"When you are quiet, what do you hear?" - When I am Quiet on Maui, Judi Riley
It's been an unseasonably cool spring in the Bay Area. I am a warm weather kind of girl. I long for the warm sun. We can't control the weather but we can escape to a warmer place via our books.
A few years ago, when my boys were very young (not-quite-three and seven months), we spent a week in Maui. Although I don't necessarily recommend taking kids that young to Maui if you're expecting a restful and relaxing vacation, it is a favorite family memory of that time in our lives. When we want to remind the boys of our trip we watch videos and look at pictures or we read When I am Quiet on Maui, a book my husband and I brought back from a solo Maui trip a couple of years later.
Judi Riley's When I am Quiet on Maui is a peaceful book, a perfect reflection of the laid back island lifestyle. The first two pages, in fact, are just two questions (one per page) on a white background: "When you are quiet, what do you hear? When you are still, what do you feel?" With this we are brought into the book, which takes us through a child's day on the island of Maui. We learn about the island through sights and sounds. Each spread shows an illustration on the left with a single statement on the opposite page--a painting of koi and plumeria flowers in a pond is accompanied by, "When I am quiet in Wailea long before lunch, I hear the plumeria cascade into the koi pond." This is not a book to turn to if you're looking for excitement or a story where something happens. It is more like poetry: calm meditations just right for settling into a calm state of mind (perhaps right before naptime). It reminds us of the beauty of nature (found in a specific place) and the importance of slowing down and taking note of the world around us. It also introduces Hawaiian vocabulary, with proper pronunciations and definitions in footnotes at the bottom of the pages. (Crucial for parents who stumble over the word humuhumunukunukuapua'a.)
We made two different treats to get us into the Hawaiian spirit (they also went well with our Lost series finale viewing after the boys were in bed).
Lava Flow Smoothies
- 2 oz. coconut cream
- 2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
- 4 large strawberries (or handful of frozen strawberries)
- 1 small, ripe banana
Additional equipment: Blender, paper umbrella (optional)
1. Puree the strawberries in blender.
2. Pour strawberry puree in glass.
3. Puree pineapple juice, coconut cream and banana in blender with crushed ice. Blend until smooth.
4. Pour pineapple/coconut/banana mixture into glass. The strawberry puree should rise to the top, like a lava flow.
Roasted Pineapple with Ice Cream (recipe courtesy of Runner's World magazine, April 2010)
- 1 pineapple, cut and sliced
- dark brown sugar
- vanilla ice cream
1. Brush melted butter on both sides of the pineapple slices (the original recipe recommends cutting the pineapple into rings).
2. Sprinkle brown sugar over both sides of the pineapple.
3. Roast pineapple in oven at 400* for 18 minutes. Flip halfway through.
5. Serve in bowls. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
These refreshing treats did bring a little bit of that Hawaiian feeling into our home, which is nice since it's far more practical than jumping on a plane every time we want to escape to Hawaii.
Still in a Hawaiian state of mind? Check out Riley's other book, When I am Quiet on Oahu.
My kids also love Disney's animated film Lilo and Stitch, which has a Hawaiian setting.
Finally, if you do happen to have a trip to Hawaii planned, I highly recommend Andrew Doughty's "Ultimate" guidebook series. We have used The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed and Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook on our trips and found them to be, hands down, the best resources for sightseeing, snorkeling and dining information.