Travel Spotlight | Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau Bahamas : Travel Spotlight

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The first time I was fortunate enough to visit the Bahamas was when I orchestrated a spring break girls trip while at the University of Michigan (Go Blue). We were fortunate to pay only $492 for round trip airfare (Vista Count) was the airline, and I am not even sure it still exists. However we were fearless and had the most amazing week staying at the half moon hotel but going to the other major hotels and beaches to chill, hang out, find beaches and party. Fast forward with several cruises, family stays, and marketing jobs, Nassau has become a staple in our Caribbean.

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Located on New Providence Island, Nassau has an attractive harbor a colorful blend of old world and colonial architecture, and a busy port. The tropical climate and natural beauty of the Bahamas have made Nassau a popular tourist destination.

Nassau developed directly behind the port area. New Providence provides 200 km² of relatively flat and low-lying land intersected by low ridges (none of which restricted settlement). In the center of the island there are several shallow lakes that are tidally connected.

The city’s proximity to the United States (290 km east-southeast of Miami, Florida) has contributed to its popularity as a holiday resort, especially after the United States imposed a ban on travel to Cuba in 1963. The Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island accounts for more tourist arrivals to the city than any other hotel property. The mega-resort employs over 6,000 Bahamians, and is the largest employer outside government.

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When in the Bahamas you must try the local staple, Conch.Here is a variation of a conch salad recipe.

bahamas Conch-Salad-Recipe bahamas conch shell

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Happy Birthday Denise!!!

It’s Moving Time!!! | Thank You Beautiful Boise Idaho!

It’s Moving Time…

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As mentioned in the previous post we have decided to take our land search to Lexington South Carolina, a suburban city of Columbia. We have chosen to move here for several reasons including the excellent school district, outdoor activity, close proximity to Lake Murray and access to the city of Columbia.

While we are so excited to head to this amazing area of the country we have to bid a fine farewell to Beautiful Boise ID!

Thank You Boise!!!

Beautiful Boise loftandlearn

There are so many wonderful firsts that have occurred here in Boise that we will be forever grateful for. We completed our first year of school (kindergarten), ran a first, half & full marathon, started a life blog, started talking, completed first baseball season (love it) took our first major hike as a family of four as well as went river rafting & camping. Recovered from a major surgery, made new friends, learned to snowboard, climbed mountains, conceptualized the idea of our dream home estate and set the plans in motion and much more…

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Bogus Basin Ski Resort Weekend Jan 2016 loftandlearn Kingston Popcorn Time!!!

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Bogus Basin Ski Resort Weekend Jan 2016 loftandlearn go Acey Fire!

Bogus Basin Ski Resort Weekend Jan 2016 loftandlearn Acey Fire

Bogus Basin Ski Resort Weekend Jan 2016 loftandlearn Ace..on my own

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Feature Parenting Tips Kingston.

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loftandlearn.com Blog File-----Boise Zoo

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Ace & Kingston

 

Boise Id, was such a beautiful, friendly, cool, hipster surprise. I will forever be grateful for the love and hospitality that we have experienced for the last year and look forward to returning to visit!

Thank you Boise!!!

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Malaika @loftandlearn

Travel Spotlight | The Beautiful Florida Keys!

This Week’s Travel Spotlight***The Beautiful Florida Keys!

Florida Keys BeachThese wonderful and not well-known Islands south of Miami are a huge favorite for Colin and Myself. Colin proposed to me by surprising me with a week-long vacation starting in Key Largo then ending in Key West with a beautiful dinner at Pier House Resort & Spa and amazing proposal that I will never forget.

Florida Keys Snorkeling loftandlearn


The Beauty and calmness of The Florida Keys make you forget that you are on Mainland USA. The people are extremely laid back and friendly and the brightness of the sun warms your soul. The Long Bridge that connects the keys gives you the most breathtaking and fulfilling views. Creating suspense and the promise of paradise this drive on down through the keys does not disappoint. It is easy to see why Ernest Hemingway fell in love and called the Key West home. It lends itself to relaxation, introspection and creativity.
Vibrant shops and bars sprinkle this charming town with life and character and offer an alternative to relaxing on the beach sipping pina colada’s.

