yeah it was a weird tense 2 minutes, lol! She did make it by the way. And of course the new judge Kara said as bikini girl walks outs she says..." Next time come naked" Uh oh....not saying a word. Not saying a single word! *whistles* Humdeedum, humdeedum*

Did any of you watch American Idol last night? Any thoughts on the show?

Anyway: So now's the time for some bits and pieces:

School for Noah is going so awesome! Some little girl, she's a red badge so maybe she's a year older then Noah, so she's probably a 4 year old. Yup an older woman, lol! She helps Noah at the end of the day, she helps him get his shoes on and she holds his hand and walks him to me every afternoon after class. I always bow to the little girl and say, "arigato", she's being all helpful with him and I find that so cute because she's so tiny herself! Yet she's trying so hard to help him! She's so cool! Oh yeah and Noah now gets off same as the rest of the school, at 1:50 pm. So totally normal time he stays for now. : )
This coming Tuesday/tomorrow, I am going to my friend Noriko-san's house for tea and for origami folding! We will meet there at 10:30 am! I am looking forward to this. These friend's are my, fellow yochien mom's. And later this week, some of us yochien mother's will be heading to Costco Makuhari togeher while our kids are in school. Geeze Lousie, last time I was in an actual Costco, was before Halloween remember? It's been ages! We will be going on Thursday or Friday, I forget the day, but it's this week on either Thursday or Friday, just me and a bunch of my girlfriends will be there, as soon as the kiddies are off at yochien we will all get in 1 car and zoom zoom! We all seem to have memberships and shopping with friends sounds like fun! I am looking forward to it! : )
Regular grocery shopping: I now go and do the grocery shopping twice a week while the boy's are at school and while the hubby is at work. Might not seem important to some of you. But for those of us with kids it's huge! For 7 years, I have been shopping with either a baby or a toddler or managing 2 kids while shopping. And if you've ever been shopping with kids and ever felt frustration sometimes, while trying to shop, with kids in tow, then I am sure, you will surely then understand what a milestone this is for me. Yes, even mommy's sometimes go through milestone moments! I crossed mine 9-10 days ago! First time.... as I shopped, I kept looking for my kids but they weren't there. It would be quiet and I'd at first second think, they wandered off? But then a second later I would stop myself and say to myself...nah they're at school. I've since gone to the store by myself 3 times and it's great. I'm used to it now. It's so much easier. No distractions. Yeah, it's sorta cool! And when the kids get home from school, I've missed them heaps and it's good to get that bit of day away and clear my head a bit. I'm starting to dig this, both kids at school stuff a lot!!! : ) Have a wonderful night you guys! : )