To easily read my blog and not miss a post--SUBSCRIBE VIA E-MAIL

You can always comment using the "ANONYMOUS BUTTON."

Or just CLICK ON ONE OF THE LITTLE SQUARES at the bottom of my posts to let me know what you think. Easy-Peasy!

And Don't Forget To FEED MY FISH!!!! (at the bottom of the side column)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering Mom and Dad

Today is Memorial Day, set aside for remembering our loved ones who have passed away. It’s always nice to have a time where we focus on our family and friends who are no longer here to share our day-to-day activities, events, and memories.
My Parents, Betty and Gordon

I lost both parents within a four-year span of time—my dad, Gordon, first in 2004, then my mom, Betty, in 2008. I still want to pick up the phone and celebrate good news with her or cry on her shoulder when bad news invades my life. Who do I call now? Even though my husband and I share those happy or distressful moments, and my kids do as well, there’s just something missing when I can’t call Mom. I miss her very much.

My dad used to bring my kids all kinds of treasures he’d picked up at garage and estate sales or at resale shops. I still have the metal chain 1920s Flapper Purse he gave me years ago. He was an avid collector and I have kept a number of cherished items from his collections. I miss him very much.

My In-Laws, Adeline and Paul
I also think about my in-laws, Paul and Adeline, who passed away many years ago. Although my mother-in-law never saw her grandkids, my father-in-law knew Ian up to age 3, and was able to hold Ashley at two months. Both grandparents would have been so pleased with and proud of their grandchildren.

Memories of fun times and hilarious incidents still play in my brain when it comes to my own sets of grandparents. I pass those stories down to my kids. But the best news is knowing we’ll see them all again when we’re with the Lord someday.

Aren’t you glad to have this day to remember special people?

Mahalo for visiting!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Puka Shells

Puka Shells were very popular a number of years ago. And, as I recall, kind of expensive.

Puka means hole. The shells (from some kind of snail) are worn down by water and sand until a small hole appears in the center. These rounded shells come in all sizes and can be strung to make necklaces or bracelets.

I found my own shells while living in Hawaii and strung a wonderful choker out of them. Wore the thing day and night. But then, years later when our family was growing and I’d been away from the islands for a long time, our home was burglarized and the culprits took my beloved Puka Shell necklace.

I was bummed, but never tried to create a new one, even though I still had a little jar of extras. That’s because they were the rejects. Ones that weren’t just the right color or shape or size. Maybe they were lopsided or had a divot on one side.

The other day I decided it was time to dig out the jar, dump the contents, and see what I might be able to pull together. I didn’t have enough to make a complete necklace, but if I could add a nice cord to the ends, I might be able to wear my homemade Puka Shell necklace again!

Click here for a photo and an explanation of a Puka Shell:

Here’s the best part—my wonderful Puka Shell Necklace creation!

Mahalo for visiting!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Wet or Dry???

Even in Hawaii there are two sides of every island with some distinction in climate. Yes, it’s mild and gorgeous every day all year long with a splash of rain everyday. And although one island is generally wetter (Kauai) than another, every island has variety.

Windward is the wet side of the island (the east)

Leeward is the dry side of the island (the west)

I hope you’re learning lots about Hawaii. With last Thursday’s post and today’s, you should never get lost, and always know what side of the island you’re on, right??

And, check out another one of my stuffed doggies! Looks to me like he’s prepared with a hooded sweatshirt and heading to the windward side of the island.

Mahalo for visiting!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mauka or Makai???

If you’ve ever visited the islands you may have heard someone describe a location as being mauka or maybe makai.

Mauka means toward the mountains, so wherever you are in relation to the mountains, the direction you need to go is toward them. So, sometimes it may be east, sometimes west, or sometimes north or south. Confusing? Maybe at first, but soon you get used to it.

Makai means toward the ocean. Wherever you are, if you need to head makai, it’s toward the ocean! Simple, huh?

And to confuse things a bit more, Ewa is a city on the west side of the island and is sometimes used to indicate going west.

Of course, there has to be a directional term to indicate east, right? Diamond Head (the volcano crater you can see from Waikiki) is sometimes used as an indicator for east.

So, when in the islands, go mauka to experience the lush vegetation and go makai to get your toes wet!

See my stuffed Doggie?? He's donned some flip-flops and is ready for some beach time--headed Makai!

Visit on Monday for more information and insight on Hawaii Five-O, and again on Thursday for another quick directional lesson!

Mahalo for visiting!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Visiting Tutu in Hawaii—Part 2

My friend, Christine, visited Hawaii every year (at least once, some years more often) to spend time with her grandma (Tutu.) Every visit lasted at least a month and Christine has wonderful memories of her time in Hawaii. This is part two of her memory sharing with my blog readers.

Her grandma lived most of her life in Tahiti, but in 1967 she moved to Aina Haina on Oahu where she lived until she passed away in 1998.

Christine has visited only one other island besides Oahu, and that was Kauai for her honeymoon. As wedding gifts people gave them excursions and meals out to use while visiting Kauai. She and her husband went scuba diving, swam with huge turtles, took a helicopter ride, kayaked, attended a luau, and ate very well!

One funny memory for Christine was during the scuba dive. Her fellow divers began calling her “shark bait” because she was continually attracting sharks. They were Nurse Sharks and are not considered dangerous. Attacks that have resulted in injuries were provoked. For more information on these sharks, visit this site:

Christine’s grandmother’s cousin, Moana, still lives in Hawaii and has written a travel book. Her uncle was a photographer who took gorgeous photos of Hanauma Bay. During her childhood visits to the bay, Christine recalls how deserted the area was. Hmm . . . not so much today!

