Saturday, October 22, 2016

No Halloween?!!

Waaaahhhhh!!!  I don't think there are any kid friendly, FREE, Halloween activities for kids in Costa Rica this year that I can find online.  Last year we got lucky and Walmart had a fun Halloween event that we totally enjoyed.  But this year, so far, nada!  I want to do something fun with my kiddos for Halloween.  Waaaahhhhh!!!

Ok, so we live in Costa Rica.  Halloween is not the same here like it is in the States.  There is no general trick or treating.  Activities for kids are few and far between... unless you live in an expat neighborhood.  Alas, we don't so we have to search high and low for any Halloween related kid event.  Some years we get lucky and hit the jack pot, like last year.  This year, I am stumped to find anything that I am interested in.  There are a TON of events for adults.  A TON.  Because Costa Rican Halloween caters more towards the older crowd (weird I know).  I did find two kid friendly events online, but one is a zombie parade in downtown San Jose on a week day that I am not that into to be honest.  I tend to like more organized events with specific activities for kids.  The other was an event at a kid's yoga studio.  That seemed like it would be a ton of fun and got me all excited UNTIL I saw that the price per child to participate was like $30 bucks!!! No thank you.

Now I have been stalking the web and the Walmart website and Facebook page to see what else might be out there.  There are a lot of costumes and decor and party ideas available but no events sadly.  I am hoping something pops up pretty soon or we'll just be doing what we usually do.... nothing.  We do have a birthday party the Saturday before Halloween and the kids want to dress in costumes for that, which is what we usually tend to do when we go to parties right before Halloween. But I just wanted something Halloween related to to with the kiddos.  I am thisclose and so tempted to throw my own Halloween bash but from my experience in years past, I am just not gonna waste my time and energy.

The 31st of All Hallow's Eve falls on a Monday this year so any activity would have to be on the weekend prior.  Besides the birthday party, which has nothing to do with Halloween (but will allow the kids to use their costumes), there in nothing planned for Halloween this year for my family... so far.  Monday we just might get in the spirit and have a fun Halloween themed movie night.  And of course, as always kids will be decked out in their Halloween gear to celebrate the night.

UPDATE:  Yay!!! I finally FINALLY found a Halloween related kid friendly event to enjoy with my kiddos.  It's the Fantasy Day event at Lincoln Plaza Mall this coming Friday.  The kids will have so much fun on the moon-bounces, decorating treat bags, the face painting, trick or treating at the mall and then to finish it off, a costume contest.  And it's all FREE!!!  SCORE!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Holiday Season Has Begun!

Are you ready?  Are you ready for the holidays?  Better yet, are you looking forward to the holidays?  I might not be quite ready YET, but I am so looking forward to the holiday season.

I am excited for Halloween this year again. The house is all decked out (well, as much it will be) and I am actively searching the web for exciting and fun activities for the kids to do. 

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year, oh yes.  It will be smaller this year than in previous years as I am just hosting my immediate family, no friends.  No large groups this year, just us and that makes me super excited. I cannot wait.  

And of course, the biggest holiday of them all, Christmas!  Can I get a YES!!!  I am super excited for Christmas this year even though I am so unprepared this year as compared to last.  But I am not worried about it.  We have a new car and that takes priority not to mention a lot of our disposable income and the kids understand.  So Christmas will be smaller this year, as far as gifts go but the kids don't mind.  Also, this year we are heading on vacation to the beach with my family so that, to us, is our Christmas gift.

I am very excited to get the house all decked out and to do all the fun activities we do for the holiday seasons..... I am ready for the movies, the music, the food, everything.  I am so ready!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Winter Has Come!

Winter time has arrived in Costa Rica and to me, it's starting to feel like Fall.  It's rainy, it's gloomy and it's a little cold here in San Jose and to be honest, I kinda like it.  Don't get me wrong, I am not a big rain person, so come rainy season in CR, I am not a happy girl.  But I am so looking forward to all the fall holidays coming up that I don't mind the fall like weather because it puts me in the mood for celebrating.

We have Halloween to look forward to in just a few short weeks, as time is just flying us by.  Then quickly after that we have Thanksgiving, one of my absolute favorite holidays and time of year.  And of course, I can't forget our anniversary.  While that may not be a holiday, it is a cause for celebration and I am excited to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary this year.

Of course after all the fall holidays, the biggest celebration of all is Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year (according to the song and I have to agree). I am even more excited for Christmas this year because my family will be spending the holidays with us for the very first time.

As a planner, I have a lot of planning to do.  I have lists to make, things to buy, money to save.  It's going to be a great holiday season for sure.

