Friday, April 9, 2010

Pineapple, Sand Toys and Easter Eggs, Oh My!

First, I have to apologize for the time lapse between blog entries! (Luckily Sarah has been on top of her writing!) I do have a valid excuse, however, and that was our weeklong trip to Maui that we got home from on Wednesday. If you travel with kids, you know that it takes a lot of planning and packing--and even more so if you're vegan--so the week before the trip was pretty much taken up by daily activities with packing and laundry squeezed in, and while I was there, I had nothing to do with computers. I told my husband that we shouldn't bring a laptop along so that I wouldn't be tempted to check email, etc, but it was really to avoid his doing any work. Shh! Don't tell him!
(Here is my handsome husband, Nate, with Braeden on the beach, NOT using his computer! =) )

This was my second time to Maui as a vegan (and second trip overall), so I knew that there would be great markets for me to shop at for food, as well as some restaurants so we could eat out. Therefore, I didn't pack that much food. (I basically brought some jarred baby food and all the soy formula I would need for my little guy.) The plane trip brings a whole other planning challenge, though, when it comes to food. Traveling with three kids is all about the food! I don't normally like to occupy or pacify my children with food, but on a close to five hour plane trip, I am not going to pretend to be above that!

From last year's experience traveling with the kids from west coast to east coast, I knew I had to bring more food than they would normally eat in half a day--expecting them to consume it in much less time. I packed each of my two older kids a bag with small toys and paper/markers, and I also put two small bags of snacks in there. They each had a wax paper bag full of Pirate's Veggie Booty (, and another bag of pretzels mixed with Eco Planet Ogranic Cheese Crackers ( My kids know that plane rides used to include a free pack of pretzels, so they think it's fun to get them on the trip, and veggie booty and the cheese crackers are special treats, so they're sure to keep them happy...for a while. I then packed them a sandwich with Field Roast Grain Meat ( which is another thing we don't have very often, and some tangerines which are easy to peel. I also brought them each a Luna Cookie Dough bar ( which blogger Sarah recently introduced us to. Oh, and did I mention that the flight was at 7:30 am, and we also ate some yummy vegan muffins from the Whole Foods bakery at the airport while we waited to board? Even though I knew that my kids would NEVER normally eat that much food, especially at that hour, I have come to know that traveling induces hunger--or at least the desire to snack--and that it's better to be prepared than left with complaining children. (Being vegan makes it especially desirable to avoid this since it can be hard to find food on the road, or on the plane as it may be.)
So, the traveling to Maui was then taken care of, but what to do once there? Near the airport in Kahului is a great all vegetarian store with really anything a vegan could want or need ( We were so hot in our traveling clothes when we stopped on our way from the airport to the hotel that we even indulged in some vegan ice cream sandwiches. Yum!! We loaded up on food here. It definitely was not cheap, but we found good things. We mostly ate cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and went out for dinner. Unfortunately, the produce was not great, so we had a few bananas, tangerines, and a couple of pineapples. The pineapples were delicious, but they are a bit tricky to cut up in a hotel room. I was better prepared on this trip compared to last summer, bringing along (recycled) plastic plates (, bowls, silverware, a semi-substantial knife for cutting, stainless steel water bottles, and a dish sponge, dish soap and a bottle brush for baby bottle washing. Having better materials for eating, cleaning, and serving made "living" out of our hotel room and its small fridge much easier!
We ate out most nights, with my favorite meal being at Fresh Mint in Paia ( We shared a bunch of different dishes, and they were all great! Nearly everything is vegan, with only a couple of easily avoidable dishes having eggs in them. It was great to eat at a place where we could defintely trust the food. We did have another great meal at a Thai restaurant in Kihei ( that had a vegetarian section on the menu. The hostess assured us that the dishes we ordered were free of fish and oyster sauce. The flavors here were amazing and our group, including all the kids, really enjoyed the meal. Besides this restaurant, we had a few nights of take out burritos and nothing else really to write home about. In Paia, we did come a cross a gelato store ( with dairy free gelato that was as beautifully displayed as it was tasty! I wish we could have visited here more than once! I tried pina colada and it was AWESOME! I tried some of the mango, lemon, and strawberry flavors from my kids and mom, and they were so delicious. I would highly recommend stopping here! (It's close to Fresh Mint, too, so it's worth the visit.)
Easter fell in the middle of the trip, and the Easter Bunny managed to find us and hide candy filled eggs around our room. (See my other post for helpful candy info.) The kids had so much fun finding the eggs...and eating the candy, too! Nate and I enjoyed helping ourselves to a piece or two--or three. =)

No discussion of a trip to a tropical location would be complete without talking about sunblock. When I first became vegan, I was content to simply use vegan products. No animal byproducts and no animal testing and the product was good enough for me. Then I came across a group called the Environmental Working Group and found out about product ratings according to risks of developing cancer, reproductive/developmental disorders, allergies, etc. They have a database ( that lists thousands of products (makeup, sunblock, lotion, etc) and rates them according to safety. I must admit that knowing about this website has made me feel a lot better about choosing and using products, but that it has taken up hours of my time searching for products that are both vegan and have low scores. (Once I knew that the things I was using were toxic, I just couldn't use them anymore.) Besides the time consideration, the more pure products tend to be more expensive. A bummer, but true!

(Sweet baby skin definitely needs to be protected from the sun!)

So, one company with mostly all vegan products and consistenly low scores of toxic risks is California Baby. I use their shampoo/body wash for my kids, and I use their Fragrance Free, SPF 30+ sunblock as well ( On our trip, I brought along a new kind of sunblock (

that I hadn't tried before because I liked the other products in the same line. It's called Desert Essence Age Reversal SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen. I like this product, and it didn't make my face breakout. These two types of sunblock are mineral-based instead of chemical-based, thus their better safety-rating. The only drawback to mineral-based sunscreen is that is so thick and white that you look a little ghostly until it sinks in (and honestly, the whiteness doesn't completely away). One day I didn't use sunblock on my face and I burned my forehead. When I applied sunblock to the red area the next day, the bluish-white sunblock made me look purple! A nice beach look!

I have yet to find an everyday sunblock for my face that is both vegan and nontoxic. If any readers know of any, please comment about it because I'd love to know of it, and I'm sure others would too! =)

So, there you have it! An awesome trip to Maui, vegan style, with my three kids plus a niece in tow, and all of us survived and had fun! Now, when are you going to go?

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