Florida Keys Beaches loftandlearn Bridge to the Keys 1 loftandlearn Fishing Key West  Florida Keys Beach loftandlearn Florida Keys Beaches loftandlearn


The Florida Keys are a string of tropical islands stretching about 120 miles off the state’s southern tip, between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They’re known for their laid-back vibe and as a destination for fishing, boating and scuba diving. Key West is famous for Duval Street’s many bars, Mallory Square’s nightly Sunset Celebration and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
Early history Of The Florida Keys

 

The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria--A Hilton Worldwide Property
The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria–A Hilton Worldwide Property

The Reach The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Hotel

Hilton Key Largo
Hilton Key Largo

Grande Suite

 

Florida Keys Early History

The Keys were originally inhabited by Calusa and Tequesta Native Americans. They were later found and charted by Juan Ponce de León in 1513. De León named the islands Los Martires (‘The Martyrs’) as they looked like suffering men from a distance. “Key” is derived from the Spanish Cayo, meaning small island. For many years, Key West was the largest town in Florida, and it grew prosperous on wrecking. The isolated outpost was well located for trade with Cuba, the Bahamas, and was on the main trade route from New Orleans. Improved navigation led to fewer shipwrecks, and Key West went into a decline in the late nineteenth century

Florida Keys Fast Facts

Florida Keys Fun Facts loftandlearn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Information on how to participate in Uncorked..The Islamorada & Key Largo Food and Wine Festival

Click on link http://floridakeysuncorked.com/

Food and wine Festival keys

 

 

 

 

Travel Spotlight***Maui, Hawaii. The Island Vacation That Everyone Will Love! | Loft & Learn Travel Spotlight

Travel Spotlight

Maui, Hawaii

maui map loftandlearn

Well what’s not to love about beautiful Maui, Hawaii? Absolutely nothing! Before settling down on the Big Island Colin, Ace & I had the most amazing year on this stunning Island. With so many activities for the young and old, adventurers and spa seekers, Maui is easily Hawaii’s Island that pleases most people looking for the traditional Hawaiian Ideal.

From Award winning golf courses, to White sandy beaches and colorful flowers, lush hiking trails and waterfalls abound it is truly a sight to behold! Colin’s Aunt & Uncle Marita and Randy and cousin Gillian have lived in Maui for over 25 years now and were so kind to welcome us along with all of the Hawaiians, introducing us to the Hawaiian culture.

 

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One of my most fond memories of Maui is celebrating Thanksgiving on a beautiful beach overlooking the pacific. It was awesome giving thanks while taking in such earth shattering beauty of the beach and sunset. And what a place for my Parents to visit!! Yowza. It was such an honor to learn about this amazing culture and feel accepted and appreciated as well. From Local Legend and Folklore to Luaus’ and Hawaiian dance. There is such a rich history and tradition among Hawaiians that should be celebrated and embraced.

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maui road to hana map
Keeping true to the Loft & Learn way here are some facts about Maui, the beautiful tropical paradise found on Wikipedia.com
Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawaiʻiloa, the navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. According to that legend, Hawaiʻiloa named the island of Maui after his son, who in turn was named for the demigod Māui. The earlier name of Maui was ʻIhikapalaumaewa.


 

The Island of Maui is also called the “Valley Isle” for the large isthmus between its northwestern and southeastern volcanoes and the numerous large valleys carved into both mountains
Maui’s diverse landscapes are the result of a unique combination of geology, topography, and climate. Each volcanic cone in the chain of the Hawaiian Islands is built of dark, iron-rich/quartz-poor rocks, which poured out of thousands of vents as highly fluid lava, over a period of millions of years. Several of the volcanoes were close enough to each other that lava flows on their flanks overlapped one another, merging into a single island. Maui is such a “volcanic doublet,” formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another to form an isthmus between them.


Polynesians, from Tahiti and the Marquesas, were the original people to populate Maui. The Tahitians introduced the kapu system, a strict social order that affected all aspects of life and became the core of Hawaiian culture. Modern Hawaiian history began in the mid-18th century. King Kamehameha I, king of Hawaii’s “Big Island,” invaded Maui in 1790 and fought the inconclusive Battle of Kepaniwai, but returned to Hawaii to battle a rival, finally subduing Maui a few years later.


