Friday, April 17, 2015

Planting some flowers in my hanging baskets for the front porch. Branden’s observation day and a few other “bits and pieces” and “odds and ends” for good measure...

How is everyone's week been going? Mine has been going fantastic here! Quiet, peaceful not a whole lot going on. And I like that. : )  A couple weeks back, we ordered flowers online and they asked when we'd like them delivered. We picked this week, only because it has so cold and so we wanted to wait a week later. Last week was freezing and a cold snap could possibly kill the flowers, so we figured better in their care and in a nice warm greenhouse. And so that's why we waited for delivery until this week. This week has been warmer than last week. However it has been raining pretty much every day for a good week or two. Sure we get 1 sunny day out of the week. but, it's been pretty rainy lately. : ) Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day this week that wasn't raining like crazy. So the perfect morning and time to plant these into my hanging baskets that go on the front porch. So a peaceful morning yesterday, an hour spent transplanting these into the hanging baskets. And now these are hanging in the baskets on the front porch. They're still baby flowers still, so you can't see the pretty red flowers from the street just yet, but in a months time, they'll be gorgeous. : ) We order the same flowers every year, from the same grandpa and grandma online (flower farm) that has an online shop. : ) So yesterday morning, had me with a nice cup of coffee, outside on the back patio with a bag of soil and nutrients and a spade and it was a nice morning out there. I had Branden's observation day yesterday afternoon. Registration for observation was to start at 12:50pm. And after the observation day part. This was a "go to the last class only" type of observation day. And after that was a huge PTA meeting and after that was the class meeting. Noboru and I went to Branden's observation day together because he happened to be off from work yesterday. So that was nice, that he could come. : ) I had brought my camera and I usually always take a couple pics of the classroom to share with you all. What a Japanese JHS looks like, I know many of you are overseas and are curious. And I did bring my old camera with me and packed it into my bag. And would you believe! I completely and totally forgot to take 1 single picture yesterday! I am so sad I didn't take a picture. Because while Noah has many observation days, 1 each season (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) Branden has only like 1 or 2 a year tops. And so, I lost my 1 great big chance. : ( Bummer! I could make excuses, but I honestly don't have any. At our local JHS. Only 7th graders... classrooms are on the first floor, only 8th graders classes are on the 2nd floor and only 9th graders classes are on the 3rd and final floor. So, it was my first time going up the stairs. They were bright green. Pool table green, stairs. @_@ And just such a different school environment. And then when I got to the 2nd floor, some boy was strangling some other boy against the wall. And I was all shocked. Like..."ahh look Noboru, that kids strangling that other kid?" Again so, of course my mind was on that poor kid. Not thinking about my camera at all. And of course the class kids are all mixed up. And all the while as I walk down the hall, kids are greeting me with..."hello, hello!!!" Should I use Japanese, or English? Since they prefer use their English on me, I use it too. So, I warmly greet the kids back.."hello, how are you?"..."hi, hello" Kids whispering..."Branden's mom" LOL. So, lots of things going on, just getting down the hall and making myself to the classroom. When I entered, the class...the kids who used to go to "the other" elementary school. The kids who have not gotten used to me, by seeing me for 6 solid years in a row, you know, like the kids at our elementary school have. So, these new kids are just gobsmacked and turning around. 3 kids in Branden's row, turned and stared. The girls were giggling and said "hello." The boy (a really teeny tiny short kiddo) just stared with eyes as big as plates like this. @-@ Branden meanwhile is sitting last row most left and sitting next to the prez's son (last years fuku kaicho son) he knows me super well obviously. : ) And all other kids know me, so it's no big deal (thank the lord) but the other kids from the other school are just gobsmacked beyond belief.  Oh yeah, and I wasn't going to share "the rumor." but I'll share. The rumor floating around about me all last year. Branden's 7th grade year (last year) apparently the kids from "the other school"...the kids and their parents for whatever reason think. Branden's mom is British. @-@ Sorry, but I'm American. So all last year apparently all the kids and their parents were all in a hush secret squirrel, sort of way..."psst psst you know that hafu boy Branden....well Branden's mom she's from the UK." And I guess all the parents and kids from our elementary were like..."no she's not!!! She's American." @_@ Yep all last year, the 7th graders and parents, were really deeply debating about it, how weird. LOL.  So anyways... the kids who had not seen me for the last year, who also went to "the other" elementary school are the surprised ones, the kids however, who went to the other elementary but have seen me during the past year (were in Bran's class last year) are for the most part over it and fine. So the new to us/me kids, were like staring for the entire 5 minute break between class yesterday. @_@ I can do 1 of 2 things. Take it really negatively. And give off unfriendly vibes (which is just, not me at all). Or, I can take it the best way I can muster....and just be very nice, smiley (not overly creepy serial killer.. type smiley, ykwim) But yeah nice...look friendly. So with the 3 shocked kids in Branden's row, I just smiled and greeted them. In Japanese and English. The boy in the row next to Bran, he also went to "the other" elementary school but he has seen me for this whole past year already so he wasn't so shocked, which was very nice. But yep, a few misc kids will be working hard to get over their shock this year. LOL. @_@  I chatted with Branden a bit in English. And then I chit chatted with the prez's son in Japanese about the charms on his pencil case. The 3 surprised kids listened to me and the prez's son speaking in Japanese. @_@  The kids all broke up in groups of 6 and worked on a fun lesson. They were all trying to solve some riddle with a map. And all groups of kids were working hard at it. And of those 6 kids total in Bran's group, 3 of the kids were from 'the other" school. 1 had got used to me since last year though. but the 2 girls, were a bit weary of me at first, but they were smiling and we were laughing by the time the class was over. So, they're getting over it. I hope. : ) After the class ended, I had to leave to pick up Noah. Noboru meanwhile stayed for the school PTA meeting and the class meeting. It is sometimes hard when folks are not used to you/me yet, especially with living in a town with less than 5,000 people total and me being the only western woman in my entire town. : ( I don't have all the answers. But I just try to do the best I can. I try to look friendly and be nice. I do regret not taking pics. But, just so much going on, I completely forgot. I have Noah's observation day tomorrow (Saturday) and all those kids are used to me already. Which is nice that I can go to observation day tomorrow and just be a mom. Not a mom from another planet/outer space. Simply just be a mom. : ) 
The kids have been needing packed lunches a bit lately. The lunch ladies make lunch for our elementary school and the local JHS. Not sure about the other elementary school, distance wise it's pretty far, so am not sure. However when the JHS has something (like 2 bukatsu are away performing at 2 different schools so they just cancel all lunch for the JHS, which does affect Noah's school lunch too, for whatever reason, perhaps in bigger cities huge factories or staff make the lunches but in our town just a handful of mom's who part time work... make the lunches) And it seems Noah's school lunch is also affecting Bran's school too so it seems to be running vice versa a lot lately. So, once, last week I made them this quick lunch, for Branden and Noah. Beef hot dogs fried in a pan, I love fried hot dogs. And some mac and cheese and some fresh pineapple. Yes it's not a pretty obento/lunch. But it was a delicious and yummy lunch nonetheless. : ) The boys loved it. : )

