Thursday, January 28, 2010

Noah's observation day! (as a red badge ; )

Wednesday was Noah's observation day! You know having gone through all these observation days with Branden, you'd think I'd be over them. Honestly no. I enjoyed each and everyone I went to with Branden. And though for Noah we only had 1 last year when he was a yellow badge. They're always exciting and fun. A whole year later and now he's a red badge. No longer a yochien kid in training like when he was a yellow badge ; ) A full fledged yochien kid. This coming April, Noah will be a pink badge. So 2 years left of yochien life from April 2010 and I sort of want to savor this time. Remember everything as best as I can, take as many pictures as I can and sorta suck it all in and just enjoy this time because as dorky as it may or may not sound they're little/young for such a brief time and then it's.....* poof*, it's over. Alright sorry to get all sentimental with you all. *Sniffle sniffle* ; ) So Wednesday Noboru and I went to Noah's yochien observation day. So many dad's there. We were shocked. Back when B was in yochien maybe only 2-3 other fathers could show for observation day and to their defense the other dad's were working during the weekday (and Noboru's schedule is such, he can for the most part be there). However on Wedneday's for Noah's observation day we counted like 12-15 dad's. We were really surprised actually. Here's Noah right outside his classroom (first pic of this post and a little blinded by the sun I think). : )
Aww Noah! How did you ever get so big, so fast! We love you so much kiddo!!!! More then you'll ever ever know! ; ) And same goes for your brother! ; )
So we went into the class. They started with a prayer, some songs. Noah knew all the words and sang and did all the hand movements with the song. The sensei did a magic show. Good grief she's talented I thought to myself! And then she told all of us parents, she wanted us to work on an art project with our kids. We were making a spinning top. Here's Noboru cutting in this picture.
The 3 of us decorated it together.
Some spinning action here! : ) And then the sensei announces that the kids will basically battle it out. Yellow badge versus yellow badge, red badge versus red badge, etc. @_@ Geeze we had no idea! I think everyone was a little taken off guard. That certainly came out of left field. None of us were expecting a spinning contest, lol. But before anyone even had to think it through, the 3 yellow badges were in front of the class spinning away. Keep in mind, 2 of the yellow badges are twins (ones a brother and ones a sister ; ) So the twins and another yellow badge spun their tops. Then they called the red badges 3 at a time. Noah was in the last set of red badges. He actually won the best of the 3. And then when we thought it was done. The sensei said, all the winners of the red badges now had to go against each other one more time. So the winner from the first cluster, the winner from the 2nd cluster of 3. And Noah and so on. Did I mention this all took absolutely everybody by surprise? @_@ So there the top red badge top spinners went again. Poor Noah, he was such a fantastic sport about it all though.
And the winner was circled. And as you can tell it was indeed Noah! As luck turned out, he was the fastest spinner of the tops for the entire red badges. And he did this twice. So he indeed won. Anyway we were pretty proud of Noah! He tried really hard you guys. ; )
After everything was all finished, the sensei called up the winner for the yellow badges (a little boy), Noah (for the red badges) and the little girl who won for the pink badges (she was really fast). And she gave them little paper medals. Noah stood up there and was smiling so wide all of the 3 were. He was so happy you guys!
And here it is. The medal he got and see a top is in the center of it since it was for top spinning. ; ) And the bottom is red since he won as a red badge. He wore this all through the grocery store when we did our shopping on Wednesday afternoon. He was just so thrilled to have it. Quite a few older folks at the grocery store bent down and inquired about his medal and he smiled and told them. And they very kindly oohhed and ahhed. ; ) Anyway I just wanted to share Noah's experience and story of his observation day, it was a lot of fun, you guys!!! : )

Bits from the week!

How's every one's week been? As for me, hmm. You know some weeks it doesn't seem that I have anything special going on except take the kids to school regular type stuff, ykwim? So with a bit of cleaning and a few kid pick ups to and from school, it's a quiet week. Meanwhile other weeks are like super busy and I keep checking the calendar on the fridge making sure I don't forget anything. How was this week so far? Not extremely busy, yet not quiet and slow either. However I felt tired all week and I can't wait for this week to be over and to enjoy the weekend. However B goes to school this coming Saturday and obento is required. So my weekend will be just 1 day this weekend. Sunday. @_@ Oh well, I have hope next week will be a quiet one. So if I can just get through this week, It'll be good and everything will be fine. " I think I can....I think I can...chuga chuga chuga chuga choo choo" Last week, I did get and enjoy that pizza at the restaurant with my friends and after that we went to one of their homes and she brought out the tiramisu from Costco and we had some with coffee. Oh dear goodness that's so good. That I must go and get my own tiramisu from Costco soon. So that was last week. And this week, the hubster and I went and had the breakfast buffet at Coco's. Yup, I'm not crazy about the buffet they have, but we wanted to go somewhere and enjoy the morning as a married couple after I successfully got the boys to each of their schools and stuff. So it was nice, Noboru ate himself silly. ; ) And I had lots of different breads, croissants, and some salad.
