5 Things to Do in Karimunjawa

Wondering what to do on this small island located in the Java Sea? In this blog post we are going to share 5 Things to do in KarimunjawaIt is still pretty underdeveloped and the vibes are pretty calm throughout the whole island. Just recently they have began developing their tourist attractions, so get there before it starts booming and buzzing with tourists. There are a couple of resorts and many hostel type places to stay. A handful of Western type restaurants await you as well.

Here are 5 things we recommend you don’t miss if you travel to Karimunjawa Island!

#1. Island Hopping and Snorkeling on a Traditional Boat

This was by far one of our funnest days on the island! We rented a half day tour through the Jiwaquest Breve Azurine Resort. They arranged everything for us. You can also arrange for a whole day tour. We were picked up at the resort and escorted to our boat. The view of the Java Sea was beautiful. Our first stop was to snorkel. I don’t know how long we spent there, but there were tons of fish to admire in the beautiful clear waters! Amazing!!! All the gear was provided. We boarded the boat again and were given water and watermelon to snack on. We then traveled to a small island called Pulau Cemara Kecil “Small pine tree island”. We were given time to explore the island, comb the beach for shells and starfish and take lots of pictures. We boarded the boat again and sailed to another small island where we watched the sunset and of course took lots of pictures.

You can watch our half-day tour here to get a glimpse into what you can expect when you book a tour.

#2. Kayaking

We stayed at the Jiwaquest Breve Azurine Resort, which provided kayaks for its guests to use free of charge. We launched our kayaks right off their own private beach. The water was clear and you can go pretty far before you come to the end of the reef. You can wear life vests that they provide or go without. They have single or double kayaks to choose from. Coasting on the water and soaking up the sun was so relaxing!

Check out our video about the Resort and you will see the kayaks and other swimming gear that they provide.

#3. Rent a Motorcycle (Scooter) for the day

Definitely do this! You will get a better feel for the island as your travel along its small uncrowded roads. The resort arranged for us to rent two motorcycles for the day. Don’t be alarmed, they don’t provide helmets. We were told that there are no police on the island and no one wears them. I don’t know if that is true, but from our observation very few people had helmets on.

Check out our motorcycle ride here which also features the next thing to do on the island!

#4. Visit Bukit Love “Love Hill”

If you love to take pictures, then this is a great place to visit! As they say, it’s very “Instagramable”. At the top there are great views of the sea and the city. It is cheap to enter and you can buy some souvenirs as well.

#5. Go to the Alun-Alun At Night and Buy Souvenirs

If you didn’t find the souvenir you wanted at Bukit Love, then head to the alun-alun in the evening, after 6:00 PM. This is like the city square where the community hangs out in the evenings. The city will come to life now that the temperature is cooler and there will be lots of people selling food and souvenirs. If you buy in bulk you will be offered a cheaper price.

We stayed around and bought some souvenirs at the end of a Barikan Festival. You can see some of those souvenirs plus what the alun-alun looks like by watching to the end of this video.

We hope you enjoy your vacation to Karimunjawa Island as much as we did! Keep Smiling! :)


1.  Watch here to see what it’s like to take the fast boat (Bahari Expres) to Karimunjawa Island.

2. Finding Western food can be tricky on Karimunjawa Island. If you’re looking for Burgers and Pizza, we recommend eating at Eat & Meet.

3. Great smoothies, cheap accommodation and cheap tours on Karimunjawa available at the Happinezz Restaurant. 

Bakso Pak Sidan III | Indonesian Food

Kuliner Jogja Bakso Pak Sidan III

Kuliner Jogja Bakso Pak Sidan IIIHey guys,

Bakso is a popular food to eat in Indonesia. It is much like a meatball, but with maybe more surprises! The other day we went wondering around to try a new place to eat that was near our house. We came across Bakso Pak Sidan III, a small local restaurant. Three things you should know before you eat here. 

  1. Lots of bones. Be prepared to be served many parts of a chicken that the typical American doesn’t eat. Skin, bones, organs may all be swimming in your soup. If you don’t want to eat them or can’t identify them, don’t be embarrassed to eat around them.
  2. Noisy location. Bakso Pak Sidan III is right on the main road, so all of the traffic noise is in your face. You will get a good feel for Indonesian weather as well because there is no air-conditioning.
  3. Inexpensive prices. This is where locals eat so the whole meal is very reasonably priced. Eat a couple of bowls of bakso and have a drink or two and you still will have money left in your wallet.

Please watch this video to see for yourself the location and how the food is prepared.

Keep smiling!


Address for the restaurant: Jl. Raya Tajem 412, district. Depok, Sleman, Yogyakarta 55281

Google Map

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Eating at R&B Grill, Western Food in Jogja

R&B Grill Jogja


R&B Grill JogjaHey guys!

Sometimes I really crave eating food from back home. I love rice and noodles, but having a break in our diet is such a special treat!  A friend told me about this restaurant here in Jogja called R&B Grill. I have to say, I love it! Why do I love it?

  1. Salads – We have eaten here three times now and I have enjoyed each experience. The first and second time we ate here I ordered a salad! Salad!!! I love salad. Indonesians don’t typically eat a lot of raw vegetables and I don’t make them at home very often. Trying to get the lettuce sufficiently clean while keeping the leaves crisp is a challenge. R&B Grill makes delicious salads. As you can see in the video from Seth’s salad, they are gorgeous and full of tasty vegetables. This time I ordered tomato soup and it was also very good. I think next time I might try a burger like Marty did. OR, maybe another salad!
  2. Imported Foods – R&B Grill has a small grocery store that sells imported foods. They are the only place in Jogja where I have found to buy flour tortillas, refried beans and delicious tortilla chips in one location! Mexican night!!! Yes, please! The Johnson family loves Mexican food!
  3. Ambience – As you enter you step right into the grocery store. Continue towards the back for the restaurant and you can be seated inside with air conditioning or outside on the patio. The room is not large but well lit with music playing. Not too loud that you can’t enjoy your conversation with your friends though.

So, as an occasional treat for us, we will be headed back to R&B Grill. Please watch this short video to see inside the store and restaurant!

R&B Grill Address: Jl. R.W. Monginsidi No.37, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Google map link: http://ift.tt/1MnHFIy

Keep smiling!


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4 Types of Homeschooling in Indonesia

Sarah and Seth at PrambananLocals constantly ask me how we educate our children here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. My answer is that we choose to homeschool. From what I have learned so far, homeschooling can be taken to mean one of four different things here. One, it may mean that you pay a teacher(s) to come to your house and educate your children in your home. Two, it may mean that you take your children to a building where other homeschool kids gather to be taught by teachers chosen by the parents. Three, it may mean that your children are still young and instead of putting them in playgroup you find other parents of pre-school aged children to get together for occasional play-dates. Or Four, the parents are the sole educator of their children.

Taman PintarThe fourth option is where we are placed. Because the idea of homeschooling is a relatively new idea here, I think it is hard for the general public to believe that a parent has the capability to handle that task. Even after explaining that I am the sole educator for Sarah and Seth I am usually met with looks of confusion. I explain that I teach all the subjects from Math, Grammar, Literature, History, Science, and so on, though the aid of books I have selected. Most people usually just nod their heads but there is still a look of amusement in their eyes.


Some of the moms I have talked with whose children are still very young express their concern over where to send their kids when they are of age. They are not happy with the idea of the government school system for one reason or another.

Norma, Sarah and SethI believe there is potential for home education to be a great success here in Indonesia. I have met several families in Jakarta who are doing just that. With some dedication and creative thinking, kids can have a great home education. There are already a lot of resources available in the local bookstores for teaching the major subjects. There are also a lot of resources available on-line to supplement studies.

My encouragement to those beginning the process is to keep at it. Our children are worth every minute that we invest in their lives. :-)

Some of my favorite curriculum:

Saxon Math
Shurley English
Veritas Press Phonics
Veritas Press Self-Paced History

Question: If you are a homeschool parent, please share with us some of your favorite resources. Please click here to leave your comment.

Why I Chose to Ride a Scooter Over a “Real” Motorcycle

Yamaha Mio Automatic

My friends here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia are always amazed when they find out that in Moab, Utah I owned a Yamaha TW200 (pictured above). Here a bike like that is considered a “boys bike”. They call me “Macho” for being able to ride one. (I’m not sure if that is a compliment or not). Here in Yogyakarta I ride a Yamaha Mio Automatic (pictured below). Many people wonder why I chose to ride a scooter over a “real” motorcycle.


My reasons for choosing an automatic are very practical:

  • The first reason is because I wear skirts a lot here and I can easily get on and off without causing a scene.
  • My second reason is because the space in front of me, designed for my feet, makes a great place to carry groceries. Limited, yes, but sufficient for a couple of bags.
  • The third, and maybe most important reason, is that the space on the seat is larger than most “real” motorcycles, like Marty’s, and I can carry both Sarah and Seth at the same time.

These might not seem like exciting features to a real adventurer who likes to off-road, but to me, who happens to be a mom and housewife, these qualities in a motorcycle are very important for daily life! ☺

Business Woman Puts Family First

Mom and KidsOnce upon a time there was a young, married, successful business woman, earning a terrific salary, driving a company car and living in a nice home with servants to care for the housework and children. Behind the scenes though, she was a slave to her boss. She was more submissive to him than to her husband, because after all he could fire her! Her children were more affectionate to their nanny than to her. She was unhappy, her husband was unhappy and their family was hurting.

One day she read in God’s Word, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18). She asked herself, “Have I been being submissive to my husband or to my boss?” God’s Word also says to teach your children when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:6-10). How could she teach her children throughout the day when they are left in the care of a nanny and she is out in the world working?

Something needed to change. She made the decision to quit her well-paid job and win back the hearts of her family. She decided to follow God’s plan. Her boss was dumbfounded. Why would she want to “sacrifice” her salary and company car? Her response to him was that it was not a sacrifice but an investment. She was investing in the hearts of her husband and children.

This is a true story of a real woman I met recently here in Indonesia. When she told me her story and the change she made after reading God’s Word I asked her permission to share her story with you. I am so encouraged by her example of being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only (James 1:23-25). Her husband is happy, she is happy and the hearts of her children rest in her hands. God’s way is always the best way!

Please share this post if you found it encouraging. Thank You!

Question: What changes in your life have you made after reading God’s Word? You can leave a comment by clicking here

5 Tips for Preparing to Live Overseas

Getting prepared to move to a foreign country can be fun and exciting for the whole family! Preparing ahead of time can save you lots of frustration when you finally reach your destination.


Here are 5 Tips to help you be physically prepared to step foot in your new home.

  1. Sell Your Stuff. We all have extra things laying around our houses. Get rid of it. Sell it or give it away. Especially if you will be away from America for any length of time. Things will age, go out of style, or just collect dust. Better to go light and not worry about what is sitting in storage back home.
  2. Get in Shape. Having your body in good physical condition will help you cope with the culture shock you will face. You body will adjust more quickly to the physical stresses if you don’t have a lot of extra weight to carry around. In most other countries people do a lot more walking than we do here in the US. Being in shape will help you not be as fatigued as you begin adjusting to your new life.
  3. Try New Foods. Be brave and give your taste buds an adventure. In your new home overseas you will be presented with food you have never seen before. It is extremely polite and gracious of you to eat the food and not turn your nose up at it. Before you leave for your new home get out of your comfort zone and visit a Thai restaurant. Indian cuisine? How about sushi? It doesn’t have to be food that you think you will encounter on your mission field. Just prepare yourself to eat whatever is set before you.
  4. Turn off the A/C. Get your body used to being uncomfortable for a time. If you are going someplace hot and humid, it is wise to enjoy the heat! Many places around the world don’t use air conditioning as much as we do.
  5. Toss the Appliances. Get rid of your microwave. Hang your clothes on a clothesline. Being able to do things the long way may be an advantage to you in your foreign field. You might have to do without many modern conveniences in your new life. Learn to like cold showers. In many countries they don’t use warm water to bathe with.

Moving to a foreign country can be fun for the whole family. Hopefully by following these 5 simple tips you will feel more prepared as you begin your new adventure overseas.

Question: What things have you done to prepare yourself physically when going overseas? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Photo Credit: http://cdn5.benzinga.com/files/images/story/2012/shutterstock_97739021.jpg