National Water Quality Month

Hey, there!  It’s me, Kalea!

Did you know that August is National Water Quality Month?  This month, we are reminded of the importance of water conservation and protecting our water sources.

Water is not just important to honus like me, but to all living things on this planet, including you!  Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fresh water, and in some places, fresh water sources are depleting.  This is why learning about water conservation and quality is so important.

Lucky we live Hawaii—did you know that our volcanoes are a major factor in why we have access to fresh, clean water?  Beneath our islands are large slabs of volcanic rock.  These rocks, called aquifers, act as filters that naturally help to purify groundwater.

Here especially on Oahu, we have huge aquifers just underneath Pearl Harbor.  The process of a single rain drop making its way down into the ground and flowing through an extensive maze of volcanic rock that is the aquifer can take years!  It sounds like a lot of work and a long time for just a single drop of water, but don’t worry—an average of two BILLION gallons of water can fall on Oahu in a day!

As water is continuously flowing and collecting within the aquifer, sometimes fresh water can break through in the form of a spring.  Today, we have access to this fresh, purified water thanks to wells and tunnels.

The way that our island purifies water is very special, which is why it’s so important for us to conserve.  Our water is safe enough to drink straight from the tap, a luxury that many places around the world does not have.  Some places go through great measures just to get clean, safe drinking water.

Now that you know how we get our fresh water, here are some easy things you can do at home to make sure our fresh water can continue on for generations:

Grandmother and granddaughter washing utensil in kitchen sink

Turn the Tap Off
Whether you’re brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, if you don’t need to use the water right then and there, turn the tap off!  The water doesn’t need to run while you’re brushing your teeth or scrubbing the dishes.  Turning the water back on just when you’re ready to rinse can save you from wasting water.

child watering a tree

Water Your Plants
Watering your plants is a great way to recycle water that you aren’t using or don’t need.  Say you need to clean out your fish tank.  Instead of dumping your fish tank water down a drain, water your plants!  Fish tank water is full of nutrients that are good for plants.

Is it time for your dog to have a bath?  Bathe your pets outdoors on your lawn.  Not only is your pet getting clean, but your lawn is getting watered at the same time!

Cleaning up after a party and looking for a place to dump your excess ice from the cooler?  You can dump your ice near your plants to help water them.

baby boy taking a bath

Take Showers Instead of Baths
Did you know that a full bathtub can hold up to 70 gallons of water?  That’s a lot!  If you don’t need to take a bubble bath, take a shower instead.  You can still get clean, and in a shorter amount of time too.


 Mother And Daughter Loading DishwasherConsolidate
Only wash full loads of laundry, and don’t run a dishwasher unless it’s full.  The less loads you have to do, the less water you will have to use.

Conserving water is so easy to do, you might already be doing these things yourself at home.  There are so many other ways to save water.  What else can you do to promote water conservation?



Halloween on a Budget

I smell some chocolate

Hi, Yoko and Kalea here!

With Halloween quickly approaching, it’s hard to believe there are 11 days left before Halloween 2017!

Since Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year, let’s make the most of the two weekends left in October before Halloween season comes to a close.

Here’s are some tips on how to celebrate Halloween on a budget:

  • For costumes try shopping at second hand or thrift stores. They’re a great place to find a costume at a fraction of the retail price. One year we went to Savers and found our 80’s costume out of all the clothes there!
  • Buy your candy right before the scary night. Most places will put their candy on sale right before Halloween.
  • Decorate your house with items that you already have! Toilet paper is always a good mummy maker. Just reuse it after! We’re just kidding! There are endless possibilities!
  • For Halloween parties, shop the sales at your local grocery store. Bake your own ghoulish cupcakes instead of buying them from the bakery, mix your own ghastly Frankenstein punch, and make your own goblin grub!

Although a lot of the Halloween items out there appeal to your nightmarish side, keep in mind that Halloween doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Shop smart and keep those dollars in your pocket for the next two expensive holidays coming soon – Thanksgiving and Christmas! Follow Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union’s  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates, news, and more interesting articles!

2017 School Tools Drive


Hi Yoko here! This past weekend we helped out at the 2017 School Tools drive with @helpinghandshawaii (Helping Hands Hawai) at Walmart and Sam’s Club on Keeamoku Street. Supporters donated $6,035.98 and nine pallets of assorted school supplies! According to Helping Hands Hawaii, the donations will assemble approximately 2,600 basic school supply kits for the keiki in Hawaii who cannot afford them!

