Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black Friday

Last Friday, was a holiday for us in Japan.  Labor Day type of holiday for Japan.  Meanwhile, our town has an event every Japanese Labor Day. So since my dad is usually here celebrating Thanksgiving with us, the five of us going to the town bazaar is something we usually enjoy all together. Last year was a nice crisp Fall day, but the sun was shining. This year however, was cold and drizzly type rain.  It's held at the plaza parking lot.
Sanma/samma/.....fish and also on the plate was radish. Noboru loved eating this.
Noboru loves ozoni, so he had this also.
I had asked Noah to hold my caramel machiatto so I could get my camera out and he had a sip. My family never let me have coffee while growing up, something about stunting your growth. Yada yada. Again, not sure if it's true or not.... but just to be sure.... I really don't let the boys drink coffee. So this sneaky sip surprised me. Hahaha. : )
The coffee vendor/seller/maker....had his own grinder and was making specialty coffees he had all sorts of flavors. My dad (pictured) and I had a hot caramel machiatto each. It was so good!
I had a hot coffee and this choco banana. These are the only 2 things I had while there. But to be fair I just wasn't hungry plus I was waiting for lunch and dinner at home (Thanksgiving leftovers)
Branden and Noah went and had french fries. My dad got into line with them to make sure they were alright. They were of course, but my dad's just always cautious and protective of his grandsons. Plus he loves talking with them so much. : )
You could choose flavorings like curry etc. but they chose just regular salt. The boys seemed to really like them. Also Branden had some mochi, same as he got last year too.
Most of the folks from our town were there off and on all day. We saw many people we knew. Noah's classmates, Branden's classmates. My recycle fellow mom pals/friends. Mom's from the 5th grade class and 1st grade class.  The 5 of us had a really great time.
Yep, we seem to buy the handmade sewing projects and pottery every single year here and this year we did also. My dad bought some and brought them back to Guam for gifts. And these are what I got. 1 leaf plate (200 yen) and 1 crab plate (100 yen). And 1 tissue cover hand sewn for 50 yen.  All made by the school kids here so for a really good cause....the local school. : )
Back to the title of this post......meanwhile being American, I grew up with Black Friday.  Black Friday was always just something you did. If you wanted the best prices on something for Christmas this was *the* day to buy it!  With living in Japan, I have only had the chance to do this once, when Branden was about age 2 or 3. One day I'll go back and do this for real with the family. But this year same as most years what I do is take advantage of the Black Friday deals to be had on Amazon.com. What I did was, I had a small list of DVD's/games the boys had mentioned since Summer that they'd like to have. If they mention something a few times, I'd write it down.  And so 2 weeks ago, I sat online with a cup of coffee after the boys went to school and I went through the list. And put whatever I knew they'd really love getting as a Christmas gift in my Amazon shopping basket/bag. And I let it sit there for the 2 weeks. And then I waited for Black Friday to come into effect and then I took advantage of the Black Friday deals to be had. I did not get these movies up above but if you see the movie in the middle was indeed 96 cents/under a US dollar. About 85 yen or so give or take the exchange rate. The newer Mission Impossible on the left $4.95 US. Again this is the day to get the best deals.  Especially if you have a region free DVD player or an American DVD player.
The Amityvillle remake again 96 cents.  I didn't buy more then what was on my list. I stuck to my list. And no I didn't buy the Amityville remake. : )
The Lorax DVD was just $3.99 US so about 370 yen or so? 380 yen or so. The new Sherlock Holmes movie again $3.99 US.  I did buy the Lorax but then it was on my list. My dad also bought the boys a little order from Amazon also. And the boys also got stuff from Old Navy again taking advantage of the Black Friday deals. The Cyber Monday deals we got, I'll post about on the Cyber Monday post coming up. : )
Soft delicious bread, thick sliced provolone cheese, fresh crisp lettuce and turkey with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
My lunch last Friday. Everyone had sandwiches last Friday for lunch and we had basically Thanksgiving dinner all over again on Friday night also. Mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and the whole bit again. Right down to the pumpkin pie.  Meanwhile the deals online we got, we were all like....right on!!!!! So yeah, Black Friday/Japanese Labor Day was pretty cool! And also weather wise it was pretty cool too. lol.  The boys have zero idea what they got online and again when Black Friday took effect and the prices were all cut in half or even less. I checked out! Pressed the order button. Got my fantastic superly cheap deals. When the boys were in the shower, my dad got online and he had an idea too and thrown a few things in his Amazon basket prior too. Because we talked about Black Friday way before he got here. So his basket was pretty much set. When the boys went to shower, he pushed...the order button and everything was done.  So yeah we were all really happy we all got everything at the best and cheapest prices possible. The dollar and yen can really stretch on Black Friday. Making the most of our money and purchases so yeah we were really happy with the deals we got.
Goodies my dad brought to Japan for us. Swiss cheese for the sandwiches. String cheese for the boys. My dad always wants to make sure they get enough calcium hahaha. And then a sliced cheese pack with 4 types of cheese, Swiss, Colby jack, Monterrey jack and cheddar.
Frozen burritos. Yumm.
Homestyle popcorn.
