We had originally thought we might go out for brunch today, but none of us was really up for it, especially after Brett and I just went out on Friday for our anniversary. We gave YaYu some candy this morning, but that’s the extent of this year’s Easter celebration at Casa Aloha. Back when the girls were little I used to decorate the house for Easter – we had several pieces of rabbit-themed Fitz & Floyd ceramics (Kensington Rabbit) that I picked up for a song when we lived in Japan, and also many beautiful washi paper-covered eggs I would put out. Brett and I always staged an elaborate egg hunt for the girls (inside because it usually always rained in Portland on Easter), and I’d make a eggs à la goldenrod with their hard-boiled eggs for brunch, and fix ham for dinner. Part of me misses those days, but another part is happy that all the hoopla is over.
I was able to take care of several more bookings this past week, including reserving the Portland Airbnb we wanted for our family stay in December. I found some fantastic air fares and for the most part very good schedules as well, and booked our flights from Portland to Dallas, from Philadelphia to Miami, from Lisbon to the U.S. in December, from Miami to Buenos Aires, and our flights over to New Delhi in January. Finding that last one was a bit of surprise – I went to look just to get a general idea of what fares were like, and found one-way tickets for less than half of what I expected to pay, on China Airlines via Taipei, so I snapped them up. I also got an excellent price on our trip back to the mainland in December by first heading to Madrid from Lisbon, and then flying to London and on to Boston, on Norwegian Air. The only downside is that we’ll have a 7 1/2 hour layover in the Gatwick airport, but we should be able to get out of the airport for a couple of hours to see some of the surrounding area. The upside (besides the low price) is that we were able to reserve exit row seats, with extra legroom for the longer flights, at no additional charge. We’ll spend a night in Boston, and then fly on to Portland the next day. Also, I found a decent fare for a non-stop flight to Buenos Aires from Miami on Aerolineas Argentinas, and after doing some research I decided to go ahead and book them now because all signs were pointing to the fares increasing beginning next week. However, when I clicked to complete the booking I got a notice that the price of the tickets had dropped by over $350! Amazing! I cannot say enough good things right now about Airbnb and Expedia. Both have been a dream to work with, and Expedia has consistently offered the lowest fares for the flights we want with the best routes. Budget-wise we’re currently $258.50 over what we estimated our costs to be, but the total includes the tickets to New Delhi, which we had not expected to buy until later.
We enjoyed much nicer weather this past week, and Brett and I even made it to the beach last Monday. It was glorious, but after an hour big dark clouds came in, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped to where we were shivering. When it started to rain we gave up and came home. But, the hour we were there was absolutely wonderful. YaYu is back at school this week and back to her crazy schedule, so not sure when we’ll make it back to the beach but in the meantime the sunshine and blue skies are making me very happy!
This afternoon I am:
- Reading: I’m still reading Eat Up! Ruby Tandoh is a wonderful writer (as well as a talented baker), and is covering lots of the issues that make eating such a minefield. I’ve felt that it’s taking me longer to get through books than it did last year, but then I realized so far all I’ve been reading is non-fiction, which does take longer. I’m also falling asleep these days when I read – all that sleep I missed is catching up with me.
- Listening to: It’s mostly quiet inside and out. Brett’s is finishing up our taxes (we have to pay this year – ugh) and YaYu is studying in her room. Besides being Easter Sunday, it’s also overcast and cool again so it’s quiet outside too. Of course that doesn’t stop the roosters around here from screaming, but most of the other noise is tamped down. We’ll start the laundry in a little while. Everything will go through the dryer today because it’s too damp outside to dry anything, so that will up the noise factor once we get started. But for now, the quiet is nice.
- Watching: We discovered that Netflix had new episodes available of Last Tango In Halifax, so we’ve been watching that this week, just an episode an evening to make it last.
- Cooking/baking: I’m making eggs à la goldenrod again for our dinner tonight, in homage to Easters past. YaYu and Brett will have their eggs served over toasted French bread, and we’ll all have fresh fruit on the side. No baking today – we still have enough treats on hand. On the menu this week, scheduled around track practices and meets, will be noodles with pork sauce, stuffed peppers, and grilled fish tacos with fresh mango salsa.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I drove down to Hanapepe on Tuesday and dropped off a box of books at the Talk Story bookstore – they take used books and give back store credit. Other than all the good travel deals it was a pretty uneventful week. I drank lots of water, studied French every day, and we walked every day except for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings when YaYu had her stadium track practice and meet, and Brett and I had our dinner date.
- Looking forward to next week: Hopefully more good weather and another trip or two to the beach! If it dries out enough Brett and I are going to try to take our Stone Dam trail hike next week.
- Thinking of good things that happened: Brett and I had a lovely anniversary dinner at Duke’s Kaua’i on Friday evening (the restaurant is named for Duke Kahanamoku, the famous swimmer and surfer). We had a table with a great view of the beach, our dinners were delicious, and to top it off we were treated to a slice of their famous hula pie! Brett and I were happy to share it – there was no way either of us could have eaten that slice on our own because it was massive. On our way back home from Hanapepe last Tuesday we decided to stop off in Poipu and treat ourselves to lunch at Puka Dog, always a good thing. The line when we got there was incredibly long, but the wait was worth it – those hot dogs are delicious (especially garnished with lilikoi mustard and coconut relish)! And, our landlord messaged us to let us know he wants to buy our washer and dryer!
- Thinking of frugal things we did: It doesn’t feel like we had a very frugal week because I spent a lot of money on the reservations I made. But, we saved on all of the flights we booked, and will be getting LOTS of reward points from our credit card. We also got $30 in store credit from Talk Story Books, much more than we would have gotten from selling the books at our moving sale, and will use the credit to purchase guide books for Australia and New Zealand. We put $6.21 into the change/$1 bill jar this week: $5 back from the farmers’ market, and $1.21 from Safeway (for milk and our fruit salad for dinner tonight).
- Grateful for: Thirty-nine years ago I married my best friend, the best dad ever, and my partner in everything. We used to talk back then about growing old together, and well . . . here we are. We’re very different people from very different backgrounds, with very different interests, skills and talents, and yet we’ve always agreed on the “big” things like money, kids and child-rearing, where to live, retirement, etc. We’re good at compromising, and rarely argue, and we’ve never gone to bed angry with each other. Brett has only once said “no,” to me – he figured out pretty quickly that if left to my own thoughts and devices I would put the brakes on something all by myself before I got us into trouble. I’m beyond thankful for all of our time together and all of our adventures, the good times and even the not-so-good. Here’s to many more happy years together!
- Bonus question: Do you have a favorite Easter candy? I haven’t had one for a couple of years, but hands down my favorite is and always will be Cadbury Creme Eggs. They’re so sweet they make my teeth hurt, but that sweetness limits how many I eat. Except for the caramel variation, I’ve liked the other flavors they’ve introduced from time to times as well, especially the one year when they had orange creme in the center. So good! The chocolate ganache filling was pretty nice too. Otherwise I can take or leave most Easter candy, especially jelly beans which I don’t care for except for a few Jelly Belly flavors. Brett loves marshmallow “hiding eggs,” but always waits to buy them the day after Easter when they’re selling for $1/bag or less.
And that’s how this week went at Casa Aloha! How was your week? Did you celebrate Easter? What are you eating this week? What good things happened for you?