Friday, June 30, 2006

Soft Wax Crayons!

Why have I never been given the chance to play with soft wax crayons until I´m in my twenties, I would like to know! They are great! The softness of the wax between your fingers,the rich color and the ease of mixing colors. I found these at an art shop near an internet cafe I frequent and was attracted by the unusual box. I think they are made in Spain and the crayons are as wonderful as the box(yeah,I said that already) so next time you see some Milan crayons think about picking some up. If they are this great I am having second thoughts about the absence of quality colored pencils in our home. Probably should start saving for some.....
News around here is that we stayed up almost all night the other night and finished the basic menu draft,I am getting the crown done on my tooth and new Birkenstocks courtesy of a wonderful hubby and we are one step closer in the paperwork to getting the go'ahead by Government to open the cafe.Of course there is more news but this is all for the moment.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Book Fair!

Wow! A book fair in Costa Rica! I am so impressed! For fellow expatriates who might immediately ask where, it is in San Antonio de Belen at the Pedregal.They charge a five hundred colon entrance fee but I would say it is worth it. All kinds of book sellers are there and they also are doing various activities throughout the day.I came away with a nice stack of books for under 5000 colones.Of course I did some searching to get those deals! I am positively drooling over the chance to buy Uncle Toms Cabin in Spanish for the cafe. What I am shooting for is great books to introduce to this non reading culture we live in.And for the English bookworms out there,I do plan to stock English books also! Yesterday,we had friends and their visitors from the States come in for a little preopening ice cream fiesta and they offered to bring their unneeded books.Yay! A library is being built. Speaking of libraries,I need to go get ready for our second excursion to the English language lending library,and then on to menu construction.See you all later! Marcella

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Barney and the Disappearing toothpaste

No,I don´t like Barney.That´s an understatement. But Barney has helped me out in a big way recently. I guess I could have the grace to at least say thanks. My boys now brush their teeth zealously morning and night and inbetween times.¨Barney said so!¨ No,they weren´t watching TV. It was a Barney book I assure you.

Shel Silverstein´s rhymning A Giraffe and a Half is getting great reviews around here. Now Alex is wishing he could have a pet giraffe.And a pet kitten. But not a dog he says. I thought surely he would want one as much as he likes Eric Hill´s Spot character but no. No dog.

A lovely gift arrived from a friend way far away. Teach Your Child to Read in One Hundred Easy Lessons is the tome which has been wished for in this house with a certain boy begging to be taught to read. All my homeschooling pals say this book is great. Well,he asked for this! Not me. But if this is what it takes,I´ll tackle it. Updates forthcoming.

The cafe is coming right along.I painted the bookshelf the other day. Now I need to start filling it. I´m trying to decide on the ratio of English and Spanish books.Hmmmnnnn......
Well,adios! Need to run along. Marcella

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Glass half full or vice versa

Well, I could sit here and moan that I had a headache and cold all day yesterday,Lee was rear ended in his rental car and lost his deposit,the stove quit working and so on. But the glass is half full,ok! And besides our God is good! Lee was unhurt even though the dumptruck shoved him repeatedly and that is what counts. The stove was repaired amazingly fast and I feel better this morning and besides we have been blessed recently with many gifts of love from family and friends. Spiritual fervor is alive in our home.I wake to the sound of hymns as Lee starts his day. We worship and pray together. We have so many blessings! Yes,the glass is half full!
Yesterday,in the line of learning we made rafts with colored popsicle sticks courtesy of our new Maryland neighbors,pulled together a loincloth so the boys could play Indian,Indian as in the story as they put it, and they peeled hardboiled eggs and chopped them up for salad. Of course the inherited badminton set or rather,part of it was heavily in use as were colored feathers,colored straws and transparent coloring pages,books etc. Another day in the life!
A good week to all! Marcella

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Octupus Legs!! Entire Squid!

Blue crabs are not uncommon.Entire fish are normal. But octupus legs and squid! At least it certainly looked like it to me. The local farmers market is huge and these are only a few of the offerings you can find. Plantain,bananas,pineapples,oranges,water apples,star apples,Costa Rican,apples, plums,tiny peaches,strawberries,blackberries,papayas dazzle the eye. Lemons,cas,jocote,pejibaye,yuca,mosote and tomatoes vie for attention. Lettuces,Costa Rican spinach,broccoli,lovely potatoes and baby vegetables such as pattypan squash and tiny ears of corn beg to be brought home. I have trouble controlling myself at times! The fresh herbs,fresh and potted tickle my nose and the bright colors of the cut flower stands tease.Of course if one wishes he can throw a fresh cheese in his bag or a fish, or homemade candy and perhaps towel or a clock . Yeah! This is overstimulating alright. Should post some pictures one day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Cheaper By The Dozen

