Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I hope everyone is enjoying this the last day of the year. We are at 81 degrees with a cool breeze. I always have trouble with that one. I freeze with the slightest breeze on my skin so therefore I have on shorts, flip flops and a long sleeve t-shirt. Tricky one for sure, but I will take it over sweats and a down jacket.

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


My sinuses are revolting, it has not rained for three days and I am getting all dried out. I think I start to grow gills in my nose at the end of rainy season and they have to dry up and fall up. The girls went swimming today and enjoyed the great weather. We will be doing a cook out for New Years day and are looking forward to that.

Rainy season begins in May and works up to a climax around October. That would be the month we leave the country. After October it starts wanning and by Dec. we are dry again. We have "winter" in Dec. It gets down to 60 at night and everyone gets out the scarves, hats and gloves, we may wear them with shorts but hey it's the thought that counts.

Here baby is enjoying his time in the sun!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Wow what a bash! We were not sure if the friends we have here in Costa Rica would understand the concept of a pot-luck, guess they did! We had to take three rounds to finish off the food, and there was still enough left for every family to take plates home to share with family that could not make it. We sang Christmas songs in Spanish and then had another round of food. Then we put on some Cumba music, danced and ate another round. We are already on plans for next year, gotta add the fireworks! Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008


If you think I am crazy about flowers you are exactly right! We live in Heredia, which is the "City of Flowers". I sent my husband to the flower lady to get me a centerpiece for our Christmas Party tonight. He brought these home, not quite what I had in mind, but beautiful for sure. Since we moved here to Costa Rica I have a thing about having fresh flowers on my table at all times. For under ten bucks you can't pass it up.

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


I did the cookie excange a couple of weeks ago that one of the gals had on her blog site. One of the recipes was for cake balls. They looked great and we decided to give them a try.

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


I do believe people have forgotten how to write letters. Actually I think some of the younger generation never learned how to write a letter, address the envelope, buy a stamp and mail the letter.
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


When we lived in Flagstaff about a decade ago when movies were still affordable, Rick and I went to a movie. Once it started we realized it was in Italian with English subtitles. Rick wanted to leave and I said no let's stay.
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


One would think with all the new inventions to make it easier to communicate we would be a closer more communicative society. I think though that it is quite the opposite and we have only superficial communication and no real communication. You know the kind where you hang out for an afternoon and bake, or just sit on the porch and shoot the bull.

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


Can you imagine singing a solo in front of about 150 people? I can't either but my 14 year old did tonight. Now imagine doing it in another language. That too! She sang a song in Spanish at a special program for young girls. I was very proud of her. One man asked her in broken English if she was the next Hannah Montanna!

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


I found an awesome blog site yesterday and would highly recommend it to anybody who has, will or is adopting a child. It is I learned a lot from it about some of Maleahs behaviors, as well as my reactions.

After raising six children you would like to think you have it somewhat figured out. Guess what, I just keep being amazed at how much I do not have figured out! Just when I think I have it figured out the rules change, or the kid changes, or the world changes, or I change! You get the idea, there are no rules, there are no constants except the values and principals we live by.

The real trick I guess is learning to apply our principals on every situation we run into with our children as well as ourselves. A good example of this is the belief I have that it really does matter who your friends are and who you hang out with.

My daughter is just starting to believe me on this one, but it is really difficult to learn. She would like to believe that as long as she is doing what she knows is ok it is all good. Unfortunately it is not like that anymore.

She has an older brother who is going to be in prison for at least five years because he did not believe this concept. He thought and actually still thinks that it is ok to go along with the group, as long as you don't "inhale" so to speak. Not true as he has very painfully been made aware of.

I guess this is my soap box for the week, and why I love blogging! I get to choose who I check out and who I hang out with! There are so many blogs and so little time. I have a great new word for friends who blog "frogs"!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This is our first graduate of the full 500 hour massage program. We were thrilled to work with her and enjoyed her very much. She is going to be an awesome massage therapist, ah heck she is already an awesome massage therapist! We wish her the best and hope all our students continue to be as smart and make us look as good as she does.

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


I have been thinking all day about the miracle of the internet. For the two years that we lived in Costa Rica we had to do all of our internet business at the internet store. It is really cheap here, but it was a real hassle.

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


If the first and best way to get into the Christmas spirit is service, then making cookies is a shoe in for second place. Of course that is coming from a true "cookie monster". I love cookies. They are my number one comfort food and I turn to them frequently these days. When I went into labor with all my kids I always made a batch of oatmeal cookies. My thinking was that the kids and hubby would have a somewhat healthy snack for a few days until I was back up and around. I don't know why buying a box of granola bars never really entered my mind!

These cookies have a history. I learned to cook when I was nine years old. My mother put me into 4H and there I learned to cook and sew. The first thing I ever cooked was this cookie, snickerdoodles. They bring back fond memories and they are fun to make with the kids. I just have to relax and not worry about them being symetrical!

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. almond flavoring

Mix everything into a stiff dough. Roll into balls.
Roll in a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1Tbls. of cinamon.
Place on a cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees until lightly browned.
Cool on a paper towel and enjoy!

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


I find the best way to get into the true spirit of Christmas is to do something for someone else. Today we took part in the fundraiser to raise money for an orphanage here in Costa Rica for handicapped children. Many volunteers pitched in time, money and energy to make it happen. We were glad to just take our crowd and eat the spagetti and listen to the band.
Jim was the serving guy. He was kind enough to even specialize plates for the kids!
Harmony Roads was the name of the band there to entertain us with their great music.
Like I said we were just happy to be there and enjoy the food to do our part!
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


My younger sister has cancer. She has had cancer for almost 20 years. When she was nine years old they took half of her stomach out. Six years later they took out the rest of her stomach. Presently she is at the doc. most days for pain management or chemo, or ct scans, mri's, or you name it. The latest was kidney stones.

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


My daughter is 14, it is very painful to be that age I do believe and remember. She has been doing swim workouts every day and doing very well with that. Now the trick is to teach her to incorporate her school work into her day. I have tried to convince her that she can do more than one project a day.

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


Do you get caught up in the Christmas Rush? I used to but gave it up for good a few, actually quite a few years ago. I believe it was a midnight on Christmas eve, after we had taken goodie plates to all the neighbors and friends and relatives, and I was working frantically to finish sewing the dress I had made for my daughter.

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!