Someday I will be a great cook. My apartment here in Cost Rica isn't really conducive to cooking. We have no oven, and only two burners that have three distinct heat settings. Yes, I can make endless amounts of pasta and cook up fried egg upon fried egg. And sure, I've been able to make a few recipes here and there. But a lot of them are more of just preparing things. Cut up a bunch of ingredients, throw them together, voi la. A lot of times they taste great, but I don't really consider it cooking. I want to be able to cook real, intricate recipes. Recipes for risotto and anything wrapped in prosciutto are the kinds of recipe feats I want to one day master. I'm excited to go home and hopefully learn a thing or two from my mother about making some great food.
Do you have any recipes that you have been able to master?
Okay guys, I know my goal for this week is to take it easy and to take some extra time for myself, but I'm not sure it's going to happen. I finish my full-time job here in mid-November and then it turns into part-time for the final two weeks. Add in my last 5 weeks here in Costa Rica and that is 7 weeks of way too much time on my hands. So I got to thinking, I'll find another job to keep me busy! Insert: online tutoring. For the past three years I have been tutoring privately while living abroad and just recently (unfortunately) found out about online tutoring. So far I have applied to one company and was rejected. Rejected! Let me tell you, this girl does not like the word rejected. So naturally that switch inside of me has turned on and my mind is saying I'm going to get what I want (anyone catch that reference?).
Now that I am in go-getter mode, I thought I would share some tips with you on how to get what you want.
1. Do your research. You never know what opportunities are out there until you go looking for them! I never would have thought to apply for online tutoring jobs if I hadn't done an initial search of how to make some extra cash. Now I know that there are dozens of online tutoring companies I can choose from.
2. Ask questions. In my opinion, the best thing you can do when you don't know the answer to something is to ask. You never know what you're going to find out and it will most likely help you in any situation, as long as you ask in a polite and concise way.
3. Just do it. There is no time like the present. The longer you wait to do something, the less likely you are to do it, so you might as well get started today.
What is your advice for going out and getting what you want?
Happy Monday, everyone. This week's picture theme for Weekly Wishes is selfie! This here selfie is from our trip to San Carlos in March when we visited the Baldi Resort.
Last week's goal was to eat a little bit healthier. I am pretty serious about this goal, so I offered up some tips that have worked for me and an easy recipe to try out! It's nice to say that I definitely accomplished my goal from last week. My favorite way to eat all of my vegetables was to make a big salad at the end of the day. The thing that made me the happiest, was the increase in my energy level. I'm usually exhausted by the afternoon and I always attributed it to having to wake up at 5:30 every day. Now that I have been eating healthier I just don't get as tired during the day. I'd like to keep this goal every week, to see what other positive changes come from it.
My goal this week is simple. I want to take a little bit more time for myself. I have been so busy lately with lesson plans, tutoring, and writing papers that I usually end the day without having had any time to relax. So this week I am going to make sure I get at least one hour to do no work at all ... and not feel bad about it! Any tips on how to do this??
1. This week I came up with one of my best projects in school yet. Both of my sixth grade classes are making murals that represent peace. Since we can't actually paint on the walls I've put together a bunch of big pieces of poster paper to make one big piece. We're even allowed to display them once they are finished! (this is huge because we are normally not allowed to display any work on the walls)
2. I am really going to miss my sixth graders, and my eighth graders, and my ninth graders. I found out that for the sixth grade graduation, both classes chose me as the teacher they wanted to dedicate their graduation to. I'm not supposed to know yet but it makes me so happy that I've had such a positive impact on them.
3. Lately I have been totally rockin' in my online class. I'm glad because it is hopefully getting me back in the groove for next semester when I will be a full-time student again!
4. Paris and I went on a date Wednesday and it was perfect! Because of Paris's new work schedule and some of my private tutoring hours rearranged we both had the afternoon off and decided to take advantage. We got some dinner and saw the movie Gravity. The movie was okay but the best part was spending some quality time with each other in the middle of the week when normally our busy schedules keep us occupied.
