Category Archives: Hawaii

Book Reviews: The Magic School Bus Series for Early Readers

The Wild Whale Watch is one of many in the Magic School Bus series. The crazy field trips in Ms. Frizzle’s science class always involve magic, science and fun.

On thisDSC_0048 trip, the class learns all about whales. The journey is fun for the reader and fun facts are learned about whales.

The illustrations and format breaks up the information into bite sized pieces that avoids early reader overload. There is a lot of information, but all of it is easily read, interestingly changing formats.

Things I learned about whales that I didn’t know are:

* Each type of whale has a different blow pattern
* Flukes are different for each type of whale
* Narwhals are actually whales

Voyage to the Volcano is another book in the Magic School Bus series.

Kilauea at night

Kilauea at night

In this science based chapter book, the kids and Ms. Frizzle head out in the Magic School Bus to Hawaii to learn all about volcanoes.

It is formatted like the other books in the series. This one has illustrations and sidebars that look like notebook paper reports written by the kids in the class.

In this adventure the bus turns into a raft, a helicopter and a submarine to take the young readers along on a fun trip. Learning about volcanoes on the land and under the sea becomes an interesting and sometimes scary adventure that will have your kids turning the pages to find out what happens next.

We were fortunate enough to see Kilauea at night while on Hawaii – it is amazing! If you are planning a trip with a grade school age child, this book would be a wonderful way to introduce them to the wonder of volcanoes.

This series is a great way to teach children about the world around them. It encourages looking for answers by asking questions and going to other sources to find out how and why.

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Filed under Book Review, books, children's books, Early Chapter Books, Hawaii, Science

Book Review: The Splintered Paddle – Heart Pounding Hawaiian Mystery

splintered paddle

The Splintered Paddle

By Mark Troy

301 pages

Ava Rome can’t help everyone, but she tries. As a Private Investigator on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, she takes the Law of the Splintered Paddle seriously and tries to live by it. According to the Honolulu Police Department website, the Law was “… decreed by Kamehameha I, circa 1782, to protect travelers from wanton attack” (

When Jenny Mordan, a well-known working girl, seeks out Ava’s protection she doesn’t hesitate or judge her lifestyle even though she doesn’t necessarily agree with it. Jenny is being blackmailed by a cop who thinks he is above the law so Ava takes the case. Unfortunately, this cop has more going on than his underhanded dealings with Jenny. The deeper Ava gets into the case, she realizes that Jenny’s life is at stake and maybe her own.

Enter a Goth want-to-be teenager of a former client. Cassie Sands needs a parent that is going to pay attention to her. Unfortunately, her father thinks she is just acting out. He calls upon Ava to help him with Cassie. Reluctantly she agrees, possibly because she sees a bit of her younger self in Cassie.

While all of this is going on, Norman Traxler, a man Ava put in prison ten years ago while she was an MP in San Francisco is out and looking for Ava. This man is a killing machine that won’t stop until he teaches Ava a lesson about messing with the wrong person. He is watching and waiting to make her pay in a way that will hurt her more than death.

Ava has a lot going on. She is trying to keep Jenny safe, Cassie on the straight and narrow and herself from being killed. The list of people out to get her is growing much faster than her bank account. Will making a trip to the mainland to confront ghosts in her past hurt or help her at this point? Ava needs to decide.

Fast paced and full of danger, The Splintered Paddle takes the reader to places in Hawaii most visitors will never see. There is a dark side to the Islands and Ava is in the eye of the storm.

This novel isn’t all sinister; there are bits of humor – teaching a petulant teen how to drive is funny no matter how you slice it. And the bits of Hawaiian culture are interesting. I loved when the characters enjoy a lunch of Moco Loco; it looks and sounds nasty, but tastes fabulous!  Troy does a great job blending the stories and solid believable characters with Hawaiian culture. Adding Ava’s past enriches the mix and pulls the readers closer to her, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.


Filed under Book Review, books, Hawaii, Mystery, Quick Nav

Writing 101 Day 11 & 3/4 – What is in a Name?

Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction. Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

Funny that yesterday’s post was supposed to be about overhearing a conversation. No fodder for me at work, I spent most of my day at my desk, lunch with a vendor in a surprisingly quiet restaurant and an emergency trip to the hospital with my dad that lasted until almost 10 p.m.

