Hello friends! It's been awhile since I've posted. I started a new job, and we're trying to move (can someone please sell their house? Ugh). BUT, in the midst of all this we just took a trip with my husband's side of the family to Oahu.
Fun fact about me, I went to BYU-Hawaii as a visiting student 15 years ago. I LOVED being there, it was a wonderful experience in my life. Unfortunately, I haven't been back since, but I have thought about Hawaii and my deep and abiding love of it several times. So when my mother in law said she wanted to take the whole family on a trip somewhere and Hawaii was brought up, I was ALL for it!
Now that things are opening up, and you've been trapped in your house for a year, it is the perfect time to plan a trip to Hawaii! However, things are still different due to COVID restrictions, so I want to give you some tips to make your trip go smoothly. Note, this is only for the island of Oahu, if you are planning your Hawaii trip to another island, the COVID rules are helpful, but I can't give you suggestions on places to go.
How to get to Hawaii:
The first thing you'll need to do is go to the Travel Safe Hawaii website and create an account. Then check out the site for trusted partners so you'll know where you can get your COVID test from.
A few things to note:
Where to stay on Oahu:
Likely, the majority of people will stay in a hotel in Honolulu. I honestly don't think this is the best choice. Honolulu and Waikiki are so overcrowded I don't want to spend the majority of my time there. I think it's better to stay on the north side of the island. As a student I lived in Laie, and we stayed in Kahuku, which is right next to Laie. There is a lot of great place to visit on the North shore (as well as northeast and northwest) and it's such a beautiful side of the island.
Airbnb and VRBO are both great options to find housing. This time we stayed in a gorgeous home which fit our entire extended family of 17 people.
Things to Do on Oahu:
Now I'll just give you a brief list of places to visit while on Oahu. There are several musts that you won't want to miss, such as:
3. Pearl Harbor: You really can't miss going to Pearl Harbor while on Oahu. Plan a Honolulu day and make sure this is your first stop. There is so much to do and see there. The biggest attraction is the U.S.S. Arizona memorial. It is poetic and sad to be there, and you really ought to go. Right now you need to reserve tickets in advance (when normally you can just show up the same day.) Tickets become available seven days in advance at 3 PM Hawaii time. Since we had so many tickets to get there were four of us at the ready (because one person can reserve up to five tickets) and as soon as 6 PM hit (since we're three hours ahead) we all tried to get tickets for the slot we wanted, and still ended up with 5 people having to go an hour later than the rest of us. There are 30 reservations per slot so don't delay!
While you're there you can also check out the U.S.S. Bowfin, and take the bus on base to see the air museum and the U.S.S. Missouri.
4. The Swap Meet: The Sweep Meet is a fun shopping experience that takes place every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. To plan a good Honolulu day you'll need to include Pearl Harbor, the Swap Meet and...
5. Hiking Diamond Head: Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone that was also used by the military. There is a lot to see on the hike itself, and the views at the top are amazing.
6. Hale'iwa: When I think of the North Shore, I think of Hale'iwa. It has some beautiful beaches, and it's a great place to take a surfing lesson! While you're there, head to Aoki's or Matsumoto's for some delicious shave ice! Even though things are a little different with COVID, Hale'iwa is also a great town to get some shopping done!
7. Lai'e Falls: This is a great hike behind BYU-Hawaii. Fun fact, my roommate and I tried to hike to it in 2006 and never found the falls. We hiked to the top of the mountain instead and saw the most beatiful views. Either way, it'll be a hike you don't regret.
8. Kualoa Ranch and Chinaman's Hat: If you are a big Jurassic Park fan like Alicia is, you're not going to want to miss Kualoa Ranch, where the movie was filmed. Afterwards, head over to Chinaman's hat, a small island that you can walk to in low tide, but you can also kayak out to!
9. Byodo-in Temple: This beautiful Buddhist temple in Kahaluu, Hawaii is a smaller replica of the one in Uji, Japan. The grounds are peaceful. It's a great place to walk around, and enjoy the koi ponds while you're there!
10. snorkeling on the North shore: While you're on Oahu make sure you see some great underwater wildlife by snorkeling! Turtle Bay gives you three great spots for your Hawaii snorkeling adventure: Three Tables, Kuilima Cove, and Shark's Cove!
Places to Eat in Hawaii
During your Honolulu day, make sure you grab some food at Honolulu Burger Co.! I had a Kalua Pig burger and, it was amazing!
Some other great places to eat are:
Ted's Bakery: Get a delicious pastry with your katsu chicken and enjoy it at Sunset Beach!
Mike's Huli Chicken: head to the Kahuku Food Truck area to get some of this delicious chicken featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives! There are also a ton of other delicious food options there, so you can go back several days and try them all! I also highly recommend Da Brazilian Braddahs.
Ken's Fresh Fish: I mean, the name says it all. You're in Hawaii so, treat yo' self to the best fish!
I really hope you use this list to plan your Hawaiian get away to Oahu. Hawaii is a beautiful place, get out there and explore! You will create memories to last a lifetime! Come back and tell me about it after you do!
I hope everyone had a good long weekend! We are all still at home here as I am still on my FMLA and my husband has gone back to work, but he is still working from home full time. I've been trying to do projects around the house to keep myself busy. I'm trying to still be slow and careful and not exercise too much since I haven't hit six weeks since my C-section yet. It is hard to just be at home all the time. The struggle of COVID was compounded by the heat of the valley, and has now been compounded by a grieving family. We just really needed a nice day that would be a change of pace for us.
