The buick ohana 2014

I’m so bad…..and i apologize that i never blog anymore……..

life is busy

but still no excuse.

I thought i would just pop in and do a little update on our life…

We’ve gone through some transitions this year……I have 2 middle schoolers this year…holy sheet.

When we had decided to stay on Kauai……one of our biggest fears was school…….

middle school to be exact. I know i’m not the only parent in the country that worried about middle school

it’s a big dark ugly word and living in a place where the education pretty much stinks…..

and parents have to be 100 percent invested in their children’s education for them to come out not only ahead

but hopefully even just on game…..made me want to cry sometimes.

What started off last year as the best experience ever with a brand new private middle school that we had

enrolled Mason is……turned tables this year with having both Mason and Lola there.

In the first three months of school this year……they had gone through 4 teachers and the school was a sinking 

ship on it’s way to the bottom of the ocean. We hung on as long as we could…..

most of our friends had already pulled their kids out…..

and after three months we did the same.

After a few weeks of the kids being home…..we found an option that we were happy with.

Not my first choice ever…..but it was going to work and so far……the school we have them in is wonderful.

Mason and Lola are Catholic kids now.

Hail Mary

They wear uniforms and go to Mass and have religion classes.

It’s better than homeschooling…..because i got that taste for the two weeks i had the kids home.

So kudos to those of you that homeschool……..i bow down to you.

Anyhoo…….Mason in 8th……Lola in 7th

and my little Fin…..he’s trotting right along in 4th grade.

Bryan still waiting tables at The ST. Regis ……

i’m still working a few nights a week at a little beach boutique in Hanalei…..

and on occasion styling a party or two ……



Mason: almost 14 {gasp}

plays volleyball and traveled last summer to compete in the Jr. Olympics in Texas.

He’s quiet…..kind……wears braces now ….. sort of likes girls but won’t admit it.



Lola: 12 years old

She’s creative…..artsy…..loves to paint….draw… and write.

still my needy child……..but has gone from total tomboy and morphed into a beautiful and imaginative girl.



Fin: 9


If he’s not surfing…..he’s hanging with his friends watching surfing. 

Fin still crawls into bed with me every single morning…..for a quick snuggle before he starts his day…..

and i will continue to reinforce to him that he can be 28 years old and still snuggle with me…..

because i have a feeling that he won’t ever leave our house.

You know the kid that’s 28 and working at the gas station making Pizza at night while surfing all day???……

that will be Fin.

I’m okay with that…….because he’s Fin.

We are still happy with our beach life here on kauai…..

life is simple

just the way we want it.

Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Bryan and Kasey


Five days in Iceland


I don’t even know where to begin… i thought i would just start at the beginning. 

When i first even thought about possibly going to Iceland….it was about a year ago…..i had come across a photo 

on Pinterest that had spiked my curiosity……never have really even given it a blink of a thought whatsoever.

Then the more i started researching it…….the more i was falling in love.





Then as Bryan and i were chatting about my upcoming turning 4o……asking if maybe i would want to

go somewhere…..i brought up Iceland and Bryan just laughed.


but then i told him if we could afford the plane tickets over then i would work extra shifts at my job

in order to pay for the entire time there.

shut the front door……he was in.

We booked our tickets for October……i knew i wanted to see the Aurora Borealis {northern lights}

I know i didn’t want to be there in the dead of winter

I knew the weather there is totally unpredictable…..lots of rain, it’s cold but not Chicago cold,

the summers have 24 hours of daylight…..the middle of Winter they have almost 24 hours of darkness.

The Northern lights are supposed to start up the end of September and go thru March or April…..

so i got online and found the least expensive fare i could find which wasn’t bad considering we were flying 

from Kauai. The tickets were booked…..and because Bryan could only take about a week of work off….

we were only going to be able to have just 5 days/4 night in actual Iceland.

Because of the logistics…….we also had an overnight in Seattle on the flight out

and an overnight in Edmonton, Canada on the way back which actually worked out well because of the 

sheer amount of travel involved.

14 hours of fly time……..and a 10 hour time difference between Kauai and Iceland is not for the faint of heart.

We did it though….and lived to experience one of the best places we’ve ever been.

Now i write about it.


::Day One::


The Kex Hostel

I’ve never stayed in a hostel before but damn it…..we were going to stay in the coolest one i’ve ever

come across. I want to point out too that over the last four months i’ve spent more time online researching







so of course i did a lot of my research on Trip Advisor and read all the reviews.

The Kex had very mixed reviews……..people either loved it or hated it.

