Keeping You In Stitches

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Our container finally was delivered on Sept. 22 – it was packed on July 26!  Apparently a little storm, Irma, created a problem. Altho, it was in port 4 days before the hurricane hit only an hour and a half away!

So now we’ve got  boxes everywhere!!!!  Am at the point where if I get 3-4 boxes opened and put away, that’s good for a day’s work.  Because we went so long without the container, we’ve got doubles of many things.

I do feel that groceries are cheaper here.  The BOGO free is a big help!  Today’s grocery bill was less than $100 with $45.00 in savings.  Meat is higher than I remember it, tho’.  But oh my gosh, the celery is so cheap and so good!!! I have adapted to the grocery stores here.  At least I know what I’m buying.

Have had lots of time to think…..not good, I know!  I think I’ll open a Go Fund Me page to run for President!  My platform, will be “Common Sense”.  It seems to be lacking in D.C., especially, the government!  If you have questions, contact me with all the particulars and I’ll tell you what should be done.

Pool is on hold because of some problem with the  property in back – has to be within 18 ft. from our property line.  Now it looks like  we’ll have to take down part of the lanai to make it within that 18 ft. area. And we have to have a tree removed because it’s hanging on the roof of the lanai.  So the pool hasn’t been started.  DAMN!  Irma has made a lot of problems for everyone!

Still miss my friends from Costa Rica.  And CR in general.

Adapting, but not happy!


Today was a day of hilarity for  us and those that were at Pizza Finca!

Victoria is about 20 days from having her baby and Karen decided we should have lunch together before the big day.  (It’s the 7/31 Club because we were all born on that day.)  What could we do to make it funny? Decided we should go as pregnant women too! Enjoy the pictures and please note the real pregnant person, is the smallest! You just can’t take the fun out of the “older ladies”. Poor Victoria!!!!  She assured us that Ema was going to call everyone when the baby arrives!

Here’s the conversation according to Karen…

Lunch conversation goes something like this….

Table for 3? No table for 6 (please).
Ah, waiting for 3 more ladies? No, why do you ask?
Well, there are 3 of you yes? No, there are 6 of us.
ME: Better make it a table for 7. I’m having twins!
VIC: Hurry I think I’m going to Earl!
NANCY: Earl who? I think I’m having a basketball!
ME: For lunch? And who is this Earl, Victoria?
VIC: I’m gonna be sick, like Earl right now!
NANCY: Suddenly I’m not so hungry, let’s go to the bar!
ME: Works for me, how ’bout you Victoria, you in?
VIC: I’m gonna go take a nap before I go back to work.
NANCY: There’s always one party-pooper in the crowd!
ME: Okay, I’ve got errands to run before I deliver these guys. See ya, same place, same time, next week for lunch gals?
Should we invite our husbands maybe……
THEM: Nah, then we’d need a bigger table…..

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In Costa Rica, most Ticos (at least in Guacimo, where we live) celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.  This year we expanded it a little and invited Maricela’s Mother, boyfriend, and sister, Lola. We’ve always invited Lola’s boys, Gabriel and Moises.  Maricela, Dimas, Dylana and Nazareth were here too.  It was a rancho full of people.

They arrived Christmas Eve morning and everyone was in a happy, jolly mood.  Especially the boys when they saw the gifts under the tree.  I asked them if they wanted to eat first or open presents….to my surprise, they wanted to eat first!

And did they ever eat!!!! LOL  Nana, Maricela’s mother thought the coffee was so delicious!

After lots of laughing and talking, some in Spanish, some in English and some in Spanglish, it was time to move into the house to open presents.

Nazareth wanted to be Santa!  And a dramatic Santa she was!!!!  I told them this year they were going to open one gift at a time so we could see what everyone gets!  I tried to get pictures of them with their gifts and I’ll be darned if “Santa” didn’t photo bomb almost every picture!

Nazareth, would go “do, do, do do……Gabriel” – and then Gabriel would come up and get his gift and we’re all clapping and yelling Gabriel.  It did get loud but isn’t that what Christmas is about.  It was so fun to watch the boys open their gifts!  Moises will start kindergarten this year, so he even got a new backpack for school; (I’ve always gotten them new backpacks.)

Nana was so pleased with scarf and immediately tried it on!  I thought Lola was going to cry when she opened up her necklace and ear rings!  It really tugs at your heart so see how excited they are.

