Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fall and Winter clothes shopping for the boys. Their Fall Haul...

October 15th, the fam-bam and I went to spend our afternoon getting a bigger jump start on some Fall and Winter clothes for Branden and Noah. Our first stop was Old Navy. Now, I have said it before but I better say it again, just in case any of you have missed it. Old Navy is leaving Japan forever this December. Old Navy decided to pull out of Japan completely. Sad for us here in Japan. However if you want to do any winter clothes shopping for your kids or for yourself before they leave. Go before they leave. You have about a solid month. From what I read...and some locations are closing up already. So, seriously if you need anything from there... before they leave, now is the chance. And of course, I don't think this needs saying but...clearly I have no connection to Old Navy or Gap other than....I shop there. I'm a consumer. I get no kick backs for mentioning it. It's just...if I can help someone by giving any of you a heads up. Then it was worth it for me to waste 2-3 sentences to let ya'll know. : ) Just... if I can help other foreigners with info...by all means. I will try my best! : ) Anyways...back to our day. October 15th, we drove to Old Navy in Tsukuba. I have 2 Old Navy's near-ish to me. One in Inzai/Chiba New Town however I find it smaller and the clothes and store itself..are hard to shop there. Everything seems so compressed and the lay out of their racks etc just drives me nuts! And I worked retail at a clothing store all through high school! I do however...prefer the lay out of the Tsukuba store better and it is exactly like an Old Navy you'd see in the US. Pictured up above is the Old Navy in Tsukuba. After shopping there we went to H&M which is right next door to Old Navy. That advertisement in this picture to the right with a mom and her daughter is..H&M. After H&M, we picked up some Mc D's and headed to another mall in Tsukuba because this mall where Old Navy is...has no Uniqlo. Weird this mall has zero Uniqlo. However no worries we went to Uniqlo and then to a 3rd location...the Gap outlet. Then we called it a day shopping wise and headed to eat some ramen at our favorite shop. I had the spicy ramen, tantanmen. Everybody else picked shoyu.
At Old Navy they had a sale. Not sure if it's because they're going out of business or what but..if you buy 2 things you get the 2nd one...or cheaper of the two, half off. And us being smart figured. If we buy say for example...8 items...why should we just get 1 item 50% off. Why not try and make it as cheap as possible. So that's what we did. You see how we have many small bags from Old Navy? We gave Noah some cash. And he went and bought 2 things/items. Got the 2nd one 50% off. Then we gave Bran cash too, he was in line behind Noah...we actually were all in line... behind one another. And so it was actually smarter to get 4 things 50% off this way... versus just getting 1. 

Men's sweatpants for Bran. For American size wise he's a men's large and it is plenty big. Slightly baggy and comfy for him to wear around the house. These were near $30 however this was cheaper than Branden's jacket. So they only give you the cheaper item 50% off, so Branden actually got these sweatpants for like 1500 yen so like US $15! And yes, if we can get 50% off, as many items as we can, why the hell not!

Branden fell in love with this jacket. He got this in a large too. And this was full price, he bought the jacket and sweatpants together, so got the sweats 50% off, which was still quite a fantastic deal. And these 2 long sleeve tops to the left in a men's size large, one was 50% off. And I went and checked out for those 2 shirts.

From Uniqlo, Bran picked 2 new pair of undies. We wanted another print too but they didn't have his size. Japanese size wise he's an XL and American size wise he's a L.

Noah was lucky to get these 50% off, these are sweatpants. 

On Old Navy online on the US website, some mom said these were perfect for her skinny son. And I also have a hard time finding clothes for my skinny minnie too... having such a skinny son is hard to find clothes for...I know. Noah has always had to cinch his waste band to the smallest...on those waste cincher things inside kids shorts or pants. Or buy a slim fit. So when she mentioned these being better for slim boys. I appreciated that. So, I made sure to look for these for Noah, so he got a pair of these too. I love the bright red wording and these almost look like denim colored sweats. Such cute sweatpants.

