We’ve been having some issue’s with our internet, so I appologize for the lack of updates.  I was finally able to pick winners for the two giveaways though!

The winner of the Cook’n recipe software was – Debbie Johnston

The Winner of the Tropical Traditions Coconut oil was – Nancy PA

Winners will have 72 hours to contact me before I move on to someone else.


Real Adventures on St Marten

Phillipsburgh St Maarten was our 2nd stop of the cruise.  This was the only island where we actually booked a proper tour, mostly because it was so inexpensive and there didn’t seem to be a lot of things to do, or at least not stuff we could do on our own.  By taking the tour we ended up seeing a lot more than we would have on our own.  In the end it was the best visit we had due to a combination of the amount of things we were able to see and the ginormous family we shared the tour bus with.  There were 20 of them plus us, and they were so awesome that they helped make our day.

We went with Jo Junie tours.  The cost was $40 per person and that included all you can drink refreshments.  The tour was a little different from what was advertised but none of us were complaining.  We hopped on the bus, got our drinks, got to know the others a little.  I must say again, what a fabulous group!  I was a little worried about being surrounded by such a large group that we didn’t know but they made us feel right at home.  Our first stop was at an iguana farm which was totally Chelsea’s thing.  Growing up she had geckos and always wanted an iguana, so she took about 50 pictures.  It was neat to see them all running around in their natural environment.  The largest was over 15 pounds!

The next stop was Orient Bay where we were treated to the site of the most beautiful ocean view I’ve ever seen along with some coral and sea animals that had been brought up for us by a local.  I actually got up the nerve to hold one of the animals and wow, was it weird.  In the picture it looks sort of soft and fluffy, it wasn’t.  More prickly, and the thing was constantly *moving.*  You can see Chelsea’s reaction in the picture.  After that we headed in to Marigot for a short shopping trip.  Marigot was beautiful.  It is called the French Riviera of the Caribbean, and I can totally see that.  We were under a bit of time constraint at that point so we all quickly hopped out to grab a souvenir or two then hopped back on for our last stop.

Our last stop was Maho Bay/Sunset Beach.  Stunning, just absolutely stunning.  Not only was the beach downright gorgeous but it’s draw is that it’s so close to the airport that the planes get so close you can practically touch them when they come in for landing.  I’m told you can see the pilots, although I didn’t try.  By the time we were set to go I think we were all exhausted and ready to head back to the boat, that is the sign of a good day if you ask me.

St Martin seemed to be the least commercialized for tourists, and I really enjoyed it all the more for that.  I think I mentioned once before that seeing what a place wants to show me isn’t really what I’m looking for when I visit.  I want to see who and what they really are.  Hopefully experience the day to day lives of the locals even just a tiny bit is more exciting to me than going to a full blown luxury resort.  I felt like I got a tiny glimpse in St Martin, and if I had to choose one island to spend more time on it would be this one.

Some of my fav pics that we took on St Marten.


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Real Adventures in St Thomas

We’ve been home for 4 days already, and I’m still having a hard time getting my head where it needs to be.  Seems I’m still on Caribbean time, and I have a feeling I will be for a while.  We had such a good time that I’m already planning our next one!  Of course I have to win another trip before that can happen but I’m working on it.

I’m going to do a review of the cruise itself but since it was the largest part of our vacation I will save that for the last post.  For now, I’ll be sharing our adventures on each island.  They didn’t really turn out as we had planned but that’s ok, we had fun, which is the important thing.  I still find it kind of hard to believe we visited four different countries while we were away.

St Thomas was our first port.  While we were pulling in both Chelsea and I were in awe that first, it was no longer ocean for as far as the eye could see, second, how pretty the water was, and mostly just how beautiful it was over all.  I think we took fifty or so pictures just pulling into port.

If you remember from my previous posts we had planned to visit Coral World for this stop.  So when we finally got off the boat we hopped a bus to get downtown to browse before we made our way further in.  Downtown was pretty, although crammed with people which I suppose is to be expected.  On one side there were stores, on the other there was the ocean.  Can’t ask for better shopping scenery!  We skipped the main shopping places in lieu of the flea market type stalls.  We had a very tiny budget so had to be very careful what we purchased.  That day we each bought an inexpensive sundress, and something for the boys back home.

