Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Equinox!

We had a great day on the Spring Equinox this year.... can't say it's feeling particularly "springy"! Celebrating the seasons is sure different when living closer to the equator. The hours of day and night don't change a whole lot and there aren't 4 definite seasons to mark. But we've been continuing to celebrate Solstice and Equinox regardless!

We started our Equinox celebration with an amazing morning at Papohaku beach. There were millions of shells on the beach that day and we had lots of fun collecting. It was a glorious, calm morning, with no wind and very low swell. This beach is usually very dangerous for swimming but that morning we stripped down and jumped in for a celebratory dip! It was bliss!

Collecting treasures from the sea.

John found this tiny little brittlestar among the shells... the first seastar we've seen washed up on the beach or under water. It was Bella's idea to write "Little Seastar" beside it! I love this photo!

Riding home from the beach. Bella rode down with John and Thor rode home.

Later that afternoon we hiked into the old tent camp and baked potatoes in the fire, swam in the ocean, checked out a huge monk seal, hung out on the beach and enjoyed a yummy dinner of potatoes and chili and other fixins', and a big fresh green salad. It felt very luxurious to be eating so well at a picnic on the beach!

A tired monk seal... they fish at night and sleep all day. 

Zara hanging out in a tree... taking in the view!

Enjoying a delicious dinner.

A great ending to a wonderful day. We hiked out with headlamps and everyone slept well!

This week has been full of "friend" time, much of it spent at the beach. Donna and I went for a great hike along the coast while her au pairs watched all the kids. What a treat! John and Mike hiked down to Kalaupapa for a day and really enjoyed that. Today we visited a macadamia nut farm, an old restored sugar mill and museum, and enjoyed our last meal together with lots of fresh food from the garden. We made tomato pies and a HUGE fresh green salad. It was a feast!

I made three pies tonight. This one got a bit toasty as the wood fire oven was very hot tonight, but they tasted divine! I LOVE this recipe! It is from my friend Heather and you can find it here. Almost everyone who tries this tomato pie wants the recipe! 

Donna whipped up this amazing basil vinaigrette that we've been enjoying since they got here. Little did I know the recipe was in my rebar book sitting my cabinet! If you have the rebar cookbook and haven't tried this one.... try it (page 20)! If you don't have the book, here's the recipe:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 oz. fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 cup olive oil

Combine all the ingredients, except oil, in a food processor and blend (we used our Vitamix). Slowly add olive oil in a slow, thin stream until thick and creamy.

This is definitely our new favorite salad dressing and makes our fresh greens taste even better! A good name for this dressing might be Green Goddess! It is heavenly!

Zara, Theresa, and Maren (the au pairs) are sleeping on the trampoline tonight under the stars. It's really windy tonight but they are cozy in thick sleeping bags. Tomorrow we'll have a swim with our friends and then say good-bye. In Hawaiian they say "a hui hou" - until we meet again. I like that much better than good-bye! Aloha!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun with friends!

We've had a lovely week with Donna and Mike here...lots of trips to the beach, snorkeling, playing, hiking, visiting, laughing.... it's been a great visit so far!

Kids playing at beautiful Papohaku beach - notice that we're the only ones on the beach?
Only in Molokai!

Snorkeling - saw quite a few fish that day.

Soaking up the sun.

I love those crystal clear, aqua waves!

We spent a day last week on the east side of the island exploring the Halawa Valley. It's at the VERY end of the road! A beautiful, lush, tropical valley with 2 waterfalls at the head of it. After a little briefing in Hawaiian culture, we hiked up the trail to the falls. (about 4.5 miles round trip)

This is the start of the hike... a little river crossing - the first of three.

It was so lush and green! A very easy trail. The kids did really well on it although we did have to bribe encourage them with popcorn a few times!

All the recent rain meant a LOT of mosquitos! Other than that it was a wonderful hike!

We were all happy to reach the falls! They were beautiful. I don't have a photo that shows the top but they were pretty high.

Brave swimmers! A few people went in and it was all fun until Zara spotted a BIG, dead, wild pig in the pool... yuck! It must have got caught in the flooding 2 weeks ago and ended up there. NOT a pretty sight. Definitely freaked her out! 