5. I am so ready for the weekend. We have to family parties to go to tomorrow and Sunday I am declaring as my day to do whatever I want! Which will most likely be finally reading the last Divergent book ;)
linking up here today with Casey for Fresh Face Friday!
Going along with my goal of eating more fruits and vegetables this week, I decided to take my own advice to make it a little more interesting. Here in Costa Rica, pico de gallo is eaten all the time. I've watched Paris's family members make it countless times to be used at family parties with rice and beans, meat, eggs, tacos, chicken, you name it. So I decided I would try to make it myself to have on hand so that I can easily add some tomatoes and some flavor to anything I eat!
All you need are those four ingredients up there: lemon juice, onion, cilantro, and tomato.
First, chop up the amount of tomato that you want to use. I used two big tomatoes so that I could throw the extra pico de gallo in a tupperware and keep it. Next, chop up some onion. I used a little more than half of the one you see. Next goes in the chopped cilantro and to top it off the lemon juice. For the two whole tomatoes I would use the juice of a whole lemon. Mix everything up and add some salt if you like and you are done! Super easy right?
Next I thought I would show you an example of how you can use your freshly made pico de gallo. A breakfast burrito! Because I don't like to make a big fuss in the kitchen (maybe one day) this "recipe" is also super easy.
On top of a tortilla, scramble an egg, cut a few slices of avocado and add your pico de gallo.
In keeping with my goal for this week, I planned ahead and went to the produce stand by my house and picked out some fresh fruits and veggies. This here haul is already halfway gone so I may need to get some more sooner than I thought! Like I said yesterday, I really want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet because, well .. it is healthy for me! So I have thought of a few tips to make it easier for myself and for anyone else interested as well!
1. Prepare. I can't tell you how many times I have had the good intentions of eating all the produce in my fridge but then finally going to grab something and it has gone bad! This is why you need to do a little prep work. On Sundays I have started cutting up a whole pineapple or sweet peppers and throwing them in a tupperware for easy access later in the week. You're more likely to grab some cut up fruit when you're in a rush than take the time to cut it up when you really want to be doing something else.
2. Get what you like. There is no point in buying a bag of apples just because they are good for you, if you already know you don't like them! Buy the things that you like, even if you have to splurge a little here or there, because you will actually want to eat them.
3. Try something new. In order for #2 to work, you need to know what you like! While buying all that produce up there, I asked Paris what those spiked fruits were called. It is roughly translated into "suckers" and we definitely don't have those in the grocery stores where I'm from. Being that a whole bag of them was only $2 we bought some. After peeling off the shell/spikes what is left is essentially a big skinless grape with a huge pit inside. And if you can see, grapes are already good in my book. It never hurts to try new things because you never know what you might find.
4. Make it interesting. Sometimes you just don't want plain old fruits and vegetables. To make them more appealing, add something else! My favorites are peanut butter with apples, or some ranch dressing with sweet peppers. Another thing that I love to add to my salads is feta cheese and lucky for me I was able to find some feta that did not cost me an arm and a leg (cheese here is so darn expensive!). By adding a little extra, your healthy food can be a little more exciting.
5. Mix it up. When all else fails, mix it all together! Fruit salads, regular salads, just put it all together and dive in. You won't even know you've just finished a whole bowl of things that are good for you.
Do you have any other tips? How do you incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet?
Happy Monday, everyone. Today I am linking up again with Melyssa's Weekly Wishes. I wanted to use this picture again because this week's theme is creativity and I just cannot get over how cute these little monkeys are. They were carved out of coconuts! Have you ever seen anything like them?
Okay, moving on from the coconuts. My goals this week are some recycled goals from previous weeks that I really want to improve upon. 1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. This is important to me. Lately I have noticed just how poor my diet is and I really want to change it and not just for a week or two but until it becomes a habit. I have already gotten a little head start and bought a bunch of fruits and veggies and I've even got a few posts lined up for this week to make sure I am eating them all. 2. Get ahead with my online class. Yesterday I took my midterm for the class. Luckily I was able to use my notes that I spent hours this week making because if I wasn't, it would not have been pretty! I really want to make sure I am putting the correct amount of time into this class every week so that my assignments and my studying sessions are not rushed like they were the past month.