Friday, September 30, 2016

We Bought A CAR!!!!!!!!!

Yes, we finally did it.  We finally got a car!  I am feeling a range of emotions right now so it's hard to really describe how I truly feel.  But I do feel excitement!  Yes, of course, excited but mixed with so many other feelings that I actually feel confused about how I feel, if that makes any sense at all.  But lets for the moment go with my feeling of excitement (for the sake of this blog anyway.)

After years of needing a newer, bigger vehicle.  After months of research.  After the trials an errors and ups and downs.  After the long drawn out process of dealing with the loan officers at the bank and all the legal paperwork that goes into getting a car, we finally drove our brand new car home today.  Our dream has come true, we now have a new family vehicle.  And it could not be more sweet.  So what did we get?

We got the brand new 2017 Toyota Avanza, 7 passenger MPV.  It is nicer in person and way cooler than the videos on youtube make it seem.   It's a champagne color and it has a touch screen dash.  It has a ton of cupholders (so important in a car when you have kids), and it comes with a rear camera (well, that still has to be installed).  

We were at the dealership for about an hour and a half getting all the little details worked out.  Papers were signed, copies were made, things were explained such as the warranties, roadside assistance, insurance coverage, etc.  And then we signed our life away to be in debt for the next 7 years LOL.

A good debt that it may be and for us, a necessary debt as we needed a car for our family.  But debt is debt so we'll be working to pay this car off as fast as we can.  Less than 7 years for sure.

But we got a freaking brand new car (and we had loads of help getting it, so credit must be given where it is due).  So OMG!!!!  We have our car!  And the most exciting part:  for the first time in the 10 years I have been living in Costa Rica, I'll be able to drive again.  That makes me giddy!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Top FIVE Tips For Keeping Your Home Clean!!!!!

These are things I do on a regular day to day basis to keep my house clean on the daily.  Just a few quick and easy things to do to keep your home tidy.

1)  Make your bed first thing in the morning.  Maybe not as soon as you get up, if you have to start running as soon as your feet hit the ground.  But making your bed or beds first thing in the am helps put you on the right track for a tidy home throughout the day.  A made bed magically makes a room look picked up and tidy and it can be a starting point from there for the other things you can do to keep your house clean.

2)  Clean the kitchen.  Not a real deep clean, just a quick clean to get you off on the right start for the rest of the day.  Clean off all the counters, wipe down any dirty appliances and put away any 'stray items' where they truly belong, then wash any dishes left in the sink from the night before (although I HATE a dirty sink first thing in the morning so I always tidy my kitchen at night before bed... which in my opinion would be the best thing to do to get you on the right path in the mornings.  Plus you don't have to deal with a sink full of dirty dishes as soon as you get up).  A clean kitchen just puts you in the right spirits to start the day.  Another thing I like to do is empty the dish-rack (or dishwasher if that applies better), to make room for all the newly washed dishes throughout the day.

3)  Sweep (or vacuum) your floors.  You may not want to mop your floors every single day (I sure as heck don't), but I sweep every single day, two sometimes three times a day.  My kids come in and out with their shoes all day everyday, so it just makes me feel better to have my floors swept daily.  The main areas need sweeping a few times throughout the day, especially after each meal.  If you have kids, you know food gets everywhere when they eat besides in their mouths, so the kitchen, dining and living areas get thoroughly swept many times a day.  I also like to do a once over sweep before bed to get any last minute dirt from the day.  That way,  I wake up to a fresh floor that takes no time to sweep first thing in the AM.

4)  Do a load of laundry at least once every OTHER day.  There are 7 days in the week.  Do a load 4 times a week so you stay on top of the wash.  We are a family of 6, so clothes tend to pile up quickly.  If I want to stay on top it, I am doing something related to laundry every single day. Now, I am not necessarily washing a load of laundry everyday but I am usually sorting, drying, folding or putting away laundry on a daily basis.  It's just my life if I don't want to spend an entire day doing laundry; not to mention putting away all those massive piles of clothes when you're done.  No thanks!  I like to fold and put away laundry as soon as it is in my laundry basket, at the latest at least the next day if I don't have to wash another load.  If I get lazy and let the clothes sit for days I just get so behind and then that leads to other pile ups in the other areas in my house.