As we decided to explore a little more we found ourselves a street or two into the downtown area and were all of a sudden surrounded by jewellery stores.  We’d attended a seminar on the boat in regards to shopping on the islands, so we had some coupons for free stuff that we figured we would cash in at that point.  If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t bother.  While the items you get are sort of cute little tokens, they are similar to something you would get from a 25 cent candy machine, but that’s how they get people in the doors, and then they really do expect you to buy something.  There had to have been a couple hundred jewellery stores just along that street and while the prices were really amazing, they still weren’t in our range.

After exploring for a bit we had to start figuring out how to get to Coral World.  We approached a police officer for directions, as we figured it would be the safest way to find out.  We had asked several people before then and couldn’t figure out why no one understood that we wanted a regular ol’ bus.  Not a charter, tour, taxi, etc.  As it turns out they do have a city bus but it’s the same type of vehicle they use for tours.  Coral World was at the very opposite end of the island, but by taking the bus it only cost us $2/each to get there.

We had to walk a little bit but for the price neither of us were complaining.  When we got there, the admission price was a bit more than we expected.  It turned out well though because there was a beautiful beach right next door.  Having looked at photos before we left I knew it was there, just hadn’t expected to use it.  So we ended up spending a good portion of our day laid out on Coki beach.  It was packed, but still so relaxing to lay out on the white sand beaches and swim in the clear water.  By the time we were ready to leave we were both mush from the heat and relaxation, great way to spend an afternoon if you ask me.

We still had about 4 hours to spend on St Thomas so we decided to take the bus back as well.  The ride back was considerably longer but for a total of $4 we got to see the entire island.  We talked with locals who told us where we needed to get off, pointed out landmarks, and interesting little tidbits.  We basically had our own little tour, in the same type of open vehicle, saw more than most since the bus traversed the entire island, and paid a fraction of the amount.  It was a little nerve wracking since we had to watch our own time table, but that was ok because it was an experience I won’t soon forget.  I also hope that it showed Chelsea that if you’re willing to travel off the beaten path it just might be worth the extra trouble.  If you’re looking for more info on how to get around St Thomas, this link has good information.

Of the three islands we visited, St Thomas seemed to be the least commercialized.  Considering the amount of jewellery stores that might sound odd, but even those stores were mostly ma and pop type fronts.  We both loved the easy atmosphere, beautiful murals along the roads, and the beach was the prettiest we saw on our trip.  One day I’ll go back and be able to spend a little more time there.

Here are just a few of my favorite pics from St Thomas…


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We’re Home!

A very quick post to say that we’re home, safe and sound!  We had a wonderful time, and even more than that I got to spend some quality time with my daughter.  I will be posting an absolute ton of pictures and stories soon.  Just about everything we saw and did was incredible and I can’t wait to share.

If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter our J. Edgar Hoover DVD/Bluray combo pack giveaway.  It ends tomorrow.  We also have our Cook’n, and Tropical Traditions giveaways for you to enter, and keep an eye for our giant Vera Wang giveaway.  I will hopefully be posting that some time next week.

More Adventures soon!

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Cruise Day Countdown – T Minus one day…

Yup, you saw that right.  We leave for our cruise tomorrow, I can hardly believe it’s finally time!  Believe it or not, I haven’t even started packing yet.  I’ve been setting the odd thing aside, but the actual suitcase is still downstairs, guess I should get to that.

It’s also been about a month since we started our exercise program, and it feels like a milestone.  I wish I would have weighed myself at the very beginning, but I didn’t have a scale. So the weight that you see is a little over two weeks old.  I made an exception and weighed myself yesterday so I would know how I do while I’m away.

Weight (two weeks ago) 178lbs – Weight yesterday 170lbs.  That’s 8 pounds in a little over two weeks!

Waist measurement (4 weeks ago) 41” – Today 37”!  That’s 4 inches off my waist alone!

Chest 38″ – 36″

Hips 43″ – 41 1/2″

Butt 44″ – 42″

Thighs 26″ – 25″

Biceps 12 1/2″ – 12″

That’s a total of 11 inches off my body in four weeks…

I’ve got to say that it really hasn’t been easy, but the results are so worth it!  I figure in total I’ve lost in the area of 10-15lbs all together and gained however much muscle.  I’m wearing clothes I haven’t even looked at in years, and now that I’m on a roll I have no intentions of slacking off.  I honestly don’t feel much need to.  I will admit getting into class this week has been tough, but I think that has more to do with where my head is, rather than lack of motivation.  I managed 5 work outs last week, and in 4 days this week I went in twice.  It would have been more but with hair and doctor’s appointments I just didn’t have the time.  Although the real test will be seeing how I do with all that amazing food around me while we’re on the boat.  Our trainer has passed along an ‘at home’ workout that we can do while we’re away but I’m also told there will be classes on the ship.  I will be happy with myself if I can maintain where I am, as there’s really no excuse for us to loose ground.