These goals shouldn't be too hard this week (I hope!). What are your goals for the week?
How cute are these little coconut monkeys? While walking in town on our beach trip, we stumbled across them in a little souvenir shop! There are so many "typical" souvenirs that are sold everywhere but I had never seen these little coconuts before.
Katie left very early Wednesday morning and I already miss having her around! It was so great having her around, we pretty much did not stop laughing the whole time and that is something I really miss.
My students have been growing both very antsy and very lazy lately. They don't want to do any work and at the same time they are driving me crazy! It is starting to rub off on me too. We just have 6 more weeks of school left and I cannot believe it. After that I will be done with my second year of teaching.
More and more I am looking forward to next year. I already have some things coming together both work and play wise and I am getting anxious for the next two months to go by.
I plan to spend this weekend studying like crazy and then taking my first exam for my online class. The first exam since my finals three and a half years ago! I plan on rewarding myself by reading the entire third Divergent book as soon as it comes out next week!
After our day at the beach, we headed about 20 minutes down the road to a family friend's house. We arrive and it is extremely clear that the person who lives in this house is a hippie of sorts and someone doing their best to live off the land and off the grid. It reminded me somewhat of my post last week about trying to live with less things but to the extreme. He talked to Katie about how he hasn't been wearing shoes the past two months because the energy from the land keeps his body healthy. Now, I am knocking his lifestyle because to each his own. However, I do believe that there is a difference between trying to simply live with less and trying to live with as little as possibly and I was definitely exposed to that this weekend. At the same time, his house was just a stones throw from a beautiful and very peaceful beach that we got to snap some gorgeous sunset pictures on. I think the sunsets in Costa Rica are just beautiful and I was really glad the rain from earlier in the day didn't ruin our chance of seeing the sun go down.
On Sunday morning, one of Paris's friends very kindly offered to take Katie and I to a volcano on Sunday since Paris had to work. We decided on the Irazu Volcano because it was close to the Sanatorio which is something I thought Katie really would like (and she did). Now, my last trip to Irazu was not completely successful as it was freezing cold and completely cloudy so that we couldn't see anything. This time, we went earlier in the day but we were still victims to a really cloudy day and did not see much of the crater. We were, however completely prepared for the cold and spent a little bit more time walking around.
Even though it was a bummer we couldn't see anything, I think Katie was excited to be on a volcano for the first time. Paris's friend was surprised to learn that the only volcanoes in the USA are located in Hawaii which neither of us had been to before. It was also really interesting to us that most of the people visiting this volcano were Costa Ricans rather than tourists. He told us it is a fun, cheap day trip for ticos, who usually bring a picnic lunch or some snacks to enjoy.
On Saturday, Katie, Paris, his sister, a friend, and myself hopped in the car and headed to the beach for the day. We went to Jaco beach which is one of the easiest beaches for us to get to. We bought a few chairs and an umbrella and began lounging. Unfortunately we only had a few hours of beach time because the rain started. We packed up our stuff from the beach and headed into town where we stumbled upon a sign that said $2 margaritas and we just couldn't walk any further. We spent the next few hours sipping on our drinks and having a really good time. It was one of those days where we hadn't really planned much but it turned into one of the best days we could have had.
Good morning, Sunday readers. Yesterday we took Katie to Jaco beach and even though we only got about two hours of beach time because of the rain, the whole day was a success! Today we are headed to a volcano because you can't come to Costa Rica without seeing at least one.
Reading: the book Night.A co-worker lent it to me and told me that even though I enjoy stories from this time because I think they are very interesting, this book would most likely make me cry. I've just started it but I'm nervous to find out how it progresses. Writing: nothing! Except blog posts. I am on vacation until Wednesday and taking advantage of it. Listening: pretty much my same playlist from last week. Thinking: about how fun our day at the beach was yesterday. More on that this week! Wishing: that I could have a friend from home with me in Costa Rica all the time. The laughs are endless! Hoping: that we will get to actually see the volcano we are going to visit today. Unlike last time, when it was way too cloudy. Loving: that I can show Katie my little life here in Costa Rica. It is always interesting showing someone else how you live when they are accustomed to other things. Wanting: the next few days to go very slowly. Clicking: through all the pictures we took yesterday.
