Monday, September 04, 2017

Bits and Pieces...

I love these types of posts. The ones with all sorts of various different topics and sorts of things happening. A little something fun to read for everyone. All these things happened during Summer break. But didn't warrant a full post... all on their lonesome. The final DVD of my Amazon.com order that I placed in June arrived the first week of August. This was really funny. I adore Goldie Hawn so much. Loved her in the movie Overboard, probably my favorite Goldie Hawn movie besides Wildcats (and yes I know Overboard is being remade/ getting a reboot). "Death Becomes Her" was cute, but not my favorite but still okay. Deceived (nobody ever talks about this movie, but I personally really love this one) Wildcats (have this on DVD and have loved this since it first came out) Private Benjamin, also another good Goldie Hawn movie. I also really like Amy Schumer.

When did Bran get his last pair of Vans you guys? I blogged about it. I forget when. Was it May or June? His last pair. Anyway...Branden outgrew them. He needs a 10 and a half size now. That's American sizing. Since Vans are American, obviously. 

His last pair were 10's. But these are 10H which is a 10 and a half. I had to go to the Vans website and have Noboru check online at ABC Mart in Japanese for me. Branden's feet are normal size in the US, but too large a size to be found available at an ABC Mart in person. I think in store... they sell up until a 9 or 9 1/2 men's in Vans. But if you need larger you need to order online. Which is fine. But gee whiz... wish we could just walk into a store and buy my son a pair right away. Sports Authority carries some shoes in larger sizes, but they don't sell Vans. And our 3 nearest ABC Mart's don't sell larger than a 9 1/2 men's in their stores, or keep them in stock. @_@ It's okay...we just order Bran his online. 

His last pair were navy and I always tell my kids. Simple is best. So these ones we ordered in navy too. These arrived the day after we went to the beach. So...when was that?....I forget, but a long time ago...anyways... he's had these for quite a while. Again, just didn't have the time to post about it. But in this Bits and Pieces post, it can fit nicely in here. : )

What else happened. I made a batch of cheesy gratin potatoes.And fried chicken. I made 4 pieces of chicken. The other 2 were frying up. We also had a garden salad and fresh sweet corn on the cob with butter, salt and black pepper.

Tyson Foods. Americans, ya'll know what this is. If you're thinking chicken. You're right. They make chicken and nuggets. And they sell stuff in bulk too. Now...I also want/need to point out. You know...I am a little cruiser in my car right? Meaning. I get to where I am going under my own steam. Meaning I drive my own self ...to all sorts of grocery stores, I don't depend on anyone else to drive me, because I can drive myself. I drive here. I drive there. First question I asked Branden's yochien friends mom's when we first moved to where we live now while at swimming school a billion years ago. "which store sells the cheapest groceries? Who has the best deal?" I asked that, because I know...women know this stuff!!! We do. And they warmly welcomed me and told me. This is the cheapest place for meat. This here...is the cheapest place for veggies. I wrote that down. They added this is the cheapest place for drinks and snacks. Again I jotted it down. And all these many many years later. I have been adding stores. Driving farther. Trying new stores in nearby cities, I have never went to. Ventured myself all the way as far as an hours away. Bottom line. I know 2 of the cheapest meat stores around. One's in Inzai. One's in the small city nearest me. Both are like meat wholesale type places. Their meat is fresh. And dirt cheap. I always shop those 2 stores first for meat. I also have 1 place that I prefer for veggies and fruit. and I still buy my snacks at the same store my friends told me back when Bran was age 4 because like they said, it really is the cheapest store for snacks. Yep. So...since those meat stores are like wholesale places. They often sell wholesale stuff. And no... these places are not Hanamasa. That store is okay. But sometimes not so fresh and their prices are only okay.. but not the cheapest, these stores are cheaper. Anyways...this one meat store in the city nearest my town. Often sells stuff from America. It's often you see it once and will *never* see it again ever. 

1kg of sliced pepperoni from Tyson Foods. An American brand that is very well known. 500 yen a bag. The only other place to get pepperoni in Japan, is a shop in Japan that is selling pepperoni online for 2600 yen or 2500 yen a bag, plus shipping. Again if you live in the states...you'd never need this deal or to buy this much. But if you live in Japan...you will know what a good deal this 500 yen a bag each was and how rare/uncommon it is to find it..in person, if you live in Japan. I bet...this came from Dominoes or Pizza Hut in Japan, maybe they had a surplus of it. Costco Japan should really start selling pepperoni too. Who knows/who cares why this store had it for sale this one day, that I happened to be there, what luck. Now I have 3kg (6 pounds) of pepperoni from America from Tyson. I will only pull out a handful or two at a time when we bake a pizza. This is currently in my freezer. I'm glad that I know all the best places/cheapest places to buy meats, veggies, vegetables. Groceries in general. And the wholesale type places always sell the darndest things. The other meat store... has been selling all sorts of cuts of lamb. Granted, I am not a fan of lamb, at all. But they have so many different types of cuts of lamb, that I often think...I bet someone would be really happy to know this store existed in Japan. Sadly, I don't enjoy lamb at all. But yep, I have been seeing it for sale all month at one of my meat stores. 
Besia has been selling this American water super cheaply all summer. We have been buying it all summer long too.

