Thursday, February 23, 2017

A quick update...

Happy Friday everyone! TGIF! The weekend is just about to kick soon as the kids come home from school. Then it's time for our weekend to kick into gear! Yes!!! I can't wait! : ) Anyway it's Friday...der...just said that. My dad left Japan Wednesday, he flew back home... first class to tropical and gorgeous Guam. He's back at home. Visiting with friends since he's been gone for officially 1 month... visiting our family in Denver, Colorado and in Japan (us here) It was a wonderful trip. And I'm so glad my dad was here to spend Saturday to Wednesday morning with us. Anyways...what's up with this picture? Well, my dad's 69 years old. He'll be 70 this coming August. August 3rd. And he's pretty up to date for his age group. He has a lap top. He chats with all his friends and family that way. Emails. And he Skypes me every single day, we communicate daily. But the one thing... my dad doesn't do is use a cell phone. I think because....unless he's traveling or vacationing. He's home and has a land-line. And if he's not home, and is on vacation... he uses his laptop and Skypes. So for the most part... he's never been interested in a cell phone. My dad though for his age online and he is very comfortable with his laptop and being online. But yeah he has avoided cell phones. My mom (my parents are divorced) on the other hand is 62 and she uses a cell phone daily... in fact she has 2. And she uses a computer. And is very tech savvy. My dad too is lap top savvy, lol. Just...he has never felt the need for a cell. And to be my dad. He has friends and family his age... who don't even use computers and won't and have zero interest in them. dad was in the kitchen. Noboru was in there, I think you see a snippet of Noboru's arm in this pic. And Noah's finishing his supper. And the rest of us already finished our dinner. And my dad asks Branden about cell phones. My dad tells Branden..."Branden, I think this is the year for grandpa to get a cell phone and figure out how to use one!!!"  "So that is one of my goals for 2017!" Aww. How cute!!! : ) Branden and Noah both...*love* grandpa. Adore him to absolute pieces. So Branden ran upstairs and brought down his cell phone and showed it to grandpa. And grandpa, see if you can get an idea via my cell. So, my dad asked Bran...does this have a camera? He said, of course grandpa and he showed him where and how to use it. Noboru chimed in and said..."cells today are like mini computers." : ) And so Noah chimed in and said..."let grandpa ask your phone a question." So my dad asked Bran's cell phone. "How far away is the sun from earth?" And his phone replied back in perfect American English...with the answer and the whole bit! Anyways...this pic and my story of what chatter happened that's nothing major or serious. It's just to day type stuff. YKWIM. Like...grandpa deeply thinking about getting himself a cellphone for the first time ever...this is his year! Grandpa the year 2017, the year he will get himself a cell phone. : ) Hahaha. And the whole family...just supporting him. Helping him. Seeing and looking at Bran's and realizing...cell phones do all that? Yep..yes they do. These little moments all patched together make life so fun. So interesting. So amazing and real. : )  We love you dad. And I know you love us. So yep...he left back home on Wednesday. And honestly... it's been just a very chill...relaxing week. We're looking forward to the weekend. For sure though too. : ) 

I haven't made dessert in about 7-8 days (last time was the apple crisp). Last night after supper...Noah said..."mama, you haven't made dessert in a very long time." @_@ Hahaha. I are right kiddo. And I will fix that, I promise! Tomorrow after school...when you get home...there will be something dessert-y waiting for you. Okay? He smiled and said okay. : ) So this morning as soon as the kids went to school. I threw this cake in the oven for 33 minutes on 350 degrees F. And I treadmilled until the oven beeped. And then I got off. Let the cake cool. Threw my laundry from the washer into the dryer. And I vacuumed the upstairs. The stairs themselves. And also vacuumed the downstairs. Swooshed the downstairs toilet. Washed my hands. Folded the laundry. Frosted this cake. And wiped the sink upstairs down in the laundry room. And called it a cleaning wise. I only walked 33 minutes today on my treadmill. Oh least I got half of my daily exercise done for today. I also...managed to prep 85% of dinner. So it's pretty much done. We're having a pot of beans and a pot of pork green chili. And we have 2 dozen tortillas. And a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for dessert. The beans are done. The pork is almost done in the oven. And the roasted chili we grew last year is defrosted. Dinner will be finished.... super easy as soon as the boys get home from school. Noboru will be missing dinner. But, I fixed him a huge lunch this afternoon before he left for work. I'm feeling pretty good because the house is clean. Dinner is nearly finished. It'll only take about 20 minutes to complete after the kids get home. So...seriously just about done with that. And the kids and I have a plan to watch the movie called... "A Dog's Purpose" tonight here at home. Have a great weekend everyone. : )

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Homemade apple crisp. Bought the cutest rice bowls from Costco. We watched Doctor Strange. Noah was invited to a yochien class reunion. Plus enjoying my dad’s visit in Japan right now...

