orange county is not known for its food.  its not like l.a. we have a lot of big chain restaurants and it can be tricky finding really great food. so when we found an amazing restaurant in downtown santa ana i was thrilled!  i have to admit initially the menu threw me off.  it has some really unique options and i typically don’t love fusions or anything that seems like they’re trying too hard to be different. its not that i won’t try unique foods, i’ve eaten everything from fish eyes to frog legs and i’m not particularly picky.  i just feel like when restaurants try too hard to be different it usually ends up bad.

playground is different.  i promise!  the first time we went was with a group and we ordered a bunch of food and shared, which was a really great way to try a little bit of everything.  every single item we ordered was amazing!  ivan and i went back a second time and a loved it just as much.  the menu changes up a bit weekly but these items were there both time.  i highly recommend going!  i wish i had taken more pictures. everything was amazing!  while you’re over there drive through the floral park neighborhood, its darling.

these were our favorites–

Brussels Sprouts (Caesar, Cotija Cheese, Cornbread Crumble, Jalapeño, Radish, Scallion, Cilantro) Amazing!! i dream of these.


Cauliflower & Sweet Onion Pakora, Cucumber & Tomato Raita,
Spicy Green Chutney


Charred Tamaki Gold Rice & Macadamia Nuts, Salted Coconut Cream, Avocado, Pickled Veg, Wraps

Wild Mushroom Fried Rice, Parmesan, Black Truffle Aioli, Scallions

Kecap Manis Pan Fried Noodles, Housemade Spicy Chile Paste, Crushed Peanuts, Cilantro

Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken

Maple Glazed Pork Chop

Black Mission Fig Sticky Toffee Pudding

Super Slutty Rice Pudding, Salted Caramel (the name is weird. ha! but promise its delicious. not your typical rice pudding. they fold whipped cream into it making it so light and delicious.)




Sugar Plum Festival   Nov. 29-Dec. 3
Home decorations, garden and yard décor, jewelry, ornaments, antiques and collectibles all themed to the Christmas season.
Buena Park Downtown Mall, Lower Level
714-828-7722 / www.sugarplumfestivals.com


Laguna Beach Hospitality Night   Dec. 1
Downtown merchants, non-profit organizations and the Chamber provide a myriad of activities around downtown along with live musical entertainment, ice skating, strolling Victorian carolers, hot chocolate, tamale sales and more!
5-9pm / Downtown Laguna Beach
949-494-1018 / www.lagunabeachchamber.org


Seal Beach Holiday Parade    Dec. 1
This ‘continuous motion’ parade highlights youth groups, sports groups, schools, businesses, first responders and other organizations from Seal Beach and the surrounding areas.
7-8:45pm / Main Street from Ocean Ave to PCH


Newport Beach Holiday Lights Cruises   Dec. 1-31
Newport Beach begins its holiday decorations after Thanksgiving and by the first of December Newport Bay is richly illuminated with millions of lights and hundreds of themed estates.
5:30pm, 7pm & 8:30pm / Newport Landing Whale Watching
949-675-0551 / www.christmasparadeboats.com


SJC Tree Lighting Ceremony & Festivities   Dec. 2
Pre-show entertainment, a live stage show and official lighting of the Christmas tree.
4:15-5:45pm / Historic Town Center Park
949-493-5911 / www.sanjuanchamber.com


Santa’s Village by the Sea   Dec. 2
Annual tree lighting ceremony to usher in the spirit of the season with Christmas at the Casa, Snow at the Community Center, and the Del Mar Glitz. Take a picture with Santa, carolers, cookie decorating, and activities for the whole family to enjoy!
5-8pm / See website for schedule.   www.san-clemente.org


Christmas at the Mission   Dec. 2
Real snow sledding and play area, Dickens Carolers, Children’s and School Choirs, “Merry-achi” Music, Chamber Orchestra, Nativity Scene, Cookie decorating, Tamales, chili, sweets, spiced cider and hot cocoa, Handcrafted gifts and more.
5:30-8pm / Mission San Juan Capistrano   www.missionsjc.com