I knew we wanted to experience it…..the Hostel experience but not necessarily the shared bunk bed sleeping rooms.

The Kex offers Private rooms with shared baths and that is what sold us.

If you go in with an open mind about it….you won’t be disappointed. 

The decor was AMAZING

hands down

one of the most beautiful places i’ve been in. It used to be a biscuit factory….Kex Biscuits….

the owners have filled every single room with the best vintage furniture.

They offer Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and the food is wonderful.  The package we opted for

were 2 nights in a private room with shared bath, breakfast one morning and a one way

transfer from the airport to Kex via flybus.


There were about 4-5 bathrooms per floor on each floor which was ample but you can choose to have your own

bathroom……but you are paying more……

and because it is a hostel….and not a hotel

in which a person could somewhat be confused but i don’t know how they could…..

but it is a hostel.



The Kex does on occasion have live music that plays on the first floor…..

and the metal room doors are loud every time someone opens them….

but we knew this going in……

and we would stay here again in a heart beat. We Loved our experience.

{free advice~ take your showers in the morning….hot water goes fast….and if you can secure the 

4th floor than you are golden…..but if not…..they have free earplugs by the dozens by the front desk}


this is what jet lag looks like……

we had just arrived to drop off our luggage IMG_2127

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 Most of the flights coming into Iceland land first thing in the morning….and because check in at any hotel

isn’t till at least 2……we knew we had time to explore.

After i had booked our trip i found Audur’s blog….. I heart Reykjavik

her blog was a wealth of information and she also offers a 2 hour walking tour of Reykjavik

which we were part of.

I’m not going to lie……that first morning was cold


we had arrived in Iceland and my very first thought was…..


but i had to remember that we were coming from weather that was 88 degrees and very humid…..

my body was going to have to get used to being cold again.

It was a little windy……but the sun was out.

amen to that because from i know……it rains A LOT…’s overcast A LOT……..the weather can change

4 times in a single hour. 


The walking tour met at the Hallgrimskirkja Church…… 


we actually got there a few minutes early so were able

to take the elevator to the top of the church and

you can see all of Reykjavik and its colorful beauty.

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I was able to pull out my only pair of boots that i brought to Kauai with me….

i was very very happy. IMG_0662


After the walking tour there were 2 places i wanted to hit.

*Kolaportid Flea Market


*The Red Cross thrift shop

both are wonderful places to shop vintage……but there are other amazing shops all around town…..

what i think i loved most was around 4pm the shops start putting wine and cheese out….

so of course we partook in a little tasting at each shop we stopped at.

Side note: most shops open late and close early…….something like 12-5

so if you wanted to spend time shopping after dinner… are out of luck….only a few touristy 

places are open late.


::Day Two::

IMG_2132I found Ymir via my new best friend Trip Advisor…….

i’ve learned most people just read the first few pages …..but i’ve learned to continue on reading

and reading

and reading

and that is where I found our new friend Ymir.


He offers private tours…….and because we were not renting a car except for one day …..and there were

a few places i really wanted to see but weren’t offered on group tours…….. Ymir totally rocked our Day Two.

Iceland orgasm i tell you.

Ymir picked us up at 9 in the morning at the Kex……and we headed straight to the place that was the photo 

inspiration i had seen on Pinterest that made me dream non stop about Iceland for 6 months.


we parked the car and hiked about a mile up following the river



Seljavallaulaug Pool

The pool is nestled in a narrow valley below the infamous Eyjafjallajokull  {try pronouncing that…}

and it’s the oldest swimming pool

in Iceland that is still standing. It was built in 1923 by some visionaries who wanted to provide locals with  

a place where they could learn to swim.


the pool was very warm when we arrived…….there was a pipe filtering in piping hot water out of the 

side of the mountain right into the water.

The pool was also filled with lots of algae at the bottom…..which would be all gross anywhere else

but we were in Iceland and we were getting in and swimming in the pool if it was the last thing we did.

image image

while we were swimming around… Ymir served us some champagne …..some yummy little sandwiches 

and my favorite were little lobster bites.

This was just the beginning.  IMG_2149

Next up on our adventure was seeing Skógafoss 


At first i thought i wouldn’t be impressed because we have many waterfalls here on Kauai

but i was wrong.

There were waterfalls everywhere……because of the amount of ice higher up in the mountains……

these waterfalls run full force all year long.

IMG_2156 IMG_2162

Our third stop was another one of my choices…….

i had seen numerous photos of this abandoned wreckage of a  US NAVAL airplane 

and i wanted to see and photograph it myself.

