I am so glad you can be a part of our Hawaiian adventure.
Enjoy! --Kristine

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Reviews for 2011

I've had a little more time to do some reading these days, and I figured I'd leave you my reviews in case you are hunting for a good book for spring. 

I bought all of these to read on the iPad so they are pretty new to the stores. I didn't have much time for hunting, thus I based my selections on Editor's Picks at Amazon. If I were trying to earn money with this blog, now would be the time to direct you towards the ad bar. But, I'm not. No perks from Kia, no check from iTunes.

Anyway, the first book is a murder mystery with some family drama thrown into the equation. Faithful Place is set in Ireland with an interesting main character who escaped the ghetto of Dublin to become an undercover officer, and returns to solve a case that rattled his old neighborhood. The book was not too long, not too heady, and had just enough action to keep me interested and still believing the story was plausible. I finished the last half in a day because I was curious to see how it all played out. 

After the murder story, I opted for a change of pace. My Korean Deli is a funny memoir of a magazine editor who opts to open a deli in Brooklyn with his wife and her parents (his Korean in-laws). The story is light and amusing. While I am not done yet, I'd definitely recommend this one for a mini escape. Especially if you've ever imagined opening your own store (quilts, knitting supplies, designer baked goods, oh my!). It paints the harsh reality of small business ownership with a funny brush.    

Lastly, I have to mention my unexpected favorite book of 2011, Born to Run.  My fav quote about this one is that you'll like it, "even if you hate books and you hate running." Very true, indeed.

Happy reading! Please send me your suggestions, too.  I'm clearly game for anything. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Missy Kia & the Canyon

We bought a minivan today. Pretty exciting stuff! It is a 2006 Kia Sedona in light blue with just 25,000 miles (there are only about 30 miles of highway on Kauai-- so it is hard to rack up too many). Hopefully it serves us well on Kauai and Oahu, and is attractive on the resale side of the equation...

The kids love the "sports van," as Benji calls it. We named her Missy Kia, due to her license plate and brand name. Here are the photos from when we got home.

Pretty blue on the outside

The drivers

Tag is basking in the glory and sexiness of owning a minivan

Hawaii plate has a rainbow. Love it! We added the sticker-- are you surprised its a turtle? 

While the car and the beach consumed most of the day today, yesterday we did an all-day field trip and picnic at Waimea Canyon (Koke'e State Park). Here are some snapshots from our visit to the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

We found a perfect picnic site for lunch

The kids loved playing in this clump of trees

Watch out for Nene! State bird of HI (a native goose)

For your reference

The lookout was worth the drive. Cliffs and ocean views were gorgeous.

Views of the canyon during the drive back

Mom Mom and Benjamin

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two Turtles

Today was the big day! Tag trapped two turtles at the Valley House property. It was all because his good luck charm was with him-- Benjamin, of course.

Benj was there when the first turtle was trapped the last time we were on Kauai, for Tag's spring break class with his college students. And then Benj went out in the field with Tag for the first time today (along with the rest of us). We were seeking a jungle adventure, with hopes of finding turtles as an extra bonus.  

Here is photo story of our experience...

Park van by Kealia River at Valley House, apply bug spray

Walk towards water fall (or be carried)

Water fall from episodes of LOST (cool, huh?)

Watch Tag do the work

Enjoy view

Benji joins Tag

Empty trap

FULL trap-- two turtles to come home with us for further study


Friday, March 25, 2011

Kountry Kitchen

Hello fans,
I am proud to report we made it to the Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa today. Here is my brief review of some of our acquisitions:

Macadamia Nut Pancakes with Coconut Syrup: Sweet and local. Yum, yum!
Luau Omelet: Double Savory yumminess with a side of cornbread and hash browns
Sweet Bread French Toast: Big hit with the toddler palate

Tag and I went car shopping with Dad afterwards. We are on the hunt for our island vehicle (to buy now, move to Oahu, and then sell before we leave HI). Benjamin is angling for a sports car, and we are hoping for a used, reliable, cheap minivan. We need something to carry our family, guests, research gear and the occasional turtle (sometimes all at once). We've already bought a bumper sticker.

By the way, today is Prince Kuhio Day. The schools were closed in Hawaii, and we scored a half-off special strawberry cake at Safeway to mark the occasion. Apparently around 5pm the bakery staff realized they overestimated the number of people who'd want to eat strawberry cake to celebrate the Prince. Their loss, our gain.

So, all in all, a day filled with good eats and used car salesmen. I've had worse.

Waiting for a table

Worth every minute

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JD, Mom Mom & Costco

My parents arrived on Kauai today, by way of DC, LA and Honolulu (their original flight through Chicago was canceled). We promptly embarked on a family adventure... to Costco. We are now armed with papayas, avocados, pretzels filled with peanut butter (lots), macadamia nut cookies (even more), and a variety of other essentials for island living.

