Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Christmas

Our Christmas was wonderful!
We both had to work on Christmas Eve
but when I got home a little after 8pm we ate cookies and watched Elf
{we love that movie}
And we opened one present from each other.
I unwrapped a cute pink zip-up sweatshirt
and Zach unwrapped a word of the day calendar. 

We woke up around 7:30 on Christmas morning, excited for the day.
We made a good breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns.
We talked with our families and then opened up the rest of our presents. 


Our display of Christmas goodies 
{we opened our presents by the fire}


Thank you to everyone who sent us a Christmas card!
We enjoyed looking at all our Christmas cards throughout the month.

Thank you to our friends and family who sent us presents.
We love all of our gifts.

My favorite is my stocking stuffer...


Zach made me 12 coupons (one for each month starting in January)
which I love, it was so thoughtful and creative!


I got Zach a coffee mug with a picture of him on the scooter
and the top says "boot scootin' boogie"
He loves it and thinks it's hilarious.


His mug on a mug


Zach also got me the Joy of Cooking cookbook,
which I love and think will come in handy.

And it fits perfectly in the corner shelf in our kitchen.

We were hoping we could have gone to the beach on Christmas day but it rained for a good 2 hours in the morning and then the rest of the day was overcast.
But in the afternoon we walked to the little park by our apartment and played frisbee.
Then we went for a little scoot ride to the beach to take a few pictures. 

I got Zach this aloha shirt sort of as a joke 
but he loves it.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Our Hawaiian snowman

Zach's Christmas extended a few days.
Yesterday his gift from his brother arrived
and Zach was beyond thrilled to find...


...that Keith got him a speargun so he could go spearfishing.
When we first started talking about moving to Hawaii Zach talked about wanting to get good at spearfishing, and now he can.
He is so excited to go out and try it
and I'm excited for when he does get good at it and catches us some fish we can cook up!
........

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and holiday season!
We sure did! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Any Advice?

We've been enjoying making our apartment our home. 
It's been fun.

I haven't decorated too much yet but I have a lot of ideas for projects.
I'm going to have to be patient with this task and just do little things here and there when I can.
We did turn our walk-in closet into our bedroom, literally, it's a room for our bed!
We bought a full futon mattress (that fits perfectly), a mattress pad, and foam topper. 
It's quite cozy and comfy. 
We love it.

 I would like to make a headboard just to give it a little something. 

This is how Zach finds me most mornings...wrapped up in my cocoon.

With our bed in the closet that gives us space for a living room.
We are still searching for a couch, coffee table, and area rug.
We hope to have our living room complete shortly after the new year. 

On my days off I try to bake and cook.
I really enjoy baking...there are so many recipes I want to try!
{Must be patient with this too}

It's hard to cook when I work nights and us having opposite schedules.
We've had a few successful meals like broccoli and chicken casserole, chicken enchiladas, and stuffed bell peppers. 
But we need to get better at meal planning. 
Sometimes we feel lost with grocery shopping, 
especially with our budget, which changes from pay check to pay check. 

So, I am writing this blog with the intention of getting advice, ideas, and suggestions on how to plan weekly/monthly meals and than effectively budget for them. 
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

We hope you are all enjoying this holiday season.
The weather on the island has been overcast, windy and rainy.
Zach's had a few wet days on the boot scoot but he just laughs.

The other night I came home
and found this
It made me laugh
We had to come up with clever ways to hide our Christmas presents for each other. 
And no, I didn't peek! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Stockings Are Hung!

A big thanks to our parents for sending us boxes filled with Christmas decorations so we could spread Christmas cheer in our apartment! We did splurge and bought a fresh 2 foot Christmas tree, which we l.o.v.e although it's already turning brown--hold on little tree just 9 more days!! 

We've been jamming Christmas tunes and I love singing along (I can't carry a tune to save my life...poor Zach) but I love it and Zach gets to laugh at me.
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
(the Home Alone version) is our favorite.