Again Old Navy is leaving Japan so we picked these orange shorts for Noah in the size he'll be next year.

A beautiful aquamarine colored top. 

Size Large 10-12 for Old Navy is a size large. And fits my 11 year old perfectly.

However at Gap a large is only a size 10 and too small for Noah, so he has to wear an XL at Gap, since he needs the size 12, since he's 11. Just something...I always have to make sure and double check. This came from Gap.

A very cute Gap USA long sleeve. With a dancing hamburger and a dancing hot dog on the shirt.

And Gap New York.

So 3 long sleeve tops to add to Noah's closet. It's long sleeve shirt weather already.

I really love the pajamas available at Uniqlo. Why? Because their prices are super fair..at only 1990 yen for both a top and bottom set. So the price is affordable. Also, they have all different weights of material for their PJ's. They have thin material PJ's. All the way to the thickest heaviest fleece PJ's. So if your house or apartment in Japan has no central heating. No worries at all. Your child can be warm and toasty with a pair of super thick super soft... super warm cute PJs. Uniqlo is available all over Japan and for a set for only 1990 you really can't beat that price. They call these,,,,"room wear"...see this one says...a room set. My 11 year old wears the XL size. And we prefer the lighter material pair of PJ's and that's only because we have floor heating and central heating at our house and our kids would melt to death...flat out bake... if they wore fleece PJs. So this matches our living conditions best in our home. But...they have all sorts of different thickness in PJs. And the prices are super duper! I picked Noah the gray and red striped pair. Pure gray bottoms and a stripey preppy top. He has been wearing these to night night...or to sleep every single night. : ) Probably next month I'll pick him up a 2nd pair. 

They have sizes from little 2 year olds all the way to adults. : ) 

So this is Noah's pajama set. 

Noah's classmates all wear neck warmers. This one came from Uniqlo it's that special Heattech material. The kids run in the mornings to practice for the "marathon" and all the kids use these. Noah had one last year from a different store, but we saw this one and he asked for it. So he has been using this one. They are useful for him, since he runs in the mornings at school with his classmates. : ) 

Jeans at Uniqlo for 1500 yen. So super cheap prices. Fair prices. Quality is like Gap for sures. 

We picked Noah twin jeans. Hahaha. : ) Uniqlo jeans. 

I had to check H&M. It's because I really like that store. And I found a really great pair of boots for myself. So Noboru bought them for me.

My foot is a size 9. But I bought these in a size 9.5 because winter means thicker socks. Seriously..if you have size 8 1/2 feet or 9 feet...and you live in Japan and have a hard time finding shoes. Since in Japan women have like size 6 teeny tiny feet. Fwiw, my mom has a size 6 foot, lol. And fwiw, my feet were a size 8 until I had kids. And considering I only gained like 20 pounds each pregnancy and lost it almost immediately. It's just the feet. My feet went bazonkers. LOL. 

I have been wanting a pair of flat or no heel type of suede boots for ages. I looked all over last year. I even ordered a pair from a Japanese shop online last year... but when they got to my house, I hated them in person...they were really cheap looking and not cute. So, I sent them back. So, when I walked in to H&M, I saw these and was like..awww. Like a squeal. And I know they have lots of sizes at H&M. And sure enough they had a size that I even have room for a thick pair of socks inside. : ) With a pair of black leggings or skinny jeans. These will be really cute.

And the price is what...4999 yen. Like US $48! Or $49! That's not a bad price for such cute shoes. 