Yesterday for example, the kids from both our schools also needed lunches. Again is it because the JHS having observation day, somehow affected the elementary school? Again, I'm not sure. So, this time I made karaage obento, with rice, broccoli, 2 fries and some sliced apple and 1 Nutterbutter each. We haven't had karaage in forever, so it was nice to have it for dinner the night before. And the boys karaage, I just fried up fresh yesterday morning. : ) And since tomorrow is Saturday and Noah has school, Noah will need a packed lunch from home...to take to school tomorrow too. : ) 

Anything else to add? Well, my nephew turns 1 year old this month! And I asked my SIL, what she would like for his birthday present. I just prefer ask, because I don't really want to be the person who buys the gift that disappointed someone. I just prefer be really frank about it. Hey, anything you'd like for little K for his birthday. And she's a very conservative person and she thought about it for a day. This is Noboru's brothers wife. And she's quite possibly the sweetest person ever lived. So anyways she sent a picture/link of the exact set of Lego, she'd love for him to have. And I said, done and done. And so, I went onto Amazon Japan a week ago and they have been sitting at my house all this week. His birthday isn't until the end of the month. : ) This way, I know she's going to love the gift. And that's really all, I want, is for them to be happy. : )  What else. I have been using the Kiehl's vitamin C serum and loving it. And I'm really loving my skin a lot lately. It is so clear and I'm going to feel like a nerd for saying this, but my skin glows. It looks so healthy. So, like I said before, the lady who says she uses vitamin c, uses 20% vitamin c. And I started with 10.5% and my skin loves it and I think I'd like to try a 20% too. So, I went online to research a good brand. The Cellex-C is $200 US. Absolutely too expensive. I would not even think about buying 1 product that cost that much. Insane. However, on 3 blogs that I frequently read (beauty blogs from super cool Asian American ladies), they all seem to use this Korean brand one. One lady showed a close up of her skin and OMG. Like perfection, flawless skin with no pores or anything. The price was my #1 reason for ordering. And the reviews was the other major reason for ordering. On Wishtrend this bottle is $29 US. But on Korea Depart, which I order from them about twice a year, anyway and love their website and service. Their prices were just way better. You get the prices as close to...as if you were in Korea and buying them yourself. So no inflated price tag. And they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale as pictured. So, I went for it. If you are into skincare at all, you'll appreciate this info and if you're not into skincare, no worries truly..skip this pic and the one below and info under both pics) Especially if you're into preventative anti aging at all. Watch a YouTube video...search for/key words are...Korean dupes. And it will pop up. And this will be on that video as well as a product for the SK2 and a few other products. That video was a gold mine for me ( I'd like to keep my skin looking exactly as is... for as long as I can). I ordered 2 products because of that video and a lot of heavy research afterwards checking reviews of the products I was interested in...Korean Dupes, the video was so helpful for me personally. 

