Monday, October 31, 2011

Party Day

Isn't it funny how most days pass without too much stuff on the calendar and then there will be a day when there's not enough room on that little square to write all the things scheduled?  We had one of those days on Saturday.  Luckily all the things we had to do were fun parties!

Emmy and I started at 1:00 with our neighbor's son's first birthday party.  And since AnnMarie is so super creative, the decorations and food were just incredible.

Jude was having his One (and only) birthday shindig as a Shrek fest and there were all kinds of cute games.  Like "feed the Ogre" and the "potion room" and of course there was an onion carriage ride to the castle.  All very cute!

Emmy in the "onion carriage"

We actually had to cut out early from that party to head over to Emmy's friend (and my other student) Molly's house for their Monster Mash.  Molly and her brother, Milo, both have birthdays in October so Michelle and James turn their love for Halloween into a combined birthday party.  Stevie was anxious to attend this party because of the awesome house and view that Michelle and James have.  They live way out in Yomitan, but the 30-40 minute drive is well justified by the million dollar view they have from their balcony.  Man, if we had known there were places like this around, we would have probably chosen to live off base!!!

View from her balcony

The Monster Mash was a good time too with games for the little ones - like eating donuts off a string (London really got into this one), and the mummy roll.

Still trying for those donuts, even after everyone else gave up!!!

After the mummy roll

That's Emmy under all that toilet paper!
After a short break back at home we refreshed our costumes before heading over to the third and final Halloween party of the day.

London as Hiccup (from How to Train Your Dragon), Cannon as a Kindle, Emmy as a cheerleader, Stevie and I as Ozzy and Sharon Osborne!

Ozzy Osborne - aka Stevie

Sharon Osborne - aka Louise

Kindle Cannon
Luke and Tracy Mueller (Luke's another OB/GYN) have an annual Halloween party and they go all out for it.  They have tents, hire a DJ and have more spooky Halloween decorations than you can shake a stick at.  It's a good job my kids didn't have to go to the bathroom while we were there because she even had the bathroom decorated with a blood stained shower curtain, blood splatters on the walls and a bathtub full of bloody water and severed body parts.  I was a bit freaked out!

There were some great costumes at the Mueller party, including us, of course - Ozzy and Sharon Osborne!

Neighbors Ashley and Eric Terpstra

Neighbors Krimp and Dima

Ozzy singing Crazy Train

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Beachy Weekend

I was in the mood to get out this past weekend, consequently, there was no rest for my poor family until mamma got out!  On Saturday I devised an excellent sightseeing plan in Yomitan which entailed finding this cave that was used for refuge during the Battle of Okinawa and then on to this secluded beach that my friend, Michelle, told me about.  Well, at least that was the plan.  After many, many delays in getting out - like Stevie getting a scratch on his cornea and the neighbors chatting in the cul-de-sac and the usual Saturday errands - we finally piled in the Golden Nugget around 3:00 to try to find the cave and beach.

Alas, my enthusiasm to find an adventure was not enough to sustain my family and after 45 minutes of driving around down random farmer's paths trying to find the cave (and then a sudden headache for Cannon), I surrendered my quest for the cave and relented to a short walk on Torii Beach instead.  Not exactly the adventure I had imagined, but still Torii always turns up some good treasures and quite a bit of sea glass.

Fric and Frac - they are two peas in a pod right down to their matching t-shirts, shorts and hand signs!

Beautiful water

This was my most unusual beach treasure - some funky doll half buried in the sand.

After the Saturday failure, Stevie devised Sunday's itinerary which included going out for brunch at OHOPS (the Okinawan House of Pancakes) and then to a beach up north.  OHOPS, for those of you who don't follow every post I make, is the closest thing to IHOPs we'll find on this island.  Located across from one of the Marine bases up north and owned by an ex-pat, OHOPS offers biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles, eggs and every other kind of artery clogging breakfast item you could desire.  It's not quite Cracker Barrel, but it's good!

So after getting our tummies full, we headed on down the road a bit to a new beach.  We've been to a beach close to here several times, so I thought we'd try a slightly different beach this time.  I basically picked a point on the map and told Stevie to head the car in that direction.  Amazingly, we made it!

