Oct 31, 2013

a tale of this little boat



Yes, I will indeed take advantage of every opportunity to be corny.  I may not have a lot of room on the boat for clothing, but I certainly made sure there was enough room for Halloween costumes.  I've been sitting on this idea since last year, and I wasn't about to let this opportunity pass me by.  Now, I'm not really one to dress my dog, but I stumbled upon this shark costume by chance at TJ Maxx right before we left the marina and well, I had to.  She loves it, by the way, because whenever we put anything on her (like her life jacket), it means she's going outside.  Haha, she has no idea.  It's hilarious.  I'm not exactly sure where we'll be, or what we'll be doing tonight, so I made everyone dress up yesterday evening so that I could have my moment.  Yeah, I know.  I also have already eaten all of our candy, so we're really not celebrating properly today whatsoever.  But anyway, Riley had started writing this little song to the tune of "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island," and I recorded him singing it (in costume, of course).  I don't have enough wifi to upload it, but I'll add it later if I get the chance.  For now, here are the lyrics to "The Ballad of Winbrandt."  Happy Halloween!

The Ballad of Winbrandt

Just sit right back and I'll tell you a tale, a tale of this little boat
that started on the Pamlico Sound that hardly would float,
that hardly would float.

Well, we picked her up and put her on the hard
and worked on her 'til she was new
then we splashed back in, raised our sails and headed for the Neuse,
and headed for the Neuse.

Summer's gone and Fall has come
it's time we've moved on now
we packed our bags, threw off the lines, and started heading south,
and started heading south.

We've been goin' down the waterway, until we hit Cape Fear
then we sailed out in the ocean too, and now you find us here,
and now you find us here.

To be continued...

Oct 30, 2013

scenes from Safe Haven, I mean... Southport

Old American Fish Co., aka "Ivan's" from Safe Haven

Alex's (Josh Duhamel) house from Safe Haven
The exact sport where Ryan's Port Market stood, before it was burned down in the movie.

I am such a tourist. And a tv/book trivia junkie. And a sucker for romance. It really is quite dangerous letting me loose in these coastal North Carolina towns... the birthplaces of everything that Kevin Williamson and Nicholas Sparks ever created. When we first moved our boat to New Bern, I started a Nicholas Sparks book and movie marathon, since everything he wrote took place in the area. I've also been a lifetime time fan of Dawson's Creek (team Pacey) and made Riley watch the whole series through with me when it became instant play on Netflix. I lured him in by telling him that Pacey fixed up a sailboat and that he and Joey sailed down the coast one summer. We had to skip Wilmington, where much of Dawson's Creek was filmed, but that hasn't stopped me from finding plenty of other filming locations in surrounding towns.

We came into Southport on Monday morning, and I already knew that it was the setting of Safe Haven, both the book and the movie. We hadn't even docked yet when I spotted the Old American Fish Co., which was Ivan's in the movie (the restaurant where Katie worked), and I knew I had hit a goldmine. We docked at a really fun place, Provisions, which is a restaurant that offers free overnight dockage with the purchase of a meal. We got in around lunchtime, docked, and walked right up to a seat on their deck with a perfect view of our boat and the ICW behind it. I felt like I had just been cast in a Williamson/Sparks production... and it was a dream come true.

Even without the excitement of spotting filming locations (I managed to find all of the Safe Haven spots that I could, plus the cemetery from A Walk to Remember), Southport is such a great town! I love it's weathered coastal charm, and I loved being right in the middle of it by docking at the restaurant. Southport gets five stars from me!


Oct 29, 2013

chickpea curry with rice


So, our plan of attack for provisions on the boat was to stock up on basics like rice, pasta, beans, etc. and then buy fresh produce and such as we were able.  Most of our go-to recipes, even before we left the house, seem to involve black beans and spinach (okay, and bacon, too).  This one was a new recipe that I tried for the first time after we had moved onto the boat, and I like that it uses most of our go-to ingredients, but the chickpeas help to mix it up a little.

Chickpea Curry with Rice
adapted from Cooking Light One-Dish Meals

Ingredients
2 cups of cooked rice
1 tablespoon oil (I used olive)
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
2 (15oz.) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz.) can crushed tomatoes (I used diced)
6 oz. fresh spinach
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt (I forgot this, and it was fine without it)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Heat skillet over medium high heat and add oil.  Sauté onion about 5 minutes.  Add garam masala and stir for about 30 seconds.
2. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until spinach wilts.
3. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt and salt.
4. Serve over cooked rice and top with cilantro.


This made enough for us for one dinner, and we had leftovers to heat up for lunch the next day.  I liked that it was hearty enough without any meat.  I tell you, dealing with meat juices and stuff just seems like too much for this little space to handle.  I'd probably go 100% vegetarian on the boat if I could get away with it, but I'm pretty sure the Captain would protest.  As it was, he gave this one a 6.5 out of 10.  Good, but no bacon.

Do you have any favorite vegetarian recipes?  How about any that are also super quick and easy?


I'm linking up with Jessica and Ashley today!

