Hiking Hawaii (3/3) – Sea Turtles

Please follow and like us:

Sea turtles are one of those animals that most Ohioans do not get to see often or at all. Obviously being from Ohio, we would have to travel long distances to see live sea turtles out in the wild. I’ve been lucky enough to have been at the right place a couple different times to see sea turtles.

The first time I was in Florida on the Atlantic side and happened to see the last couple of leatherback sea turtles making their way out to the ocean for the first time. What an incredible view. However, while in Hawaii, we heard about a hidden cave off the beaten path where sea turtles like to go hide out to rest.

A hidden cave in Kauai.
Sea turtles like to hide away in this hidden cave to get some rest.

This is probably one of the coolest hidden spots on the island. It took a while to find the trailhead, which we could only find through word of mouth. The path itself wasn’t too difficult to navigate; however, I would recommend that you have a good pair of shoes on (yes, I was wearing flipflops again). The trail is rather steep but it only takes several minutes to get to the bottom.

Once you get to the bottom, you have to descend into the water. The trail ends and as you can see in the photo above, you must make your way to the cave. This part was harder than it looked, the rocks were slippy and if you’re traveling with any gear like I was, I would recommend having a pair of water shoes. The rocks are very slippery and the water moves you enough so that you lose your balance easily. Yes, this happened to me, thankfully, many years of sports allowed me to be agile enough to turn and rotate my body and as I felt the water engulf my body, I thrust my hand up as high as it could go to save my gear from getting wet.  Talk about an “OH SHIT” moment!

I got myself together and finally made it to the entrance of the cave, thankful I still had my camera to take some photos and video.

the entrance to a cave, looking out to sea
A secret little cave where sea turtles like to hang out.

The trick to catching a glimpse of these amazing sea creatures was to get to the cave before the sunset because once you get inside the cave you cannot see anything (be sure to take some type of flashlight). Making your way through the cave, you don’t have to walk far before you come out to the other side.

A hidden cave along the ocean in Kauai.
A hidden cave where sea turtles like to go and rest.

The sea turtles come in through this entrance and make their way up to the beach where they sleep. The pool of water here is roughly chest deep and if you’re lucky enough and have an underwater camera you’d be able to get some underwater footage of them.

Sea turtles rest on a beach inside a hidden cave in Kauai.
Sea turtles use a hidden cave off the beaten path as a safe haven to rest.

During our visit to the cave, we were fortunate to see about half a dozen turtles in the cave. A couple were in the water and a handful were sleeping on the sand. This island has offered up so many adventures and so many different sites to see but it is the little tucked away gems like this that make it a magical place to visit.

If you want to read about more hiking adventures while I was in Kauai, check out my posts about the Kalalau Trail and Queen’s Bath!


Please follow and like us:

Hiking Hawaii (2/3) – Queen’s Bath

Please follow and like us:

If you want a less strenuous adventure than the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii, I would recommend taking an afternoon and visiting Queen’s Bath in Princeville.

Queen's Bath
Queen’s Bath in Princeville offers some nice tide pools along with some fun cliff jumping.

Princeville is on the northeastern side of the island and has some awesome shops and great eating spots. But we aren’t here to talk about shopping and eating. We are here to talk about adventure and fun!

In order to get to Queen’s Bath, you will need to expect to make a 15-20 minute hike. Although this hike is not terribly difficult, you should always exercise caution and safety.  Upon entering the trail you will find that it is rather uneven and there are a lot of tree roots that can cause you to trip. I arrogantly wore sandals to this spot and immediately regretted it. Take some good tennis shoes to wear on this hike or some good water shoes.

A trail leading to Queen's Bath.
A trail leading to Queen’s Bath in Princeville, Kauai.

Once you get close to getting through this trail and out to the coastline where the Queen’s Bath is you will have a nice photo opportunity with a little waterfall next to the trail.

A waterfall in Princeville, Hawaii.
A waterfall that runs along the trail while you’re hiking to Queen’s Bath in Princeville, Hawaii.

Before you enter the lava rock coast you will come across a warning sign.

