Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,
Last year we were able to take the opportunity to serve as a family on a short missions trip to the Door of Faith Orphanage in La Mision, Baja Mexico during the kid’s Fall Break. Although this year has been tough on us financially being in the real estate business, we still feel that it is important to instill principles of giving of our time and treasures in our family life. The estimate total cost for our family is to participate in this trip with our church is $500. $290 is our registration cost and the rest is for our gas, Mexico insurance, and supplies. If you would like to support us financially, no amount is too small, please make checks out to Ventura Missionary Church and designate it for Kashiwamura Family. Please send it this week by October 9th to: 1876 Rogue River Circle, Ventura, CA 93004. Any excess will go towards supplies and materials for the orphanage. Most of all, we ask for your prayers. Thanks for investing in the Kingdom with us. We’ll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 10 - 33.3%

Ok, so here we are at Day 10 and I must say, we have done pretty well considering the temptations and activities that have occurred. This week, I did splurge at the 99Cent Only Store cuz they had deals I couldn't pass up. Glenn went to check at another store to see if they had any more but unfortunately, succumbed to buying potato chips and a bag of Red Vine licorice, which I ate half the bag. Not Good...He got an "F" for yesterday. Here's what I spend $29 on yesterday... So I bought like 10 each of these things since my family can polish the pizza in 2 1/2 days if it was one for each of us and it was better than paying $3.99 at the grocery store.

We made a trip to Arroyo Grande to pick up our freezer just in time. But that trip cost us extra gas money since we had to pull a trailer which kept shorting out our tail fuse and caused us to spend money replacing it - $8.00, still cheaper than renting the trailer since our neighbor let us borrow his for free.
This week we are preparing for a garage sale. We've been saying this for a year now. So we have to make room for the freezer too now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 1 of September No Spending Experiment

Ok, so I got challenged by this Reader's Digest writer and his experiment for a month where his family was committed to spending "nothing". Not even one penny, on anything except gas and some fresh grocery items. He went as far as not even putting money in the parking meter. You either beg, borrow it, or go long as it doesn't come out of your pocket. (Hint, someone else can pay) He gave examples of how his plumbing went out and he had to learn how to fix it himself, or ask a neighbor to help. He had to think of creative ways to get by for the moment and to see how long he would last. So...our family decided to try it.
Ugh, how am I gonna get through this? I like to buy something every day!'s gonna be a total mental game for me. I know some of you don't worry about one day of not spending, but me? It's like getting me to the's gonna take a lot of prayer and will power.
What am I hoping to get out of this? Well, maybe it's to see what we really spend...or maybe it's to realize that we really don't need that thing that we thought we did..or I dunno. So, I'm hoping to blog the every day temptations, struggles and the triumphs of our experiment.
So today, knowing that I would have to do this starting today, what did I do first? Sleep in. I had Glenn drive the kids to school today (which made Nathan late). You see, I have a routine where I drop the kids off, go to the gym, and then I SHOP. Mainly at the 99¢ Only Store. Every day I go there. There's always something to get there. Vegetables, cookies, bread,'s the hunt for the DEAL that keeps me there. So...I escaped this morning by NOT going there. BUT, I have to go to the gym later that evening. What did I do? I wore my bike shorts and didn't bring a change of shorts so that I wouldn't want to embarass myself at the stores wearing shorts with a butt pad on it. Not that it matters to the bikers, but for me...NOT. You have to realize that the 99¢ Store is next to Trader Joe's and Ralph's and near everything else I shop for...Ross, Barnes and Noble, Michael's. So, goody for me, I passed the test today. I went straight home after the gym.
Glenn then texted me on my way home to ask if he can buy oranges since they were at a fresh fruit stand. NO! I have orange juice. When I picked up Nathan from school, he said he felt like Dippin' Dots and he had his money with him. I said, NO! Remember, no spending. Maybe you can get someone else to get it for you. He wasn't too disappointed. It sparked up a conversation with Kalista on how to make your own cool treats.
Here's my list of wants today or what I forgot to stock up on for the month:
Salt for the water softener. Total estimated cost $15.00
Oranges $5.00
The door of the van needs to be fixed, the hydraulic lift failed so I it won't stay up. Estimated cost? $250. I hope it's still under warranty.
Picture day is Friday for Nathan. Estimated savings $30. People can see him on Facebook this year.

It's All About Nathan...