Oct 28, 2013

ports of call: wrightsville to carolina beach

wrightsville beach
super excited about the possibility of riley throwing sand... which she will catch with her whole face.

So... let's see, we left off at Beaufort, right?  We left Beaufort on Friday morning and anchored out at Mile Hammock Bay within a military base.  From there we sailed to Wrightsville Beach, and spent two nights at anchor.  It had been so long since I had been on the beach!  I had forgotten how... (what's a less cheesy word for "rejuvenating???") it feels.  Plus, Gidget loves the beach!  She's been putting up with a lot on this trip and it was so much fun to see her perk up when her little feet hit the sand.  We still had to keep her on a leash, but she ran around in circles on the sand, and in the surf, and "caught" sand that we threw at/to her.  I mean, we didn't bring any actual balls with us, so we had to improvise.  It was a lot less mean than it sounds, and she had a blast.

Our friend James, that we had met back at the marina in Washington, came to Wrightsville and took Riley out to pick up a few supplies.  We so appreciated that!  Then he and his wife met us again yesterday, and sailed with us to Carolina Beach.  We really enjoyed having them along!  It's neat because James had been in on this trip from the beginning; he had seen Winbrandt in her original condition, and worked on his own boat alongside us in the boatyard while trading expertise back and forth with Riley.  Having him and his wife Amy join us for this leg of the trip was really a great way to bring this endeavor full circle.

photo courtesy of our friend James
Carolina Beach State Park
 We spent last night at the marina at Carolina Beach State Park.  It was our first stay at a dock since we left a week ago.  They had showers!  And washing machines!  And pizza delivery! And electric for our heater!  It's funny how the simplest things now feel like luxuries.  We left feeling refreshed and ready to get our hands dirty again. Next stop... Southport!

linking up with Sami today!

Oct 25, 2013

I must confess...


1. I haven't washed my hair or had a proper shower in four days*.  And I don't hate it.

2. I've been sneaking chocolates out of Riley's personal candy stash.
(I didn't get my own so that I wouldn't be constantly tempted by it.  See how well this logic is working out for me?)

3. I've had more complete conversations with Gidget over the past week than I have had with Riley (or any humans, for that matter).  Of the two of them, she is more likely to agree with me, and less likely to talk back.

4. Last night I had a three course meal at dinner time.  Jelly beans, Pringles, and pancakes.


5. Around 7pm or so, I start watching the clock until it's a reasonably appropriate time to go to sleep.  It's so dark, and this sailing stuff is exhausting!  Of course, the actual sleeping part is another story all together.



Okay, now your turn!  Do you have anything you might want to fess up to... hmm?

Linking up for Five on Friday with DarciAprilChristina and Natasha. And with Casey for Fresh 
Face Friday, too!

*So that you're not completely grossed out, I at least need to tell you that we do have a solar shower, but it's been mostly cloudy and entirely too cold to stand outside and shower in a bathing suit.  Also, I'm aware that this photo is totally awkward.

Oct 24, 2013

port of call: Beaufort, North Carolina

the historic burial grounds.  I have a thing for old cemeteries I guess, and this one is definitely my favorite so far.  It felt like an enchanted forest.
I briefly considered leaving him here, but then remembered that I'd never find my way home alone.
the dinghy dock.  you can just barely see the bottoms of their respective sailboats at anchor at the very top of the photo.

Beaufort's a real charmer!  We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and decided to stay through Wednesday.  It's location makes it an ideal stop for cruisers on their way to the Bahamas and Caribbean.  We weren't too far from the dinghy dock, and only minutes away from the shops and restaurants that lined Front Street.  We had gorgeous weather on Wednesday morning, so we took some time wandering through the historic district.  The town is rich with history and pirate folklore, and it's also the setting for the Nicholas Sparks books A Walk to Remember and The Choice.  I always appreciate little trivia like that. We didn't stay on land for too long though, because the wind really picked up and Riley was concerned about our anchor holding. We had never anchored out with so many other boats nearby, and definitely didn't want to run into anyone if our anchor was dragging. We were rocking and rolling for awhile there, but eventually the wind calmed down, and so did Riley's nerves.

Overall, it was a great stop... if you're on land.  It's definitely a town I wouldn't mind visiting again.    And it was good to stretch our legs on land for a bit. But we may not choose to anchor here again due to the strong current and exposed anchorage.  It was a good learning experience for us; fortunately one that we survived without a scratch.  Traveling onward through the ICW today!

Oct 23, 2013

when dreams come true

Riley and Gidget taking a cruise in the dinghy first thing yesterday morning.
motoring down the intracoastal waterway.
coming into Beaufort, NC.
first time we've anchored with so many other boats.  we're used to being out in the middle of nowhere by ourselves!

I think there are several stages to the whole "dream" process.  First there's the idea.  The vague, "I hope I do this one day."  Then there's the plan.  You start to think maybe, just maybe you could actually make this dream a reality and you begin working to put a plan into action.  There's the excitement.  Your life is going to change and it's going to be amazing.  There's the stress.  Making a dream into a reality is so much more difficult than it should be.  There are problems, and fears, and unknowns and mundane life stuff to work through.  And then, after all that... it comes true.

