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Return to Paradise

by Meghann on July 9, 2011

Welcome Back to Paradise.

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Don’t you love it?!

We’re staying on the same tiny island as last year. No cars are allowed, civilization is a 20 minute boat ride away, and the only things to do are sleep and lay on the beach. It’s heaven in a nutshell.

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My parents flew back from Canada late last night and my Dad learned a very important lesson – don’t check your cellphone. (I know, I know – he should know this by now!) Unfortunately the bag with the cellphone (and his special travel frying pans – gotta love my Dad) stayed in Houston (where their layover was) as my parents made it back safe and sound to Orlando.

No worries. The bag is on it’s way back to Orlando now and (lucky for Dad) he only needs a couple of t-shirts and a swimsuit for this week anyways. They were only minorly delayed this morning and made it to Tampa just in time for lunch.

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I’ve been bragging about The Taco Bus to my Dad since my very first visit because I knew he would love it. Authentic Mexican food from a converted bus just sounds like something my Dad would get a kick out of – he was the one who taught me to ignore the chain spots in favor for hole in the wall joints when I travel.

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We got there right smack in the middle of lunch rush around 12:30 and had a bit of a wait for our food. Worth it though.

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I ordered a double.

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One Chicken Taco

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One Butternut Squash Tostada.

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I think everyone was impressed. Especially the dogs. πŸ™‚

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We learned a few lessons from our island stay last year. Mainly we learned when you have zero access to any stores for 7 days – you need to have a food plan. My Sister and I created a menu for the week and based a grocery list on that.

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Planning ahead made grocery shopping so easy. We stopped at BJs for the bulk items and then hit Publix right before we hit the island. We were in and out and several shopping carts full of food for 8 people for 7 days in less than a half hour at each store.

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I think once all was said and done it ended up being $14 per person per day for food, drinks, and alcohol! Not bad for a full week of vacation if you ask me! (the alcohol was the biggie here – we bought an insane amount of beer, liquor, and wine)

Anyways, we arrived at the car drop off location just before 6:00pm and I snacked on a Kashi bar.

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You park your car, unload your stuff, and take a converted Hertz bus to the boat ramp.

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Maddie was happy to go along for the ride. πŸ™‚

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Boat time!

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Maddie was easy because I could just carry her across, but Oliver and Scooby took a little more convincing.

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Can you believe this cart was just OUR stuff! INSANE!

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The little house we have is gorgeous. Three bedrooms, full kitchen, a beautiful living room, and one hell of a view!

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Let vacation begin!

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We now have enough food to feed an army.

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I wish my fridge and cabinets always looked like this at home!

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I’m pretty sure the dogs were JUST as excited to be here as we are.

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Dinner was super easy tonight.

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Pizza.

Sauce. Cheese. Salami. Peppers. Good to go.

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While the pizza baked I snacked on a few (or 12) chips with dip.

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Dinner’s ready!

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Two slices to fill my chip-ful belly.

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This vacation is full of celebrations!

We kicked off the first celebration tonight with cake.

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And candles.

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Ready? Let’s sing!

Haaapppppy Birthday to Youuuuu

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Happy Birthdayyyyy to Youuuuuuu

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Happy Birthday Dear Ashley

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Haaappppppy Birthdaaaayyyy to Youuuuu!

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And many more!

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My littler brother’s fiance turned the ripe old age of 21 (FINALLY!!) yesterday. Can you believe she was born in the 90s and can now legally drink? That makes me want to drink.

And eat cake.

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My sister makes a mean yellow cake with chocolate icing. Yum!

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The internet connection is wonky here, so I’m crossing my fingers this publishes! The internet is the only downside thus far, maybe I should take that as a hint and go to bed?

Good night!

1 Carolyn July 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Beautiful. What island are you at?

2 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food July 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm

It published successfully! πŸ™‚

That truly is paradise on my GOODNESS I am jealous! πŸ™‚ Kudos to you and your sis for putting together such an organized and affordable menu plan.

I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and I can’t wait to read all about your adventures! πŸ™‚
Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food recently posted..The Casey Anthony Trial and Verdict: What It Means To You

3 Maren July 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I love the fridge shot with the door full of beer. My family doesn’t drink at all, but by boyfriends does and that’s how every vacation is. Door full of beer. I hope your having a blast.

4 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance July 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Butternut squash tostada!? WHAT????
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5 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife July 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm

oh beautiful!! That DOES look like paradise. Have so much fun!
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6 Mac July 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I much prefer the local, hole in the wall places as well! It gives you a way better taste of the culture and the people where ever it is you travel.
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7 Jessica @ The Process of Healing July 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

How fun!! I’m leaving for the beach tomorrow night and I CANNOT wait!
Jessica @ The Process of Healing recently posted..To the Beach!

8 Kath July 10, 2011 at 12:13 am

So jealous I can barely breathe….
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9 Holly @ The Runny Egg July 10, 2011 at 12:18 am

Have a wonderful time!!! That house is adorable and I love that the fridge is fully stocked with beer.
Holly @ The Runny Egg recently posted..Milkshakes Make Me Smile

10 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen July 10, 2011 at 12:23 am

I love the shelves of beer in the fridge!
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11 Amber @ Stop and Smell the Wildflowers July 10, 2011 at 12:30 am

Wow, it looks like you’re going to have an amazing vacay! Have fun!
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12 Danielle C. July 10, 2011 at 12:37 am

That place looks amazing! I love the concept of a beach paradise, no cars…

I see all of the dogs but Sadie, did she not get to vacation?
Danielle C. recently posted..danielleruns: @synova_at_law Sweatin’ to the Oldies!!! LOL

13 Meghann July 10, 2011 at 7:20 am

We thought 4 dogs was a bit much and unfortunately she has ruined one too many of my moms things when no one was home.

