Friday, September 15, 2017

Bits and pieces. Winter clothes shopping for the boys.The Orville and AHS Cult. Good eats. And that rockin' cool Amazon dog in the lion costume...

Good morning!!! Today is TGIF day. We made it!!! The weekend is almost upon us! Granted, I will be at Noah's school tomorrow for undokai. But other than that. Friday's are *always* something to be happy about. So...what is up. What has been happening here? It's update schmupdate time! Now that the kids are back into the full swing of school. My honey bunny and I, have gone right back to our weekly....just he and I, lunch dates. This day, we went to the Ohsho in Inzai. The Ohsho is a chain restaurant in Japan that serves Chinese food, really really excellent Chinese food. 
Yep, we sure did turn both huge containers of Kirkland vanilla ice-cream into peanut butter ice-cream. I have been doing this for a few years now and we love this. We still have 1 container of peanut butter ice-cream in the freezer, even now as I type. : )
One day last week it was super raining all day long and I made a great big pot of chicken soup. It had the chicken boiling all day long and in the afternoon, I added mushrooms, celery, carrots, 1 large potato, and I kept debating... if I should ultimately make chicken noodle soup or chicken and rice (soup) and about an hour before the kids were to be home, I decided chicken and rice was what I was wanting. So, I quickly made some rice in the rice cooker. I went and picked up the kids from their pick up spots. And when everyone got home, I added the rice at the last second into the pot of soup and the four of us... had soup. Noboru had 3 servings of soup, Bran and Noah each had 2 full servings. I too had 2 servings. We had actually finished the entire pot of soup. I had none for lunch the next day. hahaha. Which was totally fine. And I was super happy they loved it so much, that they finished the pot. Perfect for a rainy evening dinner. : ) 

Four pair of jeans for Noah, I usually shop at Shimamura or Paseos, for kid jeans or shorts. Noah likes the stretchy waist band. Branden always did too... when he was younger. I like the quality of the jeans. You frankly can't tell if these jeans come from the Gap or what. And most importantly I like the cheap price. 1,500 yen a pair. That's about $14 US. Size 160cm. For Noah. 

I like to buy my kids jeans and shorts early, because they always run out of stock fast in the boys section. Tops and stuff...there's always plenty. But pants or shorts...I find in my area of Japan.... you have to snatch them up faster than you think. Again...it could just be a my specific area type thing. But, I know...for me...I have to buy them as soon as they starting rolling in the cooler weather clothes. I got this pair. I liked the color. It had the soft stretchy waist band and the jeans stretch too. And at 1500 yen a pair. Awesome.

My magic number for Noah... since he goes to elementary school and needs regular clothes 5 days a week for school, plus weekends too, so he needs enough jeans for 7 days a week. That magic number for me is 5. I'd like to get him 5 pair of pants. However...I only found 4 pair so far that I liked. So, pants/jeans-wise I am almost done. So a huge step forward. 4 pair is not bad. And these only cost 6000 yen for 4 pair of jeans. Which is an excellent price. So...if for some strange reason... it should get dead cold next week...I would be okay because at least Noah has 4 new pair of pants now.

Also went to the Gap. I have mentioned this on here before many times but I find Gap in Japan to always have such good deals. They are always 40% off. And as always when we went there the 4 of us last Monday evening...sure enough the sign said...the entire store is 40% off. Plus in addition to that, 5% is you are registered with them online too. Which we are.

Two new sweatshirts for Noah. They will get more stuff in stock...more variety soon. I know. But for now..these 2 were perfect. And at 45% off. Hell to the yes!!!

Winter coat seems pricey at 8,900 yen. About $85 US. And no, even though I could afford to pay full price...I would *never* pay full price. Because that's not penny-wise at all. It's wasteful. I do however...love this coat even more now... because we got this for 45% off. This was nearly half off, by the time we waltzed out of the store.  So Noah's winter coat 45% off. I will be smiling every single time I see Noah wear his new winter coat now. I like my kids dressing cute...while still saving a ton of cash too. So super happy.

This coat is one of those super thin lightweight coats, but super warm. Like these are super seriously warm. These are just like the Uniqlo ones. 

Gap logo that's also a reflector on his sleeve.

