Baltic Essentials Necklaces

All my babes have worn amber necklaces essentially from birth. Frequently they’re referred to as amber “teething” necklaces as they are often associated with helping to ease the pain that infants and toddlers endure from teething as they release natural, pain relieving oils onto the skin.

Really, though, they can help with all kinds of aches and pains, not just the pain of teething, which is really pretty awesome and beneficial at all ages and stages of life.

But amber isn’t the only stone associated with bringing relief to little ones and adults alike. There are all sorts of stones that helps with many different issues and ailments.

Miss H and Sweet M each wear a necklace from Baltic Essentials that has seven other stones included with the Baltic amber (pink rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, turquoise, aventurine, chrysocolla, and red agate).


These stones are used to help ease stress, calm big emotions, dispel anxiety, and quell anger. And for my amazing, high needs, big feelings duo, it’s just the help they need in their big moments. Miss H even will say “I need to stop and focus on my necklace helping me for a minute while I get calm.”

Bean wears your typical amber necklace, but in addition she also uses a Baltic Essentials hazelwood necklace, as does Mr. B.

These two sweet loves got their Momma’s tummy troubles: reflux, eczema – those fun things. Hazelwood helps to alleviate those issues and soothe the tummy. Mr. B happily wears his 24/7, so that should say a lot.

My kiddos love their healing and soothing Baltic Essentials necklaces as one, and a super cute one at that, tool to helping with their daily well being!

***This post was sponsored by Baltic Essentials but as always, I only work with companies I genuinely love and believe in, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Waikiki Brewing Co.

Now that Bean is past the newborn age, we are getting out and exploring more these days. Especially food for dinner. (Because did I mention that every one of my kids have had crazy fussy periods as newborns that lasted all evening and really made any evening activity or event impossible? No bueno.)

We are food people. J and I have literally planned trips around places we will stop to eat. We like food.

Today we made it over to the Waikiki Brewing Company.

We’ve driven passed it a thousand times and have commented we should go, but it took us this long to actually make it.

I will tell you, the parking is not exceptional. It’s very limited, which could make things pretty tricky during peak times. But literally right next door to it is a small garage with extra parking, though it does cost $5. In fairness, parking pretty much anywhere in Oahu, especially in Honolulu, is often less than ideal.

The waitstaff was fantastic and crazy friendly. They engaged my kiddos and were very attentive of our needs, happily moving some tables around to accommodate us since their large tables were all all ready occupied.

It was a kid-friendly place, which is pretty imperative for us as we typically have small people in tow. It was loud with music, lots of space to get their crazies out if needed (they actually didn’t this time!), and they had a Mrs. Pac Man arcade game available to play; and if I’d needed to send the big kids over with a stack of quarters I would have, but they were amazingly content the whole time.

Sweet M was particularly fond of checking out the brewery section where the giant bats were hard at working creating beer.

I will be honest, I am not a beer person. A few ales in England struck my fancy, and a warm cider in Belgium, but that’s it thus far. So while J and his cousin tried out beer samplers, I treated myself to a Maui Mai Tai. It was delicious, and apparently the beer wasn’t half bad either.

Also, the food was great. I didn’t get to taste a proper dinner as I’d had a large lunch, but I had the arugula and goat cheese salad and I ate ever last morsel. No joke. And some lovely older auntie came over and swooped my baby out of my arms and danced and loved on her so that I could eat said salad. Have I mentioned how much I adore the people in Hawaii? They’re all so loving and helpful and friendly. The way the world should be.

It was a fantastic dining experience and we will be returning customers for sure! We were so impressed with the Waikiki Brewing Company!

Hawaiian Plantation Village

We have a list of things we must see and do while in Oahu.

And then we have a list of things that seems to randomly find us and we didn’t even realize that we needed to see and do it until we are there.

That’s what the Hawaiian Plantation Village was for us. “A happy little accident.”

