Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix

Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix with Chex
Hi friends —

I made some Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix this weekend, and since the recipe has been requested a few times I thought I'd share here too, thus saving myself the trauma of trying to remember where I saved the recipe on my computer and then having to remember to send it to multiple people. I feel sorry for all of us collectively when I think back to the olden days (aka 10 years ago) when we had to hand-write recipes on world-worn and dripped upon index cards. Savage.

Before we get started, this is my official reminder that I'm very much a from-the-hip cook, as stated here and here, which means I'll do my very best to give you measurements and such but you are entering into this endeavor at your own risk. I encourage you to adjust the recipe according to your personal preferences. So, if you like things to be a little less sweet, by all means use less sugar, or less butter, or whatever it takes to make you happy!

For the spice mixture:
1 stick butter
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 TBS. pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of nutmeg

For the trail part of this mix:
3 cups plain Chex cereal
2 cups cinnamon Chex cereal
1 - 2 C. pretzels
1/2 C. granola
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1/4 C. walnuts

Melt the butter in the microwave, then stir in the brown sugar and other spices. Put all the cereal, pretzels and granola in a large mixing bowl, dump the butter mixture on top and stir until evenly distributed. Spread evenly onto a non-stick baking sheet. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 325 degrees for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for 15 more minutes or until crunchy. Let cool completely, then stir in cranberries, nuts, and candy corns and pumpkin marshmallow candies (if you're feeling particularly festive.)

Switch the ingredients for the trail part with whatever you like ... if you prefer a different dried fruit or like almonds better than walnuts or whatever. If you don't use the cinnamon cereal, I recommend adding 1/2 tsp. to the spice mixture.

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Today, Pre-Sunrise

Howdy, hello. Coming to you here at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday! A big shoutout to my husband who has taken the morning shift for years, because he's much more of a morning person than I. (That's a huge understatement.) This mainly means he threatens violence less often in the early morning hours if someone speaks to him, and that he can fall right back to sleep no matter what he's been dealing with: vomiting dogs, screeching babies, early morning smoke detector alerts to change the batteries. Etc. Me, not so much. I wake up, fire off dirty looks, and mostly refuse to deal with any sort of catastrophe unless flames are crawling up my legs. But once I've had some coffee it's all good in the suburban hood.

But seriously, I cannot imagine anything less cheerful than awakening this early to attend a cheer competition of all things. Except I'm so grateful little sister's knee has healed up so she CAN participate in today's competition. So I'm pretty sure once I've had 3 cups of coffee I will be SUPER cheerful! Go Raiders!

In other news, Herschel Walker is the nicest guy ever. Read my article about him here.

What are you cheerful about this weekend?



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Today in Blog Land

I snapped this photo this summer in Square Books in Oxford, Miss., just down the lane from Faulkner's Rowan Oaks. Can we agree this is the best use of a post-it note to date?

Has anyone else ever faced the problem that if something isn't right in your face, demanding to be done (generally falling under the category of deadline, hungry, sleepy, barking, whining, reminding incessantly, stinking, annoying or aflame) that it very likely won't get done?  Please say yes.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I get lots of other important things done other than feeding my family, hitting work deadlines and letting dogs outside to conduct important business. But there are many, many delightful tasks upon which I would like to focus a modicum of my time and energy that fall to the wayside simply because they aren't in my face demanding attention.

Then, heaven forbid if you throw a little obstacle in the path. Welcome to Never-Never Land little fun task! We hope you love it here, because we hear the wait time can be quite long! Try not to get lost or forgotten ... good luck with that.

And so it has been with my dear blog. I love it here! I love writing, maybe snapping a picture or two, dog-earring a fun something to share or jotting down a writing or business tip for a future post. But my client work has been full-throttle the last 6 months (which is fantastic!), my kiddos have remained their non-stop, non-driving school/sports/social selves (also fantastic!) and I have had a brain block.

