Sunday, February 28, 2010


We have had a wonderful Sunday so far. Some things that we have enjoyed doing together include buying girl scout cookies, taking our scooter out on the same path that my hubster conquered Friday on his bike, and planting strawberries. The scooter ride was gorgeous. I forget how green it gets around here, especially after the winter rains. I also loved seeing the horses, bison, sheep, goats, and alpacas out. As for the strawberries, it's my first time growing them. We'll see just have to wait and see how it goes. Couldn't ask for a better Sunday!

"Lobster Killer"

Our movie for this week was Julie & Julia. I was really excited about watching it because I have become a fan of Julia Child ever since I read My Life in France. Meryl Streep was amazing! She's definitely been on a streak lately. I found her performance really endearing. As for the Julie part of the movie, I'm still not a big fan of Amy Adams. It seems like she does a lot of overacting. Chris Messina, who plays Julie's husband, definitely has the sweet husband role down. As my hubster accurately pointed out, we are very much Julie and Eric. I hope that turns out to be a good thing! Overall, Julie & Julia is worth watching even it's just for the beautiful shots of Paris. Oh Paris, we will meet soon enough.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Never Too Cold...

It's never too cold for fro yo. Craving some fro yo from Yogurtland with mini mochi on top. Can't forget the mochi.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Nobody Knows Like a Nomad

Ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love (by the way it was before it was cliche), I have been really into memoirs and biographies. I have read Heat, My Life in France, Confections of a Closet Master Baker and The Legend of Colton H. Bryant. I have been wanting to read Tales of a Female Nomad. For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to pay the full list price. Yesterday, I found it in the used book sale at our library for only a $1. What a find! I started it immediately and love it. I can't wait to read the section on Guatemala since that is one of our prospective vacation locations. It'll be perfect rainy day weekend reading.

Les Oeufs

While watching Julie & Julia, my hubster and I have this conversation:

Hubster: Have you ever even had eggs?
Me: Nope. Just in cakes and stuff.
Hubster: Never? (laughs at my stubbornness)
Me: Noooo. Does that make me weird?
Hubster: What happened? Did you watch a movie about eggs attacking people?*
Me: Nope. I did watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but I still like eating tomatoes. I just don't like the smell of eggs. I thought if I couldn't get pass the smell that I wouldn't like the taste.

*Hubster fails to understand my irrational dislike of eggs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Want More Of...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Little Bit of Sunshine

It's been rather gloomy around here. Lots of clouds ready to sprinkle some drizzle. My spring fever increasingly grows each day. I'm aching for bright sunny days and warmer temperatures. I was beyond excited when I saw that the daffodils have returned to Trader Joe's. They're a steal for $1.29! They're also my friendly reminder that spring is around the corner.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Throwback Tuesday: Walk Me Home - Mandy Moore

"We've Got a Diem to Carpe!"

As I watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I could totally imagine the little kid I once was absolutely loving it. It probably would have been one of my favorite movies, thus subjecting my parents to watching it over and over. Lucky for my hubster, I'm not a kiddo anymore and he won't have to watch it over and over. I did love the idea of embracing being smart and being unique. I also thought it was clever how they tied the concept of responsibility with those attributes. The puffy cheek kiss was just adorable! I have to say I might have liked it more than Up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Better Than a Cup of Coffee

As I'm rummaging through my trunk to gather my goods to take into Starbucks, I suddenly hear, "Hi Mrs. Trac!" I knew the voice. It was one of my kiddos from last year. I peek around my car. There he is standing halfway out of a SUV holding onto the door. He has the same great big old smile. I respond with, "Hi Mr. D. How are you?" He simply says, "Good." I wanted to say, "Have a good day." I should have said it, but he already ducked into the car before I could. I hope he has a great day. He totally made my day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can't Get Enough

Bananas, Frijoles, & Monkeys Part 5

Yay, this post will be my last post about our trip! It's the finale. I only have day 9 and day 10 left to talk about. On day 9, we said farewell to the beautiful JW. Our first happy stop was at a stand that sold handmade pottery. The pottery was made from the volcanic clay and shaped by indigenous people. There was even an adorable woman doing a demonstration. Our next stop was at Sarchi. It's home to the world's largest painted ox cart and to many of the artisans skilled in painting ox carts. We finally had some time to do some souvenir shopping.

