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Friday, May 31, 2013

Five for Friday

1.  I don't think I tell you this enough, but I really am so proud of you.  I love how driven and goal-oriented you are and I can't wait to see what all you accomplish as a first class.

2.  I'm so happy in how far we've come with our communication.  We still have road bumps, but we're not afraid to talk about anything and everything and it's really, really awesome.

3.  Even though driving all the way up to basically the North Shore all this week stunk, it was really great getting to spend that time with you on the commute =)

4.  I'm super excited about the purchase we made recently!  I can't wait to get it in and set up in the house!

5.  Thank you for supporting me when I had to make a decision this week.  It meant a lot to me.

ily <3

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Six for Saturday

1.  Thank you for doing all of the little things that I ask of you.  It really adds up and makes a difference!

2.  I also love how goofy we can be together and how much fun we have doing it!

3.  I am so daggum proud of you for finally making 1st Class!!!  You're a rock star!

4.  I'm happy we got some progress on your eye.  I really hope the ENT is able to put us on the path towards fixing it permanently!

5.  Thank you for being proud of me =)

6.  I'm having fun playing an old game with you again.  I like it when we spend time together this way!

ily <3

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five for Friday

1.  Happy three year anniversary Chawwie!!!  I can't believe THREE YEARS have already passed since our wedding.  Holy cow!!

2.  Thank you for being my rock.

3.  Don't even worry about the things we've had to cancel this week.  Just get better ASAP, that's your only priority!

4.  I love snuggling on the couch watching Game of Thrones with you.  What are we going to do when we run out of episodes?!

5.  I can't wait to celebrate three more years of marriage with you, then three after that, and three more after that, and on and on and on =)  I love you!

Happy Anniversary!  <3

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting to Know Hawaii: Ka'ena Point Trail Mokule'ia Side

The Need to Knows:
  • The Mokule'ia Side Ka'ena Point Trail leads to the exact same albatross sanctuary as the Waianae side Ka'ena Point Trail, but with different scenery along the way.  It's located on the very western end of the North Shore in Mokule'ia, Hawaii.  Here is the exact location for the beginning of the trail:
  • If I recall correctly, the trail is about 2 to 2.5 miles long each way.
  • This trail consists of following a dirt road all the way to the albatross sanctuary.  It can get pretty muddy, especially if it's been raining, and lots of 4WD vehicles come out to go mudding here as a result.  Just make sure to stay alert so you don't get run over!  ;)
  • Just like with any activity here that involves you leaving your car behind, don't leave any valuables behind to tempt thieves into breaking into your car.
  • There is no shade or cover here.  I highly suggest a hat, and water and sunscreen are absolute musts.  It's probably also best to wear proper shoes instead of flip flops.
  • Because of the albatross sanctuary, I'm fairly certain dogs aren't allowed on this trail.  I say "fairly certain" because you may be able to bring them as far as to the sanctuary gate, but I personally chose not to risk it.
  • It's a pretty flat hike (probably better described as a walk, like the Waianae side), so it'd be good for kids and folks who don't do very well with elevation changes.

You may be wondering why I'm covering Ka'ena Point Trail again -- didn't I just make a post about it a while back?  Well, it turns out it's possible to reach the same exact albatross sanctuary on the northwestern tip of the island starting from Mokule'ia on Oahu's North Shore.  Since we love the Ka'ena Point hike so much from the Waianae side, we decided to give this one a try too!

This trail is essentially following along a dirt road all the way to the sanctuary gate (although you can take a shoreline path, which we did on our way back).  It's hot, especially if you go in the afternoon, so sunblock and water are musts.  A hat never hurts either!

The road itself isn't very pretty, but the view of the mountains to one side and the ocean to the other side definitely is!

Surf peeking from behind some giant aloe plants

One of my absolute favorite pictures of this hike!
There were some pretty flowers along the way, even if the dirt road wasn't!
This part of the island also happens to be a great place to go four wheel driving, or mudding as we like to call it back home in the South.

Some of the mud holes were pretty large.  For reference, it hadn't rained in a good bit on this part of the island and these holes were still this big!  Hopefully we can do a one-day Jeep rental before we leave the island and go have some fun here!

And of course we saw someone get stuck, haha.
On this day (a Saturday, late morning) it took us about an hour or so to make it one way to the sanctuary.  We made a few stops for photo ops, but mostly kept at a steady pace to make it to the gate.

End of the dirt road and the sanctuary gate

 We didn't go all the way to the most northwestern tip of Oahu because we had recently just done so from the Waianae side (if you haven't been there though, go see it!), but when we were standing outside of the gate, I noticed this giant rock looming in the distance and we just had to go check it out.

It turns out that this rock is very, very special and sacred to the Hawaiian people.  Its Hawaiian name is Leina-a-ka-'uhane, and it means "the leaping place for souls."  Ancient Hawaiians believed that when someone was on their deathbed, their soul would separate from their body and wander around the island.  If they lived on Oahu, the soul would eventually end up here, and once it climbed this rock and leapt off it towards the ocean, the person would then die.

It was a beautiful spot and the rock was pretty massive and awesome to check out.  After spending a few minutes there, we headed back the way we came.

We took a more leisurely pace on the way back though since we were walking along the coastline, looking for whales and exploring tide pools along the way.

Can you spot the whale spouting?

At one point we saw this tiny little crabs scurrying around the rocks, ducking into their holes anytime the waves came up and crashed against them.

