Monday, June 24, 2013

SkY wIrE ....LivE.

The Grand Canyon...really?  I'm watching this... live...and there is a knot in my stomach. Read: Not live.
Is he really wearing jeans? I feel that is a little casual for the occasion.
I don't even know what reverb is but apparently the cable has some.
He looks so tiny over that HUGE canyon.
I'm glad he is praying the entire walk because there is no other way he would make it across. I mean hopefully make it across, forgot this is live.
An extra 43 pound pole on top of it.
Probably the slowest 5 minutes of his wives life so far.
How did he do this over Niagara Falls last year with out getting the urge to pee. Sorry but its true, nerves and rushing water, I would have. Also since we've been to Niagara Falls, we should probably go check out the beautiful wonder that is the Grand Canyon.
Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.
That's all I have to say about that.
Today we went to see G.I. Joe in 3D and I usually don't love action movies but since Brandon and I've been together I've kind of grown to like them. Really really great graphics in this one in particular that won me over.
Then we found this amazing pizzeria that we've been told about. It was SO delicious. We had different plans but lots of places are closed on Mondays. It was in a new part of the city we normally don't go to which was great because we also discovered some cute little shops.
My sister arrives on THURSDAY and I just finished writing up the to-do list that I have for the days leading up to her arrival.
One which included clean the toilet which I randomly just did at midnight on a Monday. Just had to throw that in there so you remember that this is and adventure but not quite a vacation. Tomorrow I have some bills to pay, which we can do at the convenient store. Convenient right?
This guy is only halfway.. and he is squatting down.
I bought these pretty flowers yesterday to welcome summer. While I was at it I had the urge to make something so I made this new little frame for our very first picture of or little babe. It was in a pink frame which I felt was misleading, not because we wouldn't be thrilled with a girl, but because we aren't finding out the gender of our little one until he or she makes her arrival in January. The ultimate surprise.
I've been slacking so much lately in the writing department that even though this post is really random, I just enjoy slapping some thoughts down and tidbits from the week.
PHEW he made it! I really had no idea how that was going to end. What a miracle though really. I don't give this guy enough credit.
But since I stayed up just to watch, and kill some time with a post, it's over now and  I can shut it down for the evening!
Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chicken Chimis and Crockpot Salsa Chicken

It might be a little easier to understand why food has become so important lately, but enough about the baby for now. I just want to pass on a few dishes that I feel are worthy of recommending. 
Here is an easy chimichanga recipe that I originally found here via Pinterest. I am always skeptical of the recipes I find there because the picture can be so deceiving of what your expecting. But this one was right on.
 Baked Chicken Chimichangas
1 lb shredded chicken
8 oz shredded cheese (calls for pepper jack, I used Colby jack)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning.
Preheat oven to 350*. Spoon mixture onto flour tortillas, wrap, and bake for 15 minutes in non stick or sprayed pan. Flip and cook for 15 more minutes. Top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, or any of your other favorite toppings.
Simple. Easy. and Tasty. One that is getting added to our favorites menu.
But I'm not finished because last night our neighbor brought us dinner and it too is going on the favorites menu.
What you'll need and I don't know measurements and haven't cooked it myself but it won't be long until I try.
Crock pot Chicken Salsa
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Crock pot
Pour salsa over chicken in crock pot. Cook on low for approx 8 hours. Serve over rice.
It was SO good and simple.
And if you don't like these directions or need to have measurements, I'm sure there is a recipe online for this somewhere too, I'm just going off of what he told us.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Little Tid Bit

It's hard to believe we are roughly half way through our first season in Japan.
 We have met and made new friends with great people here.
We have learned what it's like to depend on each other 100% when the rest of our families are thousands of miles away.
It's been an adventure to discover new places and culture and although our journey is halfway over, it seems like it's just beginning.
Here is a little taste so far.