On November 26, 1778, explorer Captain James Cook became the first European to see Maui. Cook never set foot on the island because he was unable to find a suitable landing. The first European to visit Maui was the French admiral Jean-François de La Pérouse, who landed on the shores of what is now known as La Perouse Bay on May 29, 1786. More Europeans followed: traders, whalers, loggers (e.g., of sandalwood) and missionaries. The latter began to arrive from New England in 1823, settling in Lahaina, which at that time was the capital. They clothed the natives, banned them from dancing hula, and greatly altered the culture. The missionaries taught reading and writing, created the 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet, started a printing press in Lahaina, and began writing the islands’ history, which until then was transmitted orally.[13] Ironically, the missionaries both altered and preserved the native culture. The religious work altered the culture while the literacy efforts preserved native history and language. Missionaries started the first school in Lahaina, which still exists today: Lahainaluna Mission School, which opened in 1831.


The two major industries on Maui are agriculture and tourism. Government research groups and high technology companies have discovered that Maui has a business environment favorable for growth in those sectors as well. Agriculture value-added enterprises are growing rapidly.
Coffee, macadamia nuts, papaya, tropical flowers, sugar and fresh pineapple are just some of Hawaii’s premium exports and are a prime example of its diversified agriculture. Maui Land & Pineapple Company[17]and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company[18] (HC&S, a subsidiary of Alexander and Baldwin Company) dominate agricultural activity. HC&S produces sugarcane on about 37,000 acres (150 km2) of the Maui central valley, the largest sugarcane operation remaining in Hawaii.


A controversial feature of Maui sugarcane production has been the harvesting method of controlled cane field fires for nine months of the year. Burns reduce the crop to bare canes just before harvesting. The fires produce smoke that towers above the Maui central valley most early mornings, and ash (locally referred to as “Maui snow”) that is carried downwind (often towards north Kīhei). In November 2009 Maui Land & Pineapple Company announced it was ceasing pineapple growing operations on Maui effective January 1, 2010.


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Here is a menu from the Luau at the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Resort

LUAU MENU
Appetizers & Salads
Surf and Turf Poke
(Pipikaula, Shrimp, Maui Onions, Phole Fe
rns, Kim Chee Base & Wasabi Vinaigrette)
,
Lomi-Lomi Salmon, Fresh Poi,
Green Papaya Salad, Potato Mac Salad,
Maui Grown Lettuce Bar, Cucumber Namasu,
Maui Gold Pineapple and Kula Strawberries
Sweet Bread Rolls with Macadamia Nut Butter
Entrees
Maui Cattle Grilled Top Sirloin Steaks
Glazed with teriyaki sauce
Baked Molokai Sweet Potatoes
Guava syrup & mac nut butter
Fried Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi,
Light coconut & lime flavored sauce
Shoyu Chicken
Kalua Pig
Stir Fried Vegetables
Wok fried and seasoned with soy sauce ginger and garlic
Island Style Fried Rice Lup Chong and Vegetables
Enhanced with oyster sauce and sesame oil
Maui Chow Fun
Vegetables and pork char siu
Island Style Desserts
Chocolate Brownies topped with Macadamia Nuts
Coconut Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Traditional Hawaiian Haupia
Guava Mousse
Freshly Brewed Hawaiian Paradise Coffee,
Decaffienated Coffee, Assorted Teas
Bar
Hosted bar featuring Mai Tai & Pina Cola
da and Mixed Drinks, Beer, Wine and
Assorted Soft Drinks.
The Grand Wailea, Waldorf Astoria Hilton Resort. Breathtaking!
The Grand Wailea, Waldorf Astoria Hilton Resort. Breathtaking!

Here are some additional Fun Facts about Maui (click link below) from Maui Dream Vacations
http://www.maui-hawaii-dream-vacations.com/maui-facts.html

Here are just a few of the many wonderful memories we had while living on Maui.

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IMG_20120204_140657 Ace Holiday Photos (1)

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Halloween in Maui
Halloween in Maui

 

Aloha!

