We celebrated Goalielocks’ and his friend TK’s graduation with their grad party over the weekend. While TK is his friend, he and his family are considered family to us. It’s been amazing to watch the two grow up and go through the trials of elementary, middle school, high school and hockey together. So much has changed since they first became friends almost a decade ago.
Our friend Garlic Bob catered the event with an epic taco bar that was capped off with a nacho cheese fountain. Boy, can he cook! His food is always delicious and on point. We sampled his taco bar at a friend’s grad party last year and I instantly knew we wanted him for Goalielocks’ party. It was absolutely a no brainer.
I was a bit worried the tropical weather that dumped nearly a foot of rain in our area would keep a lot of people away, but we only had a few cancellations. Goalielocks played hockey in Dade County, which was underwater for most of the weekend. Unfortunately, that made it unsafe for his Miami based teammates to make the drive, which was a bummer.
I tried Pink Whitney for the first time at his grad party. Pink Whitney, of course, is the ubiquitous hockey mom drink of choice. I’m surprised it took so long for me to try it. I love it. It was so good! A couple of observations about the drink, it’s good, but it’s a bit sweet. Also, a group can drink a small bottle in minutes. To cut the sweetness, I recommend pairing it with sparkling water on ice. This would make it much less sweet and more refreshing.
The grad party was a rousing success. We finally headed home with two cars full of kids just after 12:30 am. Everyone had a great time celebrating the two boys graduation. I think, the highlight for me was the two boys cutting the cake and feeding each other. It was super funny. The cake, of course, was super yummy and beautiful. Hanh makes the best cakes! They’re always beautiful and super tasty without being too heavy in your tummy. It was a great night!
Last month I spent six days in the beautiful Turks and Caicos with my beautiful Momcation friends. This trip has been three years in the making and delayed twice due to COVID. We stayed in the most incredible villa, Tip of the Tail Villa, which was absolutely beautiful inside and out. Moreover, the villa comes with a staff including a butler, maids and a professional chef. Needless to say, Chef and Sheldon spoiled us rotten. We ate like queens day in and day out. Every meal was better than the last one. I don’t think I could even pick a favorite if I tried because they were all that good.
Usually on Momcation, we hang out almost exclusively at the house maybe going on one excursion. This time we took several excursions and all were well worth it. Wednesday night we hit up the world famous Da Conch Shack, which has a live junkanoo band that night. Honestly, it lived up to expectations. Our food was super tasty and the atmosphere was phenomenal. Thursday night we went to the world Famous Fish Fry. It was okay, but Da Conch shack was better. Friday night we did a sunset champagne cruise, which was absolutely sublime. We even saw some dolphins. Lastly, saturday morning we went Kayaking in the mangroves, which was incredible. We saw a large amount of baby sea turtles and baby sharks, which were super cute. Our adventures this trip were awesome.
If you’ve never been there before you should definitely consider it as a must-see destination. The beaches and waters of Turks and Caicos are second to none. In fact, the water in Turks and Caicos is on a whole other level. The different shades of blue are breathtakingly beautiful. More than that, the people of Turks and Caicos are super hospitable and welcoming. We didn’t run into one rude person, which after living in South Florida is a nice change.
Things to do when in Turks:
Go to Grace Bay and enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. It’s a beautiful spot. You won’t regret spending time here.
Visit Da Conch Shack (Wednesday if you want to see the Junkanoo band.) This restaurant is extremely popular, so make you make a reservation a couple of weeks before you trip.
Champagne Sunset Sail through Ocean Vibes was absolutely amazing. They have an open bar and plenty of food form local restaurants to keep you well fed as you drink.
Kayak tour with Rising Tide Charters. There are several kayak tour operators in the area, but what I loved about Paddle King Jennings and Rising Tide Charters was that our excursion was only us. We had a small intimate group whereas the other tours were quite large. Our guide brought a cooler full of water for us and was eager to share all he knew about the Islands, the mangroves and the animals that inhabit the mangroves.
Visit Mudjin Harbor on Middle Caicos. It’s not the easiest place to get to, but if you have the time I highly recommend it. We didn’t visit Middle Caicos this trip, but did visit Mudjin Harbor on our first Momcation in 2018.