The drink bar comes with it and I had hot cocoa, and then some hot mango tea which is in the picture. Our main discussion of the morning were the kids. I think that's a constant topic when you're parents. ; ) And also JAL. JAL is having a lot of trouble lately. And a very dear friend of ours. One of the Hawaii guys. Meaning one of the guys who was also sent to Hawaii same as Noboru and we all lived in the same condo/apartment complex. So he is indeed a close personal friend. He knew us before we even had kids and when we were first time parents with B. Welcomed with great happiness when Noah was born and we've seen them throughout the years. Anyway he quit NWA/Delta and started working at JAL. He's married and they were hoping to have a child. But now with his future uncertain, since JAL is having such trouble lately they're holding off on having a child. They're not getting any younger and we are sad for them. They've been in our prayers. And so you can imagine, when we watch the news about JAL on the TV. We watch it with a close friend on our mind. And we wonder and yes worry for them.
This week, I made chicken parmesan. I cut all funky bits off four chicken breasts. Dipped in egg and then coated in Italian breadcrumbs (Progresso)
Fried up in a skillet with olive oil.
And nearly done and in the pan about to be thrown in the oven shortly. One chicken breast I cut a small bit from, so Noah could take it for obento the following day. Thinking ahead like this helps me when I make obento. So that was essentially taken care of.
A little sauce and some cheese, then I covered in tin foil.
And after 25-30 minutes I unwrapped it and we had this on top of some spaghetti with some garlic bread on the side.
This was so good!!! The kids loved it and so did Noboru. I'll be making this one again soon.
If you recall, on the blueberry cheesecake post, I mentioned the kids had a dentist appointment on January 26th. That is also the day, I went and had Indian curry with Kaya-san and Rumi-san. We enjoyed our lunch and the conversation was fun. After the restaurant, I ran right away to go and pick up Noah from yochien. At 1:45pm, he came out, we hopped in my car, and ran home, Branden gets off school everyday at 2:45pm EXCEPT Tuesdays when he gets off at 3:45pm. So, Noah changed clothes. I checked email, emailed my dad, my cousin and friends. Then it was time to go and pick up B, so we hopped in the car, and the 3 of us went to pick up Branden from shogako/elementary school. Their dentist appointment was at 5pm. With our dentist being all the way in Narita city it was a bit of a drive (not too far but not super close either). We got there in plenty of time. It's a kids dentist only. It was packed to the gills with kids and their parents. They go every 6 month's, have since they were wee little kids. Never had any cavities or anything and all good this time too. Knocks on wood it stays that way. So we sat and sat and sat and sat. I flipped through about a gazillion magazines and kids books. People watched the other parents and kids in the waiting room, just anything to make the time go faster. I was a little surprised they called Noah first this time, especially Branden being the oldest I guess I just assumed they'd call B first, like they usually do. So Noah went, the assistant escorted him. The whole staff are ladies. Even the dentist herself. Not saying there's anything wrong with a male dentists at all, just interesting all ladies. They're all really nice. He got a thorough check up and then a thorough cleaning, and also a fluoride treatment, Noah later told me, he watched a Lilo and Stitch cartoon while the fluoride treatment was doing it's stuff. They scrubbed, they picked and everything humanly possible to their teeth and took off any plaque if there was any (there usually isn't any with this dentist on watch, lol). Honestly she's so good that's why she's so popular and why her waiting room is always so crowded. Anyway long story short, she gave his teeth a thumbs up and gave Noah a toy airplane on the way out. About 8 minutes before Noah came out, they called Branden. There's about 5 seats back there and there were other kids back there too. 50 minutes later of a thorough cleaning and B, he came out. She said Branden's teeth were awesome and he also came out with a toy airplane and we left, we felt relievd it was a good visit and you know as parents you always worry, we worry too, it's normal I think. ; ) We also felt happy to leave because we were there for what felt like an eternity. We thanked them and we left. They automatically send us a postcard when the 6 month's is up and we need to go back. Thank god we don't have to see them until the Summer. August sometime I think.
It was a little after 7pm at this time. By the time we'd get home and if I started to cook plus time to prep, cook then finally eat, we would eat around 8:30- 9ish? Forget that! So, we just went to Saizeriya after leaving the dentist office. I had this in the picture. The boys each had a pizza each. We all had the drink bar. This was a very *very* long day. The day after this we went to Noah's observation day. From 9:20am to 11:30am. We did an art project with Noah. After observation day, we had to run to the grocery store immediately after Noah's observation day. And then immediately after that I had to go and get Branden from shogako. So Wednesday was honestly just as crazy busy as Tuesday was.
I have got to share this picture with you! Do you see this carrot, does it look like chicken's foot or what? I noticed it right off while at the store and thought it was the weirdest thing. I had to buy carrots but I didn't buy that pack though. ; ) I did my shopping and then I went to the meat section and ordered my whole chicken for next week. So that's taken care of now. Phew! Load off my mind.; ) Ran home dropped off Noboru and put all the meats and drinks away, hopped back into my car and picked up Branden. Branden no longer swims on Wednesdays anymore. He now swims on Friday's. It just works out better for B this way. So yesterday, he came home, finished his homework for ninensei really quick and then he went outside to play with Genki and Kouiki, they came over to play, so they all left on their bikes to play in the neighborhood until the bell rang at 5pm. I thought of blogging last night but thought why. I don't want to wear myself too thin. So, we had dinner and watched TV and relaxed. So busy these past few days. Feels like our heads are still spinning a bit to be honest. We're all looking forward for the weekend. This weekend we have no major plans, just staying home. Watching some DVD's. Having some quiet family time. Some down time is in order.
