One Pot Creamy Pasta

Sometimes you come home after a long day and want some comfort food but don’t have the energy to tackle a big meal and clean up.  Well, THIS is the meal for you.  It’s creamy, simple and delicious.  And you don’t have to go to 3 stores to find the ingredients which is always a bonus!


  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth (tip-just go with the 3 cans instead of trying to do the math with a bigger carton!}
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream (NOT to be confused with cool whip/whipped cream!)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Parsley


1- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat.  Add minced garlic as soon as butter is melted and cook for 1 minute, drop the heat if necessary so it doesn’t burn.

2- Add the chicken stock to the pot.  Once it comes to a boil add the pasta.

3- Cook the pasta, stirring frequently until done.  It won’t take long, maybe 5 or 6 minutes.  Most of the broth will be evaporated.

4- Turn off heat, add the remaining butter, heavy cream and cheese.  Toss until well blended.  I use tongs for this part.

5- Serve immediately, top with parsley and additional cheese if desired.

That’s it. I told you it is easy. Enjoy !!

Does Life Have to Be a Competition?

Sometimes it feels like our whole lives are a big competition.  It starts when you are a kid and your parents compare your grades to those of your siblings. In elementary school when you are faced with spelling bees, picking teams for kickball and who’s artwork is picked to be on display in the hall.  In middle school and high school when you start competing for choir or chair placement, sports teams and school plays. Scholarships and college placements.

We grow up feeling like we HAVE to compete with those around us.  That is how our society is built.  Don’t get me wrong, a little healthy competition is a good thing.  It pushes us to do a better and challenge ourselves.  But it is SO EASY to get completely wrapped up in it and not even realize it.

My family is a competitive family.  We love board games.  When our kids were little we taught them to shake hands at the end and say “good game”.  We tried to teach them to be a good sport and realize the value of winning and losing. I see kids go down the line after a baseball/hockey game and shake hands or high five their opponents.  Do they even realize WHY they do it or how important it is? If I could go back in time I would make sure I was having those conversations with our kids because I don’t remember if we ever did.  Later on when they were in choir, band, and theater we talked about how they aren’t always going to get the role they wanted or be first chair.  How it was important to be happy for those that earned those spots and try again next time.  That isn’t easy for ANYONE to do.

When I was in my 20’s/30’s it seemed EVERYTHING was a competition!  When you have little kids EVERY conversation seems to go back to “is she sleeping through the night/off the bottle/talking yet?”  Why didn’t we talk more about how we were feeling or the struggles of young motherhood?  Motherhood is not a competition and I promise you by the time the kids are in high school NO ONE is going to care how old they were when they started using the toilet!

I was only 25 when my oldest daughter started preschool.  I remember standing in the hallway waiting for class to be over so I could sign her out.  The other moms were older than me, had nicer clothes, better cars and seemed so put together. Here I was a stay at home mom with her hair in a ponytail, no make up, my younger daughter in a stroller next to me, feeling like I had to clarify that I CHOSE this life. No one talked to me and I felt so beneath them.  It wasn’t until my youngest son started preschool that I realized I had been wrong. I was 32 by then and had a nice house, a new car, pretty clothes and was standing in the hallway waiting for him to get out of class with the other moms.  Most of the other moms were around my age and many of us knew each other from our older kids.  But there was a young mom too.  She stood off to the side and didn’t interact with anyone.  I noticed she drove an older car and didn’t take much care with her appearance.  It clicked with me at that moment that she may feel like I had all those years ago.  Looking at it from a new perspective I realized that those other moms had never MADE me feel that way.  They were never rude or looked down on me.  I was the one who doubted my own self worth.  I never went up to them and joined a conversation.  I stood off to the side feeling inferior and blaming them for it.  Why didn’t I see that sooner?  I made sure I started conversations with the younger mom and smiled, nodded and made polite conversation when we ran into each other around town for the next decade.

When I was in my 30’s our business peaked and we were living the good life.  Huge house and acreage, boat, RV, nice vacations.  I had everything I had ever dreamed of and yet I STILL didn’t feel good enough sometimes.  I was still jealous of some of the other women. Their nails were better, they took fancier vacations, they had bigger cars.  It wasn’t until we lost it all in the recession that I realized just how good we had it, and how lucky I was.  Why is it so hard to appreciate all that we have until we lose it?  Why can’t we see that we don’t HAVE to compete with the neighbors, the other moms, our coworkers until after the fact?

My 40’s have brought me more clarity.  Part of it is having the kids get older and starting their own adult lives. That means I have to start doing MY own thing too. Part of it is going through the downsizing process and knowing how very few material things we really NEED.  Spending all those months packing, sorting and donating things that don’t really matter in our day to day lives. Simplifying our lives.  I know a big part of it is spending all that time with my mom over the last few months of her life.  Nothing really shows you what really matters until none of it matters.

My life now is a lot simpler than it used to be.  We live in a small space and I love it. I am no longer worried about friends that have bigger houses or newer cars.  I don’t care if someone can sing a song better than me at karaoke, can walk further or faster than I can, take better pictures.  I am learning to accept and appreciate myself and my own talents.  I can be genuinely happy when good things happen to those around me and not feel like that means I am lacking in some way.  That doesn’t mean I never feel jealous or less than.  It just means I am learning how to deal with those feelings in a more productive way. I don’t let them linger.  *Gratitude*Patience*Service*Kindness*

My flower garden really brings it all home.  I had some flowers that bloomed right away and then faded.  I had some that were steady all summer long.  And I had late bloomers that I didn’t even thing were going to make it that outlasted all the other flowers and are still going strong.  The flowers aren’t competing with each other. They aren’t comparing which has more petals or attracts more butterflies. They accept who they are and do their own thing.  And that makes them all beautiful in their own way.