How's everyone doing? As for me here. Pretty great. My dad's here visiting. The kids are at school, although Bran gets out today at 10:40am. 9th graders sure get off early their last few months of school as 9th graders here. I have a free 45 minutes and I figured it's the perfect time to get my blog up to date. You know how in Japan...Pringles potato chips are pretty popular. Meanwhile... Frito Lay is a popular chip brand in the USA. Calbee is a hugely popular well known brand for chips here in Japan. However they have always sold just regular normal bags of potato chips. And about 3 weeks ago, I saw these. I thought...what a fantastic idea! Calbee making a Pringles type of chip too. Perfect idea. So, I bought 2 packs, 1 for BrannyB and 1 for Noah. And after they munched them, I asked them. How did you like them? They both said they were delicious! And would be happy if I bought them again. And the price, at my local store was 78 yen a pack. And I saw them at a different store yesterday for 80 yen. So about 75 cents US. 

What else...oh yes, I also made an apple crisp. I made this last week. 
This was our cart pic from when....about 10-12 days ago? Around there. Noboru was with me and he bought the chocolates for me. And let's see...what's in the cart. A 2 pack of milk. A 2 pack of Pace salsa. Organic tortilla chips. Tortillas underneath the eggs. Eggs. Lean ground beef and a pack of bowls. Rice bowls.
These bowls caught my eye as soon as I entered the store. And so many Japanese women were also instantly stopped oohing and ahhing at these too. And I was oohing and ahhing right along. For one thing, the price was 1400 yen for the pack of bowls... so they were affordable. And another thing is...we all use rice bowls in Japan. And sure...every family likes to have cute ones. Some families even have their own special rice bowels for each person in the house. We in our house... don't have set bowls for set people. But we do like cute ones. And usually you can find one with a cute outside but a plain inside. Or vice versa. But to find a rice bowl with a gorgeous design outside and a gorgeous design inside too. It's just...really unusual. And very cool actually. So I jumped on my chance and picked up a pack of them. 

Like it says...uniquely designed with beautiful patterns inside and out. Exactly. And the mix and match so cool.  And 6 is a good amount. 

And dishwasher *and* microwave safe helps in the modern world. 

So pretty and unique. I am just in love with our rice bowls. : )

The day before my dad got here, the kids and I watched the new movie at home...Doctor Strange. 

He was a brilliant doctor. Surgeon who...needs his hands. His living is his hands. He was in a horrible car accident because he was texting and driving. And look at his hands. Totally ruined. His life of a surgeon, gone.

He heard of some healer who could help him.

She taught him many things.

She sent him to the top of a mountain to use his power to make it back. To show him...he had the power too.

He was either going to freeze to death or use magic to get back. 

He used it and he got back. Phew. : ) I won't say the ending or the main parts of the story only to say. It was a really good movie. : )

This is what we bought the day we went to Loft, in Tsukuba, Ibaraki. 

You know how I always say they have a sale most of the time at Gap... mostly 30% off. Well this day it was 50% off. And I love getting quality clothes and super cheap prices. We paid 1900 yen about US$18 dollars. Saving money and still getting cute clothes makes me happy. : )

I love that preppy button and the jean shorts are really nice. Noah will be wearing these this coming Summer or as soon as it gets warm enough for shorts. Maybe in late May. : ) 

And then my dad arrived Saturday at 3pm. He told me...I read on your blog that you were looking for the coconut Girl Scout cookies. And I was like...yeah, I was. : ) And he said, I brought you back a box! Aww. How nice! Thank you dad. 

And my dad told me... that my auntie had asked him to give this to me. : ) dad and I just had toast and yogurts and coffee. He just jumped out of the shower. And I am about to jump in the shower now...that he is out. I just wanted to pop on real quick. Just quickly update...the regular day to day type stuff we've been doing. Yesterday afternoon all 5 of us went to Saizeriya for lunch, lol.

