Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's catch up some! : ) Who's coming for Thanksgiving and we're dreaming of a tropical Christmas, also Branden has the swine flu!!!

Last week, our yochien had a ceremony for Shichigo-san. These are what were given to each of the kids at our yochien. And yes this is Noah's artwork he did on the bag, at school. : )
Cute necklaces. Since the school Noah attends is a private Catholic yochien, they give out religious medals/necklaces. I have all of Branden's saved from his yochien days and I already tucked this away for Noah and also his undokai medal, he got last month, so far as well. : )
Chitose ame is the name of the candy given out.
Last week, I decided to try to make my own buta kimchi sauce. I did not use sesame oil as in the picture, now I was gonna, just being honest. :P I really was. But Noboru walked into the kitchen and said, no way, no way. : ) Ha ha ha. So, I used everything in this pic, but the sesame oil. : ) Oh I also used some garlic as well. : )
This sauce came out so good. Which is good because whenever I try something new, I always think to myself, "okay this is either going to turn out really good or super horrible." : ) : ). But it actually turned out really really good. : )
My husband got real buta kimchi, meaning with the buta/pork. : ) And I made myself chicken kimchi. Kids had some from both.
Also the same day as I prepped for buta kimchi and made the sauce, well sorta semi made the sauce. : ) I decided to bake a cake. I baked a coconut cake mix that I had, no frosting, no anything. Just kept it a simple, coconut cake, no more no less. And I shouldn't say this but, man it was fantastic.
Kimchi isn't so expensive and I love it, but it sorta can get to be expensive when you make buta kimchi, especially just to use it/throw it in a meal. I mean I don't wanna waste a whole big jar of that delicious stuff. So, to cut cost, I use regular hakusai and then use my own hot buta kimchi sauce. My mil usually sends us buta kimchi sauce from one of her restaurants and karaage and potato salad, but this past year she's been so busy, I haven't had the heart to call her and ask. Anyway using plain hakusai and then adding the sauce sorta makes this meal even cheaper for our family and I like that. : )
Oh goodness was this good. After I served the kids, I added extra chili flakes to make it even spicier for myself. I am going to be making this one all winter long, I can see that now.
My serving along with a Matsuya cider with ice. : )
The sweaters came last week.
I tried them both and all I can say is the reviews were 100% right.
And yup, last week, after the kids were sent to school, there I went driving in the cold weather to FedEx to ship the 2 freakishly enormous sized sweaters back. And boy they were not whistling Dixie about ordering a size down. I sorta took it with a grain of salt, at first. But wow, completely true! The arms alone were so long it went passed my finger nails, it was like stepping into an adults sweater, yet being a kid. That big, type big. @_@
The Christmas things I ordered online came. Boy Amazon ships stuff from the US so quickly it always amazes me.
They broke my shipment into 2 separate shipments which was weird because I requested to have everything shipped in 1 lump order, because it's cheaper but ah well. That's how they did it and it was at no extra cost to me, so I don't really mind. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. This book is a popular book and a great book at that. And it's been made into a movie. The DVDs I ordered, I only ordered 3 for the boys. UP, is a new one, we haven't seen this one. This looks so good. The new Ice Age, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, we haven't seen either and Monsters vs. Aliens. We saw that movie at the theater but the kids liked it, so I think/hope they'll enjoy these 3 movies for Christmas. And I hope they'll enjoy getting the book as well.
Two days later came the 2nd shipment.
Brain Quest workbooks for the kids, these are educational workbooks for the kids. These are imo some of the best workbooks around. Honestly they are. We have the ones from Costco and they're okay, don't get me wrong. But these ones are like a full year of school wrapped up in a workbook. They're that good. Anyway, Branden is getting Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this book was/is a best seller. And according to Amazon the reading level is for a native speaking 9-12 year old. And Branden is about that level in his reading. His Wizard of Oz book was of the same reading level and he had no trouble with that at all. So, I know he'll enjoy this book a lot. He loves to read for pleasure a lot, I notice. And for the record, no I don't only buy Branden books for a 9-12 yo, I usually get him books from 2 different catergories for 7-8 range and yes also the books for 9-12 are okay too. They don't have books ONLY and specifically for 8 year olds, the range usually varies. So, that's why, and as long as the books are between the 7-8 and 9-12 range he is fine. And Noah, I chose him "The Giving Tree" This book is a classic. After I finish reading this book I always get a little sad or think about how truly giving that tree was. Sigh. Anyway I think he'll enjoy the book. I also got them the thin book called, "The Night Before Thanksgiving" because I want them to know about American traditions (as well as Japanese ones) and appreciate how cool the holidays are. And they love the holidays anyways but this book when I read it to them, they said, wow they eat turkey like we do, wow they have family coming to dinner like we do. And they put olives on their fingers like we do. : ) If we were living in the US, they'd know everyone does the same thing for Thanksgiving obviously. They'd probably be making Thanksgiving art projects at school already. But with living in Japan, I can understand that yes it does feel sometimes like we are the only ones celebrating it. : ( So the book is good for them to see yes, other people really do celebrate it too. : ) So, anyway, we've been reading this Thanksgiving book together every single night. :)
I like how all subjects in this are covered. Social studies, cursive writing (yup that's usually taught in the 2nd grade in the US), time and money he knows and math. But this book is going to be great and the reading and writing (read a paragraph about the sun for example in the science section and be able to answer the questions below in actual sentences type stuff about the sun) is now at a level challenging enough for him. Also it's not just English, it's social studies, like I said, science, cursive writing, etc etc. Yet, all in English so that's good.
