Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guam trip, in a nut shell

Saturday morning, May 24th Branden, Noah and myself flew to Guam. We arrived around 2pm-ish, my dad knew we were coming in advance, had gotten our bedroom all nice and ready in his condo. And he picked us up, right away. We dropped off our empty luggage right away at my dad's and headed to Taco Bell first thing! We each only picked, 1 thing because we knew we would be having dinner later on and didn't want to ruin our appetite for dinner later that night, so just 1 thing as a "snack" was more then enough. I had picked a small nachos without beef. This really hit the spot! 

Noah had 1 crunchy taco. Branden had 1 Cool Ranch Taco Supreme and my dad had 1 soft taco. We ate and headed to Cost u less right away and then to Payless grocery store. After that, we went to our final store, Kmart! I had run out of a lot of stuff, here at our house in Japan and so a trip to Guam to get restocked of food items or shampoos, toiletry type items were really necessary, plus the fact with all that mid term study behind us at that point, it was the PERFECT time to head to Guam for 24 hours and relax, visit with my dad first and foremost and also it was our chance to pick up any supplies/things needed to take back to Japan. So a win win type situation. Wish Noboru could have joined us, but he had work and besides it was just 24 hours, we'd be back in no time! : ) 

After we dropped off everything from my dad's SUV to his condo, we went to the Micronesia Mall food court to eat dinner. That way, we could have many dinner choices/ options. Perfect since we were leaving bright and early the next morning. Ohhh, there was a dance competition going on at the mall and we enjoyed watching some of it for a while! A lot of the dancers were really good! 

Branden and Noah enjoying the dancing down below! 

I, had a cheese stick from Hot Dog on A Stick. Also, Branden and I shared the meal from Panda Express, it was noodles and also spicy chicken breast with veggies, so good... but much too much food for 1 person so we split it!

Branden, had picked the 3 chicken strip combo with mashed potato and drink from KFC. Lucky for me, he shared that Panda Express meal with me, it was just too big for 1 person. I was going to order the kids size but you need an 11 year old child or younger and Noah was off ordering at the Hot Dog on a Stick place, when I was ordering mine. So, they gave me an adults size. Oh well, no worries, I had asked Branden, to share with me. : ) My dad had Sbarro, spaghetti and meatballs and a salad and breadstick. After we ate, I went to Macy's to buy a bra, with the sale they were having though, I ended up getting 2 Calvin Klein bras versus 1. We went back to my dad's and the kids had some Reese's Peanut Butter ice cream for dessert, I meanwhile drank a Vitamin Water and we watched TV before going to sleep. 

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:30am, got dressed, brushed my teeth, put my makeup on. Woke the kids, they brushed their teeth, got dressed. And we went to McDonald's for breakfast. Our flight was at 10am, and we wanted to be at the airport by 7:45am, so a quick breakfast truly appreciated. Plus, I love the Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit. It's so delicious. Wish our Mc D's in Japan sold these. 

A delicious homestyle flaky biscuit, cheese, crunchy bacon and like a folded omelet. We went back to my dad's after breakfast and we packed up. My dad dropped us off, and the kids ran and hugged my dad and we went and checked in, right away. It was so super short, as far as trips go, but totally necessary and worth it. : )

The contents on 2 large luggage. 

Frozen mac and cheese, 12 of them! Perfect for nights the kids swim, with just enough time to come home from school, eat this... grab their swim bag and catch the swim bus. Just a small snack to tide them over until they get home from swimming, so they can eat a proper dinner. 

Years ago, normal regular bacon was sold at Costco in Japan. But it hasn't in forever! Sure, they sell microwave bacon, but it sorta tastes like a bacon and a jerky hybrid. Hahaha, sorry. 6 packs of bacon now are sitting in my freezer. A once a week nice family breakfast would be perfect, but I'm going to have to be pretty conservative with this, I know it. Hahaha. : ) Please Costco in Japan start selling bacon in Japan again, it would certainly make so many of us happy! : ) 

Ricotta filled frozen ravioli. I like to make a nice baked ravioli with this. Not sure when I'll make this. 