The place was so interesting and fun that I will even ignore that the employees were wearing stickers that had “HPV” on them. I mean, I get it. But the 12 year old in me was just rolling.

We stopped in because they were having a rice fest, which included “make your own musubi.” And I get that musubi is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make, but I hadn’t yet attempted it and wanted to see it done before I gave it a whirl. So getting to have someone walk is all through it was fantastic and the kids loved it!

Then we walked about the grounds where the real museum/village is.

They had a plethora of dwellings and structures created to be replicates authentic to the time period of the mid 1800s-early 1900s when the plantations were pretty much the biggest industry on the island. That was the time when so many people from other countries began migrating to Hawaii.

The kids all indulged me while I read to them about each dwelling and the purpose it served and the histories of the people who it represented. So many people. It was beautiful and a little daunting to think of people leaving their homes to come Hawaii 150+ years ago.

If I ever feel like it’s hard to stay in touch with friends and family while hear, I will just remind myself of all those people left their homes, knowing full well they’d likely never see any of the loved ones they were leaving ever again.

Sweet M kept me on my toes as he picked all the foliage and vegetation and I kept reading all the little signs to be sure he wouldn’t die from something poisonous.

It was a such a beautiful historical plantation village and I am so glad we happened upon it.

What a lovely Hawaiian day!

Paradise Cove

Luau’s aren’t just for tourists! We’ve had the fun opportunity to attend a few recently and they’re a definite must-do for tourists and locals alike.

Recently we ventured to Paradise Cove’s Luau with family, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

But I was in for a huge surprise by how fun it was! It wasn’t as hokey as I imagined. The entertainment was spectacular and the food delicious.

Located on the beautiful Ko’olina Lagoon beach, which was admittedly a bit of a trek from our Honolulu home during rush hour (so if you’re venturing over there from Honolulu/Kailua, I’d suggest giving yourself plenty of time or just going early and making a day of it at the beach beforehand), the views were utterly breathtaking. We couldn’t have asked for a better location!

They had so many games for kids and adults alike to enjoy, and ample time for everyone to get as many turns as they wanted

The kids especially enjoyed their “boat ride” aka getting to ride in a Hawaiian outrigger canoe.

There were great little kiosks set up for purchasing Hawaiian delights if you so chose, but you also received lei’s upon arrival and won seashell necklaces at all the games, so little kids hoping for souvenirs can be easily appeased without spending a dime, which is really nice, too!

The show put on both before dinner and during dinner was outstanding! The kids were absolutely enthralled, which made staying out past bedtime an enjoyable experience (you know, with no meltdowns).

Plus, we were there before Christmas so everyone got to see Hawaiian Santa which was pretty fun, and my little nephew was absolutely mesmerized by Mrs. Hula Claus; we had to separatedm him and put him over on Grandma’s lap to keep him from gawking.

Miss H has all ready requested we attend a luau for her birthday she loved it that much!

Paradise Cove Luau really does take the cake for entertainment and beauty, and the food was delicious to boot! I would recommend this Luau tenfold for anyone wanting a family friendly Luau that is certain to give you a lot of bang for your buck!

2017 in a Nutshell

2017 has been an amazing year for sure! So many great and exciting things. And a few not so great.

Here’s our 2017 highlights.

We kicked off the year with a trip to Wisconsin Dells where the big kids learned to snow board while Momma and Sweet M played in the snow.

Sweet M had his first trip to the ER after jamming a mechanical pencil into his cheek and needing the lead extracted.

We spent a week in Florida where we got to enjoy Legoland and four days of Disney!

Our sweet darling Bobo turned one year old! What a mischevious little blessing he is!

Miss H and Mr. B has their tonsils and adenoids removed. It was a rough week but definitely worth it for both of them! A few weeks later Sweet M had tubes put into his ears, which made a world of difference for his tiny world!

Our darling H turned seven years old! What an amazing young lady she has become!

Both big kids had their very first sleepover at a friend’s house (okay, so it was with M’s godmama, I’m not that adventurous, ha).