Well,I certainly wish Daddy from the book Cheaper By The Dozen would be here teaching me speed typing! I wouldn´t mind having that beautiful white typewriter either. But seriously I think I could really try out some of the teaching techniques on my own children. We have found the English language library here in Costa Rica and we can actually check books out! Fabulous. And while we were out exploring unfamiliar territory I discovered a natural sciences museum that will hopefully pan out as a good resource.
The new cafe is actually painted! It is a most interesting pattern which I hope to post a photo of as soon as I am able. It was a real challenge to put it mildly but I´m hoping it will set the right tone.
Well,I need to keep moving along.Still need to make egg salad to take to the homeschool moms quilting bee tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend. Marcella

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Power of Reading

I have contemplated writing about the menu drafts piled on my desk,the sign designing,the layout planning,the back to the drawing board sessions,the kitchen construction,the photo shoots for the menus,the decor puzzles,the myriad,myriad,myriad things that must be researched,fiddled with ,learned by trial and error sometimes until we finally get it right for the cafe..But is that really interesting,I ask. The details often exhaust even me. So,today I bring some thoughts on the power of reading.
My mother has informally adopted another child,if I have not mentioned it before.She was around 16 or 17 when she came. She has been with us over a year now. Knowing that she came from a very poor home it is amazing how far she has come.Sometimes ,though I take for granted the fact that we have very different backgrounds.Afterall,she has learned to speak English quite well.She has figured out how to read our recipe books and cook an amazing array of things. She dresses neatly and modestly. But... she often has very little reading material around because it is so much harder to come by a quantity of books in Spanish. So she has read a number of religious storybooks and the Bible. Other than that not too much exposure.
Lastweek I shut my eyes to the price tag and bought her The Diary of Anne Frank in Spanish. I have opened a whole new world to her. She has beenhelping me with the house and children while we get the cafe off the ground. Only the last few days she has turned into an absolute bookworm and I really wonder how late she was up last night! I compensate her for her work and try to help her keep a decent schedule but these days I remember the late night reading fests I did as a teen or the lazy summer afternoons reading in the hammock and realize she has missed out on years of that. So I permit her some leisure.Yesterday,when I was explaining the word bookworm to her she sheepishly told me that she now knows how to write a letter. Before she said it was very hard for her but now she can write and write! I was awestruck,realizing how much I have learned from books and a quality education and how much I take for granted. Oh,the teaching power of reading!
Updates on the children go like this- Alex is turning into an incredible artist and is starting to write his letters on his own.An incredible eye for detail,that boy has.But what makes me happiest is seeing his wonderfully generous heart.
Jess has become the happy owner of a box of doggie bones and we are learning about canine dental health together. His artwork is also progressing well. He often leads pretend church services and he does experiments in quiet hour.
Chelsea is really growing up and I am starting to really take to being the mommy of a little girl.I just really recognized this recently,that I have overcome my fear of being mom to a girl and being role model number one.
And Lee, my wonderful husband! He keeps this whole thing together and focused. He leads us spiritually. He supports our homeschooling journey. He encourages a healthy lifestyle. My partner,my friend.
Well,my next task is researching a cookie recipe so with a wave of my hand I am off.Wishing you all a lovely weekend! Marcella

Friday, June 02, 2006

Busy,busy days!

Well,these days are so busy I can hardly condense them into neat and tidy boxes in my own mind,let alone on this blog. Lots of growth going on buisnesswise,mentally,spiritually and physically in the children´s case. We are adjusting finally to the transition to city life and doing better than expected actually. Things are falling together in so many ways. Homeschooling/unschooling is falling in place beautifully just as we are reaching the stage that we need it to with the wonderful assistance of an eclectic variety of friends and aquaintances.We have so much,so very much to be thankful for.
We attended a get-together of expatriates today and made lots of contacts as usual.We met a gentleman who offered to make balloon animals for the boys and in the course of conversation the subject of our homeschooling came up and he happily said that his sister homeschooled her eleven children and now they in turn are homeschooling their own large families. Since he was here checking out the country it was wonderful for him to find likeminded people.
Samples of other folks there: a woman who exports organic coffee that is raised by a coop of local farmers,an employee of Hewlett-Packard I believe, a newbie retired bookkeeper looking to find a social group,a doctor and retired geologist who unschool,while they live here part time,they sell sausage,breads etc. and run a bed and breakfast as well as rent out cabins on their farm.They re good friends. Plastic surgeon? etc. etc. you get the gist. The array of people coming in and out of the country is colorful and everchanging. It is quite interesting when one gets to be an "oldtimer" here and be the one directing all the newbies around to resources as they come in.I actually really enjoy the aspect of making people comfortable as they arrive,often alone and green.
Well,there would be lots to write about but I made believe to Lee I was using the internet on buisness so I suppose I better follow through! Hope you all are enjoying your summers!