A Birthday Picnic at the Beach

For Nomz’s fourth birthday (where does the time go!?), she requested a picnic at the beach with a few of her friends. D went early to our usual Ko Olina Lagoon 4 to save a shaded spot while I headed to Tanioka’s to pick up a few more items for our picnic. 


I prepped a veggie & fruit platter, finger sandwiches, desserts, and a birthday cake the day before


Then stopped by Tanioka’s the morning of to pick up some musubis, cone sushi, fried chicken, Lumpia, and fried shrimp.

The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed a day full of fun in the sun. We’re so lucky to be raising our family in Hawaii surrounded by friends, family, beautiful beaches and of course, good food. 

Fresh Fruit Filled Mochi from Hilo’s Two Ladies Kitchen

On a recent business trip to the Big Island, D brought us a box of fresh mochi from the famous Two Ladies Kitchen! It’s like opening up a box of colorful jewels, each one filled with different combination of fresh fruit and anko (sweet bean paste).


His selection: the original strawberry with red tsubu-an, peach with shiro-an, grape with red koshi-an, and poha berry with shiro-an. My favorite was the poha berry: its intense tart flavor paired perfectly with just the right amount of anko wrapped in pillowy soft mochi. Gochisousamadeshita!

Staycation at Aulani Resort & Ulu Cafe

Last month we enjoyed a two night staycation at the Aulani Resort. We didn’t set foot outside of Ko Olina Resort the entire time, and just enjoyed relaxing at the pool.


Out of convenience, we ended up eating multiple meals from Ulu Cafe, which is a casual take-out option within the hotel. The cafe is located on the ground level, towards the ocean side of the Waianae Tower.

It’s open all day and has everything you need. Breakfast (coffee, pastries, fruit, yogurt, hot meals)


Lunch & dinner (salads, sandwiches, hot meals & made-to-order pizza)


Snacks (ice cream, cookies, fruit, chips) and even wine & cheese too.


There is a self-service utensil & condiment station, and some seating outside and by the pool area. This is also one of several places you can purchase and refill these cooler mugs for $18.99 (unlimited coffee & soft drink refills throughout your stay).


On the night we were planning on dinner at Monkeypod Kitchen across the street followed by the complimentary Starlit Hui Show, both plans were foiled by sudden rainfall, so we opted for a cozy takeout & movie night in  the room.

Chinese chicken salad, chicken noodle soup, and a hoisin duck pizza:



Often times hotels in Hawaii at this price range do not offer a casual dining option with this extensive a take-out menu, but Disney really understands the needs of families with young kids and we really appreciated having Ulu Cafe as an option during our stay.

 

 

 

 

Makahiki Dinner Buffet at Aulani Resort

We celebrated D’s Father’s Day dinner at the Makahiki Restaurant at the Disney Aulani Resort At Ko Olina. We find ourselves returning to Aulani time and again for special occasions because they just do it right. By “it” I mean family-friendly service while maintaining quality of food and ambience. As many parents around the world would probably agree, Disney has mastered the art of delighting children while also satisfying parents’ needs.

Makahiki is the resort’s buffet service restaurant serving dinner and the famous character breakfast daily. It’s located just downstairs from the lobby area, overlooking a garden/water feature and pool area. After checking in at the hostess stand, it’s a short wait at this waiting area until you’re escorted to your table. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during peak seasons and holidays.


There is seating both indoors and outdoors overlooking the garden and pond:


The buffet menu ($47.00 for adults, $21.00 3~9 yrs old) includes most soft drinks, iced tea, coffee & tea, milk, etc. The buffet itself is located in a dedicated space just off the dining area and includes a prime rib carving station and items to please both children and adults.

Here are the salads and chilled seafoods, sushi, and cheese station:


And hot items including pizzas, pastas, and crab legs:


Some of our plates:

Of course there is a special section of the buffet dedicated to kids (lower in height of course so the keiki can serve themselves) but there is plenty of other items like pizza and pasta from the regular buffet too.


And of course, desserts to include plenty of fresh fruit and REAL whipped cream! I love whipped cream so much that sometimes whether a restaurant uses real dairy cream can be my one criteria for if a restaurant can be taken seriously.


Nomz’s plate:


As the parent of a toddler, it’s the little touches like offering 1% milk and providing wet wipes that make a difference. Even the restrooms have lower sinks for little ones to wash their hands, yet the luxury finishings and attentive service achieve the ambience of a high-end hotel. And if you end your evening with a stroll around the pool area where you can view fish through an aquarium-like window, and a visit to the gift shop, it becomes a fun family night out, not just a dinner. It will also leave you wanting to come back as a hotel guest so you can experience the wonderful pool area and spend more time with the Disney characters walking around the property.
Makahiki at Aulani Resort website 
 

 

 

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day to D! I couldn’t have dreamed of a better father to our children; no one is more hard working and devoted. To Nomz he is pure fun and love. To the three of us, he is our world. 

Special soufflé pancakes this morning for Papa:

  
Wishing all fathers (including mine in Japan) a wonderful day,

Happy Mothers Day!

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Wishing all mothers a wonderful day! We spent our Sunday morning at the Farmers Market as usual then had a delicious brunch at Denny’s. This Grand Slam Slugger for $8.00 including coffee and juice is possibly the best value in town!

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Being a mother has been the greatest blessing in my life. We’ve always wanted to have another child after Nomz, and after 2 and a half years of trying, three miscarriages and surgery, we’re thrilled to be expecting our second child this fall! Nomz is so excited to have a little brother or sister and we know she’ll be the best big sister ever. Thank you D for making this and all of my dreams come true, and thank you Nomz for the greatest privilege of being your Mama.

Hinamatsuri (Girls Day) 2016

We were busy on Thursday so we celebrated Girls Day this weekend.

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Traditional chirashi sushi with ikura and imitation crab, clam soup, and crab cream croquettes and sunomono with cucumber and wakame. Nomz wanted to wear her yukata for the occasion. This year she ate the chirashi and croquette and told me 「今日の献立気に入ったよ」 (I like tonight’s menu). Words that every chef wants to hear!

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