For $14 the whole family ate at the outdoor food court. Benjamin dissected and ate his pizza layer by layer (toppings, cheese, then crust), and Dad couldn't stop talking about the yumminess of his hot dog (no surprise there). We finished the meal with some frozen yogurt, which, by the way, is a great way to get your kids sticky before entering a shopping establishment.

Now we're home and it is nap time. Benji and Dad are asleep. Alice has woken up early and is reading with Mom. I am enjoying some moments free of supervision responsibilities. Tag is out repairing one of the traps that has a hole in the netting (not effective).

Sadly, no turtles in the traps just yet. This research demands patience... Tag says it takes the turtles about a week to discover the traps. Slow to act/move, I guess. Or, maybe we need to up the ante from sardines in the bait dish.    

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Alice and the toad

Since the last post we've been busy setting turtle traps. Today we went to "Valley House," a large private estate with a beautiful waterfall and river running through the property.  While Tag was busy working I played chasing games with the kids amongst the large tropical trees and near the reflection pool filled with lotus flowers.  This game was all done with the goal of producing long and deep naps in the afternoon. Result: positive.

During our adventure Alice and Benji also followed some peacocks around and spied on the orchids in the screened-in gazebo. It was a pretty idyllic setting, and I can easily imagine my fabulous life as the owner of Valley House. You'd all be invited, of course. 

Alice went off exploring near a palm tree and ran back screaming and motioning wildly.  I soon realized that she had moved a piece of palm frond on the ground and uncovered a large cane toad.  This made her daddy so proud (turning over logs to look for critters is a trademark of a dedicated herpetologist)!  Alas, no turtles in the traps yet... I can't wait to share some pictures of those ugly beasts. 
Alice and her discovery

Benji filled his new bucket at the beach yesterday

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First report from Kauai

We have arrived in Kauai a day and a half ago and we are starting to settle in. The flights went very well-- the only challenge was the vast quantity of stuff we were dragging around with us. Alice slept for most of the flight to Honolulu, and Benji seemed pretty entertained by the novelty of the whole flying experience. He was a huge fan of the airplane food, because the muffin came in a special compartment of the meal box. Hawaiian Airlines supplies lots of tropical juices in flight, so those were a big hit, too.  Benji wore his headset the whole time because I think he felt it made him look cool. I did not debate that. 

After going out for a local-style breakfast yesterday (Alice had keiki loco moco and loved it! More on that later...), we bought tons of groceries and supplies for the next month. Besides buying eggs, milk and all the usual stuff, we got the kids some big beach balls and bubbles. They have adapted pretty well, but still seem to be on California time. We were up at 5am today (before the roosters that crow each morning). 

Tag will probably start getting his research equipment organized today. That involves a trip to Dan's taro farm to get the turtle traps, which is a guaranteed adventure. Dan has been building tree houses on his large property to make an eco-village. Last time we were there I scored some free bananas from his tree. Way better than taro, in my opinion...

Anyway, here are a few pics from our house. Imagine the sounds of birds and geckos (and the occasional rooster) in the background to get the full effect.  
Tag, Benji and Alice playing in the front yard

Our house until the end of April

Benji has become an expert at finding the macadamia nuts, and using the  special nutcracker to get at the goods

Alice is getting so big!

Pondering the tropical flowers...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pack away superstition (next to the tank tops)

Sometimes I'm into the notion of getting signs from the universe to predict how future events will unfold. Not today.

My first official day away from the office and focused on packing for our trip began with news that a tsunami was hitting Hawaii, and we discovered our cat had an abscess. Instead of organizing toiletries in my ditty bag I was at Chico Hospital for Cats weighing in on the lancing and oozing of Addy's head. I had to unwind from the whole experience with a pedicure, which was also important for getting my feet beach ready. Later today we bid farewell to friends while out to dinner for the first time at the new Chico place, Farmstar pizza.

There are several things to note here: (1) while Hawaii was spared from the tsunami damage, the images from Japan are horrible so I send my healing thoughts around the globe, (2) Addy's head did indeed drain quite well but looks pretty undignified with a huge bald spot, (3) I used the words "ditty bag" purely for the amusement of my siblings because I think my dad is the only person who really says that anymore (or ever did?), and (4) my dinner shoes smushed the elaborate design that the sweet Vietnamese woman painted on my big toe and now it looks like bird poop (seriously).

Tomorrow I'll resume all efforts to pack my flip flops and sunscreen, and I'm sure it will go much better (or even just go... because I really didn't open a bag today). As soon as we land in Hawaii this blogging thing will begin in earnest. I expect all kinds of wit and wisdom to shine forth from the islands. Watch out.