4 Truths and a Lie

One of these things is NOT true. Any guesses? Share them in the comments and I will update the post at the end of the week with the correct answer.

1- I went skydiving for my 40th birthday. I had always wanted to do it so I grabbed a friend (the only one willing to go) and off we went. The view from 2.5 miles up was AMAZING!

2- In 2015 my husband and I went to Maui. It was my first time in Hawaii and I wanted to fit in as much as possible. One of our activities included taking a catamaran and going scuba diving. That was my FAVORITE activity we did that trip!

3- For our 15th anniversary we took an Alaskian cruise (which I hope to repeat one day). One of the many things I will never forget was flying out in a helicopter and walking on a glacier. WOW!

4- During a family trip to the Smoky Mountains, we went to a place called Cades Cove. I was desperate to get a picture of a wild bear and as soon as we spotted one I jumped out of the car to get closer. I didn’t get the picture AND had to promise my family I would never do that again!

5- 2016 took us to St. Thomas and an opportunity to go on a night time kayak trip. The kayaks were equipped with glass bottoms and lights. We glided over SEA TURTLES, colorful fish and lots of coral. I will never forget it.

So…4 of those things are true and 1 is NOT. What do you think is the lie? Skydiving, scuba diving, walking on a glacier, chasing a bear or kayaking with sea turtles?

**Update** Congrats those who guessed scuba diving. While we did go to Maui and we did go on a catamaran, we did NOT nor will ever go scuba diving. I don’t mind jumping from a plane but have no interest in going that deep into the ocean! I’ve watched too many nature shows with my kids and know what lives down there. Thanks for playing. ūüôā

Spaghetti Carbonara

Sometimes you need a creamy, decadent meal, especially on a cold winter night. This is one of my favorite new recipes. As with most pasta recipes we make more sauce than the recipe calls for. This one is a bit labor intensive but totally worth it!  Enjoy!  Share your pictures in the comments if you try it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 pound¬†bacon (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
  • 1 teaspoon¬†extra virgin¬†olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon¬†Italian parsley (chopped)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly¬†ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup¬†freshly grated¬†pecorino-romano cheese (parmesan may be substituted)

1-Gather the ingredients.

2-Fill a large soup pot with cold water and add a handful or so of¬†Kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover the pot and heat the water until it boils.‚Äč

3-Add the diced bacon to a cold saut√© pan and cook slowly over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels.‚Äč

4-Drop the spaghetti into the boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions, about 6 to 9 minutes or until¬†al dente, or tender, but still firm to the bite.‚Äč

5-While the pasta cooks, combine the egg yolks, cheese, cream and olive oil in a bowl and beat with a whisk until completely mixed.

6-Scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside.

7-Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot along with the bacon.

8-With the pot off the heat, add the egg and cream mixture and stir briskly while the sauce thickens up. You can adjust the consistency with some of the reserved pasta water.‚Äč

9-Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve right away, with additional grated cheese if desired.

Check out this recipe and others on my Pinterest page.

Friendship

Not everyone is a social person. Some people don’t like to talk to new people. For some it is easier to wait to be approached. Then there is me. My daughter cringes sometimes at how easily I strike up conversations with complete strangers.¬† I’ve never been afraid to take the initiative and approach someone.¬† When I was pregnant with my son I helped start a moms group for local women I met on an AOL message board (remember those?) From that came some wonderful friendships, a playgroup and some of our kids grew up together and are friends themselves. Then we moved out to the country 17 years ago and I didn’t know anyone so I sent invites to all of the moms in my daughter’s class for a get together at my house.¬† Out of that came two wonderful friendships that have lasted to this day.¬† So when we decided to get our own place in East Tawas it seemed natural to me to have a “get to know your neighbors” party for the people in our building.¬† We had a great time. My husband just goes along with it now, even though he doesn’t consider himself to be very social.

I have amazing friends. I have different groups of friends. Some from working together, some from kids going to school together. My biggest group consists of 10 ladies, some of us have known each other since high school, and some were neighbors that got sucked into the group along the way. We do girls weekends, girls nights out, group vacations.¬† Graduations, weddings, births, divorces, parties and funerals, we’ve shared some of the biggest moments of our lives with each other. We all live within an hour of each other at the moment but that is going to change very soon. I will be 3 hours from them once we move. I know we aren’t going to lose touch. I will come down to them, we will meet in the middle, they will come up to me.¬† We will figure it out.¬† It won’t be as easy to do the smaller things though. The movies, game nights, meeting up for dinner, playing cards.