Dana Point Winter Festival & Tree Lighting   Dec. 2
Santa visits, carnival games, craft fair, Dana Point Police Services Kid Print ID, face painting, cookie decorating, holiday crafts, Lego Santa’s Village Workshop, the Mini Express Train, petting zoo, pony rides and the Annual Tree Lighting!
12-5pm / La Plaza Park   www.danapoint.org


Balboa Village Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 2
Home of the Fun Zone invites you to kick-off the holiday season at the beloved holiday event, Christmas at the Beach. Celebrate the season with the whole family with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony located in the OceanQuest courtyard.
5-8pm / 600 E Bay Avenue, Newport Beach


Laguna Niguel Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 2
Snag a cookie, don’t forget a hot drink, admire the beautiful tree and remember to blink. Santa will be there, although a little tardy, he’s never one to miss a good party!
5-7pm / City Hall   www.cityoflagunaniguel.org


Los Alamitos Winter Wonderland at the Plaza   Dec. 2
An area to play in the snow, activities, Santa’s Village, tree lighting ceremony, refreshments, entertainment and canned food drive.
4-7:30pm / St. Isidore Historical Plaza
562-431-3538 / www.cityoflosalamitos.org


Fountain Valley Tree Lighting Ceremony   Dec. 2
Will feature guests from the North Pole as well as performances by various community groups, delicious food available for purchase, games, a spectacular fireworks show, and much more!
4:30-8pm / Rec. Center & Sports Park   www.fountainvalley.org


Yappy Howl-iday Celebration   Dec. 3
This festive gathering of canines and their companions provides Fido with the opportunity to be photographed with the “Big Dog” himself – Santa Claus. Guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats or dog toys to be donated.
11am-2pm / The Ritz-Carlton, Dana Point www.bringfido.com/event/34347


Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony & Candlelight Choir Procession   Dec. 3
Join us for an evening of holiday cheer and family fun as we sing traditional carols of the season with the Orange Community Master Chorale. Food and youth activities.
3:30-7pm / Old Towne Orange Plaza   www.cityoforange.org


Irvine Winter Wonderland   Dec. 3
Games, crafts, music, entertainment and food. Joyful Jingles holiday concert and visit from Santa Claus. Food trucks. Festive tree-lighting that includes “snow” falling over the piazza.
3-7pm / Irvine Civic Center   www.cityofirvine.org


Corona del Mar Christmas Walk   Dec. 3
Live entertainment, food, prizes and games! Petting zoo, beer & wine garden, opportunity drawing and more.
11am / Village of Corona del Mar   www.cdmchamber.com


Cypress Holiday Sing and Tree Lighting   Dec. 5
School Performances, Letters to Veterans & Santa, Holiday Crafts, Train Rides, Visits with Santa, Games, Refreshments, SPARK OF LOVE toy drive.
6pm / Civic Center Green   www.cypressca.org


Garden Grove Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 5
This free event features live entertainment and holiday refreshments. The event culminates with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, tree lighting, and a flurry of winter snow.
6:30pm / 12732 Main Street
714-741-5290 / www.ci.garden-grove.ca.us


La Palma Holiday Tree Lighting   Dec. 6
Enjoy the musical talents from our local schools and join in during the Community Carol Sing Along. Take a picture with Santa and his elves in the activities area before the event.
4-8:30pm / Central Park Amphitheater   www.cityoflapalma.org


Brea Tree Lighting Ceremony   Dec. 7
Watch the holiday tree light up the evening and see children’s eyes sparkle when Mr. and Mrs. Santa drop in for a visit. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
6:30pm / Civic and Cultural Center   www.ci.brea.ca.us


Stanton Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 7
Live music, arts & crafts, story time with the Stanton Library, and the lighting of the Stanton Central Park Christmas tree.
6-7:30pm / Stanton Central Park   www.ci.stanton.ca.us


Costa Mesa Home Tour   Dec. 7
Meet for a reception with food and music, and then jump aboard the train to visit some of Costa Mesa’s most festively decorated homes.
3-8pm / Pottery Barn South Coast Plaza


