Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Noah's ensoku/field trip

Last Wednesday, April 24th. Was Noah's first field trip of the school year, as a second grader. I woke up and went downstairs. Sliced some of the herb chicken I pulled out of the fridge, and put it on top of a tortilla and white rice. Usually in Japan in a packed lunch... rice is in the lunch somewhere. Whether it be a rice ball, onigiri or...however I put the rice into the wrap and it makes the sandwich super filling.
Chicken melted mozzarella wrap. Basically just a white tortilla, rice, herb crusted roasted chicken and mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top, whacked in the microwave until the cheese was all melty gooey.  A bit of salt and pepper added. Wrapped it up tight and cut it to fit the size of Noah's lunch box. : ) Whatever was left he munched after he finished his breakfast. And I made Branden one of these that morning also. Because I know he loves these and he ate this after he ate his toast and cereal also. : )
A simple but yummy lunch. A chicken mozzarella wrap with rice. Very filling! A few fries, a broccoli. Fresh pineapple and a slice of chocolate roll cake. I packed Noah a spare outfit, as the note said. And a spare pair of shoes. That was the first time ever I had been requested to send a spare pair of shoes (outfit yes many times, shoes first time). Hahaha. : ) But, I knew where they were going so, it made sense. I also packed Noah a full thermos with iced tea and also packed his little snacks in a bag. Handkerchief, tissues, wet wipes etc. And they asked for us to send them with rain wear. Which I just packed Noah's rain coat. : )
I am not locking these 2 pics down, so if you want to double click these 2 pics from their actual field trip you can. : )  The kids, went to Narita airport. Watched the planes take off and land. Saw where the international exit is for people coming from overseas. Hahaha. : ) How cute! They toured the airport really good. : ) And then they went to destination #2. They went to the Narita Athletic Course. It's very hands on, you can get  super dirty here big time. Noah told me 2 of his classmates fell in the water. We've been there once as a family. And it is fun, but yes you can get pretty dirty there if you fall. So, I understood why they wanted a whole spare outfit, with undies, socks and a spare pair of shoes. Noah fortunately didn't need his spare outfit. Phew! : ) But Noah came home *so* happy, Noah said he had so much fun, you guys! : )
An extremely happy Noah and his besties!!!! They were at the Athletic course, I think they just finished their lunch. If you look at this picture. The 2 boys on the right of Noah when looking at it. The one in the white or clear raincoat he rides his bike up to our house all the time and the one with the red and white cap, that's Naoki-kun. They both live in our same housing community and those 2 kiddos are always coming to visit and play with Noah. Naoki-kun goes to Kumon for math and Japanese and he's superly smart. And he just thinks the world of Noah. : )  And the one on the far right, is the little boy whose mom and I are very good friends ( his name is M-kun). I'm drawing a blank about the boy far left, I am sorry boy far left, gomen gomen and he looks so nice. : ) But yep, they are all best friends these kids! They pal together on weekends and everything. : )
I was at the entrance of our housing community with umbrella in hand. It was lightly raining off and on all day. The bus stopped here first and then was going to do a big drop off at the plaza of the kids. So most kids were being dropped off at the plaza unless you live at this housing community, so saved me a drive. : ) I chatted with 2 grandma's while waiting for the kids. Naoki's grandma and another boys grandma I see every single day.  And Lily-chan's mama too. They're all really nice ladies. : )
The rain stopped while we walked home. We walked quickly though in case the rain came back. And we unpacked all Noah's stuff, I threw, his outfit he was wearing directly into the washer, then dryer. And then I heard all the tales and stories from his field trip. Turns out, one of the boys who fell in the water was one of Noah's best friends in the pic up above. Hahaha. Ahhh, I enjoyed hearing all the silly and funny stories. Branden was to get off an hour later and then Noah and I went to pick up Branden at the plaza. Anyway, that was Noah's ensoku for April 2013. : )

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ensoku/field trip prep, The Voice is getting so good right now. New Sea Breeze body soap in the Splash Marine scent smells amazing! And a few other things added for good measure