A warning sign on the way to Queen's Bath.
A warning sign on the way to Queen’s Bath.

Be sure to do your research before visiting this spot. Although it is beautiful, it is equally dangerous and visiting during the wrong time could lead to some unfortunate circumstances.

Finally reaching coming out to the lava rock coastline you can see where the stream from the waterfall flows into the ocean. With several inlets where the ocean has carved into the coastline, this shoreline is a fun place to explore.

A waterfall at Queen's Bath on the Island of Kauai.
A waterfall at Queen’s Bath on the Island of Kauai.

It is a surreal view, walking out of jungle-like terrain, into an open terrain that deadends into the ocean.

People walk over the lava-rock coastline at Queen's Bath.
People walk over the lava-rock coastline at Queen’s Bath.

Making your way over the lava rock, if not wearing proper footwear, you will be wishing you did.  This tough terrain isn’t difficult to manage; however, you are walking over rocks and you will need to be careful.

Adventure seekers look over the coastline of Queen's Bath.
Adventure seekers look over the coastline of Queen’s Bath.

Now let’s get to the exciting part of this little adventure. The cliff jumping! Now for a novice such as myself, this can be rather intimidating at first. Luckily, there were either locals there or other vacationers who have done this before. This portion of Queen’s Bath offers a 30-foot cliff to jump from. Timing the flow of the ocean coming into the pool area and when you jump is necessary.  You will want to make sure you jump as the water comes in to provide you with more distance between you and to rocks underneath the surface.

Adventure seekers gather around a jump site at Queen's Batch.
Adventure seekers gather around a jump site at Queen’s Batch.

Knowing exactly where to jump is paramount in having a safe and fun time. Once you make that leap into the water, the thrill and excitement wash over you. You let yourself immerse in the flow over the ocean. Feeling your body move in and out with the waves. Making your way to the exit point, again, you will need to be careful, catching a wave as it comes in helps you get on top of the rocks instead of being slammed into them.

Cliff jumpers enjoy the jump sites at Queen's Bath.
Cliff jumpers enjoy the jump sites at Queen’s Bath.

There are a couple jump points in this area and both are a blast to jump from. Also, take time to explore the coastline a bit. There are some tide pools and of course the “Queen’s Bath” tide pool that is worth spending time at.

The more research you do before visiting this amazing island the more fun you will have. Be sure to check out my other posts about the Kalalau Trail and finding sea turtles in a hidden cave.


Please follow and like us:

Hiking Hawaii (1/3) – The Kalalau Trail

Please follow and like us:

Did you know that Kauai, Hawaii has one of the most dangerous hiking trails in America?  It’s true and it is located along the Na Pali Coast on the Island of Kauai.  The Kalalau Trail trail is a 22-mile roundtrip hike that features beaches, waterfalls, streams, and some of the scariest sections of trail that will test your love for hiking.

A breathtaking view of the Na Pali Coast on the Island of Kauai. This coast is on the northwestern side of the island and features breath-taking views of waterfalls and the fierce nature an island offers.

If you choose to brave this hike you will need to get a camping permit in order to make your way to the beach at the end and spend a  night camping out on Kalalau Beach under the stars. Since I’m from Ohio and live in a more urban area, I was left in awe when I saw the stars come out. With no manmade light pollution in this area, you could see the Milky Way Galaxy, shooting stars and the awesomeness of space.

Ke'e Beach by the trailhead of the Kalalau Trail
Ke’e Beach by the trailhead of the Kalalau Trail

This hike has some of the most spectacular views you will ever witness. Looking down into clear blue waters running along the coast you are constantly reminded why these islands are dream vacations.

Ke'e Beach by the trailhead of the Kalalau Trail
Ke’e Beach by the trailhead of the Kalalau Trail

Even with all its beauty, you are also reminded of how dangerous it is and why it isn’t for the faint of heart.

The Kalalau Trail along the NaPali Coast.
The Kalalau Trail along the NaPali Coast.

The trail through most of the hike is roughly 12″ wide and takes you in and out of valleys, over streams, past beaches and through cliffs that would be the end of you, if you slip.