The whole web was a buzz over cinnamon roll waffles about a month or two ago! I bought this granted, will I make regular cinnamon rolls out of these or waffles out of these, hmmm who knows! Probably just make regular cinnamon rolls outta them! : ) And biscuits! They're 99cents a can for the biscuits, yes probably way cheaper in the states but heck, 99 cents isn't bad either! Just something nice to put in the fridge. 

Three homemade from scratch pepperoni pizzas will be in our future! We like Costco pizza, Pizza Hut, but Noboru and the kids always mention how they prefer mine and my crispy crust! So, they'll be happy knowing these are in the fridge right now. : )

Summer's nearly upon us. I have a girlfriend in Oklahoma, her daughter is on summer break already (tornado season, you know) and in Guam all the signs on the schools said summer break for them starts June 10th! Meanwhile for us where we live, Branden and Noah don't go on summer break until the end of July, hahaha! : ) But, you know...with the weather getting nice and the school year indeed winding down. Perhaps taking a batch of brownies to the wave pool would be a great idea! Or a nice batch just to enjoy for the weekend! You know what I mean. : ) So yep, not 100's or anything but 3 boxes of brownies, perfect amount!

3 yellow cake mixes, our favorite flavor. 1 cake mix will be turned into a pineapple upside down cake. The other 2 will be cupcakes or a bundt cake with yummy chocolate frosting. Either way! So yep plans for summer desserts are forming. And no, baking is okay in our house, it doesn't get too hot, because we have 24 hour central air conditioning for all our rooms...every room of the house actually same for the heating in winter. So it's already nice and cool and as dry as can be in the house. So no...baking is not too much trouble here at our house, luckily. : )

And 1 last one, Reese's Peanut Butter and Chocolate cupcakes.

2 packs of our favorite Oreos, just like yellow cake with chocolate frosting, these are yellow cookies with yummy chocolate frosting. These are amazing cookies! Again just nice to have in the house. : ) 

Taco seasoning and poultry gravy. And a nice balsamic vinaigrette for all the summer salads we eat here at home.


Pasta sauce. 

Ravioli and enchilada sauce. 

Taco shells 18 per pack. Beans and canned jalapenos.

Italian bread crumbs for meatballs or chicken parmesan. The flavor of this is amazing! Best tasting chicken parmesan and best tasting meatballs, thanks to this. 

Pistachios and the Juicy Fruit came in a 3 pack, for cheap and before the flight back to Japan, I gave 1 pack to Noah, 1 pack to Branden for the flight, they still each have over 70% of their pack left and this one is still in the pantry too. : ) 

Folgers coffee singles. And Irish cream.

2 and a half pounds each. 16 ounces is 1 pound. 

That's 10 pounds of cereal right there! Basically it's Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but the Malt O Meal version and I'll still call it Cinnamon Toast Crunch anyway.: ) The real, Cinnamon Toast Crunch the big size was $11.99 at Cost U less. 3 pounds for $11.99, isn't that absurd! These were 2 and a half pounds for $4.99 US. Considering it'll probably last us the whole summer, I thought it was too good a deal to pass up! So yep, 10 pounds of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

Almost summer and summer around here means lemonade! Taking a jug of lemonade to the wave pools or what have you. Again just getting ready little by little. : ) 

Three tubes of cinnamon toothpaste. 

Noah's birthday is July 7th, so I made sure to pick up some cool plate and napkin combo for the ice cream cake, we already ordered. : ) 

Suave Naturals Ocean Breeze shampoo always smells amazing especially in summer! Not too sure, if it's nourishing or anything... but it cleans the hair, so I guess it does the job! Hahaha. : ) The other 2 are very nourishing and moisturizing and all that good stuff though. : )

10 toilet drop ins! American toilet drop in scents are *so good* and so strong! I love them! The Japanese ones are nice too, but the scent is very weak compared to these. The second you walk into the upstairs or downstairs toilet the first thing you think that toilet smells fresh! lol. Seriously it does! We have 2 toilets in our house so around a 5 month supply but could be longer, could be about a 6 month supply. They say they last "up to" 4 months or 8 weeks" but really it depends how often you flush. If you are only 1 person yes it would last up to 4 months. But with a family of 4, who constantly use facilities or flush the toilet, I'd say they last about 5 weeks in our house. And that's not bad really! Could even be 6 weeks, but that could be pushing it! Hahaha. : )

One new deodorant for Branden. He has a new one unopened still and is using another right now also. So he's fine with that. 