Then, we were back on the road again heading towards San Jose. After we settled into our room, we decided to venture downtown. It seemed convenient enough. The main pedestrian street area was only 3 blocks away. It ended up being the most overwhelming part of our trip. Our first mistake was that we went out at 5 o'clock. Our next mistake had been completely unaware of how hectic a city like San Jose can be. We had spent most of our trip out in the country. Then, we had our farewell dinner. It was a bit harder than I thought it would be to say bye to everyone. Being the babies on the trip, it definitely felt like a bunch of people tried their best to look out for us.

Day 10 is a bit of jip. It's your departure date. No activities are planned except shuttling you off to the airport. Because we try to fly as cheaply as possible, we always seem to manage to have flights at odd hours. Our flight left at 3:30 and we were leaving the hotel at 11:30. We had woken up at 8:00, so we had to figure out something to do. We looked out our window and noticed that the streets were much calmer than the previous day. It definitely looked like a better time to be adventurous. Off we went. We walked several blocks in multiple directions, tried to figure out how to spend our last colones, and managed not to trip over the huge curbs. After I spent 800 colones on a candy bar, we stumbled across pizza stands selling huge pizza slices for only 900 colones. Shucks!

My hubster felt bad for me because I really wanted to try some local food. We had seen pizza places in every town we had went to. As we walked down a new street, he saw a bakery that had little pizza-like bread in the display case. He tried asking how much it was. The nice baker thought we were asking what was on it. She kept replying queso. My hubster tried asking how many colones. We were finally able to communicate and I got my mini pizza for 500 colones (less than a dollar). She heated it in a microwave, which made us a bit nervous. We were pleasantly surprised. It was fluffy delicious bready goodness with the toppings of a Hawaiian pizza. We wandered back to the hotel and hopped onto the shuttle to the airport. Many hours later we arrived at LAX.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country. I'm happy my hubster was able to convince me to go. Thanks to my parents for another awesome graduation present. I highly recommend going to Costa Rica. If you're into having someone else do all the planning, Caravan is the way to go. Don't forget to request Jesus Toledo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bananas, Frijoles, & Monkeys Part 4

Almost done! We had a less than exciting stay at our hotel in Fortuna. So when it was time to pack up and go, there was no hesitation to set our bags out in the morning. When we asked Jesus about our next hotel, he would have a sly giggle and just tell us it's nice. Of course, we would try to further inquire. All we got was: "It's really nice."

Our last adventure in the rain forest was hiking through the forest and walking across six hanging bridges. I had this idea that the hanging bridges were pretty stable. Boy was I mistaken. Yes, it's sturdy but by no means completely stationary. As we trotted across the bridges, it would sway. Not just a little sway. Instead, it felt like walking along the deck of the cruise ship as the waves toss it from side to side. My hubster joked that I need to get my bridge legs. I totally did and it was so much fun after that. It was simply the initial surprise that I had to overcome. I learned about the walking palm tree. It's a tree that alternates which side of its trunk that the roots grow on, which creates a walking-type movement. It only walks about an inch a year. We also had a great guide who would get really excited when he saw really rare birds. He also liked the photos that my hubster took.

Driving to Guanacaste allowed us to see a dramatic shift in the landscape. It went from beautiful lush green forest to rolling brown hills. There were no longer any clouds. Just warm sunshine beating on our faces. Warm winds blew across the amber grass. It was just like home! I must admit we were pretty restless at the end of the bus ride. Jesus had explained to us how posh Guanacaste had become. We didn't believe him. It looked so barren. Once we stepped off the bus, we were breathless. The JW Marriott was gorgeous! We had never stayed anywhere that nice before. It was like all of the hotels that Samantha Brown stays at. That afternoon, we went tide pooling and waited for the sunset.

On our eighth day, we simply lounged. We went on the nature walk through the dry tropical forest. Because it wasn't the rainy season, all the trees had lost their leaves. We learned about the naked Indian tree, saw some bats, and collected a bunch of perfect seashells. The afternoon was spent swimming and enjoying our comfy air conditioned room. The evening had to be my favorite part. After dinner, we walked down to the beach and looked up at the stars. We thought we could see a lot of stars at home since we've moved out to the country. We could see even more stars. They crowded the sky, almost overwhelming it. My hubster was even able to identify the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. I simply loved it. It's one of my happiest memories.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bananas, Frijoles, & Monkeys Part 3

I definitely have to try to get these posts done quickly while all of my memories are still fresh. My first day back at school already has my mind wandering off to other priorities. Where was I? I think I'm now on days 5 and 6.