Our Christmas shopping and card sending are finished. 
Our presents are wrapped.
And stockings are hung. 


I've already gone through one container of eggnog.
Cookies have been baked and eaten {need to bake more, for Santa of course} 
And next on our list is Christmas light hunting.

We are excited for Christmas!

Riding home on the boot scoot with our little tree

Zach's grandma gave me these ornaments a few years ago

 We love our lights

We bought this little starfish and I turned it into our tree-topper

Our Christmas display

Mele Kalikimaka!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Zach's Notes

Zach's Notes - A semi-annual installment by Zach. Be forewarned!


We've been in our apartment now for a month, Hawaii for about three months and we continue to see/hear/do new things. Some things I've learned since being out here:

1. Hawaii really is awesome. Why did I wait so long to move out here?
2. Hawaiian people are incredibly friendly and helpful.
3. The ocean needs to be respected at all times.
4. Moving to a new town is very hard, it's all about the little victories.
5. Having to completely furnish an apartment is incredibly expensive. It seems everyday there is something else that Sara needs. I don't get it.
6. Free, unlocked wifi is awesome!
7. Unlike Kevin McCallister, I do like spending Christmas in a tropical climate. Walking around in sandals and t-shirts and going to the beach in December is better than I thought it would be.
8. Sara is the best roommate ever! So sporadic and energetic!
video

Today was the Honolulu marathon and we decided that since we weren't running in it, we could at least wake up early and cheer on the runners. It was a bright morning with a slight breeze which I think  felt good to the runners. It was pretty cool seeing 30,000 people running down the street. Some of them were wearing crazy costumes. For the little while that we watched, we saw Spiderman in full costume, two sets of brides/grooms, a bunch of Ms. Clauses, a few Wonder Womans, some sort of Tiger Man (with a full cape), and a lot of people wearing clown wigs. oh and Deadmou5 showed up, too.


Not wanting to be outdone by the lady with the accordion and jingle bells, we put a lot of energy into our cheering efforts.


During a lull in the action, Sara showed me how she would run a marathon if she was ever was signed up for one.
video

We are having a great time and want to share the experience with anyone who is interested. Feel free to come out for a visit, we have space for you! Or just write us or send us presents. It is Christmas time after all. 441-A Kuliouou Rd Honolulu, HI 96821


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life Is Good!


We absolutely love where we live and we feel so lucky and happy we made our dream of living close to the ocean come true! This evening I went for a walk and on my way back I turned the corner and the ocean was right there facing me. It brought a sense of calmness over me and I couldn't help but smile. It's weird, but sometimes we forget we are living in Hawaii, we get caught up in other things but then we look out our kitchen window and see the ocean or drive 10 minutes to an awesome beach and we say, "wow, we live here and love it!" My walk was definitely one of those ah-ha moments. I sat and watched as the outrigger canoes were speeding by. We truly love being here.


One of the things we've been doing in the mornings together before one of us heads off to work has been exploring. We love hopping on the scoot or boot scoot (it's official name) and finding beach access through some incredible residential areas. We can't believe some of the houses we've seen with the ocean as their back yards. The picture below is an example of that, homes are inches away from those palm trees. And that big building in the background is just a few blocks from our apartment. Also we've started a collection of sea glass so it's been fun walking along the beach finding pieces.


One of our explorations was to find Dog The Bounty Hunter's home. Zach knew the street to look down and he was told he wouldn't miss it. We definitely didn't miss it since his face is plastered to his gate. Zach was beyond thrilled.


Where we live there's also a lot of marinas and canals, which I think is awesome! I love seeing all the boats, kayaks, and paddle boards out in the water. The other morning on our way to the beach we stopped to watch a little Christmas parade and we're hoping we'll get to see the Christmas light boat parade in a few weekends. We are getting pretty excited for Christmas, we can't wait to decorate our apartment!