Oh yeah, I bought Branden 2 eyeglass cases at the Daiso/100 yen. Stitch he took to school and keeps at school now and Mickey he uses at home. Yes the eyeglass store gave him one, but it looked pretty lame, so this is an improvement. ; )
This morning, our DVD's got here. Friday night we're going to watch Hachi. The kids, hubby and I can barely wait but we're waiting. And Knowing we'll watch Saturday. Also, I have a mother's luncheon coming up on February 7th? Or 8th? Hmm, better check that calendar of mine. Anyway the lunch I'm looking forward to, it's just the whole public speaking thing always gets me. I hate public speaking in front of medium to large-ish type crowds and I hate seeing and feeling like 28 sets of eyeballs are all on me. (a group of 5 good friends going for lunch no problem it's fun, but in groups of 20 or more and me having to stand up and all that silence and them waiting for me to say something. My heart beats so loud that I can hear and feel the thumping in my ears. So that's the part I'm not looking forward to. But.... no sense in worrying about it now. It's a week away still. I'll worry about it the day before. ; )

Anything else to say? Hmm, have a great weekend everyone! Stay warm and stay happy as always. ; )
Any other news? Nope nothing. Like I said, B has school this Saturday. And on Monday he won't have school, so he can run with me to take Noah to school this coming Monday then. ; ) Maybe I'll take B to breakfast just him and I this coming Monday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some of the obentos I've made for Noah recently!

If you look back at my old blog posts of when B went to yochien years ago, you'll notice I often showed what Branden's obentos were, usually a mix of western, some Japanese and some fusion type obentos. And I figure why not chronicle the same thing for my youngest. Most certainly can't leave him out! ; ) So, I went back and looked at all the obento posts I did for B in the past and the title I have for this post is exactly the same as the one, I had written for B, so the title of this post should look familiar except instead of Branden it's now for Noah! ; ) So without further ado, here is an obento Noah took last week. We had yakitori for dinner the night before and I fried him up these the morning of and made his obento real quick. They had marinated the whole night before so they were really good for him to take to school. Yakitori, on a bed of rice, a steamed broccoli or two. Some Pokemon sprinkles as Noah says. ; ) And 2 jelly's. I'd like to send a fruit cup but he's just a red badge and doesn't have THAT big of an appetite yet. This was plenty though. Some days fruit, some days no fruit, it depends since he does have a littler stomach.
If you remember last week we had fried pork chops with augratin potaoes? Noah took the same for the following day for his obento. What do we have here? Fried pork chop, augratin potatoes, veggie and jelly's. Also the metal obento is a winter obento, our school has a warmer and the food stays hot actually, in the Summer they use the regular plastic obentos. Our school uses this only in the winter time.
The night we had beef curry last week. Well the next day, he took some nicely warmed up beef curry, I wrapped the underneath part in tin foil so it wouldn't soak or seep into the rice. And a little container of grilled cheese sandwich. And 2 jelly's. His lunches always come back empty empty.
I made pizza last Sunday, and on Monday, Noah took this. Pizza, hash brown that I toasted in the toaster oven and some steamed veggie and some jelly's.
I was running low on obento supplies, so I ran to the Daiso and picked up these things last week.
I'm especially fond of this pack, and found the orange ones to be especially cute.
This was my obento storage, horrible state I know. A few Ziplocs and that was good because it kept all my obento goods from running into my other stuff in my kitchen pantry. However it needed to be weeded out big time. Some yakitori type skewers had been put in the Ziploc bag. This sucked because I got my hand stabbed by a pointy skewer nearly every single time I put my hand in there. So needless to say, those skewers are not in there anymore! Also threw out a whole bunch of the stuff that I didn't really use.
These for example, I rarely used these so I threw them all out. The carrots for example were so cute but trying to refill them was ridiculous and then clean them out. Thanks, but no thanks.
These I love and I use all the time, so they stayed obviously. And I want to try the egg shapers, so they're staying.
And done, I reused the same Ziplocs. All the paper obento cup/holders went into one bag. The egg shapers and seaweed shapers and mini forks etc for fruit in another bag and so on. It needed to be done this cleaning and sorting of my obento stuff.
Remember that whole chicken we had this week? Well, I warmed up a tortilla, put some rice down and then some roasted chicken. This was going to be a sandwich wrap.
Melted the cheese and all of it in the microwave and salted and peppered it before rolling it up. Couldn't fit the whole thing in there. So although B had a big bowl of cereal already that morning, he wanted to eat the other half of this and so he got nicely filled before I dropped him at school.
What's here? A roasted chicken wrap with rice and melted cheese inside. So good! A hash brown. A big strawberry and 2 jelly's. Simple and good and an awesome way to reuse those leftovers!
This week, I also made ginger pork. And so again, that's what Noah took the next day for his lunch. I quickly fried up the pork that morning. Put the rice in the metal container.