Noah received a post card in the mail about 2 weeks ago asking for him to attend a yochien school reunion. They never had this for Branden's years or anything. And I was talking to my friend when we went to the movies to see "The Accountant" about it. And even showed her the postcard. She also has 2 older daughters too and they never had this reunion for her children's years either. We both wished they had. : ) But...perhaps they just started it for Noah's graduation year? And the grades younger too? Oh well. The bright side is...they started this. And I think it's fantastic! A kindergarten school reunion. Hahaha. : ) It's March 29th or something. And you have to RSVP whether you will be attending or not. We did fill it back and Noah will be attending his yochien class reunion, hahaha. : ) Anyway...I think it sounds like fun. And I look forward to it.. because most 99% of Noah's classmates live in the small city nearest us. And only like 2 live in our town and 1 being Noah. will be nice to catch up with our friends. : )  We can't wait. : )

Anything else to add? It snowed yesterday (Sunday), or the night before while we were sleeping. We woke up and there were about 2 inches of snow on the ground all over...everywhere. My dad was surprised. However by 11am Sunday, it was completely melted and gone. We've been having Japanese for dinner the last 2 nights my dad has been here. So, we're having tostadas tonight. : ) Anyway...I better go. Just wanted to say hi and catch up a bit with you all. : ) 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Throwback Thursday, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children back in October 2016. And grandpa is coming to Japan this weekend for a visit...

Happy TBT everyone! Today's... throwback is NOT from way way back in the day at all. It's just from about 4 months ago. This movie just came out for us in Japan, February 3rd. A lot of our Japanese friends have been going to enjoy this. In fact...we had even been invited to watch it with some friends of ours. However, we have already seen it. We went and saw this in October in Guam. No wonder so many of our friends have been going to see this though...understandably so because.... it's a really good movie actually. A *very* good movie. One I would most definitely watch while on a flight to the US. For sure. And Miss Peregrine in particular is fantastic! Though all the characters were very interesting, I really thought Miss Peregrine was fantastic and her style was just...really cool. : )  So just a throwback to the boys on the day we went to go and enjoy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children back on October 10, 2016. 
This movie as you can tell by the American poster came out September 30th. Interesting that it didn't come out for us in Japan until February 3rd. Oh well...sometimes the movies here are super hella delayed and sometimes they come out the same day as the US. That's okay just keeps things interesting! : )

Anyway after 3 weeks of my dad visiting and sight-seeing all over Colorado and also visiting with our family in Denver. Arvada and Westminster to be more precise. : ) But he's going back to gorgeous tropical Guam. However...since he'll be passing through Japan anyway. And he's flying non-rev and is retired... which means he has the beauty of flexibility...meaning... he can come and go any ol' time he wants. He will be spending about 4 or 5 days with us. So he will be here this weekend. And the kids can't wait! They haven't seen grandpa since November for Thanksgiving. Though it's just been a few months. My kids are used to seeing grandpa every 3 months. And they miss him already so they can't wait. So if my blog should get a bit quiet. Just know, I will have my dad here in Japan and he's visiting. : ) I will try my best to keep blogging while he's here. But...if it should go quiet for a you'll know why. You'll go...oh yeah that's right, she mentioned her dad was coming for a visit. : ) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017...

Did everyone have a nice Valentine's Day? We did. It of course was typically very low key. But then again... ya'll know that's so *us* and our style anyway. : ) This is going to be a super short post. This bag held Noboru's Valentine's Day gift from me. Yes it came from the Loft. 

The thing I love about Japan... is they have free gift wrapping and wrapped it up and everything in under like 3 minutes. I even got to pick up the blue color of the gift bag and the label. : ) They had different color gift bags and different styled labels too all for free... since I purchased the cup there. : ) 

We don't go super fancy here at our house. We go for practical and more's the thought that counts. : )  I knew...Noboru definitely needed a new coffee mug for here at home. His is like 15 years old. It's been chipped twice because of him dropping it on accident twice in 14-15 years. So he definitely needed a replacement. However...I wanted one that reminded me of Noboru. One that when you saw it... you thought that's *so* Noboru. Do you know what I mean? Does that make sense? So, I have been quietly looking for a coffee cup for Noboru since the beginning of January. I checked 2 Starbucks. I would have loved a Starbucks one myself. didn't seem to say or remind me of....Noboru at all. I looked high...I looked low. I looked everywhere. I checked malls in Inzai. Malls in Ibaraki. Remember when I went to the closing sale of Old Navy and didn't buy anything? Yep...I even checked way back then for a coffee cup. I was talking to a girl friend of mine 2 weeks ago... who lives in Ibaraki. And she suggested I check Loft. And so...we were going to the mall anyways....and so I checked in there. And sure enough. This is *so* Noboru. And when I see this cup at home...I know this isn't any one's in this houses cup but HIS. And I knew he would love it. I much thought and effort looking for the perfect coffee cup for him and I knew instantly as soon as I saw this...yes he would love it. It only cost 1200 yen. About $11 US. And that shouldn't doesn't matter. What matters is...I knew he would love it. And when he unwrapped it Valentine's morning. He instantly smiled and he totally loves it. So that made me happy. Finding my sweetie pie... something he needed and would love. And it's a simple gift too. : ) 
My 2 sons! My kiddos. I never forget them. And I never go all out. It's just...I like to buy them a little something something. You know what I mean. Just a little something to brighten their V-Day and let them know..."mom loves you! And she always has your back!" : )  The Little Fujiya heart is like a Mr. Goodbar. And the gold box has a good little variety and assortment of little chocolates. And they were really happy to not have been forgotten by me. And nope...they weren't! : ) 
What did Noboru get me for Valentine's Day this year? He bought me a box of my favorite chocolates in the world...they're available in Japan but he bought them at Costco in Japan. I love these so much. We all thought of each other. We all kept things super low key as always. And we all really enjoyed Valentine's Day at our house. I made a really good dinner. And we just relaxed and watched good TV after dinner. Anyway...I hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day too.  : ) 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bits and pieces...

