Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Typhoon or not typhoon

Typhoon number 15 of the season is passing by.  The center of the storm is out at sea off the coast of Nagasaki.  Here we have been treated to some rain and a lot of wind!!  A few things that weren't tied down in the yard have gone flying and a lot of the goya have been blown down,which I am happy about!!
 We are in the last week of the summer holidays, the past six weeks have gone very fast and as always I haven't done half the things I had hoped to do.  Tomorrow I want to spend some time with Hannah doing some sort of craft.  I am not very crafty, great ideas but reality turns out different.  Still should be fun to try!!  Also have to get Christopher to do some cooking, these kids need life skills.

Today I found a great recipe for cabbage.  At the moment cabbage is very cheap but of the course the kids don't want cabbage everyday.  This recipe is very simple, quick and delicious.  First cook a few rashers of bacon, I use the microwave.  Chop cabbage, place in a pot with a little water so it basically steams, stir occasionally, when it is cooked add black pepper, pinch of salt and margarine.  Mix in chopped bacon and serve.

Bacon and cabbage, even Hannah enjoyed it!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Birthday Blues

It was my birthday this week and I am so down about it!!  I had a lovely day, some pressies, went out to an all you can eat restaurant for lunch, picked up a load of DVDs to watch after and basically just hung out with my family all day. I didn't cook, clean or do laundry, of course I had to do everything today, but for one day I just relaxed!!  Nice.  So why the blues?  Because I am now 50.  The big five oh, half a century.  No escaping the reality of half a life finished and what to look forward to!!  I know the kind of life I want, travel, fun and seeing my kids marry, few grand kids but we are broke, living month to month with no savings and no way to save and to be honest it scares me!!!  Japan is not one of the cheapest places to live and the welfare system here sucks.  So I guess from now on is the super frugal time.  But I want to buy things, go places and enjoy life, not worrying about every single yen!  Such is life!!   I will get over this and start to think more positive about day!

Got my hair cut and colored the other day and Hannah got a trim.   We both look a lot better!

Hair looks nice but Hannah is pulling faces!!!
And the table got cleared off, I am so happy about that!!

From this  to

to this, still a few bits on the floor that need to find a home but a lot better

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

David's Birthday

Yesterday David turned 18!  I am having a hard time with that, I just don't know where 18 years have gone. I had a baby, blinked and there is a young man.  At least that is how it feels.
All my children are interesting and have their own personalities.  David is very sweet, caring, mischievous and clumsy .  As a child he never got sick enough to go to the doctors, any fever, cold etc he would just sleep and recover within 24 hours.  But he was always falling down, falling off things, tripping over things.  He lives life a full speed and accidents happen.  Even he is tired he won't sleep more than he has to, he wants to experience life.  He has no love of material things beyond what is necessary for living, makes buying for him tough but he really is happy with what he has.  He says that by wanting all the time one is never happy, there will always be something more that you will want, a better computer, better car, bigger house.  He really believes that happiness doesn't lie in having but in being!!  Very mature! 
He also has the ability to perserve.  He worked for a year at a part time job.  The job was okay but one of the older employees went out of his way to make life difficult for the younger kids, everything was wrong.  Any real mistake was met with a lot of criticism.  One mistake could lead to weeks of put downs.  For David that was hard to deal with, he was bullied all through elementary school and this felt like more of the same.  But he stuck it out.  I am very proud of him for that.
For the kids birthday the birthday kid can choose the dinner.  David loves Japanese food and asked for tempura, fish, rice and soup.  Easy enough except yesterday was VERY HOT and the power kept failing in the house because I was running too many things.  So for part of the time I had the air conditioner off.  Talk about HOT, I felt like I was in a sauna.  But the dinner was nice, I made a simple chocolate cake and bought ice cream for after.  We watched a movie and had a few good laughs!

David getting a pressie, he hates having his photo taken so this is the only good one!

Guess what?

Yep. Mikey dropped his cake and got the cream everywhere

Then Hannah got creamed!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Visits, Science Museum and a puzzle

These past few days have been rather busy but fun busy, not work busy.  The kind of busy that I like!
Sunday we went to visit with my good friend.  It was a nice time, talking and laughing.  She gave me a wonderful face massage, really helped with the awful headache I had. My kids went and hung out with her daughter, I could hear them laughing from the next room.  They played cards and talked, they came in and my friends daughter taught Hannah a new song.  We were only staying for an hour, turned out to be 3 hours and we could of stayed longer but the weather was getting bad and it's a long drive home.  On the way home we did a bit of shopping, I can never pass up the chance to shop!!

Today hubby took David, Hannah and I to the Saga Science Museum.  Mikey and Christopher didn't want to go!!  We left early and got there just as the museum was opening.

David and Hannah, I have no idea what the pose is!!

checking out the movie

There was a lot to see.  A lot about space exploration, the earth and geology, an area for kids to try out different things to do with sight and hearing.  A -20C room, yes that was cool!!  An earthquake simulator and of the planetarium with a movie.
Here are some photos of the day.

Interesting English

And an even more interesting Hannah

And the puzzle is the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle we bought, basically Christopher has been working on it.

This is going to take ages!