So I need to create an additional group of friends. A Tawas group. We already know some people; our neighbors, the best bartenders around, friends from karaoke.  But we need to find other couples who enjoy the same things we do.

Seeking fun new friends!

Game nights, karaoke, beach bars, live music, euchre, hiking, bowling, road trips, community theater, local events.

Must enjoy laughing and not taking things too seriously. Spontaneity appreciated.

What do you think? Front page material in the local paper? Ok, even I would not actually take out an ad.  But I AM hoping to meet some people that enjoy those things and we can develop some new friendships. Who knows, maybe my new friends and my old friends will hit it off and we will have even bigger, better summer parties.  We may need to plan on getting a bigger place first!

 

 

A sense of community

We’ve been coming to Tawas Bay since 2016.¬† We had spent the year before visiting other small coastal towns around the state and as soon as I drove through this area I knew this was where I wanted to be.¬† The location is great, 3 hours from Detroit, considered Northern Michigan but not drastically different than what we were used to as far as temperature and snowfall amounts. Close enough for our friends to drive up and spend a weekend with us, far enough to feel like we were really moving away and starting our own adventure.¬† Our first weekend here we actually stayed in Oscoda and while it IS a nice town as well, East Tawas captured my heart.

The charm of the downtown shops, the friendliness of the people, the access to the water front.  We noticed right away that the city is investing in their parks and public places which is a sign of a good economy. The town is clean, filled with pretty flower arrangements in the summer and festive decorations in the fall.  There are events year round; Blues by the Bay, Summerfest, Classic car shows, Perchville.  In the summer there is a community band which plays in a waterfront park every Monday.  On Tuesdays downtown is closed off and people bring their chairs for a live band concert.  There is also an active community theater group.

Chad and I enjoy being active in our community. We knew that our future hometown needed to not only be on the water but have a thriving community with plenty of opportunities to get involved. We spent the next year coming to East Tawas as much as possible. We spent a lot of money on hotel rooms!  But we needed to be sure.  And we wanted to see it year round, not just during the busy summer tourist months.

During that year we helped pass out Halloween candy with the FOE. We started going to karaoke and getting to know the locals.¬† We started talking to local business owners.¬† We went to the community plays, parades and events. We joined the Friends of the Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park group. We brought our friends up here to share our new town.¬† We confirmed our decision and got a place of our own in the spring of 2018.¬† It already feels like home to me.¬† It will only be a few short months before we move up full time and it IS home.¬† I can’t wait to find other opportunities to volunteer and get involved in my new town.

During my afternoon walk today we came across the East Tawas Community Center.¬† We’ve driven by it many times but never stopped in. What a gem this is! There is a gorgeous full size gym, a walking track above it with gym equipment, open gym times as well as scheduled pickleball and volleyball times, a nice locker room and plenty of lockers.¬† You can rent out the space for a private event too.¬† Outside there is a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball, a covered pavilion you can rent, a play structure and horseshoe pits.¬† The library onsite as well. All of this for only $25 a YEAR for a resident couple/$15 for an individual resident.¬† Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit I can tell you that is a bargain! I was not expecting so many amenities for a town of less than 5,000 people (combined with Tawas City).

So now within walking distance from our home we have a very nice community center (maybe I can learn to play pickleball?), the community theater playhouse, the chamber of commerce, 6 bars/restaurants, the real estate office Chad has his license with, a dry cleaner, a dozen or so cute storefronts, a beach bar with live music in the summer, the state boat dock, 2 waterfront parks and a beach.¬† I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have a problem finding ways to get involved and meet people once we live here full time.

 

Read this Book!

I love to read.¬† Back in high school I was the girl who would stay up ALL night to finish a book.¬† Harlequins and Silhouette trashy love stories, Danielle Steele, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, the classics like Little Women, Black Beauty and Treasure Island.¬† I read pretty much anything.¬† Over the years I would go through periods where I would read 10 books a month for 6 months and then nothing for another 6.¬† I got busy with the kids, with work, with Facebook and other time sucking computer games.¬† I admit to getting engrossed in a book or series and have to binge read them all.¬† I read all 4 Twilight books in 3 days.¬† It’s as bad as Netflix!¬† I go all in too.¬† Laughter, crying, anger.¬† Non readers don’t understand it.¬† But a good book can stick with you for a long time.¬† When I read, I am picturing the setting and the characters.¬† They come to life in my mind.¬† I can reread a book 20 years later and in my mind it is exactly the same.¬† It’s like seeing an old friend.¬† I’ve read The Stand probably 15 times.¬† Little Women probably 20.