We spent Easter with my grandma Mary. I never would have dreamed that that was going to be the last time we saw her. But I am so thankful that we had that day with her.

We bid M’s godmother adieu as she headed to Portland; just a taste of what saying goodbye was going to feel like in another month when we moved across the ocean.

Miss H finished the first grade at what is unquestionably the most fabulous school where she had two of the most amazing teachers who she still talks about daily.

And then we were Aloha bound. Across the mainland and over the ocean to a beautiful island paradise where rainbows are in abundance and the waves are unending.

My grandma passed on, followed a few days later by my grandpa. It was an extremely challenging time for me with a lot of feels I still haven’t quite gotten under control.

Then my dear friend came too spend a month with us while we prepared to bring our 4th baby earthside and transitioned into a family of 6. How very, very grateful I am for such amazing friends.

Our extraordinary Mr. B turned 6! I can’t even begin to tell you what a smart, curious, loving little man he is.

And then our wonderful little Bean joined us on Labor Day in the most calm, beautiful way possible.

Sweet M got croup which landed him in the ER. Definitely one of the most scary and heartbreaking events as a momma.

H and B were so excited to have their cousins also move to the island!

And the little girls and I traveled back to the mainland for a whirlwind weekend to see my baby sister get married and let our family meet our amazing Beanie Lu.

My best friend from my childhood visited us for the week of thanksgiving. There isn’t really anyone we trust much more with our kiddos, so J and I got to venture out alone for our first date as parents to four.

We had an interesting week where we got to the know the local ER doctors well. Miss H swallowed a few foreign objects and Sweet M dislocated his elbow.

I ran a marathon. Like 26.2 miles. Completed.

We vacationed on the Big Island. It was some much needed family time. While there, we went whale watching. Got to check that off my bucket list.

We celebrated our first Christmas is Honolulu!

And we finished the year with Mr. B losing his first tooth!

I cannot wait for 2018. There is all ready so much to look forward to, and I can’t wait to see what all is in store for our familia!

Discovering Pearl Harbor with American Girl’s Nanea

One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is how customizable it is. Miss H and Mr. B can learn about the things that interest them and in a timeframe that is most convenient for us.

When we moved to Oahu, this history-loving Momma knew Hawaiian history would be a subject of great interest to us that I couldn’t wait to dip into as I knew next to nothing about it (and still have so much to learn!).

Being so close to where the attacks of Pearl Harbor occurred, I knew we needed to delve into an important part of our past.

Although I expose my kiddos to many world truths and subjects that are not in fact all roses and sunshine, I prefer easing them into it when possible. If it’s hard for me, as a very well-rounded and educated adult to stomach some things, I know it must be difficult for them to fully grasp the significance of some events.

I was so excited when American Girl came out with a new historical character this year: Nanea. She’s half haole (white) and half Hawaiian (which my kids love because they have one haole parent and one brown parent, too), and her story begins a month before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The kids and I have learned so much about Hawaiian culture through the Nanea books. We’ve learned new words and how some customs on the island came to be (you’d never wear your shoes into someone’s house – even our cable guy removed his shoes before walking through our house! That’s a custom that originated with our Japanese friends.).

We visited the Pearl Harbor museum and the U.S.S Arizona, which are chilling sites to be seen. The history of it all is so surreal.

One thing I learned was that all the bases were bombed, not just Pearl Harbor, which is also mentioned in the American Girl books. Nanea can hear the planes over Wheeler air base.

Miss H and Mr. B were so excited to visit the Pearl Harbor museum to help them understand the time in which Nanea lived. And Nanea helped them to understand what it was like for the civilians who were present that day, and for all the days to follow in the aftermath. It was a bit heartbreaking for me, as a momma, to read it all through an innocent child’s eyes. But also there is so much hope. Kids truly are the future, and simply through understanding our history we can see how each generation of children gets a little bit better.