Throughout the whole process there's this undercurrent of doubt.  I remember when I first started telling people about our dream.  I was visiting family in Maryland, and at a loss for any very interesting life updates to relay, I started saying, "oh, and we're going to buy a sailboat and sail down the coast.  In about a year or so."  I don't know if I even really believed it at the time, and I sure don't know that anyone else did either.  They at least pretended that they did, so that was nice.  But still, as we started making plans and actual changes in preparation, it was so hard for me to believe that we were actually going to do this.  I don't blame anyone else for doubting us, either.

Now I keep saying to Riley, "we did it!  Can you believe that we're doing this?  But can you actually believe that we're really doing this?"  The sense of pride that we dreamed something up and then actually made it happen is overwhelming!  Of course, we didn't really do it by ourselves, and we will be forever grateful for every blessing, every door that was opened, and every path that was made straight.  Ok, actually a lot of the paths were pretty bumpy, but we're still grateful.

Even if we have to turn around next month with our tail between our legs and come home, it will be worth it knowing that we gave it our best shot.  Even if we have to turn around next week.  I hope not, because this was a heck of a lot of work for a weeks vacation.  The point is, no matter what happens from here on out, we'll call it a success.  For better or worse, we took the leap.

It's obviously still early in the game, and we're taking baby steps, trying not to push too hard until we find our groove.  But we made it to Beaufort, North Carolina yesterday, and it looks like a cute town, so we're planning to hang out here for another day.  Then, we'll be on the move again!

Oct 22, 2013

creamy pumpkin soup with apples and bacon


Is everyone tired of pumpkin yet? Just bear with me, because this really is the best soup that I have ever made (we're not counting the white bean and chicken chili, obviously). The aroma of the apples cooking in the skillet combined with the scent of the pumpkin is mouthwatering, and so very… fall. This is a super easy recipe, but the creaminess of the soup and the addition of apples and bacon make it amazing.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Bacon
adapted from a Food Network magazine insert

Ingredients
1 15oz. can of pumpkin
1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 peeled and cubed apple
cooked and crumbled bacon, to taste


In order to get by with only using one pot and one skillet, I cooked the apple first, melting a little bit of butter in the skillet and cooking the apple until soft. Then I set it aside and cooked the bacon with the same skillet.

Meanwhile, I combined all of the other ingredients in the pot and brought it to a simmer. I whisked it for about five minutes or so, and then served it topped with the bacon and apples. Extra bacon for Riley, extra apples for me, just the way we like it. The whole thing was so quick and easy, not to mention delicious, that we'll definitely be making it a go-to dinner on the boat.


Do you have any favorite quick and easy soup recipes to pass along?  I'd love to hear them!

I'm linking up with Jessica and Ashley today!

Oct 21, 2013

setting sail... the adventure begins now!


Yesterday was the big day; we finally set sail!

We started off the morning by visiting a service at the First Baptist Church in New Bern. It's a gorgeous old building right in the heart of the historic downtown. The service was beautiful and we left with hearts feeling so full and grateful. We had a small send off party, my mom and sister, who graciously made the 5+ hour trip to say goodbye and drive our car back for us as well. After so many gray and dreary days, the weather was absolutely perfect. We had gotten a later start than we intended, so we only sailed for a few hours before finding a safe place to anchor for the night. All in all, the first day was everything we could have possibly hoped for, and it's hard to put into words exactly how strange and exciting this whole experience feels.

our home for the night


I want you to know that I have so appreciated all of your supportive and encouraging words. It means so much to me that so many of you are sharing in our excitement. I'm going to try to be better about updates on twitter and instagram, so you're more than welcome to follow along on there as well! We're only just getting started now… I can't wait to see what happens next!

Linking up with Mary Beth and Sami!
 

Oct 18, 2013

how do you know when you're ready?


All morning I've been watching Riley tear up every inch of our living space in order to install our new refrigeration system.  "As soon as I get this in and mount the solar panels, we'll be ready, " he says.

Oh we will, will we?

How do you ever know when you're ready?  Really ready?

If you're thinking about quitting your job, retiring, moving out or moving on, getting married or having a baby, then you're in luck.  There are a multitude of quizzes and "5 Signs You're Ready..." articles that can make the decision for you.  And then you'll be certain.  Right?

Are you ready when you finally have enough money?  Enough time?  Enough guts?  You've read enough books and made enough preparations?  But then, of course, there's the age old question... how much is enough?

We've dreamed and planned and prayed, and watched as doors have been opened and paths have been made straight(ish). We've packed up our belongings, moved out of our house, moved onto a boat, completed a million and one projects on our to-do list, and eliminated several others that we have decided just aren't going to make the cut.  We've had our fill of stinky fish and marina life.  We've had our fill of waiting and our fill of saying "not too much longer now..."  We are so completely ready, and so completely not ready, all at the same time.  You never can really can be sure, can you?  If you wait until you're ready, you'll probably never do it at all.  If it's worth enough to you, you'll do it anyway.  So that's just precisely what we're going to do.  Ready or not, here we go.
 
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