Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today we will be grilling with my daughters family and drinking Yerba Mate to stay awake until New Years. Usually we celebrate at 9:00 and call it good, but we all feel like celebrating and so will take a few more hours to savor this year.
It has been a very eventful year for our family and I give pause to give thanks for all the blessings we have received, as well as the trials we have learned and grown from. For those who know me you know family is #1 on the list of important people and events in my life. My life revolves around my family and for that reason they are the top of my list of things to be thankful for this year.
When we talked with our daughters the other evening to write down goals for the New Year the first one we all agreed on was a trip to the U.S. again in Oct to visit kids and grandkids there. It is constantly amazing to me that we can live here, and talk to my kids in the states everyday and see them a couple of times a year. It is like the best of both worlds and I am very thankful for this in my life.
I hope everyone takes a chance to really reflect on the year past and by tomorrow come up with some ways they would like the New Year to be better, different and just really exciting! Have fun, be safe and enjoy the people you love.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
When my kids were younger, I mean when the majority of my kids were younger, I used to make all of our own granola. I have not done it in years, but had some stuff I wanted to use up and made a batch today. This made my hubby very happy, he loves homade granola. My Mom gave me the recipe and it makes a good pan full of granola. It is best to keep it in an airtight container so that it stays really fresh. Mine usually does not even make it to the container. I had to include in the pic our raw milk that we get from the milk man three days a week. He delivers it to our house and it is sooo good. I have recently started taking the half inch of cream off the top as Rick has kind of high cholestral. Kind of defeats the purpose of the granola to pour cream on it I guess, but sure sounds good :)
In a large bowl measure 4 cups of oats. You can use quick, or old fashioned depending on how chewy you like it. Add one cup of dried coconut, one cup of raisins, and one cup of coarsely chopped nuts. In a saucepan melt one stick of butter and 1/2 cup of honey just until melted. Add one teaspoon of vanilla and stir into the dry ingredients. Bake in a 300 oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to keep from burning. You can add any other dried fruits or nuts you like and use 1 cup of brown sugar mixed into the dry ingredients instead of the honey if desired.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Since I cannot invite all of you, my blog friends to our Christmas Party tonight I will take lots of pics and fill you all in tomorrow. It is starting to sprinkle, which is rare this time of year, but with all the snow slamming to the north of us it is to be expected. I will take my sprinkly 80 degree weather any time. We lived through 14 winters in Flagstaff Arizona, there is a ski area there if that tells you how much snow we got. And I don't ski!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The bad news is did you know dipping chocolate can have a seizure? Well it can and ours did. Our chocolate actually siezed up just like all of the sudden it stopped moving it literally siezed up.
Well we are working on reviving it and trying to bring it back to life so that we can finish up our cake balls. This is the recipe we used, you can experiment like my daughter and come up with lots of fun ways to make the cake balls, then you will be a real life baller!
Bake one cake. Let it cool and stir it in with one can of frosting. We used carrot cake and white frosting.
Form them into balls and freeze. I made some into snowmen. Melt your dipping chocolate, just not too much or it will seize, I guarantee that. Dip your balls and cool. For the snowmen I used a lemon cake mix and white frosting and dipped in white chocolate. We have also made some chocolate ones we are going to dip in a chocolate mint dip. You can get really imaginative and make some fun ones.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
We got two letters in our mail today and it made my day. The only problem was one of them was from me :) I had ordered our Christmas cards to be printed up, and delivered through a card company and wanted to see what they looked like. I ordered one to be sent to my daughters family through us so I could see it.
We have a mail box in Miami so that we can mail stuff, and letters that otherwise will not mail to a PO box. Mostly it is for online shopping, but hey we also like mail.
The other letter was from my son in Flagstaff. He has been in jail for six months and is just now figuring out how to do the whole mail process. He asked me last week on the phone if he just addressed it to our Miami address and how many stamps he should put on it! OK son it is just going to Miami, one stamp will suffice.