Two for Noboru. 

Two for me. They didn't have my favorite one, I usually use, so I picked these 2 alternatives. The Dove Advance Care one, I keep seeing the commercials for that one, so I'll try it. : ) 
Two magazines. I'm currently reading the one on the left while I have been picking up Noah at the plaza after school this week. 

After we had our dinner in the food court at Micronesia, we went into Macy's. I had wanted to pick up a bra. A light colored one to wear under lighter colored tops. However they were having a buy 1 get one 50% off sale. Plus the lady also gave me an additional 25% off. Apparently there was some sale in the newspaper going on or whatever, I didn't have the coupon but she had an extra and beeped that extra savings for me, what a cool lady. What luck! : )

One of my entrance ceremony outfits was Calvin Klein, this year as you remember too. : ) Yep, I'm really partial to Calvin Klein. Love the bras and undies by Calvin Klein always have. I also like Bali too though, but I really am a fan as far as Calvin Klein undergarments go! : )  I don't care for the lesser coverage bras like demi bras etc. So, like this says here, this is a more conservative coverage bra. 

Not up to your neck or anything though. But really nice and a feminine look without being indecent or anything. : ) 

It's hard to tell by this picture, you can tell in the nude color bra easier, but the straps are sorta shiny, look more like ribbons but they are not ribbons, they are indeed very secure straps but just really pretty and they say Calvin Klein on them, along the strap, which is a nice touch. 

Went in for 1 bra, came out with 2. Hahaha. Again what luck. : )  Anyway that was our 24 hour Guam trip in a nut shell. : ) 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Noah competing in his first swimming competition ever, this coming June

Both Branden and Noah are swimmers. Noah since age 3, Branden since age 4. Branden has swam competitively before. Now it's Noah's turn! We are so proud of you kiddo! In April, Noah was actually asked by our swimming school, if he would represent their actual swimming school this coming June! As the top line of this paper says... it will be a swim school VS. another swim school! All of the best of the best swimmers that our swimming school has, versus all the best of the best, the other swim school has and the show down will be this coming June! The swimming school sent an official note home asking if Noah could compete and represent their swim school. We asked Noah first and foremost..."do you want to?" because if he's not into it, we don't want him to do it at all. You know what I mean. However, since Noah was like 9 months old and watching his brother downstairs swimming, while Noah looked on, through the glass window looking into the pool, he has been wanting to swim too! Do everything his big brother does! And when Noah went to Branden's swimming competitions, Noah asked, if he could someday do that too. We said, well, we will see. : ) But if you want to, why not! So, in April, Noboru and I had to drive to the swim school and bring the stamp and sign some forms that will allow Noah to compete this June. And so, ever since then, when the boys go to swim school, Noah along with the others competing this June have been practicing in a swim lane to themselves, working hard on their speed and time. Just working superly hard! The swim meet will be at our actual swimming school. The other note we got in April, said, kids will be allowed into the school at 7am that day (Sunday, early-mid June) parents will not be allowed inside the building until 8am, we will be packing obento for us all that day (actual competition starts at 9:15am) It will be a full day! And this note says, basically Noah is to bring his competition swim trunks, which he has, his goggles, (he'll bring 2, because going to swimming competitions before, I know sometimes 2 come in handy, a girl one time on our team, her goggles broke while swimming, not sure how, but they certainly did and she didn't have an extra, she stood looking for her missing goggle piece and because her foot touched the bottom of the pool, she was disqualified, seeing that, we have just always brought 2 pair with us ever since, we also told the kids, if that ever happens, like Dory said (Finding Nemo) "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming swimming", don't let your foot touch the bottom of the pool, no matter what...cap falls off, just keep swimming, you know what I mean I hope, yep we learned a lot through watching said competitions beforehand hahaha.) This note also says, when they are not competing, meaning when another group is racing they are to be wearing a T shirt and like house comfy type shorts. It also says to bring sports drinks, chocolate, or energy bar, something to give them a boost of sugar to give them that boost in the pool. because as you know, swimming really drains you! It really *really* does! So while Branden, has been knee deep in mid term study, which it's now over. Noah has been quietly getting ready for his first ever swimming competition ever this coming June! How do I think Noah will do? Honestly, it doesn't really matter win or lose...he's only in the 3rd grade, if he doesn't win, it's going to be just fine. Plus this is his first competition ever, so I think he will learn a lot by going to this. But it's a great learning experience and it will help prepare Noah for... if he decides to compete and represent our elementary school when he's in the 4th grade. He can't do that until he's a 4th grader, so he's still too young for that, but this will give him the experience of trying it! That way, he can decide if he likes competing with swimming or not. I'm looking at it as a great way for Noah to spend the day with his friends, great learning experience, amazing exercise of course. Clearly the school thinks he has a chance or they wouldn't have asked him to represent them. The swimming school actually has asked Noah to compete in 3 separate races! I think Noah is going to love swimming that day, win or lose, so we will see. : ) We are really *really* proud of you Noah! You're a good kid! : )