Tustin Tree Lighting   Dec. 8
6pm / Tustin Library Courtyard
714-573-3000 / www.tustinca.org


Dana Point Holiday Boat Parade   Dec. 8-9 & 15-16
“A Superhero Holiday” Decorated boats light up the harbor with holiday cheer and seasonal activities are offered throughout the harbor.
4:30-9pm / Dana Point Harbor   www.danapointharbor.com


Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade   Dec. 9
View over 100 exciting entries including marching bands, floats, special guests, youth groups, equestrian units, exotic cars, military members, local heroes and fun attractions!
10am-Noon / Crown Valley Parkway
949-425-5100 / www.lagunaniguelparade.com


Santa Tour on a Fire Truck   Dec. 9
As Santa rides his fire truck he makes frequent stops along the way to share candy canes, listen to children’s Christmas wishes and to pose for some family photo fun.
8am / Villa Park   www.villapark.co/santa-tour-fire-truck


Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade   Dec. 10
An asphalt harbor tour where 50 + vessels travel through Villa Park. At the Towne Centre there are tree lighting and awards ceremonies with trophies.
4:30-8:30pm / Villa Park Towne Center


The Holly Jolly Light Tour   Dec. 8-9
Enjoy a VIP reception and then tour the Home Lighting Contest displays aboard a warm comfortable bus.
6pm & 8pm / Mission Viejo Civic Center


Breakfast with Santa   Dec. 9
Join us for a special celebration complete with a scrumptious breakfast, photos with Santa and holiday crafts.
9-11am / Laguna Hills Community Center
949-707-2680 / www.ci.laguna-hills.ca.us


Huntington Harbour Boat Parade   Dec. 9-10
Watch as beautifully decorated boats parade through the harbor to celebrate the holiday season.
5:15pm / 16370 PCH, Huntington Beach
714-840-7542 / www.hhboatparade.org


Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour   Dec. 10
One of Orange County’s most loved Holiday Home Walking Tours returns this year with seven uniquely holiday decorated island homes and cottages.
11am-4pm / 331 Marine Avenue   www.balboaislandNB.org


Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade   Dec. 13-17
Beautiful multi-million dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes and other small boats will light up the harbor as a dazzling array of holiday lights and music fill the air.
6:30-9pm / Newport Beach Harbor, Bay Island


Cruise of Lights   Dec. 15-18 & 21-23
Both locals and visitors share the beauty of thousands of lights and animated displays on brightly decorated homes, docks, decks and boats.
16889 Algonquin Street, Huntington Beach
714-840-7542 / www.cruiseoflights.org


Operation Santa   Dec. 16
Food and gift items collected for pre-qualified families in need are distributed. Kids and families can visit with Santa and play carnival-style games.
9am-Noon / La Habra Community Center
562-383-4217 / www.lahabracity.com


Inaugural Charity Event 5K Walk/Run/Skip   Dec. 16
Bring an unwrapped toy. T-shirt, Medal, & Swag Bag Included to all that pre-register!
9am / Lake Forest Sports Park


Chanukah Wonderland/Menorah Lighting   Dec. 17
Enjoy live entertainment, activities, and crafts, as well as your favorite Chanukah, treats – latkes, dreidels, and more! Bring your family, friends, and lots of holiday spirit!
5:30-7:30pm / Laguna Niguel City Hall
949-831-7701 / www.cityoflagunaniguel.org


Fullerton Holiday Festival   Dec. 17
Live stage performances and an arts and crafts fair. Food vendors and exclusive craft beer selections! Free art workshops for kids, a children’s play area, and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
12-4pm / Muckenthaler Cultural Center   www.themuck.org


Int’l Christmas Nativity Play & Celebration   Dec. 17
A celebration that brings together a diverse group of churches, singers, dancers for a celebration that highlights the true meaning of the holiday season.
6-8pm / Old World Village, Huntington Beach
714-895-8020 / www.oldworld.ws