Hopefully now that he has seen how easy it is to mail a letter he will get fired up and send more, they are great to save in his scrapbook. One of those fun activites he can spend a nice family night with his family going over some day. As he constantly reminds me "this is just an experience for me to put into my life."
I would challenge you all to write a letter this week. Just take a few minutes to write to someone you have not written to in a long time. Not an email, a real live letter. I read the book, "Wednesdays Letters", and it was great. A handwritten note is priceless.
By the way I am in no way promoting the Post Office, my husband quit there about one and a half years ago!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
That was one of the good choices I made. It turned out to be my all time favorite movie and made for a great evening out. I have recommended this movie to everyone I know and will continue to do so.
We rented it at a later date so the kids could watch it, but it was not near as good in English. Something got lost in the translation so to speak.
This is one of those movies that makes you determine to be a better, more positive person in all walks of life. Rent it or buy it, just try it!
Monday, December 15, 2008
We have a skype phone in our house so that we can make business calls to the U.S, and around the world. It works ok, unless you both want to talk at the same time, in which case you just have to wait for the darn thing to catch up with real time.
Then we have a cell phone to use here in Costa Rica. Right now our daughter is using it until they get their own line from Ice. We also use that number for our business number.
Of course we have our home phone. That one we rarely use, or get calls on. We are all shocked if someone calls us on it, and especially if we get a voice mail on it. It is very expensive to make international calls on it so we do not use it for that very often.
Can't forget the voip phone. That one has a U.S. number that forwards to our house so that we can get calls from the U.S. and talk to our kids still living there. Our son who is in jail is the victim of a really stupid set up they do in the jails, kind of a racket actually. There is a phone company that takes over the phone lines in the jail and you have to go through them to call out. Well Costa Rica will not accept calls from them, because they do not give Costa Rica enough money, so we have a voip phone.
Then there is the internet. There are days when we don't even have to talk here, we just instant message each other and keep up with what is going on. Pretty funny especially when we are sitting in the same room.
So do we know each other any better, or have any better communication with all of these devices? Of course not, I can't even remember all my numbers half of the time! I much prefer a nice slow afternoon of sitting and talking and watching the people walk by my house, that is the way to really communicate.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
We were always very commited to having the kids learn at least one instrument or some kind of music. She chose childrens choir and has been singing every since she was 8. When she sang her solo she did not use the mike because she has a very loud voice.
One man asked us if she took after her mother. I had to tell him all of our children play or sing, I listen, and my husband said he pays! So far it has gotten one scholarship and hopefully made lots of happy memories for my children.
I still remember the night we went to pick up one son from Juvy because he and his violin buddies had tried to steal a decoy deer out of the front of someones house, oh yeah good times.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It was a long six months for her but she worked through a lot of obstacles to get her certificate. She had to travel from Jaco beach every week to do her hands on work. She was also our first student who completed her book work online. It worked out great for all involved and she feels very ready to take and pass her national exam.
We will be begining another class in just five short weeks. I am looking forward to getting to work with more than one person as it will be easier to have them practise when they have each other. Massage is great and it is even more fun to teach it and see people really enjoy it, I guess that is true of anything you teach.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
When we bought our house the first thing we wanted to do was get hooked up to the internet. We started the process. The first thing you have to do here is get on a waiting list with ICE. After six months of waiting we were ready to go. My husband went with my son-in -law to talk to the people, after waiting in line for 2 hours of course.
They were told that because here in Costa Rica the original owner of the home also owns the phone line we could not get the internet without the original owners permission.
Enter Darwin, the original owner of our house. He was also a gringo and gave us a smokin deal on our house. He is a decent enough guy and we figured we would have no problems with him. Well he was not the problem, his wife was. For some reason unknown to us she did not want to give permission for us to get the internet.
Enter our good friend Jens. We told him the whole story and he went to ICE with my husband and went to a different office, with no waiting by the way. They met with a guy who told them pretty much the same story we had heard the first time around. This time Jens told them the truth, he did not know where the heck the owner was and he could not be reached by us.
