I know fall is almost over and I need to get on board with the fact that winter is on its way. The leaves are mostly off of our trees, and it is getting colder every day. Even as fall leaves us and we move into winter, I still want all things pumpkin. I even joined the silly controversy and the rest of the world in getting a Starbucks red cup for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was worth it.
I also love me some yummy coffee cake. Of course I am addicted to my mom’s version (thank you Betty Crocker) so thought it would be fun to try a pumpkin version – why not right? It was okay. It has this ribbon-like swirl of pumpkin in the middle that is a bit strange for someone like me with food texture issues. If you like a strong pumpkin flavor then this is your kind of treat.
Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of canola oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Beat the sugar and oil together in a large mixing bowl. Then beat in the eggs. Beat in the flour and baking powder. Beat in just two of the tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice.
Spread half of the batter across base of prepared baking dish. Open the can of pumpkin and stir in the remaining tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Spread the pumpkin over the batter. Spread the other half of the batter on top of the pumpkin. Gently swirl the three layers together with a knife.
It was so nice to have a long weekend. Somehow we got plenty done, did some fun things, caught up with friends and family, and had some naps dabbled within all that. Saturday we napped in the late afternoon (so nice)! Saturday night I fell asleep snuggled on Chris’ nap, and then Sunday we had brunch and I curled up next to him on the couch for a snooze, only to find out my snuggling with him made him fall asleep sitting up. Ah, how nice naps are for adults.
It was an interesting weekend, on Sunday I was quite cranky, and then two random acts of kindness happened to me (and yet I was still cranky). The first happened at the Starbucks drive-thru. I was very thirsty, as all weekend it was between 97-102 degrees which almost never happens in Portland, and definitely not before July 4th. Usually we are just hoping for a slightly warm and dry 4th. This year we got dry and hot-as-hell too. Chris and I spent most of our time in our bedroom where we have air conditioning.
So back to the random acts of kindness at Starbucks. When we got up to the window to pay, the girl at the window said, “The woman in the car ahead of you paid for your drink.” Wow. I always hear of that happening, but it has never happened to me (that I can remember). It makes me want to pay it forward the next time I am at Starbucks. You would have thought that would have lightened my mood. It made me grateful and appreciative, but nonetheless I was still cranky.
Random act of kindness #2. We were at Sephora. Not my favorite place in the world. It was loud, (and remember I was cranky). The line was long and I was done with my errands and just wanted to go home. As I am next in line at the register, the girl who had just paid turns to me and says, “Would you like to use the rest of this gift card? There is only a dollar left.” I was a bit taken aback. Sure, it was only a dollar, but she did not have to pass it on. Most people would keep it until their next purchase. Of course, she might dislike the store as much as me, and hope not to go back. In any case, I think I was a bit shocked at the second act of kindness in one day. I mumbled a “thanks” and continued with my purchase. Later, though I felt like my shock meant I did not share my gratitude in the best of ways. Sure, it was a dollar, but sharing is sharing.
This was my story of the kindness that was shared with me yesterday, now it is my turn to pass on the love. Join me?
Summer is over. You might think I am crazy, that the weather is still warm out, but I will give you a few reasons why I am bummed that another summer is over. Sure, I could tell you that schools are back in session which means the time of my commute has just increased by another 10-15 minutes, which means I have to get out of bed earlier. I could also tell you that my company has summer half day Fridays, which the last one occurs for the summer on the Friday before Labor Day. I could tell you that the sun in my backyard is getting rarer and rarer each day. I could tell you that sunsets are getting earlier and earlier and the days are darker and shorter.
All of these things make me crave for life to slow down so I can enjoy things a bit more. Or maybe, I just need to slow down. The real reason I know summer is definitely over has nothing to do with the sun, schools, or light and everything to do with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I am addicted. Every Spring I get excited for Summer and my avid excitement for iced coffee and every Fall I get giddy over a few months of joy and the ever sweet and addicting Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I usually do not like to drink Starbucks. I am one who drinks my coffee black, and prefers to truly savor the flavor and, because of that, I think Starbucks coffee is disgusting. Except for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. You cannot taste the coffee anyways, so what does it matter? I am all about all things pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, basically I want anything spiced, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin for the next few months.
September 2 is the launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte for Starbucks. It seems that each year they launch it earlier and earlier, but I am not complaining. I drink them all throughout fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, until a random day in early January when we walk into a Starbucks and order a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and they say they are out. I am then a hopeless wanderer for five months until the days begin to get warm and my iced coffee glee starts all over again.
We talk about random acts of kindness and how we do not always know the impact we have made on another’s life. We might pay for the coffee of the person behind us at Starbucks, or let someone go ahead of us in line at the grocery store. We may never see that individual again, and we never know if our small act has made an impact on their day. We don’t do it to say, “I did this.” Instead, we do it out of love, we do it to be selfless, we do it to lighten another’s load.
Often, I am deep in my thoughts, a zillion to-do lists cascading through my mind as I walk, drive, or scurry from point A to B. Yet, as I check items off the list, and add new items, I may miss opportunities to help another. I could always be more aware of what is happening around me. How often do you notice someone in need, and yet keep walking because you think, “I do not have time to stop.” or “I have too much to do to think about how to help.” I get it, as I am sure we all have those days, but has that become the norm that we are too busy to stop?
When I saw this video (in Thai, with subtitles), I immediately thought, if only we all could be more like this man, the world would be a better place. I know I often write about awareness, helping others, and gratitude, but each time I find a new idea I always want to share it. Repeating similar message in different ways allows us each to open our thoughts to new ways of thinking. Each are new reminders on how to lead better lives. My hope is the ideas that inspire me, will only then inspire others. So watch this man share of himself and hopefully be inspired.
We each could probably be better about keeping our head out of the clouds. Together lets notice more of what is happening around us. It might help us to see that all those lists are of small importance to what is happening around us.
Last week it rained like cats and dogs here in Portland. It poured and poured. I guess it means summer is almost over, and yet it went by so fast. I am a bit bummed out about this news. I loved all the time that we worked on our home, being outside, having meetings outside while basking in the sun. Some of my favorite parts of summer: flip flops, dresses, skirts, freckles, iced coffee, sunshine, fresh fruit, veggies, and flowers, farmers markets, the list goes on. Starbucks is already offering my favorite fall/winter drink: a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Yum. So does that mean it is officially fall?
As I look back, nostalgic about summer, it made me remember my local library’s Summer Reading Club. This was back in the day when there was a card in the back of the book that sat in the sleeve, and they would stamp the date of when you would need to return the book. There was a long wall that they set up. It was set up in increments to space out the different numbers of books read over the summer. I loved proudly posting the number of books I had read during each library visit of the summer. If I remember correctly there were mini prizes the higher you got up the wall.
Even though I will miss my dresses and flip flops, there have been a few days of cooler weather when I have pulled out the jeans and long sleeved shirts, and it has been quite nice. Since I live in Portland, I will of course miss the sunny skies, abundant farmers markets, and eventually I will have to put my flip flops away.
What are your favorite things of summer? What will you miss most?