Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Cacti Garden.

When I was a little girl I loved cacti. I'm not sure why, I just did. I remember every time my parents took my to Home Depot I would go into the garden section and ask my parents to get me a new one for my collection. I had a little set of mini cacti which being 7 or 8 years old was a manageable amount of responsibility for me. It took a long time before my black thumb killed off the cacti. In fact, I believe that my parents still have one remaining cactus from my childhood.

The other week when I went to the farmers market I passed this magnificent cacti garden that put my childhood collection to shame. I think I spent more time walking around the garden looking at all the varieties then I did in the whole market. Unfortunately, it was overcast and the pictures do not give the garden justice.

Check out the album I made of the garden.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Saturday at the KCC.

Some of the pretty local flowers.
The KCC (Kapiolani Community College) farmers market is the most well known on the island. It happens every Saturday from 7 to 11 am at the base of Diamond Head. I ventured out there last week to see what they had. It was quite large like they said and there was plenty of produce to choose from. I was not looking for produce, but was interested in what other vendors were there.

Knowing the food vendors would be there I did not eat before I went, I wanted to save lots of room for what I might find. Unfortunately, I was on my own so I didn't have anyone to sample the treats with and I had to be picky. I had a few fried green tomatoes and zucchini to start. After making another loop I went for a piece of grilled pesto pizza. I had had it before and knew that it was worth the wait!

The North Shore Tomato stand that sell the best grilled pizza!

After my breakfast I got some cranberry walnut bread and some fresh butter. I also bought a few Christmas presents that I can't tell you about right away.

He uses his hands to make the great big snow cones.
All in all I thought that the market did have a great select of local produce, but it seemed just to be a collection of vendors from all of the other farmers market. So I don't think I will travel there again unless I go for a hike up Diamond Head.

I would say that my favorite market is the Sunday morning one on the North Shore.
This big guy was patiently waiting.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Visitor on My Door.

I came home the other day and this guy was on my front door.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Advent Calendar.

Last week I received the most amazing package in the mail. It was from my parents and it was a new and very creative advent calendar! I opened the box and the first thing I received was instructions:

So after I did steps one through five (yes, Morris did get some cookies!) I started in on number 6, unwrapping the actual calendar. I instantly recognized the material used to create it, moulding from my parent's house. After I read the little blurb on the back confirming this I thought I wonder what door they retrieved this wood from and hoped the didn't do it to an obvious place! After talking with them I discovered that they did not demolish a current door in their house and that the moulding was removed during a project years ago! phew!  

On the back my mother had written a little notation about the wood and the purpose of the project: 

For Emma Elizabeth Hartsog - Christmas 2010
This is crafted from door moulding that was removed from Emma's childhood home in Laurel, MD. The house has no date of when it was built, but we know it was standing 1880s.
This 'Advent Calendar" is being sent to Hawaii -- hopfully to cheer up Emma during JJ's first deployment.
The main theme of this calendar is Joy -- So appropriate, as Emma has always been the Joy for her parents.
With all our Love,
Mom and Dad

I must admit that the thoughtfulness of my parents was a little overwhelming and at this point I needed to take a moment to absorb it all. Feeling a little more in the Christmas spirit I dug into my storage to retrieve some of my Christmas decorations. Not going all out this year, I just grabbed my feather tree and a few other decorations. 

After getting my mini tree up and looked around my living room to find a location for my "Joy Calendar." I wanted to put it out in the open so I could constantly see it. I hung it up in my foyer under my knickknack shelf.
I forgot to take a picture early on, but it looks so pretty with the tags/days hanging from it!

Aren't the tags pretty and creative!

Now everyday, I get to come downstairs and pick up a little something under my tree for me!  It is making the distance between Hawaii and Maryland not seem so vast and it is a wonderful feeling to know people are out there, thinking about me. I am also enjoying opening the packages that sporadically arrive with more days on them and organizing them under my little tree. 