I saw and picked this up last week. It's fairly new and I checked the website of Shiseido and sure enough it is pretty new. Anyway, I bought this one because of the way it smells. The scent is ahhhh-mazing!  I liked that I could still lightly smell it after my shower, I kept smelling my arm and yeah it really smells fantastic. It said it's a limited edition or limited time only. @_@ Yikes, I hope not because if so, maybe I should pick up another bottle or two for when Summer gets here. : )
Branden's swimsuit and rash guard arrived from Gap.com, fit is great. Also his last pair of shorts for the season from Old Navy arrived with the swimsuit. They now have the same amount of shorts now. Even Stevens. Just as it should be. : )
Japan has been selling shorts without buttons on jean shorts etc..... forever and I was surprised to see these at Old Navy. Maybe it's catching on a little bit. Hahaha. : )
I ran to Hanamasa during the week because I had Noah's obento on my mind he needed for Wednesday's ensoku. I wasn't going to give him karaage twice, since he had that in his obento Saturday. So, I decided pretty much in advance I'd bake a roasted herb chicken and then let Noah take a chicken wrap for part of his lunch. I also while there, picked up frozen veggies cheaply and fries super cheaply. : )  Also double checked Noah's "what to pack" for his field trip. It was a huge list. But it said to pack some snacks.  I know what the kids bring for ensoku's when it says to bring snacks. I've been doing this for a long while. So, The next day I cruised to this old time snack shop for kids. Lots of mom's get their ensoku snacks from there in our area.
These are the snacks I bought for Noah for his field trip last week. The same type of snacks, all the kids bring. So, I try to bring and pack my kids the same too. Also, I know kids like to share candy, trade candy etc. So, that's why I bought a little extra. : )  300 yen is what I spent, for Noah and his friends for a little after lunch snack. And Noah did bring back quite a few packs of candy back and he shared with his brother also. : )
Noah said he shared these soda candies with his two best friends. : )
The day before Noah's ensoku, I went back to the store and bought some fresh pineapple and a fresh cold chocolate roll cake yet again.
Meanwhile, The Voice is getting so good. Mary Miranda on the left of this pic was chosen to stay on team Shakira. Mary Miranda the girl on the left is so pretty and her personality is fantastic. I was rooting for her last week! : ) I have a few favorites on each team. Usher's team, Blake's team, Adam's team. : )
Practicing before their battle. : )

What do I have coming up? I have a movie date with my girl friends coming up. May, 8th and 9th we will go to the movies both days. We are going to see Iron man 3 and also Lincoln. Yes Lincoln is on DVD in America already lol. But it's still at the movies here. And I could have seen it in the airplane, but I knew my girlfriends and I wanted to see it together. So I have been holding off. And so, May 8th and 9th, after we all get our kiddos sent to school we will be meeting at the movies for the first showing of the day. I better get my house in order and shopping done before May 8th for that week then! Hahaha. But I am looking forward to meeting up and catching up with my friends. : ) So that's sort of quietly on the back burner.

Apple Oatmeal Crisp/Crumble recipe. I was asked about the recipe a few weeks back. So before I forget, let me sit down right now and share this recipe. : ) And I am sorry, I took so long. But I didn't forget. : )  Oh and for what it's worth, these measurements are for American measuring cups, I think Japanese measurements are slightly different, not sure if it's true, but I did hear that before. So just thought I'd say that. For this recipe, I am using American measuring sizes. : )

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats (I use instant oats)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)
3 cups apples peel cored and chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon for the apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon for crumble topping part (this is optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
In a bowl combine brown sugar, oats, flour and melted butter. Mix until crumbly. I also add a little cinnamon to this mixture I just eyeball it though.  Maybe 1 teaspoon. This will be your crumble topping. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix in the white sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, to the apples.  Spread your apples in a baking dish (if you want you can add a few very small dabs of margarine on top of the apple mixture after it is in the baking dish, but you do not have to do this either) and then put the crumble mixture evenly on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.
 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Branden and Noah’s first observation day of the new school year