Unfrosted Pop Tarts. Blueberry and strawberry.  These are so good.

Over 2 lbs, 2 lbs 8 ounces to be exact. Of.....
Reese's peanut butter cups! These will last us a year I think! But wow, movie nights with popcorn and also some of these will go down pretty great! Can't wait for family movie night this weekend! : )
My dad also brought us 2 extra boxes of Cap N Crunch Peanut Butter cereal and an extra box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Now we have 3 boxes of peanut butter cereal. We are well stocked in the cereal department now. : )
And he also brought the boys some extra cans of mini ravioli. If they're rushing from school to Kumon, they can share a quick can of this. Enough to fill their tummy's until Kumon is done and they can have supper.
These are a few sneak peeks of the other Black Friday deals we got. You know, I got pjs growing up as one of my Christmas presents always...every year. So the boys have always gotten new pjs for Christmas too. I was debating between the flannel or the fleece pj bottoms until some kind woman/mom left a comment on Old Navy's website and said the flannel wasn't even really flannel material and that she was totally disappointed. That helpful comment helped me, because I didn't buy the flannel pjs then at all. I went for the fleece pjs instead. So, I did ask the boys earlier in the week what pattern they liked best. I said pick 2 patterns. Branden picked these skulls. So Branden got this pair of skull fleece pj bottoms.
Branden also liked this snowboard pair so he got this pair as well. And they are fleece. Noah liked this pair also, so he also got this pair in his size.
And Noah liked this polar bear Christmas type fleece. So he got this pair too. I did pick basic plain long sleeve tops to go with their bottoms. Such as navy blue top long sleeves to go with the snowboard pair. Black long sleeve to go with the skull pair and a red long sleeve to go with this pair.
Plus you already know about this Christmas type Noah got a few weeks back. These pjs will be wrapped. This pair I'll wrap soon. and the other stuff is already at my dad's condo as we speak. Can't believe it shipped already and arrived already (yesterday)
This lamb sweater is so cool. I ordered this on Black Friday. And I will wear this with skinny jeans, my Ugg black boots I got for Christmas last year and a black puffy vest or my fleece peacoat.  Super straight hair (flat iron) length now right at my shoulders currently.
And I liked the boys Old Navy fleece tops so much, that I ordered this in black for myself and it's at my dad's house already too. Wow, less then 1 week to get to my dad's. Unbelievable. We were shocked when my dad got home and my cute lamb sweater and black ON fleece and Branden and Noah's pjs were there the following day is when the package arrived. They arrived Wednesday/yesterday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gobble gobble gobble! Thanksgiving 2012

Sorry that I took forever to post this, my dad just left yesterday. And we all were enjoying our time together so much, all of us. We had a fantastic visit.  So better late then never...as they always say. : ) This was my Thanksgiving meal last Thursday. But let me back up in the posts down below. Back track a bit.
This pic was taken the day before Thanksgiving. Last Wednesday. November 21, 2012.  Both Branden and Noah were at school and I started making and baking the pies. The butter is for the butter crusts that I make for the pies.
Add in some pumpkin spice. Yumm.
Just the amount the directions say. Gave it a stir. Then rolled out my crusts.
The crusts I let chill for a bit. Rolled them out. Then poured the pumpkin mixture in them... put the two pies in the oven. Pumpkin pies homemade are pretty easy and the butter crust is easy as well.  I also cut up my salad stuff, washed my salad stuff real good, dried the salad stuff via my salad spinner. Then threw the salad mixture into a ziplock for the next day/Thanksgiving.  I also chilled the black olive can and cranberries in the fridge so the next day everything would be nice and cold and prepped. So very easy for me the next day.
The pies right out of the oven. They cooled on the counter. And then when they were totally cool, I wrapped them and put them into the fridge for the next day.
Not sure which picture of the pies, I like better, this pic or the one above this one. Hmm, tough call. Either way, I'll just put both up. ; )
Remember how we had 5 turkey pans. Well, Noboru had an idea, a really good one. He said let's poke holes in one of the pans so that when we drain the turkey later when it gets too full. We can just lift the platter/foil pan with holes and then drain the other pan. We basically used 2 pans, 1 with holes and one with no holes, just made it easier to drain while cooking. And it worked awesome. So, probably next year we should buy another 5 pack of disposable pans just in case. But yeah this idea worked beautifully.
Thursday morning, I knew my dad was on the airplane on his way to Japan to be with us/his family for Thanksgiving. And meanwhile the boys were at school. As soon as they were at school, I cleaned and put the turkey into the oven. And then I left the house for about 25 minutes, Noboru stayed at home and kept an eye on the turkey. I went to the bakery to get some delicious bakery bread sliced in 8 slices each for the perfect leftover turkey sandwich. So 16 slices total enough for 8 sandwiches. And I did go back to the bakery Saturday to get 2 new fresh loaves of 8 slices each again so 16 slices total on Saturday. For more sandwiches. But yeah, I want the best sandwich I can make for my family. That big round sliced provolone cheese omg! So good for turkey sandwiches.... fresh lettuce, Miracle Whip, I was so ready for the sandwiches for afterwards. Plus my dad also brought sliced swiss cheese also for the sandwiches.