Winter Fest   Dec. 21-Jan. 7
Outdoor ice rink, 130-foot, six lane Snowflake Summit ice slide, a play park featuring real snow, strolling carolers and personal visits in the cabin of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Festival of Lights walk-through holiday light show featuring.
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa   www.winterfestoc.com




this past weekend i toured model homes in the great park. if you haven’t been to the great park you should go! the great park is approximately 1,300 acres of parks, sports complex, farms, homes, schools, farmers market and of course the big orange balloon you can see from miles away. they are really building this master plan community into something awesome! here are a few shots i took of the Jade series at Parasol Park built by Pulte Homes.

the first home i toured was the Harmony X (3 story). 2,297 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath. prices starting at $938,880. the island in this kitchen was massive. pictures don’t do it justice. the kitchen had so much natural lighting with large sliding doors opening to the courtyard from the kitchen.



i love the open concept with the family room directly off the kitchen.



the second house is the Justice X (3story). 2,424 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath starting at $941,880.



the third story on both houses were set up as bonus rooms which i thought was brilliant. a great place for the kids to go and hang out. the bonus rooms open up to a balcony. in california we spend so much time outside, having that indoor/outdoor space is very desirable.









if theres one thing i love it’s looking at houses. i love a sunday drive through a charming neighborhood scoping out all the details of each home. here in southern california i see a lot of white houses with black detail. which is great and something i love. we designed our home back in az that way, but too much similarity in a neighborhood takes the charm out of it. one of my favorite things about our neighborhood in seattle was the variation in homes. homes of every color and style. it was hard to find two that looked alike. while we were up in northern california this past weekend we went to sacramento for ivans work. while we were there we drove the the most charming neighborhood of historic homes. man, did they really know how to build homes a hundred years ago. so much character and detail. i snapped a few pictures. these houses are all in the 38th street neighborhood– between j st and folsom blvd in east sacramento.


i love the arched door and windows. that brick porch is everything.


again i love the brick steps up to the house.


the roof line, windows and yard are perfection.


i love how unique each of these houses are. i love the dark navy door and hedges.


this house decorated for the holidays. so classic and simple.


this home reminds me of the houses in my grandmas neighborhood in wisconsin. i love the covered parking and the entrance.


how great is that balcony and patio?





mission dolores park


i absolutely love living in california. we are fortunate to have so many adorable cities all within driving distance. each city has its own feel and dynamic making them all so unique. i thought it would be fun to spotlight a different neighborhood each month and share it here with you.

we just took a quick weekend trip up to san francisco so i thought why not start there first! its truly one of my favorite cities. i remember the first time my parents took us there. i was just a little girl and i fell in love hard on that trip. while the city is big and offers so much, i am going to narrow down to one neighborhood for you– mission/dolores park.

i love the neighborhood feel in the mission/dolores park area. its still very city but not in the sense of tourist and street acts. its very walkable and has so many great restaurants and shops. dolores park is a big beautiful green area with a fun park for the kids and plenty of lawn space to have your saturday picnic. the park also offers tennis courts, basketball courts, a soccer field and dog area. the homes are exactly what you dream of when you think about san francisco. old, charming and all so unique. mission dolores is super family friendly and one of our favorite places to explore. not to mention the view of the city from the top of the park is amazing! heres how we would spend the day in mission dolores–

mission dolores park

start the morning off with a few pastries from tartine. i love the pain au chocolat. if you’re looking for dessert get the banana cream tart.

mission dolores park - 2

walk over to dolores park to let the kids burn some of that morning energy. mine love to play on the slides for hours. take in the views of the city.

mission dolores park

next up take a walk down mission. wander in and out of the cute shops on the way to la taqueria for lunch. this walk is just over a mile. the perfect amount of walking and shopping to build up an appetite. get the carne asada burrito make it “super” and get it el dorado. if you don’t feel like mexican food go to lucca ravioli co and grab a deli sandwich. get the dutch crunch bread. the best!

mission dolores park

mission dolores park

mission dolores park

mission dolores park - 1

zig zag back through the neighborhood and take in all the beautiful houses. i love the slow walk back. our bellies are full, holding hands with the kids just talking about life. i find my kids are just as interested in the beauty and uniqueness of each home as i am. we each say our favorite house on every block and why.