Part of simplifying my life is taking the time to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the small things.¬† For example, sitting on the beach with a book.¬† I read more books in 2018 than I did it the previous 5 years.¬† I finished 2 books on our family vacation.¬† It’s hard to beat relaxing in a shady lounge chair with a book and listening to nothing but the waves and birds.¬† I finished a couple more when we went to the Bahamas in November.¬† I was the girl sitting by the pool with a book in one hand and a Bahama Mama in the other.¬† My cute hubby dozing in and out next to me.¬† Ahhhh.

But now vacations are over and I needed something to read while laid up from my knee surgery.¬† I had seen a book by a local author mentioned in one of my Facebook groups and thought I would give it a try.¬† This book actually came out last May but I didn’t discover it until last week.¬† I really enjoyed this one.¬† It isn’t a long read, 275 pages.¬† It hooked me from the first page and kept my attention so much that I finished it in one day.¬† If you are looking for a fun, breezy read give this one a try! If you have any recommendations for me please leave a comment!

 

The Wreck by Landon Beach

The description from Amazon (where you can buy it in paperback or on Kindle)

Nate and Brooke Martin arrive at their summer cottage ready to relax and rekindle their relationship. The beach is warm, the water is cool, and the sea breeze is blissful–just another perfect summer in Hampstead, Michigan filled with wine, bonfires, and beach reading.

Then, on a morning stroll along the beach, Nate finds something half-buried in the sand that turns their quiet vacation into a dangerous unraveling of the past. And the key to solving the mystery may lie within Abner Hutch, a retired Coast Guard Officer and Great Lakes master of the deep–a flawed man with a complicated past and a core wound that will not heal.

As Nate and Hutch search for answers on a remote peninsula, they begin to realize what the mega-rich residents up the coast already know: you can only keep a secret for so long.

And when some secrets get out…there is no turning back.

Put on some sunscreen, unfold a beach chair, and get ready to dive into The Wreck.

 

About the Author 

Landon Beach’s passion in life is to entertain people. He was born and raised in Michigan, and his heart will forever belong to the Great Lake State. Currently, he is an educator and formerly served as a Naval Officer. He has been writing for years but honed his craft when he earned his MA in Creative Writing and English. He travels between Michigan and Florida but is most at home relaxing on any beach with his wife and two young children.

 

Glimpses of the future

We have been very busy this year so far.¬† I’m feeling very accomplished in the 7 days of 2019 , I wonder how long that will last?

I have gone for a walk every day, even when I didn’t feel like it.¬† Having 3 days in a row of sunshine did put a smile on my face and make those walks a little more fun.¬† Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.¬† As I rounded a corner in the back of my neighborhood on a walk last week I heard a man singing pretty loudly.¬† He was a young construction worker, had a few 2x4s slung over his shoulder and was singing at the top of his lungs as he walked across the build site. A couple of other guys on the crew shook their heads when they saw me and said “sorry about that”.¬† I said “don’t be” and grinned.¬† It makes me proud to be a Michigander when all it takes is a couple of days of sunshine and 40 degree weather to make everything better!

I’ve made a grocery list and made proper dinners 4-5 nights a week for the last couple of weeks now.¬† It feels so good to be back in control of the kitchen.¬† When the kids were younger we ALWAYS ate at our dining room table.¬† No tv, no phones.¬† We went around the table and did our “best and worst” thing that day.¬† We never ran out of things to talk about.¬† And anyone who has eaten here with us has taken part.¬† I remember the girls doing it for Jack when he was too young to participate and we used to imagine what he would have to say.¬† Sometime within the last couple of years we started slipping into the bad habit of eating in the living room.¬† With 3 of us working full time and Jack having a busy high school schedule we started making our own plates and Jack would open his computer and watch something while he ate at the table, Katie would watch the kitchen tv and Chad and I would be in the living room.¬† Not all the time.¬† But often enough that it bothered me.¬† And we weren’t eating well either.¬† We fell into making the same 7 or so meals because they were quick and easy.¬† And sometimes we would get carry out or stop for something on the way home.¬† We also ate out way too often for convenience.¬† But that is what happens when everyone is working.¬† Who wants to spend the time cooking and cleaning when you’ve been up since 5am and working 9 hour days?¬† But now that I am home again and not working, I am excited about cooking and trying new recipes.¬† I don’t mind making the grocery list.¬† Most nights I even kick Chad out the kitchen after dinner and clean up myself and send him off to relax after his long day at work.¬† Between the walks and the better eating habits I’ve lost 6 pounds so far.¬† Hopefully I can keep that going too!