On our fifth day, we left Laguna Lodge in Tortuguero and made our way to San Carlos Valley and Fortuna. On our long bus ride back to town, we stopped for lunch and had our best lunch of the trip. We also saw this really large tree. I think it was a mountain almond tree. It totally reminded me of Home Tree in Avatar. Our pictures do not properly illustrate the magnitude of how large this tree is, but we tried. I also got to see my first sloth! Sloths are one of my favorite animals. Thanks to Jesus, I learned that a nickname for the sloths is lazy bears. Our last pit stop was at a pineapple plantation. It takes 8-10 years to grow a pineapple when planting the top of pineapple in the ground. The very enthusiastic guide also shared that a pineapple planter can plant 8,000 shoots in an hour! Once we got to our hotel, we walked down to town. It was nice to get away from the group for a bit.

On our sixth day, we went on another boat cruise in the Cano Negro wildlife refuge. Before we got to the refuge, we stopped by the blooming iguana tree. At the refuge, we got to see Blondie. She's a howler monkey with a genetic mutation that makes her have a gorgeous golden coat. We also saw an anhinga, the smallest kingfisher, blue herons, and some more egrets. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Baldi Hot Springs. It was beyond our expectations. There were multiple pools of varying temperatures surrounded by multiple gardens. When we got too hot, we just jumped into one of the cooling pools. For some excitement, there were three water slides. The highest temperature pool we found was 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bananas, Frijoles, & Monkeys Part 2

Part 2 is going to include days 3 and 4 of the excursion. I'm trying to combo up the days because we spent 2 days in each location. It also makes for fewer posts and less writing for me. Yay! We left San Jose, which holds 60% of the entire population of Costa Rica, and made our way to Tortuguero Park. Tortuguero Park is a nature conservation that is a main destination for the green sea turtles to lay their eggs. It also has tons of other wildlife.

On our way to the boat dock (Did I mention that Tortuguero is only accessible by boat or plane?), we stopped at a butterfly garden. At the butterfly garden, we saw the most gorgeous blue morpho butterflies. The outer side of the morpho is where the beautiful blue is. Unfortunately, we weren't able to photograph any in flight because the lighting was poor and they're just too quick! I did have one land on me. Afterward, we went to a banana plantation. We saw the banana runners. These men would wear a harness attached to 25 bunches of bananas and run them from the field to the processing center. Crazy! I also learned that banana plants are not a tree, but an herb.

Once we got to Tortuguero, we were constantly looking for wildlife. At our lodge, we searched for red-eyed tree frogs near the pool and enjoyed watching the montezuma oropendolas. When we weren't looking for animals at our lodge, we walked to the Caribbean Sea. Yes, we were sandwiched between the rain forest and the Caribbean Sea. On our boat rides, we saw iguanas, JC lizards, monkeys, caymans and tons of different kinds of birds. It was pretty tricky because most of the animals (excluding the snowy white egret and the great white egret) have great camouflage. I was pretty good at it, but my hubster had a rough time. He attributed my great skills to looking at Where is Waldo books. I corrected him. I had I SPY books. We really enjoyed the sense of community that we noticed at Tortuguero when we walked through the village.

Bananas, Frijoles, & Monkeys Part 1

My hubster and I are still pretty fresh off from our vacation to Costa Rica. There is so much to talk about! We went through a tour company called Caravan. Throughout our whole trip, we were impressed by the accommodations, our driver, and tour guide. Our tour guide, Jesus, was a walking bilingual encyclopedia. He explained everything in great detail without ever making us feel overwhelmed. He also had the greatest Yogi Bear laugh ever. Our driver, Luis, knew how to navigate through the teeny roads with such ease.

With all that said, back to the other details of our trip. Our first two days were spent in San Jose and a town near near San Jose. We arrived rather late in the evening on our first day, so we didn't get to do any roaming. The next day, we were quickly whisked off to Poas Volcano. With much luck, we were able to see the crater, crater's lake, and the nearby lagoon. The crater is located 2,574 meters above sea level. The lagoon is one of the most acidic bodies of water on earth with a pH level of less than zero. When it rains near the lagoon, it's acid rain. Later in the afternoon, we went to the Gold Museum. We learned how the indigenous people made their unique gold pieces by using clay molds.