They also have the cheapest hair clips in town. 50 cents each clip, 100 yen for 2. I always pin my hair in 1 clip while I cook dinner. Since my hair is a LOB (long bob)...anyways...did we finish our Fall and winter clothes shopping? Nope. But we're getting there. The first start was in Denver. Bran's  2 pair of Levi's from the outlets and 2 Gap sweatshirts for Bran and a few things for Noah too in Denver too. So...this is our 2nd jump towards Fall and winter clothes shopping. Not 100% done but again...we're getting there. : )

I'm making taquitos tonight. Refried beans, Spanish rice. Everything from scratch. Dinner tonight will be bomb dot com! What else is there to say? Noah and the 5th grade kids in our housing community did trick or treating today at 10am, was when it started. Noah was in his costume so were his classmates. And he brought home a really good sized haul of stuff. I had about 15 kids ring my bell. And I did pass out treats. What else...tonight we're going to a Halloween party/ meet up at 4pm. It's in our town. And then after that we'll come home and have supper. I will be prepping everything dinner wise in the day time. So when we get home... dinner will be pretty much 98% done. Have a fantastic Halloween weekend everyone. We will be watching scary movies all this weekend on cable. And have some popcorn and treats. : ) 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday, October moments captured from 2010...

Noah picking out a small little pumpkin to take to his class back in October 2010! The mini pumpkins always seem to have stickers for Jack O'Lantern faces. Every year I buy 2 mini pumpkins for the boys to bring to their classes. Their teachers always enjoy them every year, as well as their classmates too! And we were also buying our Halloween pumpkin as well, since our family carves one every year! We're lucky in that there's a place in Inzai that sells them every year and 980 for a big one is always a fair price, for living in Japan! Of course if we lived in the US, they'd be way cheaper of course, that goes without saying. : ) We picked the bigger one near Noah's arm with the stickers on it. : ) That's the one we carved that year. : ) 
Also in October of that same year 2010! Branden received and earned his swimming trophy! He was very excited, honored and proud! He worked very hard for this! : ) Noah has one too. : ) I also love our Fall wreath that was hanging in the background of this pic and this is also the same wreath that's hanging on my front door right this second. With Fall time leaves, 2 scarecrows and a few butternut squash. Aww. : )

In other news. Current what's up with us news. As ya'll know Bran's birthday was yesterday. October 26th! Yay! He's 15 years old right now. Can you believe it? I can barely believe it myself! : ) We went out to the restaurant of his choice last night to celebrate as a family. And we had a handmade ice-cream cake from Nagano last night after supper. It was a nice quiet low-key birthday, but very special just family. : ) And his present. He got a brand new cell phone. Asus Zenphone 3, a gold one. A really nice phone. Umm, what else. I voted last week! I was pretty happy I voted online. Anyways...in other less interesting news...lol...I baked a loaf of banana bread from scratch the other day. Mopped my kitchen floors. And today...I scrubbed under my washing machine. Holy moly was it yucky under there, but now...it's awesome under there. Just...you know...slowly but surely getting the Fall time cleaning done. Weather update...last night coming home from dinner my temperature on my phone said 58 degrees F. So the nights are not...dead of winter...a blizzard is here. If you know what I mean. But...it's definitely...chilly at night. Definitely a crisp bite to the air. You may not need a winter coat just yet. But a pair of jeans and a long sleeve top and maybe a sweatshirt...is the type of weather at night. In the day time...a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt is enough. A little too hot in the day time to need the sweatshirt just yet. But you know...just to give you an idea. The day time has been 68-72 F type of weather. : ) But the nights are definitely starting to cool down. : ) Alrighty you guys. Have a great Thursday. : ) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Costco in Japan info share, looks like we have bacon again. Finally!!! And the Thanksgiving turkeys are in stock...