One different thing about living on the island is at the end of each month people put their "junk" out on the curb to be collected on trash day. But before trash day people are welcome to take all they want and all they can carry. We talked about maybe getting some things if we saw something we needed and in okay condition. One night I came home from work and saw a yellow shoe rack sitting out front our front door with our shoes in it. Then a few nights later Zach had lunch with me at work and he was so excited because on his drive over to meet me he saw a leather chair on the side of the road. He told me he was going to check it out on his way home. When I got home that night I was greeted with a "new" brown leather chair in our living room. Then Zach flopped onto it and pushed it into its reclined position. He loves it. At first I wasn't too fond of it but now I'm glad we have it. I just can't believe he walked home with it over his back. And the other morning we picked up wooden dinning table chair that I hope to sand and paint. 

Zach loves kickin' back in his leather-bound scholarly chair.

We are still working on setting up our home. We are hoping to get our bed situation figured out and a sofa soon. But we love our apartment. It's so nice to come home to something that is ours. This is our table and 2 plates. It's not much but we are happy.


Now we can't wait to have visitors to share this awesome place with!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving

This was my 3rd Thanksgiving away from home and missing out on the fall season. But I am extremely thankful for where I am right now and that Zach and I have embarked on this new journey together. We both have so much to be thankful for…each other, our friends and family, our health, our jobs, our apartment, and of course living in Hawaii. 

 This was our first Thanksgiving together in a long time and the day was perfect! Zach had to work 5 hours but gets double time pay, which is sweet. I had Wednesday and Thursday off so I baked pies and walked to explore our area a little more…we live so close to the ocean, however it’s not the beach, you can’t go swimming because it’s designated for launching boats and jet skis—now if only we had some water toys.. Our plan was to try and squeeze in a beach trip, seeing as we’ve never been to the beach on Thanksgiving so when Zach got off of work he met me at the farm and we headed to the beach it was nice to get in the water and Zach caught some barrels, which he loved. 

 Thanksgiving on the farm was great, we got to hangout out with our farmily and meet new people. But the best part was seeing how they cooked the food, it was very Hawaiian style. They made an emu, basically it’s an under ground oven. They dug a pit in the ground then placed fire wood with rocks over the wood. They lit the wood on fire to get the rocks nice and hot and when the rocks were hot enough they placed banana leaves over the rocks and placed all the food wrapped in tinfoil on top of the banana leaves and placed more banana leaves on top of the food and then covered everything with burlap sacs and left it to cook pretty much all day. They ended up cooking 3 turkeys and 4 chickens along with a lot of cassava, breadfruit, and sweet potato, all harvested from the farm. 

 We enjoyed all the fixings and the turkey was delicious. My favorite part of the day was spending it with 3 WWOOFers from Sweden, who never experienced Thanksgiving before. One of the girls kept saying, “I want to do it how the Americans do it” so she became the turkey baster despite being a vegetarian and not eating any. And she kept saying she was so full but still wanted pie, we highly encouraged her…she was so funny.



The newest member of the farmily

The emu pit

My baked pies. I was a little worried they wouldn't taste good or there wouldn't be enough so I asked Zach to bring a pie from work and when it was pie time he realized his pie had to be cooked. Needless to say we now have a fresh berry pie in our freezer. Luckily my pies were a hit and there was plenty of dessert.

It was a great Thanksgiving! 
We are very grateful for all our family and friends and hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Apartment!!!

Just a few days short of living in a tent on the farm for two months we found and moved into our very own apartment and it's a great feeling. We love our new apartment! It's an unfurnished studio, which leaves us with a lot of possibilities about the lay-out and decorating! We love the location, it's close to everything we need: shops, restaurants, grocery stores (Costco is about 5 blocks away), the beach, and my work is about a 10-15 minute scooter ride or a 25 minute bus ride. Zach's work is about a 40 minute scooter ride, I'm grateful he doesn't mind his commute. The apartment gets great breeze and it's full of natural light.  Oh, and the best part...we have an ocean view. The ocean is just straight down the road so we are able to look out our kitchen and bathroom window and see the ocean through the tops of the trees. We are loving it!