I’m officially en route to Turks and Caicos for Momcation 3.0. This trip has been three years in the making and couldn’t have come a moment too soon. To say I need some rest and relaxation would be an absolute understatement. For the next five days, there will be no fucks given about anything as I soak up the sun in paradise with some of my favorite people!
One more day and it’s tournament time for this hockey family. The Mayor will be playing this weekend, while Goalielocks will be officiating all weekend. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen the Mayor’s team play. Unfortunately, we missed the last league games while we were in Utah. Fortunately, we still manage to get the Mayor plenty off ice time in Utah.
Today my Grandma underwent surgery in Minnesota, which was a little nerve wracking as she’s 91. Unsurprisingly, she came through the procedure like a champ. Currently, she’s relaxing in her private room feeling pretty good. I’m going to give her a call in a few just to check in.
Unfortunately, this year has brought a cancer diagnosis for Raquel and her husband. I can’t imagine the stress they must be feeling as they fight cancer on two fronts. While her parents fight cancer, Taylor has been diligently taking care of them both. Not only has this been an emotionally difficult time for them, but it’s been financially trying. Neither Raquel or her husband are currently able to work. Meanwhile, Taylor has missed a lot of work while taking care of her parents. If you can, please consider helping this wonderful family out. Here is their Gofundme.
Here in Florida, one of my favorite Zumba students had surgery today as well. Raquel and her daughter Taylor attended my Zumba classes for years. They’re amazing women and I’ve kept in touch with them even after I had to stop teaching Zumba. When Taylor first started coming to my class she was still in high school. Now she’s graduated college and in the work force.
Celebrate good times my friends. It is the weekend. We have waited all week, since Monday Eve, for this moment. This week has brought a mixed bag of success and weird ass people without bank accounts. I mean it’s 2021, who the freak doesn’t have a bank account or at least a prepaid debit or credit card?
Anyway, it’s the weekend and I couldn’t be happier. Tomorrow we’re having dinner with some great friends in Delray. I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the drink menu, the prix fixe menu for Dine Out Delray, or the company we’ll be keeping. Honestly, I’m most excited about the company. We’ll be having dinner with our BFFs and the Parkers, who we haven’t seen in ages.
The last decade of our life has been dominated by travel hockey and thank god. Thankfully, we’ve met so many wonderful people and formed so many awesome relationships. Over the years, the friends have become family. As much time and money as we’ve spent, it’s been well worth the investment for that reason alone. Of course, the kids have also benefited from the experience.
*I’m still recovering from the cold. Consequently, I think took another rest day.
*We’re tracking the Tropics here in Florida. Fortunately, all the tropical weather is moving away from us! Unfortunately, the heat has really cranked up with heat indexes in the triple digits.
*Uber Eats delivered my Dunkin’ this morning, which was awesome sauce.
*Today I watched the live Safari Cam, which is always amazing. I love seeing all the animals of the African bush in real time.
*For dinner, the Hubby made steak fajitas for dinner. Honestly, they were amazing. Furthermore, the flank steak from Butcher Box was a big win.
*Today’s word of the day is resignation. Unfortunately, this afternoon I was resigned to the fact that all my leads sucked until I spoke with a very gracious gentleman from gracious. I definitely wanted to celebrate that sale!
*I took my puppies including sweetAnakin for a walk. Furthermore, he didn’t pull my arm off or anything like that. I put on his harness
Monday was our boat day in the Keys. This was the first time we rented a boat and it will not be the last. Initially, our boat day got off to a bit of a rocky start since someone blew up the engine on our boat the previous day. Fortunately, the staff at A1A Watersports was first class and upgraded our boat, threw in some fishing rods and even knocked 14 gallons off our gas charge. We ended up with a Grady dual console boat, which was super nice.
After grabbing the boat, we cruised back to the house to pick up the rest of our group. As we left the canal to head towards the Gulf, there were dolphins swimming in the canal. I was a little nervous as there were dark clouds off on the horizon and some heavy rain in the Gulf. Fortunately, we ended up having perfect weather all day. I love being on the water!