The consultants for these books are teachers of the year. Same for the other books, but teacher's of the year for different years, so they are really well written books.
Noah's book is for a 4-5 year old. He turned 4 in July so this is perfect for him. I also have 2 Costco workbooks for Noah that he has been using for the past year. So he's been getting lots of home help from me on that end. And Noah starts Kumon next year for Japanese (reading and writing prep). More then likely at the end of Summer 2010, still thinking on the month to start him. So he's gonna get about 18-20 months of Japanese writing/reading prep before he starts ichinensei. He won't start English at Kumon until he becomes an actual ichinensei, even though he fluently speaks English natively already, but yeah regarding his writing and reading he has been practicing with me this whole past year with letters and with practice writing (upper case, lower case) and stuff but I can't wait for him to get the benefits from English at Kumon like Branden did. And the math is awesome enough at the Japanese elementary that I am more then happy with it, so no Kumon help needed for our family for that. What they learn at regular elementary regarding math is so thorough and so complete. The whole first grade was spent on addition and subtraction. It goes very slow and not all fast fast zoom zoom like how my class ran through it at my school in the US. By the end of first grade last year, the Yuka-sensei wanted all kids to be able to calculate 1-9 (add or subtract) without using their fingers to count and Branden could more then do that by the end of ichinensei. Now in ninensei, they are working on addition/subtraction still (2 and 3 rows of addition now so it is progressing slowly this way everyone gets it, understands it). And after Branden's undokai this year and after Summer break is when the Yuka-sensei started with multiplication. Every yochien mom friend I know had told me ahead of time, that multiplication at shogako is started the 2nd semester of the 2nd grade, so it seems things go nice and slow and everyone gets a very good base/foundation down regarding math and that is very important. Branden's one of the top 3 students of his class regarding his math. So, we are very happy with the math being taught at regular elementary school. It definitely works for our family, and I can only speak for my own family. But yeah the math at the elemetary school's in Japan, rock!
I made some beef stew 4 days ago or 5 days ago? Something like that. : ) I had bought the beef and froze it until the day we had it. I cubed the beef, fried it in a bit of oil and then boiled the heck out of it. It was tender tender by the time it was done.
I have a scale I use for measuring packages for things that I sell on yahoo auctions.jp It's just a scale I bought at the 100 yen a while back. That way I can figure out how much to charge strangers/customers for shipping, lol. Anyway.....I have begun measuring my rice on it. This Daiso cheap scale is so useful. I am trying to stay at 200 grams for rice. This night it was 199 grams. Nothing major but it helps me sort of keep track and be mindful of my serving size. And I do need to remind myself at times. But hey, an A for effort at least. :P
Beef stew, 199 grams of rice for me. :P I just gotta laugh at myself for that. ) And some jasmine tea. And I've been measuring my rice so far for 6 days or so now and I really don't mind and it's actually quite helpful for me.
My dinner from another night this week. Cutlet, 200 grams of rice, lol at myself again. : ) : ) and string beans/green beans and a salad. And a jasmine tea. Again nothing wrong for effort, right? : )
And another night, some stir fry. Just chicken, mushrooms and broccoli on a bed of white rice. Yup, measured this rice too. @_@ And again, at least I'm trying. And jasmine tea.
Beyblades are the name in English. Anyway Beyblade have gotten really popular in our area lately. All the kids in the area have been playing these for month's now. After much persuasion, we finally caved and picked some up for the boys.