Christine's Grandmother, Grandfather,
and Her Father as a Baby in Tahiti

Although she has no current plans to visit Hawaii again, Christine says given the opportunity she’d go in a heartbeat!

Don’t forget to take me! And thanks for sharing your experiences, Christine!

Mahalo for visiting!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Visiting Tutu in Hawaii—Part 1

My friend, Christine, visited Hawaii every year (at least once, some years more often) to spend time with her grandma (Tutu.) Every visit lasted at least a month and Christine has wonderful memories of her time in Hawaii. I asked if she would share some of her favorites with my blog readers.

Banyan Trees in Kapiolani Park
Her grandma lived most of her life in Tahiti. When she moved to Hawaii, she chose a quaint neighborhood on Oahu called Aina Haina. The thing Christine remembers most about her grandma’s home were the wonderful scents of the ocean, flowers, and plants. Her property hosted a huge mango tree, bananas, and plumerias. Christine remembers going to the zoo and seeing the hundreds of Banyan Trees in Kapiolani Park.

What did Christine do all day for a month or longer? Ahh . . . wonderful, delightful things every kid would love. Her grandma knew all the paths through the neighborhood that led to private beaches. They would body surf all day and just enjoy the sun, sand, and surf.

When they weren’t at the beach the kids would hunt down frogs in the Aina Haina area. If one of them died, they’d do elaborate funerals for them. Another fun activity they did was to make leis from the plumerias on the property. The flowers came in several different colors and made perfect, colorful leis. But one of Christine’s favorite memories was receiving candy leis from her grandma.

Don’t you wish you could have spent a month in Hawaii enjoying the ocean and sun, making leis, eating mangos and bananas right off the trees, and exploring the island?

Me too!

Join me on Monday for more about Christine and her experiences in Hawaii.

Mahalo for visiting!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Hau’oli La Makuahine!

Four Generations! My mom, me, my maternal
grandma, and my daughter (age 6)
Hope all you moms out there had a wonderful Happy Mother’s Day (Hau’oli La Makuahine!)

Here's a picture of the four generations of moms in my family. Ashley is now 26 and married, but not yet a mom. Make me a grandma, Ash!!!

Hmm . . . I wish I could have celebrated Mother's Day by scrunching my toes in warm Hawaiian sand while sauntering along the shore and drawing in the salty scents of aqua blue breaking waves.

But, I settled for a nice day with family. What could be better than that? Especially when I get to plant and hang my new flowering baskets and vegetable gardens. Yup—I did it! Can’t plant in my yard because of the deer and bunnies, so it’s on the deck for everything.

Can’t wait to try the topsy-turvy tomato planters as well as the peppers (I have about five different types of peppers) and strawberries too. I already have snow peas and bush beans growing in boxes on the deck. And then there are the three hanging baskets filled with flowers. I should post some pictures once I get everything in place, huh? The Pacific Northwest may not have the sun like Hawaii, but I like to think I can still grow a little produce during our short summer!

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day? And what are you planting this spring? Whatever project you’re working on—enjoy!

Mahalo for visiting!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Boy’s Day!

Today is Boy’s Day in Hawaii. In Japan they have combined the Boy’s Day and Girl’s Day celebrations and honor both on May 5 as Children’s Day.

Families in Hawaii (particularly those with a Japanese heritage) will hang Carp Banners outside their homes, each one representing a son in the family. These banners are called Koi-Nobori.

As you would suspect, the largest carp is at the top and honors the oldest son. The smallest at the bottom honors the youngest son in the family.

Other items on display in the homes might include swords, bows, arrows, and special Boy’s Day dolls (like the dolls displayed during Girl’s Day) called Musha-Ningyo. These dolls are elaborate and represent warriors and legendary heroes.

When I lived in Hawaii my male friends celebrated girl’s day with us by bringing us guava cake. I’m not sure what we did for the guys, but it must have something REALLY, REALLY SPECIAL since I can’t recall! Hey—I think girls deserve to be spoiled, don’t you?

For more information on the history of this celebration, please visit this site:

For more information on the Boy’s Day dolls, click on this link:

Mahalo for visiting!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Saimin—A Hawaiian Staple

Saimin is not simply popular in the islands, but is actually considered the national (or state) dish of Hawaii. Served all over the islands, saimin is also on McDonald’s menu in Hawaii. Check out this web site for more information on saimin at McDonald’s and an interesting story on how that came about.

My oldest son stopped by on the day I made saimin for dinner. Both boys and my husband loved it. The best thing about this recipe is you can add anything you want to make it unique to you and your tastes. And, it’s so easy to prepare.

I served my saimin with chopsticks and a spoon, but the best part is slurping the liquid after you’re done eating most of the noodles and toppings. Yum!!

Hawaiian Saimin

4 quarts water
1 T salt
1 (8 oz) package dried Japanese soba noodles
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 T fresh ginger (I used the powdered ginger and also powdered garlic)
2 T soy sauce
Toppings (your choice—spam, ham, pork, carrots, cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, peas, eggs, shrimp, or anything else you can imagine!) I added egg, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and smoked turkey.

Cook noodles in boiling water and salt for 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Heat chicken broth, ginger (and garlic if you like it) to a slight boil. (Hint: I added the soy in the first step and tasted the broth to see if it was seasoned well enough before moving forward.) Add the toppings and soy (if you haven't already), simmering for several minutes. (I dribbled in beaten eggs rather than cooking them first. It worked well.)

Place noodles in a bowl and spoon the broth over them.

You can add additional uncooked toppings as a garnish (I added green onions and tomatoes) Enjoy!

Mahalo for visiting!