The next week we had the internet. That is the perfect example of the way things work here in Costa Rica, kind of weird. We love having the internet in our home, and because of having the internet we can now get a voip phone, which makes it possible for us to keep in contact with our kids everywhere.
Just one of the many things we have come to appreciate on our adventure here in Costa Rica!
Monday, December 8, 2008
They passed this test for sure! She was a little disappointed though because when she saw me put them on the pretty plate and get the milk she thought it was for Santa! Soon enough.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Believe it or not the girlies waited all week to see Santa! Don't they just look thrilled? After I took the picture I told them that at least Santa was smiling.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I had not seen my sister for about four years and got a chance to see her when we were in the U.S. in Oct. It was quite a shock. I would not have recognized her if I had not known I was in her house. I think she was happy with the shock effect because she is just like that.
She has a four year old son, a dumb ex husband and a great mom that takes care of her. My mom lives with her and takes care of her, makes sure she takes all her meds, gets to all of her appts, and eats really good, mom is a great cook.
Every day when I run or work out I do it for my sister. I thank God that I have a strong body and am healthy and able to go out for a run. I talk to my sister while I run and tell her I am doing this because she can't, and I want to do something for her that she can't do for herself.
Of course if she had her choice of what she would do if she could I don't think running would be on the list! Sorry Sarah I can't dance.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I guess study habits are something that are learned and developed. My son in law is trying to finish up some school and having trouble with the whole study habit idea. His wife also is taking internet classes and dealing with once again, study habits.
With our students at our massage school we try to keep up with them so that they do not fall behind. The ones who do the best? The ones with good study habits.
Good study habits really are nothing more than not procastinating! It is important to keep up with the info as you receive it and learn the important points before moving on to a new concept. With our internet massage classes we try and make sure with reviews as well as tests that our students are caught up and learning the material.
I have always been the "over achiever" in class and tried to be one step ahead. It did make it easier to actually graduate and finish classes and projects that I start. I recently completed an online course for Ayurvedic medicine. I had it done the first two weeks and it took the online instructor six months to complete all the checking and feedback, frustration!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
At that point I took a serious reflection moment and said never again! And fortunately for my sanity I have stuck with that resolution. The next year we started inviting all our neighbors, friends and relatives over for an evening of christmas goodies and visiting. Wow, what a change. That one change in and of itself made my Christmas so much more enjoyable.
I also quite sewing for Christmas. I love to sew, but found it was just too busy around the holidays to even try it. With all the recitals and family activities it was just better to sew other times of the year. In other words if I wanted to make a Christmas dress for my daughter, better get it done by Nov. Well I never did that, so I just bought or skipped it.
The last year we were living in Flagstaff we did our annual Christmas party with the neighbors and I actually ordered pizza! That was getting way lazy, but hey I was working a ton and there was a lot going on! Actually I believe we all had just as much fun and enjoyed the evening as much if not more.
Try to think of one holiday tradition that you can modify or maybe just dump. Maybe it is something you started when the kids were young, but really does not apply anymore. Just kind of reassess your holidays and make you leave the cheer!
Monday, December 1, 2008
I love Manuel Antonio beach! It is my favorite beach so far in Costa Rica, and believe me we have been checking them out. We even took our christmas card picture there this weekend. It was beautiful at the beach and we enjoyed teaching and just hanging out.
There are many beaches here in Costa Rica and we have checked out many.
We also like Puerto Viejo, which is on the Caribean side of the country. It is very laid back and a little bit more affordable.
On the Pacific side we have visited Jaco, Punteranus, Samara, as well as Osa Peninsula. We did not care for them as much as MA. They are a little more crowded and more expensive. There are as many beaches as places people are coming from to choose from though so there is lots to pick from. If you would like more info or help planning a vacation feel free to contact us, we love to share Costa Rica with all!