Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mini moments from our Spring break...

I am so behind with my blogging, you guys and at this rate, I hope I can catch up. Let's see, off the top of my head, I have Branden's entrance ceremony, to post, but I haven't even gone through the pics for that yet and decided on specific pics (that's really behind @.@). What else....we went to Old Navy in Japan, that deserves lots of info to share and it's own post too. What else, we have started our gardening (lettuce and potatoes only so far) again deserves a post. Today my flowers for my hanging baskets are being delivered which I will plant like I do, every year, again another post right there. Plus, yesterday was Branden's observation day, you guessed it, another post, plus on top of that, this coming Saturday is Noah's observation day, and you get the idea again (another post). I need to get a move on, I really really do...perhaps blog a little faster? Get on the stick, put my pedal to the metal or whatever you wanna call it, but if I can't get these up, it will just build up for ages. Plus Easter is this Sunday, yet another post right there. So, I am going to try and attempt to be faster starting now and hoping in  5 days, I can get everything widdled down to nothing. Phew, here's to hoping at least. : )  This will be my last Spring break related post for this year, I think this pretty much covers the misc. stuff. : ) One day over Spring break, we baked the Hot Chocolate cupcakes because it just will seem way out of season if left any longer, hahaha. So we baked them, and the marshmallow frosting which came included was delicious, we really liked these. : )

Still trying to get both Branden and Noah Spring and Summer ready, clothes wise, I took advantage of the 30% off sales from both Gap and Old Navy. I liked this Awesome shirt from Gap, both of the boys received this one. : )

I like the positive messages on the shirts this season Old Navy and also Gap made this year. So, I purchased quite a few of these, for the boys. 

Just again, a really positive message for kids to have, I think. Plus they're cute shirts and the price was very fair. Color as it says in the picture medium heather gray. Not sure about how you reading learned the difference of gray/grey. But for me, our teacher in elementary school taught us, in Denver when I was growing up in America...and she always told us this to help us always remember...we spell it gray and the "a" is for America and in England they spell it grey and their "e" is for England.: ) Us kids would all smile and listen. Again, I always thought that was cute and it worked...everyone in our class never misspelled the color gray. Even now that I'm a mom...I taught both Branden and Noah the same thing...same as my teacher told us. We spell it gray and the "A" is for America...and kids in England spell it with an "E" for England, isn't that special for the both of us. Aww. : ) Again not sure if my teacher was technically right with her reasoning why things are spelled the way they were, but it was always a huge helper and it sure taught the whole class of us and I never forgot that and my 2 boys have never misspelled the color gray. Hahaha, sorry, I went from a t-shirt to the color gray, lol : )  Anyway...what else... 
Stocking up on food and drinks in my car. You can also see the black seat covers a pinch too.  Anyway, April 1st was to be a tax increase for us in Japan. Sales tax was to increase from 5% to 8% April 1st, 2014. At many stores around here, there were signs saying...stock up before April 1st!!! Postage, train fares, food, gas, you name it went up. On March 31st while we were driving to Costco, just doing a usual little pick up of a few things, we were amazed that the gas lines were so freaking were literally down the road waiting to turn into the gas station since the gas station was crazy full, no joke! I'm glad my car doesn't need gas, but, we did fill up the mini mini van at our town, gas station before April 1st though. Everyone wanted to stock up a bit on food, my neighbors and friends did. Also from what I hear, it’s also going to rise/go up yet again in 2015 from 8% to 10% @.@ Yikes! Anyway, I didn’t go crazy insane or anything, I just bought a good 10-12 days worth of meat as usual, grocery bits and pieces. And drinks I sorta stocked up on drinks, but not crazy amounts either though.
Chocolate chip bread sticks, cookies, just nice to have in the food pantry and those curry snacks are so good. Just making sure we always have plenty to snack on, in the pantry. 

Chocolate covered pretzels from Kaldi and lady bug Easter chocolates, also from Kaldi. If you just moved to Japan, Kaldi coffee has a lot of import food and snacks, good stuff there. : )

Went to my cheap drink store also before April 1st. Chit chatted with my friend, K's mom while there. Bought some tea, the kids like the lemon tea and I like the straight tea. Some apple juice and Calpis and Cider. The drinks are freakishly cheap there. 

The boys really liked this mango Calpis, which reminds me, I should go and buy another bottle of this. 

Instant miso soup and ochazuke.... the boys love ochazuke, so I have to always keep that in the pantry. 

Beef stew, I always buy the one with the green bean in the picture, Golden Curry, Cook Do sweet and sour sauce, for our sweet and sour chicken this is so good. Instant coffee and jello with fruit. So you can start to see, beef stew was on the menu, curry and also sweet and sour chicken was too. 