Tomorrow is Davids 18th birthday so I am going to try and find a nice cake recipe for him!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Obon and summer holidays

This week is the annual Obon holiday.  This is a Buddhist holiday, commemorating ones ancestors.  Many people return to their hometowns at this time of year.  The graves are visited, cleaned, fresh flowers are placed, incense is burned and prayers said for those who have gone before us!
this holiday is also one of the 3 main holiday periods in Japan.  Although returning to ones hometown is the traditional holiday at lot of people take the chance to travel, train stations, airports and roads are crazy, and the price of tickets reflect this!!! 
Today starts my holiday, I have one week with no teaching.  As much as I enjoy my work I do need a break, a chance to refresh and get ready for the next long spell, basically no long holidays from now until Christmas.  I have a lot I want to get done this week, but most of the time I want to hang out with the kids, just spend time together!!!  We are heading out later to visit a good friend of mine and get some shopping done other than that it is an at home week!!  Nice and relaxed!
We did a bit of shopping yesterday, basically I wanted to go to the 100yen shop and get a few crafting things to do with the kids.  Hubby went off to the electric store.  He called me and said that he had bought some copy paper, some is not the word I would use.

A lot of paper, I can make loads of worksheets!!! Enough for 2 years a least!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ouch and Yuk

Ouch is the pain from having a tooth out! I had a tooth removed on Tuesday and it still hurts, like really screaming, crying, ranting at everybody hurts. I know it's my own fault, I lost a filling about two years ago and kept putting off going to the dentist until all the surrounding tooth had rotted away.  The past couple of weeks the tooth, or rather root started to hurt, not a lot, but sometimes a sharp pain when eating or brushing my teeth.  Next week is the Obon holiday and the dentist will be closed, so I screwed up all my courage and went.  This will get better, that is what I keep telling myself.

Yuk is mold, the horrible black kind that grows when you aren't looking!!   Christopher, Hannah and I have had a cough for over a month.  I kind of figured it was allergy related, so I set myself the mission of keeping the dust and mold down, kind of difficult but I thought I was winning.  Then on TV the other day was a programme about mold causing pneumonia.  One thing they showed was mold growing in the shower head.  So I checked our bathroom, the shower head was clean.  Next I checked the tap in the wash basin, that is also like a shower head, the whole thing was black.  I was so shocked, we were brushing our teeth in water that had been filtered through mold.  No wonder we are sick.  Anyway I gave it a good clean.  I never would of thought to check there, I always thought that because water is running through then mold wouldn't grow!!!  I hope now that with the new medicine we have and the mold being removed that we can get better!!

And something nice to end with.  Ginger Stir -Fried Zucchini.  I got this recipe from Anne Lindsay's Light Kitchen.  I picked this book up from Bookoff for just 100 yen!!

Here's the recipe

5ml vegetable oil
500ml sliced zucchini
half red onion, sliced
10ml chopped ginger root
15ml sodium reduced soy-sauce
5ml dark sesame oil

In a non stick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat;  stir fry zucchini,onion and ginger for 1 minute.
Add 15ml of water, cover and steam for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender crisp, adding more water if necessary to prevent scorching.
Stir in soy-sauce and oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves four.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Time Flies

I can't believe that it's already August!  Where does time go?
The past week has been rather busy, work busy and fun busy!
I lost Mikey Wednesday and Thursday, not lost lost, but he was out for both days.  And of course those two days are the busiest fot teaching. Mikey does almost all the kiddies classes.  He is a very good teacher, being bilingual helps and he has a lot more energy than I have!!  Anyway I had to do his lessons for those  days.  Poor kids were terrified of me, which worked to my advantage, they were very quiet.  I think the classes were good.  When I told them that Mikey would be back next week all the kids were very happy!!  That was the busy work.
Busy fun has been hanging with the my kids.  Both Christopher and Hannah have a load of homework to do.  Summer homework is a big thing in Japan.  Because the school year starts in April summer is in the middle of the year. The summer homework is a review of the  first term.  But it always seems to be a bit too much.  I feel the kids need some time to relax and get refreshed for the second term, which is very long, September to the end of December. Also there are very few holidays in the second term.  Always seems rather unbalanced to me, but that's the way it is.
So we are still doing homework, most is done.  This week Hannah and I painted our nails, kind of nice girly thing to do.  Bright red colour!

I never realized how white my hands were before

Hannah showing off her nails, please excuse the mess behind!!!!!!

Christopher had 3 days of school, yes it is the holiday but the kids still have to go to school...go figure!!
He has got the same cough as me, so off to the doctor for him!!!
Haven't had much chance to do anything with Christopher as yet, I hope to teach him to cook a bit and we have a massive 1000 piece puzzle to do!!
Hannah has her small pool out the back.  It would be nice to take her to the swimming pool near here, but everybody has been busy, hopefully next week.
And the garden has taken over.  It's a jungle, but at least the sun is off the windows which helps!

A jungle, the leaves in front are beans!

Goya, these are really bitter but somehow good!

There is a house behind there!

Hannah in her pool

and Christopher studying

And the great bedroom challenge is almost done.  We managed to get a loft bed for Mikey and David's room.  It's massive but has a load of space underneath, complete with built in desk, bookshelf and drawers!  Looks a lot better, few more things to do but getting there!
The new bed/desk, looks better!!