Archive for the ‘dad’ Category

Officially Eight

June 29th, 2015

"I'm not technically eight yet," Olivia informed us in the days after her birthday.

"What makes it official?" we queried.

"A party." We had set a party for a week after her actual birthday, due to timing and scheduling issues.

"Not really," I corrected. "If I was only as old as the number of parties I've had, I'd be 25."

"So you've only lacked four birthday parties?" charmed Claus. Oooooh, GOOD ONE, Husband. He got points for that.


On a sunny Sunday, we held Olivia's eighth birthday party at A Cup of Tea in Kailua. I tried it once before and it got rave reviews from the little girls I took, including a direct request from Olivia to have her party there.

Request accommodated, and it was a hit with everyone. It was perfect for me, too. It was the easiest party I've ever hosted.


All I did was show up with a cake that I made her (and candles) and parasols for party favors, and the restaurant did the rest.


Cool air conditioning was a bonus. I would definitely recommend this!


Previous parties have been at the pool or my yard (lasting hours in the summer humidity) and while they've been fun, I've always been pooped after.


I think a tea party works really well for this age. I'm not sure younger girls would have done as well sitting politely for 90 minutes in a restaurant.


They ripped through the finger sandwiches, nibbled at the scones, and ravaged the dessert tray with mini-cupcakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. They were kind of full by the time we sang the birthday song and cut my cake.

Because I like to bake, I have made Olivia's birthday cake every year, and this year I involved her in the process. She loves color, so I let her choose the colors to dye the cake batter, mix it, and decide what order to pour it in the pan.


When that was done, I also let her design the color and method of frosting the cupcake-shaped cake. (Striped bag? Swirled colors? Star or round tip? Pipe the frosting in a swirl, little rosettes, or stars? Etc.) She loved her cake.


She enjoyed picking the colors, deciding which order to put it in the bag, mixing the dye, helping pipe the frosting, and applying the decorations and sprinkles. I enjoyed watching her do this.


Olivia said she had a great time at her birthday party, and I love to hear that. Now I can rest for another 11 months until the next party!

Half & half

June 26th, 2015

I cook and I bake, and I'm decent at both. I wanted to make a coconut creme pie with whipped cream frosting (from scratch), so I went to the store and looked for whipping creme as part of the ingredients.

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie with Lime Whipped Cream. Recipe: Flour, by Joanne Chang.

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie with Lime Whipped Cream. Recipe: Flour, by Joanne Chang.

The grocery store was out of whipping creme so I bought Half & Half, thinking I could make a substitution work. I know baking is a precise art, but I was also tired and lazy to drive to another store.

I had never made this recipe, so I didn't consider the whipping creme was for actually whipping into frosting. I made the custard and it turned out delicious.

When it was time for the frosting, I - still on auto-pilot- poured my Half & Half into the bowl and set it to whip. Nothing happened.

Claus, who once wanted to be a chef and likes the culinary arts even more than I do, researched it online and pronounced, "It might be because the dairy is at room temperature. Let's chill it."

I had to get somewhere so I said, "I need to take a shower. Can you take over?" He's a kitchen god so I know my stuff's in good hands with my husband.

I love a hot shower. Love it, love it, love it. There ain't nothing a hot shower can't fix, I believe, including an addled brain.

Suddenly, when I got out of the shower, I realized: It's because it's Half & Half! D'oh!

I ran to the kitchen laughing. I could hear the Kitchen Aid whirring the entire time. "Honey! It's Half & Half!"

He looked at me pseudo-disdainfully. I saw a big bowl of ice which he'd just used to chill the dairy, and saw the blender, which had been working overtime for 15 minutes to try to whip something that would never whip.

"Um, hey. Did you realize Half & Half is half milk, half whipping creme?" I joked. He rolled his eyes.

I used the failed frosting for the rest of the week in my coffee, and later that day he drove us to the store to get actual whipping creme - that he insisted on finishing himself.

The pie, by the way, was wonderful. Team effort.

Hey, did you know Half & Half won't whip up not matter how hard you try?

Father’s Day Father-Child Look-a-Like Contest

June 19th, 2015

The Hawaii Coalition for Dads and the State Commission on Fatherhood invites all Hawaii fathers, father-figures, and their families to the 17th Annual Celebrate Father’s Day celebration.  The Saturday, June 20 event at Windward Mall Center Stage runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and highlights the important roles that fathers and father figures play in children’s lives.

An increasing body of evidence indicates children are more likely to thrive with the support, guidance, and nurturing of both parents.  Yet, many children across the country are growing up without fathers.