I cut up the pork in bite size pieces so he could eat those easier. Some green beans, and some sprinkles (Pokemon) A big strawberry (but a smaller one then the day before) and 2 jelly's. This was fun! I think I should definitely keep up with the obento updates for sure!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Branden's observation day! : )

The DVD's we ordered from Amazon.com got here yesterday. Last night the boys and I watched Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs, while hubby was at work still. It was so funny! ; ) The hubby and I plan to watch the scary one this coming weekend after the kids go to sleep. And I'm thinking the hubby should definitely check out the kids one as well because it's funny. ; )
This morning was indeed a bit busy, but I made the decision to not attend the PTA meeting at Noah's yochien. Because honestly time just didn't allow for me to be there, especially with Branden having observation day on the same day. That's just how it happened and sometimes they have things on different days and that works best for me, but since they fell on the same day, plus with the whole chicken pick up that had to be today. It just worked out best for me. As it was... I was really pinched for time already. Anyway, I went directly to the meat aisle, usually I start at the veggie and fruit section but today since I had to pick up the whole chicken, I went and got that outta the way first. I walked up to the meat person and gave her my name and told her about the whole chicken, she knew right away and went in the back to get it. I'm going to do this about once every 2 weeks to once every month from now on, now that I know I can do this. This has certainly made my life a whole lot easier. Anyway did my weekly shopping, but knew I had to exit the store by 10:45 am because I couldn't be late to Branden's observation day (I had to get to his school by 11:30 and with drive time etc). And given the store just barely opened at 10am, and I was there when it opened I had 45 minutes or less to go down all the aisles as quickly as possible, check things off my weekly grocery list. Went and checked out, bagged my groceries and was outta there right on schedule. I never ever shop as fast as I shopped today. LOL!
Note these freakishly big strawberries I picked up at the store today. Noah will love getting one in his obento. And Branden will love munching the rest after dinner tonight. Both of the boys will actually. (we just finished dinner and had some just now so an update, lol) I heard enormous strawberries tend to not be as sweet as the smaller ones, but these ones were actually pretty sweet, go figure. : )
I keep this old towel in my car so I can lay my groceries on, sorta just keeps my car clean. So, put the groceries in my car this morning and quickly went home, threw the meats in the fridge and freezer, the milk and drinks in the fridge. The rest I left in bags to sort later, I had to get myself to the elementary school pronto!
I walked into the class, the class I was going to watch just started and I actually made it! Phew! I was so proud of myself, I had a little...."I rock" type moment! Saya-chan's mom and Nozomi-chan's mom were in the class already, Saya-chan's mom thanked me for sending Saya-chan home with 6 cupcakes last week. I told her, oh no problem, no worries, glad you all liked them. And then we all watched class. It was art class, so I observed art class, lol. : P I stayed for the whole class. I left when the class was finished and when they started cleaning up the art stuff and started getting ready for lunch. Drove home happy, I accomplished my weekly shopping and the observation class for Branden, Noah's is next week, I can't wait to see Noah's observation day next week. ; ) We had a roasted chicken tonight, it came out so yumm. I mixed some room temperature butter and parsley and a bit of salt and black pepper mixture under the skin and rubbed it on top of the skin as well and let it cook in the oven. It came out so good.
It was a fairly large size for a chicken, we'll definitely be ordering these from now on. ; )
This is what we had for dinner tonight. Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, some green beans and some crescent rolls. A very good dinner tonight. : ) I've got the dishes washing in the dishwasher as I type and Noboru and Branden and Noah came out from taking a shower about 40 minutes ago and now the boys are watching Disney channel right now wearing their jammies . : ) As soon as I publish this, I'm going to take myself a nice hot shower then take a long hot soak in the tub tonight and a face mask/pack since I have that lunch tomorrow with my friends. I heard this restaurant we're going to tomorrow has excellent pizza with a wood fired oven, so I'll be ordering the pizza tomorrow for lunch for sure. ; ) Have a great night everyone! Oyasumi and good night! : )

Monday, January 18, 2010

Homemade blueberry cheesecake, choco bananas with the boys, beef curry, yummy homestyle cheeseburgers and fried pork chops among other things! : )

So how has everyone been? What's everyone been up to? As for me, just been hanging out, staying home. Cooking, baking. Watching the Hills on MTV and repeats of the Osbourne's. Hell's Kitchen on the Fox Life channel, Bones and "So you think you can dance" on the Fox channel and Cold Case on AXN. I've got 2 lunch dates with friends planned, one on the 20th and one on the 26th (one is to an Italian restaurant and the other is at my favorite Indian restaurant). Just chillaxin' basically. Someone asked me about the amount of homework Branden got over the Christmas holidays and while I took a pic before we headed to Guam, I didn't get around to emailing the picture yet. So, I know she'll read it here anyways, and be happy I finally got around to it. Sorry it took me so long, gomen ne. ; ) This pic of above is of the Christmas holiday homework Branden got this year. So this is the load he got as a 2nd grader. Two sheets of Japanese and loads upon loads of math sheets.