Both of my big kids have been totally captivated and eager to participate in this unit study for homeschooling. They love reading and learning through Nanea’s eyes. We’ve all cried a few times, too. Okay, okay, mostly I’ve cried a lot. Miss H stops me and says “Mom, are you crying again?” Which makes me laugh and we keep reading.

I so cannot wait to delve into our next American Girl’s set of books to aid in our learning of American history. I love how engaged my kids become with the stories they love!

Nanenea’s books are beautiful and her storyline exciting. I want to to tell you all my favorite parts, but I don’t want to give it all away either. But I will just leave with you this fun snippet: H and B have decided that when they get a dog some day, it should be named Mele. So go read the books to find out why!

***This post is sponsored by American Girl, but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

Big Island: Day 6

We could have without a doubt spent another week on the Big Island and still not have done and seen everything we wanted. It is definitely an island that locals and tourists alike don’t want to miss out on.

Our last day on the island started out bright and early as we were staying at the Volcano all week and were starting out our last day whale watching on the Kona side.

We departed by 5am so we wouldn’t be late, as it’s an easy 2+ hour trek to the other side.

Our whale watching tour was with Ocean Sports who did an amazing job. I would definitely do another whale watching experience with them, or even other water activities.

You guys.


Like up close and in person, beautiful, majestic, humpback whales.

Anyone who knows me well knows that whales are my favorite animal in the world.

They’re my spirit animal.

I’ve dreamt of seeing whales in the wild since I was a little girl.

Getting to see two from the shore only days prior was amazing. But this.

This was unbelievable.

They swam. They splashed. They danced.

We saw over 15 out in the bay just living life and putting on a show for us.

It was the most Ocean Sports had seen this entire season, and more than the captain said they often see in one day at any point during the season.

I’m telling you.

They knew I was coming.

This could have been all we saw and did on this vacation and I’d have been pleased as punch if we are being wholly honest.

It’s been on my bucket list most of my life, and this month I got to cross it off, along with running a marathon (more about that on a later day).

We had to catch our flight back to Oahu after this, but still, it was a full and wonderful day! I can’t wait to go back some day.

Big Island: Days 4 & 5

Wednesday it was rain.

All. Day. Rain.

But we still made the best of it.

We had a leisurely morning crawling out of bed and getting a start to our day. Then we headed into Hilo where they have their big Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

It was really cute with hundreds of vendors. And it was a true farmer’s market, not something set up for tourist.

I took exactly zero photos because I was too caught up in the moment, plus, rain. Lots of rain.

The boys both got Aloha outfits. Mr. B has been wanting an Aloha shirt to match Papa, and Sweet M wants everything B has, of course.

Then we grabbed some pork kabobs from a local food truck. It was a bit of a wait, but truthfully, so worth it. It was so tasty!

The we headed over to the Mokupapapa Discovery Center.

It was a super cute little place that had a 2500 gallon aquarium and talked about protecting the ocean. The kids really enjoyed it and it got us out of the rain!

Then we grabbed a smoothie treat to calm the hangries.

And we headed back for an early retirement because we were all exhausted.

Thursday we had another long morning getting ourselves together. Bean was all ready down for a nap by the time we made it to breakfast.

Then we headed north of Hilo to Botanical World for the day. Lush gardens. Tropical rain forest. So. Much. Beauty.

Plus, there were all my favorite people enjoying nature, and really, there is no better way to enjoy the outdoors than watching my kiddos love it so!

I have no idea what kind of spider this is, but it was wicked looking!

Jackfruit. M thought it was the best thing ever!

I am a huge fan of the rainbow eucalyptus trees! Nature definitely knows what it’s doing!

Gah! These are my two favorite girls in all the world. I’m so happy that they each have a sister. I can attest to how special sisters are in this world.

I love so much about J. Really, just about everything other than his snoring. And how when he explains something he repeats himself like 50 times until you want to tell him to just stop all ready. But really, he’s amazing. But watching him be Papa to our kids. That’s it. That’s what does it for me. I don’t think I will ever get over how amazing he is with those small people.

