Disney’s Aulani Character Breakfast

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My husband and I have wanted to visit Disney’s Aulani Resort since we have lived here and finally decided to check it out last weekend.  We didn’t book any rooms but discovered that you can have a “character breakfast” at the Makahiki restaurant, (hosted by Auntie and Minnie) for about $37 per person with children 2 and under free.  The breakfast is a buffet with a decent selection of fruit, cereals, hot foods and mini character-shaped waffles.
You do have to make reservations for this breakfast, and can easily do so online–breakfast hours are 7am through 11am.
Pro Tip #1: Go early!  Perhaps going very late (11am) could work as well, but we went to the 7:30 breakfast and by the time we left, the place was overflowing and had long lines.
Pro Tip #2: Keep your parking ticket with you after you park and validate it when you pay for your meal.  Parking will be FREE up to 4 hours after you validate it.  That’s pretty huge since it can cost around $12 per hour or $37 all day.  Free is always good. 😉
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Makahiki restaurant with outdoor and indoor seating.
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Before you are seated, you are handed a card with your name on it, for photo-taking purposes, and then you get in line for pictures with Mickey before going back to the front desk to be seated for breakfast.
Ava was getting pretty excited to see Mickey while we waited in line–again, I’d go early so that you don’t have to wait in too long of a line.
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A Mickey Mouse waffle with coconut syrup!
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Minnie, Goofy, and “Auntie” who is the hostess and plays songs on her ukulele, all walk around the dining area during the breakfast to chat with you and get pictures–Ava was especially fascinated by Goofy. 🙂
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We walked all through the back of the resort where the lazy river, splash pad, and slides were, and ended up letting Ava cool off a little in the ocean and play.
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One of the things I love about Disney–there is something special around every corner!  Ava loved watching the fish in this little aquarium.
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Look at this cute movie corner!  It was playing Ava’s favorite show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
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Isn’t this place beautiful??  We really loved our visit, touring the resort and enjoying the character breakfast with our little one–totally worth it!  Plus it made for an uber-long nap for Ava afterwards…win! 😉
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A Few of My Favorite Things About Living in Hawaii

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Aloha Fridays
Everyone’s living for the weekend in Hawaii!  Locals love to set up tents and camp by the beaches, often for the entire weekend.  Plus, there is even a song dedicated to this day…”It’s Aloha Friday, no work ’til Monday…”.  Look it up, it will get stuck in your head. 😉  Saying “happy Aloha Friday!” to someone is absolutely a thing, and I love it!
Hawaiian Food
Oh my goodness…Kalua pig, sticky rice, mac salad, haupia, lomi lomi salmon, poke, taro-flavored desserts, malasadas (it’s actually a Portuguese donut but you have to try them hot from Leonards Bakery…mmm).
God’s Creation
If you dont like the outdoors and beautiful mountains, sparkling ocean, sandy beaches, jungles to explore, waterfalls to swim in and spotting rainbows almost weekly
…Hawaii is not for you.
The Culture and Language
I love the beauty of the Hawaiian culture. I feel privileged when I get to watch the men and women perform the hula and sing in their musical language.  The simplicity of the native Hawaiian life is fascinating, especially in today’s fast-paced way of living.  “Ohana” is a word you won’t be able to forget when you leave the islands.  It means ‘family’, yet at the same time, so much more than that.  You dont truly understand it until you’ve lived here and then have to leave.  I will miss Hawaii so much.
So Much to Do!
Like to shop?  Oahu has you covered on that one.  World’s largest outdoor mall (the Ala Moana) or downtown Waikiki is a good place to start. 😉  And for flea market-type shopping, check out the Aloha Swap meet.  Like to lay out on the beach?  Well…you picked a good place to visit/live then.  Like to hike?  There is no end to trails and amazing views.  Sea turtles?  Whale watching?  Discovery?  Adventure?  Nothing about Hawaii is boring so long as you get outdoors and explore!
Keepin’ it Casual
It’s a more relaxed and casual lifestyle in Hawaii.  You can dress up for a night on the town in Waikiki but mostly people dress casually during the week, in athleisure, shorts and tee shirt or cool and comfy dresses.  And nobody goes anywhere without their ‘slippers’, aka flip-flops. 😉
The History
Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace, Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, Battery Cooper at Kuoloa Ranch, the WW2 pill boxes all over the island… The island is rich in history and it’s fascinating to learn about!
Hawaii has been my first overseas (OCONUS) duty station and it has been a fantastic experience.  If Hawaii is your next duty station or in the possible future, congrats!  I hope you have as wonderful a couple years as I have.  Aloha and happy PCSing!