Malaika@loftandlearn.com

 

Amazing Resorts That Will Please Everyone On Your Next Family Vacation! | Loft & Learn Travel Tips

How To Please Everyone On Your Next Family Vacation!

If you are like me you may have very different personalities and hobbies to cater to in your household. For example my son Kingston and I absolutely love the warmth of  sunshine, reading by the pool or ocean and relaxing with good music. While Colin and Ace love snow, food and ANYTHING with a high level of adventure with a slight tinge of danger on the side.

So what’s a mom to do when planning vacations? Compromise. In our household where budgeting is a crucial factor in determining where and when we travel we have incorporated a few different ways to choose our family vacations. Here couple of fun options that keep everyone happy and excited for every trip!

  1. Grab a Mason Jar and have everyone write down where they would like to go and what they would like to do on a sheet of paper. Place inside the Jar. Now take a sheet of paper and make several blank boxes. When anyone in the family completes an amazing task or accomplishes something cool, or worthy (ie. great grades, community work, promotion, etc..) They get to enter their name in the jar. Everyone must agree on when the contest begins and ends so at the end of the quarter, 6 month mark or year, the person with the most name entries in the jar gets to have their vacation request honored.  This is a great way to promote hard work dedication and unity within the family. It’s a great way to achieve a hard-earned vacation and family time and also encourages creative ways to be of help in the family and community at large.

  2. Grab Bag. This is a much more laid back and fun approach to picking your family getaway. And in my opinion works well with weekend getaways. With the grab bag vacation option, as a family you write down multiple places you have yet to visit and place them in a hat, and then you just reach in a grab a slip and off you go!! Spontaneous, fun and sure to raise the level of excitement.

  3. Lastly and most often used by the Loftus Crew is good ole fashioned research for places that contain the most of everything we are looking for in one. While you can’t please everyone, there are a few areas and resorts that come close to providing most of what everyone would enjoy!

Here are 5 Amazing Resorts and Locations That Are Sure To Please Everyone In The Family!

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Atlantis-Bahamas

So many things to do like relaxing on the beach with a pina colada, sliding down an amazing see through water slide in between sharks, water-skiing,  parasailing, gambling in the casino, shopping, getting a massage in the spa and much more make this a can’t miss family vacation spot.

Waldorf Astoria, Bonnet Creek, FL

Waldorf Astoria bonnet Creek

This lavish luxury hotel is only about 5 miles from Epcot and  6 miles from Magic Kingdom, and offers free shuttle service to both parks!! What a win-win. Perfect for pleasing the parents with 5 star accommodations and restaurants but yet a stones throw away from Mickey Mouse, Jackpot!!

Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island, HI

HiltonWaikoloa loftandlearn

For those of you already familiar Loft & Learn you know what a fan I am of this resort. As mentioned in a previous post this is hands down the most amazing resort I have ever seen. It serves as much more than a Hotel. It is also offers world-class art museum, fine dining, dolphin experience, luau, water-sport lagoon, waterfalls, and so much more. Our family loved every minute of it and is definitely on our places to frequent list when on that side of the Island. When visiting the Big Island, HI make sure to tour the award-winning Kona Coffee Belt and take a tour of one of the amazing coffee farms. See how the beans are picked by hand roasted with care.and Order a little Paradise in a cup and have some of the Big Island, HI everyday with Naturally Kona Coffee.

Ritz Carlton, Cancun, Mexico

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Located in the Hotel Zone on an expansive white beach along a beautiful stretch of coastline. All guest rooms and suites boast ocean views to take in the cerulean waters. Rooms are exquisitely furnished, spacious, and well-appointed. Attentive staff provide outstanding service for all of your needs during your stay including twice-daily housekeeping. Children can stay busy with the Ritz Kids Mayan Adventures program providing physical and creative activities. Colin and I can attest to the fact that while beautiful and top-notch if you are looking for more local flare then head to (ciudad) downtown Cancun where you will find food with more local flare and moderate prices to balance this tremendous vacation out.

Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado

Beaver Creek Plaza at twilight in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Beaver Creek Plaza at twilight in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Look no further than Beaver Creek if you have any ski enthusiasts. They have an award-winning kid friendly ski programs, ski school, nursery, and white glove fast track adventure not to be missed. Spas, shopping, ice skating, sledding, are just a few more of the many things to do at this stunning vacation spot. And don’t get me started on the accommodations, from beautiful condos to luxurious stand alone family cabins the Beaver Creed Resort has it all.

Don’t forget to send in your vacation pics to Loft & Learn, Sharing is Caring!

Happy Travels,

Malaika@loftandlearn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hilton Resort Waikoloa Village, Hawaii. Your Family’s Next Extraordinary Vacation! | Travel

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Hilton Waikoloa Village is by far the most amazing resort I have ever seen! When visiting the Big Island you must schedule at least a couple of days to witness this unbelievable resort for yourself.

Map of Big Island, Hi loftandlearn

Hilton Waikoloa Village on Travel Spotlight loftandlearn.com

Set on 62 acres along the Kohala Coast, this sprawling tropical resort hotel features a tram system around the site. This massive property boasts many other unique and stunning features including stunning art and a dolphin swim experience not to be missed. Gorgeous museum pieces fill the walkways. You don’t really feel like you’re staying at a hotel, you just want to wander and look at the pieces that the developer has placed throughout the property, in theme with the towers. It’s Breathtaking.

While living in Waikoloa before moving to the Kona side of the island I was able to work on this amazing property for Hilton Grand Vacations and I met some life long friends Renee and Kamalani. Kamalani, a native of Kona, HI will also be a contributor to Loft & Learn giving us first hand insight to Hawaii Life and her amazing travels as well..Stay tuned for that!

www.loftandlearn.com kamalani


 

Here are some cool and little known facts about the Big Island of Hawaii. I picked up this info from a young student named Rustin whose mother published it on her blog. Great Job Rustin!!

http://www.hawaiilife.com/articles/2011/03/hawaiian-history/

The Big Island of Hawaii

“Big Island” is not the name of the island, but only a reference to it. “Hawaii” is the actual name, but people say “Big Island” as to not confuse the island’s name with the rest of the nation.

  • The Big Island is Hawaii’s largest at 4,038 square miles. It is twice the size of all other Hawaiian islands combined.
  • The largest contiguous ranch in the United States is in Hawaii. The Parker Ranch near Kamuela has about 480,000 acres of land.
  • At 800,000 years the Big Island is the youngest of the island chain. However, it was the first island discovered by voyaging Polynesians.
  • Kilauea Iki Volcano is the world’s most active and largest volcano.
  • Ka Lae is the southernmost point in the United States. It is located at 18:54:49 N, 155:41:00 W. There is a constant 27 knots per hour wind blowing East to West, 24 hours per day, and 365 days per year.
  • Two of the tallest mountains in the Pacific—Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa—dominate the center of the island. Most of the world’s macadamia nuts are grown on the island.
  • Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world (measured from its base at the ocean floor).
  • The island houses the world’s biggest telescope and more scientific observatories in one place than anywhere else in the world.
  • The island is the worldwide leader in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids.

 

For Amazing Hawaiian Recipes that you can make at home please visit this website Cooking Hawaiian Style http://www.cookinghawaiianstyle.com/index.php/most-popular-recipes

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http://www.cookinghawaiianstyle.com/index.php/hawaiian-recipes/recipes/detail/3177/sun-noodle-s-fried-saimin


 

Hilton Waikoloa Village Waterfall

Dolphin smooch hilton waikoloa   hilton waikoloa village art

Hilton Waikoloa Village Waterfall   Hilton Waikoloa Village

kohala pool hilton Waikoloa Hlton tram

 

hawaii waikoloa loftandlearn    hilton waikoloa Ace

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Hawaii Waikoloa Mommy & Ace

 

Aloha!

malaika@loftandlearn.com

 

 

 

 

Costa Maya, Mexico | Travel

Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya, Mexico Spotlight Travel Destination
Costa Maya, Mexico
Spotlight Travel Destination

Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya is a small tourist region in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, the only state bounded by the Caribbean Sea to its east. This municipality is close to Chetumal on the border with Belize.