As you all know, for my specific nearest Costco. Costco Chiba New Town, I have been on turkey watch 2016! LOL. : ) As in...I have been checking once a week to give you all the heads up! Again if your Costco in Japan had them earlier than this...then good for you, you're lucky. : ) For our specific Costco though... they made their appearance last week! I count 7 in this picture. And I spoke to a lady (Costco meat woman) and she said, they had more in the back. So that is awesome to hear! I did not buy one, as of yet. Because it's still too early for me to buy one. But they are here. Those American delicious Butterball turkeys came a *very* long way to reach us! So, yep, anyone needing a turkey? Not to worry they are here! Gobble Gobble Gobble. : ) 

About 10-11 years ago, Costco's in Japan sold American style bacon that gets all delicious and crispy. And then they just stopped selling it. Completely out of the blue. Just one day it was there and the next day, it was gone. And has not ever returned. Costco's in Japan sell microwave bacon from the US...but omg it tastes so funky weird! So for the most part we've been without bacon for our household unless we bring it into Japan ourselves and do the paperwork for it and get it cleared at customs. Which we are experts by now for doing that. But yes...it is a pain in the butt to have to go through that too though. Imagine my surprise when last week...I had went down an aisle at Costco that I had not gone down.. in about a month. I was down that aisle in September and it wasn't there. But..all October I have been just zipping in Costco scratching things off my list and leaving. Last week however I strolled so many aisles. And was shocked ...okay pleasantly surprised to see this! I was like...holy crap! I bought a pack. We had it over the weekend for breakfast and it's delicious! We will definitely be buying this twice a month from now on! I only hope...that they don't stop carrying this! : )

Costco cart pic. That handmade pasta is nearest my camera. 2 packs of chicken. Shredded cheese for Mexican food. Bacon. Umm what else... Costco amount of tortillas. Green chili is coming up soon. Big bag of potatoes far right. 4 frozen Costco pizzas. A cheesecake and something is hiding underneath that cheesecake. This cheesecake is called a cheese tart. But if you're American...this is a regular delicious cheesecake. It's so good.

These maple pecan danish are underneath. My friend, American mama good friend also living in Japan... rec'd me to try these. And ever since she told me to try these. We've been buying them ever since. She's right because these are so delicious. 

These are the best things to eat in Fall and Winter for breakfast. They don't seem to sell them in summer. But...that just makes these even more special...since they seem to be seasonal. : ) 

Noboru wanted me to get him the takoyaki. We get Costco emails weekly of what's on sale. And he mentioned wanting these since they were on sale last week. Hahaha. While I eat bologna and cheese sandwich or grilled cheese for lunch, Noboru if he's home for lunch (most of the time he's not) if he's home though..he is enjoying his octopus balls. For lunches he eats what he likes and I do too. We eat the same stuff for dinner though. : ) 
A couple years ago Coco Ichiban Curry sold a nabe here in Japan. For those of you not living in Japan or Hawaii. Coco Ichi Curry is a famous restaurant that sells curry. Delicious curry. Anyways...they started selling a curry nabe and it wasn't sold at their restaurants, it was sold at supermarkets all over Japan. Now slightly switching the subject lightly. In Japan....there is hidden seafood in so many foods that you would never even realize it. Unless you check. That is a post for another time... that yes I will write. But...the Coco Ichi nabe the first 2 years it sold here in Japan had zero fish or seafood...no dashi (fish broth) nothing. So, I happily bought it. In Japan, Japanese families look forward to eating nabe in a big communal pot at the dinner table and eating as a family. So families do really look forward to eating nabe. We enjoyed nabe...curry nabe those 2 years. I enjoyed it too. Then the 3rd year they sold it...the ingredients were changed and it now contained fish broth. I'm just not down for seafood at all. Like at all...at all (okay I do like shrimp and lobster but I don't want shrimp in a soup though or on my potato chips.) So, we stopped eating it. Which is a bummer. Anyways...so the day I went to Costco and saw the turkeys. This Besia is right next to Costco in Inzai/Chiba New Town. Anyways...I saw this. It's a curry soup. But after looking at the pictures on the back. There's that same ceramic pot and communal eating. I thought...you know what. We should try this. Oh and this has zero fish...zero anything from the sea. We have since tried it once and it's delicious! I have about 35-40 plus foreign mama really good friends in Japan that enjoy seafood. But I also have about 7 foreign mama friends who hate seafood as much as I do. So...this is for you. This has no seafood. If you see this packet. You may want to give it a shot. Again if you love seafood this obviously wouldn't be information you'd need. But again if you dislike seafood...you may really appreciate this info. Again as always just trying to help. : ) 

