Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stacia Wants a Baby

Stacia has been asking for a new baby for over a year.  A couple of weeks ago she asked me to read this book to her during our cuddle time. 

 She's a bit young for this book. I've never had others curious at 5, but she HAS been asking for a baby for birthdays, Christmas etc  since she was 3 1/2. I agreed to read it to her.

I overheard her telling someone, "I'm helping Mom and Dad figure out how to get us a new baby!" 

This one is right up there with her insisting "Michael is NOT my father."  I tried to link that story and can't find it on the blog. Did I really NOT blog that story?

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This is What I'm Doing...

I am  "tickled pink" that God blessed me with a travel partner for part of this adventure. Mary is going home for a family emergency and will fly out from Tokyo tomorrow. We'll take the train up to Tokyo together. 

Misawa Station 


At the Hachinohe Station we'll grab the shinkansen (bullet train)...it's my personal goal to get through these things without having the bar lock up on me this trip. LOL 



We'll ride the shinkansen all the way in to Ueno Station in Tokyo. I'm EXCITED to BE AT UENO station...for months we've practiced the helpful Pimsleur phrase of "Ueno eiki wa doko desuka?"  - Where is Ueno station? I'm praying I won't need THAT phrase but it will be a joy to SEE the place....


Mary and I will part at Ueno Station. I'll take the subway deeper into Tokyo and she'll head to Narita airport. 
 

 After 28 minutes underground I'll emerge near here; and may need to practice my "wa doko desuka" phrase. 

I'm told it's a 1/4 mile or a 7-10  min walk from the last station to this hotel.....

This trip is for the purpose of meeting with  Juliet, our regional conference coordinator, the conference team at the hotel, and area ladies. I will seek to encourage local ladies, we'll work hard gathering all info we need and making decisions for Asia Region's first Conference, and I bet we have a bit of fun along the way. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Star Wars Saturday

I started the day with James. The family woke up slowly.  Zander and Stacia were invited to a birthday party. Stacia was the only 5 yo girl with a group of 10ish boys...so I thought it wise to stay. Mike took the other kids shopping for MY BIRTHDAY! WOOT! 

I enjoyed the party and the visit that went along with staying. I'm always amazed at those of you who pull of theme parties with tons of friends...it isn't in my make up. We always have family parties...though Zander is now asking about a friend party....hmmmm. It was a Star War theme party. 

Death Star Cake

For a craft the kids made droids....out of trash...loved this idea. 

Stacia's droid had a purple hat, beads and sea glass buttons. ::snort:: 

Foam taekwondo  sticks served as light sabers....and there unplanned wars as well as games using them. Pop the bubbles with the light saver.....Snacks were even themed.....yoda soda, battle star (?) pizza, light saber hot dogs....Stacia wants to know why the chips were so good - Doritos - guess she liked them better than the baked ones. ::snort:: 

In our discussion we realized that Mary may be taking the train Wed morning - and so am I. They said NOT to go to Tokyo station but to exit at Ueno and get the subway to Hiroo.  Less train transfers....I think this may work. 

Zander came home and went to bed. I have a bad feeling about this.....last week I missed church because Stacia was sick. I can't pin point what is up with Zander...but sleeping, feeling cold....not quite "on". 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~

Living all of life before the face of God...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Arielle's Sesame Chicken

Arielle found this recipe on the Internet. I made a few tweaks and it's a keeper. It's NOT HEB caramelized Sesame Chicken - but it's good. 
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 C honey
1/2 C soy sauce
1 C water
2 T cornstarch
1/2 - 1 tsp ground ginger (fresh is best)
1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes (opt - we used 1/2 tsp)
1 T toasted sesame seeds

I added: a couple of cloves of garlic and a few splashes of sesame oil.  Add more cornstarch as needed to thicken.

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Cook over med heat until no longer pink - about 6 min

Mix: honey, soy sauce, water, corn starch ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Whisk until corn starch lumps are gone. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice - we severed in a tortilla for lunch and it was great. LOL

Click the recipe link under the header for more recipes.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tea Time

Years ago, when all the kids were home and we lived in Alaska, we had the habit of  a daily tea time.  This is really simply a fancy snack time.  We loved it. It was a time in the midst of all the various studies and activities for all of us to sit, talk, share.....and use favorite mugs and tea cups.


The girls moved out of our home. The older boys didn't want to "break from school" as they were DRIVEN....and then they began working. It was HOT in TX and having a hot drink didn't appeal as much anyway.....

The younger ones and I started this again a bit ago. The snacks can be as simple as graham crackers, fruit, crackers and cheese, cookies....sometimes we'll have special treats....always Green tea for Mom and hot chocolate for the kids.  Even cabin feverish day becomes special with a special tea time. 

