Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring break fun! Family backyard BBQ, Family game night (Monopoly) and more...

Did everyone have a nice Spring break? For us in Japan, it's technically the end of the school year break. : )  Either way is fine with me.... but since it's technically Spring here anyways. I'll just call it Spring break. : ) This post is going to be the perfect spot, to jot down in 1 spot everything we did during our Spring break 2016 this year. : ) These first few pics you have seen before, so no...fear not...you are not losing your mind. Yes you have seen the first few pics before. : ) These are some things we did over the spring break from school. : ) The 4 of us flew to Guam. It was a quick but very fun trip. We got to even go to a movie while there. We also got to watch some movies on the airplane. What did I see? Memory.... don't fail me now!!! : ) I saw Paper Towns, Paranormal Activity Ghost Dimension. And Trainwreck (loved this), the kids enjoyed the Good Dinosaur and other movies too. 
We ate some good things. We enjoyed the nice weather. 

It was so nice to be able to get away as a family for a few days. And wonderful to see my dad too. We definitely came back feeling refreshed and recharged.

What else did we do over our Spring break? We celebrated Easter!

Colored eggs...ate lots of jelly beans and chocolate...
Had a lovely simple Easter meal as a family...

We enjoyed homemade taquito night... covered/smothered in sour cream lettuce and cheese. OMG, are these so good!
Every morning during spring break, minus when we were in Guam. I woke up and while everyone slept, I jumped on my treadmill and walked on my treadmill for 30 minutes every morning! Fast paced walked. I walk as you know 5 days a week... year round anyways. 60% of the time, I do at home and 40% I will do outside in my town and neighborhood. But like in rainy season, I am glad to have a treadmill and I can switch and do 100% of my walking in the comfort of my own home. So depending on the weather,...then it depends on if I am walking outside of my home or inside of my home. I'm flexible either way. I also love that during spring, summer and winter breaks I can get my walks outta the way early... while everyone sleeps. That just sort of rocks and scratches...DAILY EXERCISE right off my list for the day. However..while it is doable for me... during school breaks. It's not possible for me...during when school is in session/during the school week. But that's just me personally...because given, I make breakfast and obento during the school week. And I already wake up at 5:20am as it is and time wise...I am cutting things quite close, some days and other days I am ahead of schedule...and that varies...how much time I have to spare from day to day...meaning is the lunch easy that day or is it more time consuming that day...or did I wake up on time or did I hit the snooze...just so many variables. Depending...how with it...I am on a particular day. So when schools in session/during the school week... for me personally. I get my walks in...while my laundry is washing in the laundry room upstairs and after the boys have already been driven to school. That just works best for me. Because my house between 5:20am and 7am, I am like a busy twirling tornado of busy-ness. I can't possibly fit anything else in that time frame. I just can't. However...after the boys are at school and while my laundry is washing up...I have 38 minutes exactly, until it beeps, the amount my laundry takes to run through the regular wash cycle. That is for me...my best time to get my walk in. However...during spring breaks...when I have no crazy busy morning tornado thing happening. I can just wake up..in the quiet of the house...strap on my music and hit the treadmill hard.  
Everyone in our house is big time... loving these choco banana ice cream cups. These are 88 yen at Cainz/Besia. And such a great price. 

Pic from making dinner one night during spring break. I was making an Indian dish. I use a sauce, I buy from Cainz/Besia and it's really good. I will try and post a pic of the bottle next time. I skillet fry some chicken breast. Like 2-3 minutes on each side and flip. 

I made this in quick little batches and let any few dots of oil drip down because I really want this to be as healthy... as can be but *without* sacrificing the flavor. Sacrificing good flavor, just not something I am willing to do.


A very very light dusting of flour. 

This dish is so good and I like how the bright green broccoli just pops in this dish, colorwise. My family really likes this dish a lot. And the flavor is totally on point.


What else did we do during our spring break? We had our first family backyard BBQ of 2016! Branden likes to start the fire/grill now. Since last year, he's liked lighting it up. Noboru is always back there with them. But Bran loves getting the BBQ grill all nicely set up. And because he does, little brother now does too. : ) The bright side is, it is a good skill for the boys to know how to do. : ) Their future wives will be totally appreciative of all the good useful things they can do. Like change a flat tire or switching summer to winter tires. Start the BBQ grill. Good useful skills to know. : ) 

Noah taking a little soccer break. Noboru meanwhile telling Bran, "always remember to never put your meat down when the fire looks like this." Always wait for it do die down some and the coals get really hot and then he pointed out what the charcoal SHOULD look like...when it is time to start laying the meat down. And now Bran knows. : ) 

Tong in one hand and a soccer ball at Noah's foot. 

You guys are doing such a fantastic job! 

Noboru does all the actual grilling outside. We had 3 types of meat. I had chicken breast, the boys had rosu (red lean) beef. Noboru had a different cut of meat, his personal fave. It was just a nice simple family backyard BBQ. Smiles from Bran as he talked with his brother.

We baked a yellow cake together, the kids and I.

Yellow cake and chocolate frosting.