Monday, May 26, 2014

Lunch with friends today...

Branden, Noah and I got back from Guam yesterday. We had an amazing time with my dad and also brought back a ton of food! I have a few posts to get up, like Branden’s midterm. Noah and his swimming. But for now, I at least want to get this up. My two really good friends, who I met at the yochien years ago and I are having lunch today. We three go to the movies and stuff often, but today it’s meeting for lunch at 11:30am. I have already done a load of sheets and pillow cases for Noboru’s and my bed, washed and dried in the dryer and put back on the bed already. And I have my second load of the day in the washer right now and when it’s done, I’ll hang them outside on the back patio. I have to go and get dressed for the day and then wash my face with a nice hot wash cloth and then put my makeup on. Chicken cutlet tonight for dinner with salad, veggies and rice. The boys swim tonight too. Alrighty, enough chitter chatter from me for now. PS, the potato plants have grown so big lately! : ) 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just a quick update...

Tomorrow is Branden’s midterm. Tonight is his last night to study! OMG, you guys!!! Branden has been studying like crazy! He got out of school at 4pm today, I drove him to school and back today, because it has been pouring rain since last night and even now it’s still crazy amounts of rain, I made sure dinner was done way before they both got home! I made curry this afternoon, knowing how crucial tonight’s last night of study would be. We all ate super quickly and he got right on his 4 subjects. He did 30 minutes of social studies, he feels he knows the material though, Noboru thinks so too, he then switched and did 30 minutes of science and Noboru gave him 2 mini tests and he looks good so far. So he’s now going to concentrate on Japanese for 2 hours and then finish with math, but he’s stopping at 10pm. Because he needs a really good nights sleep too. A good nights sleep is really important. I will be getting up at 5:45am tomorrow to make him a nice big breakfast and wish him good luck. If it rains again tomorrow, I’ll drive him to school, even a little earlier then usual, so he can go through things again, one last time, before the rest of the class gets there/class starts, you know what I mean. : ) Gosh, I hope he does well. I certainly know how hard he’s been studying! Go Branden go!!!
Meanwhile, so Noah went to school as usual, I picked him up at 3:45pm. And it is noticeable all the 3rd graders are all walking down the hill to the plaza with a white sheet of paper flapping/waving in hand, all of them! And btw, no Sera or Lily-chan at school today. Guess what! There apparently were 13 absences in Noah’s class today, so the 3rd grade class has been shut down for tomorrow and Friday. The note was to say, that the 3rd grade class has been closed for the rest of the week. No school for the rest of the week for any 3rd graders that go to our school. They also sent us all a cell phone email as well. @.@ The good thing is, Noah is as healthy as can be and feels totally fine. So knock on wood for that! Also, they were given 7 worksheets to do for Thursday and Friday. Front and back so 13 sheets (1 sheet doesn’t have anything on the back side of it). Noah did 5 sides today already (2 and a half pages so far) he can finish the rest tomorrow in the day. Tomorrow’s plan was to run to the grocery store, so Noah will have to cruise with me to the grocery store after he gets his homework out of the way first though. : ) I like knowing I’ll have my little chatter box in the car with me tomorrow. : ) He’s very good company. I think we’ll have to buy some ice-cream for Branden and the rest of us, at the store, to celebrate the midterm being over, we can have that as a special  dessert, after dinner tomorrow night. : )

