I love Hawaii, I would live there if I could. Palm trees, fresh mangoes, and 80 degree weather practically everyday, who wouldn't love it? It's too bad plane tickets cost more than the $10 I have in my sock drawer. When we found out we were having our first baby, I knew it would be a long time until we could go on a vacation just the two of us. I also knew we didn't have the time or the money to go on a vacation before the little bundle came. So I decided to create Hawaii in our living room. It was much cheaper than flying, and with the lovely invention of the thermostat 80 degrees became a possibility (even though we decided to keep it at the standard 72 degrees.)
Of course you have to have plane tickets to get to Hawaii, so I snuck these into my husband's bag before he left for school. Just to give him something to look forward to when he got home. These were the dark pre-Photoshop days, so I made them in one of the Microsoft Office programs.
I decorated the apartment with all of the Hawaiian beads and paraphernalia we got on a past trip. I also splurged and bought a $3 tabletop tiki torch from Michael's for the table centerpiece. I placed sea shells and tropical fruit (pineapple, mangoes, bananas, etc.) around the torch. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn't think about needing them for a blog later on.
Family Fun Version
I also made these cute flowers from cupcake liners. I got the idea from a family fun magazine, and just kind of changed them a little to make them my own. I actually made a few of both. The flowers from family fun worked well to prop up on objects around our house. They would look cute strung for a lei, or a garland. My version worked well to lay on the tables, couches, etc. I also used them in the centerpiece. They do take some time, so plan ahead. Here is the original flower link Family Fun.
For dinner we had Cafe Rio. If you are from the west coast, or have visited the west coast you may know the restaurant I am referring to. It is awesome!! We love it, and since we don't have one nearby, we miss it. Terribly... So we found various recipes online and make it ourselves. It isn't technically a Hawaiian dish, but it has pork as an ingredient so I let it slide.
Since I don't personally have a good picture, and since there is not a Cafe Rio to be found withing city or state limits I had to borrow a picture. This one is from Favorite Family Recipes, I haven't tried their Cafe Rio recipes, but I did use one of their recipes for dessert. Judging by other recipes I have tried on their site, I'm sure their version of Cafe Rio is delicious.
For dessert we had...
Pineapple Delight!! I just used a little fruit from the centerpiece. This is a more truly Hawaiian dish, it is similar to the awesome tropical fruit ice cream you get at the Polynesian Cultural Center. When we went to the PCC my husband and I both had two each. Hey, it's not everyday you are in Hawaii.
Even though we didn't actually get to go to Hawaii, my husband was still happy to have a night that I had planned especially for him. I would like to do another one for him soon, this time I will be sure to take pictures.