Friday, October 24, 2014

This and That

I am afraid I am going to be resorting more and more to bullet points as we near our departure date.  I am amazed at how much normal life and wrapping up details need to happen in the next 8 weeks!  Yikes!

But I do want to keep you all up to date and in the know, so here goes:

  • My mom was able to come again!  This time it was for two weeks and it was great!  We got a lot accomplished around the house, like finally decorating the boys rooms (yes, that only took two years.) and learning about painting here.
  •  Yeah, paining here.  Not fun.  Not fun at all.  I have no idea why, but it was kinda the same but completely different than any painting I had done before!  The paint seemed sticky, the walls were porous, the roller was different, and well, it was simply a pain!  So glad I decided to only paint a wall or two in each room!

  • We also got to redo the little break room at church!  This room gets used for a lot of different things during the week!  Growth Groups meet there, teachers use it to eat their lunch, Moms' group sometimes meets there when it is rainy, and well, it needed some love and attention.  With the help of several college age girls and my mom, we made it quite the cute little place.  A bit of home at church!

  •  Our new system for water cups.  I am amazed at how well this has really worked!  Even Quinn understands the idea.  If you are just wanting a drink of water, use a red cup.  When you are done, hang it back up! No more water cups all over the counter or in the sink!  
  •  All the boys' stockings are finally finished and are now sitting in a suitcase ready for the trip to Michigan for this Christmas!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Límon Curd

Well.  That month went fast!  And while there is lots to fill you in on, I thought I would share one of our new favorite recipes!

Límon Curd.  Yes friends, we are approaching the apex of citrus season here and there are all sorts and colors of citrus at our fería each week.

I stole this recipe from a friend here and it was tart and wonderful and oh so easy to make!

So if you find yourself with 4 limes, or lemons, or límons or key limes, give this one a try!

Límon Curd
 4 límons (or lemons or limes), zest and juice
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
pinch salt
5 tablespoons butter

In a small saucepan whisk together lime juice and zest,sugar, eggs, and salt. Turn on the the burner to medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil one minute, still stirring and remove from heat. Stir in butter and cool. Pour over graham cracker crust or eat it straight up!  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week.

It's that easy!  I made it twice in one week it was so good!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This and That

Well, life just seems to be clipping along.  Lots of little things.  A couple of big things too like

  • We bought our tickets to go to Michigan for the winter. A little surreal really! We haven't been back to Michigan in 2+ years.  We're just a mix of emotions about it.  On the one hand, we are thrilled to have Christmas with our families for the first time in 2 years, to experience the winter with the boys (I think Forrest is the only one who really remembers snow) and to be with people we dearly love and miss.  On the other hand, we are so sad to miss six month of life here!  We feel like we are just getting into a grove with Church and School, and we have friends and well, life keeps going while we aren't here.  Sigh. This living in two places is hard.

  •  Our weeks are full with all sorts of things.  Last night a young guy Noah has been meeting with came over for dinner and some time with Noah in the Word.  Thursday I haven Moms group, and I will probably be bringing two other moms and their kids with me.  Today Noah has chapels at school, Saturday night he's at Church, and well, yeah, the weeks are full.  And it's a good type of full!

  •  It's a good type of full, but we are still working on the balance for ministry and family.  It's a different pace working with church.  Camp has ebbs and flows, church flows from now until Jesus comes back.  So pray for us, for wisdom for when to say no and when to say yes.

  • Rainy season is at it's height.  We have mostly clear mornings and then the storms come in the afternoon.  Yesterday the boys were zipping in the midst of a cloud.  So strange!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

15 de Septiembre, 3 Days Early

It's that time of year again, where all the buildings are decked out in red, white and blue.  Yep, September is Independence month in Costa Rica and most of Central America as a matter of fact.  This year Forrest asked, "so Mom, when are we going to decorate our house anyway?"  Ok then.  I made sure to find a large flag to hang up in the garage.  Which was just about what he had in mind.

The school program was on Friday again this year.  The boys all got dressed up in the traje tipico and at the last second, one of them remembered that often boys will draw mustaches on with face paint.  And then another one remembered that we still had these goofy fuzzy stick on mustaches my mom brought on one of her trips.  I was laughing all night over these kids! 

Forrest kept saying things like "These shoes look more like what a campeino would wear."  or, "It's ok that it's raining mom, campesinos are made to get wet and get coffee stains on their shirts!"  This kid!

Per usual, it was raining, so much of the program at school happened inside.  We were encouraged to be at school right on time, 5:30.  Which we were, but it took another 45 minutes to get the program started. Things like, oh yeah, all the kids need to go get their xylophones from the music room across campus in the rain before we can start.  Not sure I will ever fully understand with this warm culture stuff.  Oh, and then, since there was a gym full of kids with xylophones, guess what happened?  yeah.  The MC for the night had to keep telling they to stop playing them. Ha!

Forrest did a good job playing the 5 notes he remembered on his xylophone, and then just looking cute when he couldn't remember.  He also did a killer job yelling "VIVA COSTA RICA!"  and throwing his hat in the air.  School programs.  They are weird, no matter what part of the world you are in!