2019 Summer Reflections

This was our first full summer in our new East Tawas home. The first summer of “retirement”. My first summer as an empty nester. While it was hard in some ways, and there are things I will change for next year, for the most part it was a great summer. I know technically summer has a couple more weeks left and I will enjoy them. For the purpose of this post though I am referring to summer as Memorial Day through Labor Day.

We were busy almost every weekend.

We started off the summer with friends up for Memorial Day and ended with different friends up for Labor Day. We also had friends here 4 other weekends, Jack and Cassie each spent 2 weekends here and Chad and I were gone for 3 weekends. And just like that, the 15 weekends of summer were gone! As much as I love playing hostess and opening up our home to our friends and family, I REALLY enjoy not having plans once in awhile too during those peak summer weekends. So next year I plan on spacing out our visitors a bit more so that we have some down weekends too in the summer. Spring and fall are beautiful times of year to visit!

I discovered how many cool things our town offers in the summer.

There were Community Concert Band performances on Monday nights a short walk away from our place. They got rained out a couple of times but we did make it for a whole performance and a couple of partial ones. I was very happy to see how many people in the community were in attendance. Side note: most people like to people watch, but I was fascinated by the assortment of portable chairs people had! There are SO MANY options now!

Tuesday nights brought the street dances to downtown East Tawas. A different live band played each week and people brought their wonderful portable chairs again. Everyone enjoyed the music on those warm summer evenings and the kids and couples danced in the streets!

There was an awesome 4th of July parade, Summerfest weekend, Blues by the Bay, Uncorked (an art and wine festival), Sidewalk sales, 2 arts and crafts shows at Shoreline Park. Not to mention all of the live music at Bikini’s beach bar. There was PLENTY of entertainment to be found!

We started a garden

We lovingly planted and cared for our garden plots in the community garden. I celebrated the blooms and was sad over the ones that didn’t make it. I discovered that giant zinnia’s really ARE giant! Chad harvested his veggies and I learned new ways to cook them. He pickled peppers for the first time. We were also heartbroken when a bad wind storm destroyed all but a few stalks of his corn. We know what to do differently next year so when the season is over we will prepare the soil and get an earlier start next spring on prepping and planting. It’s been a fun project.

I got involved in the community

I worked a few weekends at the Friends of the Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park farm market table. I really enjoyed talking to people, both residents and tourists. Everyone has a story about the Point and it felt good to be able to answer some questions. I also volunteered out at the lighthouse and helped give tours a few times too. My favorite assignment by far was being up in the tower and pointing things out to the visitors. The views are amazing! When I was stationed at the bottom of the tower I had a lot of time to chat with people waiting to go up, many of them camping locally or visiting for the day. I met people from all over the country, and even a few from overseas.

I did a lot of reading

I didn’t realize how much I missed reading until I had the time to do it again! I finished 15 books over the last 3 months. Books on Shipwrecks and Great Lakes Ghost Stories, romances, adventure, mystery. My favorite place to read is my own deck. Many afternoons I could be found outside under the umbrella enjoying a good book. Some days I even walked down the street to the bay to have lunch, take a dip in the water, and read by the beach. Those were my favorite afternoons.

I danced, a lot.

When you live in a beach town it only makes sense to spend as much time near the water as you can. So Bikini’s Beach Bar was our home away from home. Only a short walk away, we spend many weekends there talking to the friendly waitstaff and bartenders, listening to the live music and making new friends. I dragged my poor hubby up to dance many slow dances with me. He reluctantly will do some fast dancing with me too, but usually I am able to find other people so he is spared. He would much rather watch from a bar stool! Our visiting friends and family have all met our resort buddies as we always seemed to end up there at some point over the weekend.


Things I wanted to do more of

I wish I had been able to swim more with Chad. We only had a handful of days when it was still hot enough by the time he got home from work that we could do some evening swimming. He is off on the weekends, but our weekends were so busy that it didn’t allow for many beach days. I’m hoping we get some hotter weather later this month so we can swim once or twice more!

Picnics. We only did it once but it was fun. We packed up the picnic basket and walked down to the beach a few blocks down. We found a picnic table in the shade and played cards and people watched. It was a beautiful afternoon and I wish we had done it more often. There is still time to do a couple of fall picnics, as long as I don’t get sidetracked!

General Observations

-Parking is very hard to find in town, even during the week. Plan on walking a few blocks.

-Avoid Walmart on Mondays, Fridays, weekends, 1st of the month, and anytime you see the senior bus out front!

-Turning left onto Newman from 23 should be avoided whenever possible

-During a big mayfly hatch you are gonna see people freaking out by the water. I am probably one of them.

-Take a garbage bag with you to the beach to pick up what other people leave behind.

-NEVER change your plans based on the weather forecast!

The summer flew by and I am already looking forward to NEXT summer! In the meantime there are a lot of things to look forward to this fall. Like watching the Detroit Lions find new ways to lose a game, fall leaves and pumpkin spice everything!