Monday, March 11, 2024

Costa Rica ~ Pura Vida

I said it would be quiet on my blog this year, but here I am some six weeks later. We are back from our first stay in Costa Rica and I can't think of a better way to document our time there than with a blog post.  One week at a resort gave us a wee glimpse of the country...though it was mostly about relaxing in the sunshine and spending time with family.  We flew into Liberia and then took a 90 minute shuttle through the countryside to Joba Bay.

What's not to like? It was warm and sunny all week...with an ocean breeze. 

The beach was always quiet. 

Being on the Pacific coast, the water is cooler than on the Caribbean side...but quite refreshing.

The sunsets on the beech were quite lovely!

Our deck was 'garden view' with the ocean in the distance. 

It was also the 'monkey view'!

The monkeys hung out in the trees nearby...
and came to peek into our patio doors on occasion
hoping that we may have left them ajar!

Did I say that they 'hung out'? 

The iguanas lazed nearby throughout the resort...

...and occasionally hopped onto the table!

We were in Costa Rica with my brother (Bill and Jeanne) from Iowa and my sister (Kathy and Jim) from Manitoba.  

We played in the waves, read books by the pool, played cards in a quiet corner somewhere and ate all our meals together at one table or another.

The food was great...
particularly a few of the specialty restaurants. 

We passed on the chance to have a sunset dinner on the beach...

...but thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese restaurant.

Not only was the food delicious...
but watching the chef was like being at a show. 

Our Mexican meal ended with a waterfall of flaming coffee.

Since we were so close, we decided to do a day trip to Nicaragua.  
It was a long and full day, but we are glad we did it! 

Getting through customs (coming and going) was a bit of a process!

We visited the Masaya Volcano National Park...

...a large park with two active volcanoes and five craters.

From the lookout we could see the surrounding valley...
and the signs of volcanic activity. 

The Bobadilla Cross was placed at the top of Santiago Crater in the 16th century...
by a monk who believed it was the gateway to hell and hoped to ward off the devil.

Bill & Jeanne, Kathy & Jim with us at Masaya Volcano Crater Lake.

We spent some time in Granada...a city that played an important role in Nicaragua's history.
It is one of the oldest Spanish settlements in the Americas.  

We had lunch in a courtyard restaurant and took a horse and buggy tour.

Granada has many cathedrals in and around the city square. 
The Cathedral of Granada was originally built in 1583.

Later in the afternoon we took a boat tour on Lake Nicaraugua...
a large lake with an archipelago of  some 300 islands. 

Set against the backdrop of a large volcano, there was much to see...
birds, fish, monkeys swinging from trees, and beautiful island estates.

By evening we were back at our resort in Costa Rica...
but thankful for our Nicaraguan adventure.

Our week in central America flew by and soon we were on our way home.! 

'Pura Vida' 
It’s the Costa Rican greeting meaning 'pure life'...
used to say hello or goodbye in a happy way.

We are thankful that we went...
and will treasure the memories!

And now...
we wait for the warm spring weather here at home.
Coming soon!

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

January ~ a new chapter

It's a new year!  
How did we get to 2024 so quickly? 

Let me share a few pic's from January...
before I lay out my plans for the blog going forward.

We headed to the hills mid-month for a little snow getaway...
since there was none at home.

It's never far to the mountains...
and what could be nicer than a day spent in the hot pools surrounded by fresh snow?

We had our fix of snow...
and we never had to shovel any of it!

Then we  came home to a record-breaking snowfall.

The kind we had to shovel!

The drifts piled up and we stayed home for a few days while the winds howled.
By now it has mostly washed away!

January also marked the completion of one more year around the sun for me. It seems like a good time to take stock and make a few changes.


Is it time to quit blogging after all these years? It's something I have considered for awhile. I have decided not to do monthly updates on My Front Porch anymore, though I may still post on occasion, documenting travels or major events.  I'm planning to sift through hundreds of posts from the past seventeen years and make some sort of book...a collection of memorable posts. Last year I helped Elmer write and publish a book of his life stories.  Now it's my turn, though I have a head-start since many of my stories have been shared on my blog over the years. 