I’ve gotten so I take the girls to the mall and let them pick out some clothes; better they get what they like, then something I would pick out!  They look forward to this every year!  But, they have to act excited when they open what they pick out….that’s the rule, as if they’ve never seen it before!

The girls both wanted calendar books this year.  I told them every day they had to write “I love Nancy” and that I was going to check on them once in awhile.

After the gifts were opened, it’s quite funny to watch the kids pack up their things to go home.  They cram as much as they can in their new backpacks; and head home wearing them.

I was exhausted when they left!  But it was a good, happy exhaustion!!!

They truly are our Tico family; Nana, always refers to me as the kids’ abuelita (grandmother), but she really is!  The girls are old enough to know that I’m their Gringo Abuelita!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy 2016; I would hope their would be Peace on Earth, but I don’t think that’s going to happen!  But there’s always hope!

Pura Vida!


PS:  Mark is known for wearing his shirts inside out – well, he did Christmas Eve too!




We have the best friends in Costa Rica!!!  Antano’s, Yaddixa and Sandra, invited us to have an anniversary dinner there.  As usual, we were not disappointed.

A beautiful arrangement of flowers on the table.   And a delicious dinner – with special friends, what could be better!

Sandra wasn’t there because she was “under the weather”; she’s better now!

We met Sandra and Yaddixa the first time we came to Costa Rica.  We were staying at Frances’ and Bruce’s Lighthouse Animal Rescue in 2011.  They took us to Antano’s to eat, and the friendship blossomed from there.

However, when we moved here, I was beside myself, beause Antano’s wasn’t where it was 6 mos. earlier….panic set it; but I found where they moved!!!

Whenever we’ve had guests come, we always take them to Antano’s…..because you know your food is good!

A big thank you to the Yaddixa and Sandra and the staff at Antano’s for making our 47th anniversary special!!!

OMG!  47 years is a life time!!!

Pura Vida…..

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Animales Atenas had a different kind of fundraiser. It was called Dinner for Two; or Four or Six! Basically, volunteers  cook a meal and deliver it to the winners of the raffle.

I thought this was something Maricela might like to do. So in my Spanglish, I finally got the message through that this was a fundraiser. I would buy the supplies and “we” would cook in my kitchen. She was in 7th heaven!!! Not sure if it’s because she was cooking in my kitchen or she just likes to cook! Anyway, we came up with a typical Tico dinner:

  • empanadas with chicken, beans and cheese (empanadas con polo, frijoles y queso);
  • arroz con pollo (rice with chicken),
  • Picadillo de papa(a potato concoction, I think I could eat this once a day!),
  • ensalada de Verde (green salad).

We grocery shopped on Monday and after checking with the winner of our meal, decided to cook it on Wednesday – the girls had no school on Monday and she wanted to cook without the girls around, I guess. So Wednesday morning comes and Maricela, Nazareth (no school that day) and her 17 year old son, Dimas showed up.

Nazareth may only be 9, but she sure was a great help. She washed dishes, peeled potatoes, etc. At one point I caught her at the kitchen sink eating a mouthful of potato peelings! LOL

I told Mark I felt like I was fixing a Thanksgiving dinner. I do confess that I bought enough of everything, so Maricela’s family and Mark and I could eat too! LOL

When I was in the states, I bought a bunch of wooden Christmas ornaments because I decided to give Maricela one of my three Christmas trees – they’ve never had a tree before. So during a slack time of cooking, I pulled those ornaments out and Nazareth began coloring them; the next thing I know, seventeen year-old Dimas is in the kitchen sitting beside her coloring them too! LOL Next day, thirteen year old Dylana colored hers.




Our kitchen smelled so good…..had intended to cook the meat for the Picadillo de Papa in the crock pot overnight, but mother nature provided us with a storm that took out the electricity; so we ended up cooking that on the stove.

Actually, my contribution to the cooking, besides paying for the food, was stirring.  I’ve learned, I’m a “great stirrer”!

Maricela, Nazareth and I delivered the food and heard from the winner, complimenting the chef!!!

It was a really exhausting day for both of us…..and Maricela was here bright and early to clean on Thursday morning.

I do think I might try making the empanadas myself!  Maricela’s were perfectly round and then folded…..there is an art to it, no rolling pin involved, all hands-on!