Close up pic. Ajinomoto makes this. There's 8 packets/base of soup. We used all 8 for our family of 4, for 1 nights worth. So...this may give you a round about idea of how much you'd need. Again...just trying to be helpful. I guess I could say absolutely nothing. But no..if I can help out...I will. : ) 

Yep we ate this in a pot and enjoyed our meal. Also...this expires in 2018. This makes me wonder...and worry...what if they too change their recipe/ingredients next year on this? I wonder if I should buy a few extras just to stock pile this a tad. That way...if next year they change the recipe...we will still have some of this one. Hmm. I might. : )

Just random other things I bought while at Besia that day. Frozen veggies and fresh veggies. I always keep frozen veggies in my freezer. This time I have...frozen corn, green beans and broccoli. And fresh bell peppers, onions, zucchini, carrot and frozen wedge fries. 

Best fries ever ever! From Hokkaido. Hokkaido is famous for potatoes, same how Idaho is. : ) Besia always has the cheapest fries. I prefer wedge fries, I'm not sure why, but they're my favorite. Anyways, 2 weeks ago, I was making "make your own Cheeseburger night" And needed fries. I went to the freezer section to buy the fries that I have been buying for ages. And they no longer sell the kind I used to buy, no worries. They now only sell these wedge fries. I bought them. These are honestly...the best french fries ever! I am not sure if these are so good because they are from smaller potatoes? Or what. Aren't smaller veggies supposed to be sweeter and tastier?  These were so delicious and they tasted almost sweet. Not sickening sweet. But...such delicious fries. And trust me...I have tried fries from all over. Anyways...these fries they sell at Besia are the best. I am so glad I tried them. So much so...I bought another bag last week. My 2nd time buying them. : ) Anyway...lots of information for just 1 post. : ) Happy Tuesday everyone! : )  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Noah's 5th grade Sports Day...

Sunday, September 25th was Noah's 5th grade undokai (sports day) at his local elementary school. This picture is of all 6 grades, every kid our school has. 249 kids for the entire school population. Our other town elementary school has like...and I'm being serious...no joke..only like 38 kids all 6 grades. @_@ Hahaha. So yes, a super tiny town (a town with no yochien and only 1 hoikuen, 2 elementary schools and 1 JHS and no high school). I know I am a bit late posting this, but I'm a firm believer in...better late than never! : ) 

I see you Noah!!! : )

The whole school makes 1 lap so all of us parents can take pics. The running 1 lap is always a bit tricky because I know they go from the oldest to youngest. Clearly I know Noah's a 5th grader. But it's just they run by so fast, that it's like a blur. And so you don't want to snap your picture TOO early and yet...you don't want to snap it so late...that you catch your child's back of head! Versus their face. So...this is always the moment I am like...holy goodness! I hope I snap a picture of my child! And not the back of their head instead! : ) So, what I do is snap a "continuous shot" on my sports setting and it goes like clickclickclick. Again...it could still clickclickclick some other kid! And not my kid. But...all you can do is click and hope for the best afterwards! This was the best shot I took and it's a fairly good picture! Noah's looking right at my camera...I captured his face. I did check back after they ran past us...and I was happy to see Noah's smiling face in that shot! I was like...phew...relief! : ) I did it! : ) 

 5th grade countryside boys enjoying their sports day...

The nice thing about Noah being such an extremely western looking hafu is that he is *so* easy to find on the field. We can find him immediately! In a sea of gorgeous little Japanese faces (I married a Japanese man so of course, I find their faces gorgeous). You see this one very western looking little boy and we instantly know...oh there's Noah! LOL. Easiest time *ever* finding our son on the field! : )

This was a fun one to watch! Go Noah!