Multiplication worksheets, he got 4 of them 50 problems on each side, so 100 problems per page (front and back) So 400 math problems during the couple week Christmas break. Yup, they really drill the math into their heads. And I sorta think that's okay because they get it, like really "get it". Memorize it and all the reps they do it's like etched into their brains forever type stuff. ; ) ; ) I wish I could have learned math this way when I was little too. They go through this stuff like 800 times - 1000 times a month, between homeworks and the reps us parents are supposed to stamp off when they do them in front of us at home. Drill type stuff.
The addition and subtraction. They still have them do this but only 1 worksheet each. That way they remember this stuff.
The Japanese, B got 2 worksheets of this.
See the worksheets, one sheet is the multiplications between 2-5 and the other page is the multiplications tables of 6-9. The kids can do this stuff in their sleep, they really get an awesome foundation down in elementary school. Anyway that's a brief little look at the homework they got over Christmas break. All the kids turned their homework back in on the first day back from the winter holiday. Branden returned back to school last Thursday January 7th and Noah returned January 8th but Noah had only a half day.
January 8th, Branden brought home this paper. It's a project his 2nd grade class is doing. Like mini biographies of themselves. They were due Wednesday January 13th. What time was he born? 9:19am. Where was he born? Honolulu Hawaii. What was the first thing that happened after he was born or first thing said? The doctor mentioned B had a dimple. ; ) How he was at age 1, 2-3, 4-5 and at age 6. They wanted pictures that matched the age groups they asked about. And stories. They said to ask your mom. ; ) So, as you can imagine Branden and I have been talking about his baby years and I have been regaling him with my sleep deprivation stories, the first food he ever ate tale etc etc. He wrote it all down nicely. Noboru read it through and he brought it to the school on Wednesday with his fellow classmates. They are gluing and making some project from this mini biography. And I look forward to seeing it when I attend observation day at the end of this month.
Branden and Saya-chan and Nozomi-chan and Kouiki-kun came to play last week. It was so cold outside that I had them come in the house, they went upstairs in Branden's room and Noah's room. Noah's room has the toy boxes and Branden's room has the keyboard. They were good, quiet and polite so it was fine they came in. And frankly I was worried the kids would freeze being outside.
Kumon has been closed for a great deal of the winter holiday. Especially near the New Year's holiday. The Kumon teacher gives little study type presents to her students and I like that, I think that's nice. the kids enjoy it. He received 2 plastic folders for holding his homework packets. 1 eraser, 2 garigari pencils, which Branden just loved, 1 glue and a lollipop. I bet all of her students enjoyed her gifts. ; ) What else have I been up to?......
I went through the shoe closet in the genkan (boring mundane stuff but hey it really happened, lol) and I am sort of thinking these are getting a bit small on Noah. No, we're not talking foot falling off the foot bed or anything drastic but I can definitely tell these will be outgrown soon. These are a size 8-9 in Croc sizes, lol.
After poking around in the shoe closet, I found these. Hmm, Branden was wearing Crocs even when he was as young as Noah's age? Not that it matters but, I didn't realize,anyway....Noah can put these to good use. And yes we will buy him a new pair of yellow or orange near Spring but great he can use these as well though.
Size 10-11, the next size up and the size Noah will need this coming Spring and Summer.
These light blue ones used to be Noah's way back when and I took all the jibbitz off the smaller ones and put them onto the navy ones.
Also found 2 pair of sneakers for Noah, Adidas and Nike, he can play in the backyard with these and an old pair of Gap flippies. Some good finds in the shoe closet indeed. I did wash the sneakers and hung them outside and they washed up pretty good.
Getting the jibbitz off and on from shoe to shoe, ouch... did my finger nails a job! Good thing they were short length nails to begin with. ; )
Noah had been asking to make chocolate covered bananas. We make them about three times a year. I'd like to say we do it more often but nope, 3 times a year is about it. I will try to make more effort into making them more though because the chocolate kits are under 300 yen so they are affordable to make. I'll try to make them once a month with the boys.
Nuke the chocolate....then slice bananas in half and done! Couldn't be easier! The kids loved the dunking and the sprinkling and I felt happy watching them get a kick out of making them!
I thought the boys did a wonderful job!
The first day back to Noah's yochien. My friend gave me a bag of cucumbers from her garden. Very nice. I peeled two and ate them with just a sprinkling of salt and the others I used up in a salad.
Thanks to Parents magazine who mentioned these cupcakes first a year or a year and a half ago and I cut the picture out to remind myself to make them someday. I made some yellow cupcakes and then put a bit of Nutella. Good god we love Nutella. Baked them in the oven the day that Saya-chan and Nozomi- and Kouiki played upstairs with Branden and Noah. They could smell these cooking. Branden came downstairs and said, "my friends said whatever you're baking smells good and wondered if they could have some?" I said of course, that's why I baked them to begin with. : )
I could smell the chocolate and hazelnuts from the Nutella. I gave one batch for the kids to eat and 1 batch was for our family for dessert that night.
The kids devoured all the cupcakes on this plate! I was glad these cupcakes passed the taste test. I will be baking more cupcakes with Nutella in the future for sures.
