Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tama Hills

Four months after our first trip to Tama Hills we finally made it back!  This time it was a bit too cold to tent camp so instead we rented cabins with some of our best friends.  I found very little information about the cabins before we left so I'm going to do a little photo tour of our cabin before I get into our weekend.

 We stayed in one of the two pet friendly cabins.  They were separate from the cabins that do not allow pets but only by about a five minute walk.  If you want to be next to friends though, you'll either both want to book the pet cabins or ones that aren't pet friendly.  Like I said though, it's only about a 5 minute walk between them so it really wasn't a big deal to be separated.  Their website doesn't really say how many the standard cabins sleep but since it's only a one bedroom, we assumed only 2 adults but in reality, 6 adults could share one cabin (if you don't all mind sharing a bathroom).  There was a bed in the bedroom, a futon couch in the living room and a loft that was carpeted and had a cheap futon type mattress for sleeping.  There was technically only dining seating for 4 but you could also eat at the coffee table like we did.  The kitchen has 2 electric burners, no oven, a microwave and a fridge/freezer.  There were some basic utensils, one pot, one pan, and a dining set for 4.  Basically, only the basics are provided.  If you require anything more than that, you should bring it with you.  Also, the beds were horribly uncomfortable, I'd almost have preferred to be in a tent, except for the below freezing temps at night.

As for our weekend?  

We did a little artistic photo taking,

a little hiking,

a little climbing, 

a little hole peeking 

a little old dog assisting,

a little father/son bonding,

a little law breaking, 

a little shadow watching (best walking stick EVER, I'm so bummed I left it behind),

a little sun soaking,

a little archery teaching,

and a whole lot of eating!

 (I know, I know, who eats crab legs while "camping"?!?  WE DID and it was awesome!)

Monday, February 25, 2013


I almost skipped this week but just 5 minutes of scrolling through photos on my iPhone and I easily came up with 5 things I love about Japan!

1. My wonderful ESL students' dedication to their lessons.  Even the snow won't stop them!

2. This comic I found while wrapping my package at Ikea.  I love the Japanese sense of humor.

3. Japanese are fairly law abiding citizens EXCEPT when it comes to bicycle parking!  I see this everywhere and it always makes me chuckle.

4. Recycle shop, or second hand store finds, like this nabe pot that was only $5 and a gorgeous kimono for under $10!  

5. Seeing how others view America.  This was in a local scrap booking store.  Football, cowboys, movies, the statue of liberty, taxi's and lots of food!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Best trip to the laundromat ever!

A couple of months ago, about the time I started back to school, I decided that doing laundry every day or every other day just wasn't working for me.  I hate doing laundry and having to think about it; sorting, washing, drying, folding, hanging, putting away, all of it, all the time, was driving me crazy.  So I decided that once a month I'd go to the laundromat and spend 3 hours doing all of my laundry (and homework while I sit there), that way I only have to think about it once a month.  I realize that this means I have entirely to many clothes, I know, I KNOW.  I'm still working this all out and I may have to do a load or two in between my monthly trips but that is still better than constantly doing laundry, at least for me.  That's not the point though, the point of this is that a few weeks ago our friends' son who is in pre-school here was scheduled to go with his class on a "field trip" to the laundromat (I understand it's not a typical field trip but I think they just like to get the kids out of the class room every once in a while so they walk them to places here on base.) but due to some scheduling mistakes, he had to miss the trip.  He was terribly upset that all of his friends got to go and he didn't so Jason and I offered to take him with us the next time we went.  That offer resulted in the most fun I've ever had at a laundromat in my entire life!

We learned how many quarters are in a dollar.

Counted the quarters and added them to the machines.

Had snack time!

Learned the different coins.

Made faces in the washing machine doors.

Climbed to reach the tall machines.

Got bored and played on Mr. Jason's iPhone .

Which brought some excitement back to our lives.

Played hide Chase.

And even practiced a new skill, how to throw peanuts in the air and catch them on the way down.

I think it's safe to say he had a way better time at the laundromat than his classmates did!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Photo Shoot {Pregnancy Reveal...not ours}

A few weeks ago at our weekly Bible study meeting on base a friend approached me and said she had a favor to ask me but she wanted to wait until we could talk in private.  I then spent the next 2 hours not paying attention to my study wondering what she could possibly need from me that she couldn't ask me in front of others.  At the end of our meeting she finally filled me in on her super secret mission, she's PREGNANT and they wanted some photos to send to friends/family to announce their big news.  So two days later we met at the park here on base and took just a few quick shots with my new Canon 60D.  

How adorable is the sign she made?!?!