Panko so cutlet was also on the menu, veggies for chicken chow mein (sara udon) and the sauce in the bottle even though it's yakitori sauce, we would be using that for teriyaki type chicken bowls, I could buy chicken teriyaki sauce, but this is a bit sweeter and we like that. : )  So yeah, I really do buy meat for 10-12 days always, boxed roux's or bottles of sauce. Veggies for stuff only what we will eat soonest other wise, I'll do a veggie run, mid week also. To buy fresh veggies. 

Fanta Pear, this was pretty good. tasted a bit like green apple. 

Strawberry's are all over the place these days. We've been buying and eating strawberry's a lot at our house! : )

Frozen broccoli, green beans, fries we live in the countryside, so a lot of weekends we'll have lunch at home. 

New pan to place fried things on. Ours is just absurdly too small for a family of 4. This was 800 yen or so, thought to myself, why did you wait these many years girl!!!! Hahaha. : ) Oh well, bright side is, we have it now. 

Oil, nice to keep on hand, tomato sauce, freezer bags, plastic wrap and tin foil. We buy generic freezer bags, for 98 yen at Cainz/Besia and the tin foil and plastic wrap is super cheap there too. I prefer store brands for stuff like that, just cheaper. 

Laundry soap, mouth wash, body wash and dish washer powder. 

Crunchy noodles and sauce packet for our chicken chow mein. 

A pack each, when the boys play...and a lot of their friends bring snacks and share with my kids and this will make sure my kids have something to share back. : ) 

12 days worth of meat. Pork, beef and chicken. 

I didn't notice a major rise in prices on any food around here after April 1st, but I did notice the price of my bakery bread did increase though. So, the one thing I noticed increased for me at least around here... was the bakery bread price, did go up. But as for as meat for example, the chicken tenderloins are still the same great price and what not. So no, I didn't see too much of increase around here too much, except for the bread. 

Tastes great frozen. I'd have to agree, they really do. : )

Ume drinks were 480 yen for 1 case. K's mom was there working, and she said, isn't that so cheap? I said, I know, right! Our family loves these, she said they do too. 

I bought 2 cases of the Ume drink, it's not soda, it's very light, if you're melting hot and very thirsty this hits the spot, there is also a hint of vinegar in this so, not too terribly sour but not overly sweet at all. Perfect for hot days. So yep bought 2 of those and a case of jasmine tea, which has no sugar in it at all.

Toilet paper, just good to have, we also always keep a spare one of these in the attic in case of earthquake/disaster or whatever.

Yes, I went back for 2 more cases of the Ume drink. It helps to know someone there too. I called her on her cell and asked her if she could put 2 extra cases aside for me and she did and I went right down and got 2 more. Plus you see the Costco water down there too. We're stocked up to our eyeballs, drink wise. 

Gap and Old Navy stuff started arriving, this picture of stuff Noah received so far up until that point. Those Gap comfy gray house shorts are really comfortable for Noah to wear at home in the Summer. 

Two pair of house shorts for Branden, gray and navy and 2 T's from Gap for Branden as well. 

March 31st when we went to Costco, we found this plate set with bowls. The price was fair and boy did we need some new plates. 

Four of each, not bad. I also like that they're melamine because if one falls it won't shatter into a billion pieces or if it's dropped in the sink it won't crack. So many of our plates of the past have bit the dust that way. Hahaha. : )


Eggs and tortillas, we go through a lot of eggs for morning breakfasts. 

We had a chicken that night...
Here's a few pics of the meals we had over spring break. This night we had karaage (Japanese style chicken nuggets), steamed broccoli with butter and salt & pepper, potato salad and rice. 

Chicken chow mein/sara udon, lots of veggies that night.

Just 2 skinless diced up chicken breasts, chopped and fried in a pinch of oil, stir fried the veggies after, then added the powder with water mixture and let boil for about 20 minutes. 

Not a very attractive picture, but pretty good. : ) 
We also baked peanut butter oatmeal bars during spring break too. I have a ton of oatmeal (from Costco), I need to use by November 2014, so I need to use it up! : ) 

Pork curry, with onions, carrot, potatoes and mushrooms. I cubed and skillet fried the pork and then boiled until fall apart tender and added the veggies and then turned off the stove after the veggies were soft and melted the roux. 

Sweet and sour chicken. The Cook-Do packet says for sweet and sour pork but, I make sweet and sour chicken always instead. This sauce is good because it's tangy and not too sweet at all. We had this with white rice one night for supper.