We are both so happy!

Our bathroom has lots of storage space including a full sized closet.
The only thing we don't totally like about the apartment is the shower--it's really small and the shower head faces the opening of the shower so water tends to get all over the floor if the shower curtain isn't placed properly. But we love the ocean view!

Lots of built-in shelving and storage!
Bathroom through the door on the right and the kitchen is through the door on the left.

Our huge walk-in closet. Zach is thinking about turning this into the bedroom to maximize the rest of the living space. I'm not so sure about that.

Our kitchen is full with lots of cupboards, a stove/oven, and a full sized fridge. 


More shelving, which is currently being used as our dresser for the time being.

We decided the best and fastest way for not sleeping on the floor was to get a nice air mattress until we can get a real bed, it works well for now. 

So, the last couple of days we have been getting house wares and groceries. Things are coming along and we are just so happy! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Haunted Farms, Jobs, Tsunami Warnings, oh my!

This past week has been a whirlwind of events and emotions. Starting new jobs, while still living in the tent and semi working on the farm has been kinda crazy to say the least. For me personally I've felt really stressed out, I don't feel balanced or settled. Zach and I had a night where we talked about everything...did we make a mistake trying to move to Hawaii? Have we bitten off more than we can chew? Did we really think things through? And we came to the conclusion that it's not a mistake it's just a lot harder than we both anticipated. Of course moving somewhere new is hard and of course trying to make a life for ourselves on the island is even harder. Although, right now we feel frustrated and stressed out we know thing will get better. I pray that this beginning is the toughest part for us.

We both work at Wholefoods but at two separate stores. Mine is in east Honolulu and Zach's is in Kailua, about 15 minutes north of the farm. I'm working in the bakery/coffee bar and Zach is working in the prepared foods department. I have been working the evening shift, 2:30-11pm and I've worked 7 days straight (not my favorite) but we are both glad for the hours and money that will come. So how it's been working out is we wake up around 7:30am and try to do a little work on the farm so we are still contributing, then I get ready for work and head the bus stop by 12:30. The bus is about an hour ride and drops me off right in front of work. John is kind enough to let Zach drive his car to pick me up at 11:00 but I usually get out about 11:15, then we drive the 25 minute drive back to the farm and are in our tent and asleep around midnight.
Zach started working yesterday and it went well, he thinks he'll enjoy working in prepared foods. He has never worked with food before so he'll be learning a lot. He got to chop vegetables, cracked 500 eggs, stocked the salad bar, and helped out in the kitchen. As of right now his schedule is 11:00am-7:30pm so he is still able to pick me up. Although this current set up is not ideal we are doing our best to make it work.
Working in the bakery has been interesting, I don't feel like I received a proper training so I've been learning as I go. I basically prepare breads and pastries that need to go out on the shelves. I cut up cake slices, bake cookies, and help customers with cakes and pies. I trained a few days in the coffee/juice bar, which I enjoyed and hope to work more in that area. Luckily the store is very busy so the 8 hours go by pretty fast. We are grateful that we found jobs now we just need to find an apartment.

With our delima of working in different areas, living on the farm, and having to rely on the bus, which stops running at 10:00pm we thought it best to buy a moped with the intention of me driving it to and from work. Let's just say it's going to take me longer than we both thought to feel comfortable driving it the 16 miles. But Zach loves it and drives it all over and it does give us more independence. 