Our first trip was out to the light house and Alligator Reef for some snorkeling. It was incredibly beautiful! As we headed to the location, the seas were pretty calm. Unfortunately, the seas picked up when we dropped anchor near the reef. They started rolling in at 3-4 feet, which wasn’t great for several of our passengers. All of us, except for Captain Hubby hit the water to swim and snorkel. The water was absolutely perfect, however, we had to head back to the house due to sea sickness.
Our second trip of the day had us exploring the islands on the bay side. It was pretty hot out there with little wind, so we ended up pulling up our rods almost as soon we we had put them in. Unfortunately, there was no good way to keep our sweet Ava cool. Thankfully, we hadn’t ventured too far from the house.
Our third trip was a mix of snorkeling and fishing. We had folks fishing on one side of the boat while others swam on the other. The fish, however, were apparently avoiding both sides of our boat as we got only a few bites. Consequently, we moved under the bridge into the Atlantic to see if we could get on some fish. Sadly, not everyone was happy with this move. T was mad at the Captain for not dropping him off at the bridge pylon. Naturally, the Captain had no idea that T was wanting to be dropped off.
Since we forgot to drop him off at the pylon, he decided he would walk to it and climb up it. Of course this was a bad idea given the strength of the current where the Atlantic and Gulf water meet. Not too mention that the barnacles would cut him up as he tried to climb up into the platform. You gotta love teenagers and their ingenuity.
Afterwards, we headed into the Gulf to find the fish. After a couple false starts, the Hubby guided us to the Gopher Cut. Finally, we were on the fish! They were biting as soon as the lines hit the water. In fact, the kids started reeling in some respectable snappers. Unfortunately, the sea sickness started to kick in again as we were anchored. We pulled up anchor and headed back to the house. Thankfully, the sea sickness abated as we started moving again.
Our last trip of the day had us heading back into the open water of the Atlantic. In the afternoon, the seas were significantly calmer. We initially started fishing off the waters of Indian Key, but had no luck. Goalielocks and Captain Hubby decided to head out to a wreck 3.5 miles to the southeast. Truly, we should have started there because the fish were biting like mad. Goalielocks girlfriend put her line in the water and pulled up three snappers almost immediately, I had a similar experience. On her next cast, she pulled up another three snappers. It was awesome! Not to mention it was an absolutely gorgeous location. Next time we’ll start our day at this location.
The boat cost less than $600 for the day and it was well worth every penny. We all carried away some wonderful and funny memories from our adventures on the water. Obviously, the sea sickness sucked and we weren’t properly prepared. Next time I’ll be sure to have Dramamine on hand to help mitigate the sea sickness. Lastly, after the sun and salt water exsiccate my skin, I’m going to be covered head to toe in sunscreen and spf clothing. Long story short if you are in the Keys and considering renting a boat, do it and use A1A Watersports in Islamorada.
As an aside, I think they were so generous to us because we were kind and patient when they told us our boat had broken. In contrast, an asshole form New York pulled an attitude with the entire staff (all of whom were super nice and professional) as soon as he got there. Keep in mind, his boat was there and ready to go immediately. The staff, in my opinion, was way more patient and professional with him than I would have been.
He was still complaining when we brought the boat back. The man was charged for 28 gallons, which was the amount of gas he used. Thankfully, we came off akin to angels due to his poor behavior. In fact, we used 44 gallons of gas, but were only charged for 30. I guess it pays to be nice.
We finished our night with an adults only dinner at Morada Bay’s Pierre. It was quite the contrast to their Beach Cafe, but the food was awesome. The service at Pierre’s is was impeccable. We enjoyed an appetizer of shrimp cocktail and escargot. Both are amazing. For dinner, I had the fish du jour, which was a snapper in browned butter sauce. Lastly, we capped off the dinner with a key lime tart and creme brûlée. I love it!
If you go, check out:
A1A Water Sports and Boat Rental in Islamorada had several types of boats, jet skis, fishing equipment and snorkel gear for rent at a great price point. There service is also fantastic. It’s the perfect place to supply your boat day!
Pierre at Morada Bay. Their price point is high, but so is the quality. You will love it! I recommend the escargot, shrimp cocktail, fish du jour and creme brûlée. The views of the sunset are first rate.
