Activities and Adventures in Turks and Caicos

I could seriously go on and on and on about our trip to Turks and Caicos, but I’m going to make this my last post about it. I’ll finish the recap up with our activities and adventures from the trip….

I’m not one to sit still for too long. I love to be active. There was most definitely a lot of rest and relaxation on this trip, but we did a lot of fun activities as well!

One morning we walked about 25 minutes to a nearby beach called Three Marys Cay which we read had some decent snorkeling.

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Not to mention it was very pretty!

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The waters were fairly choppy while we were there so we couldn’t get out too far without being swept back in, so we stayed in shallow water.

We saw a handful of fish and a barracuda! I’m not a fan of those barracudas…they scare the living daylights out of me. It wasn’t the best snorkeling we’ve ever experienced, but still fun!

tc snorkel

JODO provided stand up paddle boards to use at our leisure. We got out on these a few times and I REALLY enjoyed them. The water needed to be fairly calm in order for us to use these properly. I’m sure the pros could handle a few more waves than I could. :wink: I’m hoping to do this back home on the lakes this summer!

tc sup turks and caicos stand up paddle board

JODO also provided a two person kayak (I’m almost positive they have other single kayaks as well). We used it a couple of times to explore the water near our villa and took a longer trip over to a nearby island called Parrot Cay. Although the islands are technically public around there, security does a good job of making sure Parrot Cay stays private. People spend the big bucks to stay in those villas. Although security didn’t approach us when we paddled up to Parrot Cay, we didn’t take any chances and literally just got out of the kayak long enough to snap a photo and then turned back around.

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We also went for walks on the beach…

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We had one day of rain but had a blast inside playing games, reading books, magazines, and chit-chatting.

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We rented a car one day and took a drive over to Middle Caicos. We stopped at Mudjin Harbor which was probably the most beautiful island, beach, and water I have ever seen.

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We have at least twelve photos of this place. It was spectacular.

tj mudjin

It was super windy on the day we drove to Middle Caicos, which made for slightly unpleasant beach experiences. It’s not fun having sand whip into your eyes. But we wanted to check out one more beach before we drove back to our place.

We stopped at Bambarra Beach. Gorgeous. We didn’t stay long because again, the wind was insane.

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One night, we got all prettied up and headed out for a dinner out at The Silver Palms Restaurant. We met the owner, Karen, who is originally from Canada. She was so sweet and made EXCELLENT food! This is where Dana and I shared fresh lobster and fresh conch stew. Oh, and the chocolate cake. Can’t forget the chocolate cake. We licked that plate clean.

tc Silver Palms

We also packed along some other outdoor entertainment like a frisbee, a nerf football, and hand paddle boards which we played with in the water a few times.

We went for a run along the beach one morning which is alway an intense workout. All in all I’d say we stayed pretty active.

I am working on getting back into the workouts again now that I am back home. Vacations have a tendency of putting me back just a little bit. I have a 7k run coming up next weekend and I haven’t been running a whole lot. Yikes. I am hoping I will be fine though.

I ran 2.5 miles yesterday and felt great and then walked for a while in the afternoon. I am hoping to get a run in today too.

Anyway, that is the end of my Turks and Caicos recaps. I have SO many more photos but I think I will stop there. However, I DO have to recap my weekend in Colorado still. Be on the lookout for that very soon.

Happy Wednesday my friends!

Question of the day: Have you ever tried stand-up paddle boarding? Kayaking? Do you like it?

Our Villa in Turks and Caicos and My First Video

Well after a full day of being home from vacation, I am feeling pretty settled. All of the laundry is done, clothes are all put away, the fridge is restocked, and the house is semi-organized. It feels good.

For some reason my appetite was totally off yesterday (Dana said the same thing too, actually). We didn’t have any groceries in the house when I woke up, so for breakfast I just scooped myself a big ol’ healthy scoop of peanut butter. It was more than what I wanted which was nothing, but I had an appointment to go to and errands to run, so I needed fuel.

When lunch time rolled around, I still wasn’t hungry, but munched on some carrots while I whipped up a huge smoothie. In the blender I threw strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kale, kefir, aloe vera juice , and a touch of water to help it all whirl.

smoothie

It was tasty and very filling, but I wasn’t in it like I usually am. I just ate it t nourish myself.