All different sorts of blue for Noah's winter coat from Gap this year. So 4 new pair of jeans. 2 new sweatshirts and 1 new 45% off winter coat. Not totally done winter clothes shopping, but a huge step forward. So that's a positive.And at 45% off to boot. 

Branden's necessities. He needed a new school belt. I cut the tags off and he wore it, so only have the belt hangar on the left. Sorry no pic of the actual belt. Also he needed more inside shirts that he wears under his dress shirts to school. He prefers this style in summer or winter. So picked him up another pack too. So school belt, school inside shirts. Just basic necessities for school. 

Branden only wears regular clothes twice a week. On the weekends. So he needs less clothes than Noah. But he still needs clothes too. My goal is to get Bran, 3-4 sweatshirts. But so far...we bought him 2. Reason? There were a few others to pick from... but Branden didn't like them. No worries. We'll keep an eye out. And a pair of preppy socks for Bran's Vans. Yes, that rhymes. : ) Again...super happy Bran has 2 new sweatshirts. Because if it should get super cold all of a sudden... he'll keep warm. Plus he also got a new pair of Vans for the Fall already, as you know. 

No show socks. Yep...these are socks that are on the down low. People will never know you are even wearing socks. 

Preppy and cool...perfect for my kiddo!!!

While I was at Paseos looking for under shirts, high school belts for boys and jeans for my elementary school kiddo. I saw they had a huge selection of women's winter scarves. All sorts of plaid patterns. So gorgeous. Some 1000 yen and some 1500 yen. I saw one that was my favorite pattern. And it is the same pattern as the winter bag, I bought last January. 

I bought this for myself and I am so happy. 

Pizza did happen this week. I made so much pizza dough that morning. Enough for 1 huge pizza for Branden and Noah. And enough for a smaller pizza each for Noboru and one for myself. Everyone had plenty of pizza. In fact Noboru and I could... only eat 2 slices from our own pizzas. The kids pizza was just pepperoni. My pizza is pictured and it had pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, jalapenos and onions. Noboru's just had pepperoni, mushrooms and jalapenos. We each added our own toppings. Homemade pizza night at home is always a good night. : )

And this night, we had homemade chicken fettuccine alfredo

Sliced up 2 chicken breasts. And made the sauce. Meanwhile boiled the pasta for 5 short minutes, after the sauce was done first. Rinsed super well and then tossed in the sauce. My family devoured their dinner so fast. They loved it so much. : ) Which made me happy. 

What have I been enjoying on TV lately? A new show started recently. It's on Fox. And it's Seth MacFarlane's show. This show is called The Orville. I love Seth's sense of humor. I think he's a comedic genius. He's pictured here. He's the creator of Family Guy, which I love (he voices Peter, Brian, Quagmire and many other voices on that show). He created American Dad. He also wrote the movie Ted and was the voice of Ted. He also wrote and starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West, which I love...it's so funny, I own that on DVD. And have seen it *at least* 5 times. His sense of humor just cracks me up. So, when I saw he had created this new show called The Orville. I knew I'd have to check it out. It's basically the same concept as Star Trek... except insanely funny. He's the ships captain. His crew is all quirky and weird, in their own ways. And he was waiting for a first officer. One was not available. It turns out...his ex-wife that he recently divorced... because he caught her cheating on him with another person. He caught them in the act. Anyway...his ex-wife is his first officer. So there is tension. But it's hilariously funny tension. 

American Horror Story is back again for another season. This looks like it will be my most favorite season to date. This seasons version of AHS is called Cult.  AHS Cult. This is season 7.

Sarah Paulson's character Ally. She's very upset that Trump won the election (aren't we all). And because she is so upset about that. It unleashed some dormant phobias she has always had. She has a fear of homicidal clowns (don't we all) Anyway, in the show she and her wife and their son live in a house. And Ally... by all accounts seems to be coming mentally unglued. Unhinged? Are the clowns real? Are they in her imagination? She does have a therapist. And she does have a gun. She had a power outage. The nanny left to go home. Leaving Ally (Sarah Paulson) and her son Oz at home alone. Her wife was meanwhile at their restaurant running that and was also affected by the power outage too.

