Saturday, August 23, 2008

If You Are Going to Eat Out...

check here first! You can find out what restaurants offer "kids eat free" programs. {And any other details involved} Just put in your state and city and your off!

I would be curious if a search in Utah {kid capital} would have a larger list of restaurants. Hummmmm?

I did Riverside, CA for those of you from my "home" area. :)

Carrows Restaurants
11120 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA
(951) 354-6262
Monday and Tuesdays after 4pm
Nights: Mon & Tues

3655 Riverside Plaza Drive
Riverside, CA
(951) 682-2448
On Tuesdays from 5 to 8pm (check your local Fazoli's for day and time), we reserve an area of our restaurant just for you! And kids eat for only .99
Nights: Tues

Jose's Mexican Food
3765 La Sierra Ave
Riverside, CA
(951) 359-8000
Wednesday's Kids Eat Free
Nights: Wed

3889 Tyler St
Riverside, CA
Nights: Mon

Enjoy my money savvy friends!!! I wonder what the restaurants around here would think if I asked if kids eat free. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Becoming Accustomed...

It is hot and humid here in Costa Rica. More so in Jaco where we are.

When we are out running around, I can walk in a house that has had the {so called} air conditioning on and be hit by a wall of cold air. It is so relaxing and refreshing. One of my favorite things here.
However in about ten minutes in the same room, I will start sweating. Did I say sweating? I meant perspiring. Once my body has acclimated to the temperature {the temp I used to think was COLD} it didn't seem to appreciate it anymore.
I've thought about this a lot lately. When we first moved here, I loved the drive to church. I loved bouncing along the crazy road. I enjoyed the gorgeous trees, vines and other foliage. The sky was such a bright blue with fluffy clouds.

Now I dread the drive.

When did that all change for me?

Sunday as we were starting our 6 hour church adventure, I realized I haven't appreciated any of the above mentioned benefits of Costa Rican life in quite awhile.

Why you ask? Maybe it's having to make all three meals for our Sunday and have my 5 kids dressed and ready in church clothes by 7:45 am. Or the fact that munchkin number 5 gets car sick now and pukes every time on our drive there, no matter what I do to avoid it.

But here is the thing. All the above mentioned difficulties are reality. So are the "beautiful" benefits attached to life here. When did I become acclimated to this beautiful environment?

Maybe the trick is to see the bright blue sky, gorgeous white fluffy clouds and green foliage even while your hands are scrubbing vomit.

Yes, I think that is the trick. Then life becomes more beautiful because of what you choose to focus on.

Easier said than done, however. "Focus Shawna! Focus!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Because I Care...

I've read about how tight things are in the states. So here is my contribution. Walgreens has a $5.00 off $20.00 spent. Use that with the deals on school supplies and you've got a great bargain. I make sure to only spend $20.10 to get the most from my money. :) You can also head right back into the store with another coupon, and another and another.
You can get the magic coupon here .
Remember, it's only good for Friday and Saturday. {if you don't have a Walgreens in your area, I'm sorry for the tease.}


Don't forget to check out my "frugal" links to the right. They're pretty good.

Does anyone know if CVS honors Walgreens' coupons? I think they do.

A World Record Set Here in Costa Rica

We've seen the advertisments. We've heard the talk around here. We waited until the time was finally here. And then it arrived, the world record was to be set for the biggest fish taco, here at Bubba's Fish Taco joint. We have been heavily anticipating this moment. I packed the kids in our new "red feedom" wagon and headed on our hot, mile walk to see this awaited moment.

I'll just say we were highly disappointed. All they did was lay out the tortilla's side by side. Aren't they supposed to make a HUGE tortilla???? Oh well. I thought about doing my own advertisements and beating Bubba's {lame} Taco by 1 inch; making a taco 30 feet and 1 inch. But then, who am I to make enemies here? I certainly don't want any.
I do have to say that it was for a good cause. He was raising money for a reef ball to help save the ocean. Way to go Bubba.

That is what Aiden thought of the taco setting record. He got his chair and sat facing the street.