Saturday, April 20th, 2013, was observation day at our local school in town. We knew at least a month and a half in advance about observation day, though it could even be on the master schedule we get once a year with all big events on there too, but it also was noted a pinch in a flier the kids brought home 2nd to last week of February and also March's schedule too in full detail. Anyway, because it was held on a Saturday and the lunch ladies had the day off, lunch from home was needed. Which is more then fine.  Branden's lunch is on the left, slightly bigger since he's older. And Noah's is on the right and slightly smaller since he's younger. Rice ball/onigiri.  Karaage which is, basically yummy Japanese style fried chicken nuggets type thing, 3 fries each and 1 broccoli. And 1 slice of chocolate roll cake and some fresh superly sweet pineapple. And a cupcake napkin. Thermos with iced tea (no sugar) and lots of ice.  It was a regular full day of school, and they got out of class at 2:40pm all grades. The observation part was just the last 1 hour, well 50 minutes of class. So we didn't need to show up until the last class. : )
This is Noah's new teacher, at the chalk board. Noah is front row nearest the teacher sitting next to the little girl in lavender. The kids were busy writing down what time it was. Noah's known how to tell time since his yochien days, because of a clock I bought at Costco and used on Branden first and it had a digital teaching clock and also a manual/hand clock. And with flash cards. And the clock spoke back. We still have it. Anyway, I was in Noah's class for 25 minutes and then Noboru came to me in Noah's class and then I ran upstairs, 2 flights of stairs and into Branden's class. I enjoyed watching Noah's class. I also liked chit chatting with my friend Adele and my other friends. But, I had to motor myself upstairs. So, I waved them goodbye and upstairs, I went. : )
This is Branden's artwork. They are all making something similar to this. And I liked it, thought it was cool. : )
Branden's is on the bottom corner right and this is the rest of his classmates. I think they all looked nice.
I entered Branden's class half way through. I stood in the doorway wondering if there was a spot/room for me to stand, but luckily my good friend, the Jinbei Boy's mom scooted on over and waved me over. So, I did! : ) Branden and Saya-chan are sitting right at the back row and middle of this pic. Branden in the green shirt and Saya with the nice hair with front part of her hair in a pony tail. It was a first for me to see both teachers in action, since they are new (to us) teachers to Branden and Noah. I thought they were both pretty good.

It was raining buckets/cats and dogs Saturday, the day of observation day and chilly which is why most kids are wearing long sleeve or sweatshirts in these pics. There was 3 meetings after observation day. Usually I will attend the meetings and the boys will sit in my car and wait until the meeting is done or Noboru can take them home if he's with me, but since Noboru was off that day and with me. And considering it was so chilly that day and pouring rain. Noboru said, "you know what. You take the boys home, I'll stay. And start dinner if you can. That way, I can attend the meetings and when I get back home, hopefully dinner will be ready." I said fair enough! Done and done. He can handle the meetings and I can handle dinner. So, after class, I told both the boys meet me at my red car. Dad (Noboru's) brought the MPV and he'll drive himself home when he's done. A good amount of the couples at our school does this. I saw Rin's family take their 2 cars, same with Sera's family took both cars also. So not too uncommon for our area. And that's what I did.  ) I made dinner quickly and Noboru came home and ate.

Later that night, there was a gathering/party that took place from 6pm on. It was for only, PTA, Father's Club dad's and all teachers and principal, head teacher etc. Kouki's/Kaito's dad was dropped off by their mom, I was also parked in front of the restaurant right behind their family. When I was dropping off Noboru (Branden/Noah's dad). I waved him good bye and said have fun. The dad's always walk home when they're done. And they walked home that night also. But anyway, Noboru got to talk to both Branden and Noah's new teachers. Noah's teacher turns out, she lives in the small city nearest us. She told Noboru, I live right by the little river. And Noboru said, "oh so then you live near that private catholic yochien" (the one Branden and Noah went to, but he didn't say that yet), and then she said...yes, in fact her husband graduated that yochien and all her 3 kids all graduated from that private catholic yochien too and her family is very pro that yochien basically. Noboru then said..."that is good to hear because, Noah and his brother graduated from that yochien too!" She was *so* pleasantly surprised!!!! She said...Noah-kun graduated from blank blank Catholic yochien? Yes, Noboru said. She felt a kinship and a common thing. Talking about the old encho sensei etc etc. She retired, yadayada. She absolutely according to Noboru *loved* hearing Noah went to that particular yochien. Branden's new teacher  also spoke to Noboru and she said, Branden is *very* outgoing, he is not shy. Some other teacher said and agreed and added to it, he puts everybody in a good mood always. @_@ Hahaha. And his teacher said that same day before us parents got there for observation day, they had an assembly and the kid who was supposed to speak got too nervous and Branden said, "I'll do it" He grabbed the mic and went out and pepped up the whole school. And fwiw (for what it's worth), Branden is the 6th grade #2 class president (president of his class), he is also the vice president of the entire school all grades. For Americans think along the lines of student council VP. And he's also the leader for our housing community walk group. He's just doing a lot this year. : ) But yeah., Branden's teacher said, he has no fear of speaking in front of large crowds and he just got that mic and pumped up the whole school! : ) That made me smile hearing that my children are so well thought of at the school. It was humbling. And I hope they continue to have a nice year ahead of them. : ) Anyway that was the long and short of it, for their first observation day of the school year. (School year starts in April in Japan).
 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