What I was craving was some comfy veggie soup, so I dug through the freezer and found my last bag of garden tomatoes and my last bag of bone broth and got to work.

garden tomatoes

In a large soup pot I sautéed onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in some coconut oil. Then I added savory spices, dried parsley, a bay leaf, salt, and pepper, followed by the thawed tomatoes and bone broth. Last I added in a bunch of chopped rutabaga (what I feel is the forgotten vegetable). I covered the pot and let it simmer for a good hour. At the end of the cooking time, I added in frozen peas and frozen green beans.

This soup was very similar to this veggie soup recipe I made a short while back.

It turned out fantastic! I had a bowl for dinner while watching the THREE hour finale of the Bachelor. Lucky for me living in central time, it was on from 7-10 pm so I didn’t have to stay up as late as you eastern timers. I was very shocked at his decision and admit I got pretty choked up over both the break-up and the proposal. They seem very happy together. Let’s just hope they stay together!

veggie soup

Moose was super pumped that mom and dad were home from Turks. He spent most of the day catching up on sleep and totally veggin’ out.

moose

When I see him after being away for some time, I am always blown away at just how big he is!

That was my little spurt of normal life; now back to recapping the Turks and Caicos vacation…today I want to show you where we stayed!

Our Villa in the Turks and Caicos

Upon arrival to the airport in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, we had to take a taxi to catch a ferry to get to North Caicos where our villa was. Unfortunately we missed the ferry by 10 minute and the next one wasn’t leaving for another two hours. So, we changed into our swimsuits and shorts and hung out at the pier while we waited.

I was so antsy and anxious to see our place and just relax, so inevitably the waiting time went by real slllooooowwww. But, alas the ferry arrived and we were transported to our island!

ferry tic

 

Upon arrival, we were greeted by another taxi driver, Mac, who brought us to our resort.

The resort we stayed at was JODO resort at Sandy Point on North Caicos, and I have nothing but incredible things to say about this place.

We were greeted by Mark, who manages the resort. He walked us through the villa and gave us some info, suggestions for things to do, and answered some of our questions. We were also greeted with a bottle of wine and a CD full of island music to get us feeling the island life.

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We unpacked, showered, and hit the hay early. We woke up nice and early the next day and were showered with sunshine! And so began our vacation!

The JODO resort has two homes; one is the main house and one is a guest house. We stayed in the guest house which was more than enough space for the two of us.

The front porch:

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The living room:

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I loved all of the vaulted ceilings.

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One of the bedrooms…(this bedroom had AC which was super nice for sleeping)

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Washer and dryer in the bathroom…

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The kitchen…which was fully stocked with everything you could ever need. We were so happy we were able to do all of our cooking (except a couple of meals) while we stayed there.

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The front entry way and steps that lead up to the second bedroom…

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The second bedroom which overlooks the ocean and opens up to a walk-out balcony…

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Here is the main villa…They are still in the process of finishing it up but it will soon be available to rent. This would be an awesome place to bring a bunch of friends.

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We sat in the front of the main house most evenings and watched many beautiful sunsets!

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They provided plenty of toys…stand up paddle boards (photos to come soon), kayaks, snorkel gear, water floaties, beach chairs, boogie board, an electric car, etc etc etc! Everything was so well thought out.

sup and kayak

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We pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves which is something I have never experienced. I felt like we were VIP!

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The people of JODO were so accommodating and we felt so at home in our gorgeous villa. Everyone on the island was super friendly and welcoming. Our villa and the people over-exceeded my expectations. It was hard to say good-bye.

This is a very new place; we were only the third group to stay in the guest house. The main house should be open in a year or so. I really want to spread the word on this place because it is seriously so wonderful. They thought of everything!

We put together a little video of the villa to give you a better look. This is my very first video so please be kind! Enjoy!

From Turks and Caicos to Colorado

Greetings from Colorado! We are on the second part of our vacation; celebrating a family birthday out in Boulder. We have plans to go snow-shoeing or cross-county skiing today! A little bit of a change from our tropical Turks and Caicos getaway, but so fun!

I’m going to hold off on the recap post from Turks for now because I am typing on the iPad which takes me five years…BUT I just wanted to say hi and give you a couple of teaser photos until I’m able to a share more.

So here you go!

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I look forward to catching up more later! I hope everyone has been well! I’m off to explore beautiful Colorado!

Xoxo,

Melanie

Meal Planning for Vacation

Hello hello from Turks and Caicos! How’s everyone doing? I’m sending warm weather wishes your way.