Two packs of Lay's potato chips from the drugstore near the bakery. And leftover turkey sandwiches...I was ready for em' already!
About 6 pounds of potatoes. Running out of food....yeah just not going to happen! Hahaha.
My white table cloth underneath was all freshly washed and dried the day before. The house was all clean. I was ready! Last finishing touches I got the table all set. Noboru was off work last Thursday and Friday. So that was great too.
The pilgrims have landed!!!! ; )
I had all the potatoes peeled, diced and boiling. They were 98% done in boiling water when I turned off the pot. And my dad's plane landed at 1pm, but by the time he deboarded, went through immigration and customs etc and got into the MPV and drove back with Noboru to our home. Noboru went and picked up my dad, the boys meanwhile both got off school last Thursday at 2:45pm. So as soon as they came home. I did the last minute things, like boiling the potatoes again, just basically heating them draining them and mashing them and we ate around 4pm. This is a huge bowl and the potatoes filled this bowl. We also had more mashed potatoes in another container as well.
We keep things superly simple at our house. There is definitely no "black tie required" at our dinner table for Thanksgiving or Christmas. And if you've been reading for a while, you'll know that and probably be smiling. Because you probably already know... we dress for comfort around here. In fact Noboru was wearing sweatpants, when I snapped this picture and I was wearing yoga pants.  We concentrate on family...togetherness....gratitude, being thankful. And the meal. If you'd like to wear a pony tail, headband and sweatpants too. In all seriousness...totally more then welcome! We do not dress to impress for dinner. That's just not the way we roll around here. lol. It's just not our focus and focal point. The food and family time is though. : )
On this side of the table, there is, mashed potatoes (this isn't even half of the amount we had) whole cranberries, stuffing, gravy and turkey.
And from this side, we have salad in wooden bowl on the left, black olives, green beans, croutons for the salad and we have 2 salad dressings, a balsamic vinaigrette and goma dressing.
My dad was giving grace, which is why Noboru had his eyes closed. And then we went round the table real quick and said what we were grateful for...for this year, 2012. I was grateful that we have Noboru's grandma still with us. And that hopefully she is on the mend. And I was also grateful that we are all healthy and happy. And I was grateful that Noah has not had any problems with switching to elementary school from yochien, at all. We all had a lot to be thankful for this year and I was happy to share mine with my family. We all started to eat.
Branden's a little blurry because he dug right in! : ) Noah giving me a little smile.
Ahh, a little smile from both Branden and Noah. Pardon the note on the dish cabinet. It says "pots this side" Both boys unload the dishwasher and sometimes I leave little reminder notes. I also currently have a note on the microwave that says "popcorn 3min 40 seconds" again nothing critical but it helps to have tiny reminders like this for them. : )
Aha this is the same pic at the top of this post. It was a nice big portion, I missed lunch and boy was I hungry!  Dinner conversation was great and fun! My dad told us about his flight. My dad also brought us a good amount of goodies inside his suitcase, so we were all chattering pretty much nonstop in between eating. We had Christmas music lightly playing from Denver that we stream via my ipod. Just a very nice simple quiet family night.
We all had pumpkin pie for dessert with whipped cream. Coffee for us adults that went with.  And with Friday being a holiday in Japan, the boys didn't have school, Noboru didn't have work the next day and so we were all sorta just chilling at the kitchen table. The boys went upstairs and showered, came down in pjs. I ran up real quick afterwards. And then next person showered and then so on and so on. Until we were all in our pjs in the living room. The central heating is on, as well as the floor heating is/was on also. So toasty warm house. We all sorta just enjoyed TV.  After a few hours someone went to the fridge, came out with a few black olives. Another came back with a handful of chips from the food pantry. Another with another slice of pie from the fridge again. It was cool! No worries and we had more then enough food. So please...eat eat! : )
My dad was the first to fall asleep around 8:15pm (in dreamland and snoring). Then Noah around 8:30pm (zonked to the world). It was then just Noboru, Branden and myself, awake. I made my way into the kitchen around 9:30pm. And I usually don't eat a whole other meal that late. Graze on popocorn or pretzels sure. I'm not perfect..... but whole other meal...not really a common thing well unless you're talking Thanksgiving leftovers are in the house tempting me like crazy! : ) So considering it was indeed Thanksgiving....I made myself a turkey sandwich around 9:30pm. I was really wanting this sandwich for a long time. Miracle whip, fresh crisp lettuce, provolone cheese, white meat turkey salt and peper, some chips. OMG! Heaven.  Branden was zonked and asleep around 9:45pm. Noboru and I stayed awake until 11:30pm. Just chilling watching TV.  We have a big L shaped couch so he had one side and I had the other. We each had fleece blankets to cuddle with and big fluffy pillows. And enjoyed TV until we were nearly nodding out downstairs. So we went to sleep. Anyway, there you have it, our family Thanksgiving 2012.  Again sorry I took a thousand years to post this, but I do hope you all..... if you celebrate it...had a Happy Thanksgiving. And if you don't celebrate it, I hope you at least enjoyed your 3 day weekend, if you are in Japan. : )