Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!! Jack-o' lantern carving and freshly roasted pumpkin seeds! Trick or treating fun! Pumpkin muffins and homemade pizza from scratch and a fun family movie night! Our Halloween 2014!

Our Jack-o' lantern this year and freshly roasted pumpkin seeds!: )
Wednesday, October 29th, our family carved our Halloween pumpkin! As you know, we look forward to carving one every single year and have since the kids were babies. This year, the fam decided to make a Jack Skellington one from the Nightmare Before Christmas! : )

Everyone as usual chips in to help!Noah nicely took out all the pumpkin "guts" and seeds and whatnots! And I in turn cleaned all the seeds, preheat the oven and lightly salted the seeds and baked the pumpkin seeds. : )

Noboru did the mouth of "Jack the Pumpkin King" and Branden did the eyes and nose!

I think it came out really cool this year! And we all did our part and we all enjoyed it! : )
It was super chilly outside (actually downright cold!) so we just ran outside real quick snapped about 3 pics and went right back inside the comfort of a warm toasty house. : )  A lot of our neighbors enjoy our yearly carved Jack-o' lantern that sits nicely lit for a few days on the front porch before Halloween. : ) 
We had a really stuffed Jack-o'lantern bucket with delicious American Halloween treats inside!

And even extra...

Friday, October 31st! Halloween day, I baked these lovely but simple pumpkin spice muffins, in festive Spider/Halloween cupcakes liners. So the pumpkin muffins were ready and rarin' to go for the boys to get home from school, Friday afternoon! I also meanwhile made the pizza dough Friday around 11am-ish too. So again, I had everything  ready, bell peppers sliced. I was ready and eager for school to finish Friday! The plan was just a simple quiet dinner for Branden and Noah and myself, since Noboru was at work. However when I picked up Noah, Branden actually got out earlier and so he hopped in my car at the plaza. Then Noah came in my car about 5 mins later and Noah surprised me because he said...."mommy, K and I are going "trick or treating" this evening." I was like. @_@ Say whatttt? @_@  I was feeling pretty iffy about it all. But, I went and pulled out Noah's costume he wore when he went trick or treating in Guam 2 years back. And had Noah put it on "just in case" And as we were finishing up...the doorbell rang. I had 2 trick or treaters at *my* front door! What in the heck....was there a new world order in effect that...I was clearly not aware of? What's happening? Seriously I'm a VP of the kids club for our area so ummm if anything is happening I would be the one to know and I didn't. Apparently...just a small handful of kids wanted to trick or treat. And so that's what they did. I did not initiate this...instigate this in any way, shape or form. Again you all reading know the was pizza and muffins and a quiet night at home. I had zero makeup on and my hair was in a sloppy pony tail. To be blunt, I looked like crapola! Clearly I was JUST as surprised as anyone. So where was I...oh yes 2 trick or treaters at my door. The kids told me..."trick or treat!" So, I said in English.."oh what great costumes's one for you and one for you." While putting a treat in each of their bags. And as they left they turned and said "Happy Halloween." I said..."And a Happy Halloween to you too" Seriously ya'll where did this idea come from? So, Noah is now putting his shoes on and Branden is standing on the porch with me just as shocked as I just passed out treats to 2 trick or treaters, my first in a couple years. @.@ By now Noah's 2 pals come by on their bikes. And in costume and they said is Noah ready? Noah came and I told Branden we have to walk with them. Because #1, I was really unsure about this all...this is Japan, this isn't it really okay? I was worried. So Branden and I followed/shadowed 3 third graders around our housing community. I also did worry...I *really* hope nobody thinks *I* put the kids up to this! I am an American true and obviously... but please don't blame this all on me for Pete's sake! We did not come up with this plan!

Noah and the 2 K's went and rang all their fellow 3rd grade friends houses in our housing community. First starting with the boy and girl twins house. This was on zoom, Branden and I stood way way back. 