Did everyone have a nice weekend? We had a fantastic weekend here. Stayed home Friday and Saturday ate delicious food and watched amazing new release movies at home and good TV. Yesterday, we all went to Tsukuba City and went to the Gap and to LOFT. I bought Noboru's Valentine's gift at LOFT, while they were preoccupied looking for stuff. Anyway, I have a little bit of misc pics that I have about 30 minutes of free time to get them up right now. What have I been up to? Honestly.. same stuff I am always up to. Cleaning the house like a crazy maniac 4 times a week and I do mean thorough super hardcore type stuff. Plus the light picking up daily and wiping down type stuff daily ykwim. : ) And cooking nightly etc. : ) I also have still been logging in my daily 10,000 steps or 4 miles for us Americans. Back in November I was logging half in the mornings and then logging the final half at night...for a nightly walk. But now my walking's switched again and I have been kicking out my walks first thing every morning on my treadmill here at home as soon as I drop the kids at school. I come home... throw a load in the wash and slap on my headphones and music on my phone and jump on my treadmill and walk for about 42 minutes or however long the washer runs for. And then I get off. Run upstairs and throw the load in my dryer. Run downstairs and clean the downstairs. Swoosh toilets... wipe the kitchen counters down with bleach and clean-up from breakfast and obento making. Vacuum. Then jump back on my treadmill to knock out the final whatever... how long I have to finish up. After that... I go and have some breakfast. Croissant or toast with peanut butter and banana with a side of yogurt and 1 cup of coffee. And then. I clean my house for about 2 solid hours hard core. Fold up my laundry. Jump in the shower. Scrub the shower first though... before I scrub my sweaty ol' self. And then I come out, blow dry my hair. Do my eyebrows with eyebrow mascara. Wear no other makeup most days. And I will have an hour break. I will rest or blog. And then I will prep for dinner. Do I have veggies or meat to marinate? Do I have to preset the rice cooker? And then I swing and pick up the kids. And that's honestly 4 days of my week. One of my days is devoted to doing my weekly grocery haul. And that's also my 1 day a week I'll eat lunch outside of the home. And that's 1 day of the week I won't treadmill. But frankly speaking... walking all over Costco and my various grocery stores I do get quite the workout anyways. : ) So this pic just means...4 days a week I focus on maintaining my healthy body. Being fit. Still respecting my body and making damn sure it's in good health. 
During one of my Costco runs, I have a Gap right in Inzai. And I pop in there from time to time. And they *always* seem to have a 30% off deal. And I like saving money, that makes me so happy. But I also like my kids looking cute too. So 30% off sales work for me. : )

February is still hella cold around our part of Japan and even March too. So bought Noah 2 new sweatshirts while Noah was at school on a random weekday. At Gap in Inzai. I thought this green sweatshirt was super cute. And I like the striped wrist and waist area. Nice detailing and love the American USA one too. : )

Noah's barely 11, so a size 12 is perfect. 

