Monday, January 22, 2018

It's snowing...

Just a super quick post. It's snowing in my town at the edge of the Chiba/Ibaraki border. I also heard that this week in particular will be the coldest week for Chiba prefecture in a LONG time. Sunday/yesterday I could feel it actually growing colder. You could feel a cold front...definitely moving in. This morning it was insanely cold. Honestly this morning when I dropped off Bran it was downright bitter cold. Freezing means 32 degrees F for us Americans. But all day long, it stayed 33 degrees F. Sorta teasing us all. 1 degree away from freezing and 1 degree away from turning into snow all day long. But raining like crazy all day today.

Noah got out at 3:45pm today. I was there at 3:10pm because I knew all parents would be picking up their kids in this rainy bitterly cold gray day. And sure enough... good thing I got there early because the parking lot was full by 3:30pm. And it's a massive parking lot.

Yesterday I made a hearty curry nabe soup for supper. Tomorrow night I am making nikujaga. Stews and soups in winter and perfect. But tonight...for variety I am making cheeseburgers from some of that lean 100% lean ground beef from Costco I bought last week. I ran to the grocery store this morning at 10am. Hit the bakery, bought 2 loaves of bread for tonight's cheeseburger night at home. Bought some lettuce for the burgers too. Also bought some potato salad and some macaroni salad from the deli. So tonight's dinner will be cheeseburgers, macaroni salad and potato salad. An easy dinner. Breaks up all the soups and stews we've been having and tomorrow we can enjoy some nikujaga. We also have a massive amount of mikan to eat too.

I am looking out my back patio window and I see it is snowing like crazy outside. Looks like a snowglobe outside my window right now. I am happy Noah is home safe and sound and nice and warm. Branden is already on the train and heading to our town as I type. When I go and pick up Branden later....I will be sure to drive slowly and cautiously. I hope everyone else can do the same. Anyway if you're in Japan, please stay warm!!! : )

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Throwback Thursday. Noah's favorite colors, yellow and orange...

Happy Throwback Thursday everyone! I haven't done a TBT in ages. So thought today, I could make today's TBT about Noah and his love for the colors yellow and orange. Everyone *knows* those are Noah's ultimate favorite colors. If you have been reading this blog since the beginning then you will know. That Noah, since he was an itty bitty toddler, his favorite colors have *always* been yellow and orange. Whenever we would go clothes shopping, Noah 100% of the time would run straight for the yellow or orange shirt, sweatshirt or coat or hat. My mom kindly sent both my son's these adorable Curious George raincoats from the United States. And so here was Noah about to head off to yochien one morning. And I clicked this pic really quickly before driving my son to yochien. 
Another random pic. This time it was right after yochien. Noah wearing his yellow rubber duckie rain boots. Yellow umbrella and Curious George raincoat yet again. 
In our backyard here in rural Japan. Noah pretending to mow the grass with his "lawnmower" That I brought back from America. Orange hibiscus hat. Ralph Lauren tee-shirt and Ralph Lauren shorts. And good thing the lawn mower was orange too. LOL. Perfect for Noah!

Hi gorgeous!!! A pic snapped in our backyard here in the Japanese countryside.

Stunning pic of Noah in orange (his favorite color obviously) in Denver, Colorado. We were at Lakeside Amusement park.

Yellow bib! Breakfast time. We were in Saipan staying at the PIC. And at the buffet. Noah had the blondest eyebrows. Practically invisible eyebrows.

Noah in his yellow robe. In Saipan still enjoying the resort there.

Yellow froggy shirt. It came from Nishimatsuya. Gap jean jacket and Gap jeans and Gap hat and Crocs. We were waiting for his brother to get back home via the yochien bus. 


Noah in Guam on vacation. In his sunhat. UPF 50, so fantastic sun protection those hats.

Oh darlin...' how I adore you so!!!

We were on a yochien picnic.
At the swim school. While his older brother was downstairs swimming. Noah would play with his yochien friends there... who also had older siblings too. : )
Orange yet again. Orange hat. Orange Crocs. Orange shirt. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what Noah's favorite color is. : ) We were about to head to the store.

We were in the yochien parking lot. Hi Noah!!! Parent teacher conference day. : ) Hence, Noah not wearing his uniform.
Yellow Gap top and yellow Asics. And quack quack love your Donald Duck hat... that we had embroidered with your name at the back. It said...Noah in cursive at the back of his hat. We were at Tokyo Disney Sea.