The water nearest this pic you can probably see a lemon wedge, although they all have lemon wedges in them. I buy a whole lemon and slice lemon wedges and throw one, in each bottle and then toss a whole bunch of the waters in the fridge and all summer long the kids, Noboru and I would pull out a nice cold lemon water. Some bottles, I even toss into the freezer for a nice slushy of lemon water.
One day this summer. I drove the kids to Narita mall. And bought Branden a pencil case from Muji, some mechanical pencils from Muji, some pens from Muji and some erasers from Muji too. Branden also picked up a metal ruler from Muji too. Noah only wanted a metal ruler from Muji. But he did pick a pack of snacks to munch in the car on the way home. Also 2 weeks ago, I made sure to get Noah a new pair of inside shoes. 2 notebooks he will be running out of soon-ish. I always want to make sure both the kids are well prepared for going back to school. And Branden's uniform, I took his high school uniform, the summer one *and* the winter one to the dry cleaners before we left to Denver for summer vacation. 

New cleaning rags from the Daiso, I like the ones in packs of 3. That way if anyone needs a new one, I always have a spare to give them. Last week, I made sure both the boys were all packed up and last Friday they went to their first day of school since summer break. 

An Old Navy order came to us. Thank you dad... for always forwarding Old Navy to us. You rock! These 4 Denver Broncos shirts are for the kids. 2 for Branden and 2 for Noah. The back 2 are for Branden. And the front 2 are for Noah. 

And while yes...for me too. Love you Denver Broncos!!!

If you've been reading here for years, then you'll know we start slowly getting Fall and Winter ready in August. And slowly gather stuff all September. And by the time there's a chill in the air and October has come...we are pretty close to ready. I got 3 shirts, in the same style just different colors. Hey, by now... I know exactly what style flatters me the most. And so, I stick with what works. And 1 shirt in a different style. 

Semi fitted looks best on me. And boat neck. I personally find boat necks flattering on all women. It makes you look so feminine. Makes everyone's neck look even longer and more graceful. It's a very flattering neckline. I love this color. I was very happy to try it on. You never know if it will be a hit or not. And it was a true hit for me. I love this top. And I find that at times Old Navy tops are made thin material-wise. This was not the case for these though...this was a thicker weight material. A very nice quality weight. I can't wait for the cooler weather so I can wear this. 

You can never go wrong with a preppy navy. It's what I always tell my sons too. I mean duh...look at the color of Bran's Vans. lol. I loved this top. It's so perfect and feminine. I will be wearing this all Fall. I also picked up this top in black. You can never go wrong with black. And since I love this style of top anyway, it's perfect. 

Such a graceful neckline. 
Also picked up this sweatshirt, it says Good Mood. I'm usually in a very good mood. So thought this was perfect for me. : )
Branden's best friend since kindergarten moved away from our town as you know. He has been asking Branden to come over and stay the night at his house. I have been putting it off all summer, only because we were in Denver. Then after we got back, we did a lot of activities as a family, so it wasn't intentional. But it is true, I didn't make the sleepover my priority #1. But, I finally said yes! So, I dropped Bran off at the train station around 8am one morning, Bran brought his Jansport. With a change of clothes. Deodorant. Toothbrush. Towel for nightly shower. I gave him 7,000 yen, gave him 2 drinks and his bestie met him at the train station, near where he lives. Us parents did talk on the phone, 2 days beforehand and we each knew and gave permission. He lives in a bigger city now, his bestie. And they hung around his house all afternoon. His mom was there. And sister. They had pizza for lunch. And then for supper, Bran and his bestie went to a nearby udon shop, and they ate supper. And then went back to his house and hung out all night. I had told Branden to make sure he was back to our town by 10am the next morning. And I was at the train station to pick up my kiddo. : ) He had a lot of fun. 