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This was a collage I put together for Nathan. He had an assignment to write about himself. This was really great cuz it gave me a chance to spend some time knowing Nathan even better creatively.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Couple's Workout

After so many years of marriage, sometimes it is hard to find things that we like to do together nowadays when we have free time. We find ourselves spending our "date" time together either shopping for food or for the kids or running errands to take care of "stuff". I follow some health and fitness websites and from time to time, I find some very interesting articles. In light of Valentine's Day I thought I'd put this out for you to try. We always use the excuse that we have no time to exercise, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone. Glenn and I worked out this morning by going to spinning class together. Of course, you can add your own exercise regime to this list too, if you know what I mean.

By Raphael
Calzadilla, B.A., CPT, ACE
eDiets Chief Fitness Pro

Sexy positions and sweaty, interlocking bodies -- I'm talking about exercise, of course. I've created a fun and exhilarating Valentine's couples workout to get muscles working and circulation pumping -- but you have to perform this workout with your sweetie. So have some fun, be supportive of your partner, and give your heart and muscles what they need.

Pam Ofstein, eDiets Director of Nutrition Services, was kind of enough to be my partner in this Valentine's Day couples' workout.

Perform each exercise, then move to the next one. Try to complete the circuit (all exercises) twice.

Couples' Lunge and Reverse Lunge
1. You get double your money with this exercise. Begin by facing your partner while holding each others' hands with arms slightly elevated.

2. Pam takes a forward long lunge with her left leg, while I perform a reverse lunge with my right leg. Alternate legs with each rep. Keep your body straight during both movements, and don't let your opposing knee touch the floor. Perform 12 reps on each leg.

After completing 12 reps, the person performing the reverse lunge then performs the forward lunge, and the person performing forward lunges will switch to reverse lunges. Lunges will work the quadriceps, hamstrings and the butt. Support your partner by keeping your hands and arms elevated and by giving them words of encouragement.

Couples' Squat
1. Begin by facing your partner while holding each others' hands, with arms slightly elevated. Feet should be shoulder-width apart.

2. Lower by bending at the hips and knees to a parallel squat. It's important to stick your butt out while lowering -- almost as if you're about to sit in a chair.

Rise back up to the starting position and repeat. Perform 15 reps. Squats work the quadriceps, hamstrings and butt.

Interlocking Crunches
1. Begin by lying on a mat with your feet and ankles interlocked. This will provide support for your partner.

2. Place your hands crossed over your chest and perform an abdominal crunch. Support your partner by telling them to keep his eyes straight up and not to bend his neck. Perform 15 reps.

Interlocking Bicycle Maneuver
Begin with your backs flat on a mat with feet and ankles interlocked. With your fingertips placed on the sides of your head, perform opposite elbow to opposite knee crunches. Lower to the mat and perform the same movement on the other side. Perform 15 reps on each side.

Chest Press
Both partners shoulder stagger their feet so one leg is behind and one leg in front. Bring hands up to chest level and place the bottom of your hands against the hands of your partner. Now each of you should slowly push right and left as each partner provides just a bit of resistance. This is great for the chest, shoulders and arms. Perform the movement for 40 seconds. Look directly in your partner's eyes while performing the exercise and keep your torso facing forward -- don't twist your upper body.

Shoulder Press
One person will begin on their knees. Bend arms at the elbow 90 degrees and make fists. Partner stands behind and provides the slightest resistance by pressing down with the palms as the person kneeling presses upward. The goal of the person kneeling is to perform a full shoulder press with resistance. Perform 10 reps, then switch.

Hamstring Stretch

Lay flat on a mat with knees bent. As you raise one leg, your partner will place his hand on your ankle and gently stretch your leg towards your upper torso. This should be performed with very little pressure, and your lower back should not come up off the mat. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Celebrate Your Victory!

Oh, and guys? Please give your honey a Valentine's gift that's thoughtful and meaningful. Otherwise, the remainder of 2009 will look like this:

Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The 99¢ Store

Well, not only did my body go on a diet, but my wallet did too. I've always been a bargain shopper so I'm not unfamiliar with stores such as Dollar Tree and the 99¢ Store, or let me correctly say it, the 99¢ ONLY store. I would only go there to pick up party items and maybe some paper goods, but never did I start grocery shopping there until I got here in Ventura.

The first time we came to visit, we tried to save some money on food and Glenn found the 99¢ Store and bought fruit there. A box of strawberries, bags of oranges, pears, were only 99¢. So was juice and fresh bags of salads. The vegetables don't look as pretty as the ones at Von's but I'm not paying double for something my stomach can't tell the difference with. Plus, it makes it seem more organic since the fields are nearby and they sometimes look like they just came out of the ground. I also don't have as much room from downsizing and I tend to waste less food now and purchase in quantities that I need.