Costa Maya’s principal language is Spanish, but English is also commonly spoken. The average temperature high in Costa Maya is approximately 84 F°; the average low is 67 F°. The Mexican Peso is the official currency of Costa Maya, but most places will accept U.S. dollars

costa maya map loftandlearn

Costa Maya Beach loftandlearn


 

Fun Facts

Colin & I almost ended up living here and opening a Del Sol store on the Costa Mayan Port. We have spent a lot of time between Cancun and Costa Maya and find the Yucatan Peninsula to be one of our favorite places on earth!

• Early Mayans were predominant in the area from 200 B.C. to 900 A.D. The ruins at Chacchoben, constructed by the Mayans in the 4th century, include magnificent stone structures and pyramids.

• In August of 2007, the port of Costa Maya and the cruise dock sustained heavy damage when Category 5 Hurricane Dean made landfall with sustained winds of 175 mph, with gusts up to 200 mph. The port reopened in the fall of 2008.

• On February 1, 2015, Costa Maya and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo officially adopted a new time zone that corresponds to Eastern Standard Time.


 

Costa Maya Coconut Bread (Pan de Coco)

pan de coo

Costa Maya Coconut Bread Recipe
(Pan de Coco)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 grated coconuts or 1 cup unsweetened grated coconut
2 cup water
3 Tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons melted butter
3 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoon salt
3 pounds flour (approximately)
1/4 cup melted butter
Directions: grate the coconut and discard any brown skins. Add 2 cups water to the coconut and let sit for 30 minutes. If using dried grated coconut, add an additional 1/4 cup water to compensate for the lack of moisture. Dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup warm water. Add the sugar and 3 T of the flour and let rise until bubbles form. Add all remaining ingredients except flour. Add 3/4 of the flour. If you are using a bread mixer, add additional flour until mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Mix for 5 minutes or until elastic. If mixing by hand, knead for about 8 minutes continually adding additional flour or until smooth and elastic.
Cover and let sit until doubled. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 30 balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. The shape should resemble English muffins, only a little smaller. Each bread should be at least 1 inch apart. Brush with melted butter. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Place bread in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with additional butter. Serve warm or toasted.

I obtained this recipe from Mayan Beach Garden. I have included the link below where this recipe can be found http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/recipes_breads.html

Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI | Travel

Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI

Ace and Kingston had an amazing time at the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan this summer with Auntie Mern, Uncle Cleve, CJ and Grandma & Grandpa Ernest. They were able to help Ace celebrate his 5th Birthday!

As usual Auntie Mern turned it into a spectacular learning lesson and activity. Prior to going on the trip she read with Ace about the sleeping bear folklore so he could understand the Legend of the sleeping bear dunes and then when they arrived he had a completely different and unique attachment to what he witnessed.

 

Ace and Kingston, Sleeping Bear Dunes
Ace and Kingston, Sleeping Bear Dunes

 

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Summer Fun 2015 024         loftandlearn.com sbd1

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Recommended Reads

http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Sleeping-Bear-Kathy-Jo-Wargin/dp/188694735X

#kiddiebookclub #kbc #childrensbooksofculture
#kiddiebookclub #kbc #childrensbooksofculture

 

Michigan is famous for it’s Cherries..
Here is a great cherry tarts recipe from allrecipes.com

loftandlearn.com sleepingbeardunes 6

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/18367/blancas-cherry-cheese-tarts/?internalSource=recipe%20hub&referringId=12947&referringContentType=recipe%20hub

 

 

 

Crazy Horse, Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Travel Spotlight

loftandlearn.com -Crazy Horse

Souix Falls was part of an unforgettable trip out west that I took years back with my late grandfather and family that still serves as one of my best ever!! White water rafting, horseback riding and Mt. Rushmore were several highlights. By far the one thing that left the best lasting impression was the monument of Crazy Horse and the story behind the Korscak Family who set out to pay tribute to this legendary Indian Chief. Their story of love and determination is awe-inspiring and evident in the visitors center. I remember going when I was younger and writing in the guest back that I would be sure to return. Now I definitely plan on keeping that promise with Colin, Ace and Kingston!!

Sioux Falls see you soon!