Awww. It got chilly, so they put on sweatshirts. And later in the evening they put on coats.
Noah at the pool in Japan. 
Orange from his head to his toes! Summer festival time!!! Ready to go have some fun with your classmates? Let's go gorgeous!!! This Summer dashi pull is held in our housing community. 
Noah with his classmate, they are very good friends, even now. And as they pulled the rope they would say...washoi...washoi!!!

Noah just chit chatting away big time...with 2 of his classmates. Being 100% bilingual means he can speak Japanese like a native and he also speaks English like a native!!! He speaks American English 100%. And even though Noah looks extremely western. His classmates treat him totally normal. Totally like regular and normal. Which is exactly what we want.
Orange swimming trunks and rashguard and a yellow boogie board. We were at Kailua beach on the island of Oahu. On vacation. 2012.
Honolulu again, but this time it's the year 2015. We were at Pearl Harbor. About to take the boat to the memorial. And yep, Noah still picking clothes in his favorite colors of yellow and orange. 

How cute, this is when Bran was shorter than his dad. As you know, that's not the case anymore. Branden is now way taller.
Orange! This pic was taken in July 2017 and we were back in my home state of Colorado. We were in Denver, at the Lakeside Amusement park yet again. And yes Noah is still picking clothes in his fave colors of yellow or orange. He picked this top and shorts from Gap in Japan. Kids are getting older. But Noah's favorite colors have never changed. 

Anything new to add? The kids have a dentist visit this evening. They both are having their every 6 month teeth cleaning and check-up at 5:30 pm. Neither of them have ever had a cavity or anything. So, I think it's going to be the same thing this time too. The dentist is so nice. I'll be sure to bring a magazine just in case. Even though his dentist office does have a flat screen TV, to keep parents or patients entertained. : ) Anyone read that the Cranberries lead singer passed away a couple days ago? Dreams was my jam, when it first came out. So yeah...was a bit surprised to hear she died.  I took Branden for a haircut yesterday in the day time, since he didn't have school yesterday (and today too). And he and I are about to have lunch together as soon as I post this. Noah gets out of school today at 2:50 pm. Bran and I will both go and pick him up together. Anyway that's enough for now. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Update...

How's everyone doing? Things here have been quiet and nice. It's been so super cold in Japan. So many areas have been hit with snow (Kyushu, Osaka, Tokyo, etc all hit with snow). But not our tiny town. No snow at all. Just freezing cold every single morning when I drop off Branden in the morning to the train station. And the sun starts to peek out by the time I drop off Noah to elementary school. But when I drop off Bran, it's like the deep freeze outside. Hahaha. Anyways, What have I been doing? Chillin' and enjoy our quiet uneventful January. Staying indoors and staying warm. I made cream stew one night last week. This is my favorite type...Hokkaido corn cream stew. It's super delicious. What else...

I made karaage. We don't eat deep fried too often. But, I will make karaage once a month and chicken cutlet or ebi fry once a month. About twice a month for us for deep fried. The big amount of chicken breast was for dinner and the smaller ziplocks were for the kids school obento and the other was for Noboru's obento and my lunch at home the following day. 

This was chopped up around 11:55am. And I always add a tube of ginger to my chicken first. It instantly mellows out the chicken flavor. And infuses an amazing ginger taste. I let it marinate for about 30 minutes just with the ginger. 

I buy generic brand X/store brand ginger because it's like only 59 yen a tube. Versus 98 yen a tube. And after 30 minutes of marinating with just the ginger. I then leave the ginger in there obviously and add this karaage liquid in the ziplock bags. 

From 12:30 pm-ish until about 4:30 pm. As soon as everyone is home. I roll in plain unseasoned flour. And then fry in a clean batch of oil. And it's very flavorful and so good. We had ours with macaroni salad. Steamed broccoli and rice. 

Not sure if you can see in this pic...but a new mole had come to our house. 

He made a good sized mole hill. Noboru was pretty mad. As you may know Noboru has caught/killed 2 other moles who came into our yard. I think all moles in this area must...dislike my husband so much. Since he is a mole killer. Hahaha. As of right now. It's been about 5 days and so far Noboru can't catch this new mole. @_@ 

What else has happened? I baked a batch of cornbread. 

Last week, I went to Costco Inzai/Chiba New Town. I was already in the parking lot by 10am and grabbed my cart and headed into the store. I was on my way home pretty quickly. I picked up a big amount of lean 100% ground beef. A rotisserie chicken which I turned into taco night. A huge amount of flour tortillas. Mozzarella cheese. Provolone and a big hunk of Colby/Jack cheese. The Easter stuff is already for sale at Costco Japan. Just a friendly FYI.