we’ll usually make a pit stop at bi rite- the most darling little market. i love browsing all their specialty items. they have a beautiful array of fresh flowers and don’t forget to grab a scoop of their yummy ice cream. if you’re only in the mood for ice cream stop at the creamery located on the same street.

mission dolores park - 3

walk down to the mission dolores basilica its the oldest surviving structure in san francisco founded in 1776– truly beautiful.

for dinner grab a pizza at Delfina. eat at one of the tables outside and people watch or take it back to the park. now would be a good time to grab that banana cream tart!

mission dolores park - 4

we do a lot of walking in san francisco. in my opinion walking is the best way to truly see a city. if you have little kids make walking fun. turn it into a game– we count houses or steps, we race, come up with competitions or just talk about things the kids are interested in. whats your favorite city? does it have neighborhood you’ve fallen in love with?





summer is coming to a close. man was it a good one. lots of staying up late, sleeping in, beaching and outdoor movies. it went by too fast and its officially come to a close tonight. the kids start school tomorrow. they are finally all at the same school. hallelujah! elle got in the last day of last year, we were both so excited! her sweet teacher came to the house over summer and met her. everyone is in such a great spot, it feels really good. jacks home with me for one more year then off to kindergarten. that gives me a lump in my throat and knot in my stomach. i can’t imagine not having someone home with me during the day. i love having a buddy.




ivans crazy busy. which is awesome! i’m so proud of him. he’s so good at building a company from the ground up and amazes me every time. i got my real estate license in california over the summer. i still have it in hawaii and now california too! i joined with keller williams and i am so happy i did. the classes and training are some of the best. not to mention my office is great and the people are awesome. real estate and kids are keeping me busy but thats how i like it.




i also joined pta at school and room mom for ava’s class. we had our first meeting last week to kick off the new year. i’m excited to really get in there and get to know everyone. its gonna be a busy year but a real really good one.




we are back to house hunting. our lease is up at the end of this month and we don’t want to re-sign so i’m looking everyday. i jump on mls every morning. the benefit to being a realtor! but the inventory is sooo low. there are so many great cities in california. we are really liking san clemente right now. its got that hawaii vibe. lots of kids and everyone seems to know everyone. sort of a small town feel which is hard to find in a state of almost 40 million people. lots of good food too. i’m staying positive and telling myself whats meant to be will be, because really what else can i do.




our disneyland passed were blacked out for summer and they’re finally back on. that means lots of disney trips. september and october are the best months to go. everyones back to school. the park clears out a bit. we finally went on guardians of the galaxy and oh man it was insane! jack was trembling the whole ride but ended up loving it after we got off and made us ride it again. he hasn’t stopped talking about it since.




fall is right around the corner and i just can’t wait. i love cooler mornings and the holidays coming up. i’m starting to drum up ideas for halloween costumes. jacks into everything star wars and of course the other kids want to be something scary. i wish they would let me dress them. i’ve got some fun family costume ideas, the trouble is getting everyone on board.






gosh its been so long since i blogged. i really love blogging but man as my kids have gotten older and life busier i have a hard time finding time. i started this blog after i had jack. tapvr was the reason i started it. i wanted to document our journey. i love having this online journal to look back on. i love the people who have reached out to me through this little space. so rather than catching up or promising i’ll blog more i’m just going to document where we are today and update when i can. here we go.


we are in orange county right now. a place i used to dream of living and also a place i at one point in life said i’d never live. funny how life works like that isn’t it? we left hawaii in a snap second decision sort of like how we make all our decisions. ha! i know its weird for a lot of people. for us thats just how we operate. like when people say will you go back? or are you here for good? i have no way of answering that. we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to move when we want and thats who we are.we moved to hawaii on a whim. we were living in the most difficult winter in seattle and went to hawaii on vacation in february to escape. while we were there we decided we wanted to move there. came home sold all our stuff and left by april.