My sweet girl.

Thor being a monkey with his orange peel!

Wishing you all a wonderful week! xo

Monday, March 12, 2012

Island adventures!

We just got back from a week long adventure on Kauai! We're still trying to dry out after the heaviest rainfall I've ever seen. We went over there to meet up with my friend Lana and her family from Vancouver Island. They came to escape the rain! Unfortunately for them and the thousands of other tourists in the Hawaiian Islands last week, the Universe had other plans. Kauai got hit the hardest by the tropical storm, with flooding, flash floods, landslides, road and bridge closures, lightening and thunder storms that lit up the sky ALL night long... it was pretty exciting! We didn't mind as it was an interesting change from our lovely Molokai winter weather, but many others were not so amused. We spent much of the first few days inside doing puzzles, visiting, drinking tea and bailey's, trying to stay warm and dry while listening to the storm outside.

We did get a few little breaks in the weather and made the most of it when we could get outside. The most "touristy" thing we did was go to the Smith Family Luau. We all loved it! A big Hawaiian Luau feast... the sweet and sour mahi mahi was delicious... then a great show with traditional dancing from all the different Polynisian/South Pacific cultures that have settled these islands.

The peacocks were there to greet us!

LOVE those colors!

Strutting his stuff!

The kids had fun running around and exploring.

We did have one glorious, sunny day that we spent on the beach in Poipu (south part of the island) with our dear friends Sam and Summer. They have just moved from Molokai to Kauai and we are missing them! So it was wonderful to spend a day with them catching up, playing on the beach and soaking up the sunshine.

Just before we left the beach, two humpback whales decided to put on a show! They breached(together) about 5 or 6 times. Then they did some tail and fin slapping before swimming slowly away. It was spectacular. The energy on the beach was just electric as everyone ooohh'd and aaahh'd and gasped in delight! A magical day at the beach!

Good friends... Summer and Zara.

After the beach, Sam and Summer showed us their new home. (They hope to move in sometime this week). We stopped on the way up to admire a waterfall - the waterfalls all over the island were incredible.... just GUSHING after all the rain. So beautiful!

This was the one photo we got of the kids and I while we were there!

Thor had fun chasing the feral chickens and roosters! There was a hurricane on Kauai a number of years back, and many of the chickens escaped in the storm. They continue to multiply and are absolutely EVERYWHERE on the island!

After a yummy Thai food dinner together, Summer came home with us for a sleepover. Another storm hit that night and none of us slept very well! We woke the next morning to find that the bridge east of us (between us in Princeville and Summer's folks in Kapaa) was closed... AGAIN... due to another landslide in the night. So we did what we had been doing lots of that week.... we watched TV and ate lots of good food!

Thank goodness there were two TV's in the condo! No fighting over what to watch!

Sam and Bill were able to pick up Summer late in the afternoon once the bridge re-opened. Zara was so sad to say good-bye to her sweet friend. Just as they were leaving, Lana and her family joined us for a soak in the hot tub and some quick dips in the (very cold) pool. It was so nice to spend time with them. I cherished the girlfriend time with Lana and Sam, and the kids enjoyed playing with good friends. It was a great trip, inspite of the rain and stormy weather. The weather certainly didn't stop us from falling in love with Kauai!

And having good friends there will draw us back again soon!
(Sam and I)

After sitting in the Lihue airport for 5 hours due to a cancelled flight, we finally arrived home.... to MORE friends! Donna and Mike (from Kelowna) and kids and au pairs were waiting for us at our place with dinner on the table. It's so fun to have them here on Molokai!

Sitting outside watching the sunset.

And what a sunset it was!

John read the kids some bedtime stories while we finished up the dishes.
 And a great night was had by all!! We feel so blessed to be spending time with friends.

While I was in Kauai with the kids, John was on his own adventure down in Kalaupapa (the former leper colony) where Mom and Dad and I did our mule trip in December. He spent 3 1/2 days down there with a friend who works for the National Park and thoroughly enjoyed it!

All is well in our world! Aloha!