Monday, November 30, 2020

The Most Wonderful Time Of Year

 It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Everything is so festive with all the Christmas decor and the twinkling lights. There is so much more cheer and joy and so much to be hopeful for. It really is a magical season. 

To kick off the start to the holidays, we watch The Polar Express with popcorn and hot chocolate. It has been a tradition in our home for years and marks the official start to Christmas for our family. It's always a memorable, fun event that we all look forward to each and every year. 

As a mother, I always want my kids to see the wonder and joy in everyday and to feel the excitement in the air, especially at Christmas time. And simple things like a festive holiday movie night helps me achieve that goal for my kids. Let the holiday fun begin.

The Best Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving was pretty amazing this year and I have to say, I really outdid myself. The food was amazing and the prep work wasn't too overwhelming. I had the best time and the best day and truly enjoyed our holiday. 

One of the very best Thanksgiving days ever!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Going Crazy For The Holidays

 Every year, I make a list. I am a list maker. I make lists for everything; things to do, things to buy, gift ideas. You name it, I list it. And so every year I have a Christmas list of all the gifts I plan to buy and a tentative budget of what I want to spend. It keeps me organized and sane. And it keeps the stress away, sort of.

This year, while I have a list it is not very organized. At least not as organized as I usually have my lists. For starters, I am not sure what gifts I am getting the kids, so the list is very long and very general. Also, there is no budget this year.  I will try not to go crazy and overspend but I am not keeping track of what everything costs. This can be dangerous to my wallet. I wanted to go crazy with my holiday decor, just not with my spending. Let me explain.

In years past, I have tried sticking to a budget. Something reasonable for four growing kids. That is how I usually narrow down what gifts I plan to get for the kids. I pick a few items from their lists that fit into that budget and go from there. 

I find, however, that as my kids get older it gets harder to stick to a specific budget. So my method this year is to try and get the gifts my kids really want while trying not to overbuy but without being too rigid on the prices.

I will still stick to a general list and of course, track prices after items are bought just to give me an idea of how much I spent overall.  But this will be an interesting year for sure.

For starters, we have Amazon at our fingertips and have been doing a lot of online shopping. However, I do plan on hitting up a few stores to get in on the amazing black Friday and month long sales that are going on. My goal is to be done Christmas shopping by the first week of December. Wish me luck. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Olive Garden Experience In Costa Rica

 I love Olive Garden. I might be in the minority but I think their food is pretty damn tasty. When the kids and I went to Boston last year for our epic vacation, Olive Garden was one of the restaurants on my must visit lists. And it did not disappoint, we all loved it. 

I have always liked Olive Garden, even though I had only eaten there a handful of times while I lived in Boston. It wasn't my favorite, as the Cheesecake factory holds that position, but it was always a strong contender for the occasional dining out.  Honestly, it wasn't until I moved to Costa Rica that I started to appreciate Olive Garden more.

Fast forward to 2020 and Olive Garden has finally set up shop in the land of pura vida. Costa Rica now boasts two restaurants and of course, we just had to go and try the place out.

As usual, the food was fabulous. But it was the service that put our dining experience over the top, it was exceptional.  If the food got a 10, the servers and waitstaff got a 12 out of 10. They made our visit so much more pleasant and we cannot wait to go back.

                      Dinner and Dessert

Monday, November 9, 2020

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

 And so it begins. The holiday season is upon us and with one statement decor piece, namely my brand new Christmas tree, my home has transformed into a festive lighted wonderland. 

What is it about the holidays that just brings out the joy in everyone? I feel so happy and peaceful right now. With my tree twinkling and bright and decor attached to most everyone surface of my home, I feel excited. Excited for what is to come. 

I know these are difficult times and moral is especially low right now. But that is why I needed a little cheer. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with everything going on, I just want to start celebrating a little bit earlier than normal. Besides, there is no better sight than holiday lights.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Another low key Halloween

 It was back to the basics for us this Halloween and a throwback to how we used to celebrate the holiday. Now, I know Halloween techically isn't even an official holiday. You don't get a day off and there is no time and a half. However, it is hands down one of the best days of the year. When else can you dress up as someone else, be someone else and get free stuff? Yes, you get candy at Easter and on Valentines Day. But if you ask me, Halloween is a genius idea and much deserving of the holiday title. It is definitely the most fun one can have in a night, either being silly, scary or just plain weird for the heck of it.

So back on topic, in years past, as Costa Rica got more on board with Halloween celebrations, we would always partake. Trick or treating at the mall dressed in costume is our favorite Halloween activity to do every year. And we always have a blast not to mention a ton of candy.

This year, things are different and so we decided to stay home and celebrate in our own way. It was super simple and very low key. So to kick off our celebration, we ordered some yummy food and then had a candy hunt. It was the closest the kids would come to trick or treating this year. Then to turn things up a notch, we watched a few Halloween movies. Nothing scary though so it was all very family friendly. 

I really could have done more, like play a few games with the kids or plan a few craft activities but I honestly just didn't want to stress myself out by doing too much. Knowing me, especially when it comes to celebrations, I always want to do the most which can be my downfall. So even though it wasn't the sort of celebration we've gotten use to, it was nice to spend the day with family doing what we love, having our own kind of fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Oops I Did It Again

 I did a bit more damage to my budget and went back to the stores to buy even more Christmas decor. This year I am doing it up big and doing it right, the way I have always wanted to do Christmas. 

I love the holidays, Christmas being my all time favorite, and I love having my home look and feel extra festive throughout the season. I've always loved my decor but felt like something was missing. I have kept adding to my decor over the years to get it just right but I needed to step my game up and pull out all the stops. This year I decided to finally get all the things to make my decor perfect and I cannot wait to see how it all comes together.