Thursday, December 31, 2015

Throwback Thursday. New Year's cards we've sent to family and good friends from the past couple years...

Today is the last throwback Thursday for 2015! Everybody ready to ring in the new year? : ) I know we sure are! Anyway, in the United States, we usually send Christmas cards. Ever since I was very little, I remember my family sending out a ton of Christmas cards every year and us receiving a stack of them every single year too. Here in Japan, it's all about the New Years cards! I usually share a picture of our newest New Years card on my blog every January 1st. To wish you all a very Happy New Year with the card! And I will do the same tomorrow, with our newest card! So while I can't share our newest 2016 card just yet...not until tomorrow, because I want all who will receive them in the mail...who also read my blog... to be surprised by the new one. But, I can share our New Year's cards from years past! This was the New year's card which we sent out for the year 2013! I really love to make our New Year's cards every year. I have made them at a few different online companies for years. I now have a favorite company that I have been ordering from for the past 2 years. Before that, I floated between a few companies. They are made by a company who specializes in stuff like this, but they are also made by me...meaning, I hand select each picture that goes into our card. I pick out which picture gets placed where... on our cards. I pick out the wording. So while they are professionally made and look amazing and professionally done, they are also hand selected pictures, placed and set by me. And when I like the card and am sure..then I place my order. I usually order my cards mid to end of November! That way they are in my house by December 1st. The year 2012, was a significant year for Noah, because he started the first grade. And in Japan being a "pika pika ichinensei" is a...rite of passage, and with getting his randoseru (Japanese backpack) and everything... so that picture we knew had to be placed on our family's card for that year, letting everyone of our nearest and dearest know...Noah entered the first grade. I also showed just the boys taking part in some water gun play in our backyard. The boys with Disney popcorn buckets about to go to catch the train with us to go and grab some supper at Kua 'Aina and then head back to Disney. Noah's first time experience trick or treating for real..in Guam USA. And a pic from that same Halloween Guam trip, of the boys at the Hilton on the balcony. And the pic of the boys at the Ala Moana mall holding their coconut ice cream when we took Noah to Hawaii in March for his yochien/kindy graduation trip. So I do try my best... to capture each year...in a round up... picture collage as best as I can. And I think this pretty much wrapped up that year perfectly! : )   So these were the cards we sent out... for 2013!
These were the New Year's cards we sent out for the year 2014! A wonderful 6 picture collage of our summer trip to Hawaii that year. And the bottom 3 pics shared the Fall time...trip, we took when we went back to my home state and visited Denver, Colorado that year! So again, it wrapped up that year really perfectly too. I did blue out...our last name. Again very professionally made, but also still hand selected and made by me. Like they say a picture is worth a thousand words. And I find people really like receiving our cards. And we really like sending them out... to our family and close personal friends. : )
These we sent out last year! Again professionally made yes... but hand selected and each picture chosen by me, sorry I said that 3 times this post...but a true fact and what makes our cards really so cool... is because they have such personality...our cards. Noboru is glad I don't mind handling the New Year's cards. Last year I switched from making them at an American company to a Japanese company online. I switched because when I made them from an American online company, I had to pay international shipping. With these cards pictured here, these I made from the Japanese company and I didn't have to pay international shipping and they ship your cards in about 2-3 days, so you receive them super fast. Also, once I did order them from Australia this was like 5-6 years ago and they were the worst cards ever and I only say that.... because about 5 of our cards were super streaky over my kids faces.. which totally ruined the pictures...blurry pictures. And considering each card is about 150-200 yen per card...to have not been able to use 5-6 of the cards, was outrageous. So I have ordered from 1 American company loved it...never had 1 single runny blurry streaky picture problem... but the shipping to Japan ridiculous. The one from Australia was slightly cheaper then the American shipping... but given about 5-6 postcards were ruined, would never recommend them at all, because their quality was so iffy and sketchy. Their website had a jp at the end. And the Japanese company I am using now and used last year...the cards right in this pic. Cheap domestic shipping, have never had a runny or blurry ruined card and the making of the cards to shipping to my door step... is 2-3 days from order. Also you can buy them with postage already on your card, that's how I prefer and you can even input everyone's address on their site and they'll print them out for you. All easy peasy and done. Saves the headache. : ) And they even come with those lottery numbers on them. And in Japan, Japanese people look forward to winning something with the lucky lottery numbers... stamped on each card. So, I get ours with a postage stamp on there, address on there and lottery numbers on there. In Japan they say if you can't get your cards to the post office by December 25th... they will not make it to be delivered by January 1st. In Japan the mail places save all cards and deliver them in 1 fell swoop on January 1st. So, if you want yours to make it the same day as everyone else's... make sure by Christmas...they get to the post office. Just something to keep in mind for next year. : )  

I usually will have the boy's write a simple hand written message to all of their friends. It's just a common thing to do for these cards. Just something simple, personal and handwritten. Noah will just say something like.."thanks for being such a great friend this year, let's play together this year too" Or Bran will say..."let's study hard this year, just like last year"...just something...simple...1 easy phrase. Nothing like rocket science. To my own personal friends...like my movie friends, I'll usually just say..."hey let's see some new great movies this coming year" or "thanks for being such a great friend, let's go have some lunch real soon" Again...nothing...major. But that personal little... 1 sentence line, is just something usually done here. The kids usually write the same message to all their friends. I write different messages depending who it is. Anyway, have a happy and safe New Year's eve everyone! See you next year/tomorrow! : )  

What's our plan tonight? We will be having baked chicken parmesan on top of a bed of pasta. Some homemade peanut butter and Reese's peanut butter cup ice cream and chips for snacking later on... while enjoying the Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy channel, it's our tradition here at our house. We are also making some homemade from scratch cinnamon rolls... the dough tonight and we'll bake them for breakfast tomorrow morning. Homemade from scratch pizza January 1st dinner. January 2nd, a big ol' pot of Texas style chili beans. And January 3rd, we will be meeting, like I said in my last post my BIL, SIL, MIL and my 2 nieces and my 1 year old nephew, plus our family of four and we'll be meeting up at a restaurant in Narita, we already have a reservation for that since our party is going to be rather large. Meaning lots of folks. Anyway have a happy New Year and happy holidays everyone! : )