Having a friend here the past few days has been awesome. I got to bring Katie to work with me on Friday and I was really interested to see what she thought of my students. They were their normal selves, a little roudy but still very sweet and I was glad they didn't act any extra crazy just because she was there. She said she probably wouldn't be able to handle them ;)
We are off to the beach today to take advantage of Paris's day off and the sunny weather since last time we were rained out. I hope you enjoy your weekends. I will leave you with two giveaways that I am participating in. $210 in Paypal cash!
A few weeks ago I read this article about tiny houses and was immediately interested in the phenomenon of living in a small space, with in turn, means living with less things. With the thought of moving back home into my bedroom at my parents' house, I have been thinking a lot about how I can redo, rearrange, or just change up my living space so that it is much much less cluttered and no longer full of stuff.
At this point I have been living abroad for 3 years. As I'm sure you are aware, when you move abroad, you can't exactly take all of your possessions with you. So I have had to learn how to make do with less things. At first, it was an adjustment. What do you mean I can't bring ALL of my shoes? Or, of course I need four different purses to go with different outfits! No. I've learned to cut back and I've learned to use what I have until it breaks or is no longer usable. I wouldn't quite yet, call myself a minimalist, but I am working towards it.
Of course, pinterest has been fueling my new interest of tiny spaces. I've been sifting through and searching for ideas on utilizing the space in my room better so that when I go back, I can have a cleaner, and like I said, less cluttered look. I can't help but also look at the beautiful tiny houses that are around and hope that one day I can have my own small house that feels big once I turn it onto a home.
Would you ever live in a tiny house?
You can view my small spaces board on Pinterest here.
I am a huge fan of breakfast for any meal of the day. As I write this sentence, I am really having a hard time thinking of my favorite breakfast food. There just isn't a favorite. However, pancakes are high on my list. I've been thinking about my blog a lot lately and in a few months when I am back at home, I plan on sharing a lot more recipes. Not just breakfast recipes, but things I have been wanting to try and haven't, and some of my favorite recipes from my mother's kitchen that I really want to share. So I thought I would start off with this apple cinnamon pancake recipe that my dad and I tried a few months ago. I shared this as a guest post but I never actually posted it on my blog. I hope you enjoy!
Here is what you need to make apple cinnamon pancakes:
1 cup of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of all purpose flour
3 table spoons of sugar
1 table spoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1.5 cups of skim milk
3 table spoons of vegetable oil (we used apple sauce!)
1 large egg
1 small apple (peeled and thinly sliced)
Combine all the solids together. We sifted them but you can also just stir them all together in a bowl.
Beat the milk, oil, and egg until blended. Then pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir. Next, stir in the apple slices until everything is good and mixed together.
The batter will seem a little liquidy for pancake batter but thats okay! Then you just make your pancakes on low-medium heat.
This recipe is perfect for fall because so many of you have probably already gone, or are soon going apple picking and need a recipe that involves all of those apples waiting to be eaten. You'll have yummy apple cinnamon pancakes for breakfast (or any meal) in no time!
You can check out another pancake recipe I tried here.
Good morning, Monday. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and is ready for the week! My goal for last week's Weekly Wishes was to plan my upcoming long weekend with my friend Katie who is visiting me. Well, I met my goal about 50%. I planned a few things for us to do and the rest I really left open for us to decide in the moment. To be honest, I haven't mastered the whole planning every single day's activities thing so I left it planned about halfway and we'll see how it goes from there.
For this week, my goal is simple: get everything done before Katie gets here! This, I think will be easy-peasy because luckily I have half days at school every day this week. Yup! I certainly lucked out time wise. When my school has exams, which is twice a trimester, we get half days (a huge perk of my school). I plan on getting all of my online coursework done, all of my blog posts written, and all of my grading and lesson plans done by Thursday afternoon. Do you think I can do it??