Anyway, we didn't lose him in the crowd this year, which was a step up from last year, and everyone came home tired and slept well into the morning light!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baptism and Church Picnic

Oh last weekend was so fun!!  On Sunday we had our annual baptism service and we added a picnic into the mix too!

Noah taught the class for those who wanted to be baptized, which included Forrest!!   After the baptisms, people came and prayed for Forrest and the others and gave them encouraging words or verses.  What a sweet time!

A little background on our actual church building.  Union first was started as an English speaking congregation.  It has since morphed into about 90% Tico with a handful of international people thrown in.  Our Sunday service is mostly in Spanish and then is translated into English.  Anyway, all that to say, we actually have a baptismal, which is not the norm here.

After the service we had a picnic.  There was some risk involved in this because after all, it's rainy season here!  But the rain held off and actually it turned out to be a lovely day!!  But we really wanted to celebrate the baptisms and just be a family together.  Noah and I worked to coordinate the picnic, put together the decorations and plan and run some of the games.

This idea of a potluck was a new one to most people here, so we worked hard to communicate that you need to bring enough for your family and to share.  And boy did they bring enough!

Since we're an international body, we thought it would be fun to have people bring food from their background.  My friend Sujin, who is from South Korea, brought sushi!! Another family brought bread from their native Columbia.  I brought a pasta casserole and a pie, because nothing says Midwest more than casserole and pie.  Maybe I should have brought a jello salad too!

We had cornhole out for people to play, tarp toss, and I found coffee bags for sack races. And of course there was a pick up soccer game!

It was such a great time of just being together as a family, sharing food, laughing at the kids and enjoying each other!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Children's Day

So today is Children's Day here in Costa Rica.  You know, like Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Children's Day.

But, Forrest's school decided to celebrate last Friday by taking the 2nd graders to see the new Nija Turtles' movie.  Yeah, that's a PG-13 movie for 2nd graders.  No offense if your kids can handle that.  Our's can't and we are more than ok with!  So instead we planned an adventure day for the whole family, since Fridays are now Noah's day off.

We started the morning off with their presents.  And when I say presents, I mean scrapes of fabric that cost me nothing to sew into something else, like field bags for the big boys and a fabric marble maze for Quinn.

Then we were off.  The town of Sarchí is known for a couple of things.  It's furniture and the ox carts.  Ok, lemme splain ox carts.

Coffee is kind of a big deal here.  And the traditional way of getting coffee beans from the mountains to the coasts was by using ox carts, like these. 

All along the road from the mountains to the coast sprung up these repair shops...but I am getting ahead of myself.

The first thing we did was explore a Botanical Garden.  If there is one thing that Costa Rica has a lot of, it's gardens!  These were some of the best we've been to here.  And since it was a Friday morning during rainy season, we were the only ones in the whole place, which was lovely!

We did a lot of exploring and playing and just being together.

After we were done with the gardens, we found the only remaining ox cart factory in the country.  Again, since it was a Friday during low season, we were the only ones there. But Noah found one of the employees and he explained to us the history of the ox cart wheel (it used to be made out a single piece of wood!).  He also explained  how they make them now so they will last 50 years by banding them with a iron band, sorta like a whiskey barrel.

He also showed the boys how the waterwheel still powers all the tools in the work shop.  Such a cool stop!!!

All in all, we had a much better day then if Forrest had just gone to a movie that was way too old for him.  And we got to know just a bit more about this country that's starting to feel a bit more like home.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Newsletter

Can introduce you to some amazing woman?  Meet Ale, Loredona, April, Andrea, and Francella!  These are just some of the women who help keep me sane here in Costa Rica.  Our time together each week has become such a life line for me! 
About a year ago, in desperation, I asked a couple of the women at church with young kids if we could get together, just to have a cup of coffee, let the kids play and talk.  Nothing fancy or formal.  The response was an overwhelming, "YES!  We need that too!"  It's universal, moms need other moms! And there really isn't anything like this formally happening here in Costa Rica.  Believe me, I searched and searched!
Our church has an amazing amount of land for being in the city in the Central Valley.  We have a soccer field and a playground!  The kids can play safely, and the moms can talk.  And eat.  We do cafecito, which here is around 3 pm.  There is usually coffee, bread, and something sweet. 
My friend Ale explained it like this, "Un rato para estar juntas sin presión de donde están los chicos!!! Siempre es bueno conocer a otras mamás que están viviendo situaciones parecidas!!"
For those of you who don't speak Spanish, she says, "it's a time to be together without pressure of wondering where the kids are!  It's always good to know other moms that are living the same situations you are in." 

So very, very true!!
Would you pray for our times together on Thursdays?  Not only has it been a help to me, but it is becoming an outreach too.  For one of the women, this is her only touch point with the  church. Pray for us as we encourage and spur one another on towards loving our husbands, doing what's best for our families, and growing in the Lord.

Thanks for being part of what God is doing in Costa Rica!

Noah, Liz,
Forrest, Elliot and Quinn