Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deep thoughts as we embark on the New Year...

Can you believe January is half over? Two weeks into the new year and I've got some fun blog fodder, but not enough of any one thing to have a single post. So, here is a mishmash of things that have been on my mind...

Coupon Contest Loser

I am in the throes of the coupon competition the base family finance program has each quarter. Whoever turns in their reciepts and has accumulated the most savings in 3 months wins a free massage. I have until the end of January to save as much as I can through couponing done at the commissary. I was beat out by a woman who stocked up on diapers last time. I came in second place with about $271 and got a book on how to coupon successfully. Um, thank you. I don't want to seem ungrateful, I do appreciate the prize, however, shouldn't the book go to the loser? Someone who clearly is interested in couponing but sucks at it? Obviously not....

But, back to the first place winner of the quarter...  She rocked the contest by saving more than $900. I actually know this super couponer and congratulated her when I saw her at a craft sale. She told me she has two kids in diapers. My thought: "You can have the contest, I don't need two kids in diapers. Enjoy the massage! I'm sure you need it..." But, since she can't win for another year, I am back at it, trying to kick some coupon butt without a couple of toddlers.

So far I'm up to $227.83, but I've got two weeks to go... maybe I can stock up on some Depends or something. The cool thing about coupons overseas: They are good for 6 months after they expire! :) So, wish me luck on winning the massage this time...


Speaking of winning, my kids should have bought lottery tickets last Saturday. We took them to the arcade at a local 7-story department store, where the arcade takes up half the 6th floor. The kids love this big glass claw prize game that seats six around it in a hexagon. They each got 1,000 yen and picked one of these claw prize games that featured Hello Kitty purses and stuffed animals. Why they didn't pick one with more masculine prizes is beyond me.  But they hit the jackpot three times... they got a lovely purple Hello Kitty handbag, a black sequined Hello Kitty makeup bag, Ritz Crackers, Pringles and about five pounds of candy (not kidding.) Oh, and a teal-colored teddy bear, which Xan quickly claimed. I'm sure the little Japanese girl who worked there was getting tired of handing my kids the "jackpots" out of the machine. Of course the men in Japan often carry purses so she was probably admiring how well the purple purse went with Will's eyes or something...

 But once we got home, we had quite the calamity... teddy bear's legs fell off unexpectedly, leaving a single white string dangling at his hip.

I had to pull a quick Mila Kunis on Ted and sew him back together before Xan broke in to tears. But, thank God, no one wished him to become a real bear. That's a headache I just don't need ...

Photos and Shipping

I have finally found a place to print pictures on the fly here in Iwakuni. There is an English-option kiosk and you can hook up your iPhone, USB drive, CD, just about anything with digital memory and print photos. The only problem is that the prints are 37 yen each, which is about 40 cents, and 39 cents more than I can get them online for. But, the alternative is to go through Snapfish or Shutterfly, which have been taking almost two months to ship photos to me... when they don't get lost in the mail.

But the photo companies aren't the only companies that have less than stellar shipping, especially for a crafter. It took a package from six weeks to get to me, and a small scrapbooking company that I usually get my stuff from within two weeks took over a month. has been fabulous, though. I am not sure what they do differently from other companies, but I wish they would share their secret.

Desserts too Good to Eat

My friend, Rachel, and I headed out on the town one Friday night during Christmas break and went to this little Italian place called Primavera. But Italian food isn't their only specialty.

Their espresso and desserts are as amazing to look at as they are to taste. When you order an espresso, for 100 yen more, you can get a kitten drawn in your coffee. I don't like coffee, so Rachel gave it a shot. Get it, espresso, shot? Ha!    Never mind...

I got a pound cake-type dessert and Rachel got tiramisu. Both came with art created with fruit sauces and a partially peeled grape that looked like a blossom.

Both desserts were wonderful to see and taste... but I couldn't smell anything but the cigarette smoke produced by the Japanese nationals around us. I miss the smoking bans that Florida and California had in restaurants. The only bummer about this excursion is that I could smell the smoke on me all the way home and had to immediately take a shower and wash my clothes.

But Still Losing Weight...

Today I surpassed my halfway mark to my goal for weight loss. Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive!

Lost our Little Lady

In case you didn't see the post (I didn't promote it on Facebook) Molly passed away last week. Click here to see the post.

Japanese Spencers

On a happier note, you may recall a store at the mall called  Spencers, where there are weird, eclectic gift options, as well as a dependable selection of adult gifts. While Bulldog, the Japanese Spencer-esque store in Iwakuni, had a huge, Daiso-like selection of household items, they had weird, eclectic gifts, too. Many complete with Janglish. Their Christmas section featured the usual holiday fare, yet included the following two gift bags, which I thought did a great job of promoting the holiday spirit:

Who doesn't do Christmas yoga and east coast swing during the holidays?

This is just creepy, Santa.... you are not allowed to have my kids on your lap any more.

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