This beach was different in that it was bordered by tall pine trees and had big rock outcrops - almost reminded me of a beach in Maine.  It was a nice strolling beach, albeit a bit of a garbage dump (I've noticed that eastern facing beaches [Pacific] have a tendency to have more trash).  Still, we were able to find some neat treasures and have a beautiful Sunday afternoon walk (greatly needed after all those pancakes!)

Photo by Emmy!

Self timer shot!

Looking at this photo, I see that my family may not have been as thrilled about this outing as I was!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The last three nights have been the most beautiful sunsets from our hill.  The sun has been like a huge red ball and it set right in the middle of the ferris wheel.  No retouching on these photos!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Candy sushi

Friday night was the elementary school carnival for London's school.  We all went to this last year, so with experience under his belt, Stevie declined the invitation to go again last year.  Lets just say it's a loud, boisterous and energetic venue and Stevie prefers calm.

If truth be known, I too prefer quiet to 500 screaming, sugar-rushing kids on my Friday night, but I have learned to tune it out by now.  So off I went with Emmy and London in tow.

This year's carnival was actually really well done and since we got there when it opened, the lines weren't too bad for things.  So we started with the obligatory face painting before moving on to the cake walk.  I told the kids they weren't leaving until they won a dessert for us!  Fortunately, London won on his first go around.  Unfortunately, Emmy had to go another 15 rounds before I pulled her off.  She was convinced she was going to win!

Since London was one of the first winners, he got his pick of a huge table full of cakes, cookies, breads, etc.  But what did he pick???  Sushi.  This totally awesome candy sushi!

I've got to remember this when I get back to the States.  And for all you who want to try it, here's a link to the recipe.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

OctOkiFest - part 1

Last year we jokingly had the idea to do an Okinawan themed fall festival.  Well, things went the way things go and we never planned one.  But this year the idea was revived and we got busy planning the first annual "Okinawa Oktober Fest" - or maybe better named the OctOkiFest.  We had the idea to do lots of games and events typically found at a fall fest, but all with an Okinawan twist.  Like instead of bobbing for apples - bobbing for goya.  Not hay rides but sugar cane rides in the back of an Okinawan truck.  Not pumpkin carving, but Okinawan gourd carving.  You get the idea.  There was also to be costume contests - kid, adult and animal - and a pie eating contest.  Then some other games with a Japanese twist - like chopstick passing games and my personal favorite, the sushi roll.

No, this contest was not to be who was the fastest person to make a sushi roll, but who could roll their partner up in a piece of astroturf, secured with duct tape, and rolled down the hill the fastest!

We were all going to gain strength for these events from eating (and judging) the chili cookoff!  We have some fantastic chefs on our hill and this was going to be a popular event.

So those were the best laid plans, but Mother Nature didn't get the invite so rain was in the forecast for the weekend.  Boo.  (That is not a scary boo, but a sad boo!)  But we are a neighborhood that perseveres, or at least doesn't let rain dampen our fun, and so we decided to go ahead with the cook-off and bonfire and postpone the rest of the games for another weekend.

The weather cleared up just in time!
Welcome to the Oki OktoberFest!

Conveniently, the rain stopped around 5:30 and out came the neighbors - some dressed in costume...

Krimp and Dima

Stevie and Lucy (I mean me!)

Some not...
Eric and Ashley

Jon and Stevie

Most bearing crockpots and bowls of chili...

And lots of desserts.

The chili-cookoff was a tough decision - who knew chili could taste so many different ways?  All were good, but it turned out that our local food blogger was the winner!  Ashley!  Krimp's vegetarian butternut squash chili came in second - it was tasty!

Tasting the chilis.

Hmm???  Which one won?

We were able to pull off one of the contests - the pie eating - since all the pies were made!

Licking his fingers, ready to go!

Don't they look like a bunch of chickens at feeding time?

Joe's the winner!

Cannon got stuck on the whipped cream.

Not the plate too, Stevie!

Joe looking very glad he won!

Hopefully the weather will be better next weekend so we can do more of the games!

Emmy and Ben

Krimp dancing with the kids