Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending the year on a terrific note...the great big end of year clean up!!!!

In Japan, it's pretty common to have a very big end of year house clean up. You know, out with the old... in with the new. Or in this case, out with the dirty and in with the clean. : ) This is probably one of my favorite things in Japan, this end of the year clean up. I really look forward to this every single year. And if you look at my older blog posts, I've written about this many times in the past. However, with knowing we'd be gone for Christmas and a few days afterwards. I wondered how I'd break the cleaning up. So, what I did was...a week before Christmas. I went to our bedroom and Noboru helped me move our bed and bedroom furniture around. So, I switched the bed from facing 1 direction to a totally different direction altogether. Vacuumed in there and dusted. Of course I'd have to go and dust and vacuum a few extra times before New years but getting the brunt or hardest part done beforehand helped me. My walk in closet is still clean since I deep cleaned it in November, miracle against miracles. : ) It stayed that way. But of course I did vacuum it a few times and windexed the window in there too. Both the boys rooms, I did not switch their bed directions at all, but I did vacuum under their beds, but flipping the mattress and leaning it onto a wall, leaving the bed frame there and vacuuming it with the canister vacuum. Vacuumed and dusted. And that was pretty much it before we left to Guam. After we returned on the other hand. we went right back to our "end of the year" cleaning, for example on the 30th. We decided to do the entire downstairs. Everyone living in this house has a job/task. Noah and Branden's kitchen jobs were, cleaning all the windows including the big patio window. This was also both sides of the windows.
Noboru vacuumed the blinds and then wiped them each with a wet sponge and then dry cloth.
I wiped down all counters and then got started in on the fridge.
What's this thing in the sink? A piece of the fridge. Hot soapy sudsy water and I scrubbed and scrubbed and got the entire insides of the fridge spic and span.
And the boys cleaning the outsides of the patio window.
Because I would be mopping the floors down afterwards the chairs went outside. The boys also wiped the chairs down also. They really helped a lot.
Nicely clean now... time for everything to go back into the fridge. Yogurt, cheese, milk and whatnots.
And now onto the vegetable area, Noah with a Clorox wet wipe wiping the whole area down really good and then rinsiing it with a hot wet sponge. And then drying it with a paper towel.
Meanwhile I washed all the vegetable bins with hot soapy water and dried them. We had music playing, we were jamming and singing and cleaning. And some straight tea every once in a while if we got thirsty.
Branden meanwhile did all the baseboards with a hot sudsy sponge and he really did a great job with it.
I lay down 2 paper towels down and then the fresh potatoes 5kg on the potatoes, bag of onions and pack of carrots.
2 packs of mushrooms.
Other veggie bin, lettuce and a half of cabbage.
Noboru still working quite hard on the blinds. Everyone pitched in.
The kitchen mats hang to dry.
The pictures that usually sit on that corner cabinet were laying down on the table. Because I just dusted it and then put the frames back. The Christmas table runner and mats put away until next year. Some fresh mikans and bananas in a bowl sit on the table. The plant taken outside and dusted.
I dusted the kitchen ceiling fan. Light bulbs and everything @_@
Took all the magnets down scrubbed the front of the fridge.
The whole fridge really got a thorough scrubbing. And then Noah kindly put all the magnets back on the fridge. Took down the 2011 calendar and hung the one we bought in Honolulu this past July. The one we'll use for 2012.
So the entire kitchen was 100% spic and span. Scrubbed, dusted, mopped and wiped to the millionth power. So Noboru and the boys got started on the living room. Meanwhile I mopped the kitchen floor. With hot soapy sudsy water. Scrubbed the heck out of the kitchen floor.
Then scrubbed the genkan tiles. Scrubbed the heck out of those too. Then rinsed the kitchen and genkan. Then, joined my family in the living room and we cleaned the heck out of the living room. After that, I scrubbed the toilet downstairs. Noah vacuumed the actual stairs and Branden scrubbed the toilet upstairs. And we were done for December 30th. I finished my Guam post. And then just relaxed.
December 31st. While Noboru was outside washing both cars.The boys and I scrubbed the sink and laundry room upstairs and the shower/bath area. Branden did the tub, Noah scrubbed the shower door, I scrubbed the floor and walls. So we all did a part, again with music playing it's really quite fun. Same with the laundry room. Everyone took a part and it was 3 times faster sharing the work. I vacuumed the entire upstairs, the boys rooms and our bedroom. Dusted the blinds. The boys wiped/windexed the windows. And we were done. We ran to the store to get any last minute things. Though the bigger chain grocery stores will be open, and in the bigger cities it could be more like business as usual..but for us in the country side.... the 2 grocery stores nearest me will be closed January 1st, 2nd and 3rd. So, I picked 2 loaves of bread from the bakery. Versus just 1 like usual. 2 cartons of milk versus just 1.

