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Rikki's Tales from Behind the Lens: What's Happening this Month and Some Photos from San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

Good morning friends.

Instead of writing an offical blog post this week, I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know of an event that is coming up plus some updates on my products and where you can find them if you are looking for a Mother's Day gift. The last part of the post I share some photos from my time in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica for your viewing pleasure.

First, our 10th Book and Bake Sale (and Barbque) is on Saturday May 18th, 2024 from 9am to 2pm. We will be hosting it on our driveway across from Big Rock School in Okotoks. This will be our final sale as we come to an end of a chapter in our household.

The first Book and Bake sale was held in 2013 when my oldest girl was 8 years old and my twin girls were 6. We had raised money the year before for backpacks and school supplies for the Dago Kokore School in Kisumu, Kenya. Our contact was my friend's mom who was a teacher in Kenya, and we have been working with her ever since.

The idea of a book sale came to me after reading 40 books the year before to celebrate my 40th birthday. Okotoks didn't really have a book store so I thought this was a fun way to raise money. Baking was a natural fit as in the past when we hosted yard sales, I would help the girls bake and they would have a little table of treats to sell. The first little sale was a great success and we were able to send money to Kenya for backpacks, school supplies, some soccer balls and some underwear for the girls.

In 2015 we changed things up a bit. Our contact came to realize how many children didn't go to school and so we decided to start paying for a group of children's education. That is when The Innocent Children Foundation in Kenya was created. We started off with over 50 children but more than half dropped out of the program that first year because families needed the children to be home to work or they moved to another part of the country. For several years we paid for the primary school education of 23 children. But, circumstances changed once again and slowly the numbers dimished due to life events that here in North America we just don't always comprehend. I am proud to say that we have supported 15 children since 2015 to help pay for their education. We were commited to see these children through until the end of High School. 4 have moved onto higher education (construction, beauty therapy, kindergarten teacher and a lawyer) 5 are graduating at the end of 2024 and 5 are still in Primary and High School. We honour one of the students who passed away last summer.


2023 at Opening (it was busy hahaha)

Cinnamon Buns...always a favorite.

Our goal for this Book and Bake Sale is to raise enough money to create a fund for the remaining 5 children in our program that will see them through until the end of High School. We think this is a very fitting way to celebrate our last Book and Bake Sale. As our own children move on to the next phase of their lives, us too as 40 Books, will move on as well. I created 40 Books in 365 Days as a way to get my girls involved in being aware of the fact that there are many children in this world are not handed an education. Also the fact that their families cannot even afford sometimes to purchase something as simple as a pencil. It also gave them many life skills from helping to organize the event, to taking payments and interacting with people they do not know. They could run this event themselves if needed.

Some of our sponsored children back in 2015

We are still looking for Adult and Teen Fiction Books as well as some Children's Chapter Books. At this time we have a lot of Children's Books for ages under 8, so we will take a pause on those books for now. If you have books to donate, we will be happy and grateful to pick them up if you are in the Okotoks, Calgary or Banff area until May 10th, 2024.

This year Thomas will be back cooking up hot dogs and sausages for breakfast or for lunch to help keep you going as it is also The Parade of Garage Sales that weekend in Okotoks.

In other news, I wanted to share with you my updated

Greeting Card Collection and Prints as Mother's Day approaches.

Some of the cards will be familiar to you and some are new.

Spring Greeting Card Collection. $6.00 each and $1.00 will be donated to 40 Book in 365 Days

Spring Print Collection. $30 each & $5.00 will be donated to 40 Bookish 365 Days

You can order my greeting cards and prints online at

Use code OKOTOKS if you live in the Okotoks area and I can drop them off at your house.

You can also find my greeting cards at


Greeting Cards and Prints can be found at

Greeting Cards created for Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts

can be found behind the front desk (you just have to ask to see them)

Emerald Lake Lodge

Buffalo Mountain Lodge

I have signed up to be on a Waitlist for the Canmore Mountain Market. So please stay tuned for dates. However, I do have a couple of confirmed dates.

May 30th from 10am until 6pm

September 12th & September 19th.

OK, so I know this post was focused on stuff that I have going on, so here's some pretty pictures of some birds and scenery I took in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica for your viewing pleasure.

This bush was right beside our cabin. It was busy with Hummingbirds. This is a Volcano hummingbird

Sooty-Capped Chlorospingus

Long Tailed Silky Flycatcher.

Waiting for the Resplendent Quetzal

Our First Siting of a Resplendent Quetzal

Our only other siting. Birders come from all over the world to see them.

A Summer Tanager

One of my favorite pictures from the trip at a restaurant before heading into San Gerardo de Dota

I highly recommend spending a couple of nights in San Gerardo De Dota, Costa Rica. It's a beautiful Valley Village 2200m above sea level. It's not as busy as Moteverde and has such a serene energy. We stayed at Hotel de Montaña Suria and loved it there. Just make sure you bring some warm clothes as the temperatures are a pleasant 20 degrees during the day but went down to 5 degrees at night when we were there. There was a tiny heater in the room, but the beds were nice and warm. I would wait until the sun peaked over the mountains in the morning then I would get up and make my coffee and sit in the sun to warm up.

So, that's it for today. Thanks so much for taking the time to read.

Please let your friends and family know about the Book and Bake Sale on May 18th. If you have Adult Fiction Books to donate, we will gratefully accept them until May 10th.

If you would like to purchase a Greeting Card or a Print captured and made by a budding photographer to give to your mom for Mother's Day please go to my website or you can pick them up at locations above.

If you are not into Insta, my Facebook page is

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