While we are away in Turks and Caicos, we are staying in a villa complete with a full kitchen. This is our first time ever staying in a villa and are super excited about it. We usually go to all-inclusive hotel resorts which typically entail lots of great food, fruity cocktails, too many desserts, and an unhappy tummy.

dominican dessert

dominican dana pina coladas

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an all-inclusive hotel as much as the next guy, but given my digestive system has been “off” for a while now, it’s a good idea for me to try to stick to more typical food and beverages as much as possible while I’m away. The last thing I want is to regress with my progress because I a feeling gooooood!

Being that we do have access to a full kitchen while we are in Turks, we have decided to prepare most of our own meals while we are there. We were told that groceries are pretty spendy over there, so we did A LOT of food planning, and brought the majority of our food from home. The only food that we are not allowed to bring from home is fresh produce, so we will be going to a local farm/farmer’s market while we are there to stock up on the fresh fruits and vegetables. I can’t wait to see what they have!

We packed all of our food in a cooler, which was duct-taped shut after inspection. The meat we brought was packed frozen solid, and stayed cold enough (and in the safe zone) until we reached our destination. Once we got to the villa, it went right into the fridge and freezer.

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turks and caicos food

We plan on going out to eat a couple of times while we are there to enjoy some of the local food, and we plan to purchase some fresh seafood and cook it in our villa couple of nights as well.

Here is what our meal plan looks like for the week:

 

Weekly Meal Plan for Turks and Caicos

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Thursday x x Turkey Burgers
Friday Banana w/ peanut butter Chicken Caesar Wraps and veggies Lentil Tacos
Saturday Eggs w/ turkey bacon and fruit Leftover tacos or pb wraps Fresh seafood and veggies, quinoa
Sunday Oatmeal or eggs Leftover chicken caesar Out to dinner
Monday Banana w/ peanut butter, eggs, or oatmeal PB banana wraps Veggie hash
Tuesday Oatmeal or eggs Salad Veggie something?
Wednesday Eggs w/ turkey bacon and fruit Leftovers Seafood and veggies
Thursday Leftovers PB wraps x
Snacks Dried fruit, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, pistachios, Chex Mix, date/nut bites, chips and salsa
Beverages LOTS of water, wine, tea, coffee, fresh juice?
http://beautifullynutty.com

I’ll be excited to fill you in how all it all turned out!

Catch up with you later gators!

What to Pack for a Caribbean Vacation

The moment has arrived…we are on our way to Turks and Caicos! I plan on taking a break from the computer this week but I still have a few posts that will be coming your way! So while I’m away, everyone behave. :smile:

As much as I love traveling, I always have the hardest time packing. I don’t want to over pack but I don’t want to under pack. The whole process turns into a bit of a fiasco and I wind up packing things I don’t need. You know what they say though, practice makes perfect. I guess we’ll just have to keep traveling in order for me to figure it out! :wink:

Once again I did my best and packed what I thought was “necessary”, and I’ll find out very soon if I did a good job.

Lucky for us, the weather in Turks is 80’s during the day and mid to high 60’s in the evening, so we don’t have to pack warm clothes by any means. This means I can pack more light clothes! Kidding, I truly did try to be realistic packer.

Here is a list of items I put together that one should remember to pack when traveling to the Caribbean or any other tropical destination…

What to Pack for a Caribbean Vacation

1. Apparel

  • Swimsuits
  • Swimsuit cover-ups
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Workout type clothes
  • A few “nicer” outfits in case you go out to eat
  • One long-sleeve cardigan or shirt
  • Flip flops
  • Tennis shoes

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2. Sun protection and LOTS of it

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats

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3. Hygiene items

  • Safety kit (Neosporin, alcohol wipes, ibuprofen, tweezer, etc.)
  • Body wash
  • Deoderant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Razors
  • Face wash
  • Body lotion
  • Bug spray (the bugs really like me unfortunately—I learned this from our trip to the Dominican)
  • Hairspray if needed
  • Hair dryer

3. Games and Entertainment

  • Card games
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Snorkel gear
  • Hand paddle ball
  • Nerf footballs
  • Music

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4. Miscellaneous

  • Camera
  • Camera charger
  • Underwater camera
  • Tri-pod or camera gorilla
  • Backpack for day trips
  • Garbage bags to keep inside of backpack dry on day trips that involve water
  • Beach bag
  • Zip-loc bags to bring snacks on day trips
  • Water bottles
  • Amenity kit for airplane–eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, lotion, antibacterial, ear plugs
  • Beach towels if not provided

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I hope this helps at least one person out there who’s frantically trying to pack for a Caribbean getaway!

This is definitely just what I needed to do to make sure I had everything packed that I would need for this trip. We also packed food, and a lot of it. Watch for that post coming your way soon!

Check in with you later!