Loved the back detailing on this even more. These were only 1900 yen each. Quite the bargain for a good quality... name brand sweatshirt. : ) 

Shrimp happened. Cutlet for Noah. The Costco shrimp is a very good sized. And the flavor is really good. : )

I love the seasonal soft serve ice cream they sell at MiniStop, it's a convenience store here in Japan. They sold roasted sweet potato flavor last time and we tried that. A few weeks ago... they were selling banana with a chocolate sauce and the chocolate sauce hardened like a hard shell. Like DQ. With the hard chocolate shell dipped cones. Anyway, of course we had to try. I'm fun like that... with the family. I always let them try all the seasonal flavors. : ) And we're fond of banana ice-cream. This was so delicious!!! It's not being sold anymore, at least not at the one in my town. : ( But it was so good while they were available. Choco banana soft serve...delicious. : ) 

While I was doing my weekly shopping and at Besia/Cainz store... I saw these, little square tissue boxes and they reminded me of those Puffs tissue boxes in the US. These were only 99 yen. And while I buy our Kleenex tissue at Costco because of price.The cheap price. I saw these and the Batman ones. And I know what. I think I will buy both of my kids one, I will make the splurge. And so I did. They are identical and have cute Superman different patterns on the boxes. All around the box. I put one in Bran's bedroom and one in Noah's bedroom and they both noticed them as soon as they got home from school and they *love* these! I am so happy I bought these for them. 200 yen well spent. : )
Now that high school is in the bag. What has Bran been doing? He's back to being a kid again. Thank goodness. And he and his brother have been playing badminton and also tennis like crazy at the tennis courts up the street. However on this day... they just played badminton in our backyard. It's so nice to see them play together again. And now that Branden doesn't have to study his brains to death anymore...he's free to be a kid and I really think that's important. : )

The kids and I baked peanut butter cookies together from scratch last week. Me and Bran and Noah had such a great time baking these together. 

Setsubun happened in Japan too. And I bought 2 of these chocolate roll cakes with a bunny wearing an oni/demon mask. : )  The bunny is their regular mascot of these cakes and they're always 98 yen at my nearest store and they're so delicious. and inside is chocolate whipped cream.

TV talk and movie talk. The Blacklist is getting so good. And so is Emerald City. What movies have we seen lately? Storks was awesome, we saw that recently here at home. We also saw, "A Monster Calls" That's a good movie too! Storks is funny and I actually would buy the DVD for that one. A Monster Calls is a little more serious. And I don't think I would buy the DVD. But it's an excellent movie. And definitely worth watching. What were we watching on this night? We were watching the movie Passengers. I would not read ahead because there will probably be some spoilers. But I will not tell you the ending, I promise. But I do definitely...want to talk about the movie. And I don't want to possibly spoil anything for anyone either. So will just put this here. 1 ship full of people (like thousands) from earth on a ship planning on moving to another planet like 100 years away from earth or something like that. They're all asleep in sleep chambers Anyway 1 person accidentally wakes up. He wakes up because a huge asteroid hit their ship. And it jolts him awake. This is the guy from Guardians of the Galaxy. Anna Faris' husband. Chris Pratt.

He spent 1 full year awake all alone. He was so lonely. Like Castaway with Tom Hanks in a way. He did have a funny android bartender to talk to though. But he was seriously thinking of suicide until he saw another sleeping passenger and watched her video and felt like she was his soul mate or whatever and he contemplated should I wake her up... to keep me company or not? He chose to wake her up. Keep in mind if he wakes her up. She will basically die of old age before ever reaching the planet. So he essentially gives her a death sentence. Yet he chose to wake her.

Played by Jennifer Lawrence. 

She's sad she woke up. Very sad... but she accepts it, she thinks she is awake because of a malfunctioning sleep pod. She actually falls for Chris Pratt's character. BTW, Chris Pratt's character Jim. Confides in the bartender not to tell her...that he purposely woke her up. And he honors that and does not tell. And then one night. He foolishly tells the bartender....he and Jennifer Lawrence's character have *no* secrets between each other. And the android bartender asks him..."is that so?" And so while Jim goes to the bathroom... the bartender tells Jennifer Lawrence how Jim purposely woke her up. The bartender didn't do it out of meanness or with evil intent... he did it because he is an android and didn't say it... to cause trouble. you can imagine Jennifer Lawrence flips out. And she should! She should be pissed. 

In fact here she is... telling him off right now. And seriously...she has every right to be mad. 

The amazing nice bartender. Who truly meant no harm. 

Jim planted her a tree. 

Another crew member woke up but he died super soon. And turns out... the ship was jacked up with the asteroid hit. And do they fix the ship? Do they all die? I can't and won't ruin the ending at all. You just got to see it for yourself. Is it a fantastic movie? Yes it is. Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Would I watch it on a long haul flight for a second time? Probably. Would I buy the DVD? Probably not. But it's a really good movie though. This coming weekend we're going to watch the movie Split and the movie Jackie. And most definitely Doctor Strange too. It's nice to just sit at home and watch a good movie and relax. : )