Where Are You, Exactly?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I've been getting some emails regarding where, exactly, we are in Costa Rica. The short answer is that we are in a little town called Playa Guiones. The long answer is that we are in a town that is a few miles from Nosara, located on the Nicoya Peninsula, which is located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. If you look at the map below you can see that on the left there is a little (or rather large) peninsula that is hanging off the country. 

Here is a closer view. The town that we are in is located on the left of the peninsula right in the middle (on this map) you can see it notated by the little surfer if you click to enlarge the map. 

The town itself is small, about one city block in total. It would be considered by most to be very Americanized given that most of the full time residents are originally from America. While a few have vacation homes here, the majority of the population lives here full time, and would definitely be considered ex-pats rather than tourists. This is our 10th or 11th visit down here (we aren't really sure) and I cannot recommend it enough. The town, and the accommodations are not luxury by any means, but there are definitely some of the comforts of home which make it very easy when you are traveling with small children, things like a small nearby market, AC in the bedrooms, a basic medical clinic, Internet (you know how I love my Internet!)

I find this place truly to be heavenly. We never drive, but rather bike everywhere. We see maybe one or two other groups of people a day, and sometimes not another soul for hours. Our time is split between the pool, and the beach, and the biggest question of the day is always, "what are we going to eat for dinner." In short, it is the perfect place to get away from the hustle of the big city, and reconnect with my awesome family and some of our closet friends.

If you are thinking of planning a visit to Costa, or have any questions about the area, please feel free to email me at diaryyummymummy@gmail.com

My name is Yummy, and I'll happily be your tour guide.

Status Quo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A day in the life...

Yeah, life is pretty damn good.

ps Today is one of those days where I had to pinch myself, I feel extremely lucky to have this time with my boys.

pps I found a guy, who knew a guy, who is willing to come over today and filet those fish. Thank. freaking. God.

ppps Yes, those are dead crabs my little man is playing with. No he doesn't know that.

What Exactly Do You Want Me To Do Here?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A few years back, whenever we would come down here, one of the first things on our agenda was to get our hands on some fresh fish. We used to have a "fish hook up," and with the little man, in the Bjorn, I would trek the 2 miles on what was dubbed, "the pescado death march." Well, it seems as though our connection has moved on to greener pastures, and we have been a total loss for some of the white stuff; white fish that is. We've been asking around, and today we were given a 15 minute warning to make our way to a small hut in a nearby village, and just "ask for Enrique." My husband was able to get his hands on three kilos of the good stuff and a transfer was made. He came home plastic bag in hand and gave me this.

"Um, what exactly do you want me to do here?" I asked my hubby.

"Hell if I know," was his reply.

See, our old fish dealer used to fillet the fish for us, it's seems as though the new guy is lacking a bit in the customer service department. I'm not exactly a girly girl, but I can guarantee you that there is no way I am going to cut into that fish. I mean, they are actually looking at me!

I called in for reinforcements... turns out the Little Man is as unsure of what to do as his momma is. (and equally as freaked out too!)

Looks like I'm going to have to you tube how to cut these bad boys. Someone in this house is going to have to take care of business (and by someone, rest assured I don't mean me.)

Is it possible the LM has a secret hidden talent for de-boning a fish???

(Little) Man's Best Friend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The only downside to traveling to such an isolated place with the Little Man is that there aren't too many kids his age for him to play with (i.e none.) We do our best to try to keep him busy, but sometimes he is as tired of playing with us as we are with him. Luckily, today he found a new playmate*. Who says you can't teach a little boy new tricks? 

In the end I'm not sure who enjoyed whose company more....

*Okay, okay so I'm starting to re-think my policy on dogs (you know, the zero tolerance one.) 

Houston We Have a Swimmer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Okay, okay... not so much a swimmer per se, but definitely a coordinated drowner!

For two and a half this kid I'd say this kid has some serious potential! Just when we were all thinking that  he was too cool for school, the LM came around the corner looking like this.

 There. Are. No. Words....

We Did It!

Monday, June 21, 2010

To quote the very wise (and equally annoying) Dora the Explorer... "we did it!" After getting up at 5am, a 3 hour flight, a 9 hour layover (which was supposed to be 5), another 3 hour flight, a 30 minute van ride, a night at a hotel, and a 5 hour van ride.... we did it! We officially made it to the world's largest and most isolated sand box. As you can see, the journey was completely worth it.

Knuffle Bunny!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A few days ago the Little Man and I were walking through the bookstore when he began to scream, "Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny!!!!" at the top of his lungs. He stopped when he realized that I was looking at him like he was some kind of alien from another planet (I wish I could say this was the first time this has happened.)