so how’d we decide to leave hawaii? well initially we were waiting for ivans contractor license to come in hawaii. we’d been waiting months and months, just playing at the beach everyday. we thought lets live somewhere new while we wait. we didn’t even know exactly where we wanted to live. we made the decision to come back and traveled a good month through washington, idaho, utah, az and eventually california. none of those places felt right until california. i have a sister here. its familiar and close to az. we’ve vacationed here so many times it feels as close to home as it gets. i’ve also realized over the course of the last few years i’m a warm weather gal and i need sun. like really need it to maintain my happiness. so we found a place. which isn’t easy. harder than seattle and hawaii. you’re in line with what feels like the other 39.5 million people that live here for the same place. we found a home and decided to give it a year.


ivan did everything he needed to get his contractors license and got up and running right away. he’s super busy and doing so so well. i’m so proud of him. i got my real estate license here too. we joke we are just going to get our licenses in all 50 states. ha! ivans gone back and done work in hawaii while i stayed here with the kids. but work in hawaii isn’t like work here. they don’t move fast. no one is in a rush and things drag on. the opportunities are so much greater here. we can build the business we dream of and want here. hawaii feels restrictive, like we are holding ourselves back from our true potential.


so while hawaii is amazing and beautiful and the people are the best. at the same time vacation is very different than real  life. you don’t live in a resort. you deal with the same problems you do anywhere else. i’ve realized over the course of all the moves we’ve done that life is good where you make it. hawaii, california, arizona or seattle. it really is about you. right now california feels good. really good. the kids are in an amazing school they otherwise wouldn’t have been in. they’ve made really great friends. we love going to disneyland and the beach. the sunshine is good for me. we are all thriving here. is that to say we’ll stay forever? who knows! for now this is home.


we get asked all the time for advice on moving or how we did it. its scary initially. really scary. i remember our first few months in seattle, all i wanted was to go back home. but its also exciting and fun. we love change. we love experiencing life in a new place. you really just have to do it. theres no easy way. its taking the leap and doing it. the worst thing that can happen is you fail, you go home. but if thats the worst thing that can happen isn’t it worth trying? be brave! we don’t regret one single decision. if you want something in life– go for it!




i wrote this post when we were living in hawaii. i haven’t checked this blog in so long. i hopped on and have a few posts i had never entered. since food is one of my all time loves i figure i better put this one out there. here are a few of our favorite spots to eat around hawaii. enjoy!


hukilau cafe- i love the macadamia nut pancakes, ivan gets the hungry hawaiian.


pap ole’s- we get the same thing here. their mac nut pancakes have a mac nut syrup on top. i prefer hukilau because they grind the nuts up into the pancakes. hukilau just uses regular syrup.


boots and kimo’s- in kailua. same breakfast. creatures of habit i guess.


teds bakery- donuts, spam and eggs, chocolate croissants, haupia pie.


fumi’s shrimp truck- hands down best shrimp truck. we like the spicy garlic shrimp, extra sauce.


ocean bree’z- spicy garlic shrimp. this sauce is more of a creamy sauce.


seven brothers- we split the paniolo exchange bbq sauce for teriyaki. so good and huge. fries are yummy too.


fiji market- the chicken curry is amazing!! half moon pie is a pineapple custard flavored treat. delicious!


impossibles pizza- 5 cheese, pepperoni, bbq. all of his pizza’s are so good. lately we’ve been just calling and asking him to make whatever he wants and its always good! he’s only open thurs-sat. get the ranch!


sandy’s sandwiches- sandy puts all the love into his sandwiches. you can tell by the way he explains the process. we love the turkey brie.


elephant thai truck- pad kee mao, vegetarian noodles, ka pow, spring rolls. this truck is amazing and the outdoor seating is so perfect at night.


opal thai- this is ivans very favorite spot. opal is so nice and pretty fun too. you tell him what you like/dislike and he orders for you. trust him! its all amazing.


kahuku farms- fresh from the farm. you can see it all being grown right there. get the pizza and do yourself a favor and get the banana bread with ice-cream. the best dessert ever.


pupukea grill- get the poke!


matsumotos shave ice- coconut add cream.


hi slush- you can find them at the waimea farmers market thurs 2-5 or turtle bay until 4. the pineapple slush with extra honey is heaven.


leonards malasadas- i love the plain sugar and the chocolate filled. ivan likes vanilla filled. if you’re staying on the north shore and don’t want to drive to honolulu they have a food truck location by old navy in waipahu.