5)  And my last and final tip, but a HUGE one is try to wipe down your bathrooms on a daily basis.  You have kids?  Then you know how important this is.  I hate a stanky stink bathroom.  I live with 4 boys.  When it comes to bathrooms, I tend to have to stay on top of the kids' bathroom the most. There are 4 kids, three of them boys.  That bathroom needs a quick wipe down several times a day, so I spray and wipe down the sink area and the toilets and then quickly scrub the inside as well.  Boys tend to miss, ALOT, hence the importance of the daily toilet wipe down.  In doing this one task everyday, it helps me speed through bathroom cleaning when I have to my deep clean because essentially the toilets and sink are pretty spic and span to begin with.

I hope these tips helped in some way and you can implement them in your own home.  These are for sure things I do in my own home to help with keeping it clean and tidy everyday.  I am kind of a clean freak so it would bug me if even one thing was out of place or untidy.  Daily tasks like these help to keep me on track and with a sound mind because a messy house would drive me INSANE! Plus, if you have kids, enlist their help.  If they are able, have them clean up after themselves and you can even assign simple chores for them to do.  I started having my kids take turns once a week to dust furniture and help to water the plants.  And they also wipe down the sinks after they brush.  The little things count and add to the bigger picture.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Losing Weight and feeling Great

It has been a few months now since I started a modified diet, sort of a lifestyle change of sorts to lose the "baby weight", and the change has been tremendous.

Not only did I lose the baby fat, but now I feel confident and look great AND all my clothes now fit. I was so adamant about not buying new clothes to fit my expanded frame.  I flat out refused to get a new wardrobe to clothe a body I was not happy with.  By all accounts, I wasn't all that bad.  Yes, I was a bit overweight but by the looks of it, I didn't appear to be fat.  But I know my body and I knew what I should look like and how I wanted feel.

Losing the weight at first was a trial as for the first 2 years of my baby's life, I was just too lazy to even try.  Now I am happy to report, I have finally reached a goal of mine and I hope to stick with it. I am trying not to go overboard.  I tend to do that with things like losing weight and exercise.  I have not implemented an exercise routine as yet because I am trying not to lose too much weight, which has happened to me before.  It becomes too hard to maintain such drastic weight loss for me.  So I go off of how I feel, how I look and how my clothes fit.  And since all my clothes, my jeans, and dresses fit me wonderfully now, I am happy.  I won't even weigh myself as I can get into a mindset of "just 5 more pounds" and that becomes an obsession.

So I am losing weight and feeling amazing.  And I hope to keep it off this time.  I do allow myself a few treats here and then as I don't believe in diets that deprive.  But everything in moderation.  And I am loving the new me (my new body I should say).

I guess my next step is to find an exercise routine that works for me.  I want to start running again, maybe 2x a week to start.  But what I really want to do is try to join a dance class.  Dance is a passion of mine and I would love to take a class once a week (even though I am not a fan of regimented classes).  But I know it's something I would be good at and something I would love.  I am going to look into that for the new year to give myself time to get used to my new body and lifestyle.  For now, I'll continue eating and snacking less and walking on occasions as that is what has been working for me so far.  Not sure if I want to lose any more weight but I am happy just as I am right now and I want to stay this way (toning up a few areas here and there).

I want to wish all you moms out there (and non-mommies too) the best of luck in YOUR weight loss journey and just as much success with your progress.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

So Much To Buy

This re-decorating thing is fun but boy does it take a lot of moolah!  I love seeing the transformation of each room as I add or take away items, it gives me so much joy.  But my list of items to get for the home keeps getting bigger and my budget just stays the same.

For instance, I really want (or maybe I need) a new trash can for the kitchen.  A nicer one than what we have, preferable stainless steel with a foot lift for the lid but I'll take black with a swinging top (as it is cheaper).  Tell me why it has taken me so long to buy this one item....because I always find that I have to get something else more pertinent and so the trash can keeps getting put on hold.

I want really nice curtains for the living room.  Again, not a need but it would spruce up the space so nicely.  But again, that gets pushed to the back burner.  Same as a new knife block (although I have been looking for the perfect one for my kitchen to no avail, so that's what that is).

I did finally get an area rug for the living room.  FINALLY!  But I am thinking I want a bigger, better one.  The one I got works but it's not quite perfect, as much as I love the color and pattern.  But it will do for now.

I really want a drawer unit or some kind of shelving unit for under the counter in my kitchen but that again will have to wait.  I need to find one I like that is the right price, but I have not really looked as hard as I could.  I also want to get a small bedside table or shelf unit for the bedroom.  Again, have not looked as hard as I could, so that is something else I need to get on with.

And the list goes on and on and on.  And on top of all these homewares and home goods items, I still have my regular list of items to get.  Things for the kids, things for me, things in general.  Sometimes I just wish I had a never ending wallet full of cash.  Now that is the dream.  That would be nice to have.