After we spent most of the day outdoors we grabbed some coffee (for me) and milkshakes (for everyone else) at an amazing little drive thru and then headed to see our last night of red lava (the picture does it zero justice).

And for our last day: whale watching!

Big Island: Days 2 & 3

I started the morning off freezing. That’s right, freezing my butt off. And no, this isn’t just because I’ve lived on an island for over six months and now bundle everybody up in 76° weather. There are heaters in our hotel. It does get cold here.

The girls and I all woke up with a nasty cold (also, can I add how much I still love being able to say girls? Plural.) Stuffy head, scratchy throat, drippy nose. Good times. Thanks, vog.

After we all took our sweet time getting ready, we grabbed a quick breakfast and then started our day.

Our first stop was the Jaggar Museum where we could see a large crater and some great steam vents. Inside, the kids and I read about the goddess Pele and her story of creating the volcanoes in Hawaii. (J tried to do work. I threatened to throw his phone in the crater. )

Then we headed into Hilo to Rainbow Falls, which is a part of the Waikulu River. They’re beautiful and breathtaking.

The kiddos played around in a nearby banyon tree, enjoying nature at its finest.

Then we headed up the road to the boiling pots of the Waikulu River. It was a really pretty spot and we likely would have walked down to enjoy the actual water if not for having the two tinies.

Then we were off for lunch. We stopped at Lucy’s Taqueria which was…meh. But I probably am an unfair judge when it comes to Mexican food because I compare it all to J’s and yeah, no one can beat that. But they did have an awesome little kid play area which kept my crazies occupied, so ultimately, I would recommend this restaurant to anyone with kids.

After lunch we visited the Mauna Loa macadamia farm, which is just as touristy as it sounds. But they offer free samples and self-guided tour of the factory process, so the kids were all quite intrigued and pleased.

Then we let the big kids play at a local playground while the babies slept and really, just like that our day was somehow over.

That night J slept on the couch with M because these full sized beds are for the bees. Needless to say, Bean and I slept great, as did Sweet M, but J…not so much.

We walked over to the local Java cafe the next morning and grabbed a coffee before hitting up the breakfast joint (their coffee is surprisingly terrible. Like, I actually threw away my coffee the day before and that never happens).

Once we had fed and mostly happy kids we headed to the Thurston Lava Tubes.

I cannot describe how magnificent this island is or how wondrous the volcano area is. It’s just so blaringly obvious how the world is just so much bigger and more powerful than any of us mere humans.

After leaving the lava tube we walked back through the fern forest to our parking area. The forest was gorgeous and lush. And full of lions, hehe!

Then we hiked, in the rain, down the Kilauea Iki trail and into the giant crater. It was like being in another world, walking amongst an earth of dried lava and minimal green growth and several steam pockets. What an awe invoking experience.

By the time we made it back up the slippery trail to the top, M was demanding “yummy yummy!” Which is how he tells us he is hungry, ha.

So we hit up a little local joint outside the volcano park, and then proceeded to drive through the park and take on the vastness and beauty of it by car while the babies slept.

Okay, and then I fell asleep in the car too so J parked it and took the big kids out to venture through some more steam vents while the babies and I snoozed. In fairness, I have a 3-month-old and a 22-month-old. And traveling is exhausting.

I’ve been wanting to check out the Volcano Winery since we got here and I saw it on the map, so we headed over there once I woke up.

J and I are each wearing a babe and a gentleman commented, “Wow, you’ve got your hands full and you still are able to drink wine.”

I just chuckled and said, “They’re probably the reason we find time to drink wine.”

I mean, let’s be honest. I’ve drank more wine since becoming a parent. Then again, I had my first baby when I was 21. So… Causation or correlation?

Anyway, the guava-grape wine was delicious and we got some to take home.

