Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2012!

Season's greetings to you all! Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Our family here in the countryside in Chiba, Japan had a really nice Christmas. Quiet and spent with just our family here at home. 
A few days prior Branden, Noah and I baked our christmas cookies that we bake each and every year!
Pulled out some Christmas cookie ornaments.
We are grateful for having a proper big American oven, because we can bake 24 cookies per cookie sheet/tray and we bake a few cookie trays at one time (can fit 4 big trays all at once, so we do appreciate this). So cookie baking is quite easy here at home. The video below is super short and you can see the boys having a blast cutting out the cookies in the shapes they pick. And we listened to the Christmas radio station via my ipod and yep, that was the Charlie Brown Christmas song playing in the background! : )
Christmas cookies are something both Branden and Noah have made with me, since they were super teeny tiny little boys. And it's something they love making and they look forward to making these cookies every year! A little family tradition for our family.
We made so many cookies this year! And we brought some to my dear friend who lives on the next street over, Rumi-san.
Funny, I mentioned when showing the movie poster of  Oz the Great and Powerful. I said, The Wizard of Oz comes on around the holidays in America. Because this weekend/the weekend before Christmas.... the Wizard of Oz came on TV. On the cable channel TNT, as you can see the channel logo on the left bottom part of the TV screen.
Christmas eve 2012. A good amount of presents under the tree. Not too many, but just right. : ) And I also must say, my 2 mini trees I decorated fully. The one in the genkan/entrance area. And the one upstairs. However when it came to our main tree in the living room, this one pictured. I didn't decorate this one at all this year. He looks quite bare, sorry tree. ; ) Why didn't I? You know....we had been somewhat busy all December. I know it's no excuse not to decorate your main tree. But, ehhhh.... Between the marathon, observation day. Christmas cake making with Noah at school. The Guam trip so the prep for that, the Guam trip coming back so the unpacking and laundry from that. @_@ It just seems we didn't get a whole lot of time to slow down. I went as far as unpacking all the ornaments from the attic for the living room tree. Even brought out my bag of tinsel. And somehow got all pooped out. Starting to think about the massive end of year clean up that would be happening soon enough. And then started to think about taking off all the tinsel and taking off all the decorations on the main tree, And I sorta just went, ehhhh! Not this year. So anyway, that's the story on that and why I didn't have the will power to decorate the main tree this year.  And by the way, this tree is taken down already. Yep we took it down mid Christmas day/yesterday. But you can still see the green and red polka dot wrapping paper at the present front row towards the right. That's the new wrapping paper we just brought back.
This is a pic of some of the presents Noah got this year.  2 pair of jammies to the left. Red polar bear fleece ones and cool snowboard navy fleece ones. A spiderman bento bag. A sylvania mini DVD player this DVD player has really good reviews from Amazon for a portable DVD player.  I knew I wanted to get each of the boys a new DVD player granted, but I also knew I didn't want to spend more then $55 US on one too. We got this portable DVD player for $50 US, it was about 8900 yen for both. or something like that but we were really happy about the price and ratings on this particular Sylvania DVD player we picked up for both the boys. It has a nice battery and it is truly portable. Thank goodness for Black Friday sales.You can see the 3ds XL pictured and if you look close you can see the ipod shuffle on the Phillips box.
The ipod shuffle we had Noah's name engraved on it. This was Noah's present from santa this year. : )
Branden's stuff. The Phillips thing is a joint gift so that's why it's in both the boys pictures. The Phillips is a DVD player for the MPV. Though our MPV has it's own DVD player built in. This one is from the US and it plays American DVDs. And since we have way more American DVDs. It just made more sense to get this and it can live in the MPV from now on. This one also has one of the highest/best ratings for a DVD player for your car type in our price range.  And we were lucky to get this on sale it's regularly $159 US. But we got it at $109 US. So considering the exchange rate I think when Noboru bought it, his order was in yen though it was bought at Amazon.com. Our total for this came to 9,000 yen or 9,300 yen something like that. No more then 9,500 yen though and it was a perfect price when we bought it.  Branden also got a mini DVD player for traveling like in the airplane. Or if we were in Hakone for example and the boys wanted to see a movie while in the hotel room, they'd at least have that option. Branden also got an Angry Bird bento bag for carrying his chopsticks and lunch mat. 2 sets of jammies. Paranorman DVD and Paper Mario Sticker Star 3DS game. Branden received more then this, but this is just a pic snapped mid unwrapping, so he ended up with more. A few pics of what else down below.