Vitamin Sea Detox | Strength Through an Overseas PCS

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What a week!  Two of my girlfriends from Indiana visited me and we hit up a bunch of different beaches and drove around the island like tourists–so much fun.  Although I am not one to spend more than and hour or so at a beach, I do love the relaxing vibe that the cool water, blue skies and soft sand put out….ahhh…so peaceful.  It was just what I needed!
My husband and I have gotten a lot done in preparation for our trip to Michigan and then our move from there to Korea.  The best part of the whole process has been how much God has been stretching me.  Turns out, being stretched as thin as a piece of paper doesn’t feel so good.  And there are some days when you wonder why you even woke up. haha  But to use a word I heard today that summed everything up…it’s been sanctifying.  To sanctify means to “make holy”, to “set apart”, or “consecrate”.  Funny thing, but my name (Beth) actually means “pledged (or) consecrated to God”.  Mind blown!  What an amazing reminder in the middle of our busy lives, whether they are chaotic, fast-paced, or both, that we belong to the King of Kings and that He is working on us to set us apart and make us more holy through our trials.  It’s important not to miss that.  We can choose to be made stronger through them, or bitter and weak.
I am thankful for this time in my life right now.  This time of change, of stretching, of challenges…it only serves to make me stronger and to help me grow.  I ask God to make me more like him and a woman after his own heart, and He gives me challenges to strengthen me.  It’s funny how we forget that and assume that challenges must not be from God because they are hard and difficult and sometimes we suffer during them.  God knows what is best for us and He will never walk away when we need Him.  Just something to remember as you PCS this summer, or as you are going through your own challenges and changes this year.
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Kaua’i Weekend Vacay | Part 2 | Little Town of Hanapepe

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My favorite morning of our vacation was spent in Hanapepe, Kauai’s Biggest Little Town (it’s tiiinnyy) where I discovered an adorable called, “Little Fish”.  Pro tip: try the Dragon-fruit lemonade–you won’t regret it!  So delicious and refreshing.  Ahhh.  Wishing I was sipping on one right now…
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How amazing does this Dragon-fruit lemonade look??
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Don’t miss the chance to walk across the swinging bridge!  One of my favorite things that I did on the whole trip.  Probably because there was no one else around when we walked across it so it felt like a newly-discovered novelty for us.  Definitely fun for kids too. 🙂
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There was an art gallery on the other side…we didn’t go inside.
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My husband as such a love for cats and can never resist stopping to pet them.  He likes to watch Ava get excited when she spots one. 😉
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The Talk Story bookstore claims the western-most independent bookstore of the U.S.!  It’s fun to peruse.  The prices though, unless otherwise marked, are very similar to Barnes and Noble.
I only wish we had been able to check out the Brown Bear Bakery, across the street for some yummy desserts, but it was closed the morning we were visiting.
Lemonade, swinging bridge, bookstore, kitten–a full morning for little Ava! 😉

Kaua’i Weekend Vacay | Barking Sands Naval Base | Part 1

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Waiting for our flight!  Had my bags packed with snacks and goodies for Ava. 😉
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Always love drinking the complimentary “POG” on the interisland flights. ❤
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Got our rental car and we’re ready to see some of the island on our way to our beach cottage!  Oddly enough, it was a hunter green Kia that we unknowingly rented–except for the seats not be comfortable for long drives, it was fun to drive around the island in our little toaster car. 😉
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Beachfront view?  Not bad!
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An exciting day with an early morning flight, a new island, and new house for Ava to explore… We enjoyed a few scenic lookout stops on our way to our rental and just relaxed for the rest of the day at the cottage and on the beach.  MWR had free sand toys that they let us borrow for Ava–she loved that. 🙂
Part 2 of our Kaua’i vacay coming next…
Stay tuned!

Friday Favorites

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It’s been a great week, with Ava finally sleeping through the night again. ❤ This last sleep regression hit me so hard that I was starting to wonder if it would ever pass–it did, thank the Lord!
I’ve been LOVING the Starbucks Doubleshot on ice (light ice with coconut milk)!  Where has this drink been??  It has 3 (THREE!) shots of espresso and now I feel like I’m finally in the big leagues.  I drank this just before my last exam and I was awake and focused for the entire test…plus I passed–woohoo!
For the evenings when it takes Ava a little more time to wind down, I occasionally use a little lavender essential oil or the Plant Therapy Nighty Night oil.  I’ve been rediscovering essential oils lately.  I always keep a little travel case of them in my purse.  The peppermint always takes away a headache, and I have used Eucalyptus oil on the soles of my feet before when I had a coughing fit in church (awkward, but the coughing stopped after I applied the oil).
Spending time with Ava lately has been really special to me.  She hasn’t been as fussy from teething and I’ve been making the effort to go out more and just spend more time discovering new things together.  I recently took her to the beach and she was in heaven! Haha She absolutely loved it, plus it tired her out for her next nap. 😉  I also took her to the park recently and she had a ball just running around and climbing the slides.
I hope everyone else has had a wonderful week and you are ready for a great weekend!!
Aloha! 🌸

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

 

In the town of Kaneohe on the island of Oahu, there is a beautiful, large botanical garden, and there is even a lake that you can fish in (catch and release).  Its the perfect place for a picnic or even just a drive on a Sunday afternoon.
My husband and I parked at the visitors center and walked to the lake with our 15 month old in a baby carrier.  The lake is only accessible by a walking path and you cannot drive there.  It’s about a 10 minute walk if you’re being leisurely–which you should because the walk is quite beautiful. 🙂
We found out later that you can rent free fishing poles at the visitors center!  There were several families that brought blankets and snacks and let there kids fish for fun.
Yet another hidden gem in the lovely town of Kaneohe. 🙂