January 31, 2011

Modest Monday ~ Swimwear

We finally got our swimsuits in!   I have no clue why we didn't order these before we left.. I mean.. we are in Costa Rica!  Live on a lake, near the ocean.. dumb LOL.

Anyway..  Here is Brianna in hers :)

I ordered myself a similar one.. (no bow or ruffled collar though LOL)  Here is the one I got..

You can by similar suits here.. http://www.simply-modest.com/posecom/ But they are a bit pricey.  The girls suits run about $70.    I ordered theirs from here.. http://www.modestkini.com/?m=detay&urun=218 and they are much cheaper.  I paid $47 for the girls.   Still a bit pricey but they'll be well used here.   I ordered Lorien the same size as Brianna.. Brianna will most likely need a new one next year but Lorien's will fit for a good 3 more years. 

January 30, 2011

Pictures by Brianna :)

Brianna took a picture of our dog. :) 


and one of me and Jesse before we went to a friends house :)

January 28, 2011

Fantastic Food Friday~How to braid Challah

I love making Challah every friday. :)   I recently started braiding it in the 6 braid style and it is gorgeous!

Here's one of the easiest tutorials I've seen. :)

January 27, 2011

Free reading program..

Through the end of January this 2 year reading program (for kids.. to teach them to read) is free. 

The program is designed by the world's most successful creator of instructional materials, Siegfried (Zig) Engelmann, a maverick professor of Education who has authored many books, including Give Your Child a Superior Mind, and highly successful reading programs like Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

The answer to questions about Costa Rica. :)

I get about 3 emails a day asking about our move, why, what are the living conditions like, etc..  From people who are just curious to people who are also considering a move.     So, I'm going to type up a blog post so I can simply share a link instead of re-typing it out each time. :)   If you have any more questions that I didn't answer here just shoot me another email! :)

What made us decide to move to Costa Rica?   

Several things..   1st- We had been wanting to buy land for quite some time and homestead.   We started looking around and quickly realized it was going to be difficult in the states.  Land is much more expensive, they are passing laws that make it illegal to buy or grow using open pollinated seeds, the weather/ water conditions aren't the best, etc.  Yes.. it can be done there!  But it was going to cost us more money.   So we started looking around.   Through facebook friends I knew there was fellowship here in Costa Rica.  That is the main reason we chose this country.. we knew there was fellowship.   :)  The weather/ water conditions are great for growing food, and for us.   Plus, it's gorgeous! :)

2nd- My husband felt led to leave the states.   We are a bit worried about the way things are progressing there, esp. with bills that are trying to be passed concerning growing food.. so we decided to save the worry and try it somewhere else.

What is the weather like?

That kind of depends on where you live here. :)   You will not get snow.. it doesn't get that cold anywhere.  You can have hot though.  The beaches are quite warm and only about 50 mins away from us it starts to get warmer.  The central valley where we are is amazing weather.  60-80 year round with it usually closer to 70-75.     We are making a move closer to Panama (we think) this year and it is a bit warmer but still stable year round temps.    There are 2 seasons in the area we are in.  rainy, and less rainy.   In Oct. alone we got 27 inches.   That's the worst month of the rainy season from what I've heard.  It ranges from Oct-Dec with some rain in Jan and Feb. as well.  Where we are moving it's more spread out.  It usually rains about every day but clears up and is sunny in the afternoon.

What are the living conditions like?

That totally depends.   The area we are in is very nice.   It's so far from what most would consider a 3rd world country that it's funny to me when people describe it as that. :)   Out in the country or in the towns like Limon it is much worse..   But you obviously won't move here and go to the ghetto of Limon.  :)    One thing I've found is that people here keep their homes spotless.   The floors shine.. both inside the house.. and out.      They have simpler homes than in the states.. but what you'll find that almost everyone here is actually wealthier and owns more than in the states.   Why?  because they OWN what they live in and drive.    A very wide range in wealth seems to be here and it's interesting how accepted that is.

Are we here permanently or temporarily?

As far as we know we are here to stay. :)    In case Yahshua comes back in our life time to rule in Israel.. then we're there! :)

What is the Medical care like?

Costa Rica has the best Medical care in Central America.  Many doctors/ dentists were educated in America and speak english.    People actually travel here FOR the health care.    And it's cheap.   Two of our kids have already needed dental work and it cost only $20 for a filling.  Also, they do not put fluoride in the drinking water!   That's a major plus for me. :)  

Can you Homeschool?