Our islandadventure in Islamorada sadly came to an end yesterday after an incredible weekend in the Keys. I unplugged completely from the blog and all social media. Honestly, it was fantastic. The truth of the matter is I was far too busy having fun and enjoying the company to be bothered with technology. That is the hallmark of a good vacation.
This year we stayed at Su Casa, in Islamorada, which is a private rental I booked on AirBnB. It was absolutely perfect for our large group. We had the main house and the one bedroom apartment. The two bedroom apartment was rented out to a fantastic couple from Sarasota. Additionally, it was on a canal and had a beautiful dock. Allegedly their are crocodiles in the canal, but I wasn’t lucky enough to see one. Honestly, I can’t recommend the property highly enough. It was absolutely the perfect spot for our island adventure!
Speaking of perfect, it’s location was superb. We had quick access to the gulf and ocean from the canal, which was nice when we rented the boat. Also, it was a short walk to Robbie’s where you can feed the tarpon, engage in a number of fun water sports, shop or get a nice drink at the bar. Robbie’s parking lot is always overflowing, so it was nice that we could simply walk there.
Saturday night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Morada Bay’s Beach Side cafe. The food was wonderful and relatively cheap given the size of our group. We were initially sitting outside, but it quickly became too hot. Fortunately, they were able to accommodate us inside near the bar. I ordered the Key West pink shrimp scampi pasta, which was awesome. For my drink, I had a nice vodka cocktail with watermelons purée and an herbal note. I highly recommend trying it if you ever find yourself there.
Post dinner, we headed next door to the sports store for fishing supplies. While there, Goalielocks, his girlfriend and I checked out the docks. Unbelievably, we saw a manatee eating the remnants of fish thrown into the water after having been cleaned and filleted. As the manatee munched away the fish, three sharks (two black-tips and a Bullsharks) circled the area hoping to get some fish. Needless to say that’s the closest I ever want to be to a Bullsharks.
Sunday morning we grabbed some awesome cafe con leche from Cuban cafe on Plantation Key. We also grabbed some empanadas, pastelitos, and cachitos. After breakfast we headed south to go fishing off a bridge. Last year, we had little success fishing from the bridge, so we were all skeptical. Fortunately, this year the bridge fishing delivered. All of us were on the fish almost immediately. We caught several pork fish, wrasses, and some snappers. After an hour or two, we headed back to the house to get ready for lunch.
Sunday afternoon Hanh and I took the kids on a kayak trip through the mangroves. The Mayor and I shared a double kayak, which worked well. Truly, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous, but of course the kids thought it was boring since we saw no wildlife. I had hoped to see a manatee or a crocodile, but I still enjoyed the beauty of the mangroves even though I didn’t see many animals.
Sunday nights we had an early dinner/late lunch at the house instead of eating out. While we were on the kayak trip, the Hubby and John cooked us dinner. After all, we had worked up an appetite on our kayak trip, so it was perfect timing on their part. The rest of the evening we spent chilling under the tiki hut watching the sunset and hoping to spy a croc. Meanwhile, the kids continued to fish from the dock. Incredibly, Goalielocks caught a nurse shark that evening.
If you go on your own island adventure in Islamorada, be sure to check out:
Robbie’s of Islamorada: it’s well worth the hassle of the parking lot, but being able to walk there was priceless. There is so much to do here and yes you should feed the tarpon.
Su Casa vacation rentals offered a superior vacation experience in Islamorada. Last year, we stayed at Hawk’s Cay, which wasn’t a great stay.
Mrs. G’s, located on Plantation Key, was our go to spot in the Keys for our morning coffee. It’s also an ice cream place, but we only went for the coffee and breakfast pastries.
Morado Bay has a casual option in the Beach Cafe and a formal option with Pierre’s on the same beautiful property.
Thanksgiving 2020 style is wildly different for most of us thanks to COVID. It also makes our first Thanksgiving with Jake away from home. Last Thanksgiving was wonderful with my whole family in town, so he could have a great send off to BMT. Speaking of which, we are coming up on his one year anniversary. I can’t believe how fast time has gone.