What else did we do during Spring break? We played Monopoly! OMG, you guys! This was such a hard fought battle! Noboru sadly couldn't join us, he had work. But the kids and I played for what...6-7 straight hours! We played this, the day we baked the cake, we played this from afternoon to near 9:45pm at night.

Noah smiled so much during this game! Enjoying the family board game night!

I hate to say it. But, I won! And I won big! By the time we were done, the kids were so bankrupt, you guys. They fought a good match! They tried their best! I felt so bad! But it's just a game. Usually one of the kids wins. But, on this day/evening, I won, go figure. 

But the fun we had playing this game! Such fun! Such good quality time spent with my boys!

Gee, even Noboru returned and we were still playing. He changed into his comfy clothes and used his tablet while watching us. 
Because April means a new school year for us in Japan. I made sure Branden got a new pair of school shoes for JHS. Our school rules want... pure white without any dot of color at all. Different schools have different rules. 

Japanese size 28cm. American size men's 10. My 14 year old is a growing boy!

Noah meanwhile always gets new wash rags from me every April and every school break. I make sure to buy the ones with the area/spot... where you can write your name. Not all rags have that area. I always make sure ours... have the name label area. 

Not all hats have a name label already on the hat. Most do, but not all do. I make sure our hats always have that name label area. 

Noah's new school items. New inside shoes, cleaning rags and hat. Branden got new inside shoes in late February 2016. So he recently got a new pair. : )

Kids in elementary school must have a handkerchief and a small pack of tissues on them daily, while at school. So, Noah has hankies already, but I liked this one when I saw it and added this one to his collection. A very popular character in Japan. 

Noah's things...

Noah's 5th grade Japanese (kokugo) textbook.


Noah's 5th grade math (sansu) textbook. 



Noah's 5th grade social studies (shakai) and science (rika)


Appreciating and learning what farmers do. They do a lot! : ) 

Learning what the fisherman do.

The beautiful and gorgeous Japanese countryside.

These textbooks are so cool. So informative. Which parts of Japan does the rice come from. All of the kids in Noah's class know that our town grows lots of rice. In fact, our area is listed on this map as a "rice growing" area. Maybe they can read this and have a lively discussion about this in class.

A very nice picture of a rice farmer. Just tons and tons of respect for what they do!

Gosh, Noah is going to learn so many cool new things this year! This map I also LOVED seeing! A whole map of Japan and where does such and such vegetable come from, fruit, peaches, grapes, apples carrots, cattle, pigs, fish. Again...just a super informative map! The 5th graders this year are going to have such fun in social studies class! 

Typhoons! Weather! Noah will be learning so many new things in science class this year!

The life span of a morning glory.


Noah's class already had the birds and the bees talk in class in the 4th grade. However after looking over his science textbook, I see they will delve a little more. Here we have, human mothers.

And here is an elephant mama. : ) Cool, again Noah will be enjoying this 5th grade quite a bit, I am sure. Just so many cool things to learn.

When I saw this page, I instantly remembered when Branden's class did this! Bran's class walked to a nearby rice field since we live in the Japanese countryside and they each collected some water with their teacher. The week before, everyone in the class brought home a note... we each knew our child had to bring a cleaned 2 liter bottle of tea. Rectangular in shape of a bottle. So it doesn't roll. They collected the water sample. And brought it back to the school and checked the water and looked under a microscope of all the little organisms and things you can't see with the naked eye. But wow...I remember clearly Branden loved that in science class. He came home telling us... how many things were moving under the microscope. How many things were alive in the water. Then the week after Bran's teacher took the kids to a slow moving stream and with the same used 2 liter bottles they collected some small fish. And again they checked the water under a microscope. So yeah...seeing this in Noah's textbook. Makes me...sort of know...what's coming up. : ) 



So anyways as I was flipping through Noah's science book. I saw this page. Super smart robots. And a very cool 100% electric car/ EV car. And I knew right away, that's a Nissan Leaf! That's like Olive's sister, in the picture! I told the kids that and they laughed! Noah said, he can't wait until they hit this chapter. Because his classmates can learn how cool his family's car is. : ) I thought that was cute that he thought that. : ) 


All of Noah's new school textbooks.

Noah's Home EC (kateika) textbook.

The kids at our elementary school have been sewing and cooking for years, you all know that already. But this year... it's official and Noah will get to order a sewing kit and the whole kit and caboodle basically. : ) He's very excited about it! Because when Branden was in the 5th grade, he really liked Bran's sewing kit a lot. Branden had a lot of choices to pick from and he picked a really cool surf design. So, Noah hopes to get a cool sewing kit too. 


A picture inside of the Home EC book.

Kids learn so many useful things at school here in Japan! : )


The back of the Home Economics textbook. I love that the kids will be learning the correct/right/proper way to hold a knife and the right ways to cut different veggies.


I also put name stickers on every single one of Noah's new textbooks, I did that to Branden's too. I did white out our last name. But you get the idea. : ) Anyway, that's what we did during our spring break 2016. : )  And some of the prep we did before both Branden and Noah started a new school year. : ) Like putting name stickers on new textbooks, etc. : )