30-Day Abs Challenge & Vacation Plans

Howdy! Happy weekend to you all. Did everyone have an enjoyable Friday?

Like many of you, my Fridays at work at “casual.” I wish that meant I could wear sweats to work but it’s not that casual. Jeans will do though!

melanie casual friday

Lunch was not captured in photo but I had a bowl of leftover veggie soup, carrots, an apple, and a piece of dark chocolate from a lovely co-worker. We call dark chocolate our “vitamin” so if one of us was looking for a piece of chocolate we will ask the other for a vitamin. We love our daily dose (moderation, moderation moderation!).

After work I snacked on a handful of blackberries and 2 dates with peanut butter. Then I got movin’. On Sunday, I accepted a physical challenge (this brings me back to the show Double Dare–anyone else?) through Challenge Loop. The challenge is being put on by Jen Morgan and is called….

30 Day Abs Challenge

Each week for the month of January Jen posts a new workout and you must complete the workout 3-4x a week. Here is the first week’s challenge:

jen morgan

On the “off” days she encourages everyone to do a 1-minute plank. Besides the fitness aspect of the challenge, she also promotes the importance of clean eating in reaching your health and fitness goals.

In my entire life I have never had “abs.” When it comes to ab work I tend to get extremely lazy. I’ll do “core” work after some cardio exercises, bust out a few sets of the same move and then be done. I’ve never been consistent enough and have never given it a fair chance to see results. This is why I signed up for the challenge.

It was totally free. The stipulations are you comment on the Challenge Loop site each time you complete one of their workouts and you must post 8 times in order to be entered into a contest to win a copy of Women’s Health Big Book of Abs. The book isn’t my motivation, building confidence in my appearance is.

After 1 month, I shall see my progress. I finished my first set yesterday and I was really struggling through it. I hope I will continue to feel my core strengthening as I progress through the month’s exercises.

What’s REALLY motivating me to get moving and get my body in tip-top shape is knowing that I will be in a bikini in less than two months. Dana and I booked a vacation to Turks and Caicos for the end of February!!!

Turks and Caicos is a little exotic island just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and east of Cuba.

turks and caicos

Turks and Caicos Quick Facts (source):

  • Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited
  • Turks and Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea
  • Language – English
  • Currency – The US dollar is the official currency
  • Climate (while we are there) – From November to May the average temperature is 80 to 84 degrees. Water temperature in the winter is about 74 to 78 degrees. A constant trade wind keeps the climate at a very comfortable level. PERFECT!
  • Government – The Turks & Caicos Islands are a British Crown Colony. A Governor is appointed by the Queen and presides over an Executive Council formed by an elected local self-government.

I am literally getting more and more excited by the second as I write this post! We decided on the end of February because that is usually the time that I start to get a mild form of the winter blues. Minnesota winters are very looooonnnnggg so having a wonderful trip like this to look forward to really helps to get you through!

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Instead of a hotel we are staying in a villa—-so basically our own little home. We decided to go that route because 1. It was about the same cost as staying in a hotel and 2. It is complete with a full kitchen so we can make all of our meals, therefore hopefully keep my tummy feeling semi-normal.

It’s the same story each time we got to an all-inclusive resort, I end up eating way too much food namely desserts. Not that we won’t stay in an all-inclusive again, because we will, but this will be a nice change of pace. We will bring some of our own groceries which are non-perishable, and then purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood while we are there.

The resort supplies us with 2 stand up paddle boards which I have been so anxious to try!

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The villa is right on the water…:smile:

Anyway, I could really go on all day about how thrilled I am about this, but I will stop. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to go on this trip with Dana. It will be a very relaxing getaway for us. I am planning to pack lots of books, games, and peanut butter!

Back to reality again…dinner’s this past week were all pre-planned. I wrote them all out before we went grocery shopping and stocked up on all necessary ingredients. This made evening meals SO easy. I really need to start planning more often.

Monday: Lobster and crab feast!

Tuesday: Bean burritos—this one was actually spontaneous

Wednesday: Vegetable Soup

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Friday: Turkey burgers with grilled onions, brussels sprouts, and broccoli

turkey burger

After dinner we took down our Christmas tree and rearranged our living room back to normal. As much as I LOVE Christmas, it feels good to be moving on now and starting the fresh new year.

I also munched on highly addicting Chex mix that Dana made…

chex mix

Nom nom nom…

Okey dokey, it’s time for me to get on with my day. Happy Saturday my friends!

Question of the day: If you could go on vacation ANYWHERE right now, where would you go?