A warning side falling down the side of the mountain.
A section of the Kalalau Trail where a warning sign, having fallen, warns of death due to slipping.

Here we are looking back at a section of trail that has a warning side for hikers. The sign about 30 yards down from the trail, laying on its side, warns hikers that slips will result in death.  This section of trail was not much of anything other than praying you wouldn’t slip.  With nothing to hold onto, we roped ourselves together (there were four of us) and we began to slowly make our way over this section. No part of it was flat and the dirt under our feet was loose.  If we slipped, it was several hundred feet down to the ocean, crashing against the side of the coast.

A warning side falling down the side of the mountain.
The Kalalau Trail, with a warning sign that has fallen, warning hikers about death if you slip.

Although there are some seriously sketchy sections of trail, the views and pockets of nature at its finest make every step worth it.

Hanakapai'ai Waterfall
The Hanakapai’ai Waterfall along the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast.

A few miles from the trailhead you come to Hanakapai’ai Valley.  If you follow the stream it will take you to the incredible Hanakapai’ai Waterfall.  This waterfall is something you only dream about seeing or see in movies.  With a beautiful pool of water at the base of the falls, it was perfect to jump in to refresh after the start of a tough hike. Although the water is a bit chilly, the view the falls offer and the freshwater to refill with, provide you with a chance to recoup and re-energize for the remainder of the hike.

Depending on the tide and time of day, Hanakapai’ai Beach is an incredible spot to hang out as well. This is two-miles into the hike and when the tide is out, offers some unique site seeing.

Hanakapai'ai Beach
Hikers pile stones on Hanakapai’ai Beach.

However, the beach that makes the whole hike worthwhile is Kalalau Beach.

Kalalau Beach
The sun sets on the Kalalau Beach. The Kalalau Beach is only accessible by boat or by hiking the grueling 11-mile trail.

Finally, you have arrived at your destination. You think to yourself, why in the hell did I just do that!? Now, I have to turn around and do it all again to get back to civilization.  This is why you take enough supplies and camping gear, so you can rest and prepare yourself for the daunting trek back.

Kalalau Beach
The campsite at Kalalau Beach.
A waterfall on the Kalalau Trail
A waterfall provides fresh drinking water at Kalalau Beach.


Drinking from a freshwater waterfall is one of the earth’s little treasures. However, if you choose to drink water this way, do what we did, go and buy yourself some type of water filtration system to ensure you don’t get sick.

NaPali Coast, Waimea Canyon
The lookout point in Waimea Canyon which overlooks the NaPali Coast and the Kalalau Trail where we hiked the day before.

Once we made it out the next day, we drove up the Grand Canyon on the island where we were able to view the same section of coast we were the day before. Talk about perspective.  This island has hidden gems everywhere you turn and views that take your breath away.

panorama of the ocean on the island of Kauai

Check back for my next posts about Queen’s Bath and Finding Sea Turtles in a hidden cave.


Please follow and like us:


Please follow and like us:

Between work, school, sports, and everything else that keeps us moving, a snow day at school was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with the kids.  There are several good sled riding hills around us and we spent the day at Cascade Valley Metro Park.

This is a nice park that has an easy hiking trail and a good viewing spot next to the Cuyahoga River, perfect for quick evening hikes after dinner during the warmer months.

However, it is winter time in Ohio and we weren’t there for the scenery.  The kids were itching to burn some energy and what better way than to catch some speed flying down the hill in sleds and hiking back up this monster hill dozens of times.

I started off riding down with little ones (mainly because I wanted to zip down that hill) but a couple times down and they were ready to take the hill on by themselves.

Getting outside, spending time with the kids, and making memories is what snow days are made for.


Please follow and like us:

Would we go to Skyzone again?!

