Sunday, December 4, 2016

Vacation Time

Finally the kids are on school break!!!  I love this time of year: no bed time, waking up late, movie nights every night, no schedules, no homework, no tests, no studying!!!  It's AWESOME!

And it's the final days counting down to CHRISTMAS!  I am so super excited this year for the holidays, I can't contain myself.  We've been full swing in the holiday spirit around here, baking cookies, starting our advent, decorating!  It just makes the season so much more merry.  And the kids are in super high spirits because of course, they expect a few gifts under the tree.  I must admit, I can't blame them.  I love getting my kids gifts for the holidays and Christmas being the biggest holiday of all, of course I got them a few little bits.

Now, I am not totally done shopping for Christmas but I am getting there and it feels good to be making so much progress especially with the year we've had.  Our budget is tighter this year than last and smaller too, so I had to get creative.  But that made it all the more fun and to be honest, it feels the same to me as the kids are getting some awesome gifts and about the same amount as per our tradition.  So they won't be missing out at all because I was smart and shopped a lot of sales and got some pretty sweet deals and discounts on most everything I bought.

Black Friday has gotten so much bigger and better in Costa Rica and this year was by far the biggest and best, in my opinion.  I managed to score big that day as well as on a few discount and sales weekends when the stores were offering some mega price breaks on most of their merchandise... and lucky for me most of what my kids had on their wish lists for Christmas this year was on sale.  So score!!!

I had so much fun shopping for my kids... more fun than I should probably have but I just love getting people stuff.  I am a gift giver and to extend that I am also buying presents for my little nephews for the very first time ever for Christmas because they will be spending the holiday with us this year (along with my sisters and my mom and stepdad.)  I am over the moon about that!!!

So I am putting on my walking shoes again this weekend because I will be shopping 'till I drop until I am done with every single person on my list.

Merry Christmas shopping everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Goodness

It truly was a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with food, family and good times.  I hope you all had a blessed holiday as well.  Now here's to the Christmas season and all its gloriousness!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Countdown To T-Day

The official countdown to Thanksgiving has begun and I cannot wait.  I am doing a few things a bit differently this year than in previous years and I am excited to see how the day goes.   Like for instance, decorating for Christmas a bit earlier than usual this year.  The anti pre-Thanksgiving decorating for Christmas nazis are not going to like that.  But I would love to have the Christmas tree up and lit for Thanksgiving.  I just think it will give the house a bit of holiday ambiance.  Plus, seeing as I don't have much Thanksgiving decor out this year anyway, a bit of Christmas decor flare is needed.  And on the plus side, I get to enjoy my holiday decor for a little bit longer.

Another thing I am doing differently this year for Thanksgiving is not hosting a huge crowd:  it's just going to be my immediate family for dinner this year.  I love hosting.  I love a big crowd.  And I love celebrating this special day with friends, especially those who are not used to celebrating Thanksgiving.  But I decided not to host a grand Thanksgiving meal this time around and just celebrate the day with my kids because it's been a few years since we've done that and I was needing a change of pace.  Also, this year the kids will be going to school on Thanksgiving because they have their Christmas celebration that day and I just did not want to deprive them of that.

So things will be a little different this year, but I feel like in a very good way.  It makes me excited!  I am so ready for T-day.  I have my menu planned.  I have my schedule set.  And I am looking forward to a fun and relaxing day with my fam.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

It's All Happening So Fast!

Yesterday I took the kids to the Lincoln Plaza Christmas event, although with all the traffic it took us over an hour to get to the mall so we missed the event completely.  Not to worry though, we made the most of our time there and did a bit of shopping, browsed the toy, Christmas decor and craft departments at the Universal Department store and then the kids got to enjoy some strawberry ice cream.  It turned out to be a fun night after-all.

It seems to me that as soon as Halloween passes, the Christmas season just thunders down on us as quickly as a downpour from out of nowhere.  And you better be prepared for it!  You might not need an umbrella but you will need a pocket full of cash for the season.

The kids finally made their wish lists and I have been picking up stocking stuffers here and there for the last few weeks.  So I am getting there with my shopping, somewhat.  It's going to be a smaller Christmas this year than last because financially we just can't afford to do the expensive gifts. Although last year, we did not get anything expensive for the kids at all and they still had an amazing Christmas, so it's not about the price for us.  It's about the experience.

I just feel so ill prepared this year compared to last, since I started earlier last year and had my Christmas fund set aside for the holidays.  But I tell you this, we will be having an amazing Christmas this year for sure.  I am excited and I cannot wait to finish up the bulk of my shopping so I can focus on the little things, like all our movie nights with hot chocolate and popcorn (Polar Express please!!!), baking goodies and making a few Christmas crafts.  Looking forward to a happy holiday season.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Holiday Season Has Officially Begun!?

For us anyway, the Holiday season has officially begun and now that Halloween is over, I can finally concentrate on the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Because Thanksgiving will be smaller this year than in previous years, not much planning will be involved and so not much work to be done.  That means I have more time to focus on Christmas earlier.  I have a party to plan and our beach vacation to figure out as well as getting gifts and the like.

Today, I am taking the kids to the mall to the Universal Department store to meet and greet Santa.  I am pretty excited and cannot wait for all the festivities to begin.  Not to mention, school is almost out... YAY!!!  So bring on the season of giving, merry and all thing bright.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Thinking 'Bout Christmas

Yes, ya'll... it is THAT time of year again!  It is Christmas time.  It is the holiday season and it is officially Christmas season here in good ole Costa Rica, so yes, I have been thinking about Christmas.

Now, I am a person who LOVES the holiday season.  Everything:  the food, the fun, the family time. All the traditions.  I just love it.  I like to celebrate each holiday as they come, just simply enjoying that holiday and soaking in as much of it as I can.  So before I jump on the X-mas bandwagon, I would first like to get through Halloween.  But in Costa Rica, it is hard not to jump ahead and start prepping for Christmas even before October rolls around.  That is because Costa Ricans start their official Christmas season right after September 15.

The stores are all decked out in holiday gear.  They're advertising their Christmas specials to get people in the door and shopping.  And so people are shopping.  People are also already decorating their houses for the season.  Now, it is a bit early for me but it is nice to see and it gets me thinking ahead so I can be prepared.

I like to start shopping early, like September early.  But this year, I won't start shopping for Christmas until November because time has just passed me by so quickly.  Halloween is next week and before we know it, it will be November and Thanksgiving will be upon us.  That doesn't mean a lot to many Costa Rican's but it means a lot to me.  So while I like to celebrate each holiday as it comes, I know preparing for Christmas early is just the wise thing to do.  So I guess I better get cracking.  And so should you!!

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!!!!