If you are not a native born tico (costa Rican)  Yes.  You can do whatever you like on the schooling front.  It is illegal for a tico to homeschool.  But for immigrates it's totally fine.   If you choose to send your children to school there is good news there as well. :)  The big town schools are somewhere I would not send my kids.. but most are fine.   A friend of our's has her kiddo in school near us.  It's a 25 student 1 teacher school and she goes for 4 hours a day.  Now that kid of school I might be okay with!

Can you homebirth?

This is another thing they don't seem to care about..  I think they could care less where you give birth. :)

What is the cost of Living?

This can be high, or low.. depending on how you want to live.   Groceries here are the same price as in the states.   Some things are drastically higher.  Butter is over $1 per STICK.  Cheese is $8 for a block that costs about $5 in states, but some things are cheaper.    Veggies and Fruit are far cheaper if you want to just live on that you'll have a cheaper bill than in the states.    Rent is all over the board as well.  Out in the country in a simple tico house you can pay less than $100 a month.  We are living in a nice 3 bedroom home in a gated area with a swimming pool, gym, it's furnished, etc..  for $500 a month including utilities.   Gas is higher here... about $4 a gallon but they have an excellent bus system if you are near a town.  Plus you use less gas.  The average speed limit here is about 35 mph.. you don't use up much gas at those speeds (and trust me.. you don't dare go much faster.. the roads are two curvy and full of pot holes)    The biggest thing that cuts down the cost of living here IMO is the lack of walmart, etc..  The possibility to just waste money isn't here. :)

What is Employment like for Immigrants?  

This is a HUGE one.. I can't believe I forgot it!   Here's the deal.   Unless you are a resident/ citizen of costa rica you can NOT BE HIRED.  That's right.. you can't find a job.   HUGE one.  There are ways to still make money though.
1- start up an internet business before you come.
2- be transfered
3- get a work visa.  You would need to find someone here that wanted to hire you and then you could get a work visa before you came.
4- our plans..   Our plans are all over the place.  Here's the deal.  You can own a biz..     Some things to look into is farming trees.   This is more of a long term investment but if you have the money to ride out a few years it's a good one.    Tilapia farming.  We will be doing this.  I think there is potential for decent money there.   I'll be making bread to sell.  After having about the 14th person tell me to do this I've decided I should LOL.  Esp. after we get moved.  there is a huge demand for it.  There is no local supermarket and no one makes bread.. but they all buy it.  We will be growing most of our own food so will have not many expenses and that will help.

Can you become a citizen/ permanent resident? 

Yes.  There are several ways to do it.
Here are the 3 most common ways to do it.

Pensionado- with this you must be able to show a bank letter showing that you have $1,000 a month guaranteed income.   (as in pension, retirement account, or social security)

Rentista- If you can't show a retirement income (as the before  mentioned option) you must show $2,500 a month in income that has been converted from dollars to colones.. this is done by depositing $150,000 in a special bank account.  Each month the bank account automatically withdraws $2,500 from the dollar part of the account and puts it into the colones part of the account.   You can then spend that $2,500 or leave it in the colones account. 

Investor- Buy a biz. that costs at least $200K.   This to me is the worst option..  Mainly because you have to do this PER PERSON.  With the 1st 2 options the husband (or wife) can have the money and it covers the rest of the family as well.. With this option every person in a family would have to invest $200K.   Yikes!

 These all give you temp. residency.  After 3 years of temp. residency you can file for permanent residency. 

The BEST OPTION  - Have a baby here.. Seriously.. If you have a baby in this country you and your family can automatically apply for perm. residency and you have a guaranteed in. 

Helpful links

We used A.R.C.R. to help us get residency.  They have lawyers on staff, they tell you exactly what you need to do, escort you around town.. bring you where you need to go and walk you thru everything step by step.  Yes, you pay them a fee.. but it would have easily been worth triple what they charged. 

Ship To Costa Rica owned by Charles Zeller.  He came very highly recommended.  No matter which website we looked at, people recommended him.   He did a great job for us as well.   He will pick up your possessions anywhere in the states or you can drop them off at his warehouse in florida (we drove to florida to fly out there as the tickets were cheaper and it actually cost us a bit more in fuel than it would have cost for him to pick the stuff up at our home in texas) and then deliver it to your door in Costa Rica. 
Charles Zeller
Ship to Costa Rica
Tel 506-2258-8747 Fax 506-2258-7123
Toll free from USA and Canada 1-866-245-6923
Charles Zeller

That's all for now.. :)  I'll keep adding to this as I get new questions. :)

Tip Thursday ~ DIY hair cuts

Here's a tip for you.. if you have a boy.. cut his hair yourself.  Saves a lot of money and a lot of headache.   I have a simple kit like this one..


Rohan's hair was getting unmanageable (read needed combing LOL) so I cut it last night.. took about 5 mins and we were done.  

Here's a quick before and after shot :)

there you have it.  A quick easy way to save some money, save the headache of taking them in, and if kids hate the barber... this makes it easier on them. :)

January 26, 2011

What's up Wednesday

So.. another week has went by since my last newsy update.  Hoping to do this every wednesday so I can keep anyone who is interested updated. :)  Here are a few pictures from last week I never shared..

We had guests this past week thurs- Monday.   It was so nice to meet some more fellow believers in Costa Rica. :)

On Sunday we went to one of the Spanish speaking fellowships near Liberia, then everyone went to the beach.  That was a blast.   I think we are going to the Hot Springs in 2 weeks with everyone...   I've never done anything like that before, esp. not hot springs at the base of a volcano so that will be cool.

The kids got some presents in the mail on Monday which they loved. :)     I got some presents as well.. an awesome apron made by my sister, some yummy candy..   yay!

Jesse is out of town for the next few days looking at the farm near Panama again.  It seems that all systems are go for a move there but they are looking it over again, figuring out the details, etc.   So, it's just me and the kiddos for a few days.   We went and bought some cereal, cheese, etc.. I don't like cooking when Jesse's not here!  He's the only reason I make nice meals LOL.

I took a few pictures on the walk..

They each got an ice cream for the walk home :)

I love how neat everyone keeps their homes and porches here. :)

Lorien is doing amazing with her reading lately.. we can breeze through 3-4 lessons a day and she loves it.  When we skyped with my mom and sister the other day she even read some of the messages. :)

Brianna learned to swim this weekend at the beach. :)   I think she'll do great in the pool if she figured out how to swim in the ocean with the waves.

Rohan is well.. Rohan.    He's currently behind the couch sitting on the dog.

Well, we are off to hit the pool for a bit. :)   Then I think we'll have a movie night tonight..

Also, I changed the blog settings to 2 posts per page to help with loading since I post so many pictures :)

Stay tuned for a new look to the blog and a great giveaway coming soon! :)

January 25, 2011

Random silliness

Good night everyone!

Travel Tuesday

We visited the beach on Sunday..  so much fun!

you drive through a golf course to get there.. I don't even want to know how much this cost.  Judging by the 2 cruise ships parked there.. not cheap.

you've got to love the blue water!   Brianna even learned to swim.  :)  It is a bay so the waves were quite small.  

Little Miss Kylie.. she loved it at first..

but wasn't so sure about the waves. :)

 Forget the water.. Rohan just plays in the sand.

I can't thank the Father enough for giving us great friends here. :)

Mountains, palm trees, cactus, and beach.. odd combo

I love those cacti behind rohan.. almost look like huge versions of seaweed or something

Lee Miller demonstrating how hard international ministry work truly is.  :)

 We were at the beach later in the day and the tide came in.. It's amazing how far it comes in every night!

Relaxing :)

January 24, 2011

Modest Monday

I ordered a few tunic shirts the other day and they were waiting on me at the post office today.   I love them!    I was needing/ wanting a few shirts that would be appropriate to wear with pants.   When you are riding a horse, 4 wheeler, bugs are bad, etc.. pants just seem more practical.  But I don't like wearing them with a short shirt as I like my thighs covered.  SO.. I was introduced to these by a friend and placed an order.   I really like them!  and I think they will be easy to make.  Now I just need to order some fabric I like. :)

The same website (a muslim website) had lace under caps.   This should keep my silkier scarves from sliding and I like the look. :)  

The tunics hit about 2-3 inches above my knee.  I also ordered some jeans but they need hemmed.   I found some from a muslim website with super wide legs yet still cute. 


you can tell a bit more about the length in this picture..

I got a few other colors as well. :)

My adorable daughter in a shirt she got today from my family in the states.

 And miss. Lorien

And.. my sister sent me this apron today.    I love it!   I use aprons daily here.  I had 1 she made me and 2 I made myself.. yet still find myself without an apron as I get them dirty so often.  (I'll probably STILL make myself a few more)..   I love the colors!

January 21, 2011

Fantastic Food Friday ~ Healthy Homemade poptarts

I know I've posted a recipe for these in the past but here is a diff. variety.   I love this recipe since it uses yogurt instead of shortening like the last one I posted. 

Homemade Healthy Poptarts
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup melted butter
1 cup plain yogurt
About 5 ounces of 100% fruit jelly or jam – any flavor you like!

Begin by mixing the flour, salt, butter and yogurt.