Friday, June 21, 2013


"What's for dinner?" Seriously this question is asked about four times a day if not more. There is just two of us eating each night so it shouldn't be that difficult to decide on a meal.
But then we do and I go to get the recipe and I run into the problem.. Oh, I don't have crescent rolls, or I can't find that type of cheese or seasoning packet, or cilantro for crying out loud... you get the idea and its frustrating. Shopping in the meat department here is also a little questionable because I don't know what cut of meat I'm buying and that doesn't sit to well with me.
I'm tired of our go-to hamburger casserole, hamburgers with macaroni and cheese, chicken teriyaki, chicken casserole, spaghetti and spaghetti casserole- are a few of our favorites.
I've turned to Pinterest frequently for NEW recipes but still find myself at a dead end often. I made an effort to try something new starting with the fish, and roasted vegetables, chicken noodle casserole, baked ziti, and chili dogs. I was on a roll and and then we had repeat BLT's and Teriyaki Chicken Stir-fry and I felt myself slipping back into our regular meals.
We don't own a casserole dish, just a few disposable foil pans. We can't grill and we don't have a crock pot or slow cooker (but I plan to shop around for one this week.)
Tonight it's an attempt at chicken chimichangas, and tomorrow our neighbor offered to bring dinner over and so I have a few days to gather some ideas. 
If you were in my shoes what would you cook or try to cook?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Books and Random Updates

I didn't write any special Father's Day post for my dad or father-in-law but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate all the support they give to Brandon and I.
Although last night at 3am when I turned off my kindle after finishing a book I realized a trait I inherited from my father. It is almost guaranteed that if you give my dad a new book or let him borrow one he will be up until all hours of the night, possibly til morning, drowning in his new read. And I'm no different.
I read in spurts. Sometimes I'm really into books and others I am not. I know that if I was back home I would spend my time sewing and crafting instead of reading but that isn't an option here. I also got an Amazon gift card from my grandparents for my birthday in May thus encouraging summer reading.
In the last two weeks I have finished four books and am halfway through a fifth. (I wanted to re-read The Great Gatsby before we saw the movie but only made it halfway.)
Bloom - Kelle Hamptom
The Duck Commander Family - Willie and Korie Robertson
The Next Best Thing - Jennifer Weiner
Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I've enjoyed them all. Each different than the others but when I finished these I was stumped what to read next. So I ask one of my favorite blogging friends Chelsea who also happens to be the cutest book worm I know, and she recommended this list for me and I'm starting at the top.

Gone Girl: A Novel - Gillian Flynn
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Love Anthony - Lisa Genova
Defending Jacob: A Novel - William Landay
So there you go a few recommendations for summer reads. If you've read anything else great I'd love to hear.

It's rained here twice this week which isn't very much considering it's rainy season. So I just keep cherries in the fridge and my nose in a book.
For now I enjoy the rain but if it could hold off the 27th through the 6th it would be highly appreciated. My calendar is full of sightseeing with my sister and rain is not invited. Speaking of, that special sister had a birthday over the weekend and I got to facetime with the entire family at  3 a.m. in the morning...their time! They were quite entertaining. So bummed to miss out on these family celebrations so we sent a birthday surprise for everyone to enjoy, because it's the least we can do 5,000 miles away.

Remember that teeny tiny injury I mentioned that  man of mine had? It is practically all healed up and gone. So grateful for that and having him around here extra. I realized last night that I'm going to miss him when he starts leaving on the road again.
This past week I also ordered my bridesmaid dress for my sister-in-laws wedding. I can't believe how quickly that is approaching.
And while all of that is going on I am anxiously waiting for word from one of my best friends back home that her new baby boy has decided to come into this world.
If it wasn't for technology I would be lost and although it seems like we are missing out on quite a bit going on back home, our family and friends are doing an excellent job keeping in contact with us making us feel connected. And we are grateful.
Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Extra Time

Here is the deal, we have another visitor coming at the end of the month and before I spoil her trip showing all these fun places I visited with my mom and dad, I'm going to wait until after she visits to finish posting about their visit.