And Ivan’s favorite sspam musubi from 7-11



we have had our fair share of skin problems on the island. our pediatrician and dermatologist have both said it takes a while to adjust to hawai’i and staph is a big problem here. the weather is a perfect breading ground for germs. jack broke out into a weird rash while we were in seattle. i took him into three separate doctors and none of them had any idea what it was. initially they thought chicken pox but it never went away. i had an appointment with a dermatologist but we moved before i could get him in. the bumps were itchy and he would scratch until they would bleed and scab over. this went on for months. right as we were moving they seemed to be going away. i figured it was a virus and was glad it was over.


mosquitos are everywhere in hawai’i and jack seems to be their favorite treat. he keeps getting bit and he scratches to death. he ended up scratching a few bites that ended up swelling and oozing. i kept them covered with an over the counter antibacterial ointment. the bites seemed to only be getting worse. i took him into the doctor and he said it was staph. he explained to me that staph is super common here. not to worry and to put mupirocen ointment on it and start antibiotics. he gave me 10 refills of the ointment so i guess it really is super common.


we finished the antibiotic and jack started getting the weird bumps again. the same ones he had in seattle. i made an appointment with a dermatologist who got me in right away. hawai’i gets a bad wrap for their healthcare but i can tell you the doctors offices and er’s aren’t overcrowded like they are on the mainland. we’ve been to the emergency room several times here and never have a wait. the doctors are friendly. we’ve met a few that went to school or did their residency in seattle. we’ve always gotten our issues resolved and been happy. i know there are some procedures they don’t perform here and you have to go back to the mainland for but for your regular illnesses they’re fine. the dermatologist said the bumps are eczema. i was shocked. this isn’t the eczema my other kids had. jacks looked more like chicken pox than dry itchy patches. the doctor gave us a steroid cream and said to come back in a few weeks. we repeatedly asked if it was something in his diet and he said no. i have a hard time believing i can’t clear up his skin by clearing up his diet and what he comes in contact with. i don’t want to coat him in steroid cream nightly if i can cure him naturally.


i decided to talk to my friend. i’ve mentioned her before when i touched lightly on jacks eczema (enlightened homemaker on instagram) and we came up with a plan to get rid of whats causing the flare ups not just mask it. she helped me chose supplements that will clear out the candida and settle the allergies and inflammation. i’m also cleaning his diet up. focusing on eating vegetables, fruits and healthy meats. cutting out dairy, gluten, corn and soy. i’ve already noticed an improvement. i’ve been using lavender and melaleuca essential oil on the bumps that haven’t broken through the skin to soothe and help stop the itching and inflammation.


we are keeping on this path and trying to heal him from the inside out naturally. that poor boy has been through so much and needs to detox all the medicine that he had with his surgery at 2 weeks old. theres nothing worse than feeling hopeless and having doctor after doctor tell you they don’t know whats wrong with your child. its such a blessing to have an answer and see we are making progress. any of you moms out there with kids that suffer with eczema here are a few tips i learned early on, when ava and henri both dealt with it- don’t use any detergent with synthetic fragrances and chemicals. i’ve talked to a lot of friends about eczema and the first thing i ask them is what detergent are you using? stop right now! i’ve even had them tell me just stopping that made a world of difference. there are a lot of all natural, dye and fragrance free detergents that work great. make the switch. i also got rid of any soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners that contain fragrance and dyes. exchanging those chemical filled products for natural ones made a world of difference in my older kids. jack seem’s to be a little more tricky. probably because his start was a lot tougher and from birth he was pumped full of medicine. i’m so happy to be seeing improvement in him so quickly.