Please follow and like us:

Being a family with four kids and living on one income, most of what we do is budgeted and planned for. And to piggy off a previous post, we enjoy getting gifts that are things we can do with the kids (which this was, thanks to Aunt Gail and Uncle Greg). Of course, we try to plan fun things and do different things with the kids, but when you are talking almost $100 for all 6 of us for an hour of fun, it’s not always feasible. Because we are focused on becoming debt free, we have to make sacrifices and choices on what we can do with the kids, generally leaving only “free” options on the table.

However, this Christmas we received a gift card to take the kids to Skyzone.  If you haven’t been or heard of this place, well, it is a blast! Trampolines from wall-to-wall and best of all, the whole family was jumping, from our two-year-old to us old-timers! (It did take a few minutes to get used to the motion of a trampoline at this age though.)

The kids have all been off school for over two weeks for the holidays and then we had a few snow days, so we decided to take advantage of our last day at home before getting back to the daily grind and it was the perfect way to go get out some energy after not leaving the house for the last 4 days because of the cold.

When we arrived, we had to fill out a waiver and get the “Skyzone socks” to be permitted to go and jump to our heart’s content.  Once we were socked up, we headed straight to the foam pit.  Testing our best natural abilities in flight, we launched ourselves several feet into the air and falling quickly to a large pit of foam square blocks.  Within the foam pit was a swinging ladder where Paul showed the kids how to climb it without falling off.

Parker was the first to attempt the ascent to the other side of the pit.  Slowly and skillfully working his arms and legs slowly and meticulously to maintain his center of gravity, Paul would call out instructions for him to follow.  Halfway through and Parker was on his own, finally making it the other side and earning a Skyzone Wristband.

Next was Eli, half the size of Parker, it was an impressive feat to watch him spread his little body over the unstable ladder and control it.  Slowly but surely, he mastered each rung, pulling himself to the other side of the pit and earning himself a wristband as well!

After the pit, we all went and jumped in the large jump area. Sure enough, Paul was up in the air calling out poses and twisting his body in funny configurations in which the kids would work to mimic. It is amazing how quickly kids adapt to new scenarios and adjust to conform to their current situation. Each kid with a big smile on their face was laughing and working to twist their bodies quickly to keep up and even come up with their own silly poses.

An hour of straight jumping was a blast! What an exceptional way to get out and do something fun and active.


Please follow and like us:

9 Experiences To Give As Gifts

Please follow and like us:


As the holidays have just pasted, we reflected on the busyness of the season and all the new memories made with family and friends.  This made us think about what we gave and got for gifts and what gifts we cherished the most.  To this point, it was the time spent with our family and friends, the laughs, hugs, and community we share that we cherish.

So why is it we spend so much time looking for “stuff” to give that will generally just clutter someone’s living space and be discarded in time? Why don’t we give more gifts of experience and our time?  Because at the end of the day is it really that gift you received that you enjoyed most of the holiday?…..(maybe if you really don’t like your family)

Since we are a family of six living off of one income, we have tried to make it a point to ask for gifts of “experiences” as much as possible. We do this for a couple of reasons, we have limited space for more toys and a limited budget to spend on these experiences, especially as we get closer to paying off all our debt. (There will be more to share about our journey of working to become debt-free soon!)

We want their childhood filled full of memories of going places, trying new things, seeing something for the first time, and having those memories with the family that loves them most. We have tossed so many bags of broken, discarded toys into the trash or have donated them. Will they cherish the memories and playing with plastic toys or will they value the time that their family poured into them? I have gotten some push-back from people feeling like they won’t be excited to receive their “gift” of something non-traditional, but this is when I suggest they do it with them. The kids love sharing memories with other family members, they (and we as parents) treasure the times Mamaw and Papaw take them to the movies or when Papa goes to the indoor waterpark with us!