Noah and K, 2 super sweet kids. These 2 are such good friends (he's the kiddo with a 7th grade brother too)! It turned out that a lot of their friends were waiting with treats at the houses they knocked! Again though, what in the heck? : ) This whole thing just really caught me by surprise, is all.  K's mom had her camera out and snapped pics of K and Noah. 2 grandma's from two totally different houses came out of their homes to say how cute Noah was. A gaggle of JHS girls stopped Noah and said...Noah-chan kawaii, they swarmed him even. : ) And as if this wasn't weird enough already...there was another cluster of kids also dressed up, but they were all 2nd graders, about 5 boys all dressed up as Dracula. No I am not kidding these 5 kids all had the same exact costume (not that it matters but it was just noticable to see 5 draculas all together if that makes sense. Hahaha. In made me realize that while I do know that they trick or treat in certain housing communities in Inzai, I know because I have a couple friends who live there. I realized that there is REAL want or wish to start something up in my actual housing community. And I realize that perhaps I should maybe do something next year. I just never really bothered to create anything or host anything because I thought nobody would be interested, but now I realize that yes the kids are interested...then perhaps next year I can kick start something! : )  

And home! Noah managed to collect a small amount of Japanese treats. He was happy! Plus we had a huge bucket filled with American Halloween treats anyways, so we were already set! : ) 

Koala cookies, Pumpkin flavored Pocky and a bag of treats from the lovely K's mom. 

I sent Noah upstairs to shower, while I turned on the oven and rolled out the dough and started baking the pizza. We usually eat dinner at the dinner table 98% of the time, but the kids and I were just having pizza, so we went and ate in the living room and we watched the movie Bicentennial Man with Robin Williams. The kids loved it, they had never seen it before. Not the most Halloweeny type a movie granted, but we had already watched tons of Halloween movies all October on the slingbox, We watched It's the Great pumpkin Charlie Brown (though we own this on DVD), we watched ParaNorman (own this on DVD too), Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus (my fave for Halloween) so we were sorta just Halloween movied the DVD Bicentennial Man was perfect!  Anyway it was a lovely Halloween week and Halloween evening. I was not expecting the trick or treating part at all, as you know lol. But ehhh, I rolled with it! Hahaha. ; ) Hope you all had, a very lovely and safe Halloween as well. : ) 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy 13th Birthday Branden and welcome to your teenage years! You’re officially 156 months old...

Sunday, October 26th, and Branden's birthday! He had spent a fabulous birthday weekend in Guam and went to the movies and now we were back home in Japan! We went from Narita airport to home, to unpack our suitcases, we had gotten back early enough, that I had ample amount of time to take pics of everything brought back super quickly. And then after that, we all hopped in the car and headed to Capricciosa for his birthday dinner of his choosing! He was really debating if he wanted yakiniku or Italian the whole flight back to Japan, however, by the time we landed, Bran had decided. : )
We started off with a delicious salad...

Followed by a huge deep fried breaded rice ball with mozzarella inside, omg so good! And a pizza as well. We had sodas and talked and really enjoyed our dinner quite a bit.

Followed by 3 large servings of a spicy tomato and garlic sauce, our 3rd pasta was not pictured but it looked exactly like this one. : ) 

100% genuine heartfelt laughter...Branden had the best birthday and best dinner conversation with all of us. Again...we always keep our birthday's around here... super simple at our house, just family.. dinner celebration of course and...the restaurant is the birthday person's choice/pick and cake always follows. And not 200 presents, just a couple special meaningful ones. That's all. : ) 
Branden has been asking for a digital camera/point and shoot for a couple months.  I'd say for about a half year. With Branden in JHS now they are allowed to take digi cams on their class field trips and the one field trip Branden took to the Ueno zoo, I let Bran borrow mine. He's at an age where's he very careful and I know with field trips etc he might really need one. We researched point and shoots. On the American website and on And this camera came in really highly rated at both places. We also checked and again just really good ratings and the price was fair too. He had a choice in color and he picked purple. We had ordered it online, but had it delivered to the nearest shop near us because the price was better ordering online, however we got the extended 5 year warranty and we wanted to know the people from the camera shop and it has been at our house from weeks before, we just wouldn't let him use it until his birthday. : )

His mega pixels and zoom and whatnot are better than my camera. lol. But that's quite alright. 

It is such a nice color camera! Perfect color for a JHS student!
My dad/Bran's grandpa sent Branden such a nice card. My dad always finds such funny and unique birthday cards for both the boys! They always look forward to the cards. 

It played music and said..."you're a teenager're a teenager now!" In the tune of Happy Birthday to you! : )

It also had a birthday "candle" to blow out. 
With the birthday money grandpa sent, Branden ordered a 4WD car kit and has been spending his free time now, happily putting it together! At our local JHS about 1/3 of the boys in the 7th grade class (both) are deeply into these Tamiya radio control cars. It started in 6th grade, but it's been an explosion of huge popularity at the local JHS. All the cool boys in the 7th grade class are major into them right now. 
Leaving Capricciosa restaurant and Branden taking pics! We headed home to enjoy some birthday cake!