Recommended Reads on the Subject:

loftandlearn.com Crazy Horseloftandlearn.com --sf-books loftandlearn.com -sf---

Legendary Indian Chief Crazy Horse
Legendary Indian Chief Crazy Horse

 

https://www.travelsouthdakota.com/explore-with-us/great-8/crazy-horse
Here is a great article from the splendid table about Chef Sean Sherman grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

loftandlearn.com recipe

http://www.splendidtable.org/story/the-sioux-chef-is-helping-bring-a-native-american-food-culture-into-the-modern-world

Keystone, Colorado | Travel Spotlight

Keystone, Colorado. Amazing Family Ski Trip

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Ahhhhh, well what can I say about my first attempt on ski’s?…

Disastrous. But Spending Time with the Loftus Fellas (Colin’s Brothers Sean & Ryan and Sister n law Amy and their sons Jack and Dylan was so much fun! Colin’s Father and his life long buddies always gather in this stunning ski town and we were fortunate to be able to join them on this amazing trip.

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Also Great for summertime fun!

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It was a quaint little town with boutique family restaurants for the evening and lots of great hot coffee in cool ski resorts. There were so many things to do, even if you have vowed to never put on ski’s again like me (maybe I’ll try snowboarding)they had plenty of snowboard and ski lessons for kids, as well as hot tubs and hip and comfy ski lodge lobbies for entertainment. I can’t wait to return, only this time I think I’ll skip the ski’s and hit the ice skating rink followed by the hot tub with a glass of Champagne!

Here are a few fun facts about Keystone courtesy of Wikipedia:

Keystone consists of three mountains named Dercum Mountain, North Peak, the Outback, and five Bowls (Independence, Erickson, Bergman, North and South Bowls) for skiing at every level. The first three mountains mentioned connected by a series of ski lifts and gondolas. Collectively, the mountains form the largest operation in Colorado to offer night skiing, where several trails are lit by large floodlights, and lift operation can run until late into the night. Night skiing takes place after sunset until as late as 9 p.m. on as many as 15 of the resort’s trails.

Keystone is known also for its five-acre resurfaced skating lake, sleigh rides and many Zagat-rated four- and five-star restaurants. There are over 3,000 condos in Keystone, all within a short walk or free shuttle ride to one of the two base areas called River Run (newest) and Mountain House (Original, less crowded).

In summer, Keystone also is a home for lift access mountain biking, biking parks, and hundreds of miles of single-track mountain biking.

Here’s a cool site that has info on keystone’s summer festivals. http://www.keystonefestivals.com/the-best-reasons-to-visit-keystone-bacon-beer-wine-music/

 

Recipe for Colorado Mexican Pizza courtesy of allrecipes.com

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/35985/colorado-mexican-pizza/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=1622&referringContentType=recipe%20hub

 

 

San Juan, Puerto Rico | Family Travel

San Juan Puerto Rico, Travel Spotlight!

loftandlearn.com Puerto Rico--

Puerto Rico--

 

While I was pregnant with Kingston we took an amazing family vacation on a cruise to the Southern Caribbean. We we fortunate to be able to stay a couple of extra nights in San Juan. Our time in  San Juan Puerto Rico was phenomenal. We toured the Famous cobblestone streets, shopped, Gambled in the casino, and really enjoyed our trip to one of the famous forts. It was affordable yet fantastic. I can’t wait to return to see the rest of this beautiful Island.

 

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San Juan Fun Facts:

San Juan is the capital of the island of Puerto Rico, the fourth largest island of the Caribbean.

It is located on the north side of Puerto Rico. Its coastal borders are the Atlantic Ocean and the San Juan Bay.

San Juan suffered many attacks from English and Dutch forces during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Spanish-American war took place in 1898. After this war Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, which was signed later that year. From that moment to the present day Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States of America and San Juan continues being the capital.

San Juan Culture

People:

  • Puerto Ricans are a mixture of native Taíno Indians, Spanish Conquistadores and African slaves.
  • Happiest people in the world! – as indicated by The University of Michigan’s World Values Surveys (WVS).
  • Very festive and warm.

Language: Spanish, English and Spanglish!