After a few wrong turns and a call to Ymir’s friend……we found the right spot just off the road

and drove a few miles down black sand till we pulled up to it.


I had this vision before we left that i wanted to photograph the abandoned ……..

the pool a good start and now the plane..

….but should i ever go back…..what i would love to do is cover the entire county…….

we passed by many farms and homes in the countryside that would love to have their walls 

photographed……i just know they would.


In 1973, a United States Navy airplane crashed on the black sand beaches of 

Sólheimasandur. Apparently the crew survived but the wreckage is still there and over time this

is what remains. 

photo copy

Fourth place on our list was Sólheimajökull Glacier

{ outlet of Myrdalsjokull glacier}


There were many people up and around on tours that would let you hike a glacier…..

and while that seemed all great and fun……we arrived only to hike up and walk on one.

We didn’t even have to fall down or get cold.

Scrap that……it was a little cold.


It is not safe to hike up without a guide……so don’t try it.

we only made it to the base just to look at the glacier but because of the rapid rise of melting going on

{global warming……what a mind blowing experience to see the effects in person…. at the rate it’s 

melting now these glaciers will be completely gone in the next 100-200 years} there are holes 

and caves below the ice that can swallow you up faster than you can yell SHEEPSKIN.


the blue color is out of this world…….


After we saw the glacier……..Ymir took us to another famous waterfall…..


they say it’s Icelands most famous waterfall…..

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you can even walk behind it……

and it was beyond gorgeous my friends……..


At the end of our day with Ymir……

we stopped at the Eyjafjallajökull visitor center and watched a short video on the 2010 eruption

that halted air traffic for 2 weeks from Europe because of the ash.

While we were watching the video……Ymir was outside setting up a little picnic for us.


Iceland is know for their sheep…….

they are everywhere…….and just like most americans love their beef……Icelanders love their lamb.

Ymir grilled up lamb filet for us……and i swear it was the best thing we’ve ever eaten.

He even made us try fermented shark…….i have to say….not a fan.

And of course he filled us up with wine and local beer and his wife made us the most delicious 

desserts in what else…….little jars!

IMG_2202 IMG_0938

::Day Three::


We woke up on day 3 thinking it can’t possibly be sunny again… least one of these days its

going to show us what Iceland weather really is.

Nope….looked outside and it was sunny. Amen Amen Amen

I don’t really remember when i had come across Salteldhus cooking class…..

but when i did i knew it was something i wanted us to take.

We’ve never taken a cooking class…..but damn it……if we were going to … was going to 

be an Icelenadic cooking class.

I conveniently booked the class on day three knowing we would need a reprieve from the last 2 days 

of constantly being on the go.

The class was from 11-3…….we were going to make a 3 course lunch and then eat…..

sounded great to me.

We showed up right at 11…….walked in and found out that it was going to just be a private class

that day.

shut the front door 

a private class……………just us. We pinched ourselves.

Just like the the girl that orchestrated the Walking tour…..our instructor was also name Audur.


This was Audur’s studio…….and it was beautiful.

We started off by making Arctic Char sous vide with a pressed dill potato salad 

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image IMG_2241

the Main lunch course we made pan seared lamb filet over mashed rutabaga and

topped with sautéed beets. IMG_2248 IMG_2254

for dessert we made Skyr {which is icelandic yogurt but more cheese like} cheesecake

with wild blueberries and thyme that Audur had just picked up in the Western Fjords 

a few days beforehand…..and some granola sprinkle on top.

Amen to the Icelandic food gods…….they treated us well. IMG_2257


after the cooking class we checked out of the Kex Hostel {we had actually checked out

earlier but they were storing our bags for us} and walked a few blocks over 

to the cutest home of Olaf and Birna.

I found it via Airbnb…..{check it out here}

Because our days were so full…..and we didn’t want to pay much for a place to sleep…..

but we still wanted to experience staying with an Icelandic family…..this place fit our search.

On our last morning with Olaf and Birna……they woke up early and made us a traditional

Icelandic breakfast before we headed out. We sat down with Olaf and chatted politics…

eruptions and the extreme rise of tourism happening there right now.


anyhoo……back to day 3…..since it’s still long from over.

After we were settled in at Olaf and Birna’s home……we relaxed a bit and then got changed up

and ready for the night because we were heading out at 5pm for a midnight hike and bath.

Like clockwork…..right at 5 our guide Wolfie picked us up out front.

Wolfie and his father Andréss own the small family company that run intimate hiking and biking tours….