We rented some DVD's. One was a flat out scary movie so the kids couldn't watch that with us. Now, sci-fi, like Star Wars and Terminator, they are okay with. Branden now that he's 8 even likes watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with me and that's okay. But flat out scary such as, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Amityville, Exorcist you know what I mean is off limits in our family for the kids still. So we watched this after they went to sleep.What scary movie did we rent? A Japanese one about a cell phone and if it calls your keitei....yikes... you will be dead next! @_@ Double yikes! In Japanese, it's called Chakushin-ari. This was so good and so scary, it scared Noboru and I quite a bit during the movie. We watched that last Saturday night after the kids went to bed. The other DVD, we rented was called "The Reader" this was with Kate Winslet and was set in the nazi era. She was a guard at the camps and was tried for war crimes. But the story is more so about her relationship with a young man before she worked at the camps. It was an okay movie, not exactly my cup of tea but good all in the same. I'd never watch it again but it wasn't a grade B or a flop at all. I watched this a night when hubby would be at work because I knew he wouldn't be into this movie at all and this was way too mature for the kids to watch. That leaves 2 new DVD rentals for January still. And we chose, Hachi with Richard Gere (a remake). But it doesn't come out until January 27th? So we have quite a bit of a wait. The last DVD we chose is "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage. It's released already but they come in sets of 2's, so it won't come until Hachi gets released.
What have we been eating or what have I been cooking lately? I'll tell ya, I don't mind, I'll share. ; ) One night, I made a beef curry. I bought a nice sized little hunk of beef, fried up the cubed beef in a bit of oil and boiled until tender. Pretty easy.
For the most part I am still trying to stay on track with my meal sizes. Because I know sometimes my meal sizes can range from good.... to a bit large portion wise. So while I am keeping mindful about it. I'm not going all out and out, crazy about it either, like all fanatical about it..... if I'm really hungry one night, frankly I eat, and enough to fill me up. So, I'm mindful but not going all extreme or overboard either. I'm human, I'll have slips and I'm okay with it.
All the beef, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, the curry roux, you can even see the steam from this pic. It was a good thing to eat on a cold night. Seems Chiba has really been having a cold spell this past week. Like a deep freeze without the snow! @_@
We really enjoyed our beef curry that night.
Another night midway into making nabe. Didn't add the hakusai or noodles yet.
Another great dish for the cold weather.
Also, beef. I like ground beef, but lean ground beef. When we lived in Denver, I would buy lean ground beef I think it said, 93% fat free? So pretty lean. Living in Japan the ground beef at the local stores, have a lot more fat content in it then I'm used to. I would buy the ground beef at Costco because they have lean ground beef, but it's only88% lean, I think? Wouldn't bother anyone else in the whole world. I know. And if I lived closer, to Costco, I'd probably happily buy the 88% and not give it a second thought, because that's still way leaner then I find at the regular stores. However, since I live way way far from Costco that's out. And then I started thinking, there's so many butchers in Japan, I bet they could help me out. So, I went to the little city that Noah goes to yochien in and went into the butcher, a really nice kind elderly butcher. Asked him a quick question. Just basically, would it be possible to get some 93 or 95% lean ground beef? And he said, "of course" Well in Japanese but you kwim. : ) Why didn't I ask this question sooner? Say like a few years sooner? @_@. Oh well, better late then never. Anyway he has been grinding beef for me for the past 2 weeks now. I'm really happy with it. And it's close to me so the convenience factor I love, so that's a plus.
I order 1kg at a time. I made homestyle cheeseburgers and the rest I made hamburg another night.
Some very good lean cheeseburgers. Some onions, pickles, tomatoes some melted mozzarella cheese. Some crispy fries. We loved having burgers last week. Wish they woulda had hamburger buns but hey, they taste just as good on bread. ; )
Another night, I was making fried pork chops and augratin potatoes. First I buttered my dish and started slicing the potatoes, midway, I sprinkled salt and pepper.
And when I was done, I sprinkled some more pepper and salt but just a bit.
A basic butter and flour roux, easy peasy.
Some milk until it got a bit thicker.
Added some cheese.
The cheese melted nicely.
And put the sauce on top and covered the pan in foil and whacked it into the oven for an hour and a half. 20 minutes before I took the tin foil off though for the top to get nicely brown.
And done. My husband loves these potatoes. I seriously mean he LOVES them. He could probably eat the whole thing but he restrains himself. He came back for not only 2nds but he came back for 3rds on these potatoes. The next morning after B was getting ready for school after he had regular breakfast, he asked me, "are there any potatoes left?" And I sadly said just a wee bit but those were for Noah's obento. Hmm, maybe next time I'll double the recipe. ; P
Pork about to become American style fried porkchops.
It was just a simple non fancy dinner. Just augratin potatoes, pork chops and some veg, No big marching band or trombone playing type meal. No bells or whistles just simple easy good food.
I was thinking of baking a blueberry pie. But then I saw how many cups of blueberries I'd need just for 1 pie and realized how many bags of blueberries I'd need and the cost of the pie sounded ridiculous. I mean I like dessert but not a dessert that costs an arm and a leg!! So, I switched that to making a blueberry cheesecake instead. I was going to get Philidelphia cream cheese but this brand was considerably cheaper. 1000 yen for a kg of cream cheese. 89 yen for the coconut cookies. I only needed 1 pack, but bought 2 because I just didn't know. And I bought the sour cream on sale and it wasn't even gonna expire for 2 weeks still. So a double score! LOL.
