Friday, January 24, 2014

Aloha Friday - Nuts and Chickens and Sausages?!

It has been forever since an Aloha Friday post and I'm so very sorry.  But as our time in Hawaii is quickly winding down, I wanted to make sure to share with you our oh so many adventures before we have to leave this beautiful island.

1.  Tropical Farms - Macademia Nut Farm Outlet & Farm Tour.  Although some consider this a tourist trap, I absolutely love the Mac Nut Farm.  They give out amazingly generous samples of EVERY. SINGLE. NUT, they are priced about the same as in town, and the farm tour is HANDS DOWN the most fun and best deal on the island.  Think of it as a farm tour meets mini luau meets scenic boat road.  LOVE LOVE LOVE and highly recommend it.

A view of the mac nut farm outlet from behind the store.

Check out this bus for the farm tour.  Ridiculous.  And the tour guide, amazingly freakin' awesome and hilarious!

The bus takes you to a gorgeous spot on the pond and Chief talks about Hawaiian plants, shows you how to make the headbands, does a fire show, and basically does a stand up comedy show while doing all of this.

Afterwards, we go on a lovely boat ride around this pond looking up to the Koaloa Mountains (where a ton of movies like Jurassic Park were filmed).

And afterwards, we tried our hand at cracking some mac nuts.  Fun!

2.  Pyramid Rock Beach.  We are so lucky that the military has some spectacular beaches open to us.  One of them is Pyramid Rock Beach on the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay.  We will be getting family photos here before leaving the island.  SO excited!

3.  Combat Boots on Ford Island.  In connection with the Fisher House Hero & Remembrance Run on Ford Island, thousands upon thousands of boots from fallen service members were lined around the old runway and eventually displayed together on the field.  It's a solemn reminder of the sacrifices that have been paid for this war.

4.  Foster's Botanical Garden. A really beautiful place with some massive Exceptional Trees.  We were particularly smitten the canon ball and sausage trees.  :)

Here's the cannon ball tree.

And the sausage tree.

A super rare plant called the Corpse Plant.  It smelled so bad!

And check out has massive this tree is!

5.  Ray's Kiawe Broiled Chicken.  This might be some of the best chicken I've ever had. DELICIOUS.  

And conveniently right across the street from Matsumotos.  So we obviously had to have some shave ice too.

6.  Ka'ena Point.  We tried hiking out to the point before but failed since we didn't have enough time.  For this attempt, we drove our car straight to the gate.  What a beautiful hike complete with a monk seal sighting!

I think that's it for now.  Still have a lot to catch up on but wanted to at least get the ball rolling!!  As always, mahalo for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Xyron and Tet - the Vietnamese Lunar New Year

For this month's tutorial with Xyron, I wanted to make something to help my kids celebrate and learn about Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.  Tet was always my favorite holiday of the year and it represented an opportunity start with a clean slate and with good luck on your side.

Amidst the red envelopes of lucky money and delicious food, one of my favorite activities during Tet was a game called Lac Bau Cua, literally meaning Shake the Gourd and Crab.  Basically, Lac Bau Cua is a simplistic version of Craps with six different animals (instead of numbers).  Here's a good you tube video I found that shows how the game is played.

TUTORIAL: LAC BAU CUA (Vietnamese New Year Game)

For today's project I wanted to create an updated Lac Bau Cua game board using animals from the zodiac calendar instead of the traditional crab, gourd and deer.  I also wanted to make something that would stand up to my little kids.

Supplies.  Xyron Creatopia (Protectz Laminate Cartridge); Xyron 1.5" Create-a-Sticker Maker; Cardstock (American Crafts); Gold Foil (Silhouette America); Binder Clips (Office Max); Sanding Block (Core'dinations); Unfinished Wood Blocks; Silhouette Cameo; WRMK Crop-a-dile; Fiskars Paper Trimmer.

1.  Cut Game Board Panels.  Start with 2 sheets of red 12" x 12" cardstock.  Using a paper trimmer, cut down six squares sized at 6" x 6".

2.  Cut Out Animal Silhouettes.  To embellish my game board pieces, cut out animal silhouettes from the gold foil paper.  I sized the animal images at about 4".  I used these images of animals and traced and cut them using my Silhouette Cameo.  And since I don't want to waste the paper, I went ahead and cut a bunch of hearts in all the extra spaces of the paper.

3.  Create the Game Panels.  Adhere one animal image to each cardstock square.  Then laminate each game panel using the Xyron Creatopia (Protectz laminate panel).

Trim the plastic around the panel, leaving about 1/8" around the cardstock.

Using the WRMK crop-a-dile, punch a hole along each edge of the game panel.  Then connect the panels together by threading mini binder clips through the holes you just punched.

4.  Create Game Dice.  In lac bau cua, you roll three dice with images of the animals to determine who is the winner.  To make the game dice, I used unfinished wood blocks.  I cut red cardstock squares to cover the came blocks.

Run the cardstock squares through the Xyron 1.5" Create-a-Sticker and place a square on each face of the block.

Sand all the edges of the block down.  I used the core'dinations sanding block and it works amazingly well!

Cut out scaled down images of the animals used in the larger game pieces from the gold foil.  Then adhere those onto the covered wood blocks.

Then viola, you have a durable and fold-able lac bau cua board complete with matching dice!

Wishing everyone health and happiness this new year.  As always, mahalo for stopping by!
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