Unless, I am doing my weekly grocery haul. I usually will spend 2 hours each day cleaning my house Monday-Friday. Two hours isn't a lot of time, it isn't. And it keeps my house tidy. And one thing that I love is that...in summer or winter break, my boys will always help me for the 2 hours. Granted, I will take them to MickeyD's. Or go and buy them some shave ice. Or take them to the movies as a way of saying...hey thanks for helping me around the house, I appreciate it. But yep, I get twice the amount done in the same amount of time. This day we spent 1  hour in the kitchen (I always set my timer on my stove). And then 1 hour in the living room. With 3 people doing it, it was *deeply* thoroughly cleaned. Noah scrubbed the heck out of the water pot and rice cooker. And yes, my rice cooker is in English. Electronics in English are super easy to find in person in Narita City since there are so many tourists, they're also available at Amazon Japan too. LOL. My water pot is in Japanese, but then again... we got that a bazillion years ago, before we ever lived around here. 

We also went and took absolutely everything out of the food pantry. Started checking dates. Anything expired? Anything expired got tossed. Seriously I have the most helpful kids. I must have done something right.

Noah checking dates too.

Vacuuming. My sons are going to make fantastic husbands one day. : )

I took everything out of the fridge. 2 big squirts of green tea dish soap in a filled up sink with hot sudsy water. And I started dunking my sponge in the water and scrubbing the insides of my fridge. And scrubbing the heck out of it. Srubbed twice and rinsed twice. Then dried with paper towel and put everything back. 

Food pantry. And no, we're not Blendy freaks. We got them for free, which is why, we have so many. The Knorr pasta/rice side dishes though, I do stock up on when I got back to the US for summer and since they're not available in Japan, I stock up a bit, to make sure they last me a little while at least.

Homemade pizza night happened in August too.
This is what I packed up back when Branden went to British Hills. I had Branden all packed up and ready to go. I too packed him 2 drinks for the long bus ride to Fukushima prefecture. Made him a filling breakfast. And zipped him to the train station by 6am that morning. His meals and everything were included. Meaning we paid for all that beforehand. But, this money was for souvenirs. And the little container was in case Branden had a headache while he was away from home. The note from the school said, pack your child any medications he or she may need. This container came from the 100 yen shop. Seria. 

You clearly know you have an American mom when... she packs you a little container with 6 emergency Advil in it. LOL. Hahaha. : ) And yes I name sticker-ed his container. That way the teachers would know...okay yes, that's clearly Branden's. And no, he didn't even use one. But still better to have it. Just peace of mind. 
Has everyone been using this? This came out in July, and I have been using this since it first came out. It says cuts the smells of raw meat on your hands. Like fish and pork smells. In America, we have something called Kitchen hand wash. And it's usually lemon scented. And it works perfectly. I have bought the one from Bath and Body Works, many times. And the one at Target before too. They have never sold anything like this in Japan before, for kitchen use to cut smells. This says it's citrus scented and to me it smells more grapefruit-y than lemony. But I love this scent. And this works *just* as good as the ones we have in the US. When I made hamburger patties at home this summer and my hands smelled all disgusting and funky from handling raw ground beef....I washed my hands with this twice and you can't even detect at all, that I handled meat after I used this.  

It's by Biore. And like I said... when I handle raw ground beef or something strongly scented. I wash my hands with this and it takes the smell away. I love this. The other scent is unscented. Which for me, I would *never* use unscented in the kitchen..I *need* the citrus to take the meat smells away. Raw eggs smells away, when making cutlet, ykwim. I would not ever be interested in the unscented one at all. 

Anything else to add? The weather has been cooling off some.... in my area/part of Japan. The edge of Chiba/edge of Ibaraki. The nights cool down to 68 degrees F and the day time...well right now... it's currently 74 degrees F outside right now. So no blistering sweltering sauna summer type heat. But still warm in the daytime for sure.

As you know Branden had his Sports Day in June. But, Noah has his in about 2 weeks from now. 

As for us, how's life? Things are quiet here. The weather is slowly cooling down. The rice fields have mostly all been cut in my town. I went and did the weekly grocery haul yesterday. But was back by 1pm at home, so that I could get a pot of beef stew going and do an hour of cleaning my house at least. I couldn't do 2 hours, because I was out for a bunch of the day.  This morning, I spent an hour mopping my kitchen floors. Then scrubbing and bleaching the downstairs toilet, vacuuming the living room and stairs. And now I am currently washing all of Branden's bedding in my new 9kg washing machine...it's going to beep any second and I'll be throwing it into the dryer as soon as the washer beeps. Then I'll move on to Noah's bedding next. Meanwhile, until undokai, Noah will be at school until 5pm except Thursdays, he gets out at 3pm Thursdays. So, I know I will get both their beds all washed up and dried before they both get home from school. Tonight for supper we're having chicken cutlet/sesami chicken cutlet (chicken tenderloin breaded in panko breadcrumbs), fresh corn on the cob, macaroni salad yet again (we love mac salad) and rice. Alrighty, I better end this here. : )