So that started my love affair with the 99¢ Store. Needless to say, it's been a lot more crowded nowadays as the economy has people looking for ways to save money on their groceries. I used to not go if the location is what I call "ghetto" but I don't let it stop me now. It is now also my "prize" store that I take Kalista to, not Toys R' Us. She gets to pick out a prize once a week if she wakes up on time for school the whole week. She loves looking at everything and always finds more than one prize she wants, but she only gets one...

I am fortunate to have access to two in Ventura and one in Oxnard. I'm listing my top 10 favorite things that I now buy there.

1. San Luis Bakery-Sourdough Bread
Right next door at Trader Joe's they sell the same bread for $2.69

They also carry Sarah Lee Bagels and bread...normally over $3.00

Gorditos-again, $3.69 at Trader Joe's

2. Fresh Express Salads-Yes, sometimes you can get them on sale but I don't have to wait for a sale

3. Vegetables- Broccoli, Cauliflower, carrots, fresh whole mushrooms, red, green, yellow and orange peppers, green onions, potatoes etc.

4. Butterball Deli Turkey Meat-this even comes with a plastic container that you can re-use to store your leftovers!

5. Lean Cuisine Entrees

6. Yoplait Yogurt- You can buy a 6 pak kid's or two regular and Light versions...

7. Seasonal Fruits- I am beginning to love those tiny plantation bananas!

8. Disney items and stationery stuff (I know these aren't food items, but I lumped all the vegetables and fruit in two categories)

9. Hair accessories- can never have enough bands and clips

10. Twin Dragon Almond Cookies (Although I recently stopped due to my healthier eating habits) They did carry Weight Watchers muffins this week!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You are Watchin' What????

I'm currently watching the Korean version of Hana Yori Dango aka "Boys Before Flowers". I thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese version and not sure what to think about the Korean version until I finish all 24 episodes. I did think that the guys in Japan were "hotter". Maybe it's my preference for Japanese men. (Right Glenn?) There is a Taiwan version also called Meteor Garden that came out too. I heard it wasn't as good, but I'm gonna check it out soon. Hana Yori Dango did do the triple Asia sweep as they say.

I absolutely loved this series based on the manga Hana Yori Dango. I saw all two seasons and the concluding movie in one weekend. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much. So far, I think the guys in F4 here are much more original and believable than the Korean version.

This week will mark the end of this drama and I am sad to say that one of the "good" characters dies off. Kingdom of the Wind is sort of the sequel to Jumong which I highly enjoyed and it's funny to watch Song Il Gook do both the characters of Jumong and then later his grandson who becomes king.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Song Il Gook

Song Il Gook is one of my favorite Korean actors. I first saw him in the series called Emperor of the Sea. Although he played the antagonist, you still felt sorry for him and wished there was some other way that he would end up the good guy. That's a good actor for you. When you play a bad guy and everyone still cheers for you. He gets even better and then plays the good guy in Jumong and finally, the series I am now watching, Kingdom of the Winds, which ends next week with the final two episodes.

Kingdom of the Wind
Emperor of the Sea

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Inauguration Party to follow...

Meet the new Vice President of Marketing in our company. Me...
What is my job? Marketing my husband...doesn't that sound funny?
Glenn thinks I spend too much time on Facebook so I might as well get on the internet and blog. That takes a lot of time. So, that's what I'm doing now. I am now scouring real estate blogs and getting information just to pass on to innocent bystanders. So some of you will just have to bear with me when I talk "shop".
Funny though, when we do tell people what we do for a living, "we're real estate brokers", everyone seems to have an opinion or at least think they know what the market is doing nowadays. Not too long ago I think there were more licensed real estate agents than there are valid vehicle drivers here in CA. But that won't be for long. I think many of them who once carried this so called "give me 3% back" card will now not even have enough cash to renew their licenses. Too bad? Quite the opposite. Now, the market will have real professionals who really know and love real estate and love telling you about it. Check out Glenn's site at and watch for our real estate blogs coming soon...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Diet Resolutions

At this time, millions of people including myself make resolutions to go on a diet, go to the gym, or as some would say, "make lifestyle changes". We promise to lose a few pounds, read our Bibles more often, be on time, wake up earlier or in my case, sleep earlier and a whole bunch of other things. We all know that the gym gets crowded for the first 3 weeks or so and then returns to normal. Sears sells a whole lot of treadmills, only to have a sale on the ones returned in the month of February. We get to the book of Numbers and never make it past Deuteronomy.

I found some goals I wrote last January for my diet. As I read them, I noticed they are much the same ones I wrote for this year. Why? Year in and out I couldn't do the simplest things consistently. I did well in year 2007, what happened to 2008? I gained it all back!