I think this is definitely expensive for the US. But living in Japan, 138 yen was quite the bargain. I was glad I was able to make it affordably.
I was thinking I'd need 2 packs of the coconut cookies but was way off, I only needed 1 pack and even still, think I could have gotten away with just a half of pack of cookies. I'll remember this for next time. And the light coconut flavor crust was perfect for a NY baked cheesecake.
Yup how much did the 1 pack of cookies make? Enough for 2 cheesecakes. Hmm, yup, definitely will try making just a half pack of cookies for the crumbs next time, plus it wastes less. But again, I didn't know, but I know now. ; )
I only needed 680 grams of cream cheese so this was more then enough however the smaller packs were name brand and actually costlier then this big 1kg pack. Hmm.
It made a lot of cheesecake filling.
I think if I wanted to be fancier, I should have used a spring form pan etc etc. But, ahhh. For a midweek dessert this was perfect and we actually liked this way, it was easy to cut.
The blueberry topping I made myself, I just added a little sugar, water and lemon juice in a sauce pan and heated up and reduced until it got to the consistency I wanted. Some recipes say add, cornstarch for thickening etc. I kept mine simple, water, a bit of sugar and blueberries and a bit of lemon juice. We ended up with 2 blueberry cheesecakes. I think next time I'll make a strawberry one. But we loved the blueberry cheesecakes for sure.
I'm not really a new year resolutions type gal. I figure, why make em' if I'll probably only break them anyways, knowing me. ; ) So, none for me. But I told myself that I would get the boys photos all gathered and into order. I bought these for 400 or 450 yen at Besia/Cainz Home. One for Branden and one for Noah. I probably need about 5 each for Branden and 5 for Noah to even make a dent in being caught up, but...a starts a start.
I bought these because I have pictures in 4x6 US sizes and also the Japanese L size and some in different sizes and the free size this book was worked best for me.
I also have a medium sized plastic box with scrapbooking stuff inside. And that is also greatly behind as well.
Here's one of Branden's pages, with a bit of information, also in the little pouch is his hospital wristband nicely sealed up. An actual pic of my Ob-gyn in Hawaii holding Branden, who delievered him so he can see what she looked like. I am going to do more with this page but, I did this page a few years ago.
Lots of stickers (acid and lignin free). Different papers designs and colors.
I've got a lot of work ahead of me.
Stickers for borders.
I have a baby and also another book for kids and so I have been trying to get the boys scrapbooks done and also the photo albums I bought at Cainz done too.
Noah's scrapbook, shades of purples and blue his is called "watercolor" And I liked it for a little boy.
Loads of those acid and lignin free stickers and embellishments for scrapbooking. Again not showing off, I'm sure some people might have more supplies then me or whatever, I'm just trying to make sense of this madness called my scrapbook and photo books. ; ) I wish I had a better system or way of keeping my stuff but since it's not really a hobby type hobby of mine and I seldom do this, I don't make the space for it.
Every trip to Disney Sea or Disneyland we've taken, I have to go and make copies of the pics and then I'll use these Disney stickers and embellishments to be a bit more creative. I think, if I would have done this even once ever 3 month's I wouldn't be so behind. I'm *so* behind that I am wondering if I'll ever catch up? In a way I think...just give up, don't do it. It's too much work. But then in a way, I think how great it will be when I get finished. Either way, I am going to give myself until March 1st. I'm going to go slow and try and get as much done as I can. I'll try to keep a bit of progress on this blog on how I am doing until March 1st. I may even have to extend my date who knows. But for now I am trying to shoot for March 1st.
So many embellishments, yarn, name plates, mini card stocks. I think I'll need more beach things. But I'm going to go as far as I can and hopefully catch up a great deal.
I have been giving my Fiskars paper cutter a workout. And basically been in a photo book and scrapbooking zone lately. For a lot of people they have a gift or talent with this. And I am in awe and honest admiration they're gifted with this. With me, I would certainly say I don't have this gift or talent, ha ha ha, it doesn't come naturally to me at all. I'm just doing the best I can to store some memories for the boys is all.
What am I doing with these? The ones I got at Besia/Cainz Home. I'm not making scrapbooks out of these or making them fancy at all. No fancy stickers or doodads, I don't think for now, but we'll see. I'm just making simple photo books with them. I am not saying photo albums because mine actually have words and stories so they're more then just plain albums but way way less then a scrapbooks. So not as good or cool as a scrapbook, but at least a step above a flat out photo album. But nothing wrong with albums either though.
Here is a peek at one of Noah's pages on his photo book (not his scrapbook). And I left space to write stories and I am calling this one, "bibs bibs who has the bib?!!!" Note Noah is wearing a bib on all these pics except the 2 where he was at home naked just wearing a diaper in his high chair, lol. I'll put little blurbs under each picture and a story or two and that is it. And I am making both of the boys scrapbooks too. But since I am so behind, I will make them quite a few quick and easy photo books. The reason I have 2 pics of him naked with no bib, is because I wanna tell him when at home we were so carefree we let him eat in diaper and that's it and any food spill just got cleaned up in the shower. ; P
This page will be called, me and my brother. The pics covered are where I am in. And I will make little blurbs under each picture and a bigger story in the space I left, something in my own words, to my son Noah. I think he'll appreicate this so much when he gets older. And the 400-450 yen for the albums at Cainz was definitely easy on the pocket book. Definitely not nearly as cute as a scrapbook for sure but save worthy all in the same.