This year has been tough, but there is still so much to be thankful for. First, 2020 was a year of awesome accomplishments for Jake. From graduating BMT and tech school, to earning his SEC+ certification and shipping off to his first duty station. To say he had a banner year would be an understatement. We couldn’t be more proud of the man and airmen he has become.
While our boys continue virtual school, they’re doing while and have managed to stay healthy. Hockey, thankfully, is in full swing. Too often we underestimate the importance that our kids sports and other extracurricular activities are for their development. Now with Covid, these activities are there only lifeline to the outside world. Kids need socialize.
As for Luke and I, we keep trucking on. After a rough fall that saw us replace two failing vehicles, we’re ready for the winter. I should also say we know have an additional driver, Goalielocks, which has helped a lot. I started a new role back in insurance, which I’m loving. Albeit, it keeps me extremely busy. Especially during the long hours of AEP.
To all our friends and family and to all our military families near and wide, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. To military families like ours, who have an empty chair this Thanksgiving, we send our love and gratitude. May God keep our family members that serve safe and sound. To our military folks servicing near and far, thank you for your service!! Today we hold you up in prayer and gratitude.
Oh man, I did it again. I totally missed posting yesterday, but I have a great excuse that does involve a margarita. Last night I headed down to see my friend before she goes on a trip for a couple of weeks. On my way down to her house, Jake called. He had a major test yesterday and he killed it! Moreover, he was able to speak with his new boss and sponsor. Fortunately, he is super excited about his future. As a mom, I couldn’t be happier to hear the happiness and excitement in his voice. Honestly, the best part of any day or week is when Jake calls. Especially if that call doesn’t come on the usual time or day. In fact, I may have paced outside my friend’s house for ten minutes in the blistering South Florida heat just to talk to him.
Naturally, Jake was super happy to hear that I was heading to Mel’s house to hang out with her parents. Jake and Mel are just the best and so are Mel’s parents. We all get along famously. A special surprise was that I got to talk to Jake when Mel got home from work. Of course, I love talking to him as much as I can. However, what I love more is how happy he looks when he’s talking to Mel. Honestly, they’re just the cutest couple ever. I could, however, be biased, but I don’t really think so. We had a great time hanging out last night. Consequently, I got ended up getting home pretty late and was really tired.
Yesterday was pretty much like every other Thursday. I went for my morning run and then headed to yoga. On Thursdays, I usually go into the studio for class. It was such a great flow! Altogether the pairing of running with a gentle flow class immediately afterward is a great pairing. I woke up today with absolutely no pain or tightness in my hips or legs. Since the studio re-opened, the Thursday class changed to a 75-minute gentle flow class. Previously, it was a 60-minute yoga for a healthy back. I love the class before, but the gentle flow class is perfect for me. It’s a little more challenging and the added time allows for more poses. However, the best part of this tandem is how I feel at the end of the yoga class. I feel confident, accomplished, relaxed, and ready to eat.
Today was another busy day full of BBG, yoga class, and yoga teacher training. Since I was going to be busy all day long, I told the boys I would get them DoorDash if they did their chores and work right away. Thankfully, this strategy worked like a charm. All the chores and work were done timely without a complaint. As a result, they got some Chic Fil-A delivered for lunch. Fortunately, they were willing to share a fry and a chicken nugget with their mom. While they enjoyed their freshly delivered lunch, I was hard at work in teacher training learning anatomy. Truly, I love the anatomy piece of teacher training. Everything is connected in a chain, so understanding the chain is super important. In fact, I am now well acquainted with all my problem children muscles.
Tonight we’re just chilling at home with the puppies watching The Office. While I finished the training, my hubby cooked dinner. We had a wonderful meal courtesy of HelloFresh. Tonight it was sweet chili pork bowls. The pork and vegetables were cooked in a Thai style sauce, which was amazing. I will definitely be ordering it again. Sadly, the hubby left the Mayor with the impression that it was a taco bowl. Consequently, the Mayor put enough Frank’s Red hot sauce to bake a dozen wings. Finally, a dish the Mayor would have loved from HelloFresh, despite his history of hating it, was destroyed with some mismatched hot sauce. Alas, I hope he is able to enjoy it the next time we make it.