And the Phillips for the car DVD player has a band that goes right over the head rests for the front seat. And the screen size is huge/good sized. 9 inches. So, it's going to be a nice drive when we drive to Osaka in January. Oh and...these are also cool because you can watch 2 separate/different DVDs. And you can also watch the same DVD. But, I like the boys having the option of they can watch 2 totally different DVDs at the same time. So that's another reason why we picked this particular set. Plus the price, 9,500 yen or around that was a really great deal.
Stocking stuffer presents. For Christmas 2012. Branden ended up with the blue and green set of colored pencil chopsticks. And Branden also ended up with a Phineas and Ferb set as well. Noah also, received a green pair of colored pencil chopsticks and the yellow and orange pair of colored pencil chopsticks. And no they really are just chopsticks they are not colored pencils. : ) But I liked them because they have 2 colors per set. Meaning 2 shades of blue in the blue set, 2 different shades of green in the green set and the yellow and orange set was perfect for Noah since those are Noah's most favorite colors in the whole world as you know. : ) And Noah also received a Phineas and Ferb pair of chopsticks too. So it's fair to say they will both be showing up with 3 new pair of chopsticks each for 2013. : )  And I'm glad I picked a useful gift that something they will actually use on a daily basis, Monday through Friday type gift.  So yeah, good pick. : )
Branden also received this and he received the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Which isn't pictured.
My DVD picks. We will be watching Ted tonight.
I also ended up with 2 fabulous and useful fleece zip ups. I love the Winter design one on the left, and I like the subtle polka dots on the other one. With a pair of jeans and a basic black tee or turtle neck and a pair of my NB sneakers or my Uggs. I'll stay warm for sure now. Plus not to forget my sweater with the sheep on it and my Body Shop stuff. yeah, many things not pictured. But you at least get a little idea at least. : )
We had some delicious and freshly baked cinnamon rolls, Christmas morning. Easy for me, since they came from a tube. The frosting was amazing a nice cream cheese type frosting. With a cup of hot coffee for Noboru and I and milk for the boys. 2 each was the perfect amount. The boys were all playing with their Christmas things. And I got right in and made bacon and eggs and toast. It was a slow day. No place to go and no where we "had" to be. I did go upstairs and brushed the hair, switched into a different pair of house clothes (yoga pants and a plain long sleeve top)
I did zip to the store for about 25 minutes  after our bacon and egg breakfast, while Noboru and the boys were home. I just picked up 2 loaves of bread for the leftover ham sandwiches and roast chicken sandwiches we would be having and chips to go with said sandwiches. ; ) And for and hour and a half of our Christmas day, we decided to get a jump start on the Christmas decorations. We managed to take off all the Christmas lights on the outside of the house. Packed them all away. Man that was a job and a half! @_@ Then we took down the living room Christmas tree and got it all nicely packed away in the attic. The genkan tree and upstairs tree are still up. But again we didn't want to work like slaves for Christmas, but yes we did want to get a jump start on it. After taking down the biggest projects/work for Christmas meaning the outside lights and the living room tree down. We felt like phew! I meanwhile did manage to put the chickens and ham into the oven all at once. And again thank goodness for huge ovens, because the gratin potatoes also baked right along with the 2 whole roasted chickens (different tray of course) and huge ham all at once.
The homemade from scratch butter crusts and pumpkin pies I baked the day before. We had the table all nice and set with our Christmas place mats and table runner. Special glasses that held our  cider (soda)
Okay a bit closer and let me see if I can say what everything is/was. Green beans. Homemade from scratch gratin potatoes. 2 homemade pumpkin pies. 2 whole roasted chickens with delicious seasonings on it. Big spiral sliced honey glazed ham. Crescent rolls and black olives. And Christmas cookies near the pie on the right.
Our family all in our comfy clothes and stretchable waistbands. : )  We had a nice family meal together. We have so much left over that we are eating the same thing tonight. We still have 1 and a half of the pumpkin pies left. I will be baking another batch of gratin potatoes tonight though but everything else we have more then enough.
My meal. With not a stitching of makeup and my hair in the tiniest pony tail you ever did see, but hey, it is all fitting in the pony tail holder at least! In comfy clothes and surrounded by the people I love. I enjoyed my dinner so much.
Dessert, would you like a slice of pumpkin pie or some cookies or both?! ; ) I had a slice of pumpkin pie with whip cream and was stuffed after that ; )  Anyway there you have it, that was our family's Christmas holiday for 2012! I hope all of you reading (if you celebrate it) had a wonderful Christmas with your family. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!