An update of sorts

Noah is at his ensoku/field trip today. He will be dropped off at the entrance of our housing community along with, the other kiddos who live in this housing community, so I will be walking down the ped path around 1:55pm today, his arrival time is at 2pm. But I know it takes me a couple minutes to walk the ped path and around and past the tennis courts etc. What else, their observation day on Saturday was awesome. So, expect an "observation post" coming next and then an ensoku post coming after that. : )  This is another "bits and pieces" post. Anyway, this pic is of lunch last Friday. Last Friday, Noboru and I went out, on our weekly lunch date. We went to our favorite ramen shop. Noboru had ramen and I had ramen also, I had the tantanmen, without meat. We shared gyoza and fries. And we both had melon sodas.  Anyway that was our lunch last Friday afternoon.
What else have I been up to lately? This pic is 2 fold really. ; )  All the Brat Pack movies have been on TV a lot lately and I love all these movies. All the John Hughes movies are great. So, the other night, I watched 16 candles (not pictured). Hilarious movie! And Jake Ryan!!!! I think many of us Gen X'ers had a huge crush on the character Jake Ryan. ; )  Anyway, flipped through the channels again another night and as luck would have it, Breakfast Club was playing with 16 Candles playing right behind it again. Didn't watch 16 Candles that night again granted, but I watched The Breakfast Club.  The jock/Sporto, the dweeb, Molly/Claire and her sushi obento, lol. : ) and Ally Sheedy and her dandruff hair, she put and shook onto her picture. : )And Judd Nelson. Oh yeah and I changed the furniture in the living room. You can tell a pinch by this pic, I think. So, I am kicking butt on the Spring cleaning so far too. ; )
The Yuka-sensei had brought gifts to her former students. Meaning Noah's class. She's teaching at a different school now.
A notebook and an eraser. And a good bye letter.
She had given everyone in her former class this letter with class picture and at the bottom right, a personal note to each child. The bigger bolder words above the picture says "thank you and I love you!" Awwww! : ) I think her giving this note to each of her former students was amazing. Noah for one, read the entire note and especially her words and special message to him. He asked me to put this in his school scrapbook and I did. : )
It basically says, she knows he will be a big help to the new ichinensei. And she asks him if he will play dodge ball with them? : ) And she says to Noah, that he is so good at sports. But, anyway, her message meant the absolute world to him. Our school will miss her and on a personal note, Branden and Noah will miss her. : )
I am always cooking something around here. It can be Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Italian, American, etc, I mean seriously you never know what you'll find if you show up for dinner at our house! Hahaha.  I had been dying to make pork carnitas for like...forever! Having eaten carnitas in many yummy restaurants in Colorado and California. I have been really wanting to eat some. However, I have never made them before in my entire life. Do I know what good ones taste like? Yes, for sure. But it doesn't mean I know how to cook them though. lol. ; ) So, I started a month ago, reading all over online. All recipes. Other websites. But basically the highest rated recipes I bookmarked and then I started to notice similarities in cooking the pork. Just similarities in the recipes. So, I finally decided I'm going to make them. And if they're great, they're great and if they suck, they'll suck! Hahaha. But they turned out amazing! I actually even surprised myself with how well they turned out. In this pic is seasoned pork. I just cut a good amount of fresh cilantro to add into the salsa. Grated some cheese.
I also boiled a little batch of beans and refried them easily. And dinner was pretty easy.
Bean, seasoned pork, lettuce, cheese, salsa with fresh cilantro. They were great. And Noboru ate about 5 of these. Branden had 4 and Noah had 3. I had 4 too. Very filling and I will definitely make these again for sure.
A common meal we often have here at our house is chicken parmesan. However I haven't made it in a while. Month and a half maybe. So, Noboru finally asked, can you make that again. : ) So, I did. I made this just a couple days ago. I had my Italian breadcrumbs. Dipped the chicken in egg then the Italian seasonings and breadcrumbs and then fried in a skillet of olive oil.  Then I baked them in the oven.
We are a family of 4 but I made 6 chicken parmesan. So Noboru could take obento the next day with salad and garlic bread. I also had 1 for lunch the next day also.
On top of a bed of pasta. It's filling, very filling. We had this with garlic bread and a simple salad with some vinaigrette.
Towels drying outside on another day. And also the thing on the front pole is the table cloth for the kitchen table. That day, I mopped the heck out of the kitchen floors and dusted and cleaned the windows in the kitchen and figured, might as well wash the table cloth. : )  So my Spring cleaning is indeed slowly but surely getting there.
My boys love to read! I made it a point to read to them at bed time each night, their entire lives and even now, I go into each of their rooms and let them read to me every night. Or sometimes we take turns reading pages. So needless to say, Branden and Noah needed some new reading material. : ) Nothing an order to Amazon.com can't help fix. : )
Two Shark books. I specifically picked the book on the left for Noah and the book on the right for Branden. But they can switch and share no doubt.
This is Noah's book. Slightly simpler reading since he's younger, but for his age group though, no doubt. And very big close up pictures which I know they both enjoy.
This one has a lot of fantastic pictures, but has a lot more text also because it is a book for an older aged child. And it answers a lot of questions Branden might have. And explain things a bit better for his age bracket.
For each shark it gives a "danger rating" and it's fun for Noah to read and to read to me. Noah will tell me, "mama this shark, right here, the Tiger shark, he's very dangerous" Hahaha, that type of thing. : )