Made in beautiful Nagano... handmade delicious out of this world ice cream cakes! Best cakes in Japan! I just wish she'd make them bigger, lol. A month ago, we had ordered Branden's cake. We picked October 24th in the morning for his cake to be delivered. Nutella chocolate flavor (called Italian chocolate with hazelnuts) and the top flavor was banana (and not a fake banana flavor at all...a real homemade you can actually taste it was made from a real banana type of banana ice cream) 

We all sang our little hearts out...Happy Birthday!!! We love you! You are so special to us!

We 4 all sat at the kitchen table enjoying some birthday cake. Noboru and I, also had coffee. Then we sent the boys to shower and into their PJs and to enjoy some TV before bed. Happy 13th Birthday are so loved kiddo! : )

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Guam trip last weekend for some last minute Halloween treats and our #1 reason going there, was to get our Thanksgiving shopping done...also the movie The Maze Runner was fun too!

Thanksgiving is coming up in November and I needed some groceries for that. And since we are lucky enough to fly for free, it was just a better idea for me to fly to Guam and get them myself. It works out especially well because my dad lives there since he's retired. So last Friday as soon as the boys both got out of school, Noboru drove us to Narita airport and we caught our flight. I had packed us each an overnight bag a few days ahead, so we were ready...also I had the list of groceries needed in my bag as well. We had 2 empty checked in luggage, 1 was inside each other. And each boy had a backpack with their toothbrush and PJ's and next days clothes and we were set! We landed in Guam around midnight, so technically Saturday. We all went straight to bed as soon as we got to my dad's condo. And the next morning, we got dressed and sprung into action ready to get that Thanksgiving list knocked right out of the way. Saturday morning, we went and had a quick bite to eat first. Guam now has Jack in the Box, woohoo! I tell yeah Guam is so rockin'!!!

We didn't get any combo meals or anything. We just each got 1 breakfast sandwich, I had nothing to drink (I just didn't want anything) and the boys shared an orange juice. We knew we were there to do a job...meaning get our Thanksgiving shopping done and finished! And the boys always have the option to stay home in Japan, Branden can look after Noah and Noboru was home for a lot of the time (he didn't work Sunday, he had that off). I wouldn't leave Noah alone obviously he's too young, but Branden could have stayed back in Japan with Noboru and Noah would have been okay if Branden was home. However...given the choice... stay home and twiddle your thumbs or go to Guam, eat lots of good eats, go to a movie...who wouldn't jump at the chance to go! So yep, they always prefer go! : )

The one thing I love about Jack in the Box besides the 2 for 99 cents tacos, is their delicious shakes with even whip cream and a cherry on top! Plus they also have all the holiday flavors too, super yumm!

All the yummy sandwiches. Anyway, so we first went to Cost u less nearest Micronesia mall. Then to Payless (grocery store) at Micronesia Mall, then to drop stuff at my dad's and then to the other Cost u less near GPO and then last but not least Kmart. The #1 thing I had to get was for Thanksgiving. #2 on the importance list was...anything I might personally need for the Fall/Winter season for our fmaily...from Oct to December basically. Shampoo, toothpaste...fever reducer for the kids. Just anything to help this house run like a finely oiled machine basically...hahaha. 

I have been enjoying Guam for the last 12 years! And I have seen it grow and change...however this was the first time ever... I have seen the Buffalo seasoning for buffalo wings, ykwim? In bulk! The little packets yes...but never the big bulk ones before...not ever in the whole 12 years I've been going there. There was only 2 left as seen in this picture...and so the last 2 were snapped up by me! Sorry. : ) We love buffalo wings and to find such a huge bottle at such a fair price...we needed them! : ) 

A bit blurry and no I didn't buy any but, they have coconut flour...see to the right almond flour. They have everything....Guam really has grown. 

Whole wheat 100% stone ground. Again...I didn't buy any of these...I have zero problem with the bread I buy at my favorite bakery, plus I can get wheat bread at Costco in Japan if I wanted. But it is nice to know it's there. : )  

We did stop mid shopping to have lunch at noon though. At this point, all the grocery shopping was 100% finished the last store was Kmart and we went there after lunch. The kids had Hot Dog on a Stick for lunch and fries. Nice to be able to enjoy something we don't get the opportunity to eat very often. 