Multi Testing Mommy asked if I could post a sample menu of what I eat day to day.  This has developed over the last few weeks and seems to be working for me.


– Apple
-2-3 Eggs scrambled with green onion, onion powder, garlic powder, and a touch of salt.  Lately I’ve been adding a tiny sprinkle of light cheese for taste.


-Real turkey breast from Sunterra on the way to work
-Every morning I take about 15 minutes and cut up a ton of fruit & veg that I snack on throughout the day (strawberries, cantaloupe, whole red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots)

Lunch (After work, about 3 o’clock)

This one is hard because I’m not at home so I usually go up to the food court (yikes) and grab something that is 100% protein.  Bourbon chicken, or souvlaki, something like that, I realize there are hidden carbs in most of this stuff and I should try and bring something from home, but it’s a time issue.  I will work on this when I get home.


-Chicken breast/steak/tornado’s etc with sauted broccoli and carrots, or a stir fry of mainly veg and chicken.  I do cook up some carbs (rice, pasta etc) for the rest of the family, and if I do decide to have some I have very little.

For other low carb dinners, check out Cook’n, a recipe program that gives you nutritional values for all of the pre-loaded, as well as recipes you add yourself.  You get a free cookbook with purchase, and I chose their low carb option that has over 1,500 low carb recipes!  If you’d like a copy, enter our Cook’n giveaway!

I did this absolute zero carb thing for about a week, but at the end of it I started getting really tired, really early and wondered if the complete lack of carbs was the culprit.  Sure enough, I made myself some spaghetti with whole wheat noodles that night and the next day I was fine.  So, I’ve started incorporating a very small amount of carbs in my last meal of the day and it seems to have worked itself out.  The cravings are still minimal, and I have tons of energy now.

A couple of years back I lost a bunch of weight on one of those ‘programs.’  It didn’t last, but one thing I learned back then was that to loose weight you need to eat almost constantly.  Sounds kind of like an oxy moron, doesn’t it?  But it’s true.  Small, frequent, and healthy meals are key to ramping up your metabolism.  Another thing I learned is that your weight loss journey begins, and just about ends at the grocery store.  Eat before you go, make a list of healthy foods for the week, and stick with it.  When you’re at home and hungry, those sugary, crappy foods won’t be available to you.

My head is well and truly spinning with the amount of stuff I still have to do.  I have one more work shift to force myself through before I can truly put my mind to nothing but our vacation, but my head is a little ahead of the game.  Yesterdays shift was tough, today is going to be near impossible.  Thankfully we don’t leave until late afternoon tomorrow, so I will have time to get stuff done.

With a typical Calgary spring flourish, it went from spring to winter overnight, and while I am thankful we didn’t get the 25cm of snow that was forecast it still did snow and it looks like it wants to stick around for a while.  It’s cold and very ugly, and I’m glad I won’t be here for it!  Hopefully by the time we get back this last hiccup of winter will be long gone.  Although I have to remember this is Calgary and that is highly unlikely.  Either way though, 2 days from now we’ll be in the sun and loving it!

I have no idea what our internet connection will be like out there, so you might not hear from me for a little while.  I’ll make it up to everyone with lots of pictures though!!!

If you’d like to check in with a couple other bloggers working to get fit, you can visit their weekly posts here:

Lets Get Healthy Together – Multi Testing Mommy
Fit n Firm Friday, week 11 – Pampered Patty


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Adventures in Fort Lauderdale

So not really a port, but with the way things worked out we will have the most time to spend in Fort Lauderdale and I figured I should probably look into what there is to do there!  As I mentioned before, by staying a few extra days we are saving a ton of money.  I don’t think I ever gave you guys the breakdown, but had we left on the day the boat returned our tickets home would have been as high as $1,300 each.  By holding off a little our tickets were only $250 each!  So even if you calculate in the loss of work, food, and hotel we’re *still* ahead of the game!  I’m still astounded that more vacation = less money.

I managed to book a hotel through for next to nothing, it is right by the airport, thus also right by the beach.  If nothing else, we’ll have a few extra days to relax.  As it turns out though there are a TON of things to do in Fort Lauderdale!