We have all of the Christmas stuff put away and redistributed.¬† This year was tricky because we had to figure out what to do with everything, our new place is half the size of this one.¬† Jack has one tub plus his ornament boxes, Cassie wanted a couple of things but has her own place for a couple of years now and didn’t need much.¬† Katie ended up taking the bulk of it.¬† Which worked out well since she just secured a new rental home to move into this spring and will have more room than any of us for awhile.¬† I was dreading that chore since we put all of the Christmas stuff up and I am so glad that is done now.

I know this is getting long, but I have to tell you about the pantry.¬† The Pantry!¬† We have a decent size, kind of walk in pantry. The top shelf is hard to reach and Katie and I have been using it for storage.¬† She has her baking supplies there and I have candles on my shelf.¬† As we are downsizing, organizing and packing to move, I decided to start the new year off with a cleaned out and organized pantry.¬† I wanted to be able to see exactly what I had to work with when I am menu planning.¬† This turned into a 3 hour project!¬† Katie ended up with 2 TUBS of stuff.¬† I have NO IDEA how it all fit up there.¬† And as I was going through my candles, I found stuff I still had from Home Interiors!?!? Yes- the home party company from the 1990’s!¬† I also found a bowl back in the corner that was filled with things from the previous Christmas (2017).¬† For a whole year this bowl was sitting there behind some plastic bags.¬† I would have used those travel sized booze bottles Chad got from his white elephant gift exchange if I had remembered they existed!¬† It was like a time machine in there.¬† But now it is clean and organized.¬† I don’t cringe when I open the door.

So far 2019 has led to better eating habits, more organization, daily walks.  I am catching glimpses of what my future looks like and I am loving it.  I just have to survive the next 5 months.

Day One

Today I took the first step in what I hope will be a path that will lead to better health, exploration and peace of mind.¬† I took a walk.¬† That’s it, I just took a walk.¬† There was a time not that long ago that I could walk for miles.¬† After 10 months of knee pain, weight gain and then knee surgery 3 weeks ago, today’s .57 miles was a huge accomplishment for me.¬† I made a deal with myself.¬† I’m NOT calling it a resolution.¬† That implies pressure and more often than not, failure.

Instead I made a deal with my body.¬† I will take better care of it and in return it will hurt less and move more easily.¬† That sounds fair, doesn’t it?¬† I am going to go for a walk every single day.¬† No matter where I am, what the weather is like or how badly I just want to stay in my pajamas all day.¬† I will get UP, get dressed and get MOVING.¬† I’m not putting a specific time of day, distance goal or calories burned.¬† I am simply going to walk.¬† {Shopping and other everyday activities to not count towards this}. And over time my knee WILL get stronger as will the rest of my body.¬† Pretty soon I will hit one mile, then two, then maybe even 10 one day.¬† I will explore new places in town, especially once we move to East Tawas full time in June.¬† I will notice my clothes fitting better, my body moving better and my energy returning. I want to be able to ride my bike the 4.5 miles each way to the lighthouse and then do the nature trail.¬† I want to get better at paddleboarding, be able to get in and out of a kayak all by myself again.¬† I want to be able to hike the Highbanks Trail along the Ausable by early fall.¬† I want to fit back into my cute fall sweaters and boots!

I am going to take a picture every day on this walk.¬† A rain puddle, a flower in bloom, a dog that comes to day hello, something that catches my eye in a storefront.¬† Whatever interests me that day.¬† And every day I will put in my online album along with the temp and distance of my walk.¬† I think it will be fun to look back over it throughout the year.¬† And at the end of the year I will have some data to play around with.¬† I haven’t figured it out exactly quite yet.

So as with any journey, it starts with a single step.  And I took it this morning. I have the picture to prove it.