So Saturday morning my husband suggested we take a day trip somewhere cooler. Even though Phoenix is called "The Valley of the Sun," there are plenty of much cooler places in Arizona to go to. So we loaded up in the car and drove up north to go to Bearizona!
We hit a lot of heavy traffic (long holiday weekend means everyone wants to get out of the heat). When we finally got up to Bearizona however, we had a lot of fun!
"What is Bearizona?" You ask? Well, it is a wildlife preserve in Williams, Arizona where you can see a lot of great wildlife.
There are two parts to the park. First is the driving section. You stay in your car and drive through the preserve. You can see deer, mountain goats, sheep, wolves, burros, bison, and of course, bears. You can drive through that section of the preserve as many times as you'd like. We went through twice. The animals can get very close to your car! It's pretty cool to see them all. When you drive through the sections with the bears and wolves you have to keep your windows rolled up and the car locked.
Here is a fun video of some bison crossing the road ahead of us. We all patiently waited for them to move along to the other side.
There is also a part of the preserve where you can walk around and see more animals. We saw porcupine, beavers, baby grizzly bears, foxes, cute little otters, and big beautiful jaguars (and a lot more!) Normally they also have a few cool shows for you to enjoy, but the shows are nixed right now because of COVID. Even without the shows Bearizona was a neat place to enjoy. It got us out of the house, and it was fun to see our daughter so excited by all the different animals. It made my husband's bear jokes almost "bearable" (you see what I did there?)
We like to go on a lot of fun trips in this family. If you go to our travel category you can see other posts we've done on places we've gone either for longer trips, or just short, fun day trips.
What trips have you taken with your family? What do you like to do when you just have a day to get out of your house for a bit? What is your most favorite trip you've ever taken?
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. But, all opinions expressed are my own.
No one reminded me that yesterday was Sister's Day! I found out late in the evening! It was one of my sister's wedding anniversary. So, in honor of those two things, I thought I would re-post this popular account of our sister's retreat last year. I've been hoping that we could do another on this year, but with the pandemic going on, I don't know if it will happen. As I reviewed this post, it makes me hope it happens even more!
I have 4 wonderful sisters. I love them all dearly and one thing I have wanted to do for a long time is go a sister's get-away with them. Unfortunately, one of our sisters passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. Since that time we have all felt a longing to hang onto each other a little more tightly. So, when my sister Carol's children gave her a get-away trip with her sisters for her birthday, it was the perfect way to get us started at taking time to be with each other! THANKS CAROL'S KIDS!
The plans for this trip all came about very quickly, so it required some quick planning and organizing on all our parts to make it happen. Our youngest sister wasn't able to make it happen this time and we really missed having her on the trip with us. But, the three of us that did go had so much fun that we have promised her that we will plan another trip a little farther in advance so that she can make arrangements in time.
Our trip was to a coastal town in California called Cayucos. Our hotel was right on the beach! It was amazing! Since I live in Arizona, that meant a plane flight for me. Here is how I made it happen as inexpensively as possible:
The Plane Flight:
We stayed at the Shoreline Inn in Cayucos. The sliding back door of our room opened up to this gorgeous view of the ocean. When they say shoreline, they mean it! We were right on the beach and it was wonderful!
The first day that we were there, the weather was beautiful and we saw a large pod of dolphins! The water was like glass, with only tiny, near to the shore waves and it was easy to see the dolphins jumping and swimming and enjoying themselves. It was amazing! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so you will just have to trust me that it was a fantastic sight!
While we were there, we drove to neighboring areas of Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Cambria. The views were beautiful and we ate some wonderful seafood at various restaurants. I was in heaven, eating salmon and shrimp!
As you can see in the picture above, on our 3rd day, the fog came in and the waves started getting higher, too. I found quite a few shells that were in perfect condition and this funny little picture in the sand, naturally formed by seaweed.
My sisters and I had a great time staying up late laughing, crying and talking. It was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend to everyone that you take some time to spend with your sisters, or daughters or close friends. It was a great way to relax, recharge and reconnect. I can hardly wait to do it again!
Speaking of sisters, last year my sister gave us each this necklace to celebrate our sisterhood! You can order similar ones at this website.
To read more about gifts that give twice, go to this post.
This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated for purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. All views expressed are my own. Thank you for your support!
When you have 22 people together on a trip to Disneyland, it isn't very feasible to buy everyone all of the fun and delicious looking treats that they will see and want in the park! So, Maddy and I planned in advance how we could make the food part of the trip less expensive, keeping in the Disney theme, fun and delicious all at the same time. Here is what we did:
Besides making all of those treats, we also found fruit snacks with Frozen and Toy Story themes, Yogurt Shakes with a Star Wars theme and Disney themed breakfast cereals for day 2. The kids ended up drinking the Yogurt Shakes at the house before leaving. Snacks without a Disney theme included Handi-Snack Bread Sticks with cheese and Fig Bars from Costco. There were plenty of snacks for everyone! We even had some left over for the ride home and it cost so much less that the price of purchasing them in the park! I was able to freeze or refrigerate everything to keep them fresh until the trip. Each day we set out the snacks for that day and everyone packed up what they needed for the day.
So, if you are planning a big trip, plan ahead! It was really a lot of fun to see what I could come up with and it was so great to see how happy the kids were to see all of those great snacks! Have you made some DIY Disney snacks that you can share with us? We'd love to hear about them.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!