I meanwhile had a Panda Express kids meal and a cheese stick from Hot Dog on a Stick. I gave the boys my cookie to split. : )  I love Panda Express so much! :)

Branden enjoyed 2 hot dogs on sticks and fries, the boys shared a huge pink lemonade too. : ) 

You are such a handsome kid Branden! : )

After lunch and before Kmart we stopped and watched some kids dance. I really enjoy these kids dance performances. I believe there was one last time we came here too. And I like that their shirts and dance troop is called...the Just Say No to Drugs dance team! Good kids, I like that! 
After the Kmart shopping was finished and we dropped everything at my dad's, and we had tons of time, we decided to hit a movie! I had told the kids...if we can get everything accomplished and done first...we can then go to a they all jumped in and helped during our shopping because we are all on the same team here! So what I usually do is... I'd have both boys look at expiration dates on stuff...sorta just help mom/me find the best date on the groceries we bought. Just everyone pitched in and helped. And I like that I always keep them occupied and busy "helping" me while shopping like that! So anyway we went to the 6:30pm showing of the Maze Runner. It's a new movie...but it's been out a month or 3 weeks or so. So new just not freshly released!  It was a movie after 4pm so while my ticket was $9 dad's a senior, so his ticket was super cheap still at $6.00 and the kids were just $5.50 US each. Again still super cheap compared to Japan. If it would have been a movie before 4pm, all our tickets would have been just $5 bucks for any of us.
That bucket of popcorn was bigger than Noah's! A huge bucket of freshly popped popcorn and 2 huge sodas. 

Some Halloween candy!!! The movie was excellent. It is a book, a trilogy so 2 other movies to follow! Both Branden and Noah loved this movie! My dad and I loved this movie too! Definitely the kids were happy they went and spent their weekend in Guam...good eats and a fantastic movie to boot! Awesome! Yep..that's why my blog was quiet all last weekend...we were not home in Japan last weekend...instead we were in Guam having a blast, hahaha. : ) 

Honestly with us all munching a bucket of popcorn as huge as the one we ate...and we didn't even finish it all. We were pretty full/semi full. Not starved, let's put it that way. So we know no pressure to eat something huge...let's just cruise to Taco Bell and get a small "snack" and so that's what we did. I had a meatless nachos and a bean and cheese burrito. It was too filling and I struggled to eat/finish it. But again...we don't have these food options in Japan so we tried to enjoy while there, without guilt. : ) 

Branden had 1 taco and 1 Doritos Locos Cool Ranch taco supreme. : ) 

My dad had just 1 tostada and Noah had 1 taco. Again we were all pretty full in fact, they helped me eat the nachos. : ) We went home, took showers and went to sleep. The next morning we were to head to the airport and catch our noon/12 o clock flight back home to Japan. Mission accomplished! : ) Thanksgiving ingredients literally in the bag! : )

Morning...Sunday October 26th! Branden's birthday, officially 13! We had pre-ordered Branden's ice cream cake and we had dinner plans that evening so we needed to catch that flight! And Noboru didn't work that day he took the day off to spend it with Branden and us. : ) Good husband/good guy! My dad, Noah and I each just had a breakfast sandwich, no combos.And Branden had a baked pumpkin pie which is pictured! I had a bite and it was delicious! : ) The boys had chocolate milks to drink.

I love that Mc Donald's went all out and decorated the heck out of their restaurant! They even had a "haunted house" area which is what Noah was walking through! 

I love that Guam is so much like the US...that they go really super all out...for Halloween. We literally saw everywhere we went... decorated for Halloween. A snake around Ronald's neck..a coffin. Cobwebs. So awesome! : )

To Guam we watched Maleficent. Love this movie! And on the way back to Japan, I enjoyed this Japanese English the title is Our Family. Like this description says...a middle aged housewife learns she has a brain tumor (size of a ping pong ball and 6 other smaller brain tumors as well) and told she has a week to live. I love that there was English subtitles on, so I could understand everything. I admit, I cried a few times during this movie. She had 2 sons, just like I also have 2 sons. And the 2 sons said..."let's save mom!" This movie just really got to me! A very good movie though! 

Sunday, October 26th 2:40pm-ish and we just landed back to Japan, de-boarded the plane and were taking the escalator on our way to enter Japan, immigration and customs.... grab our luggage and meet Noboru who was waiting outside with a big smile on his face welcoming us home! : )

The cold stuff. 4 lbs of ricotta filled ravioli, 3 dozen corn tortillas (tostadas or enchiladas) 5 packs of my regular fave pepperoni and 1 new to me brand of pepperoni...I am unsure if I will like it, but we'll see. Bacon (3 packs inside the big black carton/ Cost u less huge size) Buffalo chicken strips for an easy peasy dinner or two. And 2 huge packs of Tillamook butter, for all the pie crusts, turkey basting and mashed potato making. As yes, I do fill out all required paperwork and go through the quarantine, as soon as we land in Japan.