Iceland Activities

They offer the small and intimate experience…..don’t take more that 8 in a group…

some of the other companies have as many as 30 people in a group.

no thanks

…..and that’s exactly what we got……small and intimate.

Wolfie picked us up and guess what…….

once again… was just us on the tour.

After he picked us up we headed to their headquarters and they layered us up……

because we didn’t have hiking boot {we weren’t about to purchase hiking boots just for our trip}

and we were missing some serious warm weather gear……

Wolfie and his dad geared us up so that we looked like extremely warm oompa loompas.

Iceland Activities

Wolfie drove us to a secret spot and we hiked a few miles down into a valley where there were

hot springs and geothermal water rising from holes in the ground.


Wolfie brought along his camera

{Thank you Wolfie!!!!}

because i had left mine behind……and he took all the photos of us that evening.

we boiled eggs in the hot springs…..for our dinner.

Iceland Activities

then Wolfie found us a really warm spot in the river and we soaked……

and soaked

then we soaked some more.

{and yes….we had suits on… just doesn’t look like it;-) }

Iceland Activities

After soaking for at least an hour…..we were just watching the sky and all of the sudden

the northern lights appeared…..and started dancing for us.

I had been watching the Aurora Borealis forecast {Iceland has an actual forecast so you can

play your week around possibly seeing the lights} and the forecast was looking low each night

but we learned that even with a low reading…..if you are out of the city lights and up in the dark 

mountains like we were……the chances were good. Not always….but they were that night.

Happy Night!

We got out of the hot springs and dressed …..hiked back up the mountain and Wolfie

drove us higher into the mountain till we found a perfect viewpoint.

We lounged on the frozen soft moss and watched the light show dance around us……

Iceland Activities

i might have cried that night

the beauty was unreal.

Iceland………….I love you.

Iceland Activities

::Day Four::


On day four……we rented a car.

It was the only day where we didn’t have a schedule and i really wanted to see and expierence

the Snaefellsnes Peninsula on our own. We rented a car with GPS {a must}…..

and actually found driving around iceland really easy. 

It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Snaefellsnes………but along the way we saw wild Icelandic horses

roaming the countryside……i fell in love all over again.

{if you haven’t realized it yet… is a strong word on the blog today}


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The sole purpose of the road trip was to see the oldest church still standing… Búdir

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and then have lunch at the Hotel Búdir.

There was nothing else around……these two places sit by themselves and it’s breathtaking.

photo 3

Bryan of course…….typical man……

couldn’t believe we drove all this way just to see the church and have lunch.

He didn’t realize this was all that was on the plan for the day.

Can you believe there was no television in the bar and no football on?

Yup…….neither did he.

photo 2

What he did enjoy was us finding a mineral spring on someones farm where we 

filled up all of our bottles with Happy Water.

100% natural spring water from the ground…….

in the middle of nowhere …….

Happy water.

IMG_2310 IMG_0900

For me on the other hand……it was so nice to experience another side of Iceland……


we didn’t end up making it up to the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull

The mountain is one of the most famous sites of Iceland, primarily due to the novel

 Journey to the center of the Earth by Jules Verne.

{which you can see in the photo below….covered in ice and snow}

I was happy enough seeing it from down below….where the scenery was out of this world.

IMG_2304 IMG_2305 ::Day Five::

our last day……..after our lovely breakfast with Olaf and Birna……we returned our rental car to the

station which was conveniently located right next to the Fly Bus in which we were taking to

our day at the Famous Blue Lagoon before our late afternoon flight back home.


Bryan was excited to have made their memories site…..

a little hawaiian shaka from Kauai


IMG_0931 IMG_0912 14 hours of flying: 10 hour time difference: Five days: Four nights

Kauai to Iceland

Every single day was amazing……the weather is what made our time in Iceland unbelievable

Iceland has a part of our hearts now…….it was truly a trip of a lifetime and maybe one day we

will come back…..there is still so much more to see and experience…..but for now

we have memories to last us forever.

Iceland……..i love you.

what happens to cheese that molds

I was going to title this post

4 ways to crash a wedding but i still have cold sweats about the day Mason googled my name and 

wedding crasher popped up and i saw that crease in his forehead………

{not that i’m ashamed one single bit……because seriously…..i’m almost 40 now and those of us in the almost 

40 crowd need to be on our best behavior}


or just be who you are ………….

because everyone else is taken.