For $22.96 US. I got 2 bottles of the serum, which I will now keep in my fridge, whenever they arrive (the beauty bloggers I read say it lasts longer for the vitamin c). And 1 tub of the vitamin C cream all 3 for $23 US. Versus at Wishtrend it's 1 bottle only for $29 US. Again, I'm not suggesting people what to buy at all. However this is my blog and it chronicles my life and what I'm personally up to. Perhaps someone researching vitamin c, will stumble across this and be happy to now know of a cheaper brand...but so good it's practically a cult status product, the one in this picture. And, so this week, I researched a lot in my free time and I made an order from Korea Depart. I purchased this set, I felt the value was just too good to pass up. Especially considering that Cellex C is $200 US. No thanks, I prefer get 3 products for $23 US, that are just as good if not better. I also ordered the dupe for the SK2, that is actually better since it contains niacinamide (that's the number one ingredient hot and flashy and everyone says to use if you are on a preventative ant aging journey) and the real Sk2 toner/essence doesn't contain niacinamide at all. While the Missha dupe for the Sk2, it's a bazillion times cheaper and stuff, with better ingredients like niacinamide. I also purchased some Nature Republic eyebrow mascara and some Innisfree olive oil cleansing wipes (I double cleanse my face, on days I wear makeup and these will be perfect for when we travel). Not a gigantic order, but an order I am now checking my mailbox daily for. : ) And for what it's worth, the Olay products, I purchased in Guam, that I love, all contain Niacinamide too (again before I buy something, I research the crap out of it) I was partially interested in trying out the CeraVe PM moisturizer only because hot and flashy uses it and says niacinamide is in there. But, a few people at drugstore.com said the CeraVe PM lotion made their face itch (granted I know you can't please them all, but while I was in Guam, I only wanted 1 moisturizer and so I felt safer buying the Olay one, since they didn't have any negative itchy comments). Which is why I am using the Olay instead. I may try the CeraVe PM lotion someday, because it does have good reviews everywhere else online, but I'm so happy with the Olay though. But I'm now only looking for products that contain useful and helpful ingredients. I'm looking for vitamin c, other things I look for niacinamide. I am using Vitamin A already (retin- A) which boosts collagen etc. Hot and flashy says retin-a is the gold standard product in preventative anti aging. So, I'm glad I have tons of tubes of that (from Bangkok still) Though Noboru has checked online and says retin-a can be bought online in Japan, (from overseas) for like 1800 yen a tube ($18US). Without a prescription. The year 2015 for me, means taking better care of myself and also taking excellent care of my skin. It's the only skin we'll ever have, so I need to protect and be kind to mine. : )  Anyway enough skincare talk....

Since, we were at the school for a good chunk of the day yesterday afternoon and the morning I was outside planting flowers in my hanging baskets. Anyway I mentioned to Noboru since we'd be away yesterday for most of the day, an easy dinner would be best. So we 4 had the huge party size Lasagna from Stouffers for supper last night. As soon as I brought both boys home from school yesterday, I threw the lasagna in the oven. Cooked for an hour and 40 minutes. I also made garlic bread. Just out of some bakery bread I had here at home, with the Lawry's garlic spread. Not a very pretty picture, sorry about that. But it was a very good dinner last night. It is such a huge size lasagna that it filled all of us up, very nicely.

Today is Friday, and for dinner tonight, we are having homemade pizza from scratch, in fact the pizza dough is rising in the kitchen, as we speak. Noboru and I switched cars/vehicles today. Because Noah needed to bring his bicycle to school today. It was bike safety day for the 4th graders. All 4th graders who own a bike were asked to bring theirs to school. I really don't want to throw Noah's bike in Olive at all. However the mini minivan has a huge trunk area, and so last night Noboru loaded up Noah's bike in the minivan. And this morning, I dropped both boys at the plaza, driving the mini minivan and Noah walked his bicycle up the hill to school. Unless you live super far away, kids are not authorized to bike to school and insurance wise the school wouldn't allow it. Meanwhile they asked all kids to bring their bikes to school today. Sorta a catch 22 really, isn't it, You can't ride it to school, but please bring it to school. So insurance wise Noah can't ride it to school. And same with the other 4th graders unless they live bordering the other elementary school. Very far away. I think our elementary school only has 4 kids who are actually authorized to bike to school because of the great distance they live from the school. So Noah has to walk his bike up to the school. Walking your bike is allowed, but riding your bike is not allowed. @_@ Again, I don't make the rules... I only follow the rules. So, I watched as Noah walked his yellow bike up the hill with his caramel brown randoseru on his back. @_@  I will be there this afternoon picking up Bran, Noah and 1 yellow bike. : )  And tomorrow, we have observation day for Noah in the afternoon. and I need to pack another lunch tomorrow. Noboru can't attend Noah's observation day tomorrow unfortunately but Branden and I will both be there for support of Noah and to enjoy observing his class. : ) Usually in Japan, if you go to school on a Saturday, you are off school that Monday. However Noah has school this Monday, to make up for it, though, they are giving him off the following Monday instead. @_@  Hahaha. Yes it's marked on the calendar, because I don't want to make a mistake and send him to school on a day he doesn't need to be there and vice versa, keep him home this Monday when he actually has school. : )  I have it all sorted out, already thankfully and just in case, I wrote it on the calendar. Have a lovely weekend everyone. : )