Jared has started breaking from homework to join us.....and this is just perfect as we often have a late dinner due to Michael's work hours. 

If we have a narration for one of the children to do this will be a good time to do it. If someone has fallen in love with a story in school (currently the Wright brothers for the young boys) they can share. I'm toying with adding a bit of the Word to this time....but I'm also toying with leaving it alone and letting it simply be. 

Just thought I'd share. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hillbilly Curtains

I HAVE lived here over a year now. I really SHOULD go find some curtains for the dining room. In my defense, I've checked repeatedly around Misawa. I  guess I need to branch out. 


I have determined   this is a fairly good solution for now. LOL 

Most Japanese homes have a little glassed in entry area for hanging clothes in the winter. I don't. I don't plan on hanging my clothes out in THE WEATHER. LOL 




Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

iPad Review

I'm often stopped and asked how I like the ipad or what I use it most for - so here are my thoughts after having it for a few months.

Before we moved to Japan, several suggested I buy a Kindle.  I was intrigued. The ones out then had a smaller screen, didn't have global wifi programs etc..... and Michael was skeptical. When we got here I met a woman with a Kindle who sang its praises.  Nate came to watch the kids in March and had a Kindle. I was sold. However, being firm Ramsey converts...impulse buys are not allowed, research is a must, we don't buy first generation and it must be in the budget.  Michael had been on these tech envy crazes with me before....I needed a PDA etc.....and eventually I went back to pen and paper. He didn't think a reader was a good idea as he felt, other than travel, I'd prefer real books.

I began to travel a lot and was lugging a lot of books around. I really, really wanted a Kindle. The ipad came out. Michael thought THAT would be a good idea. It was a device that would do more than one function and if I didn't like a reader it would still be handy for other "things". We weren't quite sure what, but he thought it would be useful in my traveling and speaking.  He wanted to wait for the 2nd generation so the bugs would be worked out. We waited and waited....and researched.

He bought me an ipad as a "Deployment Survival/Christmas" gift. (Who knows it may be my birthday gift too. ::snort::) I had two round trip to the states trips in November. I LOVED having the ipad on the trips.  I was able to email, skype, check files, Facebook, blog, read blogs and read books.....and it weighed less than my laptop and books in a back pack.

Back at home we discovered many new uses. Yes, I love to read with it.  I still occasionally will check FB or  emails on it. I have all my contacts, calendar, grocery lists and such on it. I can run slide shows on it. I have games, flashcards, aps for reading news, Air 1, Bible study etc.  All great. I love to sit and READ blogs on it - more relaxing and book like than sitting at the computer. I loaded the free dropbox ap and can put any file  on our computers on the ipad (directories, minutes, rosters, school work, Bible Study discussion questions or notes).  I've been able to load something at home with wifi (preceptaustin.org) and show webpages to my Bible study ladies. We got directions on google at home with wifi and then used the directions on a trip. (Wifi isn't common in Japan so we lose connection when we're out and about).

I downloaded Olive Tree reader ap free. I downloaded  free Bible translations and can highlight, take Sermon and class notes on it and they cross all translations. I could pay for all of Zodhiates etc on Olive Tree...but I wanted to research before I began buying things to go with the ap and was locked in to using it. In my research  I was told about Laridian (Thanks again Diann in NV).  Laridian is also a free ap or download - with about 40 Books on it. You then pay to add things to it (much like e-sword), but they have a "buy once" policy. I can use anything I buy from them on ALL my platforms -  lap top, my ipad, phones etc. I love it. I'd be able to synch notes. Very helpful.  I'm in the process of purchasing Laridian but am still deciding what to buy.

No, I don't do all my Bible study at the computer...but I HAVE discovered it is  nice  to have a whole library of study tools in my purse. I can sit in the recliner with my Bible (in the ipad or the hard copy), decide to check out something and I don't have to go get the books or move to the table. I love it. I haven't totally switched my quiet time journaling and study  to ipad.....I like putting pen to paper...but I love having a library in my lap.

I do take the ipad in my purse to church - much lighter than my Bible and I can take the notes right in the text with the free Olive Reader. I'm assuming I can do the same with Laridian.  LOVE it. I also take notes in Sunday school and at MOPS and PWOC meetings. I have a "note" for chapel prayer requests.