As a result, they may lack appropriate male role models and face greater risks of health, emotional, educational, and behavioral problems during their developmental years.  The National Fatherhood Initiative reports that children and families function much better with an active, involved and responsible father in their lives.

The Hawaii Celebrate Father’s Day event features live entertainment, family-friendly resource tables and activities, and a Father-Child Look-a-Like Contest. Fathers and father-figures are invited to enter the contest with a child of any age.

Entries may include Father-Child, Father-Child-Grandchild, and Grandfather-Grandchild teams. A father and father-figure may be accompanied by more than one child.  Drop off entry forms at Windward Mall Center Stage no later than 12:30 pm on Saturday, June 20.  The contest begins at 1:00 pm.

Contest entry forms and rules are posted on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website  at along with information about other events celebrating Father’s Day 2015.


Wildland urban interface and other fancy terms

June 15th, 2015

The other day on the news, Jai Cunningham interviewed Honolulu Fire Department PIO David Jenkins, and David kept referring to a recent brushfire as having occurred in the "wildland urban interface."

I respect the ever-changing politically correct terms, though it gave me an amused pause. What regular person is going to remember to call the brush area a "wildland urban interface"?

David, by the way, is my high school classmate as well as my ex-boyfriend's cousin, and saying that makes me feel comically small town.

This reminds me of some things my own daughter's said recently. She makes my head turn. While we've never done baby talk with her, we also don't speak so formally, so I have no idea where she got these words from:

In the pool, we were racing. She was in an inner-tube and laughed that she was going to win because she had a "flotation device!"

Another time, as she was headed out to bike, she ran back in to get her helmet. I praised her. "Daddy told me if I didn't use my helmet one more time, he'd take away both of my vehicles," she admitted.

And finally, one day I told her I had to go to my salon. I was distracted and slow to find the word "haircut" so she finished my sentence, "for a grooming?" Grooming. Yes, like the dog.

This kid. She has a future as a PIO.

Stuff and more stuff

June 1st, 2015

My domestic idol is my friend Trini Kaopuiki. I have never understood it, but always marveled at it, that her house is spotless. No, seriously. Spotless.

Trini and Diane

Trini and Diane

I drop by spontaneously and it's beautiful inside. Everything always is in its place - which, she says modestly, is her secret - but I still don't know how she has the energy to make sure things go in their places, particularly when she has two young children.

I've only got the one, and I cannot keep up. There are days when I drag my tired butt home and I look at the house and shrug. I try, we try, but it's just... a lot.

Olivia recently got the idea in her head she wants to earn money through a yard sale of her toys, and while it's totally unrealistic for many reasons, she proceeded to dump her toys on the floor and sort through what she wants to sell. She has a few big toy bins in her room.

The mess, AFTER I went through it!

The mess, AFTER I went through it!

I suppose this is what seven-year-olds do, but all the toy parts go everywhere the minute they come out of the store packaging, so nothing matches. There are Lego parts mixed in with puzzle pieces long ago scattered to the four corners of the Earth, and just randomness.

Clam shells she asked me to keep from dinner, with My Little Ponies, with beads from various craft kits. An old cookie (still in packaging) from a plane ride three months ago. Crumpled up pieces of paper meant for trash. Ribbons and dead silk flowers. All mingling together like drunk patrons at a rave.

She didn't tell us she was going to move forward with this idea (which we said no to), so Claus happened to walk past her room and see a HUGE MESS on the floor. Oh, he was annoyed.

I, therefore, went to see the damage. I stared at it for a full minute to absorb the view. It wasn't just that it was a crazy mess. I marvel that she actually accumulated that much stuff over seven years. (And mind you, there have been occasional slash-n-burn cleanups over the years.) How did this happen?

I could only laugh at the absurdity of it all. I chuckled out loud.

"When are you going to clean up your room?" he demanded after the whole day went by and nothing moved.

"Oh, I'll help her on the weekend. It'll be fine," I assured.

Saturday, I marshalled the energy to wade into the war zone. I was overwhelmed but I also know that if I don't help her she'll get distracted and little will get done, and in the end all the crud will get thrown back into the bin and sit there. I like to discard. My discarding has to be in secret.

I set my timer for just ten minutes to keep it productive for myself. When the bell rang, I had made some decent progress, and agreed with myself to be satisfied with that.

Just as I was wrapping up, I made the mistake of glimpsing under the bed. I am not an under-the-bed-storer, so I forget people do that - such as, a little person I live with. OMG, so much more crud under the bed.

*sigh* I'm just going to laugh out loud and be happy there's a little girl around to even create this mess. That's really the only way I can view it without going nuts.