Billie Lourd. I love Billie Lourd. She is obviously the late Carrie Fisher's, super talented actress daughter. She was in Scream Queens and was amazing in that. Anyway Billie is playing a nanny to Sarah Paulson's characters son. And Billie's character is super weird and creepy. 

Billie pinky swearing Oz. Anyway...so in a nutshell. Just cooking meals here at the house. Doing my weekly grocery shopping haul. Cleaning the house. Getting the kids clothes ready for Fall/Winter. Bit by bit. Enjoying some new TV shows. AHS Cult. And "The Orville." Anything else I am loving right now?
Yes...this Amazon commercial is life! It's so cute. Every time I see this commercial, I stop dead in my tracks and watch it...even though I have seen it a million times over the past year. This dog is so adorably sad and cute. Trying and wishing *so* hard for their baby to like him. This commercial might have originally run in Japan for Amazon first. But I have American TV...American cable...and it runs all the time in the US. I love this commercial. And I love this dog so much. I hope that little baby, starts to like this dog. Because my family and I *love* this dog so much! We love you rockin' Amazon dog! And that papa in the commercial seems so nice too...like he's really trying to help the dog out. : ) So 3 cheers for that papa too. But most of all... 3 cheers for the Amazon dog. : )  We love you adorable Amazon dog in the lion costume. : )

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Throwback Thursday, Sports Day 2008...

With Noah's final elementary school Sports Day coming up this Saturday. I thought it would be nice to go back and look at Branden's Sports Day from elementary school in 2008. We've had hot and sauna like... type Sports Days. We have also had 1 extremely chilly Sports Day one year... where it started raining buckets from around 9am and continued for most of the day. So much so...omg that they considered stopping it and rescheduling it for the next day. @_@ They did not...we all just powered through and completed the undokai/Sports Day. Which is what I wanted. Because no sane person wants to make a picnic lunch from scratch 2 days in a row. So for me...after making the picnic lunch. I'd like to just heave ho and...let's finish this sucker! Type mentality for me. We have also had cooler weather Sports Days without rain and basically every type of weather you could imagine happen to us...since we have clearly been going to these for many years. : ) How was Bran's undokai 2008 weather? It was super hot. Melting hot. Sun was beating everyone down. We had plenty of drinks to keep us hydrated. The beach umbrella was only mildly shielding us from the unforgiving sun. Which that... plus the rain storm we had the following year during undokai...is when we finally said...enough is enough. And we went out and bought a full huge big tent-y tarp thing... that most families in Japan use. Looking at this pic and remembering how hot it was. Stay hydrated my gorgeous Noah. And be sure to cheer for your big brother. I tell ya...waking up at 4:30am to make obento/picnic lunch. Then arrive at the school around 7:30am. Behind the scenes make sure everyone is dressed and ready. Make sure the camera and video camera is charged. Slather sunblock on my arms and everywhere else. Watch a 3 year old toddler. Plus walk the perimeter of the field to make sure I snap and capture every shot of my child. Did I mention I had been up since 4:30am. @_@  Neither of us have extended family living in our town. Noboru's from Osaka and I'm from America. So we managed to handle everything ourselves. And I think we did okay. Were we perfect? Nope. Did I maybe miss a few shots? Or maybe a few came out blurry? They might have. But, I tried my very best. I cheered so loud. And couldn't have been prouder of Bran. : ) 
Picnic lunch. This means it's half over. Eat up everyone. And let's power up and finish this thing!

Everyone ate. And then it was the half time performance by the kids. I was back on the field clicking pic after pic. Of my kiddo playing the pianica. Gee whiz it was hot. I must get another drink to keep myself hydrated. 
While another grade was doing their race. I took my toddler to get a shave ice/kakigori. Noah looked so hot. And I don't want anyone overheating. It lasts until 4:30pm. So again making sure nobody dies of heat stroke. : ) Oops time to take more pics. Then swing back to the leisure sheet. Noboru and Noah were chillin'. Now back for me to go and click some more pics and walk around the field yet again. Did I mention, I was up since 4:30am? I know I mentioned it now 3 times. But gee whiz. This is exactly why we go out to dinner after undokai/sports day. Because by the time 5pm rolls around. I'm pooped. I'm all run out of gas. I'm exhausted. Both kids are tired too. 
What I buy for one...I buy for the other too. I made sure Branden picked the shave ice flavor he wanted. And then we went to the car. Of course we dismantled our stuff (umbrella, folded the leisure sheet, blah blah blah). And lugged everything back to the car too. We dropped everything off at home. I quickly put everything into the dishwasher. And off to the restaurant we went. So nice to relax and just eat. And enjoy our dinner together. I slept in the next day. And boy did I need that. We all did. : )

