Happy 2nd birthday to our beautiful little weirdo, who loves cauliflower but hates berries, whose favorite car color is brown, who can seamlessly shift between three languages in the same breath and never mix them, who takes care to translate everything Papi says in Spanish into Hebrew for Mami and vice versa, who runs and plants huge kisses on us out of the blue, who suggests his cheek as a suitable alternative when Papi asks to eat his pulke, who is so insanely intelligent beyond his years that we often shake our heads in wonder at one another, who makes us laugh daily.
We love you so very much, little man. Happy second birthday!
Hello loyal fan base, I’m back to bring some life into this blog! Today I’m here to report on the family’s experience with Hellofresh. I originally heard about Hellofresh on Groupon, and I was immediately intrigued. Raising a toddler and a husband is no easy work, so anything that helps make our life easier is appreciated. I purchased the Groupon, signed up for our allotted three meals and eagerly awaited their arrival.
The box was impressively packaged, with the meat and poultry encased in ice packs on the bottom and the rest of the ingredients in boxes on the top.
The first meal that I prepared was steamed salmon with jeweled couscous and yogurt. What’s nice about this company is that all meals are promised to take approximately 30 minutes to prepare – very helpful for weeknight dinners, because who has the time or energy for any more than that? You are also provided with pre-rationed ingredients, so you don’t have to bother with measuring anything. Their only caveat is that you must have salt, pepper and olive oil on hand – easy enough, these are staples in most households anyway.
One issue that I had, and I fully acknowledge that this is my personal preference, is that they don’t include how to prepare the ingredients under the “ingredients” section but rather include it in the directions. I tend to have a more stressful cooking experience when I dutifully heat the oil in the pan, as per step 1, but then must finely chop a whole bunch of vegetables (step 2), as I am racing against an overly heated pan full of oil that stinks up the house and jumps all over the countertop. Granted, I could have read ahead and gone rogue, chopping and preparing in whatever order I damn well pleased, but given that the whole point is to save time, I didn’t.
Other than this issue, I had an overall great experience. All three meals were delicious, took the promised 30 minutes to prepare, and spared us the headache of having to pre-plan meals for the week and purchase specific ingredients. The portions were great, as both Marcos and I felt satisfied and full at the end of each meal. Despite the fact that the non-Groupon rate is a bit pricey (it comes out to approximately $10/person/meal), we ordered another box about one month later and plan to treat ourselves every once in a while by ordering more. And to be honest, given the fact that their rate includes the packaging and shipping, it’s really pretty reasonable.
If you want to try it out, you can get $40 off your first meal (which is more than what we saved with the Groupon) by using our referral code: VQ84HL. Happy eating, and stay safe out there!
In spite of, or maybe due to, the nonstop rain that refused to let up during our stay, we opted for a water-filled activity on our first day. We thought that white-water rafting sounded like fun, and given our very limited experience with this activity, we signed up for a level 1-2 rafting trip. For those who don’t know rafting, it’s organized from levels 1-5, 1 being the easiest and 5 being for crazy adrenaline junkies. I know what you’re thinking – crazy, risk-taking Marcos only chose a level 1?! I guess marriage really has helped tame the beast.
In any case, we board the van with 8 other people and arrive at the training station by the river to get the show on the road. We spent a a few minutes learning the basic commands and instructions for how to stay in the boat and how not to drown and die, all while trying not to be distracted by the fact that we were surrounded by hens and roosters. Then, a bunch of rafts filled with people stop at our station. After a flurry of Spanish words get traded between our guys and theirs, Marcos and I suddenly find ourselves being separated from our group and being put on a raft filled with American frat boys and a skinny Tico by the name of Tony the Tiger. I thought that we were going to get to practice the basic movements and commands as our original guy had promised, but instead they threw helmets on us, and with a push, we were off.
Within about 30 seconds, we realized we were in for way more than we bargained for. Our raft mates operated like a well-oiled machine, having been rafting together for the past hour. They kindly informed us that each had already fallen off the raft into the rock-filled, super-strong currents of the river.
With commands like “get down!” and “row hard to the left NOW!” being thrown at us by Tony every 5 seconds, we had no time to process any of it… we were in pure survival mode. The Frat Pack was in adrenaline-fueled heaven, whopping and cheering the whole time. Somehow Tony the Tiger was able to maintain a conversation with Marcos, the only other Spanish speaker on board, the whole time. Marcos was mostly silent and looked even a little paler than usual.
After what felt like forever, we reached the end of the adventure with nothing shattered (except for our confidence). It wasn’t until then that I learned what Tony had been telling Marcos all along:
“There is way too much weight on this raft for a level 5. I’m going to ask them to pay me more.”
“If I bounce off of you really hard, don’t take it personally, it’s only to keep the raft from flipping over.”
“I much prefer marijuana to cocaine. But don’t get me wrong, I do plenty of cocaine too.”
“Did I mention this is level 5?”
Thankfully Marcos had the sense not to translate that last lovely piece of information for me until after it was over because he knew I would freak.
During the ride, and despite my futile attempts at recalling any sort of psychological wisdom about warding off panic attacks, I did find myself having a good time. I think it had to do with seeing Marcos’ facial expressions in that masochistic wife kind of way….. Maybe I’m a worse wife than I thought.
While the whole operation wasn’t sophisticated enough to keep the area clear of free roaming chickens, they did have a professional photographer running around the jungle with his expensive gear. Since we already overpaid for the CD, we might as well share a few with you. Click to enlarge (I recommend zooming in on Marcos’ face – we’ve discovered he has a “rafting face” that has not popped up in any other situation).
Following my father’s advice (who is also my husband’s domestic partner… we have an interesting family dynamic, but that’s for a different blog post), we stayed at a vegetarian, self-sustaining kibbutz-like hotel called Lands in Love in the middle of nowhere owned and operated by 19 Israelis (insert any number of jokes here). The place was surprisingly modern, with functional internet and nice looking furniture.
Though we were skeptical at first, we ended up loving the vegetarian dishes that they served (their soy hamburger is surprisingly delicious and similar to the real thing). Plus Marcos got to eat as much hummus as his little heart desired, which was fun for him and not-so-fun later in the room for me.
The rooms were set up in such a way that no matter where you stayed, you had an amazing view of the jungle around you. According to my dad there were monkeys all around us in the trees, but we didn’t end up seeing any.
During the day, the hotel organized several tours that we could attend – we went on a few, which will be described in separate posts.
December is clearly not the height of their busy season, because the place was deserted during our whole stay – there were maybe 10 other people in the whole place, which made for a romantic – if not slightly creepy – stay. All in all, we really enjoyed our time there and would recommend them to anyone desiring a vacation in middle of nowhere, Costa Rica.