So, all in all, Spring break was spent, making sure Branden was ready for junior high, that was huge on the list, make sure Noah was set for the 3rd grade, that was easier to do than Branden's, Branden had to start from scratch basically, since he was starting a whole new school. So that was all done. What else, we rested, and boy did we need it! I did have 2 yakuin meetings for the kids club during spring break too, 1 of those meetings was technically, a last rehearsal for the dance we did. We also went to the movies, to see RoboCop. We have also been enjoying DVD's here at home, here too. The weather is getting really nice and Spring like. We also Spring cleaned. Oh yes, I also went to my huge health exam. It is necessary to keep track of my health and 90% of the exam is nice and not bad at all, but the barium part, yuck and blech! But glad it's done. Just living quietly and peacefully here in the Japanese countryside. Junior high, we're all getting adjusted and stuff with that. Kids are doing try-outs/trials of clubs to see which one they like so far.  It's different. I'll explain stuff in better detail in another post.

Also, the grandma next door is in the hospital. I miss her, I'm worried. I hope all is okay. The boy next door's little brother (6th grader) says she's in the hospital for pneumonia which can be scary and serious. People do die from that. But also, the grandma next door has had female related problems before. I'm not sure if she had cancer or what, so I am not going to speculate, but she told us once she has had major problems with her uterus or cervix (Noboru just told me it was a feminine problem and did say it was one or the other). Noboru wondered if it came back and they are just not telling the grandkids or what. Again, we don't know right now. I just know...for the past 8 years or so, I have hung up my laundry, every Spring and Summer right next door to her and have enjoyed our morning chit chats about sales at grocery stores, just our daily chit chat...I have not seen her for the past 5 mornings and it's rather lonely not seeing her outside hanging her laundry up. : ( The black dog next door misses her something awful, she cries/howls during the day time, when grandpa is at work and of course grandma is in the hospital, so I will go outside for a minute or two and say.."not to worry, grandma will be back...I know you miss her, I miss her too!!!" : ) The brown dog isn't crying/howling at all, but I am sure she misses her too. The dog will waggle her tail and then I'll go inside. A few hours later she'll cry/howl again. It's not a bother and it's not loud...I just know the dog misses the grandma. And too. : ( I don't even want to think about what will happen if the grandma next door, doesn't come back. Grandpa next door will be lost without her. She really is a super lady, she handles everything! She does gardening, the shopping. She's tall, taller then her husband for sures, I'd say about 5 foot 7, she's got perfect posture and I have never seen her without her makeup or her hair not nicely done, not even once. Me on the other hand, I go outside to hang laundry with my hair in a messy bun, yoga pants, not a stitch of makeup on, I must look frightening but she smiles and can't wait to get her morning chat on with me and I can't wait either! "Oh did you feel that earthquake last night?" "Yep, I sure did!!!" lol, you know that type of stuff. : ) Anyway, I really hope she gets out of the hospital real soon, I know her husband loves and misses her and so does her only daughter/child "the boy next door's" mom. She is a wonder woman and I just hope she gets well and comes back to her family most important of all, she needs to come back for the dogs too, and for what it's worth, this street/block just isn't the same without her. : )

The airplane that seems to have just disappeared. Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Did it crash, if so, where did it crash? Searching all over. Then with news of the black box battery lasting only 30 days, and then 30 days having passed. Did they hear a ping, did they not hear a ping. A couple days ago someone picked up a faint ping and now just nothing.  Just really really sad. The families must be going through hell. I'm just so sorry. : (

Yesterday was the ferry that sank. A South Korean ferry. What got me was a lot of school kids were on there. As a parent, you know you'd go crazy if that was your kid, you know what I mean? Oh my gosh, I don't even want to think about it. I read online this morning that some student called or messaged her dad from her phone and said she could not get out of the ferry because too many people in the hallways. It must have been like a panic inside there.  Heart breaking, just really upsetting. : (

TV talk, we watch The Big Bang Theory every night, it comes on for an hour or two on TBS or some channel, but it's so funny. : )

Tonight both the boys swim.  We're having leftover tacos for dinner tonight. Ground beef for the kids and hubster. And I also made chicken ones for me and whoever else wants one. We bought 3 packages of taco shells from Kaldi and lean ground beef from Costco. Noah gets out at 3pm and Branden is supposed to stay until 5pm tonight to do another club try-out, but he has swimming tonight also, so he has to be home by 4pm. He did stay to 5pm though on Tuesday to try out kendo and yesterday was an observation day so Branden and the rest of the junior high, got out of school at 2pm, again this whole thing is just an adjustment for us all. Tomorrow Branden is staying until 5pm to try-out soccer. This school for the last 175 years or whatever, since this school has been built, though it has been reformed, has never had 1 kid not join a club, a fact they like to point out. : ) Anyway this post is already way too long, so I better end it now. Bye for now. : )