Not sure about other locations. But if you hit my store before 10:30am, on a weekday... you can shop in peace and quiet and with hardly anybody there. I love shopping here on the weekdays in the morning as soon as they open up.

Not even many people in the food court or ordering food. I haven't eaten at Costco for lunch in ages, even though I shop at Costco about 3 times a month...I just haven't eaten lunch there...so I had a slice of pizza this day... before heading back to my tiny town.

A quick slice of combination pizza.

I also ran into the Besia grocery store after Costco, they're both right near each other. And this was on sale for 500 yen for a box/case of these. My kids love these yogurt drink boxes so to get a case of these for super cheap was a deal. 



I put them all in the fridge and that way when the kids want one, they can get one.

What else have I been doing? I have still been doing my weekly house cleaning. Daily house cleaning. And cooking of dinners. I am still loving washing every one's bedding, blankets and fleece blankets and pillow cases etc every single week at home in my bigger washing machine, that I got in August? Or was it September, but yes a bigger washer totally helps. All of my bedding can fit in 1 load. And the kids bedding can fit together in 1 load. There is seriously nothing nicer than laying down on fresh bedding. 
Movie, yes a movie! Last week, at the beginning of the week... Bran asked me, if he and his bestie could go to see a movie on Friday? Last Friday. His bestie is hafu too. His bestie was born in Japan but raised outside of Japan and went to an international school, so he prefers English. Where as Branden was born in Hawaii and moved to Japan around 10 month's old. They wanted to go and see...the new Kingsman movie. Yes I know...we have the DVD. And I told Bran, "if you want, ya'll can watch your DVD during lunch at school, just take my mini DVD player" But Bran said...the fun part is going on the adventure to the movies with my friend, getting there and coming home. Keep in mind... Bran is from the inaka, meaning he's a country boy. I never let him run wild or go out and about after elementary school or in JHS either, unless it's just in the neighborhood sure but farther than that? Nope. In our country town kids in shogakko went zarigani hunting/crawdad hunting. Or fishing. Riding bikes in the neighborhood was it really. They're not train savvy... like city kids are in Japan. So since he's a 9th grader now...he's learning. He's a super good kid. So I said. Okay. So they got out of school Friday at 3:45pm. They ran to catch the train to Narita. Took the shuttle and they caught the 5:20pm showing of the movie. Bran had movie and popcorn money and money for dinner afterwards. Again Bran is an extremely good kid. Both my kids are. They don't just disappear. They know...I am letting them out and about... because I am trusting them. So, he messaged me when they got on the train heading to Narita....then took 2 pics inside the movie. This one and...

This one. I replied to Bran..."have fun kiddo but shut your phone off, lol" He told me later, he had the rice cracker and peanut mix. And his bestie picked french fries. apparently they didn't want popcorn. LOL. 
And as soon as the movie let out...he sent me this pic. There is a walkway from the Narita Humax (movie theater) that goes back and forth to the Aeon mall. His message said...a quick..."mom, the movie is out and we're gonna go eat dinner now" I replied..."have fun" I know the type of kid I have. He's certainly no punk jerk bad kid. He's an extremely good kid. Good student. Extremely respectful of adults and other people. He told me at home. He picked udon to have for dinner and his bestie picked McD's. 
Bran and his bestie caught the shuttle back to the Narita train station. His bestie went back to the bustling Chiba city. And Bran returned to our teeny tiny town. Where I was waiting in my car at the train station for my kiddo. He doesn't message me constantly, so please don't get it twisted. Just a few handful of times to keep me in the loop. And I appreciate that... because it's such a peace of mind. I'm glad I raised such responsible kids. And same for Noah. He has a cell phone. In Japan kids often have cells. And when Noah plays at the park inside our housing community. He will message me once or twice while playing. Keeping me in the know of...who he is playing with. And what time he will head home. It's also a big relief that Japan is just such a safe place to raise kids. 
I bought a small turkey last week. And I roasted it on Monday of this week. This was only an 8 and a half pounder. So quite small. I seasoned him quite well and he came out very juicy. I wanted the turkey for sandwiches. Both Bran and Noah took turkey sandwiches to school on Tuesday. And we had a simple turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner on Monday night. The turkey is gone now... but it was nice to get 1 dinner out of it and about 2 sandwiches out of it, for each of us. So that was nice. : ) 

Half way there pic, while carving the turkey.

Anyway anything else to add? Branden doesn't have school today or tomorrow. Why? Because this is the season for JHS students, 9th grade kids. To take exams to get into high schools in Japan. So because kids are testing today and tomorrow. Branden and the rest of the kids at his high school... do not have school today and tomorrow since the final year JHS kids are testing at his school today.