We grabbed dinner at a local place not far from where were staying called Lava Rock Cafe. It was super yummy. And then we headed back to the hotel to get everyone put to bed, later than we prefer, so we can prepare for another busy day tomorrow.

Big Island: Day 1

Oh boy, I have no idea how my droopy eyelids are still open. Today started out shortly before 4:30am, and it’s not like I awoke after a nice, long, restful sleep, what with a darling 3 month old and all.

But the H1 was so sparse by the time we hit the road at 5:30am to catch our early flight to the Big Island, that if that was the normal traffic around here I’d be tempted to stay on Oahu forever. Alas.

Anyway, we decided this year to go on a proper family vacation as our Christmas gift to one another. A whole lot of undivided togetherness. We may be rethinking the brilliance of this, ha. But we haven’t had a legitimate family vacation since I was pregnant with Sweet M, so it was time. Yes, we’ve travelled a ton, but it’s all been work-related or to visit loved ones – fun, of course, but not a family vacation.

Anyway, we chose the Big Island because J has been here and it’s super close and there is just so much to do and see. I’m going to need to be able to drink a lot more before ever traveling far with Sweet M again after flying to Oahu from the mainland. Kidding, just kidding. Maybe.

Anyway, it was a our first flight all together as a family of six, so that was cool. And the flight was short enough that no one lost their minds. B may or may not have been devastated that I didn’t allow him to bring any electronics on this trip. As I said, a whole lot of togetherness.

Our first line of business, after acquiring our rental vehicle, was acquiring breakfast. We went to a local joint we were pointed to, and out of kindness I won’t mention their name. The food was so-so but the service was awful. Fortunately I was hungry enough to let it go.

The kids were acting kind of cray-cray so J and I agreed to just enjoy the day doing and seeing the things we really wanted to do and they’d just have to pull it together. Not our normal kid show.

So we headed south in the direction of where we were staying and first hit up Captain Cook’s Monument. The kids weren’t terribly impressed but they at least indulged me by getting out of the car with me while J stayed with the sleeping babies.

Then we were off to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, where the kids were given scavenger hunt sheets with various Hawaiian words and definitions, and snippets of photos to find and match with the words.

We ventured through the historic sites and enjoyed the beautiful coastline.

And sea turtles!

The kids were absolutely enthralled with the lava rock beach. Miss H caught a hermit crab and retreated to the sweet serene of herself being one with nature, while Sweet M explored the shallow puddles and Mr. B acted the ninja, jumping from rock to rock.

There was so much history and culture and richness to be explored here. If it weren’t for our rumbling tummies and being a bit hot (it was the desert side!), I could have spent a lot more time there.

We stopped for gas and snacks before heading further toward our destination.

J decided to detour to the southern most peak of the island, which is also the most southern point of the United States.

As we drove nearer to the water I saw what looked like a white wave in the distance. The water was fairly calm and I didn’t think it was a wave, but I also didn’t want to make assumptions only to be let down.

But oh my goodness was I right!

A whale!!!

I saw it surface and go back under. The second J parked I grabbed Bean and hightailed it to the whale, leaving the others behind.

I stood on the shore all alone, feeding my baby, watching two whales surface over and over again. And then I witnessed the famous whale tail from the water.

It will go down as one of the most peaceful, beautiful moments of my life. The feelings of being in the presence of one of the greatest creatures in the world, oh my goodness. It’s indescribable.

I cannot wait to go whale watching and be even closer. Such beauty. Such power. Such grace.

By this time we were starving, having missed lunch all together as it was now passed 5pm (the Big Island is, um, big). So we loaded up our crazies and finally stopped at a little restaurant on our way, still, to our lodging.

The food was fairly decent, the waitstaff friendly, and the weather beautiful.

By the time we finally made it to the Volcano where we are staying all the kiddos were out so J drove further down the road so I could get out and see the amazing lava and the red glow that fills the sky here.

It’s been a long, beautiful, eventful day. I am so, so thankful for this life I lead.