By then, I was toast, so I today I was all ears. Late this afternoon I got the golden ticket. One of my good friends stopped by my desk to ask me if I heard about the warehouse guys in one of our other branches calling one of the techs by the wrong name. This has been going on for at least 6 months.

We have all had someone mispronounce our names. Or call us by someone else’s name. I am notorious for calling my sons by the other son’s name. Sometimes I just run all three together NickMarkJer and let them sort out who I am talking to. For extra measure, I have been known to throw in the dogs’ names also NickMarkJerIndyMea…you get the idea.

DSC_0230Our new puppy’s name is difficult for people who see it in print. It is Mea (pronounced May-A) short for Kamealoha which means beloved one in Hawaiian.

Anyway, back to my co-worker’s name. First I have to stop and explain that the techs are on call all hours of the day and night. Our warehouses fill all the orders during the overnight shifts so our trucks are ready to roll out to customers first thing in the morning.

One of the newest techs is a very kind, thoughtful and hilarious man. We laugh and joke frequently, so at first we thought he was kidding us when he explained about a couple of coworkers in another state frequently call in the middle of the night waking him up to have him restart a printer or release a job. That is standard operations for techs. When his wife answered one day last week, they ask to speak to Thisiserfan. When his wife asked he what was going on, he merely replied that they call him that because that is how he answers the phone. “This is Erfan”.

night call

(photo courtesy of Google Images)

Before you make any assumptions, rest assured he has little to no accent of any kind and doesn’t speak particularly fast. He is so kind he hasn’t mentioned that they are incorrectly calling him the wrongname. So, being the casual people we are, we decided t0 shorten his new name to This. From now on This will be our inside joke name for him. He was laughing so hard he was doubled over. We would never do anything that would hurt his feelings, so we were happy he liked his “new” name. He is a co-worker and a friend.

So, what IS in a name? Names can be ordinary, unusual and misunderstood. Too bad everyone can’t respond like This. He is one classy gentleman and co-worker.


Filed under Hawaii, names, writing101

Master’s Monday finally and again

I have no excuse for not posting for way to long. This will be short and sweet.

As for the Master’s program, I have done zip, zilch, nada. If thinking about it counts as progress, I am in! Hopefully next week I’ll have a teeny bit of progress to report.

While I have your attention, I’ll update you on my WIP and the list of this years projects.

helix scarf on Indy

My helix scarf out of the Bison yarn is done. Indy is graciously modeling it.

Purple socks 1 almost done

And 1 of the purple socks is done, the second should be done by the weekend because I only have the ribbing to finish. I love using the magic loop method so I don’t have second sock syndrome which often plagues my projects. Check out Liat Gat website with the instructions and patterns. ( I like to use 4 needles to make the cuffs because they go quicker for me that way.

One of the baby blankets for baby CJ is complete and was done in time for the baby shower last week.


I liked the pattern for CJ’s blanket so much that I am going to make it again for the other baby shower scheduled for June. This time I am going to use cream and royal blue and adjust the pattern so it is only 36 inches wide instead of 40. Overall, I am looking forward to making it because it works up so cute with the shells looking like tiny hearts.

I’ve ordered some beautiful yarn from Maluhia Farm.( I’ll post a picture when it arrives.

I tried to purchase yarn while in Hawaii, but my timing was bad so I ordered from Jan online. As soon as it arrives, I’ll make up my mind as to what it will be used for . I am leaning toward a cowl. maybe socks,  or a scarf.

How are your projects coming along this year?


Filed under Crocheting, Hawaii, Knitting, Knitting Techniques, Ravelry, TKGA Master's Program, Uncategorized

I’m baaaack

I’m back again and ready to blog! My fabulous hubby surprised me with a 10 day trip to Hawaii for Christmas. It is one if the 3 states we have not visited, so was on my bucket list. Words can’t tell you how beautiful our 50th state is.

Here is one of the over 1500 pics we took the time we spent there.


I’ll get back to my knitting updates this week. The 4 hour time change and going back to work within 16 hours of arriving home threw me for a loop the last 3 days.

I plan to blog on my writing site: (In My Words) about the trip including sites we liked, restaurants we visited and lots and lots of pics.

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Filed under Hawaii, poll, Uncategorized, Vacation