At the beginning of the month the farm decided they would host a haunted house to raise founds for the farm. It was a haunted farm theme featuring several things that we do on a daily basis, but much spookier. We had a real live chicken slaughtering section, a Black Soldier Fly maggot dinner buffet, a Mongoose petting zoo with real real Mongoose, a Bobcat Tractor gone wild, and of course a deranged chainsaw murderer. We asked for $5 donations for entrance, and the first night the farm raised over $400! The second night was more of the same, only things got really scary when the National Weather Service Tsunami warnings started going off and we were forced to close down the Haunted Farm and head for high ground. I was at work, and thankfully we got to close early that night. Zach picked me up and he said that the roads were packed with people forced to evacuate the lower coastline areas and that all the gas stations and grocery stores were packed with people trying to get last minute provisions in case the wave actually did hit and cause any damage. While he was driving the Deep Purple song "Burn" came on and it was the perfect song for that moment, driving along the coast of Hawaii, racing an approaching tsunami and the pending road closures to pick me up. We got back to the farm and talked with the other WWOOOF'ers for a bit before deciding that we felt we were safe enough and were going to bed. When we got up in the morning, turns out we were the only ones left on the island! Just kidding! Nothing really happened. The tide maybe rose an extra foot and nothing came from it thankfully. It was kinda cool to be here to experience a real tsunami warning though.

This weeks mission is to find an apartment!

Zach doing some farm work. Here he is burning an Ali Koa tree stump that is trying to grow despite our best efforts to kill it.

A picture of the two live Mongoose that we caught for the Haunted Farm. Despite not looking like much, these things are nasty and quite fierce. We didn't let anyone really pet them.


Here is Sara, doing her best Vana White with our new scooter and helmet!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tantalus Hike

We both received great news this week…we got job offers from Wholefoods!!! More about that to come later… 

On Sunday we went on an amazing hike. John took 11 of us and two dogs through the woods. We were in awe of the gigantic trees and roots that lead the way. We sloshed through mud and climbed up steep hills while grabbing on to bamboo to help us climb. Along the way we ate strawberry guavas and ferns. At one part of the hike we ended up at the crater of an old volcano and we were happily surprised to find a swing hanging from a huge tree branch, of course everyone had to take a turn and swing. At another part of the hike we came across an awesome tree, Zach decided to climb it and got up to about 30 feet above ground. At the end of the hike we came out on top of a ridge and we could see all of Moana Valley and Honolulu, Waikiki, and Diamond Head. The view was incredible. Coming back from the ridge we encountered a guy walking with a wild pig draped over his back that he had just hunted with the help of 9 hunting dogs. Wild pigs are the largest, non-native predators on the island so they have to be hunted. John was a great tour guide throughout the whole hike, he knows so much about Hawaii it’s remarkable. The hike was about a 6 miles and took up most of our Sunday, when we got back to the farm we were beat but we were glad we went!

Huge roots that lined the path

Hiking through bamboo

Up in the tree 

Us and John

Diamond Head on the right, Waikiki in the middle, and Honolulu to the left

Dead wild pig

Pali Highway lookout

video

 A little video clip from the hike

We are excited to see what this week brings. I will write another post soon about our jobs.

Until then…

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Month One

Well, it's been one month since we arrived in Hawaii and became a part of Nalolicious Farm.
We thought it would be appropriate to share fun/interesting facts we've learned about Hawaii for our one month mark....

It is not illegal to ride in the back of truck beds but people inside of vehicles have to ware seatbelts.
The highest speed limit on the island is 60mph and it's only on one part of the freeway.
Flip flops are called slippers.
There are stray cats everywhere.
The Pitbull is the state dog.
Weed is called paco loco and medical marijuana cards are only good for growing your own weed, not for buying it.
There are a lot of geckos and they crawl around everything.
The surf is measured from the back of the wave instead of the front, and is also measured at half of what it really is. On a 2-4ft day, the waves would actually be 4-8ft.
There is not much evening. When the sun goes down it gets dark quick.
Contrary to popular belief, the water is not as warm as bathwater. It is not cold, just not as warm as advertised.
Coconuts are a lot more work than they are worth.
The beach is our favorite past time!

This week 5 more WWOOFers joined the farm...it's getting a bit crowded.
We are really hoping we find some jobs soon.

 We went to the beach a lot this week

 Our lovely ladder stairs to our tent

 Twitch watching Zach battle a coconut
{yes that's a hatchet}

 The best part of Zach's week--manning the bobcat