CHEAP and FUN things to do in Hawaii (Part II)

It’s another week, and with that, I’ve brought  you another 5 things you can do while you visit Hawaii. I should clarify, that these things are specifically for the island of O’ahu. Without further ado, here they are:

1. Rent a STAND UP PADDLE BOARD (SUPD) and practice at Waimea Bay. Please be aware that this is strictly a summertime activity. In the wintertime, the waves are mundo huge and two things will happen if you try to SUPB. One—- you will die. Second —— you will die.  Glad I cleared that up for you. During the summer, Waimea is like a glass lake. The bay will be calm, which is perfect for SUPB, and I can almost guarantee that you will come across dolphins and sea turtles.

One more thing to clarify, that is NOT me on the board.

2. Visit Kualoa Ranch, famous site of movie and TV shootings including Lost and Jurassic Park. They have a few activities there that won’t break the bank, including horse back riding and a visit to Secret Beach that itself is filled with many activities, including SUPB.

If you opt for the visit to Secret Beach, the people at Kualoa Ranch take you on a boat to get there.

3.   Valley of the Temples Memorial Park has a hidden Japanese Temple called Byodo-In Temple. It’s a great site to see, very mystical. This location has been featured in famous TV shows such as Magnum P.I., as well as a quick scene in the movie Pearl Harbor. It really is a quite a beautiful place, with peacock walking around and the ponds are filled with carp. The entry fee is very inexpensive, between $2-$3 per person, depending whether you are a child or an adult.

My only caution would be to wear long pants. There are some areas of the grounds that have lots of mosquitoes.

4. On your circle island tour of O’ahu, make sure to stop at Turtle Beach to catch the sea turtles sun bathing. It’s fun to see, especially when there’s more than one of them. Often times, when you are at the beach, if you are watching carefully from shore, you can see them come up for air out in the water.

Just be aware though, that the sea turtles are a protected species. It is against the law to even touch them. Most times there are volunteers at the beach that put markers around the turtles, so that people keep their distance.

5.   Visit the Mighty Mo!! Your kids, as well as yourself will love exploring this battleship from WW II. The Mighty Mo isn’t just any battleship. It is the site where WW II ended. There are tour guides that will take you to different parts of the ship, explaining the history behind it all. It is magnificent to see and hear the stories.

Check out the guns on this ship. Awesome!

There are more places to show . . . stay tuned.

 

Cheap and Fun Things to Do in Hawaii Series (Part I)

After living in Hawaii for many years, I’ve been asked by friends who come to visit, where should I go? What do you recommend doing while in Hawaii?

I’ve made a list. When you live in Hawaii, money is tight (it’s the price we pay for paradise). So the list I’ve come up with are things I’ve done with my kids that were cheap, free and fun. You should however know though that this list is specifically for the island of O’ahu.

1. Boogie boarding at the beach. There are a few that are beginner friendly, with Wakiki Beach being one of them. There are others on the North Shore as well — Castles is my favorite.

2. Spending the day at the Honolulu Zoo.

3. Hiking the many trails we have here on O’ahu: Diamond Head, Manoa Falls, Laie Falls. There are a so many more to choose from. Just be sure to go when the weather is good. Rainy weather equals flash flooding, and since many of these trails are in the mountains, there’s always that danger. When the weather is great, take a camera because the sights are breathtaking!

4.   Shave-ice in Haleiwa. The famous spot is Matsumoto’s, but there is usually a long line. Their neighbor Aoki’s has great shave-ice as well. If you’re adventurous, ask them to add AZUKI BEANS and ICE-CREAM to the bottom,  and top it off with SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK & WHIPPED CREAM. Ummmmm . . . I think I need to get one of these after lunch today.

5.   Visit the AZ Memorial and the Mighty Mo. Many great history lessons learned and new found appreciations realized for those who serve our country.

I can’t pick a favorite from this short list. They are all fun and neat things to do, during your visit here in the Aloha State. Stay tuned next Tuesday for my next 5 Cheap and Fun Things to do in Hawaii.

Me Personally: Where I’ve been, What I’ve been doing, Where am I going . . . what does it all mean?

I know. I’ve been gone a while. I had a hard time coming back. I would picture things in my head the way I wanted to see it on my blog and would kind of give up. Anyone else with that problem? I decided to just do what I can, and go with it, otherwise, I’d never blog.

So, with that said, here’s what I’ve been up to, that I plan on sharing more of in the coming days, weeks, and beyond.

I ran a 5K, a week before Mother’s Day. Put together a video that will show you I’m not lying when I say I’m sloooooooooooww. It may give you non-runners out there some confidence.

Played a lot with this guy. I blinked and now look at him. He’s trying to blink to see if the same thing happens with me. Sorry. I’m still the same.

Made some cinnamon biscuits one morning. I’ll have the recipe up soon.

This time with geocaching, I did the hiding. It’s harder than you think to try and hide something well.

For Memorial Day, we hung out with this guy. PCC is such a fun place. I’ll have more pictures to share on my Aloha Friday posts.

Things like me trying to show off my mad poi ball skills to my kids. I’ll post more on that, when I get over the embarrassment of this picture. Ok. I’m over it.

There you have it.

Well, at least some of it.

 

With my boy growing and his ever improving of both gross and fine motor skills, I find myself constantly occupied with moving things away and up high. It’s made taking pictures for recipes a little challenging, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I must adapt until he understands things better. That means, my posts for recipes at least, will probably be a little more condensed. That might be a good thing. Adaptation is always key when being a mother, at least for me. Otherwise, frustration sets in, followed by a lot of other negative feelings.

So, with keeping things on a positive note, I’ll be busy documenting my adventures on my ever-evolving website. We’ll be doing many things here on our part of this island: camping, fishing, hiking, sewing, cooking, and other things. Hope you’ll keep coming back to see what the BUSY summer that we have.

Practicing at the Zoo

I don’t know if it’s inherent that when you become a blogger,that you gain an interest in photography, but ever since I’ve started this website, my fascination with it has grown. I think a photographic gene becomes spliced into your DNA, because all of sudden, I find myself moving away from the kitchen table to photograph things that move. When we decided to visit the zoo, I was so excited for several reasons:

1. My baby coconut had never been, and knew that the animal kingdom was going to blow his mind.

2. It was going to be great family bonding time. We love to bond, because being in our 1068 square foot house doesn’t give us enough bonding time.

3. I was going to get a lot of up, close and personal time with my zoom lens.

First stop was at the Keiki Zoo (children’s zoo), which is where we found this guy.  As soon as he saw the camera, he got himself into position. Such a professional. I went right up to the glass to snap this shot.

I focused more on the giraffe, blurring my kids.

I tried take shots of  interesting poses.

Monkeys hold a special place in my heart, seeing as I birthed 5 of my own. This little guy was behind a chain-linked fence. I zoomed in with my lens as close as possible. When I did this, the fence disappeared.

Aaaah, the sunbathing gharials. My daughter (who loves photography), took this shot.

The turtles were all lined up. I tried to get them all in the shot focusing on the one in the middle.

More reptiles. I just wanted to hand this guy a bottle of lotion. My kids wouldn’t let me. This dude was behind a glass and again I got as close as I could and zoomed in.

My son was quite fascinated with all these creatures. I tried to get low to their level to get this picture.

Don’t you just want to lay your head down this sweet thing? Sooooo fluffy! (What movie is that line from?). This is one of my favorites from the day (besides the 208) shots of my children I took. I just zoomed in as close as I could with my lens.

The turtles were having a race. This guy was in the lead. Action shots are always great. I switched my camera to shutter priority and cranked it up to 1/1600 so there wouldn’t be a blur . . . . totally kidding. I just zoomed in as close as possible, filling the frame.

 

This visit was a great practice session for me. Here are the things I’ve learned so far about taking pictures from reading various photography websites and practicing what I’ve learned:

1) TURN OFF YOUR FLASH! It makes such a difference.

2) Fill the frame. You do this by getting as close as you can.

3) Don’t be afraid to take the shot from different angles. If your subject is close to the ground, get down to their level.

While I am no way near “professional photographer level”, I do hope to improve on what small skills I do have. Practice, practice, practice.

 

A Halo

Have you ever had one of these?

No?!

Oh man, you’ve got to try one. It’s not just shave-ice, as we call it in Hawaii, but it’s shaved-ice kicked up a couple notches.

When my mom came in to town (hi mom!), I asked her the same question. She said no. She thought a halo was just that thing she sees above my head all the time (totally kidding). Getting a “halo” was automatically put on the things-to-do-while-I’m-in-Hawaii list for my mom.

On her last day here, we jumped in the car and headed here “Angel’s Ice Cream and Shave Ice Store”. It’s a favorite hangout here.

Here’s how this works. When you decide to have a shave-ice, you gotta be ready with your flavors. It’s an unwritten rule everywhere in Hawaii, that you can pick up to three flavors.

I tend to pick local flavors: coconut, li hing, and lilikoi. Li Hing is a powder that is sweet with a little bit of salty mixed in. My mouth is salivating right now thinking about it. Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit. If you want to taste Hawaii, those right there are your flavors my friend.

I should back up a bit. Before any ice is even put into the cup, ice-cream goes in first. I always pick vanilla.

Once the flavors are on, sweetened condensed milk is drizzled on.

And because that isn’t enough sweet goodness, this monstrously refreshing treat is crowned with whipped cream. And so it should be. The whipped cream on top of this is the kicker.

Wait a minute. Do you hear that?

It’s an angelic choir singing in the background.

While we may have kicked up the calorie count by a few thousand, by golly it was worth it. The cream and the sweetened condensed goodness on top is worth a ten mile run.

Really, this should be eaten by two people, but as you can see, my husband and I don’t agree with that serving size mumbo jumbo. We each order our own to keep the wedded bliss going between us.

If you ever are in Hawaii, on the North Shore, pay Angel’s Ice Cream a visit and ask for a Halo.

It will be the highlight of your trip.

Well. It should at least make the top ten.

 

Diamond Head

Because I live in Hawaii, I get a few friends that come into town every so often. I often get questions about what I would recommend they do when they get here. It all depends on what you’re into. If you’re into hikes, Diamond Head Crater is a great one to plan on doing. It’s a popular one that tourist and locals often do. It’s a neat hike because you are actually inside a crater that was formed thousands of years ago.

A couple of the great things about this hike is that:

1) you’ll never need a stairmaster after doing this. This hike is the STAIR-MASTER!

2) you don’t need to bring a machete. Hawaii is hot enough as it is, and swinging around a machete to carve out a trail will just make things hotter. Are there trails that you need a machete for in Hawaii? Yes, but we only do those if we’re working on earning our Eagle Scout Rank.

The entrance to Diamond Head is carved out through the wall of the crater. The Diamond Head trail is nestled in the crater.

The trail starts off easy. The sidewalk is like your warm welcome to the hike. As with any hike, be sure to take lots of water. It gets hot, and you’ll get sweaty, and lose water, so you’ll need to replenish it.

The hike goes in an upward fashion. After the sidewalk, you hit this dirt-like path. Stay on the path.

Holy Staircase! There is a reason why I said that the Diamond Head Hike is the STAIR-MASTER. At the top of these stairs is a tunnel that’s not lit by the way.

Inside the tunnel, there is a rail to help guide you along. Tip #1: BRING A FLASHLIGHT. You don’t have to, but it does help. History lesson: Diamond Head Crater was used by the Miliatry. Fort Ruger was located here. A lot of these tunnels were made by the military during the early 1900′s.

Think “buns of steel”. That’s the only way you’re gonna make it up these stairs.

We’ve reached one of bunkers. It is cool to explore inside of. Just hold onto your children if you bring them along. There are lots of people in here. To get to the next place, you go up a spiral staircase within the bunker. I didn’t snap pictures of that because I was too busy making sure my kids kept moving forward on the stairs.

The last set of stairs. I promise. The summit of Diamond Head Crater. It was quite a journey, going up all those stairs. From the top, you get all kinds of spectacular views.

Homes along the coast.

A great bird’s eye view of what the crater looks like. Just so you can get your bearings, I labelled a few key points.

There’s Waikiki on the other side.

Diamond Head hike is a fun one. It’s not too long, only 0.8 of a mile in. Lots of stairs though. Bring lots of water to replenish yourself. Oh and sunscreen. You’ll definitely need sunscreen. You need sunscreen the minute you get off the plane here.

Happy Hiking!