That also means I pretty much have to catch up for almost half the month of June that has slipped away, although it hasn't. We have spent more time together the past two weeks then we have of any of the last three summers but it comes with a price. Brandon is currently rehabbing a super dee duper minor injury. Thankfully it isn't his arm and is healing well and fast and that's all I can say about that. Please and thank you for any prayers.
In the mean time we invested in some fishing gear and have been down at the water. Unfortunately we must be doing something wrong because in three days we have had one bite, ONE. But it has been enjoyable out and a way to spend time together and we will keep going even if the fish don't bite.
I think this hat would trick the fish into thinking we were just more Japanese fisherman. It's all about blending in.
We have had some hilarious Google Hangouts with some of my favorites back home.
Afternoon shopping dates that usually begin or end with ice cream! 
Pizza Hut for dinner, just to see how close it is to back in the states. It's so close that we actually decided to test it again because we forgot.
On nights we aren't stuffing our faces with cheesy pizza I've been testing out new waters with cooking some fish. I hardly ever eat fish, possibly once a year if that but I decided that I wasn't cooking one more thing with chicken or beef that night and so Lemon Garlic Tilapia it was.
The temperatures are slowly creeping higher and higher so in preparation for the summer heat I invested in a sno cone maker. It was/is the best $20 I have spent, until the kiddies invade our apartment, which I totally wouldn't mind.
And that is why this injury is a blessing in disguise because I am 100% loving all this extra time together to enjoy some summer fun.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Awaji Island

Its such a wonderful thing to be able to capture memories through photos but then actually writing what they mean and what happened adds a whole new meaning. This isn't exactly day one, but where I wanted to start with recapping my parents visit. It was early on in their trip after what began with a few rainy days. I don't know where or how but they suggested we head over to an island for the day to check out some gardens and other attractions. I was on board trying something new because I knew our week ahead held some repeat things that I had already seen but knew my parents would enjoy as well.
The morning of we hopped on a train, then took a 15 minute ferry, saw one of the longest suspension bridges, grabbed some maps from information and set out. I had done little research the night before and had very little idea of where on the island we were going and what we were going to try and see. Mistake #1.  

Our first sight to see happened to be right across the street from where the ferry drops off. It was this giant rock. Cool. Mom had mentioned next that the other three sights were all within a close distance so we headed down the road walking. We came upon a little beach and then directly across from that, a shrine that happened to have a festival of sorts going on. While some of us were intently studying our whereabouts on a map, ahem dad, others were eager to go see what the music and cheering was all about, me!  I didn't care what the map said I was checking it out and dragging them along with me. I really can't explain what took place so I will let the video show you.

After that, whatever you call it, we continued on to our next destination. After a little bit of walking we came across an intersection and all three of us were having trouble locating our 'your are here' point on a map. I had brought our wifi internet with us that day, and it was not of much use at all. Them a nice man on a bike asked us if we needed help. Of course we did. So we showed him our map and he too couldn't locate our spot but suggested we weren't far off the map. He told us we had a 2km (1.2 miles) walk or so, we thanked him still not quite sure if we should keep walking or redirect our plans for the day. So we walked and the sun beat down on us, but we walked. Along the way we stopped at a little bike café. I was whining and needed to stop, take a break, get a drink, and figure out exactly where we were going. They also had a cute puppy out front that I pet and gave me a little dog fix for a while. The owner was super nice and we were the only ones in there. We, just to make sure, asked him if we were headed in the right direction as well. Map laid out on the table, he too told us we were just off the map, but close. We gathered our things, and a rocky road brownie for the road and continued our walk. And then we saw the sign for the park we were headed to - a botanical museum/garden gallery.
Let me tell you, we all agreed it was worth the walk. The landscaping and flowers were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

We paid a few extra dollars (again worth it) for a greenhouse exhibit they had going on for Mother's Day. It too was filled with perfectly pruned flowers, everything you could think of and tons of roses! I do believe my mom said, I think this is probably what heaven will be like, and I hope she is right because I'm going and it was gorgeous.


Since it was one of the warmer days while my parents were here, we stopped to have a seat and grab a snack at another little café within the park. We all had ice cream treats as we laughed about our latest discovery that made us feel more silly and like tourist than ever.
My mom laid it out perfectly. Imagine you are in downtown St. Louis with a map of the Six Flags Amusement park, and you stop to ask someone where you are on that map. Our map, was actually a map of the park we were trying to get to, not a map of the entire island. Yes you can laugh now and call us big dummies but we had a good laugh and a great day.
After ice cream we finished our day at the 100 tier garden which sat up on a hill behind the Westin hotel with a gorgeous view. It was like an optical illusion with lots of stairs.

Needless to say after our long walk and tackling all those stairs, some of us were worn out! We went to the hotel and took a cab back to the ferry instead of walking. Best move of the day. One ferry and a train later we were back home for dinner.

And because I loved my last video so much I've decided that I'll keep making them.