Sports Day 2017, for Noah is this Saturday. I have 4 packs of sesami (chicken tenderloins) in the freezer, this evening I will put the chicken in the fridge to defrost in the fridge over night, I have my karaage marinade and a tube of ginger. A new bag of flour. Friday, tomorrow. I will be prepping everything. And running to the grocery store for last minute picnic supplies. I will also be saving a spot tomorrow at the school in the evening too. Our going out to dinner plan for dinner Saturday night is...Noah says he wants to go to Jolly Pasta. It's a family fave of ours. And I'm *so* totally on board with that. It's Branden's favorite place too. So all of us are already looking forward to Saturday nights supper. : ) How will the weather be for Saturday's undokai? I hope it's not too melting hot. And I also hope it isn't postponed. Please no rain...do not want to make obento for 2 days in a  row. So...hope the undokai goes off as planned this Saturday. Ohhh one good thing...since Noboru is in the PTA for undokai this year... that means we can park right up at the school this year... that means we don't have to lug tons of crapola up the hill like most years. And of course whoever's Sports Day it is...gets to pick the restaurant. But since we all love that place..we're all looking for to it. Anyway...that's enough for now. : )

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Recent Costco cart pics...

Howdy! It's Tuesday. Haven't shown a Costco cart pic post... in a hot minute. So figured I could do that today. Because it's a fast post to get up. Plus it gives ya'll a teeny tiny idea of just some of the things we have been doing. Let's see, on this day, it was still summer break. So the whole family was with us... for this Costco run. This took place on August 23rd. The 4 of us had lunch there after we finished shopping. And after lunch, the kids shared one of those huge sized Costco soft serve ice creams for dessert that afternoon. What is in this cart on that particular day? Kettle chips, I personally hatehatehate kettle chips they're too overly crisp for me. But my kids like them so they picked those. Umm, what else. Those  delicious 4 frozen cheese pizzas. An excellent thing to have stocked in my freezer especially if you have kids in the house. Under the pizzas was a huge box of frozen waffles. Nice to keep on hand during busy early morning school days. As you can tell, I was already gearing up for the kids to go back to school. So smartly stocked up on those waffles. Also frozen bean and cheese burritos, again excellent to have quick meals on the ready... for quick lunches when the kids are home during summer break. Under that a huge tiramisu. A rotisserie chicken (I made taquitos out of that rotisserie chicken) mozzarella cheese for pizzas and a huge pack of tortillas. Also next to the Kettle chips from Boulder Colorado, is Noboru's new UV sun protection hat. Since summer was winding down, this hat was nearly 50% off, he got it for only 900 yen. Such a fantastic deal on that hat. He loves it and has been using it when he goes fishing or when he mows the lawn.

Different view. Same stuff/same day.

Different view from the same trip, same stuff yet again. 

And another trip. This took place on August 28th. The was the last time the kids went with me to Costco. Because they had returned to school September 1st. Now, I make my Costco trips alone or if Noboru is around that day, he loves going to Costco with me. : ) What's in the cart from the kids final Costco visit? Chips. Branden usually takes 2 sandwiches to school daily and 1 pack of chips and fruit and stuff. Noah meanwhile takes 1 sandwich to his school, no chips and he does take fresh  fruit on the daily. Pasta sauce also pictured. Parmesan cheese too. Mozzarella cheese and Mexican style cheese, salsa and corn tortilla chips because I made fully loaded nachos that night. And cookies. My kids love those cookies from Costco. Do we eat American food every night? Nope, of course not. But we don't eat Japanese food every night either. We eat a wide variety of things. 

Different angle. 
These 2 trips, I made without kids. Now that they were back to school. Halloween stuff is still for sale. But also all the Christmas stuff is out. They have big boxes of candy canes.  