 The calendar is truly achieving it's purpose, everyday it brings a little more joy into my life. I hope that your holiday season is filled with joy. I am thinking of all of you often and I miss spending loads of time with you. 

Mele Kalikimaka

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shoes and Wednesdays

So after a long hiatus from blogging, I'm back to it! I'm refocusing this week on all of my goals and the first one was to get back on track with 52 Wednesdays with Deanna. Check it out!

My next goal is to update you on my advent calendar! Its pretty much amazing so check back soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blue Angels.

This weekend was the Kaneohe Bay Air Show. On Saturday I gathered up a few friends and headed out to the sand bar to watch the acrobatics from the water. The sand bar is always a good time, but with the beautiful weather and the spectacular show!

The Blue Angels flying right over the runway of the Marine Corps base. 

Marja, Adrienne & Brigitte.
Alana & Me (under the umbrella, of course!)

Xs & Os, Blue Angel style.

On Sunday there was an encore performance which I watched from my lanai.  

You can see the pilots!
Lets just say there was no possibility of taking a Sunday nap. 

To see the rest of my photos check out my Blue Angels Album.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Painful Wednesday.

This week's blog topic for Fifty-Two Wednesdays, was pain. For young 20-somethings, Deanna and I have the joints of 80 year-olds. Actually my grandmother probably has better knees then me! She has had both knees replaced, so I affectionately call her, Bionic Granny!

So get your ice pack out and enjoy our post. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Deanna for Miss Sinergy 2011. UPDATE!

Deanna made it to the next round of Miss Sinergy! Thank you everyone for your support and now another message from her:


Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you SO much for voting for me for Miss Sinergy 2011 during the past week .... I MADE THE TOP 20! I really couldn't have done it without your support.  I appreciate that you took time out of your day to help me get one step closer to becoming a charitable ambassador.

My competition is fierce, with many of the contestants having competed and won pageants at the local, state and national levels.  Your continued support is much appreciated because like I've stated before, competing in a pageant is something very much outside of my comfort zone and I'm just praying I don't trip and fall flat on my face while walking across stage!

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me work toward making a tangible charitable difference in the fight against Ovarian cancer -- the pageant is October 16th.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Deanna for Miss Sinergy 2011

So if you haven't heard, one of my favorite people needs your vote!

Deanna LeBlanc, is a wonderful woman. To me she is a best friend, sorority sister and a bridesmaid. She is a kind hearted person who more often then not goes out of her way to help people. She is dedicated to her studies as well as being an active volunteer in her community. She aspires to be the next generation's Barber Walters and I truly believe she will get there one day.

This year she has decided to complete in the Miss Sinergy Competition in Washington D.C. I ask that you take 2 minutes out of your day to vote for her! I very much hope to see her succeed in this endeavor.

Please go to the Miss Sinergy Website: www.MissSinergy.com
Under the "Vote for the Top 20" section. She is the fourth row down and second column in.

I personal thank you for the vote and would like to share a memo from the contestant herself!

Dear Emma's friends and family,

Thank you so much for your support in the Miss Sinergy 2011 Pageant. The Miss Sinergy competition is held annually as a means to crown and promote a charitable ambassador who creates and champions the platform of her own choice during her twelve month reign. The Miss Sinergy event itself raises funds and awareness for breast cancer. Women from all over the United States will compete on their contributions and desire to aid national and international charitable causes affecting the quality of life around the world.

Although pageants are something completely out of my comfort zone, Miss Sinergy is a charitable organization and has a vision I believe in. In addition to the company's own charitable organizations the winner gets to pick her own charity to focus on.  If I win, I will choose to work to support the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition -- a cause very near and dear to my heart.  Nothing would make me happier than to be able to raise not only awareness but also research funds to strive toward a cure, work that I would never be able to do single handedly but with the support of the Sinergy Corporation I feel could really make a difference!
In order to take advantage of this amazing opportunity I need your help!  
I have made it through the first cut of the pageant and am in the top 30, but now the judges have opened the voting to the public. From now until Sunday there is an online ballot to narrow the competition to 20.  Please take a moment to vote for me! You can vote once per day per email address (for example if you have both a work and home email account they can both be used once a day). 
Again, from the bottom of my heart I thank you in helping me take the next step toward being crowned Miss Sinergy 2011.  With your help, I am one step closer toward make a real difference in the push toward ovarian cancer research and awareness, a goal I've been working toward for years.