Last Saturday, since we were going to the country city (same one Noah goes to yochien in) we were going there to get the beyblades anyway and so we picked up a dozen donuts. I usually bake a treat once a week for the family, but last week, with cramps and all. It was just more practical/easier for us to buy donuts last weekend. Because I just felt sorta yuck with the cramps and stuff. Sometimes the cramps aren't so bad, it's like nothing but some month's ha, the cramps seem like blech. This month was the latter for sure. : )
Saturday night, we had supper, hubby made it and I am thankful because I had cramps and it was raining so no laundry hanging out last weekend. After dinner they went and the 3 of them showered and I showered after them (after that I had a nice Advil : ). And we then popped 3 bags of microwave popcorn. 1 bowl for the kids, 1 bowl for Noboru and 1 bowl for me. We turned out the lights in the living room. Noah is really on this kick lately about turning off the lights during movie night because he wants it to be like 'at the movies" @_@ Ha ha ha Anyway we watched Star Trek. Such a good movie. I don't think I'd go run out and buy the dvd or anything, but yeah it was really really good. How Kirk became a captain? How Spock's childhood was for him being half human and how he got the job he had. Just all of it. Noboru had never seen an episode of Star Trek, I know.... shocking, right? : ) And I had already said I was quite limited myself with Star Trek, but we enjoyed the heck out of that movie. So, it's not like you needed to know every last detail to enjoy it. Because we enjoyed it quite a bit. : )
Borudo (Bold) laundry detergent now comes with Downy. Anyone else see this at the store? I already have a favorite different Japanese laundry soap, but when I saw this at the store, it caught my eye right away. I didn't like that the size of this box is actually smaller then the brand I usually use. But I bought it anyway and wanted to give it a try. The Snuggle laundry detergent I tried a few years back in Japan, I really disliked the way that one smelled. However this Downy one, smells so good! I am now wondering if I should switch laundry detergents or stick with my regular Japanese laundry soap I usually use. Hmm, tough tough. Decisions decisions. :P Our laundry all this week has smelled absolutely fantastic though. Really reminds me of home. : )

What else, what else?
Thanksgiving: The turkey has been ordered, we ordered a 20lb one. It gets here this coming Sunday/ November 22nd, in the morning is when I selected the delivery time. My dad will be flying in from Guam on Tuesday November 24th to share Thanksgiving with us and I am thankful for that. He will be here from Tuesday until Saturday evening. So that means he'll get to watch Branden's swim class on Wednesday, enjoy Thanksgiving and Saturday in the day is a thing at Branden's school, so Noboru, my dad and Noah and I will all be going to that for Branden. That ought to be fun. I also invited my bil and my sil and my niece to Thanksgiving. So uncle Jun and Satoe and Mia-chan are coming for Thanksgiving as well. They said they're running to Costco and if we need anything to let them know, so I am sorta racking my brain right now. Ha ha ha. : ) And I love my bil and sil very much so I can't wait to see them for Thanksgiving. So, looking forward to Thanksgiving. : )

Christmas: We're going to Guam for Christmas! We were going to Denver originally but will save that for next time, hopefully. Having a tropical Christmas, swimming along the beach or at the pool of our hotel. I can't wait! We'll be there for 5 nights, so it'll be a good little get away for sure. Lots of time to relax and unwind. And plus I can see my dad and we can have some more family time too. But my dad is doing a lot of stuff with the church and is singing in a choir and we really wanted to go on a vacation and get some r and r. So while I'll be seeing my dad, we will still be on a vacation and unwinding. We were gonna stay at my dad's and he has an amazing place. But we get only about 3-4 trips a year, I know, I know I shouldn't complain. But we sorta wanted a real vacation type vacation, this time. So and we do get cheap discount so we don't feel too wasteful. And besides, as much work as I do with running here and running there and this and that. By gosh, we all sorta need a good vacation, and I know Noboru could really use one. A nice eyebrow wax, some snorkeling with the kids. Maybe some lomi lomi massage at the spa of my hotel. And yeah, I am looking forward to it. We're counting the days already! : ) I also want to take the kids to see the movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. : ) And take advantage of the yen being so strong and look for some good sales at Macy's and also check out the book store and dvd's at Blockbusters and whatnot. The room has been booked, the car rental has been booked and hubby's been given off all his days he asked for already for our Christmas vacation. They also gave him American Thanksgiving off too. Bless their hearts. : )

So, basically right now I'm sorta being a bit quiet because I have been busy trying to get ready for Thanksgiving. From this Sunday until Tuesday I will be cleaning here like mad. Going to wash up the bedding in the bedroom my dad uses, just to refreshen the bedding is all. : ) I want to scrub down the 2 big toy boxes upstairs and to make sure all the toys are clean and ready for when my niece comes to play Thanksgiving day. I cannot wait to see her, she's starting yochien this coming April 2010 you know. And she'll be three this coming February! : )