Though you look a bit silly,  with Skype on the ipad it functions as a phone. ::snort:: And oh the conversations we started with the thing up to my ear. 
I also love to sit it on the microwave to my recipe page on this blog. 
This week I discovered that I can watch news clips and movies while I work out at home....later I realized I didn't need the ipod hooked up as all my music is on the ipad. 
Stacia is always eager to drill with the ipad....yes, I DO worry about her dropping it again - but forgiveness involves second chances. ::snort::  I can't hold her accident over her forever. 

Yes, it was an extravagant gift but oh how I love it. I didn't even fuss at the creative budgeting. ::snort:: Michael was right - I love this. I love the reader and having so many books immediately available (though many I want aren't).  This is really nice living over here where English libraries simply aren't an option. The base has a library but  the selection is very limited. 


And for Christmas, I got Mike a Kindle. He'd been broadly hinting that he thought having a Kindle for books would be nice.  We've even thought of getting one for the kids...but figure when we move back to the states we'll get a new ipad with the 3g capabilities and let the kids have this one for their games and drills and such. LOL 


Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Some Weeks...

are just busy.  I'm incredibly proud of us for showing we CAN make this pace and schedule work.  We're on track to have a REALLY GOOD full week of school done and this has been one of those "busy weeks".  We can do this.

Yesterday was a relaxing day at home - topped off with a relaxing night at MOPS Mom's Night Out. We learned to turn obis (sash on a kimono)  into decorations.  Enjoyed some good soup too - and indulged in crock pot envy. ::snort::

Arielle and I left for base again early this a.m. About once a month our Wing Chaplain's wife has the rest of the chaplain's wives over for breakfast. This is always a fun time to meet with women whom I don't often see....believe it or not.....we're all involved in different services etc.  Today we discussed taking a hop to Korea. A friend is expecting her dh home for a deployment soon. Some preening was in order. I was happy to go along and try out a new spa. ::snort:: You know me - always one for relaxing on the fly. We met Mike for lunch and just had time to get our groceries bought before we headed to Arielle's orthodontist appointment. I love this time of the year when groceries stay perfectly cool in the car.....of course my bananas froze last week so I need to watch that. LOL

I am TERRIBLY proud and elated that Nolan and Zander got ALL their table school done on their own while I was on base. What champs. We sat down for couch school when I got home while dinner baked.  We even had time for tea.  We're working the schedule. Go team.

Oh - I did slide right into a snow bank on the way to base this a.m. No one got hurt, the car didn't even stop - slide right into it and out of it. I would have felt silly but I happen to know the experienced Japanese driver behind me did the same thing.  I tried a different route on the way home, one with less ruts. The ruts are hard for my low-riding, little car to handle.

I had hoped to attend a fascinating event tonight - a meeting with a western geisha - but opted for a family night - only to find out that Mike had an engagement tonight afterall...nonetheless I'm looking forward to snuggling down on this cool winter night.

Have I said lately that I LOVE JAPAN?

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tops in Blue

I had asked about going to see Tops in Blues, but Michael said the tickets had gone fast. I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email from him late in the afternoon saying he had tickets and we were going. 

Tops in Blue, is an all-active duty US Air Force special unit made up of talented amateur performers selected for their entertainment abilities. They tour around the world - in overseas locations a lot for morale, and stateside probably for "recruiting"? I don't know. But they're fun to see. 

Our vice commander told the Japanese in the audience that we were thrilled to share a part of American culture with them.  The show incorporates a wide variety of music and is always a treat to view. I think I had as much fun watching the reaction of some of the Japanese audience as I did watching the show. I did wonder what they thought of some of the more boisterous American responses. 

The theme this year is "We Believe" - and while show was EXCELLENT, I do wonder about the message, and since culture was mentioned in the opening comments my mind naturally considered what the choice of this theme says about the world view of our culture.  It seems you can believe in music, love, love songs, finding a new mate, children....as long as you believe first and foremost in YOURSELF.  




Near the end they had one song that very clearly was talking about JESUS - the redeemer whose blood on Calvary bought our freedom......which raised some more questions in my mind.
Are we saying Jesus is one more thing you can choose to believe in? As valid as any other option? Just "another option"? And......with such a push for "religious freedom and equity" in the USAF, why a song about Jesus and not Allah or Buddha or Rah.... Could it be somewhere deep in our culture we still know when talking about freedom and belief....Jesus is our foundation?  

For the finale the group comes out in their uniforms and sing "God Bless the USA" - which nearly always moves me to tears. I remember clearly our church in San Antonio the week after 9-11. He asked all the active duty military to stand, they played this song, and prayed for all....and by the next week many were deployed. 

It was a  great family outing.....Stacia and Zander LOVED the lights, the flashes, the loud noises....the older ones, Mike and I had a good talk about world view on the way home....and I bet we'll have more. LOL 

Care to listen to a bit of the show?  Frankly they sounded better last night...


Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Fun

Today is MLK day. The base is pretty much closed down.  Jared and Arielle went skiing with the PYOC (Protestant Youth of the Chapel).  We decided  this would be a great opportunity to take the little ones out cross country skiing. I've only attempted it once.....but I was game.  I did much better this time.....

May I say it's BEAUTIFUL to go skiing on snow covered sand dunes, in the midst of pine forests and in big fields of unbroken snow...... We skied for a couple of hours. I didn't ski during this time - I ran beside Stacia and Zander. We had lunch in the van. Mike watched Stacia who decided not to ski and I skied with the boys. What a hoot! At one point the wind was so strong I fell over....and realized I didn't know quite how to get back up.....I kept trying various things until the boys caught up to me with some helpful tips.....Mike and Stacia were in the tower and enjoyed the hilarity. For a bit of time I simply turned flat on my back, stuck my skis into the snow, laughed until I cried, and enjoyed the incredible view. I love Japan.

We tried to rent skis from the base's Outdoor Rec. NO Children's skis....and the smallest boot was ladies 7.5. I wear 6 - so it was a bit uncomfortable out there.... We borrowed two sets of children's skis for Zander and Stacia from Mary, a friend.  Turns out that Zanders boys size 5 fit me perfectly and he would have preferred my women's 7.5. All that to say that I need to go online and try to find some used skis...we live in the snow covered boonies...the farm roads would be great for cross country skiing...the kids loved it. The beach is also wonderful for skiing. LOL


It took a good 30 min to get everyone situated on skis. 


Michael gave some quick instructions....

Oops....falling is still fun early in the day.
 More instructions 

 I NEVER would have guessed I'd ski on the beach...what fun. 
 Oops - spectacular falls from Zander.
 A girl must have her priorities. 
 Running along side for the first bit of skiing meant I could take lots of photos. 


 Zander took off his skis. Michael decided to teach Nolan how to do some bunny hills. 
 Zander really wanted to give it a try too. We talked. I told him  he WOULD fall, but he'd have fun. I'd let him  put his skis back on if he promised no more melt downs when he fell. He's High - He's Low....that's our boy. I think he was simply overwhelmed each time he fell and couldn't quite remember how to get up.....panic....no matter how many times we told him what to do...and he had lots of practice getting back up. ::grin:: We made sure the day ended on a high note. 




When we were tired, wet and getting cold....we loaded up and drove down to check out another beach. It was incredibly windy there and COLD....but we snapped this photo  for Mom and Dad G - we match Crescent City.

 Always fun to see the van out alone on adventures.....We are enjoying the 4WD.

For the life of us we can't figure out what happened to Mike's Snow wear. He went looking yesterday and this a.m. for suitable warm clothing on the economy. Through trial and error we discovered Nolan can wear a Japanese man's Large...and Michael is L5. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Fun Sign


Construction sign at the beach today....I'm guessing it says "Pier is being built - stay out" or something.  The Pier most certainly is NOT built at this point. 


Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Beach Trip

Fridays are always late movie nights - which tend to make Saturdays late mornings for my family. I wake up naturally at 5:30 a.m. this time of year.  I enjoy the gift of silence. 


I got up and spent time with my man James (as in the epistle of James).  I hit the elliptical. That thing makes enough noise to rouse the family. 


Some of us opted to stay home - some of us went to Kaikoen/Momoishi beach....we are so very blessed to live amongst such beauty. We found quite a bit of sea glass too.  I have an idea for making a different kind of necklace and bracelet. We'll see.  I'm not the most crafty gal on the continent.

Arielle and Zander play in what used to be a channel of fresh water heading to the ocean

Its now a clam bed


Having grown up around TROPICAL oceans, it still makes me smile to go to the ocean in snow gear. 


Zander and Arielle share my joy at winter ocean viewing....

It would appear chasing seagulls is a winter activity too. 

 Mike asked me if we'd had many jelly fish this summer and I realized anew how much he missed of our year in Japan. When we arrived the beaches were COVERED with GIANT jelly fish - seriously - I saw a magazine article about "refrigerator sized jelly fish in Northern Japan" - I am NOT exaggerating. LOL This summer we only saw a few. Mike did find a nice shell...and when we got home Staica told him, "Mom does not allow shells only sea glass and floats." ::snort:: She tries to bring buckets of clam shells home each time we go to the beach. She's been feeling crummy yesterday and today.

Zander found this fascinating coming on the end of our year of studying Ocean Life. 

We're thinking cross-country skis and snow shoes on Monday. The older ones have a ski trip with the youth. 


Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...