pineapple party

Here in Hawaii, first birthday parties are a big deal. We’re talking booking large venues months in advance, major entertainment, awesome food, the works. They are tons of fun and, I think, it’s such a fun way to celebrate the little ones. 

We don’t have nearly enough family and friends on the island to justify throwing a huge party, but I definitely wasn’t going to let miss Lyla’s first birthday pass without throwing some sort of shindig. 

I played around with a few ideas before landing on the pineapple party theme. Honestly, Alex wasn’t entirely convinced that pineapples were a theme but he went with it anyways. (thanks, babe!)

pineapple party

We kept it simple by hosting a few of our close family and friends in our backyard. We didn’t book any outside vendors and made all of the food and decorations ourselves. My family was a huge help in getting everything together and I am so thankful for them all (I’m looking at you Lily, Hoku, Mimi and Keiko!)

pineapple party food

pineapple party

pineapple party sandwiches

Rather than serving a big meal, we made a bunch of finger food for our guests. We had PB&J, cucumber cream cheese and chicken salad sandwiches (cut out in pineapple shapes, of course), fruit salad, teriyaki meatballs with pineapple chunks and an awesome cheese ball modeled after this one (just used a different recipe). 

The pineapple cups from Oriental Trading Company were a hit and made for a great party favor. 

pineapple party

pineapple party

pineapple party

Towards the end of the party we opened presents, had some cake and broke open the piñata (which I made – who knew pineapple piñatas were so hard to find?!)
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pineapple pinata pineapple pinata

No, she won’t remember this party and I’m sure her sixteen-year-old self will look back at these pictures and be like “really, mom? pineapples?!” but we all had a great time. Just look at this smile…

pineapple party

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diy paper kite

Spring has officially sprung. And I can’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon than being outside with my family. We have an awesome little park right down the street from our house that we love to visit. You can usually find us chasing Lyla around the playground but over the weekend, we switched it up and brought a kite along. 

As it always seems to do, my “let’s save our money and do it ourselves” side came out in full force and I decided that I could make as good a kite as any store bought one. 

DIY paper kite

You’ll have to keep reading to find out if it was a success. The suspense is killing you, I’m sure. 

I started by rolling out a big piece of butcher paper for us to decorate. We used paint and markers to cover our paper with all sorts of “springy” things. While the paint dried, I went on the hunt for materials to build our structure. Ideally, I would have found two, nice lightweight wooden dowels but it turns out I don’t live at City Mill (weird, right?) so a few packets of chopsticks were selected for the job. 

I used some washi tape to bind my chopsticks together in a large “T” formation and laid it on top of our butcher paper. Using the chopsticks as my guide, I cut around the shape leaving about 3 inches of paper on all sides which I then folded inwards and secured with more washi tape. 

Once the kite was built, we took it outside to add the finishing touches. We poked holes in the bottom to add some fancy-schmancy streamer tails and then attached a roll of baker’s twine to the middle of the kite. 

At this point it was looking pretty legit so we headed to the park to give it a test drive. 

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See the kite that second picture? Yea, that was as high as it ever got. I can’t even lie to you and blame it on a lack of wind because those palm trees in the background give me away. Right after this it crashed and burned ripped. 

RIP my sweet little diy paper kite. 

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Lyla was so embarrassed.

I think that the biggest problem was the chopstick/washi tape combination. While the washi tape looked pretty, it was less than ideal for keeping a bunch of flimsy sticks together. Especially when said sticks are being thrown against the wind. Next time, I will use the wooden dowels that I was looking for in the first place. Or maybe just suck it up and buy a plastic kite at the drug store. 

But it wasn’t a total fail. We found a tetherball set and Alex spent some time showing off his mad hops.  

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I love him. 

What has been your biggest DIY blunder?

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stay at home mom

Today I became a full-blown stay at home mom. 

baby blue eyes

After my maternity leave was up, I had an awesome opportunity to return to the job that I love very part time. We’re talking one day a week. It was great.

See, I never really wanted to leave our sweet girl. It didn’t feel natural. But I really loved my job, and honestly going to work was like taking a mini vacation every week. So I went back. And for the past six months I have been able to enjoy the best of both worlds – working a job that I love and being a mostly stay at home mom to Lyla. 

But now, the very part time isn’t a possibility anymore and it was time for me to go part time for reals. And in this season of our lives, it wasn’t going to work for our family.

It was a hard decision to come to which is something I didn’t really expect. For as long as I can remember, Alex and I had always wanted me to stay home with our children while they are small. Plus, I love being a mama. 

Opportunity to stay home + loving being a mom = easy decision, right?!

On paper it looks like it should have been the easiest decision ever. It wasn’t. (but I was never good at math, so maybe that’s why)

You always hear how parents sacrifice so much for their children. And I always accepted that as a truth. But it took me almost ten months of being a mom to really understand it.

The sacrifice looks different for every parent, and will undoubtedly come at different stages of their children’s lives. Some sacrifices will be bigger than others, and there will never be just one. 

Leaving my job to stay home with my daughter full time has definitely been the largest sacrifice I’ve made thus far. It means letting go of something that I worked so hard for – a job that I had dreamed about and made into a reality. Letting go of my weekly commute which had turned into my much-appreciated alone time. Letting go of my oh-so-stylish costume (ha)

As hard as it was to make the decision, once the decision was made I felt peace. I would do anything for my baby. And let’s be real, I worked hard for this job too 😉

Parenthood is the most amazing, scary, wonderful, surprising, interesting, special thing in the world. And I’m loving every second of it. 