Took the groceries home and for dinner December 31st we went and had ramen. We were tired from all the cleaning we did for the past 2 days. We had finished and were so happy to be done. So, we enjoyed ramen and gyoza. Melon soda. And then we left.
Mystery bags. These are quite popular in Japan. You buy something you have no idea what it is. I know some people really like these bags and look forward to them every year. Some people don't care for them. As for me, I really don't care for them. If I walk into a store in Japan for example. Likely, yes there will be 10 things in there I really like and think is cute. But there will also be things not really my style either. I would hate to buy something...like the price says, 5250 yen $60 US. And get something I disliked. My husbands friend bought a mans/guys mystery bag last year and he loved what he got. I think Noboru likes the mystery bag idea. I'd meanwhile just prefer buy something I can actually see first. @_@ Sorry...gomen ne~ Anyway, for those of you not in Japan, I just thought this might seem interesting to you.
Before we went to Guam, I was at the store near the swim school. This is my new weekly store I do my weekly shopping at now. I don't shop at Cainz weekly anymore, I go there only once a month now. Anyway....so I'm at the store near the swim school. And I didn't want too much stuff since we were leaving Japan soon. However they had soda on sale for 120 yen each. Regular price 198 yen each or so. Hmmm, that is a great deal. Not going to buy it... I said to myself. I'll get it when I get back from Guam. But as I looked at the sale sign it said, sale ends December 23rd. @_@ That is (was) today I thought to myself, Don't buy it. So, I kept shopping from aisle to aisle. Then I thought...no you should buy. The sale be be long gone by the time you get back and the price will surely be back to 198 yen. That's true, I thought. So before I left, I bought 2 of each. 2 orange Fanta (Branden's favorite), 2 grape Fanta (my favorite) and 2 Cokes (Noboru's favorite), Noah's not picky he's just grateful he gets a soda. Because he's usually drinking jasmine tea (no sugar) or water or 20% juice or regular milk. Poor kid. : )
Also went to Cainz. 2 cases of jasmine tea, 1 case of Kirin straight tea. And I felt all set for when we got back from Guam. Only needed to buy a case of water and we'd be ready for when the shops close down for the first 3 days. Anyway we were ready and set to say good bye to 2011. And ready to ring in the new year 2012 in a nice clean house!