This is a shot of our new "red freedom". Aiden got this for his birthday and my favorite feature is the seat belt that neither him nor Landon can undo.

The last shot here is of the news report being done of the owner. The reporter was also the camera guy {holding a regular family camcorder}. Let's talk about multi-tasking!! I tried my best not to giggle.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If You Give a Kid Some Gum...

Remember the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"? Does it sometimes feel like your life is like that? A series of events all connecting to one another, where you might wish you could go back and change the first {mistake} event?

Me too.

Here's one of mine from last week.

If you give a child a 100 colone {about 25 cents), he'll want to buy a large bubble gum. If he tries to buy a large bubble gum the gum will get stuck in the machine. If his gum gets stuck he'll stick his hand up the machine to get his gum. If his hand gets stuck you'll try and get his hand out. When both of your hands are stuck the nice "Spanish only speaking" store manager will try and rescue both of you. You will be of no help because you have no idea what he is saying. When you are finally rescued you will make it home just in time for your sister in law to drop off her large dog for you to watch. Her large dog that you are watching will of course find the large chewed up bubble gum and lay in it. You will spend the next 20 minutes up to your elbows in peanut butter {to get the gum out of dog fur}, dog hair and bubble gum. When you have peanut butter,dog fur and bubble gum dripping off your arms, it will remind your little guy that he misplaced his "gum" and would like some more.

Do you think I have a book here????

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Over Night Peach French Toast

I know this isn't a "recipe blog" but hey, this is really good and I have to share with my buddies.

I got it from here at yummyfood4all

I am a strong believer in a healthy, homemade, preferably hot, breakfast. This can be thrown together the night before and sit in your fridge until morning comes. Or if you are like me and don't have much room in your fridge, you can make it right then and it still comes out delish!
I even have {bad lighting} pictures to show.

Over Night Peach French Toast

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter or margarine

2 tbs. water

Sliced peaches

French bread

5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

1 tbs. vanilla

Melt butter; add water and brown sugar.Boil till mixture foams.Pour into a 9x13 pan and cool 10 minutes. Line the pan with the sliced peaches, covering all the caramel mixture. Slice bread 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.Place on top of peaches.Mix eggs, milk and vanilla. Pour over bread completely covering it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.Bake at 350o for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown.

 Bake uncovered, let cool for a few minutes then flip the french toast over and spoon caramel and peaches on top.. serve with whip creme.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Shout Out to my Amigas...

“Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers. We are born somewhere small and quiet and we move toward a place we cannot see but only imagine. Along our journey, people and events flow into us, and we are created of everywhere and everyone we have passed. Each event, each person, changes us in some way. "
-1st paragraph from "Tending Roses"

I've used this quote before, however pulling a different meaning. I'd like to re-quote here.
It's not as tacky as re-gifting. Which of course I've never done, even when I received 5 rice steamers as wedding gifts, {which I love rice steamers} and forgot I stuck the cards inside the boxes, then wrapped one up to give to another couple because we were dirt poor young marrieds. Yeah. That was embarrassing.

I love the words "people and events "flow" into us..." Isn't that just pristine? I've been contemplating the people that have flowed into my life experience. All of them adding joy in my life. Yep, some when they flowed in and others when they "flowed" out!!! Lol { I know that wasn't correct grammar, but it's midnight and it works for me}

I have been very lucky in the friend department. I truly have. The best thing about "mis amigas" is the variety in personalities. All of them are important to me but so different. I am often caught commenting that if I could stir us up and then sift off our best qualities we would make the perfect women.
So here is a tribute to my best buddies:

There is Penny.
Here she is with her beautiful daughter who modeled as a paper doll in a previous post. You might recognize her. :)
Penny is one tough {black belt} cookie. She keeps me on my toes by questioning anything she thinks might need to be questioned. And her favorite questions are ones that might make someone squirm, just a little. She has yet to make me uncomfortable, try as she may, I don't think she can do it! And yes, Penny, that is a challenge! She is a wonderfully patient, playful mom and a good example to me in many, many more ways. When times are tough she has taught me to grasp on to spiritual knowledge and I love her for this.