Noah running. Officials smiling.

About to run in another race. Noah is really super fast. And he used to win races all the time. But I don't know what it is. When he was in the 3rd grade...Noah told me. "Mama, I'm not into running anymore"...And he's never really liked it ever since. Why? How come? I don't know. But...he's not into running anymore. Go figure. And that's okay. : )

On your mark...get set...

Serious intense running face right there! LOL. : )

Run kids run!

The big pants relay! Noah's running partner. She was cheering. She had a lot to say too.

Then Noah.. too had a lot to say. And they chit chatted. 

Then he realized... I had my camera on him and he smiled for me. And she was looking around and around then got to chit chatting with Noah again.

Okay there's Noah's serious...on your mark.. get set... go... face again! : )

Run Noah-chan! And awww, there's cutie pie Lily-chan back there smiling away and cheering for Noah! Because they're on the same team and also because they're superly good buddies. They are real good friends, Noah and her. She is so cute you guys! Like she's seriously *so* cute! : )

Good luck Noah and his running partner!

Fast as grease lightning in some gigantic yellow shorts! The bright side is...that's Noah's favorite color! Go figure. Hahaha. : ) 

Who is Noah giving the best... most smiley smile to?  While his brother of course! Branden adores Noah! And vice versa. They're both so super close! And he took so many pics of Noah and so many videos of Noah running the races during his undokai. 
Noah being a 5th grader this year means he helped out the younger grades on certain events. This was a race for future 1st graders. And they each got a notebook and a pencil. And Noah and his classmates each had a set number to give out to the newcomers that will attend here... this coming April. : )  Proud of you Noah! You are such a kind helpful senpai! Just like Branden is! : )

And again...who is Noah giving great big smiles to? Branden! Noah is so lucky to have such a fantastic big brother like Branden! It's such a peace of mind... knowing how close they are and how well they get along. 

Lunch time! We made it! Let's eat! : ) And right on for our Star Wars Force Awakens plates!: ) We had the usual picnic stuff. Karaage (Japanese style fried chicken) rice balls, salad, super sweet seedless American grapes. Potato salad and macaroni salad. Some tamagoyaki and meatballs for Noboru. We also had lemonade. Frozen pouch drinks for the kids. Cake. To me...lunch time means...half way done. We have now completed undokai half way. We're half done. And now it's going to go quickly and before you know it...it'll be over. And we will have wrapped up one more of these! So definitely lunch time for me...is sort of like half time for me. : ) 

Our family was eating. Enjoying our meal. 

Sorry Noah...I didn't mean to catch you mid chew. Beautiful big eyes though! : ) 

After lunch, Mr. Gorgeous rested on the leisure sheet. And drank his slushy/ half frozen Qoo. 

Marching band time! It always amazes me, how all kids in Japan learn to play instruments from the 1st grade. Noah can play the pianica and recorder very well! And so can the rest of the school! They can also... all read sheet music! I love Japanese elementary school. : ) They learn so many things.

Go you, cool and groovy kids! You are all awesome!

Hi Noah! And hi little sweetheart on the left! Aww. : )


They played like 4-5 different songs. The Totoro theme song. The Mickey Mouse Club song. All sorts of songs. These kids all truly dazzled!

A first for Noah. The 5th graders had to go and run and pull this log from the opposing team. Am I the only mom worried about splinters? Hahaha! Sorry...not sure if this is...American momma/mama type worry I have. Or what! But seriously...I would hate for my kid to get a 2 inch splinter in his hand! Hahaha. Fwiw...to my knowledge nobody at our school... all Branden's years or Noah's years..nobody has ever got one...but it's still something that instantly goes into my mind on this event! : )

And 2 teams running for the same exact log! Very exciting to watch!
We went out to yakiniku to celebrate after Noah's Sports Day! : )