I usually prefer store brand or whatever is cheaper, but this time the name brand butter was cheaper, so I bought this. Sweet cream grade AA unsalted. Yummm!

Goodies brought back...

Love these packets of noodle soup! Stocked up! Perfect for the Fall/Winter season.

Thanksgiving! Huge honkin' size of poultry gravy. Evaporated milk and pumpkin pie filling, I now have 4 pumpkin pie fillings. 3 Stove Top Stuffing though technically 6, since they are a twin pack. Black olives and whole cranberries.

Nothing better on a cool Fall or winter day than a nice yellow cake with choco frosting. I also have 1 extra cake and frosting in the pantry still from my last trip to Guam too.

Italian dinner stuff made easy. Italian bread crumbs for chicken parmesan and meatballs. Four cheese pasta sauce. Garlic butter, this is so freakin' good! And the 1 big Ragu is for possibly Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner will either be lasagna, or a spiral sliced ham, still deciding but better to have this, than not. : ) 

More Thanksgiving stuff here. 2 turkey pans. Miracle Whip for leftover turkey sandwiches and Thousand Island dressing for salad.

Pumpkin Spice cupcakes I am baking these on Halloween for the kids, as well as baking some homemade pizza from scratch for our fun Halloween dinner, the jack o lantern we already carved yesterday and also roasted pumpkin seeds. And the Pumpkin Pie house spray perfect for the Fall/Winter season!!! Love this stuff! Again so extremely worth it, for us going to Guam last weekend! October 24-26th!

Cheese and garlic croutons for Thanksgiving, Crisco for greasing my pans for cake baking. And Mrs Buterworth's pancake syrup. Definitely need extra syrup and Crisco for the Fall/winter season.

10 cans of jalapenos. 1 of the many ingredients I use when I make a pot of pork green chili, yumm! 

Super cute Monsters University bandaids. Antacids, I prefer generic/cheaper. Generic Children's ibuprofen and I also have a kids ibuprofen twice this size unused still. And decongestant for myself or Noboru. I do not plan on a cold. And we 4 will get our flu shots this Saturday November 1st, we have an appointment already. However if we do get sick...I am prepared! : ) 

Tampons. Okay no snickering....I think we are all adults here. And well I need them. Again I buy generic because it saves money. 3 boxes of Super plus, unscented. And 1 box of regular. Liners for extra protection, I buy here in Japan.

Taco shells, I carried these on the airplane so they wouldn't get crushed. Inside my carry-on. 

Suave professionals shine shampoo and conditioner. Sleek hair smoothing. And I wanted to try a bottle of dry shampoo. Not even sure if I'd ever use it...but perfect for emergencies. Hahaha. : ) I also have 3 bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the hall closet upstairs. So I have enough shampoo and conditioner until we go back to Guam next time.  

Cinnamon tooth paste, adding these 2 to the 2 we already have, we now have 4 unopened tubes of toothpaste. 

Buffalo seasoning guys are my new best friends! lol, I'm kidding I'm kidding. : ) But in all seriousness we love this stuff!

Well over a year, before they expire...yep we'll finish this buffalo wing powder no problem!

Irish cream and popcorn.

Thanksgiving important stuff yet again. Festive dinner plates and smaller plates for pumpkin pie and parchment paper for baking Christmas cookies. Again with living in Japan, I have to have the ability to think ahead...what will I need for Thanksgiving? What will I need for Christmas? That sort of thing. 

Halloween candy. 

Our faves! : )


Some mags. Their magazines are always a week or two off, but you know what...I really don't care as long as the food is super fresh...the magazines are new to me anyway! So, I'm okay. : ) I'd prefer fresh food and a week old magazine versus old food and a new magazine. If that makes sense at all. : )

Into the store Game Stop for some 3DSxl pens for Noah. And I decided it was a good opportunity to get some Christmas presents scratched off the list. Branden and Noah will each be getting Super Smash Bros. as one of their Christmas presents this year. 

And toilet tabs. Okay probably the least attractive pic to end this post on...sorry. : ) Anyway that was our weekend to Guam last weekend, October 24-26th. Thanksgiving...we're ready for you! : ) Can't wait! : )