Thank you to everyone who came down to ensure that the Keiki of Hawaii have the supplies to start the new school year right.

2017 Easter Coloring Contest


Aloha! Kalea here to ask you to check out our Hawaiian Tell FCU 2017 Easter Coloring Contest winners! The contest was open to anyone in the community and a lot of keiki entered! There were so many beautiful colorings that Yoko and I wished we could’ve picked everyone as a winner.

Let’s say a big congratulations to the following!

6 & under category
Nevaeh Somera
Aiyana Kaneshiro
Jacob Yoshimura

7-13 years category
Linken Tanabe
Adison Rickard
Atreyu Nishimura
Levi Kaopuiki
Ashley Sofia Alfaro
Joanne D Gandule

14+ category
Alyana Nicole Alfaro
Julissa Rivera-Rey
Malisa Lo

Check out our Facebook page for their photos!

The Art of Aquaponics

Hey, everyone!  Yoko here!  As I was flying to the credit union today, I noticed that almost all the houses I passed had some sort of vegetable or fruit garden growing in their yards.  Some gardens looked different from your typical garden, and I remember Kalea telling me about them before.  He called those gardens “aquaponics”.  I couldn’t remember what else he said about them, so once I got home, I decided to do some research.  Here is what I found about aquaponics:

Aquaponics, simply put, utilizes fish waste instead of soil to grow crops.  It’s a method that has been used for centuries; evidence of these methods were found in various parts of Asia and as far as ancient Aztec civilization.  The aquaponics that we know today uses a closed system of tanks, tubes, and pumps to cultivate both fish and crops.  It doesn’t require a lot of room, and some systems can be stackable.  Whether you live in an apartment or plan to build a system in your yard, anyone can do this anywhere!  The aquaponics system sustains itself with little effort on your part.  Once your system is running and stable, all you really need to do is make sure the fish are fed regularly.


Here’s how it works:


I learned that most vegetables can grow in an aquaponics system.  Some of the easier ones to grow are salad greens, such as lettuce, spinach, and kale.  Bok choy, watercress, and even tomatoes grow well too.  This is really great because Kalea and I love eating all types of veggies!

As for fish, if you plan on cultivating fish for the dinner table, many local aquaponics growers use tilapia.  They are a sturdy fish that is raised practically all over the world, and they’re delicious too!  Other fish used around the world include trout, catfish, perch, and bass.

Not planning to eat the fish or want to utilize the fish you already have in your tank?  Goldfish, guppies, tetras, pacu, oscars, and other tropical and ornamental fish can be used in your aquaponics system too!

All of this reading up on aquaponics really makes me want to try it out for myself.  My garden will look great next to my hot tub!  Feel free to share your experiences with an aquaponics system.  Hopefully in the future, I’ll be able to share some of mine too!

Game Day Wing Recipes

Yoko-Kalea-Football-WingsThis weekend and next are going to be HUUGE for football fans around the nation, Yoko and myself included.

Not only are we lucky to witness the ProBowl once again at Aloha Stadium this Sunday, but next Sunday will be the long awaited SUPERBOWL 50!

Yoko and I are definitely going to watch both games.  And what’s a football game without food?  Not just any food, I’m talking about chicken wings!

Did you know that more than a billion chicken wings are consumed during every SuperBowl weekend?  That’s a lot of wings!

You can expect all the chicken joints to be super busy on the ‘Bowl days, so Yoko and I are sharing our favorite, WINNING recipes from

Baked Buffalo Queso Fresco Wings
(Raechel Ray)


3 lbs chicken wings, joints separated, tips discarded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot sauce
Celery Sticks
Bleu Cheese Dressing
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Sliced Scallions

1.  Arrange wings on baking sheet and season with salt
2.  Broil on top rack of oven, turning once, until skin is golden-brown, 25 minutes
3.  Transfer wings and pan juices to bowl.  Toss wings with hot sauce and crumble queso fresco and scallions
4.  Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing.  Enjoy!



Sweet & Lemony Wings
(Raechel Ray)

Spicy Chicken Wings

3 lbs chicken wings, joints separated, tips discarded
2 quarts vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs (such as parsley, oregano and thyme)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine juice and zest lemons, fresh chopped herbs, honey, and crushed red pepper

2.  Let the chicken wings sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the oil until the temperature registers at 300 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer, about 5 minutes

3.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.  Season the wings with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then toss in the flour to coat.  Add half of the wings to the oil, partially cover the pan and fry, turning occasionally with tongs, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet; blot with paper towels, then discard the towels.  Keep the first batch of wings warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining wings.

4.  Toss the wings in the lemon dressing to coat

5.  Serve and enjoy!


Try them out and let us know what you think!  Enjoy the games, and stay safe!



My Favorite Time of Year

It’s the most wonderful tiiime of the yeeear…
shakasantaCan you believe that Christmas is already tomorrow?  I am so excited for all the Christmas festivities like opening presents, eating food, and most importantly, spending time with loved ones!

Christmas is my most favorite holiday.  Back in the day, Mama Ladybug would always take my siblings and I to Honolulu Hale to see Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele hanging out by the fountain with their friends.  It is a tradition that I cherish and still practice to this day.

This year, Kalea and I got our Christmas tree early.  Every year, tons of Christmas trees get imported from the mainland just in time for the holiday season.  But did you know that some trees don’t need to be imported?  The main Hawaiian islands all grow the Norfolk Island Pine trees and the Cook Pine trees.  Although mainly used as lumber trees and for reforestation, some local farms do use these as Christmas trees as well!

Finding out about the local Christmas trees had me wondering what else I didn’t know about Christmas.  Here are a few fun facts that Kalea and I discovered:

  • It takes an average of 7 years to grow a Christmas tree, some up to 15 years!
  • For every tree that is harvested, 2 to 3 trees are planted in its place
  • The Poinsettia is a traditional Christmas plant that originated from Mexico. They are especially popular here in Hawaii!
  • Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) is actually not the busiest shopping day. What is?  The Friday and Saturday before Christmas!
  • Before there were fancy and colorful ornaments, Christmas trees were traditionally decorated with foods such as apples and nuts.
  • If you received every gift from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you would have a total of 364 gifts. That’s a gift a day for a year!
  • Caroling started as an old English tradition that was originally called wassailing, which was a toast to a long life.
  • Before Christmas was introduced to the Hawaiians, they celebrated a 4-month long tradition called Makahiki, which was a peaceful time of feasting and games. War was prohibited during this time.

Christmas may be my favorite holiday, but there was still so much that I learned about it!

Well, now it’s time for me to water the poinsettias and practice my wassailing for tonight.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Mele Kalikimaka!


Fun Facts of Halloween

Spooky silhouette of a tree against a large moon in a night sky

Halloween is just around the corner!  It’s one of Yoko’s favorite holidays and my all-time favorite of the year.  I can’t wait to dress up and eat all the candy!

Ever since I was a little honu, Halloween has always been super fun.  Every year, we go to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern.  We also dress up as our favorite characters and eat a bunch of sweets.  Now, there are even a bunch of spooky events to attend in the spirit of Halloween. Have you been to the Haunted Plantation or the Haunted Maze yet?

It wasn’t always like this though. Halloween has been celebrated for centuries all over the world and has gone through quite a few changes to become what it is today.

Here are 5 interesting Halloween facts that Yoko and I discovered:

  • In many different cultures, October 31st represented the end of summer and the start of the harvest season
  • Halloween was first introduced in America by Irish and Scottish immigrants. This was during the late 18th to early 19th centuries
  • Trick-or-treating only started to become popular in the United States during the 1930’s
  • Before there was chocolate and candy, children received fruits, nuts, and even coins!
  • The first Jack-o-Lanterns were actually carved from turnips and were named after an Irish legend of a man named “Stingy Jack”

There were so many more interesting things that we learned about Halloween, and you can read more about them here.

Now that our history lesson is over, we are ready to dress up and hit the town for some candy!

Have fun, and stay safe.  Happy Halloween, everyone!


Weathering the Storm

Hey, everyone, Kalea here!  Have you all been staying safe and dry this week?  Monday was quite a day for Yoko and me, as I am sure it has been for a lot of you too!  Tropical Storm Kilo passed below our islands and left behind a downpour of rain on Monday and a little on Tuesday too.  Some places even got flooded or lost power!  Thankfully, Yoko and I were prepared and equipped ourselves with raincoats, rain boots, and umbrellas.

Did you know that during this hurricane season alone, the Pacific has had more than 10 different hurricane/storm systems?  That is a lot!  Have you ever wondered how they keep track of them all?

Well, the National Hurricane Center actually has multiple, alphabetical lists of names that are already picked out and cycled through to last for 6 years.  Then the list is reused again and again.  Have you ever noticed that a lot of the Pacific storms have Hawaiian names?  That’s because the National Hurricane Center has different lists, depending on the location of the storm.  The Pacific has its own set of lists as does the Atlantic.  They even have a list of retired hurricane names!

So, why do they name the storm systems?  Simply put, it is to better keep track of the storms.  Instead of using their formal name (which includes their latitude-longitude and can be confusing), they use simple names that are easy to remember.  It’s very helpful, especially if there is more than one storm going on at the same time!

Kilo may be far away from us now, but the hurricane season is not over.  Tropical Storm Ignacio is just around the corner, so be sure to take any necessary precautions to prepare.  Stay safe, everyone!



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Cool Summer Salad – SOMEN


Happy Birthday America! Imagine being 239 years old. That begs for a celebration for sure. This holiday weekend we had lots of grilling, marinating, chilling and freezing. It is such a production but when you see satisfaction and delight on everyone’s faces as they partake in the feast – it all feels worth the work.

These past few weeks it has been extremely hot. In planning for the 4th we knew we would have to have some cold dishes. Yes, cold watermelon, cold potato salad or cold desserts are good but nothing like cool somen noodles.

Here in Hawaii we love our noodle dishes. I don’t think any party, buffet or plate lunch house doesn’t have some type of noodle dish. As a young girl I fancied vinegar. Shoyu, sugar and vinegar was a go to mix for vine ripened mango and guava. At an aunts house I tried somen salad and I was in love. However as I grew up I quickly found out that not all somen’s were made equal. I’ve tried many recipes, pre-made bottle sauces and non-compared to aunty’s sauce. This is a winner, tried and true potluck dish you would want to share.


2 Bundles somen noodles

½ Lettuce head sliced julienne style

You can also chop your veggies!

Cooked Meat sliced julienne style (Char siu, ham, spam, luncheon meat)

2 Cooked scrambled egg sliced julienne style

1 Kamaboku sliced julienne style

2 Carrots sliced julienne style

1 Cucumber sliced julienne style

Green Onions chopped (enough to sprinkle as garnish)

Toasted Sesame Seeds (enough to sprinkle as garnish)


Individual serving cups with chiso or lettuce cups

You can also try individual serving cups with chiso leaves or lettuce cups.

1 T oil

2 T sesame oil

¼ C vinegar

½ C sugar

½ C shoyu


Boil noodles according to package instructions. Drain. Rinse until cool. Drain well. Grab a serving of noodles (fist size) and twirl into a ball. Continue to make single serving balls to cover the bottom of a large platter. Layer vegetables, meat and egg over the noodles. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Combine ingredients for the sauce. Mix well. Allow guests to put their own sauce.


Vegetables are normally in this order: Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, meat, eggs and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

I’ve made it where each topping item was in a separate dish where guests could make their own.

I’ve tossed the entire dish together with the sauce. I do it this way only when I know I will not keep the leftovers or there will be no leftovers. Noodles sitting in sauce over night is not good. It gets mushy and spoiled fast.

My favorite is to make a pretty design. Lettuce is key. You can never have enough lettuce, so I sometimes layer the lettuce like a hedge around the dish covering half of the noodle surface. I then place the vegetables strategically such as a row of cucumbers, a row of carrots, a row of kamaboko, row of egg, row of meat and repeat until the entire surface is covered. Then sprinkle the garnish.

Another favorite topping is ocean salad. I love the crunch and salt that it brings to the dish. Just beware that your noodles will turn green wherever the salad is sitting. If your guests are familiar with ocean salad – no big deal. If not, you may want to leave on the side so they can add as garnish.

Noodles do not have to be twirled into a ball. I do that because the noodles can be a little sticky and it helps when guests serve themselves. It also gives me a good idea of how many servings I have.

I also like serving the noodles in a large glass bowl. I can quickly tell if too much water has settled from the vegetables and if too much sauce is sitting on the bottom.

The sauce, if served separately works well in a salad shaker bottle or condiment bottle where it can be shaken before application. The oils will separate and you will need to give it a nice shake.

I also double the dressing recipe. If you toss the salad yourself – the ratio is perfect. However, when guests serve themselves they tend to use more. It is so delicious that they just can’t help themselves!

Enjoy ♥

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