Everglades national park at sunset.

As I mentioned before, our family is right into nature, so one of the top things to see in Florida is the everglades.  I’m hoping we can visit the Everglades National Park.  I haven’t found a specific tour yet, but I think we’ll be doing the ‘seat of your pants’ thing there.  Exploring such an eco system has been on my to do list for a long time.  We’ll likely see a crocodile or two, hopefully from the safety of a boat, and maybe even a manatee, along with dozen’s of native birds and other creatures that we would never see up here in the great white north.

Along the same natury lines is Butterfly World.  With ten acres of butterfly friendly gardens, and a humming bird exhibit I think we’ll make a point to stop by.  They have dozens of species of butterfly’s for you to see, and I have never in my life seen a humming bird, so that will be a treat as well.  It’s kind of pricey at $25 a head, but also something we can’t see here.  I guess we’ll have to see if we have any money left after shopping on three Caribbean islands.  If this one is too rich for you, there is also the Secret Woods Nature Center which also boasts a butterfly exhibit combined with hiking trails.


For even more nature you can visit Tree Tops national park.  It is a 365 acre preserve, with 23 acres of marsh all accessible by hike, canoe, paddle boat, or my favourite, horseback.  Exploring on horseback is highly appealing, and costs only $27/hour!  That would be the cheapest trail ride I’ve ever taken so it will definitely be added to our Florida itinerary.

For a super cheap, $6, evening of fun you can visit the Buehler Observatory to check out Florida’s constellations, and see the information presentations they put on periodically.  I’ve never been to an observatory, so we might just have to check this out too.

If, by the time we get off the cruise, we haven’t spent enough time on a boat we could check out the Jungle Queen riverboat tour of Fort Lauderdale’s canal system.  I can think of no better way to explore the city than by boat, with an all you can eat BBQ buffet at your finger tips.  One thing that we miss most having moved to Calgary is the water.  It’s not like we were big boaters who spent all of their free time on the lake or anything like that, but just being near it is something you take for granted until you no longer have it.  For the first year that we were here all of us whinned and moaned that we missed it.  Now it’s not as bad, but the idea of cruising around on a boat for the evening gets me to smiling.

There are several museums, and art galleries that you can visit for an afternoon of culture, and while I would mind spending a few hours this way I’m not sure I could drag Chelsea along with me.  I think maybe some snorkelling, or more beach time will be more her thing.  We were both afraid that three days would be too much, and that we’d be stuck in the hotel room with nothing to do.  I think I can now safely say that that will be far from the case.  If nothing else, with a beach near by, who could be bored?


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Adventures on St Thomas

St Thomas at night.


The Virgin Islands are another one of those places that we’ve all heard of people visiting for ever, one of those places where you feel like you need to don a pure white sundress and walk down the beach with your sandals in your hand.  Although I don’t own a white sundress, a walk down the beach sounds good to me.  Out of all the ports we’ll be visiting St Thomas seems the most picturesque, and I can’t wait to see it!

Downtown St Thomas

One of the first activities I found to do in St Thomas is to visit Coral World.  They have an underwater ocean view that sounds very cool, but on top of that they have a ton of other exhibits to keep us entertained.  Sharks, stingrays, a coral touch pool, turtles, birds, and a feeding show, all sound right up my alley.  The sharks alone will be worth the price of admission.  Remember back in grades 3 through 8 when everyone had to do ‘projects’ on a certain animal?  While most of the girls in class where doing their projects on horses or other fuzzy creatures, mine were always on sharks.  They terrify, and fascinate me, always have.  So to see some live will be a treat.

Another really cool activity to do on St Thomas is an Eco Tour which includes a tour of the islands waters through kayaking, hiking and snorkelling.  There are various programs to suit your abilities and needs, and it sounds like a great way to explore a new ecosystem.  Visit the mangroves, or other close by islands that are ready and waiting to explore.  There are also tons of other regular tours to be booked through different companies that can be found on the official St Thomas page.  One way or another it sounds like it’s pretty easy to see a little of everything that St Thomas has to offer.

It seems like St Thomas itself is what there is to see and do.  Unlike the rest of the ports I’ve looked into, this one is the most natural destination without a ton of beefed up, money grabbing attractions.  Instead I think we’ll spend our time exploring the waters, and downtown after we visit Coral World.  Do some snorkelling, hang out on the beach, and just soak in the beauty that is St Thomas.


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