Food: Typical Puerto Rican food is very similar to Cuban food. It has Spanish/European, Taíno, African and American influence. Locals call this blend comida criolla. Main dishes are elaborated with grains, plantains, meats and poultry, vegetables, root vegetables, etc. Some of the most common dishes are the traditional arroz con habichuelas (rice and beans), arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas), pasteles, alcapurrias, mofongo, etc

 

San Juan National Historic Site
The San Juan National Historic Site (World Heritage Site) is comprised of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, most of the city walls, the San Juan Gate and Fort San Juan de la Cruz just across the entrance to the bay. The Spanish spent over 250 years fortifying the prized location of Puerto Rico, since through it, Spain controlled all access in and out of the Caribbean.

http://www.nps.gov/saju/index.htm

 

Puerto Rican dishes

Puerto Rican Red Beans and Rice

puerto rico dish

http://www.food.com/recipe/puerto-rican-red-beans-and-rice-42698

Empanadas (Puerto Rican Style)

loftandlearn.com empanadas

http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/empanadas-puerto-rican-style/338740

Great Books for the Kiddie club with Puerto Rican influence

Juan Bobo and the Pig Mondo Folktales

 

Family pics..

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Big Island, Hawaii | Family Travel

The Big Island, Hawaii. Travel Spotlight!

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This Location is near and dear to us as we also call it home. There are so many wonderful things to cover about the Big island so I will have to break it up over the course of time and just give little snippets here and there…As the photo to the right would indicate from Grandpa’s kona coffee farm that it is serene, tranquil, beautiful and captivating. There is so much to explore and learn on the Big Island.

 

Big Island

Big Island, HI Fun Facts:
Green Sand Beach
Green sand beach is one of the two green sand beaches in the United States, and one of the 4 green sand beaches worldwide! It gets its color (and name) from olivine crystals that wash out of a 49.000 year old cinder cone next to the beach. Other names for this beach are Papakolea and Mahana beach.

Hawaii Nicknames
The Island of Hawaii has many nicknames, so be careful not to get confused. If you hear people about the following islands, they all talk about the same island.
“The Big Island”
“The Orchid Island”
“Hawai’i’s Island of Adventure”
Hawaiian Alphabet
The current official Hawaiian alphabet consists of 13 letters: 5 normal vowels; A, E, I, O, U: 5 Vowels with Macrons; Ā, Ē, Ī, Ō, Ū: and 8 consonants; H, K, L, M, N, P, W, ʻokina. The ʻokina is an apostrophe which represent the glottal stop. Despite this limited amount of letters, Hawaiian know some proper tongue-twisters, such as the state fish called “humuhumunukunukuapuaʻa”.
Kilauea
The Kilauea Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world – and it has been active for a long time! The Hawaiian name “Kīlauea” means “spewing” or “much spreading,” probably in reference to the lava flows that it already erupted in ancient Hawaiian times
Kona Coffee Fun Facts

1.Kona coffee is the only coffee grown in the United States.
2. It is well known around the world for its rich flavor and excellent quality. In fact, Mark Twain said, “Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other.”
3. Samual Ruggles brought the first coffee plant to Kona in 1828.
4. Native Hawaiians and Chinese laborers worked the fields where everything was done by hand. When the market crashed the plantation owners leased the land to its workers, many of which were from Japan who were brought in to work on the sugar plantations.
5. The work was difficult but the rich volcanic soil and perfect climate provided the perfect condition for growing coffee.
6. Several areas were used for coffee fields throughout the Big Island but the district of Kona was perfect and now the majority of coffee is planted here.
7. Kona Coffee is picked by Hand whereas other coffee regions have machine harvesters that collect coffee cherries from plantations, the steep volcanic slope of Kona makes using such machines impossible. Hence, all Kona coffee is picked by hand, and inspected for quality and freshness. There’s something more intimate about coffee that is created with the human touch.

IMG_20130902_101529 IMG_20130803_103034loftandlearn.com Hawaii loftandlearn.com h.

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Great Books about Hawaii for the Kiddie Book Club

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Mochiko Chicken Recipe

Mochiko Chicken

Check out Chicken this Hawaiian recipe for Mochiko Chicken (It’s the bomb!!)
Mochiko Chicken Recipe from Caffine Junkie on Food.com
http://www.food.com/recipe/mochiko-chicken-126786