"Um, kid, what on earth are you talking about?" I asked him.

"KNUFFLE BUNNY!" Was his response.

Yeah, okay. Still no idea what he was talking about. "Show mama,," I asked him and finally he picked up a puzzle with the words Knuffle Bunny written on it. I was happy that 1) he wasn't crazy, 2) I wasn't crazy, and 3) we were finally getting somewhere.

"Um, do you have any Knuffle Bunny books," I asked the saleswoman, and I was soon directed to two of the most adorable books. "These are my favorites," my Little Man told me and after I inquired as to whether there was some after hours, late night, Knuffle Bunny party I didn't know about, I learned that my Little Man was read these books in school, and it turns out he loved them.

We sat and read them and after the 10th time (for BOTH books) I decided that we should be adding these to our collection. The books, themselves, are great. They are cute little stories about a little girl who lives in Manhattan who has a beloved "Knuffle Bunny."

The stories are set against a black and white background of the city, and I love that they are so relatable to my little man (and his mom.) Most kids book are set in the country or suburbs, so it was great to see a school that was actually a brownstone (like the LM's) rather than one that is a typical schoolhouse. I think this is a great book for all of you city dwellers and trust me when I say that my Little Man can't recommend them enough!

The Knuffle Bunny series is by Mo Williams and can be found here.

It Could Be Worse, It Could Be The Swine Flu.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Before I had kids, I remember hearing from everyone what little germ mongers they are. I grew up in a household of four and I must have somehow forgotten that kids will carry and pass on anything and everything, because for some reason I didn't believe people when they said that someone in this house will be sick 90 percent of the time once the little man starts nursery school. Well, they were right and I was wrong, and I swear a week doesn't go by when we aren't passing something around this house. What I can not begin to understand is why my little man is usually okay with dealing the common cold, a stomach flu here and there, and sometimes even the flu, flu  (the one not related to the pigs) up until (and like clockwork) we are about to go on vacation. Truly, it never fails. Whether it is just Mom and Dad going away, or the entire family, something in his little immune system decides that this is the perfect time to go to shit. Every "real" sickness that he has ever had occurs a few days before we leave. I don't think I time has gone by when we weren't questioning our decision to leave the country. I thought this time we might actually get away with a stress free departure, school was over and my little man had no sign of the sniffles, no green buggs, and no cough. Clearly, I was counting my chickens before they hatched.

Enter Monday.

Monday the LM began to complain that his mouth hurt. He was pointing to his back molars and after a quick Google search I was assured that there was no way he was getting new teeth. Things got worse throughout the day, and after he refused to eat dinner I began to get concerned. My husband assured me that he probably just bit his cheek or had a cancker sore, and we let it go. Tuesday, he was still very much not himself and after an entire day of not drinking, eating, or really sleeping I began to get concerned. I called the pediatrician and after speaking with a nurse I became convinced that he had an ear infection. He was refusing his binki (his one and only love in life) and even turned down a trip to the candy store. This is when I knew that we were dealing with some serious business. Again last night we had a rough night and I was so happy when we woke up this morning that I had scheduled a doctor appointment for first thing today. I was on the way in and began to describe the symptoms to my bestie. "Sounds like he might have hand, mouth and foot disease,"she said. "I know someone who's kid just had it."

Hand, Mouth, and Foot..... whhhhaatttt? Not only does that sound like something a farm animal would get, I vaguely remember hearing about this when my sisters were little and when it was mentioned the parents would scamper like someone just said the "L" word.... lice. Ewww...

I pulled over to the side of the road (yes, I signed Oprah's no phone zone) and played doctor Sherlock Holmes. The symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease are:
  • Painful blisters in the throat. Yep, we've definitely got that one.
  • Fever. Check
  • Rash on hands, feet, belly, and bum. A quick once over and I quickly realized that he in fact did not just have diaper rash, and while I don't usually look at his palms or the bottom of his feet I began to kick myself for not seeing the dozens of red bumps. Check, check, check.
  • Refusal to eat, drink, or sleep. Yes, they've got us there.
  • Serious fussiness and overall moodiness. Yes, Yes, Yes!
The Internet said there is no cure and basically it has to run its course. I thought about cancelling the trip to the doctor but since we were literally in the parking lot I figured what was the harm of a quick check up before we leave the country. The doc gave us a few tricks to ease the pain, and basically told me that there is a mini epidemic of this going around Boston right now (I know you all are just dying to visit after hearing that) but, that it is just a virus that kids pass on and we should be fine to go on our trip by Saturday.  I pretty much have to keep him on contamination lock down until then, but he said it's probably better that we are leaving because there will be less of a chance that he could spread this around. (Contrary to popular belief this isn't really spread by going barefoot, or in the sandbox just by contact with other children.) 

So that's it. We wait it out, keep him happy and medicated, and count the days until it goes away. Adults don't really get it, so that's a bonus but we definitely have some more sleepless nights ahead of us. That and quite a few more ice cream dinners. 

Really, it could be worse, it could be the swine flu.... Well, I'm sure he's just saving that one for the next trip. 

Yummy Recipe of The Week: Avocado Relleno With Crabmeat, Arugula, and Orange Segments.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

While I was in New York, a few weeks back, my SIL took me to this amazing restaurant in the West Village, Alta for some delicious tapas. I must admit that I went to dinner a bit buzzed. Buzzed from Sex and the City 2, buzzed from the excitement of the big city, and definitely buzzed from some earlier tequila cocktails. Okay, I was more than a little buzzed, but you get the point. Anyway, we were having trouble deciding what to order and our waitress recommended the Avocado Relleno With Crabmeat, Frisse, and Orange Segments. Of course, we went with her suggestion, and when our order arrived I declared this to be, "one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth."After I finished licking the plate (no I'm not joking,) I was left wondering if the food was really that good or was that just the tequila talking. A few days after I got home, I decided to figure it out. I have to be honest here, I have absolutely no idea how Alta makes their relleno, and this is merely a copycat, but basically I took the ingredients that I remembered and threw them together and the end result was pretty damn good. Mind you, this is nowhere near as good as the restaurant version, but this knock off will definitely help me to pull through until I can again have a taste of the original. I paired this with some enchiladas and Mexican beer, and for a quick second I was back in the West Village, buzz and all.

Avocado Relleno With Crabmeat, Arugula, and Orange Segments.
Serves 2 as an Appetizer.


2 large handfuls arugula
2 limes (one halved and one juiced)
6 oz fresh crabmeat
1 avocado halved and sliced
1 generous pinch or coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 orange cut into segments
1 tablespoon olive oil


Divide arugula and place on two plates. On top of arugula bed place 3 oz of crab meat (use a large spoon to create a ball shaped form.) Cover crab with sliced avocado. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, vinegar. Pour over prepared salad and garnish with orange segments. Add salt to taste (I found the more the better.) Serve with sliced lime wedges.

It's That Time Again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's that time again, right now I am packing, packing, packing for another trip to Costa Rica (our home away from home.) Usually, at this time, I am a bundle of nerves (to put it lightly) thinking about how my Little man is going to fare on our travels down south, but this year I find myself bubbling with anticipation and excitement because I know that we are going to have an absolute blast.

I never would have believed it, but it really is amazing what a difference a year can make when you are dealing with toddlers. It really is on the same scale as dog years, 1 =7. Unlike last year, this time around, I know our airplane ride will be a breeze, because miracles do happen, and my Little Man really has learned how to sit still.* Beyond the travel part, I am most excited about how much fun we are going to have when we finally get down there. Yes, I said we. We, as in there really is something for all of us down there. Dad is going to get his surf. Mom is going to get to catch up with old friends, and some good books by the pool, and the LM is going to get to swim, play in the ocean, throw sticks and rocks, and chase every lizard and crab on this side of the equator. In short, he gets to be the wild little boy that he wants to be, and this time around I get to sit back, watch, and enjoy.

We don't leave until Saturday morning, but I am determined to get us packed and ready to go by Wednesday so there will be no last minute frenzy (yes, I have to admit this has happened in the past) and then we will just wait, and wait for the heaven that is the most beautiful place on earth.

I'll be posting regularly this week, and then almost as regularly from the beach. Wi-Fi + sand in my toes + a cold margarita.... need I say more?

*LM + DVD player is like some magical combination that allows for a happy and quiet flight for everyone stuck on the 647.

These Don't Have Anything To Do With That Crazy Housewife, Do They?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today, I realized that I have completely forgotten to share with you my absolute favorite new purchase for Summer. I say Summer because I just got them, but these pretties are absolutely appropriate for the Spring, Fall, and if I lived in a much warmer place, the Winter too! I saw these beauties, aka the Bensimon sneaker, on the website from one of my favorite stores Dress, and I went in the next week with two very important questions. 

1) These don't have anything to do with that crazy housewife, do they? and 
2) How are these different from my converse (my first love in life.)

The owner responded.

1) Um, no. and 
2) Once you put these on you will honestly throw your converse away.

Turns out she was absolutely right on both accounts. Please let me introduce you to the perfect sneaker. Perfect because not only can this shoe be worn with jeans, cargos, and shorts, but it is also delicate enough to be worn with any and all Summer dresses. 

For someone who bikes everywhere, and needs a little more toe coverage and tread, this shoe really is just what I needed. The pictures really don't do them justice, but these sneaks are very reminiscent of the canvas kicks that Jennifer Grey wore in Dirty Dancing. I would be lying if I said that this isn't the reason why I love them most. Well, that and the fact that they are machine washable.

They are from a company based in France and made in France, but they can be found online, and are super affordable at less than 50 dollars a pair. I picked up the gray low-tops at Dress and just ordered the cherry red slip-ons after I realized that I am going to wear through the first pair in about a month at the rate that I am using and abusing these babies.

Awesome shoes, no crazy housewives involved.

Online they can be found here, and the above pictured are from Dress.

Happy Weekend my friends!

So That's Why You Mix It Up...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A few weeks back I was running late for my usual Saturday yoga class and I realized that sadly I would have to forgo my weekend exercise ritual for yet another week. When I  arrived the gym I even considered turning around because I simply could not stomach another hour on the treadmill/ stair master from hell. I quickly came to the conclusion that the problem with my workouts is that for the past year they have never changed. Never. I always practice yoga 2-3 times a week, and then 1-2 days I will do a mix of running on the treadmill and climbing steps.

Back to the missed class. I figured that I had already made it to the gym (at 9:00 am on a Saturday, mind you) and turning around and going back home would have been pointless, so I did something I never do and went to the board which lists all of the day's classes. I saw that there was a class that had something to do with kettlebells, which was immediately followed by some kind of cardio kickbox/ dance class. I remembered reading about this class in Shape last month (where they did a feature on the best classes in a few major cities) and this was on the top of their list of killer classes to try. Even though I am truly one of the most uncoordinated people on the planet (no I'm not joking,) I figured what the hell and walked in a few minutes after class started. Cut to me an 1 1/2 later, dying, wanted to puke, covered in sweat, and already amazingly, ridiculously, exhausting sore. In short, I got a great workout.

Sure I was lost most the time, and I found myself wanting to sneak out the back more than once, but overall I had a blast. This type of class is something that I normally would never do, but it was also kind of fun, and the next weekend I found myself at the same spot at 9 am and I actually chose the kettlebell hell over my favorite yoga class (why oh why do they have to be on the same day and time, it's like Sophie's choice without the actual drama,) and now I am mildly addicted. I recognize that I am a person who hates change (of any kind) and I think doing something small like this which is so out of my comfort zone is good practice for when I have to face more major changes, plus my body also appreciated me  for mixing it up.

Appreciated? I should say my body punished me for an ENTIRE week for going to a class that it was not used to. The day after kettlebell hell I could hardly lift my arms, two days after I was wincing in pain, and this pretty much continued on until the beginning of the next class. Clearly, I had used some muscles that were not being utilized in my other classes, and now after having been through a  few more I am no longer as sore after and I surprisingly I am feel so much stronger in this class, and in my other classes.

Ahhhhhh So that's why they tell you to mix it up...

In keeping with this spirit, on Monday I let me best friend M take me through one of her favorite treadmill workouts. I had to laugh when she pulled out a piece of paper from a fitness magazine that had to be circa 1980, but the workout was great and now I can see why she has been carrying it around for 20 years (I'm not joking, the girl has a few dozen photocopies!.) I was lucky enough to snag a copy to share, and again today I hit the treadmill solo and I found myself loving this interval training. It's great because it's pretty low impact on the knees, you never have to sprint for more than 4 minutes, and the fact that it is done in intervals is designed to keep you from getting bulky. A run that is actually fun, and keeps you lean? Yeah, I'll take two please.

Here is the workout:

4.5 Miles, 400-500 calories burned.
Total time 50 minutes
00:00-3:00 4 mph
03:01-6:00 4.5 mph
6:01- 9:00 5.5 mph
9:01-12:00 4 mph
12:01- 16:00 6.5 mph
16:01- 19:00 4 mph
19:01- 22:00 6.5 mph
22:01- 25:00 4 mph
25:00- 29:00 5.5 mph
29:00- 33:00 6.5 mph
33:01- 37:00 4.5 mph
37:01- 41:00 6.5 mph
41:01- 44:00 5.5 mph
44:01- 47:01 6.5 mph
47:00- 50:00 4.0 mph

If you happen to belong to the Back Bay Equinox and want to try out Saturday's class, I'll be the one in the back. You'll recognize me as the one who's panting and doing all the wrong moves. You know I'm not joking about that part!

You better watch out, the next time I have to ninja fight in a disco I will be the one kicking ass and taking names!

Thank You Mayor Menino!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

About a month ago I was heading to swimming with my little man, and while we were taking our usual bike route from Commonwealth Avenue to Mass Ave.  I saw something that almost knocked me over.

A bike lane!? An actual bike lane in the city of Boston?? A lane made just for bikers??? I could hardly believe my eyes. This was not just any bike lane, mind you, but a bike lane that was on the opposite side of the street from where the cars park. As in not on the same side

Wait, I thought to myself, does this mean that I no longer will have to my breath every time a car door swings open? Could it possibly be that there will be no more weaving in and out of traffic trying to avoid cars that are (illegally) double parked? Is this the last day that I would have ridden 15 minutes out of my way, down the river, to avoid any and all traffic into town? Am I dreaming?

Seriously, after seeing this beautiful bike lane I had to pinch myself to make sure I wouldn't wake up. I then took a minute to make sure that I wasn't in Cambridge (the land where bike lanes are plentiful) and then took a picture as proof that even in this day and age, miracles really do happen. 

All I can say is thank you Mayor Menino, finally some real safety for my Little Man, and some more much needed sanity for his mum.

Note: The new bike lanes run the length of Commonwealth Avenue to BU and intersect with the preexisting lanes on Mass Ave. 

I'm Not An Artist, But...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

By far the coolest part of my NYC experience was "stumbling" upon one of the most amazing art exhibitions that I have ever seen. I'm not an artist, but if I was I would want to be just like "Mr. Brainwash." I say that I stumbled upon this exhibit, but in fact I was searching for it all morning. Prior to my trip, this was recommend to me by one of my best friends, who told me that this was a "must see." My SIL and I set out in search for it, and for some reason could not find it's exact location (the problem seemed to be that we had absolutely no idea what we were looking for.) During our search we passed and old abandoned building that had Coldplay blaring from inside. The sign on the front said admission was free and my eye was immediately drawn to a giant picture of Kate Moss and a huge pink hear made of paint cans. I said to my SIL," if this isn't it, than we just hit some kind of pop art jackpot." Like moths to a flame, we immediately entered the wild and beautiful world of Mr. Brainwash. Here is what we saw. 

There were Rock Stars...


and Pop stars....

Madonna, Madonna, and more Madonna.
(really, is there such a thing as too much Madonna?.)

There were pictures created from broken records.

And a tribute to the king of pop, the late Michael Jackson. 

There were some great quotes painted on the walls. 
This one read, "if everyone thought the same, nothing would ever change!"

And this, "art is to make it exist."

There was a collage featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Art instead of war. 

And even Snoopy made an appearance. 

The coolest part had to be a true to size "matchbox car." Yes, that is a real New York taxi in this box. 

I looked up Mr. Brainwash in wikipedia and came up with the following:
Mr. Brainwash ("MBW") is a pseudonym for Thierry Guetta, a supposed French videographer, street artist and pop artist who is purported to be living in Los Angeles.
A brief narrative of Guetta's personal history, as well as the story of his introduction to the world of street art, are told in the 2010 film Exit Through The Gift Shop, which claims to include original footage of street artists at work, shot by Guetta over a period of eight years.  
The uniformly subversive artwork attributed to Guetta strongly emulates the styles and artistic concepts of other well-known street artists including Banksy and Shephard Fairey, both of whom supposedly collaborated with Guetta on Exit Through the Gift Shop. Like Banksy, Guetta employs famous and historic images, many of which are protected by copyright, and amends the originals in slight or significant ways to achieve an ironic and often politically or socially biting effect. However, while Banksy often transfers such images to other media, Guetta states in the film that his work largely consists of simply "scanning and photoshopping"..
Guetta's first show Life is Beautiful opened in Los Angeles June 18, 2008. The Mondriart Series was released in 2009 by the artist and features 7 different color options. In 2009, Guetta created the cover art for Madonna's Celebration album and on February 14, 2010, his second show ICONS opened in New York City.
If you live in the city or are planning a visit, and are a fan of pop culture, I can't recommend this free exhibit enough. It is located on north 13th between Washington and Greenwich street in the Meatpacking District.

File this under reason 1,000,000,001 of why I ♥ New York.

* I die for this picture of Kate Moss. At night I dream of it hanging over my staircase.