I am thankful for all the memories and moments that I documented here over the years, because time hurries on and the past is soon forgotten. I will never regret the time I spent blogging and the friends that I met along the way. Some blogging friends became real life friends, and I treasure all those friendships. 

These ladies were among my first blogging friends, and who knew that we would still be good friends so many years later?  We were the Mennonite Girls Can Cook team, who started a recipe blog first and then published three cookbooks together.  Though we no longer blog or publish new recipes, the website is still there as a great resource. Getting all ten of us together is no simple feat (with two in Manitoba and one in and Washington), but we meet up when we can and rarely a day goes by that we don't connect on our group chat.

One of my first blogging friends was Vee, who lived in Maine.  Some ten years ago, we met Vee while traveling on the east coast. She passed away last year, but she is not forgotten.  Always a word of wisdom, some encouragement, a little sarcasm or something that made me smile. Another blogging friend that I met in person on that east coast trip, was Judy in Pennsylvania.  We had a delightful time around the table on her porch, and some years later Judy and John came to visit us in our home.  We enjoyed touring them around the valley and visiting Whistler and beyond. Honora lived near Victoria, and often came to the valley on business.  We met up in person in 2008 and many times since. Then there was Jill, who we met on a USA road trip in Salt Lake City. We met Christine in Phillipsburg, Montana...Kathy in Charlottetown, PEI...and Pam at King's Landing in New Brunswick.  I met Rosella from Ontario and Deb from San Diego when they visited BC.  Most of these women have long since given up blogging, but we are still in touch through Instagram.

Those are just some of the blogging friends that I have met, but there are so many more that I have corresponded with over the years. Sue in Texas. Lorrie on Vancouver Island. Pat in Denver. Most visitors to my blog over the years are anonymous, but some have encouraged me through their comments or e-mails. Thanks to all who has visited through the years. 

All that to's not a final farewell, but things will be much quieter here on My Front Porch this year. 

Until next time,

Monday, January 1, 2024

December ~ the finale

Farewell to 2023.

December was one for the record books...
unseasonably warm.

We had one wee skiff of snow early in the month...
and I have a photo to prove it.

Christmas was warm and green.

We used to take the grands on outings to see Christmas lights every year.
Now we go on our own.

Downtown Chilliwack is beautifully decked out...
and has become a bit of a tourist attraction.

Checking out the 'Lights by the Lake' at Harrison Hot Springs was a fun outing as well.

We had the opportunity to meet this lovely family who came to Canada from Ukraine recently...
 and is now living in Chilliwack.

We included them in our 'care group' Christmas party with the intention of sharing a little Canadian Christmas joy with them.

They were such a delight and blessed us with a Ukranian mini-concert.

Christmas morning...
when all was calm and bright.

We had brunch together...
and then gathered in the great room to open gifts.

That's tradition.

We broke with tradition on Christmas Eve this year...
and met at Jeremy and Broni's for appetizers and games...
rather than at 'Grammy's house'. 

I think we started a new tradition.

There may not be any littles anymore...
but there's always something to laugh about!

This monkey lamp was the most coveted prize in the 'white elephant' gift exchange the previous night.
Maggie was not happy that her cousin stole it from her.

It somehow showed up under the tree on Christmas morning...
and she went home with a monkey lamp.

Jeremy has coached Ryder's team for many years...
and this year marks the end of that era.

They recently took first place in a tournament in Kamloops...
and Ryder was one of the top scorers.

Ryder's hockey looks very different now that it did ten years ago!

We watched one his local games just before Christmas.

Along with the warm temperatures...

...we've had many foggy mornings.

The sun has set on 2023...
but I am left with many wonderful memories and a heart of gratitude.

It's a new year...
a new chapter...
a new page.

What will that look like on 'My Front Porch'?
We'll see.

I would like to wish each of you a very happy and blessed new year!