Snake is for the both of them to share.
Excellent pictures and it shows where on the globe, each snake lives. What part of the world they come from, basically. And both of the boys ohhh and ahh over this one.



I am interested in the Titanic. I have a book for myself on it. And the boys enjoy looking at my Titanic book.  And they also enjoy watching the movie Titanic and watching Discovery stuff on the real Titanic too. And they often ask me a ton of questions. So, I went to Amazon.com and I checked in the kids and young adult section what Titanic books they offered. I would say out of these 2 books, though they are both great, the one on the right is way better. It answers a ton of questions and has so many facts.


Why are there 882 1/2 answers? Well because the boat was that length. ; ) Now if the boys ever end up on Jeopardy and the question ever comes up, of how long was Titanic they'll surely know! Hahaha. ; )
Random facts about the 2nd class accommodations. What they ate. What they did for fun.
Steerage, a peek inside. What their cups looked like right bottom of this picture.
Their beds had blankets and pillows but no sheets if you can read this. Again, just an interesting fact.
What did they eat in 3rd class? Well now Branden and Noah know. And sorta cool facts to learn. : )
Little tidbits about the rescue. Amazing facts actually. Yep the 882 1/2 Amazing Answers book is awesome!
What did a 1st class passenger do for fun, 2nd class, and 3rd class. I enjoy going upstairs to check on the boys and find Branden reading this book in bed, with his lamp on, even after I have tucked them in bed and said good night....hahaha...Branden will be in there with book in hand. And he says, "come here mama, did you know....." And I will lay down next to Branden and let him tell me all his new facts he's just read. Or listening at the dinner table, Branden and Noah giving new random facts to each other back and forth. They're excited. Excited about reading, excited about learning and I like talking to them about it too. So yeah this past week or two, we've been in random fact mode about Titanic here. : )
Did Titanic have their own newspaper? As you can see in this pic, yes, yes they did! : )
Was there anything to eat or drink on the lifeboats? I thought that was an excellent question and yes there was! However if you read this, most didn't know these were on the lifeboats. @_@ Oh my! But yeah again....this information the boys have gobbled up. They want to watch Titanic this coming weekend, so I think we'll do that now. : )
I also picked this picture book on Japan 1945.  Pictures from a Marine photographer. Branden is a 6th grader now and he's learning about WW2 at school. Our school is approaching the subject very carefully and I appreciate that.  I also picked up this book so he can see the pictures of the devastation. This particular picture it's a picture of a boy holding his dead brother on his back, he was walking him to a cremation place.
Just very sad.
Twice a week, I make a yogurt run and a run to the bakery.
The boys like to put the squeeze yogurt in the freezer. Anyway, it is now 3:25pm and Noah is now home from his ensoku/field trip, Noah says he had a blast. : ) And Branden gets off school today at 3:45pm. It's still raining here, so I better motor and get myself and Noah to the plaza to pick Branden up. Dinner tonight is curry. And fresh pineapple for dessert. : )