14 Danielle C. July 10, 2011 at 9:55 am
15 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife July 10, 2011 at 1:39 am

She’s only 21? I have issues accepting people born in the ’90s. I guess that makes me an old fuddy duddy. Now I want to go to the beach!!! πŸ™ (Says the girl who just came back from her honeymoon in Hawaii 5 weeks ago)
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16 kyla July 10, 2011 at 2:22 am

The photos says it all. Have a fun vacation! I would love to go there too and experience 100% pure exciting experience. i would love to know more of your stories. The place looks amazing by the way. this would be the best time for you to relax and chill.
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17 Mary July 10, 2011 at 5:41 am

Enjoy your time in paradise! πŸ™‚ I hope you guys have a blast!
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18 Hayley @ Hayley Daily July 10, 2011 at 6:53 am

I am SO insanely jealous of this entire vacation. Goodness, it looks like absolute paradise.
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19 Lauri (Redheadrecipes.com) July 10, 2011 at 6:57 am

Oh man, that place looks (and sounds) incredible!! The dogs are having a blast! I bet they are loving NOT having to be on a leash the whole time.

Yeungling is our go to beer of choice! I remember when it first came to SC everybody kept asking us if it was an Asian beer! Ha ha!

I LOVE hole-in-the-walls! For the most part, you get AWEsome food at good prices! That butternut squash tostada looks YUMMMMM!

Happy Birthday Ashley!

Have fun!
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20 Margo @ Peanut Butter Trees July 10, 2011 at 7:10 am

Hooray vacation!! Looks like tons of fun, enjoy!

21 alison July 10, 2011 at 7:10 am

Wow! How beautiful! I hope you and your family have a wonderful week of relaxing on that gorgeous beach.
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22 Cassie @ Back to Her Roots July 10, 2011 at 7:35 am

Oh my gosh! SO jealous. What a fabulous, fabulous spot! We went to Mackinaw Island last summer (in Michigan) and they have the same no-car rule and it was amazing.

Have an awesome vacation. πŸ˜€
Cassie @ Back to Her Roots recently posted..sweet saturday: one minute peanut butter cake

23 Lauren July 10, 2011 at 7:44 am

THis trip sounds incredible! Have a wonderful time!
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24 Carolyn @ one lazy bride July 10, 2011 at 8:34 am

Woah. I didn’t realise your brother’s fiance was so young! I can’t imagine my baby sister (21 in November) getting married right now. Think I need a drink to0… πŸ˜‰

Sounds like an amazing vacation. I’m so jealous. Enjoy!!
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25 Hillary July 10, 2011 at 8:35 am

You have officially just described my DREAM vacation. Can’t wait to live vicariously through you guys!

Enjoy : )
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26 Ashley @ This Is The Place July 10, 2011 at 8:41 am

Oh man, my little bro’s fiance is 22 and it kills me too! So young!

Have a blast on vacation!! That place looks perfect!
Ashley @ This Is The Place recently posted..We Found It!

27 Kara July 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

WOW! Please tell me where this place is. From the looks of your pictures, I would like to take hubby there for our anniversary; is it a 20 minute boat ride from Tampa??

28 Meghann July 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

Nope its a 3 hr car ride to ft myers from Tampa and then a 20 min boat ride from there.

29 Silvia @ skinny jeans food July 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

Gotta love your Dad, when he travels with his own set of frying pans to Alaska and likely to the paradise island!! Devoted chef! πŸ™‚

looks like a fun relaxing vacation!
Silvia @ skinny jeans food recently posted..Eating well on Saturday

30 Courtney July 10, 2011 at 9:25 am

I hope you have a great time; it doesn’t look like that’ll be a problem though! πŸ™‚

31 Lee July 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

Your family vacations always look so fun!

My little sister finally turned 21 last month. Considering I am 33, it felt like she was never going to be of legal drinking age!
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32 Amy July 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

Looks beautiful! Your other bro must hard at work so he couldn’t come? He is sure missing out πŸ˜‰

33 Lauren July 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

Looks gorgeous! Enjoy your week.
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34 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups July 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

Looks like a great family vacay! Glad the pups could go too!

35 Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories July 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

Oo the blues in little house are gorgeous! Definitely pin-worthy. πŸ˜‰
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36 Lacey @ Lake Life July 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

That is such a cool family vacation! Do you guys stay at the same house every year?
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37 Cait @ Cait hates Cake July 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

That is my ideal vacation. Beach, family, dogs, food, sun….amazing.

38 erica July 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm

omg, i can just tell i’m going to be jealous of your posts all week! πŸ™‚

happy bday to ashley!
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39 Laurie July 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

What paradise!!! Maddie always looks so happy when she sees your Mom!! Have fun on your vacation!

40 Jackie @ That Deep Breath July 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm

This looks like an amazing vacation!! Have a fantastic time!

41 Whitney @ My Life.My Heart.My Journey. July 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Ahhh that does look peaceful!! I’m jealous!!

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