i get asked questions all the time about moving to hawai’i. how we did it? what we brought? how to find a house? if there’s anything we would/wouldn’t do if we did it again. so i’m going to break it down for you. keep in mind we didn’t have a company we worked for shipping our stuff. every cost was out of pocket. we also live in the north shore so thats all i can speak on. honolulu or “town” as we call it is very different.


we shipped our cars. i don’t know that this matters so much. we like our cars. they both have low miles and are in good shape. it costs a little over $1000 and takes around 10 days. we were already selling everything and didn’t want the hassle of selling cars too. ivan’s is payed off and we don’t owe much on mine so it made sense. cars rust here and unless you’re living in the city NO ONE cares what you drive. i will say if you like your car and its worth a decent amount– ship it. one thing is no matter if you ship or buy here you will get roaches and ants in your car. i don’t think there is any way of getting around it. some people bug bomb their cars. i’ve heard it ruins the interior so i didn’t want to risk it. you can put those roach traps in it. just watch that your little ones aren’t playing with them. it’s gross i know!


packing, oh i remember this like it was yesterday and it is the worst. i didn’t know what to take, sell or leave. you will live in your swimsuit and maybe 3 other outfits. i haven’t worn any shoes but slippahs (flip flops) and my kids rarely wear shoes. our house is very minimally stocked and i notice most people live the same way. its pretty warm year round so you don’t need jackets or pants. you can buy everything you need at costco. the lighter you pack the better. a friend who had recently moved to the u.s. from denmark told me only bring the things that really mean something to you. i think thats a great way to think of it. you’ll want family pictures and your kids art work but don’t really need books you’ve already read. purging is hard but so liberating too. we’ve never had less stuff and it feels so good! i can clean up the house in less than 10 minutes and we are off to the beach.


we did not send a container and i am so glad that we didn’t. it’s expensive and in my opinion not worth it. i have yet to meet a single person that sent a container over and doesn’t regret it. you can buy everything you need here. yes its harder to come by nice thing but the good news is no one cares and several times a year costco has furniture. you can join Facebook groups dedicated to military people moving and selling/giving away their furniture for nothing. there is a furniture store in honolulu called pacific home. super cute and beachy. super expensive. i wouldn’t buy mattresses or couches on craigslist. bedbugs! also tj maxx will become your best friend.


house hunting is very very difficult from the mainland. most landlords will not want to deal with you until you are here. its definitely a slower pace of life so don’t expect to get an email response the same day. people are not in a rush and really don’t care if you are. coming from seattle where i could get amazon to deliver anything i wanted in under two hours was a big adjustment. i have my real estate license in hawaii and our office is right here on the north shore. we direct everyone looking for a rental to look on craigslist and check it constantly. this area is a hot rental market. most listings will be on craigslist and potential gone by the time you call. another piece of advice is lower your standards way lower than you think. you will easily pay $3,500-$4,000 a month for 1,000 sq. ft house not updated. you can’t come here thinking you’re going to get the same 3,000 sq. ft house you have on the mainland for $2,000 a month. i’ve talked to a few people lately who’ve moved here or are in the process and are freaking out that they can’t find a place because its too far out of their budget. its expensive, more expensive than you think. most houses have an ohana house on the property which is basically a small guest house. if you’re lucky its only your family and who ever lives in the ohana house. sometime houses are rented by level. we even looked at one property that had 4 families living on it. this is very normal here and you feel like you hit the jackpot if you get a single family house. make sure to check the listing that it says single family and not duplex or apartment.


be prepared for lots and lots of bugs. flying roaches that are several inches long and little light brown ones. two types of ants, little tiny sugar ants that will flock to any crumb on the floor and giant ants the size of spiders. so many mosquitos, centipedes (we’ve encountered more than i would’ve liked) millipedes, geckos by the hundreds and lizards. the geckos just live with you and you get used to them. like little friends.


hawai’i is an amazing place to live. the people are the sweetest. life is slower and we really enjoy it. you live with less consuming and more happiness. if you have the chance to move here i say do it. it really has been such an amazing experience for our family. getting back to the basics in life is such an amazing feeling!





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