All in all, it was a great fund raiser, about $2500, which goes to support the animal spay and neuter and rescue.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with friends Mike and Joni, Pat and John, and of course Mark and I. We had dinner reservations at LaTrocha……because Joni discovered they were having a chocolate fountain for dessert. Chocolate, which has been confirmed as a health food, and skewers of fruit, well, with one marshmallow, which probably isn’t the healthiest of foods…..let’s just say we took a vote and it was decided it was a healthy dessert!
For the most part, everyone was pleased with their food and the dessert.

We had ordered our food and someone at our table was quite concerned that the fountain was flowing yet.  I will not divulge that name!
We had ordered our food and someone at our table was quite concerned that the fountain wasn’t flowing yet. I will not divulge that name!  Soon after the “panic”, the fountain was flowing with yummy HEALTHFUL chocolate.

Mark couldn't wait to try out the chocolate and immediately took a turn.

Mark couldn’t wait to try out the chocolate and immediately took a turn.

Joni was debating which skewer of mostly fruit to start with....she has what most people would call a "decision making disorder".

Joni was debating which skewer of mostly fruit to start with….she has what most people would call a “decision making disorder”.

At last the decision was made! YUM! YUM! YUM!

At last the decision was made! YUM! YUM! YUM!

Mike thought if he didn't look at the plate of skewers, he wouldn't be eating them.....but I can assure you he's "busted".

Mike thought if he didn’t look at the plate of skewers, he wouldn’t be eating them…..but I can assure you he’s “busted”.

And this is what the tablecloth looked like after 6 gringos were done!

And this is what the tablecloth looked like after 6 gringos were done!

It was a really nice evening with good friends and good times.  It’s what I would call a nice little fiesta!

Tonight is another fiesta!  For those of you thinking about retiring, remember, there are lots of fiestas and that’s what makes retirement so difficult!!!  (Sort of like living in a college dorm.)

Pura Vida from Costa Rica – the pool is calling my name!

Dylana waiting1Today Dylana graduated from the English class she’s been taking since last July.  She would board the bus at 6 a.m. and ride into town on Saturdays. Then walk to Sabana Larga to take the English class. I can’t thank my friends enough that “donated” money to give her this opportunity! It does take a village to educate!  She enjoyed the class; however, Mark and I think she spoke more English to us before taking the class! LOL

Graduation “season” started with her 6th grade graduation from the Central School of Atenas on December 12…then followed many fiestas to celebrate and it’s culminated with today’s graduation.

This graduation was held in the building next to the police station. It included kids from age 8 up to maybe 15-16 years old.  There were two young male instructors for probably 50+ students.  Different classes met at different times of the day on Saturdays.  When they were calling the names of the graduates to go to the stage to receive their diplomas, they announced to please applaud for each graduate.

I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the girls received a kiss on the cheek (a greeting in Costa Rica) when the instructor gave them their diplomas.  What a change from the “old country” where heaven forbid you touch a student.

They would call up maybe 15 students for diplomas then there was a break in the “action” to call numbers for door prizes….ie: free classes, dictionaries in English, more English instruction books, etc.  I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the same families won multiple times.  The family sitting at the end of the table that we were at, won 5 different prizes.  Reminded me of Bingo!


Dylana and her teacher

After all this was over, then it was time to eat.  They served a meal of arroz con pollo, ensalada, papas, and arroz con leche for dessert. (rice with chicken, salad, potato chips and rice with milk).  It was pretty tasty!!!  But I think anything I don’t have to cook or clean up after is pretty tasty!

School will start again for Dylana in February and she’ll be off to Collegio (what we would consider high school).  She’ll be learning French this year.  Her Mom told us she’ll have 20 teachers….whew! Can you imagine keeping all of them happy? She’ll then graduate from Collegio in 5 years and hopefully going to the University will follow.

While we were waiting for graduation to begin, her mother, Maricela, leaned over and said “you’re the only Gringo here!”

Since this was a class where the students learned English, silly me, thinking that maybe a little English might be spoken.  There was none, nada spoken!  I could follow some of what was being said, but I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to jump up and request “por favor, despacio” (please, slower)

Been a great experience to see these events take place….even if I am the “token Gringo”!

Headed into town shortly after noon today to go to the Post Office and a few other places.

Stopped at the P.O. and voila!  I had a small package… exciting!  There were 4 males and one female in the P.O. laughing like crazy.  Two of the men were laughing so hard, their shoulders were shaking – you couldn’t help but giggle at them. I have no clue what they were laughing at; but, it was infectious!!!  Smiles were all over in the P.O. this afternoon.

