Monday, May 9, 2011

Hawaii on a budget



Realistically we never thought we'd go to Hawaii.  It seemed like something only rich people did. It's extravagant...how in the world would we ever afford to go there once...let alone twice!  Well when Honey's dad died we made kind of an unspoken decision to just go for things in life.  It is so short and the kids will only be little once, so let's not put things off.  


With that in mind we started researching and found that Costco travel had really good rates.  Because honey is in the tax business we always end up taking a vacation in late April...which happens to be in the off season.  Low and behold it's not much more than any other vacation.  So we started planning.


By the way I tried snorkeling (which was really brave for me) and hated it!  Probably had something to do with panicking with my face under water...gasping for air and then gagging on salt water.  Not the most enjoyable experience in the world...but hey I tried it:)






We always go for a condo versus a resort because for one it's cheaper and we love the idea of having our own bedroom.  I'm just sayin' privacy is nice;)  And condo's always come with a kitchen, which in my opinion is a must.  Food in Hawaii is really pricey!!  It's sickening actually.  So the first thing we do is head to Costco or find a local's grocery store way off the beaten path and stock up on things for breakfast and usually lunch.  Dinner we splurge and eat out.





For some reason this time we had trouble finding food we liked.  Restaurants are few and far between.  The resorts have them, but you are going to pay out the nose.  We finally stumbled onto a great little Mexican place in the town of Waikoloa Village called Chica's. 


This gal is Nickie and she became a very familiar face by the end of the week.  She actually gave us some free sour cream...score!  She liked us so much that she had us email pics of our visit to Chica's for a local commercial they are putting together.  Wouldn't that be the coolest thing evah?!!!  We could be celebrities in Hawaii...ha!







Even though we don't stay at resorts we LOVE visiting them.  The best time is right at sunset.  They always blow this horn thing and you can hear luau's going on in the distance.  The view is perfect and if you want to save money you could eat at the food court before and then just get dessert to split and have the experience for much cheaper!



 


The sunsets on the Big Island were beyond gorgeous!  It was postcard perfect every night.  I asked one of our waiter's if he ever got sick of them, and he nodded his head YES!  He said it's the same thing every single night.  That is SO hard to believe...but I guess it could happen. 






One day we visited the outdoor market in Kona.  This is a great place to buy fruits and vegetables for much cheaper than you could get at the store.  Oh and the variety is unbelievable.  I didn't even know what half of the stuff was!  We also got a few little trinkets for the girls to give their friends when they got home.  Little friendship bracelets etc....for like a buck a piece.  Much less expensive than one of the souvenir places.




We spent Easter in Hawaii.  I grand dreams of finding a church on the beach or at least watching the sunrise.  Neither happened.  We did however dye Easter eggs and I had the forethought to bring a little Easter surprise for the girls.  Being flexible is part of vacationing.  For me that's hard because I'm a planner.  I usually have a whole itinerary mapped out, but this time we didn't and it was actually nice.  I need to remember that for next time:)






At home we eat healthy most of the time, but on vacation that's all out the window.  I think one day I had pop tarts, donuts, brownies, cookies AND ice cream!  Okay maybe that's a little excessive, but for this sugarholic it is a vacation from the norm and oh so fun:)









Ahhhh sweet memories:)




As far as shopping goes we love the store Cinnamon Girl!  It's just this sweet little boutique...I think they have one on every island.  LOVED this hat, but of course it was like $100, so a picture will do instead.  We bought a lot of souvenir type stuff last year so this year we didn't take home very much. 



The girls were in heaven when we found a store that had hula Barbie clothes.  Needless to say they can now have their own luau's in Minnesota:)




I took almost 900 pictures.  For me it's just a way of capturing every single memory I can.  That is the best souvenir of all right? 




It was incredible.  It really was.  I'm so thankful we've been able to share these experiences with the girls.  I know they won't forget...and if they do I'll be able to remind them with all those pics:)

 



It was a blessing to go and a blessing to come home.  Nothing like a trip to make you appreciate your own bed and the smell of your house.  Thanks for coming along with us:)   






Have a blessed day.





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