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Good eats, what’s cookin’ good lookin’! Comfort foods like homemade baked gratin potatoes, homemade baked macaroni and cheese, among other things...and a yard and potato update

Hi everyone! Our house is still, knee deep in midterm study and the prep for that. From yesterdays post until after the midterm is over, I'm going to close the comments and the reason I chose to do that, is because, you are all so wonderful and I like the communication we have in the comments section. But, this week is a little more hectic than I'd like. Also, it could just be me, but I feel like crap, if I can't reply to a comment. There's a few even now, that I haven't had time to reply back and I feel superly bad about it. Also that's why I have been trying to make shorter posts too since last week also, if you notice, so we could get back to midterms and concentrate on those.  I also thought about not blogging until after the midterm is over too. I sort of had this debate in my mind, pause/hold blogging for this week and then resume afterwards or just continue, but hold the comments and make shorter posts and then get back to the fun comments next week. And I just think that is better and that way I won't fall behind with blogging either. : ) So forgive me. It's seriously not's me. lol. : ) Okay anyway...I cook dinner for the most part, about 7 nights a week (whole week), I think maybe twice a month, we'll go out to dinner. But it's rare. I really do love cooking, plus it's healthier and nice knowing what's in our meal and sure somedays, if I had a Taco Bell handy or a Wendy's drive thru, I'd surely use it about once a week especially during mid term season or maybe on swimming nights, Mondays and Thursdays. Also, the town we live is another factor, there's no fast food places in our town or Coco's restaurant Coco Ichiban restaurant. Those are in the small city nearest us, but on nights where we have to immediately get crackin' on homework right away, there's no time to drive all the way there and all the way back to our town. It's just not realistic. And that's okay really. So yeah most of the time, I cook the meals and make sure they are ready to go, as soon as the boys get home! Here in this picture, I decided to make fried pork chop. Now, I usually like to make this with Rice a Roni. But I've been out forever. And so, I just decided to not let that stop me and so I made, homemade gratin potatoes from scratch and homemade macaroni and cheese. I used the super fine panko flakes, not the regular sized flakes, and stir fried them with a bit of butter nice and toasty, to make a crispy bread crumb crust for the topping for the mac and cheese. I made a simple roux with butter and flour, milk and then added the shredded cheese pictured here, let the cheese melt and poured over both my potato and pasta dish, so doing both was super easy.  

I made this last Thursday, May 15th. The boys came home from swimming school starving! Swimming for 2 hours doing laps non stop at fast speeds makes a person, super hungry. Even though they had a snack before swimming school. This was waiting for them, when they entered the door after the swim bus dropped them off! : )

Comfort food! All four of us enjoyed last Thursday nights dinner, quite a bit. 

These Cook Do's are so awesome. They really make cooking for me in Japan easier. A lot of them are Chinese dishes and there are also some Cook Do that are Korean dishes too. My favorite is the sweet and sour one though. Anyway, this one pictured here... has no seafood in it at all. And sometimes the packets do contain seafoody flavors in there, but not this one. With the exception of shrimp and lobster, I really don't care for seafood at all, so I always have my husband double check the ingredients list for me. Says for 3-4 people. 

I used quite a bit of lean thin sliced pork, cut off any fatty bits and stir fried in a bit of oil, after the pork was cooked, I threw in some chopped up cabbage and mushrooms. 

The sauce is so good and not too spicy where Noah couldn't eat it, but it did have a very good flavor. We've eaten this one a few times before. 
This is another good one too. After you cut your chicken up, you are supposed to lightly roll it in flour. Not like dredge it to the point of say... you're making fried chicken, you know what I mean... but just lightly toss in the flour real quick. Also, I find this sauce salty enough, so I add not salt at all, when I fry my chicken or into the flour. The sauce is enough and it's not overly salty at all either, it's just...if you salted the chicken while cooking it could be too much. 