P.S. *sap alert* I am so thankful to have a supportive, encouraging husband who seems to always be on the same page as me in the big book of important life decisions. He makes life so much easier. Love you, babe.  

P.P.S. Aulani peeps, please stay in touch! 

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valentines day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

Dinner parties are my jam. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I had the perfect excuse to throw a little something together to celebrate with family.

Money is a little tight right now so I had to be really budget conscious when planning. But that was no problem because I was able to put this party together for four dollars. Yes, you read that right. FOUR. (besides the cost of food, which doesn’t count because we were going to eat dinner anyways)

So if you are looking for a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family this weekend without breaking the bank, here are four tips to help you plan a special Valentine’s Day dinner at home:

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

1. Change your scenery || Eating dinner in a new spot will make it feel extra special. We had our dinner on top of an old door at the end of the driveway – super random, but so fun! I realize that in many parts of the country, eating outside in the middle of February isn’t ideal but you can get the same effect inside. Usually eat in the kitchen? Transform your living room into a pop-up restaurant for the evening. 

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

2. Be resourceful || You know those Rifle Paper Co. botanical notebooks that you see all over the internet? I used the covers for my garland. I had originally used the journals for my daily devotions but since they were full I figured it was time to repurpose them. I archived my favorites in a larger binder and saved the rest of the pages for a fun journal project that my cousin Lily put together (more on this later). 

valentine's day dinner at home

3. Dress the part || Everyone loves an excuse to dress up, right? Even though you aren’t going out, dress up like you are! It will make you feel more festive and everyone will look great in photos. 

valentine's day dinner at home

valentine's day dinner at home

4. Keep it simple || Don’t spend any money on dishes, just use what you have in your cupboard. To make it a little more festive, dress up your table with some simple potted flowers. I picked mine up from the grocery store at $2 a pop. 

valentine's day dinner at home

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

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gamma was here

At the beginning of the month Alex’s mom – aka “gamma” – came to visit us! It was a quick trip but we managed to squeeze in lots of fun! We visited the Honolulu Zoo, took girl to her class at MyGym and took a day trip to the North Shore.Prepare for photo overload…

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And now that we aren’t leaving for the mainland – we are ready for our next visitors! Any takers?!

 

 

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the byrds are staying put

Wow. What a weekend. 

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen my announcement that we were moving to Utah. 

Well, you can disregard that post.

Here’s what happened:

Alex had been job shopping for a while and all of a sudden we were flooded with offers. It was exciting, overwhelming and a little bit scary. We prayed for clear minds as we weighed our options. We spent time researching the prospective cities. We looked at homes, schools and recreation activities. We prepared ourselves as best we could. 

At the end of last week, the pressure got to us and we made a decision. We were going to move to Utah. The cities we looked at seem great on paper – a perfect place to raise a family. The cost of living is cheap and the terrain is beautiful. Alex would start in two weeks.We were excited. Kind of. 

Then Saturday came. We started calling real estate agencies in Utah to find a home. We got price quotes for the shipment of our truck and household goods. Alex and I went to “our” beach to say ‘goodbye’ follow by lunch at our favorite restaurant.

And people, I could not keep it together. I was having major commitment issues. Even though there were lots of positives about the move on paper, I didn’t feel like they were our positives. Luckily, Alex and I are [almost] always on the same page. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon looking at places here and crunching numbers. We did some serious soul-searching. It was stressful. Ohhhh so stressful. We were feeling like we were making the wrong choice and were worried it was too late to back out. 

Alex talked to his career manager, the same one that he had already turned in his two week notice to just the day before, and found out that they were happy to put the breaks on his discharge paperwork. 

What.a.relief. 

Even though it was unbelievably stressful, I’m glad it happened the way it did. It was humbling, and the whole experience put things into perspective. We had to re-evaluate is most important to us and what is best for our family. Big life decisions get so much harder to make when you have a little one to consider. 

Without a doubt, we will come face to face with more decisions like this in the future.Next time, I will hopefully know the right questions to ask, and will be more prepared for the emotions that come with these types of decisions. 

But, for now, these Byrds are staying put in Hawaii. And we couldn’t be happier. 

byrds staying in hawaii

 

 

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dolphin quest oahu

Yesterday, one of my life long dreams came true. 

dolphin quest oahu

HUGE mahalo to the awesome staff at Dolphin Quest Oahu and my wonderful husband for making it happen!

Dolphin Quest Oahu

The booking and check-in processes were a breeze. All of the staff members that I came into contact with during my experience were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. 

Located at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, it is easily accessible for locals and tourists alike. Even though we live right down the street, we hadn’t had a chance to really check out the grounds of the resort until now and we were surprised at how beautiful it was! Definitely wouldn’t mind taking a staycation there 😉

During my program, I got to interact with two different dolphins – Kolohe and Hoku. You can definitely tell that the dolphins are well taken care of and that the trainers genuinely care for them. 

I really don’t have to tell you how perfect the experience was once I got in the water, my goober face in these pictures says it all…

Dolphin Quest Oahu

Dolphin Quest Oahu

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