Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Eve services in Kihei

Can you believe it's almost Christmas? This year has flown by so quickly.

If you are looking for a Christmas Eve service to attend, here are a few:

Hope Chapel has 4 services, at 4pm, 6pm, 8pm and 10pm. The first two have child care through grade 1. The 10 pm service is candle light.

Keawalai Congregational Church in Makena has a 6:30pm candle light service. Come early - this is a small church with lots of atmosphere and will be full.

Kihei Baptist Chapel and Calvary Chapel are hosting a joint 'Carols by Candlelight' service at 5 and 7pm.

Do you remember how to say Merry Christmas in Hawaiian? That's right - it's Mele Kalikimaka!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Avocados, avocados, what to do with all these avocados?

One of our neighbors brought us five large avocados, at least two of which are ripe. I like avocados, but the rest of the family doesn't so much, so here I am scouring the internet for avocado uses...

Then I saw a picture of a prosciutto-wrapped avocado slice. Conveniently we have prosciutto in the fridge. I didn't follow the recipe, but just wrapped strips of prosciutto around slices of plain avocado. Sorry, they weren't fancy enough to take pictures, but they were quite delicious.

What are your favorite avocado uses? I love guacamole, and also slices of avocado in a sandwich. I think I might try these baked avocado fries with dinner....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Costco, Canadians and bank cards

For those of you who don't know, Costco is a wholesale warehouse store where you can buy everything from food to books to appliances to tires. Many of the items they sell are in large quantities (bulk). If you have never heard of Costco or don't have a membership, don't worry about it. It is probably not worth your while to get a membership just for your Maui trip.

But for those who do.... I recently stood in line behind some Canadian tourists. As you know Costco only takes American Express, debit (bank) card or cash for payment. These Canadians were using their bank card to pay... except that the system wouldn't accept it. They had an HSBC bank card. The cashier told me that while most bank cards are accepted, there are a few Canadian ones that aren't. You may want to check that before getting in line or have cash, 'just in case'.

Thankfully for them there is an ATM next to the service desk where they were able to use the very same HSBC card to withdraw cash from their account.

Please note, unlike Canadian Costco, US Costco has NOT switched to Mastercard. You cannot use Mastercard at American Costco stores.

Why does this always happen to me at Costco? Okay, to be fair, the dishes are for our Palms at Wailea condo, the king pillows are to replace some pillows at condos that may be getting a little flat. But still - I never seem to be able to leave Costco without a $400-$500 bill! But it's all a really good price, so it must be ok, right? :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Skating by the Sea

Have you always admired those figure skaters in their light costumes and wondered how they wear them without freezing on the ice? Well, I don't know how they do it, but you too can give it a try - open-air skating in Maui!

The Westin Ka'anapali has brought back their 'Skating by the Sea' winter wonderland escape. Think ice skating - but on a hybrid ice skating rink, complete with holiday music, lighting and wonderful ocean views.

From now until January 3, 2015 from 4-9pm daily

The cost is $15/person for 30 minutes. This includes skate rental.

photo from Westin Kaanapali, realistically, no gloves or long pants required

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas trees in Hawaii

Perhaps you are wondering, how does one celebrate Christmas in Hawaii? What do they do about trees?

Well..... a lot of people (myself included) use fake trees. However, you can (believe it or not) also buy real trees. Trees are brought by air-conditioned container from Oregon or Washington State. After several weeks at sea you can imagine how 'fresh' they are. But to be fair, I've never bought one. Every year there are a few stories on the news about tree shipments that are destroyed or sent back because they have a slug or other bug infestation.

Another option are locally grown Norfolk and Monterey Pine Christmas trees. I don't actually know anyone who has had one of these, but will be asking around. I'm intrigued at the thought of having a real tree again (I used to love the Fraser Fir Christmas trees we'd get when we lived in BC).

Some people use local trees from Haleakala. The Friends of Haleakala National Park host an annual event where you help clear the mountain of non-native invasive trees, and then use them as your Christmas tree.

And yes, of course you will see palm trees with their trunks wrapped in lights. Though it's difficult to bring those indoors.

MauiWatch on Facebook recently asked residents to post pictures of their trees. Most of them look very much like 'mainland' Christmas trees. But here are a few unique ones, all posted by MauiWatch followers on Facebook.

courtesy MauiWatch

courtesy MauiWatch

courtesy MauiWatch

'Hawaii Containers must be free from soil and debris and care must be taken to prevent contamination of Christmas trees and containers with soil during storage and loading procedures. Trees shipped to Hawaii must be shaken to qualify for certification. An ODA Shaking Compliance Agreement is required.
Shaking options are: ....
Each containerized shipment of trees shall be accompanied by a valid phytosanitary certificate that has been issued at the point of origin by an agriculture official from the participating domestic regulatory agency. The certificate shall be conspicuously affixed or located on the inside door panel of the container and shall contain the following added declarations:
A)  100 percent of the trees have been mechanically or manually shaken;
B) The trees have been grown and originate from an area free of gypsy moth and sudden oak death; and
C) The shipment is apparently free of yellowjackets (Vespula spp.), snails, slugs and other detrimental pests.'