After the chicken was lightly rolled in flour, I skillet fried it in a little oil and turned it on both sides, until cooked, then added fresh button mushrooms. The packet suggests adding onions, but nobody really, well except me, is all too crazy about onions around here so I don't add them. So, I just add what we like. Mushrooms and then broccoli at the very end. 

And done, I think this dish is really good, because the chicken was lightly rolled in flour first, it just has a very good flavor. The sauce is also delicious, this is a favorite around our house. I make Noboru's with dark meat, because he just prefers dark meat for his chicken. I use white meat for ours. Either way works. : )
Another night I made Noboru buta kimchi. I use kimchi on his like you're supposed to and add extra chili flakes for some added kick. For mine, again I'm not crazy for seafood and most kimchi has shrimp sauce or some sorta fishy flavor in kimchi so for me, I just use Chinese cabbage and add the flakes for mine and it comes out just fine and with no fishy flavor. Sorry, while I do have a very open mind, I have very close minded taste buds! : ) Hahaha. I just can't handle seafood at all. 

Saturday, May 16th I made tacos. Also strawberries are so dirt cheap around where we live, so we eat fruit all the time. Melons too! Fruit and veg is really cheap, where we live. : ) 
I wasn't planning to share this breakfast pic, if I was planning to take a pic of breakfast to share type pic, I'd have added some vivid colors like red or green. But, it was just a random regular breakfast, and I snapped the one picture to remind myself the breakfast I made that morning. So no color really on the plate, pretty drab looking, sorry. : ) Branden serving is larger since he's older so his is at the back. Scrambled eggs, rice and 1 sausage and 3 warmed up pancakes with butter and syrup inside. Branden ate this completely and had 1 Yakult and 1 small glass of apple juice. Before getting on his bike and heading to school that morning. : ) With a 3km bike ride to school and a 3km bike ride home, plus all the studying and gym at school. Plus two nights a week, he swims for 2 hours. So he really needs to start off on the right foot for breakfast. I try to make a point of making sure they get a very good breakfast every morning. And Noah is smaller, so his serving is closest this camera. 2 pancakes, 2 sausages and a smaller amount of scrambled eggs. Noah also had 1 Yakult (for the record, I buy store brand Yakult stuff, but still call it Yakult, no worries) and no apple juice that morning for Noah. : ) I drive Noah to school and pick him up when school is done. : ) But, I still want to make sure, he eats a lot, enough so he can properly study and do gym too, kids can concentrate better on full tummy's. : )

Sanchu update, it's getting so big right now isn't it!  : )

Little heads of lettuce are getting bigger, hahaha.

Grass is getting greener!

Potatoes are looking good! However I have 2 friends in our housing community, who are also growing potatoes, they started theirs earlier than I started mine and theirs are about 2 to 3 times bigger than mine! Go potatoes go! : )

Yep greener grass!
This day, Branden and Noboru were studying in the kitchen and Noah was finished with his homework, so he went outside to swing on his swingset. Meanwhile I went to check on the potatoes. 

Enjoying a nice good swing! Especially now that the weather has been so nice lately.

They are getting there. I know we're not supposed to even pull them until summer, so we still have plenty of time to grow still. But still, hurry potatoes! Get there...get there! Hahaha. Alright enough chit chat from me for today. Time for me to go and bring the laundry in from outside. The house is cleaned for today. And sorry if this is TMI, but I started my period this morning and I just feel yuck and blah today. I did walk this morning, so it helped some, but I think after I bring the laundry in, maybe I should pop an Advil and maybe lay on the couch for 45 minutes, until my cramps go away. Noah gets out at 3:45pm today, so it's a late day for Noah and Branden gets out at 4pm, but will ride his bike home. Noboru gets off work at 2pm, and he'll be home at 2:30pm, so I know, he'll be happy to pick Noah up for me, since I feel sorta crampy today. : ) That way I can get started on dinner, while he gets Noah. Alrighty later for now. : )