Here is a list of 9 great experiences that we have been given, loved or plan on doing soon:

  1. swim lessons – Gift cards to the local rec center pay for the kids’ swim lessons.
  2. family zoo pass – Our family of 6 can get a zoo pass for the year for $100 with unlimited trips and fun. We go almost weekly when the weather is nice!
  3. movie tickets – The kids have loved the times their grandparents take them to the movies.
  4. overnight at an indoor water park – We went to Great Wolf Lodge with one set of the grandparents and having four adults for four kids in the water park was perfect, everyone enjoyed themselves and we weren’t stressed about having to watch all four of them in the water just the two of us.
  5. train ride – As a gift, we got one of the kids’ grandmas a gift certificate for all of us to ride the train and spend the day together. She loved the day with the kids and times like this are what we live for.
  6. city park and rec gift certificates – Can be used to get into the city pools, putt-putt golf, batting cages, etc.
  7. dance lessons – We plan on signing Gigi up for dance lessons soon after her 3rd birthday that is coming up.
  8. tickets to an event – We were recently given tickets to a MarvelLive show and the boys loved it, this is something we wouldn’t normally get the chance to do with them.
  9. exploring new places – Some of our favorite times together as a family are exploring new places. We are surrounded by metroparks and the kids love hiking!

What are some experiences you have given or received as gifts? We are always looking for something new and fun to gift the kids!








Please follow and like us:

DIY Lighted Window with Wreath

Please follow and like us:

This is one of my favorite DIYs I have done lately. It doesn’t take much time (or talent) and can be really cheap depending on what you already have on hand. The hardest part may be finding an old window to use. I was lucky enough to find not one, but two in a family member’s garage. I wish I had taken a true before picture, but it was just too dirty to bring in the house.

For this project you will need:

  • old window
  • wreath
  • scraper/sand paper or block
  • glue gun
  • optional: strand battery operated lights and burlap ribbon

I started by scrubbing down the window, then scraping off the paint that was flaking off. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just enough to keep it from making a mess.

Then I went over all of the edges with a sanding block, just to get anything loose off of the window.

I may have the world’s oldest hot glue gun, with no concept of a safe limit of heat, but it was my grandmother’s and I love that this was something she passed onto me (finger burns and all).

I picked up a Lemon Beauty Wreath from Hobby Lobby that was the perfect size for my window. You will want to fit your wreath to the frame before applying the glue, but my wreath fit perfectly where the window panes crossed. I just applied a good amount glue to each side, as well as some to the back of the wreath.

For a few months, I left the window with just the wreath. I loved the simple look and it looked great sitting above our fireplace.

We found these Philips LED Dewdrop strand lights when we were out Christmas shopping and had plans to put them in a cabinet but after getting home decided to try them in the wreath instead. The best part, they were cheap and have a timer, no trying to remember to turn them off before bed. I loved this look over the holidays!

I tested out adding a burlap ribbon that I had on hand as well.

This is a quick project that can be customized to fit your style, decor or holiday season.

The window and wreath completed our Christmas decor this year, I’m just sad that it is already over.

Which way do you like it best? How would you accessorize this window and wreath to make it your own?


Please follow and like us:

Adventure in the CLE

Please follow and like us:
The kiddos at Edge Water Park in Cleveland, Ohio, 2017.


We had the opportunity to take a day and head to downtown Cleveland this past summer with the kiddos.  The goal was to find each script Cleveland sign and visit the West Side Market, which is a must.

The first stop was the Cleveland sign in Tremont and then we took some time to walk around and check out the town.

Cleveland script sign in Tremont, overlooking downtown.
Cleveland script sign in Tremont.

The next stop was to West Side Market, where we shopped for fresh fruit and veggies, enjoyed pepperoni bread, cannolis, and macarons from a local Italian bakery.


View from the balcony of West Side Market.

The next stop was the second of the script signs by the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, we battled traffic and crowds as it was a busy Saturday but worth it to let the kids run around the lawn for awhile.

Cleveland script sign in front of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

We then headed over to Edgewater Beach Park to hit the last of the three signs. On our way there, we spotted so many people enjoying the beautiful day on the beach so we stopped and I’d say the kids loved it!

Kids at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio.
Kids at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio
Kids at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, Ohio.
Edgewater Beach script sign.

Our stop at the last script sign was the quickest, we were all tired after a long day exploring the city and ready to go home! Even with the kids’ young ages, this was the perfect day of fun spent together and us adults enjoyed every bit of it too!

– court

Please follow and like us: