April 23, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Life

Guava chiffon pancakes


Due to the high cost of shipping almost everything 2,000 miles, there is less variety here - in the actual food products and restaurants. Apparently, fruits and vegetables used to be horribly bruised and too ripe or too unripe to eat. And there were no chain stores or restaurants. But that was a while ago. On Oahu, we are not missing out on much, compared to the other islands. Although many people complain about "mainland chains," there seemed to be quite a few people in line and excited for the Whole Foods that opened last week.

Although there are more "mainland" stores and restaurants than in the past, not everything we were used to in Michigan is here. Most of the time,  I don't even think about what we're "missing," but then someone mentions Jimmy John's. Or a Sonic commercial comes on. Or worse, Olive Garden! Those are things that I would eat on occasion in Michigan, but now that I can't have them, sound soooo delicious! On my trip to the mainland, I even suggested eating at Olive Garden for our girls' night out, I missed it that much. (Thankfully we decided against it).

I blame the TV. Most of the network commercials are for California affiliates, so we get advertisements for them as well. And the local commercials aren't always helpful since they sometimes advertise for the other islands.

I guess I'm learning the lesson that I tell my own children: Just because it's on TV, doesn't mean you get to have it.

After a two week trip to Michigan, I surprised myself from staying away from the things that I thought I had "wanted" so much. Except Panera. I suggested eating there at least 5 times. We did eat at restaurants most of the time, but mainly ones that had sentimental value. Or kids' meals.
Luke insisted on me taking this picture

The restaurant situation I was well aware of, but one thing that surprised me was the abundance of radio stations on the mainland! There were at least five country stations. Countless top 40. And even four NPR affiliates! Honestly, I spent more time scanning than listening. Despite having more options, I was constantly frustrated with the radio. Maybe it was because I drove more in those two weeks than in the last six months... but it might have been the 8 million radio choices.

Coming home I welcomed the limited choices.

When you listen to the radio and you don't like the song, you wait. There just isn't the option of another station playing the same genre of music. It's calming not having to frantically scan for the most perfect song ever. Or you can just listen to the Lion King Soundtrack 1,528 times.

After my trip, I realized it's nice to have your choices narrowed down. And eliminating the old favorites makes it easier to try new things, forcing you out of your comfort zone. For that, I'm glad that my kids took "ramen" and "thai food" yesterday on their pretend airplane trip. It lets me know that we are in this as a family, learning new things together. Hopefully, we'll enjoy some of them. And if not, at least we tried.
 
Practicing with chopsticks while Spiderman looks on

 But if you send me a box of White Castle, I'd still be pretty stoked.

April 19, 2012

Likeke Falls

We are really fortunate to have so many child-friendly outdoor activities to do on Oahu. This was the first hike where RaeRae made it the whole way without even asking to be carried, and Lucas pretty much led the way without any help. Maybe there were a few muddy spots they needed to be carried over, but they are much more independent and confident in their hiking.

This little gem of a hike is short and still gets to a waterfall. So it is awesome! 
 Although the kids think the sticks help them hike, I can't help but think about eyes getting poked.
 You have to cross a bit of river to get to a dry spot close to the falls
  Raging waterfall!
 
 Most of the other hikers "warned" us about this dog when we passed. A friendly neighbor dog just likes to come and bite the water. He doesn't really pay attention to the people much.
View from the boulder at the top where we climbed up and had our snack break. 
 
The tree roots and branches were helpful for climbing, since the rocks were pretty slippery.  
 
Heading back through the forest  
Looking forward to new challenges as the kids can walk longer and steeper climbs!


April 8, 2012

Honu - Turtle

Of all the Hawaiian wild life we encounter, my favorite has to be the green sea turtles, or honu. We've been fortunate enough to see them a few times underwater while snorkeling, but in honor of Kyle's cousin visiting, we went in search of them on dry land. There's a place on the North Shore called Turtle Beach, and surprisingly enough you're supposed to be able to see lots of turtles coming ashore and "basking" on the sand.

Warning: These videos are a little slow. Ha!

We started off eating at Kono's in Haleiwa Town. So fun to try a different restaurant every time you visit a place!
 
 At first you see one shadow of a turtle, then about eight of his friends.

You can see them pop their heads up out of the water!

video
After about two minutes, the kids got bored with the turtles and moved on to digging in the sand.
A beautiful beach to visit, but the rocky shore isn't the best for swimming. But it apparently makes a great turtle restaurant! 
One side is deserted, but you can follow the crowds to the turtles.
You can get close up and personal while they bask in the sun. 

 First they come on to the beach...
video
Lay there for a while...
 RaeRae observing behind the red rope, indicating the safe distance away from the turtles.
 A local group volunteers answering questions and keeping the honu safe from curious visitors. Most of the turtles are regulars, so they put up signage so you know how old they are and how much they weigh. I'm sure the turtles love that being public knowledge.
After laying around for a while... 
 they start the journey back to sea...
video
...and finish the journey back to sea!
video

You can hear her saying "I like honu" over and over again in the videos. 
 A day on the North Shore isn't complete without shave ice afterwards!