Goodies brought back from Guam

After a lot of research and I do mean a lot, an a deep talk about legalities with a quarantine person a month ago that the hubby did. And believe you me, we researched the heck out of it. Finally we understand how to bring meats and things back to Japan with actually declaring them. This was our first attempt and trial. We knew beforehand they said as long as we...do this and do that and dot this i and cross this t, so to speak, we would be fine. But when it came down to it...would we really breeze on in? Yeah we wondered about it but we tried it anyway.
And passed! 100% legal.
With stickers on each suitcase, letting customs know we did already clear the quarantine section first hand.
Documents on the declared meats. Lasagna etc.
Very very slim pickings. Barely any food or anything really spectacular really this time. If I were to title this picture, I'd say..."cereal and household cleaners" @_@ and I guess a few odds and ends. That's really about it.
Noboru bought this new temperature gauge.
It shows indoor and outdoor temps and indoor and outdoor humidity too. Ever since we've gotten back....Noboru checks this about 5 times a day. And loves to inform me...honey our bedroom is such and such degrees. And our living room is such and such degrees and outside is such degrees. This is pretty fun for Noboru. : ) And it makes him so happy monitoring these things. Our last temp gauge broke, so he was happy to replace it.
Cinnamon Toasters (generic version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and Cookie Crisp. These are for the boys, what they picked.
Noboru picked his favorite Honey Bunches of Oats. And I picked only 1 box and picked Banana Nut Cheerios.
Salsa in medium because the last bottle Noboru picked and loves is Hot and that was way too hot for me. Fritos and Goldfish.
The Christmas colored sprinkles were on sale, so I stocked up. Blueberry pie filling or cheesecake topping, I bought it for the blueberry cheesecake I want to bake. And an extra emergency box of popcorn.
We had 2 leftover Vitamin Waters from the hotel and cheap me, put them in ziplocks and into the check in luggage they went. Tic tacs for me and Corn Nuts Branden picked. These are cinnamon and the white flavor. I dislike the white flavor but I'm eating the cinnamon ones. : )
Chocolate covered cherries. I ate these when no one was around. My one guilty treat to myself and they were only $2 US. : )
Toothpaste and Carmex (for cold sores), I felt a cold sore coming on 2 weeks ago, haven't used the little tiny pot in years and it smelled...well.... not like how Carmex usually smells. : ( It definitely went South. : ( Went bad, so I threw it away. And bought these 2. A stick and a tube. No little pots when I looked. : ( Watch now I won't get another cold sore for another 3 years. : )
2 bottles of shampoo for us adults. And 2 bottles of shampoo for the boys. And 1 bottle of conditioner.
Feminine wash, no embarrassment/worries for being clean. : ) And icicle lights, these were on sale...$5? Noboru wanted these.
Our DVD player is on it's very last leg here at our house. It works 80% of the time but 20% of the time it won't read the DVD at all. Or it will freeze mid movie! Grrr! The region free DVD players are a bit pricey, meanwhile this was super cheap $50 US. So in case...the DVD player we have were to break 100% before we can get another universal DVD player this will at least be able to jump in to save the day if need be. : ) (update) watched Crazy Stupid Love last night after the boys went to sleep and once again our regular dvd player froze mid movie!!! WTH?! So, I said you know what..this is ridiculous and opened this box and put the old one away, Noboru can dispose of it. Meanwhile, we're using this now. Noboru says he can switch this to region free, just find the code online.
Coffee Mate and pasta sauce.
Chicken cup of noodle. This always makes Noboru shake his head and smile, he says...only you honey..... You're actually bringing ramen *into* Japan. I just can't help it though, they don't have chicken flavor here. ; ) Though Noboru insists the salt flavor is the same, it doesn't taste the same to me at all. $5-6 for the case. About 400 yen.
The end of the year big huge clean up was heavy on my mind while in Guam. Clearly. : ) Clorox disinfecting wipes, they're so cheap and I could use them and we live so far from Costco Makuhari or else I would have picked up the Kirkland. It was just wiser for me to bring them this time. And toilet tabs.
I keep seeing the "scrubbing bubbles" commercials on TV, plus they were on sale.
Comet bathroom cleaner. Clorox Anywhere Hard surface cleaner and Lysol Pacific ocean scent. So I can mop my floors with the Lysol Complete.
Gossip magazines. Angelina's assistant tells all, boy oh boy did she ever. @_@ She locks the kids in the bathroom so she can get drunk.I really hope that's not true. : ( The final days before Demi filed for divorce. And why Kim filed for divorce.
If it wouldn't have said the words in black and white. Well and pink. : ) I would have never known or believed that was Kate Gosselin. And I own the Kate Plus 8 dvd's. So, yeah I was a bit surprised. Does she not look very different.
Transformers activity books. Noah grabbed one and this kid never asks for a thing, he really doesn't but he was asking and pleading at the store...pleasepleaseplease mama can I get this. And like I said he usually never asks so.... I said yes. Then I looked at Branden's face and I said, go ahead, if you want one too...go grab it! : )
Cinnamon Rolls and crescent rolls.
Cheese and pepperoni.
A lasagna.
These mac and cheese freezer meals were 71 cents. At Payless in Agana. I should have got more. But with knowing we were going through quarantine this time, I didn't want to buy too much. And tortillas for wraps.
Studio Fix, powder foundation and also some under eye concealer. I carried these in my Prada messenger bag onto the airplane, I worried if the foundation would crack if it was in the suitcase even my carry-on.
So, I had been wanting a Coach bag for a really long time now. Noboru and the boys and I went to the DFS one evening/late afternoon. I hoped I would find something I liked. Last time we were in Guam together in July, I didn't see what I was looking for. : ( Also had been debating...do I want a medium over the shoulder bag type or a messenger bag/crossbody bag. The bag, I picked was both, go figure.
The paper bag was pretty too.
Dust cover.
It's got a shorter strap to be more like a baguette on my shoulder type real cute like... but it also has a longer strap so I can wear it diagonal across my body too though. So, a very practical almost 2 in 1 type bag. I asked the lady for a new one, not the bag out on the floor, she said sure thing. : ) We paid and left, I was really happy. : ) If you look real close it says Coach in cursive in the big C. And again given the exchange rate a $418 US bag. For us in Japan right now, it's only about...30,000 yen right now with the exchange rate give or take. And no taxes on Guam. So for us, it really was a good time to make this splurge given the exchange rate.

Anyway that's all. : )

Oh yeah, The boys did get the new Mario Kart 7 games for both of their new 3-DS. And a few extra things. And Noboru picked up a few things at the Home Depot, he really liked too.