Knead the dough just a little bit to make it nice and workable. Roll out the dough on a large, well floured surface.  (note.. because of the amount of melted butter in this recipe I needed pretty much no flour.. it didn't stick to my hands, rolling pin, or the counter.   Use a knife to cut the dough into the desired poptart size you would like  (I cut long rectangles, put filling on half, then folded them over.. far easier). Place about a 1/2-1 teaspoon of jelly on 1/2 of the dough rectangles (squares?). Spread the jelly around, leaving the edges free.  Use a fork to seal the edges. Lay each poptart in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake in a 350° oven for about 25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Makes 12-15 poptarts

I then topped mine with a quick icing I made with some vanilla, milk, powdered sugar, and cream cheese. 

January 19, 2011

What's Up Wednesday

So.. today was a busy day of cleaning..

We were able to catch up on laundry since it was a nice sunny day!

The kids had a blast playing and were actually quite helpful today. :)

Took this picture when Lorien and Rohan were playing for my 365project.    If anyone is interested in following me on there here is the link..  http://365project.org/suzannemc/365  It's basically posting a picture a day.  I usually put a little more thought into those pictures and don't share them on the blog.. so check it out if you are interested. :)

We decided to go try a different restaurant tonight.. turned out to be quite yummy! 

before we left we took a horrible picture using the timer, bad camera settings, the pop up flash, and the husband on the phone LOL

January 18, 2011

Thrifty Tuesday

I'll admit.  I'm not the thriftiest person in the world.  It's not in my nature.  I have however tried to become more thrifty as the time goes by.  

Today's thrifty tip..

Thrift stores.    I haven't gotten around to shopping in any here in Tilaran yet but I loved them in the states.  Esp. if your style can be a bit quirky and you love the vintage look. 

Combine thrift stores with a small amount of sewing knowledge though.. and you've hit the jackpot.

Here is a dress I bought for my daughter when we were back in the states at a thrift store.   To be honest.. the original is what I would consider UGLY..  but the fabric was gorgeous and it only cost me .50 cents.

It had a sash that was long enough for 14 dresses.  So I made jumper straps out of that.  The sleeves and collar became a rose.

January 17, 2011

What would you like to see?

Okay.. in the coming weeks my blog is going to be undergoing some changes.   I little less personal and a little more informational.   My questions to you.. what types of things would you like to see?  Currently I'm thinking of things like this..

Self sufficient Sunday~ tips, reviews, ideas, etc.. on being self sufficient
Modest Monday ~ Feature guest interviews of modest dressing bloggers, feature etsy shops, styles, etc..

other ideas and categories, natural healing techniques, photography tips, and homeschool ideas. 

Any other types of things you guys would be interested in?


Natural Healing..

The husband is a bit sick so we've got the essential oils in a diffuser..

Never heard of essential oils?  Let me introduce you!   

What are essential oils?
To put it simply, they are parts of the plants.   Lemon oil comes from the Lemon tree, etc..   YHWH knew what he was doing when he created the world.  He gave us healing properties in things all around us!  In herbs, in the trees, in the food we eat.   To be honest, there isn't much of a need for modern medicine.   YHWH gave us most everything we need.. it's just a matter of learning about it.  

Essential oils are good for so many things.. muscle aches, colds, the flu, sore throats, antiseptics, and did you know even today dentists use clove oil in many places to numb the mouth?   Ever had a mouth ulcer?  Just swab some clove oil on there and the pain will completely vanish.   I've heard people say they are just placebos.. tell that to my child who has no clue what a placebo is and tell her that her mouth pain from having a tooth pulled didn't completely vanish when I put some essential oil on it! :)

We have come to love the oils.. they work.. and it's such a blessing to be able to use medication created by the Father instead of medication made up of man made ingredients.
Some goodwebsites to order them from..

Speaking of natural healing techniques... did you know garlic is a natural antibiotic?    Even better.. it doesn't have the side effects that man made antibiotics do.

Here's a great recipe for something called goot.

We are loving learning different ways to heal our bodies with what the Father provided for us!



Back at the school work as usual. :)   Lorien is progressing very well in her reading.   Just the past week it's started clicking with her.   She breezes through each lesson now.   I think we are going to start doing 2 lessons a day now since she's progressing so well.     Here's what she read today. :) 

and.. the story that goes with it.   Each of the girls have LOVED this reading method.  They look forward to the story every day. :)

chocolate pancakes with raw honey..   yum.. :)

January 15, 2011

Brianna and her friend :)

I love that Brianna has found such a good friend down here.  The best part is.. when we move we are moving with them.   So they will get to grow up together.   Brianna's older by about 2 months so they are close in age as well.   Plus her friend is fluent in spanish so that'll be a plus. :)