Then we saw this little guy who stayed out in the sun for too long =(

Poor Mr. Crab!
About a little over halfway from the trail's ending and beginning, we came across a sight we'd read about in the guide book Oahu Revealed -- a hidden beach along this area!

It was a gorgeous little pocket of sand, and I definitely see ourselves heading back here this summer to enjoy it when the waves aren't so pounding!

All in all, Ka'ena Point is a beautiful hike no matter which direction you decide to take it from.  I'll have to give this hike a couple more tries before I can officially decide which I like better, but I am still quite partial to the amazing views the Waianae side offers.  I guess we'll see which one ends up as my favorite!

Do you have any trails in your area with gorgeous views?  Tell me about them!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Parmesan Ranch Chicken

I'm always on the lookout for a quick, easy, but delicious weeknight meal, so when I was browsing my Pinterest account a couple of weeks ago, this recipe from my Savory board caught my eye.  The breading steps were ridiculously simple, and I needed a good chicken recipe to try out, so I added it to our menu!

  • 6-8 chicken breasts (I actually halved the entire recipe since I'm just cooking for two, so we used four split breasts)
  • 1 cup corn flakes (I used Special K corn flakes instead, which tasted great!)
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In one dish, mix together corn flakes (I crushed mine relatively fine), parmesan, and ranch packet.  Pour the melted butter in another dish.

2.  First dip your chicken breasts in the melted butter...

You know this is going to be good!
3.  ...and then roll them around in the corn flake, parmesan, and ranch mixture and place into your baking dish.

4.  Pour the remaining butter over the top of the chicken and bake uncovered for about 45 to 50 minutes.

5.  Pull out and enjoy with some of your favorite sides.  We chose roasted broccoli (a huge favorite in our house) and some garlic mashed potatoes!

The chicken turned out to be very juicy and flavorful (how could it not be with that butter involved?!) with a nice crunch thanks to the crust.  This will definitely become one of our go-to breaded chicken meals in the future!

What's your favorite chicken recipe?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five for Friday

1.  It's been really strange having you home this entire week, but I really hope it's helping you get better!

2.  Thank you for at least helping me out with little things around the house here and there.  I appreciate it!  =)

3.  I'm really glad that we get each other's sense of humor.

4.  I'm trying to hold out hope that everything's going to fall into place -- I swear!

5.  Thank you again for taking care of me when I was feeling sick even though your eye is still bugging you a lot!

ily <3

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Getting to Know Hawaii: The Ka'iwi Scenic Shoreline

The Need to Knows:
  • The Ka'iwi Scenic Shoreline is located right next to the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail; use the same parking lot as the Lighthouse Trail, but instead take the trail leading off to the right after you see the Ka'iwi Scenic Shoreline sign (pictured below).  Here's the Shoreline's Google Maps location:

View Larger Map
  • The park is open from 7 AM to 6:45 PM every day.
  • There is no charge to enter this area, and parking is free in the lot.
  • Dogs are welcome along the shoreline, yay!
  • There isn't any cover here to protect you from the sun, so be sure to wear lots of sunscreen or a hat and bring plenty of water for you and your furry friend.  Feel free to bring an umbrella and some chairs as well if you plan on spending a couple hours here!
  • If you play in the tide pools, it may be wise to bring along some reef shoes for you and some hiking shoes for your dog.  On this trip, my little Lila actually got a cut on her paw (which healed up just fine in about a week), so next time she will definitely have some shoes on.
  • People use the first tide pool area as a dog beach, so if you do bring your pet, be sure to comply with typical dog park/dog beach rules.

The Kai'wi Scenic Shoreline is a wonderful stretch of coastline just south of the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail on the southeastern tip of Oahu with a semi-secluded, dog friendly beach and some great tide pool exploration when the ocean isn't raging.

View on the trail looking back towards the parking lot
Bird on the trail that Lila really, REALLY wanted to play with!

The trail itself is pretty short, only about a 5-10 minute walk to the small beach, but you can continue on down the coastline and explore with these gorgeous views at your side.

Beautiful view of the backside of the daunting Koko Crater

The Ka'iwi Scenic Shoreline trail is also the way you get to the famous Pele's Chair, a lava rock formation in the shape of a (you guessed it!) chair.

Giant boulders in the foreground with Pele's Chair in the distance
Apparently when Pele (the Hawaiian goddess of fire) created Oahu, she did so from this very spot, and when she was finished, she left her chair behind to head to Molokai and start the island-building process over again.  Interestingly enough, this area of Oahu actually is the youngest piece of land on the island!

When you're walking along the trail, if you veer off to the left, you'll end up on some rocky coastline that'll lead you to the chair itself.  If you veer to the right, it'll lead you to the beach and tide pool pictured below.

On this day, we brought our youngest dog Lila for her first shoreline exploration experience.  Unfortunately our other Schnauzer Liam absolutely HATES the water, so we didn't bring him along.

Look at that tongue!  She was burning up until we dunked her in the tide pool.

She had a great time playing in the tide pool and making friends with the many other dogs that were there (it was a Saturday, so plenty of people -- I do believe it's less crowded during the week).

At one point, this random helicopter decided to buzz us and the chair.  It was pretty exhilarating to watch, actually!

After a little while of playing around, Lila decided she needed a rest and then promptly sat in a small, hollowed out section of the rock we were sitting on.  She's pretty silly, haha.

After posing for one last picture with the chair, we decided to pack up and head out with plenty of intentions to come back for a longer day of exploring later!

Is your pet a fan of coastlines and beaches?  I'm glad I have at least one dog that is considering where we live!