Advent calendars. 

This trip, I made September 4th. Dinner rolls, provolone cheese, eggs, rotisserie chicken this was for the kids packed school lunches the following day. They took delicious rotisserie chicken sandwiches with lettuce, provolone cheese. Chips for Bran. And fruit for the both of them in their packed school lunch the next day. That vanilla ice-cream was turned into peanut butter ice-cream with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 

And underneath the cart was Kleenex tissues, a Costco sized amount and a box of mugicha. With Noah doing Sports Day practice now, he takes a filled thermos daily to school with tea and tons of ice. 

And this was just taken yesterday. The kids took rotisserie chicken wraps for their packed lunches today. Hence the rotisserie chicken. And this week, I am making a whole lot of Italian for dinners. Tonight, I am making homemade pizza from scratch, which is why you see the jalapenos and mozzarella cheese in my cart. And tomorrow for supper, I am making homemade from scratch chicken fettuccine alfredo. I already bought the fresh handmade fettuccine noodles already. Hence the huge block of parmesan cheese in my Costco cart. I'm also making chicken parmesan sandwiches this week too. And will be making some chicken teriyaki one night too. And Saturday afternoon this weekend... we will be having Noah's sports day. So, I will be packing a karaage obento for our family. 

Costco in Japan has a huge selection of cheese. Just like you'd find back home in America. So buying huge blocks of cheese. Or sliced cheese or grated cheese. No problem for us in Japan. Parmigiano reggiano is readily and easily available if you go to Costco. Of course you don't need a Costco membership... but for me...I personally love being able to get groceries and a huge selection of foods from "home" from America easily while living in Japan, so for me personally... it is worth having a Costco membership. Anyway...this is just pics of stuff we have bought recently. : )

Anything new to add? Things are just quiet here. And isn't that wonderful. : ) The day time still feels like summer. Albeit a cooler summer. The evenings are nice and cool and breezy. Is it pants and sweatshirt weather yet? Ehhh, not yet... almost. Noah is still wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt daily to school. But he is taking a sweatshirt every single morning. And will tie it around his waist... if he gets too hot. Our part of Japan has been gray and cloudy for days. And we have had rain off and on for the last few days too. You can definitely tell Fall is rolling in. But I think the official "starting" day of Fall isn't until. September 22nd. So it's not officially Fall just yet.

We went and started the Fall clothes shopping yesterday evening. Bought Noah 4 pair of jeans. His winter coat and 2 sweatshirts, keep in mind that he wears regular clothes to school, 5 days a week no uniform, so he *needs* clothes, right away. Branden meanwhile wears a school uniform 5 days a week, but we bought Bran 2 sweatshirts yesterday evening too. Plus 1 piece for his costume that he will be wearing for Culture Day. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Throwback Thursday. Noah and his swimming trophy...

I put my weekly TBT's on hold during the summer break. But with the kids back in school, I'm back at them once again. : ) Today's TBT takes place from September 2013! Noah has been swimming since the age of 3 years old. Kids can't start swimming school... near our area... unless they're age 3. Sure you can join a baby swim class. But we weren't interested in that. So we waited and in June we signed him up, but he couldn't begin until July 7th. The second he was officially age 3 is when Noah started. Getting to watch his older brother swim for years before... Noah could. He could barely wait to start himself. So, since age 3, Noah had been taking swimming lessons. Twice a week. And our swim school will *only* pass you if you complete and show you know the moves and take a test and pass the test. He passed many flower levels and then worked his way down the number levels. From 15 or so all the way down to level 1. He had countless tests since age 3. And finally finally finally. In 2013, Noah took and passed the level 1 test!!! What success! He was awarded a trophy for basically finishing his swimming school. His picture hung at the swim school for a full month. And after that, he swam competitively for the same swim school against other swimming schools in our prefecture. Yep, age 8 is when Noah finished every single level. How did Noah feel receiving his trophy? Totally excited!!! : )

Congratulations my sweet boy, you clearly have the skills! 

Yes, you are a kid! Get silly if you want! You earned every bit of that trophy!

You silly nerd!!! I love you Noah! : )