My family has been on a relaxing, beach- and sun-filled spring break this week on the Big Island of Hawaii. This is our favorite vacation spot, as we truly decompress and relax here. I haven’t been doing much writing. Instead, I have been reading, sitting in a lounge chair listening to the waves, swimming out to the buoy with my husband and a few of our kids, taking walks with my dad (my parents are also here), playing tennis, and getting a massage or two.
Something about the beauty of this place and the tropical climate make it so idyllic, and when I visit, I am tempted to move here to make my life more peaceful. I started researching and writing about the value of rest and relaxation, which I’m more aware of while I’m here, and I found a number of articles espousing why it’s so important that we stop answering our emails and running through each day at top speed and just RELAX. Of course, it’s one thing to rest and relax while on vacation, but it’s very different making it a priority in day-to-day work and family life. We all know we should be resting and relaxing more, so I’m not going to write further about that.
Instead, I want to share with you a few of the many things I’ve learned from our long-time family friends who live here on the island. Yes, they live here. In paradise. And, while they have a normal life — work, school, commitments — they have a calmness, pace, and way of living that is decidedly different from what I experience. On each visit to the Big Island, we spend a beach day with them, followed by dinner, and I always learn some new tips, usually about living and being healthier. I’ve told my friend she should start a blog to share all of her great tips, but, as expected, she’s not on social media. She just doesn’t want that as part of her life style, and I can see how that’s such a good thing.
Everything is MUCH more expensive here in Hawaii, so my “Natural Hawaiian Mama” friend has learned to make a lot of her own products and live more sustainably. And I, in turn, have stolen many of her ideas and used them at home:
- Use cute dish rags or cloth napkins that each family member reuses for several meals. Instead of going through loads of paper napkins, each person uses a different color cloth napkin or dish towel. This reduces waste and it’s so green! I just found this article about having a paperless kitchen, which is close to what my friend has.
- Use coconut oil to make a skin lotion! At the beach, my friend pulled out a mini spray bottle with the most amazing coconut oil concoction. She gets coconut oil from Costco and adds some essential oils – which she gets at a health food store. I found a similar recipe on Pinterest: Homemade Coconut Oil Lotion
I am FOR SURE going to make this when I get home. Why are we spending so much money on all the lotions and potions with so many additives when this simple, natural oil is better?
- I’ve only ever used my apple cider vinegar for poaching eggs (added to the water), but my friend has found so many other great uses! She uses apple cider vinegar as a hair treatment for her and her daughter, and it makes their hair silky and soft. She also uses apple cider vinegar for various skin rashes and bumps and even as an insect repellant with garlic and coconut oil added. Mixed with some water, she even drinks it! Of course, now that she got me started thinking about apple cider vinegar, I’ve found so many more uses, including many in this article “25 Ways Apple Cider Vinegar will Change Your Life.” I even found some additional recipes for other home-made natural insect repellants! Who knew?
- My natural Hawaiian mama-friend also feeds her family well, and over the years, we’ve had many delicious dinners at their home. Every time, I take away a new recipe that I make myself once I’m home. Her home was the first place my family ever tried kale salad – about ten years ago! I was amazed at how the kale salad, with dressing, can keep for several days. She had this amazing salad in a big Tupperware. I was so inspired both by the yummy taste AND the convenience of having a salad that could last for more than one or two dinners. As soon as I got home, I emailed her for the recipe, and this is what she sent:
- Finely Chop up shallots (about 3-4 tablespoons worth), put in glass jar (or Tupperware)
- Cover chopped shallots with fresh-squeezed lemon
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of whole seed mustard, stir, then cover jar and let marinate in fridge
- Once all ingredients are mixed for salad (below), add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil to marinated mix above, shake, pour over salad, and mix.
-2 bunches of kale – tear leaves from stem, wash, chop
– well chopped Brussels sprouts (at least 3 cups chopped). * Chopping the Brussels sprouts takes a little time…
– 1 bag Craisins (I get the 50% less sugar kind) – *this is the key ingredient that gets kids to eat the salad
– 1 cup toasted pine nuts (those are usually real expensive over here, so I just throw in sliced almonds that I toast a bit)
* Mix all these ingredients in a BIG bowl, add dressing.
Super yummy and lasts for a good 3-4 days in fridge.
P.S. I use this salad dressing for EVERY raw salad I make. It goes great with cauliflower and broccoli chopped up too.
I found a similar dressing recipe, and I had to share it here, because it also has apple cider vinegar in it :): Zesty Lemon Shallot Dressing.
Another delicious dish she served us was purple sweet potatoes cooked in coconut milk. I have never seen purple sweet potatoes in my grocery store, but I just saw that I can get them from Amazon! I’m guessing that regular sweet potatoes would also be delicious. She just cuts the potato into chunks, adds some sliced onion, and boils them in the coconut milk. Yum!
I love visiting this beautiful island and my amazing friend, who is a great model of how to live life well, and I appreciate the many tips for better living that I’ve gleaned from her. I hope you enjoy these tips, too, and can use one or two to benefit your family!
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