I'm so grateful they asked me to do this for them!  I can't wait for Sara to be all huge preggo so we can do this again.  They're going to be great parents.  I just hope and pray we're here long enough to meet their sweet baby!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Here are my 5 favorite things about Japan this week!

1. Ridiculously cute tights for less than $2.50.

2. SAKURA (cherry blossom) SEASON!  This means specialty mugs and drinks at Starbucks.  I'm not normally a Starbucks fan but these are too cute to pass up.

3. These special melons that are given as gifts and cost WAY more than a traditional melons. (I've never learned why, maybe I'll remember to ask one day)  The one on the left is about $60 US!

4. Another shoe post. Not only do the Japanese not wear shoes in their homes, the children also have special shoes they wear only in school.  They must take off their outside shoes and wear these while they are inside.

5. Big America burgers at McDonald's.  For the past few years McDonald's in Japan has come out with different "American" burgers.  This one here is the Texas burger which features "grainy mustard", cheese, a burger patty, fried onions, bacon and BBQ sauce.  I haven't actually tried any of these, since I don't eat beef, much less McDonald's but I still think the idea is good marketing!

Friday, February 15, 2013

30 while 30 {7 months}

Whoops...the 12th came and went without my noticing.  I failed to post this on time and I didn't complete a single thing this month but I want to keep track anyway.  This month should go down as a complete fail and motivate me to do more next month.  However, the reason I didn't cross anything off this month is because I'm working so hard to cross off # 28.  School is officially kicking my butt (I forgot how much work college can be) but I only have 3 weeks left in this term then I'll only have 2 classes and 8 weeks until graduation!  The decision to go back was completely last minute and not really thought through all the way but we forked out the money so I'm doing the work and making the time for it.

Health/Fitness {1/4}
1} take a yoga class {DONE 10Jan13}
2} do 1 unassisted pull up
3} pass the Army PT test for my gender/age group
4} try something new 

Food {1/6}
5} eat one week strict paleo {DONE 1-7Jan13}
7}learn to cook 5 Japanese dishes from scratch {1/5 1. Nikujaga}
8} master 5 go-to last minute meals
9} try 5 new foods {1.Snakeskin fruit 2.Mangosteen 3.pistachios 4.quail}
10} meal plan every month {5/12}

Japan/Travel {4/9}
11}visit at least 3 new sites in Japan {1/3 1.Tokyo Disney}
12} visit Tokyo Disney {DONE 23Oct12}
13} ride an elephant in Thailand
14} see the Great Wall of China {Done 19Dec}
15} put my feet in the Indian Ocean {Done in Bali}
16}volunteer somewhere outside of the US {DONE 8-12Nov12, Ishinomaki, Japan}
17} take Jason to Red River Gorge AKA my favorite place in the world
18} print, frame and display at least one photo from each of our trips
19} visit at least 3 new countries {2/3 Indonesia, China}

Random {4/11}
20}watch all 100 movies off the AFI {American Film Institute} top 100 list {45/119}
there are actually 2 lists, we combined them and there are 119 different movies on the lists
21} contribute to savings every month {5/12}
22}volunteer somewhere at least once a month {5/12}
23} have new photos taken of Jason and I {DONE 16Sep12}
24} send 12 personalized "just because" gifts/cards {8/12}
25} revamp my resume {DONE 11Jan13}
26} complete a year long photo project
27} attend an Army sponsored marriage retreat {DONE 22-24Oct12}
28} get a college degree
29} VOTE in the Presidential election {DONE 17Oct12}
30} blog 100 times

Monday, February 11, 2013


I'm loving this weekly challenge!  Coming up with 5 things I love about Japan each week has really made me think about everything I do here in a different way.  Here are the 5 things I love about Japan this week!

1. The "romance car" on days you're running late.  It's a super express train with assigned seats that stops 3 stations away from us and then not again until it arrives in Tokyo.  It's FABULOUS, but an extra 400 yen (about $5 US) each way so we don't take it very often.

2. Discount produce at the market that is fresher than the stuff they sell at our commissary.

3. Signs.  I have NO idea what this sign is for or what it says but it was too funny not to mimic.

4.  Ah, these things are GENIOUS! When you're trying on clothes, they give you these mesh covers to put over your face so you don't get makeup all over the clothing!  How many times have you found a fabulous shirt, it's the last one, in your size, then you notice a make-up stain on it...that never happens here! (now that I see this photo, I'm totally regretting not purchasing this skirt!)

5. Japanese have, hands down, the cutest shoes I've ever seen, EVER!  Most of them are reasonably priced (under $30) too.  The only downfall is that I wear a size 9 US which is a LL or LLL here and they rarely have the cute styles in my size.