This is Cindy
{We are all in black in white because of reasons relating to vanity, we look better this way!} Cindy does the most creative things with her little ones. She has a apron with pockets that hold fun toys and activities and I will admit here and now, that I covet that apron. She will tell you ever so gently {not! hee, hee} if you aren't doing what you should be doing. She has a clap that she does when all is right in the world and it makes me smile just thinking about it. And her sweetheart and munchkins come before all else in her temporal life. I love it.

Meet MaryAnn

MaryAnn is easy going and fun. She is the great keeper of traditions. Even my husband {who wouldn't notice if I changed out all our furniture and painted the walls bright purple} mentions how great her home looks during the holidays. She has taught me the importance of the handwritten "thank you" card and celebrating a friends birthday on her actual birthday. She held my hand as I strained under the weight of helping my mother pass from this life. She is cool on the outside, but on the inside she is sensitive to the struggles of others and does what she can to relieve them.

My friend Christine

We go way back to our last year of girls camp. That's where I first met Christine. It was after we had found our true loves and started having children that we really start to become good friends. I hope that just being friends with Christine will give me "spiritual bonus points". My plan is to announce at the pearly gate, "Hey, I know Christine, can you let me in??? Please!!!!" {She would get embarrassed to hear me talk about her like that, but it's my blog. Hee, hee.} Christine is a wonderfully supportive wife. Her honey has so much on his plate and she does what she can to support him. She is kind, hard working and never speaks negatively of anyone. She just graduated with her bachelors degree and is quite the intelligent one. She also is an artist and the best family home evening lesson creator. {family home evening being one night a week (usually Monday) we stay home as a family and have a quick spiritual lesson and fun family time} At my house FHE would have a different description {being one night a week, we constrain the kids to the couch by sitting on them, to listen as we try to feed them spiritually and they now announce all the huge homework assignments that have just entered their minds and all of the sudden are of the utmost importance} Sorry, lets get back to Christine.
She is humble and a great leader. I'm thankful to have her as a friend.

I also have Nikki, Tracy, Christina, Sharla, Tonja, Shanie, Louann, Andrea, Kristen and many more buddies that have changed me for the better. I am thankful for friends. It hasn't been as easy here to make them and because of that my appreciation level has soared. Thank you from way over here in Costa Rica for what you "all" mean to me. Oh and now a few more have entered my mind. Boy, am I lucky.

Love ya all.

One of my above mentioned friends got this tip from her mother. When you receive a thank you card or little note from a friend, find a basket and tuck it in there. Collect your notes throughout your life and tuck them in the basket. Then when you are having the "rare" down day, grab your basket {some Dryers ice cream} and sit for awhile. Go through them and I can promise you they are a great "pick me up". It has also helped me to be better to sit and write those important thank you notes.

Another idea:
This would be a great gift don't you think? If you have a friend you know who needs a good pick me up you could write your note of appreciation, attach it to a cute basket {filled with a few yummies, o.k. I've got little ones I can say yummies} and then tell her what the basket is for {filling with thank yous to come}. You could also get a few of her closest friends to write a "card of appreciation" too. That way it will already be filled. Or you could have them mail in within the week. How cool would that be?!?!?!? I amaze myself sometimes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some Great Sites...

Don't you love when you've found a great website? I remember finding Everything Is Pink and Rocks In My Dryer Those were great days for me.

Now I have found a few more.
great ideas for baby showers, bridal showers and entertaining. My fav is a baby shower with a theme of bedtime stories. Everyone brings their favorite book and the food table is made to look like a cozy bed with a stuffed animal. How creative is that?????
this has, yep you guessed it, recipes! She has the most creative ideas for making your dishes look appealing to your little ones, or big ones. My favorite; doggie soup {soup made from left over veggies from the week} and biscuts that are in the shape of doggie paws. Then she goes one step further and throws a blanket on the table and lets the kids eat in the "dog house". Like she says, it's all in the presentation.