So now you know....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Brunch Whalewatch Cruise

courtesy Pacific Whale Foundation
On Maui for Christmas? How about having turkey dinner and a whale watch all at the same time?

This Pacific Whale Foundation Christmas Brunch Cruise leaves Lahaina Harbor Christmas morning at 11:30am. Check out the website and book online for a discounted price!

But hurry - the Christmas Dinner Cruise is already sold-out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This weekend - two Nutcracker Sweets performances!

Confession.... I have never seen the Nutcracker. Ever. And yet, now that I type the word Nutcracker, two things come to mind - the famous Tchaikovsky Nutcracker theme music and the little Christmas nutcracker man with the long white beard on my counter. One of these days, I will really need to go see this famous ballet performed!

This Saturday December 13th at 2pm and 7pm the Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) is staging their annual Nutcracker Sweets performances which feature 150 of its students (from adult to children). There will be two shows held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, tickets are $22/adult, $18/12 and under.

Check it out!

Friday, December 5, 2014

This Sunday - upcountry Christmas tree lighting!

Special thanks to the Maui Time for this Christmas event announcement:

"Snuggle up with loved ones during Ulupalakua Vineyard's first ever Upcountry Lighting Ceremony this Sunday. Complete with a decorated 30 foot Norfolk Pine, caroling by Maui Choral Arts and a screening of the holiday classic Polar Express, the event also celebrates Ulupalakua Ranch's 150 years of forest conservation. Jump start the holiday spirit bundled up in Upcountry Maui with sparkling wine on some of Maui's premier real estate. Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Maui Food Bank."

This event is FREE

This Sunday, December 7 from 4:30-7:30pm
at Ulupalakua Vineyards (upcountry Maui)

image courtesy of Maui's Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What's being built in Wailea?

If you've been in Wailea, you'll see some construction! What are they up to? I just received the Wailea Community Association's newsletter.... here's the scoop....

The Shops at Wailea are expanding! A new Island Country Market (Wailea's version of a grocery store) is being built at the top of the 'north' parking lot. Currently the closest grocery store is Foodland in Kihei. They expect it to be completed late spring 2015.

The Wailea Residence Inn is under construction. This is a Marriott property and is located at the Northwest Corner of Wailea Ike Drive and Wailea Ekolu Place.

The Wailea Blue Course renovations are almost complete. The clubhouse and pro shop will be relocating back to its original site location, just above the Shops at Wailea with Manoli's being the 19th hole. The new proshop is slated to open soon.

Two additional subdivisions have been approved - one next to the Wailea Gateway Center, another at the northeast corner of Wailea Alanui and Kaukahi Street. They may (or may not) begin later in 2015.

So how does this construction affect your condo at Palms at Wailea? Not at all. It isn't anywhere near our condo.

I love this pool at the peaceful Palms at Wailea

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I got to meet Maui's very own Rachel Ray!

Have you heard of Rachel Ray? No, not the chef, the Maui artist! She paints the most beautiful paintings. I've bought many of her cards, and most recently have three of her prints hanging above the bed at our Sugar Beach condo.

three Rachel Ray prints above the bed at our Sugar Beach condo
My Austrian friend Dany's store Maui Memories (in Wailea Gateway Plaza) stocks some of Rachel's cards and prints, but today I was in search of the new 2015 calendars. I had seen on Rachel's website that I could get them at the U'i Gallery in Kahului, so on today's Kahului trip I went looking for that gallery. It was very easy to find, located in the strip mall/industrial area on the corner of Dairy Road and the Hana Hwy (same as the Maui Coffee Roasters etc). As for the gallery name - U'i (pronounced Oo-ee) means beautiful in Hawaiian.

Rachel Ray's art gallery in Kahului
When I walked in the door, there she was, Rachel Ray coming down the stairs with her youngest daughter. What a surprise! Rachel and her husband Duke run this gallery which features mainly Rachel's art but also some Randy Jay Braun and a few other artists. You have got to check out their gallery, especially if you are looking for Christmas items. Rachel gave me a tour of the gallery - from cards, to mouse pads, to cutting boards, posters, original art, Ni'ihau shell jewelry, koa wood art etc, there's something for everyone's budget. Rachel and Duke were wonderfully friendly and welcoming.

Yes, I got my seven calendars (she autographed one for me) - and a few more cards! I will be back, that's for sure! Check them out on facebook for up-to-date news!