1. Drink 10 cups of water a day.
2. Exercise away at least 500 calories a day.
3. Limit my portions to only my palm.
4. Exercise in the morning instead of the evening. (I was at a plateau)
5. Get 8 hours of sleep.
6. Take my vitamins and medicine.
7. I will not eat junk food or candy.
8. I will plan my meals.

I will tell you what happened...ACCOUNTABILITY. I didn't have the accountability...The gym teacher who says, "where were you Tuesday?" Or the friend who says, "I saved you a bike in spin class and you didn't show up?" Or someone saying, "Are you sure you wanna eat that? That's 45 minutes on the treadmill!" I even had a personal trainer I paid for to make me show up just because I paid for it in advance.
So, with our economic times, where I can't afford a personal trainer, I have YOU. Whoever YOU are...

Monday, January 5th, 2009, I begin my promise to myself to change some habits of my eating regimen. I read on a fitness website the 7 things you should never put in your mouth ever. So...I'm gonna try this year to not let any of these come near me and tell you now hard it is for me.

1. Doughnuts-Ok, we all know that these are the most fattening things in the world. This is not as hard for me now since I don't live near Krispy Kreme like I did in Union City. I do find it hard to resist Hostess Powdered Sugar Doughnuts though when I go on vacation.

2. Cheeseburger and Fries-They say the average cheeseburger like the Whopper with cheese has an average 720 calories. They used to only have about 300, but our portions have gotten bigger. The fries add an additional 610. So I just about hit my daily limit in one meal. What am I to do? I LOVE In-N-Out Burger!

3. Fried Chicken and Chicken Nuggets-Ok, I can't go for Tuesday's $2.99 special at KFC anymore.

4. Oscar Meyer Lunchables-Can you believe it? They listed it as full of fat and bad carbs.

5. Sugary Cereal-I had to get rid of my Sugar Pops, Fruit Loops and Cocoa Rice Krispies.

6. Processed Meats like hot dogs, sausage, jerky, baconm, anything with sodium nitrite. OMG, that means no SPAM Musubi!!!!!!

7. Canned Soups-Yes, I have to resort to making soup from scratch since these easy to open cans of artery plugging, high sodium whatever disease causing preservatives are put into them. I guess I'll just start with Stone Soup.

Ahh, but I can still take a cup of black coffee anytime with you. It's mostly calorie free and cheaper too. I even make my own at home now and tout it around.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Friends Near and Far...

2008 appeared to be a year some wanted to forget. My blog was no different. I didn't make one single entry in 2008 so I guess I really did forget. Somehow, the resolutions I made and lots of other things couldn't be found. Partly because I moved to Ventura in April. Glenn and the rest of the family moved in June and sold half my stuff. Praise God, there there things I didn't lose but gained this year which will always be precious to me. Memories...and the people that go with them. With so much change and volatility in our times, I wanted to make sure that people that were important to me knew it. Facebook was one way to keep up and attaching myself to their blogs was another. Reconnecting with old friends from high school, Continental Ministries, churches, business, work, and relatives. So I decided to make efforts to really see people this year whenever I can...Here are some highlights of 2008 of my friends far and near...well, this is only January's. I'll post the rest of the year in another slideshow spot when I figure out how to do it...
Of course, there's always iChat or Skype now...get a webcam!

Charlie Tang Born 1/9/08. We got off the plane from Hawaii and jetted straight to the hospital...

The Bolivar Family in Fremont

The Martz Family in Fremont visiting from Placentia

Pastor Sherman & Marti Williams, celebrating their retirement from Fremont Community Church

Glenn's cousins Owen and Don (by the way, both single)

Cousin Debbie and her daughter Nicole and Aunt Martha. Cousins Mark & Fern

Todd Yokotake

Blogging in the new year

So, I'm still learning how these blog spots work and how to post things so they look decent so if you'll bear with me...oh, you're supposed to type after all the gobblygook. Did you know that I already lost three copies of this post? With so much to write about I don't know where to start? How about Day 0, New Year's Eve...and Day 1, New Year's Day?

I'm just gonna click "post"

Fine in '09

So, in June of 2007, I attempted to start a blog of some sort, but that didn't get too much attention since Facebook seemed so much easier to keep in touch with 500 people. But, as we say in our businesses, it's the details that matter. So for one of my 2009 resolutions, I will keep up my blog. In light of the economy, the title now seems very appropriate for our times. I don't know if I'll be able to get you more cash, but you'll get more talk from me for sure. One of my new jobs is keeping up my husband Glenn's real estate website. So I figured if I am on the computer, I might as well work on my blog and Facebook and website and shopping online...oh, I wasn't supposed to say that? Thanks for coming along with me on my journey.