That is why my friends…..i decided to title the post

What happens to cheese that molds

because one day a parent might be doing research on a science fair project for school when they come across this

and i really just want that parent to know that you should probably just throw it out…..

in the garbage

because i can tell you that cheese will mold

and it molds fast

but please don’t waste the Chèvre ……that damn cheese isn’t worth molding.

Ok……back to the story at hand.

check check



I haven’t blogged in so long i forgot how to log on and update.

Today i ran into an Instagram follower who casually mentioned that she found me via the blog but then

because i no longer blog….follows me on IG but made a point that it would be nice if maybe….just maybe i could update the 

ole blog and just let peeps know that no i haven’t fallen off a cliff and died.

I’m here to tell you that no….i haven’t fallen off any cliffs

but because it’s been at least a century {or 10 months} that i’ve written here……i might have…maybe…just maybe


or in other words tripped

while on a cliff

and that thing called a wrist decided to break my fall and with the whole break my fall

broke itself.

This was back at the beginning of January….so that was 6 weeks in a cast……6 weeks of PT and pretty much i’m back to normal now…..

if normal was ever normal.

Anyhoo……i just popped in to update you on what is going on here.


1. We finally broke down and bought a cruiser of a car. See photo above. Sometimes it stalls…sometimes it doesn’t….

sometimes i can get my kids to look cute and i’ll get a staged photo of them looking like they actually like the damn thing

but in reality….the a/c doesn’t work so it’s hotter than sheet in the dead of summer and it only gets AM radio which works

fabulous on an island because there is only one radio station ……or 2……

and thank the good lord and you have to keep your foot on

brake at all times because if you don’t the car thinks it has full throttle and will move you out of that parking lot

faster then you can say GOONIES.

2. Which brings me to the second point. I’m still working my arse off a few nights a week and last month i worked over and

beyond what is even possible …..but somehow i survived but anyway….

{slow break for some fine boxed wine here…..}

i was working like a rabid dog because in less than 4 weeks the Mr and i are headed to Iceland.

{insert forehead wrinkle}

I get it……you’re all like ….where? seriously…..Iceland?!?

You mean the place where there is Ice? as in….. ICE COLD BEER????


and we can’t wait.

Actually i can’t wait……Bryan on the other hand might not be as excited as me……and the only reason i say this is because

i had to look for his passport the other day and it was expired. So of course being the dedicated wife that i am…….

i sent it off….. expedited service….. hoping we get it in time…….

but deep down i think i know that it was meant to never be found.



An island covered in Ice……with no beach chairs in sight?!?

but i’m sort of a cup is full type of girl…..and i’m not going to let all that ice get in the way of seeing Northern Lights

or taking an Icelandic cooking class or sitting at the Blue Lagoon with a hundred other tourists.

Nope……so Ice….i’ll see you in 4 weeks.

Check check double check

3. Bryan still works as a server…….at the nicest hotel on the Northshore…..


{um no……this isn’t the place……but it’s a close 2nd…….

and to the person that invented the HIS & HER tent….wham bam vodka slam…

i owe you my firstborn child.}

4. Mason and Lola are now in middle school.

{we’ve since bought stock in fine boxed wine}


5. We haven’t caught the kids smoking any weed yet… there might still be hope that we survive this thing called

“move to hawaii for a year but then here we are more than 3 years later…..”

6. They should offer medicinal marijuana to those with broken wrists…..just saying……

7. I ran a 5k over the summer and silent high five fist pump……came in 4th place for my age division.

{no need to tell everyone that there were only 4 ladies in my age group…..nope….no need to mention that}


8. We lost our house in Illinois.

I mean……it’s still there…..and i’m sure our old neighbors will forever be haunted by the way the yard was overgrown

with weeds {the legal kind}

but after our whole fiasco of having to evict a tenant that had stopped paying the rent and losing an uphill battle….

we really had no other choice to let the house go.

That was one of the hardest things we have ever gone through…..the whole process of losing a house to the F word.


I swear we almost divorced over that…….


but here we are……still married……still have each other…….and still living this life that God thought we needed.

That’s the important thing……

that and some fine boxed wine

IMG_77839. Have you ever wondered what to do with a house full of furniture that still sits in a storage unit on the

other side of the US?

10. You might not have realized it but Lola’s {mine really} mouse died this year…..

yeah i know…..

a mouse

but seriously people……..if bee’s had knees……Captain Morgan was that knee.


i found his photos amongst the others…….our favorite Captain…….

which is why i leave you with this beautiful quote……in a book of poems i found……which i just happened to

capture the Captain on one day.

so pour yourself a little glass of fine boxed wine….it pairs well with this post.

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