Then I headed to Dra. Victoria’s to get my glasses adjusted. She was really busy!!!

Saw Julie and Norman next door at Dennis’ and Gerardo’s….said they had finally recovered from Bunky’s party on Monday.

Then on to Coope…as I was checking out, the checker grinned and acted like she was sniffing the air – you could hear raindrops on the roof; not enough to get anything wet, but they were raindrops.  She broke into a broad grin and explained that when she was pregnant, she loved smelling the rain because everything smelled fresh!  Yep, I understood what she was communicating!

When you go into town, everyone is happy!!!  I remember when Terri came with me to house hunt. We were sitting at Don Tadeo’s and watching people in the park.  She remarked “look everyone is happy, everyone is smiling, no one is walking hunched over” – Costa Rica, or at least Atenas is “home of the happy people.”

A Pura Vida day for sure!

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Maricela’s cousin, Ivannia’s daughter is expecting a baby in the next 3 weeks. I was invited to the baby shower. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I arrived! The decorations were unbelievable, let alone the tables set for 150 people, family and friends.

I felt like it was a wedding!!! At one point during the shower we were all given small cups (like communion cups) for wine; I noticed everyone else sipping, so I sipped too….however, I then drank it all! I had no clue that the wine was for a “toast” to the mother and baby. So the hostesses brought me another cup, a larger one (LOL), so I was able to toast with everyone else.

Two clowns arrived and proceeded to entertain, the kids, anyway! Keep in mind all of this is in Spanish and I was able to pick out a few words….they needed to slow down to speak for the token Gringa! LOL

Baby showers in Costa Rica apparently are a huge, huge deal. Families come, yes, men included. I got tickled because the clowns were in charge of the games and were constantly seeking out men to participate in the games. It was fun and there were lots of laughs!!! Especially, when three men had to put on neon colored wigs, and then were diapered like babies by three women; then they added bibs, and bonnets….then the “babies” headed to a table with baby bottles with kool-aid in them to drink. It was hysterical!!

Another game that was played consisted of two men first blowing up balloons; sticking them under their shirts and then having to walk as a 9 month pregnant woman would walk. The guy that won was a new father of less than 6 weeks….

It last 5 hours – by then I had had enough; kids running around, lots of noise, mother-to-be opening up what seemed like a million gifts! Am sure they needed at least two vehicles to get the gifts home.

Friday, September 13th, four adventurous women boarded the bus to San Jose at 8 a.m.  We arrived at the bus station in San Jose approximately at 9 a.m. – or as it’s called “the Coca-Cola building”.

Shirley was on a quest to get new drapes for her house.  She knew exactly which “tela”  (fabric) shop she wanted to go to because they had ready made drapes.  However, she ended up ordering drapes to be made – and get this, it was probably  10-10:30ish when she ordered them and received a phone call around 1:30 p.m. that they were ready. Is this a great country or what?!

We went to The Grand Hotel, across from the National Theatre for coffee.  From there we went to the National Theatre hoping to get a tour; however, there was an event planned and they weren’t giving tours in the afternoon.

Liena, knew of a bead shop across the plaza from the National Theatre…all I can say is WOW!  I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t think!  I will be going back there to purchase, soon! LOL

Headed to a “sewing” shop and across the street from there was a “Chinese” shop;  lots of pretty things at extremely reasonable prices….ie: jade jewelry, turquoise, etc. I even bought a pair of white turquoise ear rings!

From there we went to pick up Shirley’s drapes and then to the central market there for lunch.

Liena had ceviche for lunch.

Liena had ceviche for lunch.

Shirley ordered the fish casado for meal.

Shirley ordered the fish casado for meal.

The expression on Barb's face after taking a sip of the creme milkshake, says it all!

The expression on Barb’s face after taking a sip of the creme milkshake, says it all!

This was the creme milkshake!  Looks more like butter, doesn't it.  She said it was awful and didn't drink it! LOL

This was the creme milkshake! Looks more like butter, doesn’t it. She said it was awful and didn’t drink it! LOL

As we were leaving the central market, it started pouring rain….the skies opened up and it was a deluge! We weren’t far from the bus station so that was good.

Headed home, tired but it was a “good tired”.

Always enjoy the adventures of the over 60 gals!!!

Pura Vida!

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