Thank you!
with love,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday's Reads.

See what Deanna and I are up to on Wednesdays on our photo blog, 52 Wednesdays.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Terp Dog.


I don't know about you, but I think Morris pulls off this uniform better then Sam Hollbach!

It is a little things in life that count. Like a victory of Maryland over the Naval Academy; it is just a pity that I couldn't be there. JJ was out to sea at the time, so he didn't have the pleasure to the terps win. Ok that might be a little mean so for all the USNA fans, I am sorry for your lost!

well..... not really ;)


The other week JJ surprised me with an island hopping adventure to Kauai. This island is the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands. Here are a few picture from our trip.


Waimea Canyon : "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
After driving on a curvy mountain road for about an hour you arrive at the top of a peak with a look out platform. I thought the view was spectacular. You can see how the river has carved through the volcanic rock and the layers of earth that has created the island.JJ on the other hand was not quiet as impressed comparing it to the real Grand Canyon! Maybe one day I'll have him take me there. 

Off in the distance you can see the really beaches and hills of Ni'ihau, the Forbidden island. 

The Hawaii Islands has a plethora of waterfalls and while we were there we saw two. 
Wailua Falls.

At one time it was a test of manliness to jump off the cliff into the pool 80 feet below.

Opaeka'a Falls

Us in front of Opaeka'a Falls

The look out for this gorgeous waterfall also over looks the Wailua river. The river has been in several movies including Indian Jones. Remember the scene where Indie is running from the natives and jumps on a water plane. This is the river bank that he spirits across.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

JJ's Birthday Dinner

Enjoying the simple things in life is an art form and JJ has mastered. I could spend all day preparing a fancy meal from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but when it comes to JJ's favorite meals that would be a waste. My husband is an all- American and his favorite dinner time special is pizza and beer. So for his birthday I thought I could make it special with a BIG beer and Thai Chicken Pizza.

A Kona Longboard (22 oz.) for JJ and a Blue Moon for me!

Beer and Thai Chicken Pizza

The Thai pizza is really delicious and easy to make. Here is the recipe:

20 ounces  prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Shopping Tip)
1/4 cup  smooth natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons  water
2 teaspoons  reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons  rice vinegar
2 teaspoons  minced fresh ginger
1 clove  garlic, minced
1 teaspoon  canola oil
8 ounces  boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and diced
1   red bell pepper, diced
4   scallions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup  shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Roll out or stretch dough on a lightly floured surface into a rough 16-inch oval. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake on the bottom rack until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter, water, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic in a small bowl until well combined.
4. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add bell pepper, scallions and 1 tablespoon of the peanut sauce to the chicken; toss to combine.
5. Remove the crust from the oven; spread evenly with the remaining peanut sauce. Top with the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with cheese. Return the pizza to the oven and bake on the bottom rack until the crust is crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, 11 to 13 minutes.

I make it with a whole wheat crust, here is the crust:


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar


  1. In a measuring cup, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, salt, and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape.
***You Might need to use extra flour as the dough is very sticky. Also you can use either white or whole wheat flour. 
Cookie Cake
I made JJ an ice cream cookie cake. His family often celebrates birthday with ice cream cake, so I followed tradition with a twist. I used my Mom's famous Save-the-Marriage cake to create these "big cookies". Then I added a layer of vanilla ice cream creating a large Oreo look alike cake!
 To smear the ice cream you have to let it sit out for a little, the only problem is getting it to freeze quickly again. I came out the sides a little.
Happy Birthday JJ!!!