I'm also making a small list of stuff for my dad to bring for me when he gets here on Tuesday. He's already picked up some stuff for me already this week. Cranberries, black olives, disposable turkey pan etc etc. :P So my brain is sorta everywhere right now. Deep deep thoughts about Thanksgiving at the moment. And getting ready to spend time with my family quite soon. So, I'm sorta happily occupied these days. : ) The 2 dvd's we rented came in the mail. We always wait until the weekend to watch them, so we haven't seen them yet. I picked Slumdog Millionare and Noboru picked Hotel Rwanda. So that's what we'll be watching this weekend. : )
Update: This post was written and finished Wednesday in the day, and I was going to publish it Thursday morning, however so much has happened since then, so bare with me.....after school let out on Wednesday, Branden came home from elementary school. He said 2 third graders and 2 sixth graders have the swine flu at his school. Okay, that was sorta semi shocking, but figured it would eventually reach our town sooner or later. And I even said in one of my last couple posts, by my saying that it didn't get our town yet, probably now I've doomed the whole town and now everyone will get it. Remember that? Well, Thursday morning, Branden was very ill. High temperature and so first thought we had was.... "omg he has the swine flu" So, we took him to the hospital he tested negative. No swine flu but they said the test is often wrong if the kid has a fever which he did. That Branden might still have it. So they sent us home, they offered us fever reducer but nothing else. So, we went home. He was sick all Thursday night. I gave him fever reducer every 4-6 hours. But as soon as it wore off, his fever went straight up. He was 39.4 last night. And that's after he was given fever reducer!!! @_@ I made a little chicken noodle soup last night out of 1 small chicken breast and some vegetables and pasta, just enough for B, we had something else for supper. This morning his fever was back with a vengence and Noboru took him to the doctor yet again. He was tested again this Friday morning and he is positive! He does indeed have the swine flu. You know, it just proves to show.....sometimes things just happen without a reason in life. I try to keep the kids healthy of course, like all of us parents do, nothing different there. They do wash their hands frequently since the swine flu came about, they do eat citrus and blow their noses and everything else we heard about keeping the swine flu hopefully at bay. And we even signed up to be on the waiting list for the darned swine flu vaccination. So yeah, sometimes a person can do all the right things or have all the best intentions n the world, cross all their T's and dot all their i's. But when it comes down to it. We are all vulnerable to catching it, I guess. Well, I do always try to look for a silver lining...so give me a second here to think of one......okay I got one! We can now get our names off the swine flu vaccination waiting list now. Ha ha ha. : ) : ) Oh goodness. Noboru said they prescribed Branden, Tamiflu. I've heard of it, but all my friends from the yochien (whose older kids who had it), all their kids were give relenza. But we do live in a smaller different town so I am not sure. All well, that's where we are right now. You now know about as much as me. : )

Noboru had told me yesterday that if Branden has the swine flu, he will not let Jun and his family come to Thanksgiving but only out of worry, because we do worry about Mia-chan of course. But I was really hoping to see them. Oh goodness. My dad is still coming no matter what. Hmm, but I really wanna spend time with my bil and sil and my niece. She's such a little sweetheart my niece is. Anyway, they say 5 days, so Branden will be quarantined for 5 days. Noah we are going to watch for any signs of anything. The yochien we just spoke with this Friday morning and they said, when Branden is safe to go back to his school is when Noah will be allowed to go back to the yochien. So, Noah is not allowed at school either. Which he's fine. But I do understand totally. And Branden's elemetary said, before he comes back to school he needs a doctors note saying he is healthy again. So, this coming Wednesday besides going crazy baking pies for Thanksgiving (for the following day) I imagine I will be at the hospital with my dad trying to get that note from the doctor. : ) : )

Also, grandma Mitsuko is coming to Noah's Christmas recital in December, I called and invited her, I think she'll also be spending the night even, very cool.
PSS, Branden took 1 tamiflu this morning and he seems to be doing better so far. His fever has broken, his temp is normal. Yesterday he was irritable and crying and quite ill (which is really out of character for Branden). So, I think he could be coming out of it. Oh goodness, I hope so. I don't need any other wrenches thrown my way, this week. I am busy enough trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and company coming over. And for my dad's visit. Anyway sorry if this is a long post. Forgive me. I just have so much going on, so much is coming up and this was my only chance to jot it all down. I hope there is no huge spelling mistakes or errors, I usually like to read it through once before hitting the publish button, but I don't really have the time for it today, I'll try to read it over tommorow morning if I get the time. I have to start dinner right now. I'm making a big pot of chicken noodle soup for everyone tonight. Figure we could all use it and B likes it anyways so I think he won't mind eating it a 2nd night. And I bought another big bag of mikans this afternoon. : ) Anyway have a wonderful weekend everyone. I've got to get a hot cup of tea into Branden right now. And get started on that soup. And we have a dvd to watch this evening. Okay, I better get going before this things gets even longer! @_@ Ha ha ha. Okay sorry have a wonderful weekend. : )