I filled up one for Branden's yochien years. And I still will probably need another one to finish up Branden's yochien years. So, B will get 2 photo books for his yochien years. And I am writing little things under each picture.
The page on the left is when he was a pink badge and went to the sweet potato dig! I left a big space to tell him a few stories that are fresh in my mind. I think B will really like this book when he's older.
The page on the right is of one of his ensoku's/field trips. And I'll give him a story.
When Branden was a blue badge and he had that sleep over. All the blue badges had to spend a night without their parents. All the fun he had, I have the pictures of and I'm going to write to my son how I cried and missed him so much during that night and the next morning he was just fine and I felt so silly afterwards!!! : ) All these stories I want to write down and put them behind the protective plastic that way he'll always have those pictures along with the stories behind the pictures. Anyway...I'll keep you all updated with this little project I'm working on. ; )
Branden's news: Well if you're quick and caught the pic with the choco bananas then you would have realized he wears glasses now. ; ) Kids at the elementary school in Japan get their eye vision tested in the Spring and in December/Winter. For ichinensei, when he was a first grader his eyes were fine. And last Spring if you recall, his eyes were tested and he was flagged. He had a borderline test, so not a flat out fail yet not a pass either. The note said take him to an eye doctor which we did. The eye doctor said the same thing. Not a flat out fail and not a pass either. I wanted him to get glasses last Spring because if he needs them he needs them. The doctor said he'd stamp the paper and so we gave it back to the school. Anyway this December, he was flagged again. Surprise surprise. We were sorta expecting that. When we were in Guam, I took him to the eye doctor. $40 for the exam and the eye doctor said he definitely needs glasses. We didn't find a pair we liked at all and plus we have insurance in Japan so it was better for us to get them in Japan. The day after we got back from Guam, we went to the eye doctor. The eye doctor said no more maybe's. He needs them. We spent 2 and a half hours at the eye doctors that day. They gave him the best eye exam. We left with prescription in hand and went to the eye glasses store. We found a pair we loved. They were pricy 25,000 and considering he's growing and will probably need new ones once a year or I'm not sure how fast a kid's head grows, lol. But he needs them and so that was that. They were ready January 6th, his glasses were delayed because many businesses are closed for the New year holiday. Anyway he's happy, he says he can see WAY better. Anyway that's the news about Branden. Also he's running in some marathon? First week of Febuary or something like that? @_@ It's not required but all the boys in his classes signed up for it so he wants to too.
Branden and Noah have their dental cleaning and check up January 26th. They go twice a year, every 6 month's like clockwork and they got postcards in December saying they need to come in December. But December was so crazy between 2 Christmas recitals, a MIL visit, getting ready for our trip, all the Christmas whatnots. Plus the eye glass caper. But we had made this appointment weeks ago and so they're ready.
Tomorrow, January 19th is gonna be busy as heck for me. Branden has observation day tomorrow, so I'll be there of course. Noah's school also has a PTA meeting tomorrow at 10:30am? I'm thinking I have to go, but am also considering bailing too. Hmm decisons decisions. And I'm usually not one to blow things off. Not that I'm a saint but you kwim. Anyway my reasons are because I *have* to be at the grocery store tomorrow. Like seriously they're expecting me. That sounds odd but let me explain. You know how I ordered ground beef from the butcher at that small mom and pop type shop and I wondered why I didn't ask sooner? Well, anyway, I started thinking. I see Besia carries whole chickens around Christmas. Not any other time mind you, but they sure do around Christmas. So, it got me thinking. So, as I was shopping last week. Clearly the not shy me. Went and asked the meat guy. I was really polite and just basically asked him. " You know how you sell whole chickens around the Christmas holidays?" And he said yup. I said are they available only around Christmas or are they availble any other times? Because I noticed they're fresh whole chickens not frozen ones. They must be coming someplace in Japan. He said, you're right, and they are available year round except nobody ever needs any, but if you ever do, order the chicken 5 days in advance. I could not believe my ears!!! So, I then said, that's perfect because I only make the trip down here once a week anyway. So, he ripped out his notebook and said he'll order me one and I said, I'll come 7 days from now. So he said okay the 19th morning, and I said yup. He took down my name and number. They know I'll be there since I go every week anyway. And so, he ordered me the big 2kg whole chicken and so I have to go and pick it up tomorrow. So either I'm gonna squeeze observation day, PTA meeting and a weekly grocery run (whole chicken pick up) in between the time the kids are in school. Or do the observation day, chuck the meeting and go to the grocery store and not be in such a frenzy. Decisions decisons.
Wednesday the 20th is when I'll be going to have Italian with 2 of my girlfriends. Other then that my week looks quiet and good. I'm sorry it took me so long to catch up. : ) Have a good week you guys. : )
News about me: I did color my hair. Okay not major news but an update at least. : )
This Haiti earthquake has been major news hasn't it? It's so sad. I've been keeping up with it on the news. Anyway I better publish this before this thing gets way way way too long. Whoops. : )