No, really. Every time I'd think "I'll make time to blog today" I'd start worrying about what to write. Should I do a business-focused post? A writing post? A humor post for those needing a giggle? Or a general purpose, yammering life/parenting post? Then I'd worry that some folks would be all "eh" because they were hoping for one thing and received another, sort of like when you are hoping for a nice steak dinner and they serve you tilapia instead. I mean, the tilapia is fine ... it's just not steak. So then I'd put off writing. And put it off again. And again.

Until today, when I decided to take a seat and write. About whatever. Which today turns out to be essentially about procrastination. The next post could be about writing a better email, or Deez Nuts, or the fact that I'm certain prayer increases ten-fold -- even by non-believers -- if you're trapped inside a vehicle with a 15-year-old behind the wheel. I think the perfect theme word for riding with learning drivers is "clinch," and frankly it applies to every part of your body.

Anywho, I hope you'll stick around ... and that we all enjoy the clinch-free ride.


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A Change ... Will Do You Good

I had a rather interesting conversation with my teenage daughter recently. We were playing corn hole, and while my little bean bag's corner was tilting wildly close to the edge of the board's circular hole, it wasn't tipping in -- or scoring me points. Unacceptable. I expressed my frustration eloquently, I think something along the lines of "ARGGGHhhhhhhh," to which my daughter replied:

"Change something."

"But it's so close!" I said. "Every single time it is almost hitting the mark!"

"Almost, but it's not going in," she said. "So you need to change something."

This advice, while wise and useful, wasn't the clincher for me. That comes next, but here's what you need to know: I'm a planner. A strategist, a brainstormer, a maker of to-do lists. Give me a plan with a sound strategy to back it up and get out of my way, cause I'm about to make something happen. It may get messy, but it WILL get done. 

I also respect persistence, an ability to stay the course when the going gets tough and doubt sets in, making you question whether it's worth the trouble. Let's just say that if I played slot machines, which I do not because ewwww the germs on those coins and probably casinos in general, I would be one of those people who would hunker down at one machine and stay there all night, refusing to move lest some greasy, toothless n'er-do-well reap the rewards of my persistence. Or stubbornness. Whatever. Stay the course, I say.

So on to the part about this conversation that has stuck with me for more than a year. For a moment, my teen child and I traded roles, I becoming the somewhat sassy and argumentative teen, she the sage -- calm, sensible and comfortable in the wisdom she was to impart.

"This should be going in! I should be winning!" I said. "My stance is perfect, my toss sublime, the follow through supreme! What do I need to change?!"

I may have stamped my foot in frustration.

"I don't know what you need to change, but what you're doing right now is definitely not working, so try different things until you figure it out," she said. 

Record scratch and what the what?!

So you don't need an 12-point plan with spreadsheets, pie charts and market research to change course? Particularly if the consequences won't set you back any further than your current status?

Huh. Ha. Interesting.

I don't know about you, but lots of times if I don't know exactly what to change, I change nothing. I file lots of things under the "I'll eventually figure out what to do differently, but until then I shall continue to do exactly the same things that I know are not working, mostly out of habit. Please do not disturb." 

At least that was the case until that lovely autumn day when the child took her Mom back to school. And her Mom is still grateful, because now whenever I'm feeling stuck I ask myself "what have I been doing, and what's something different -- anything different -- I can try?"

I swear these words are magic, their magician a teenage girl.


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The Last of the Winter Weekends


Say what you will about winter (and I snarl many a contemptuous remark about the chilly days spanning from January to March-ish), but it does perform sunsets with flourish, tantalizing us to see so much more of its glorious colors with its trees standing strong but bare, a game of peek-a-boo with nature. Winter ... you naughty minx.

This weekend I'm:

~reading this book.
~planning for spring.
~cooking this, though I think I'll grill chicken breasts in lieu of what they've got going on here.
~procrastinating this.
~watching this on this (which we love, by the way. Love, love, and fight over it enough we may get another.)
~contemplating this. Join me, Southerners and non-Southerners alike ...

How about you? Anything fantastic for one of these last (please) winter weekends?


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Mazel Tov!

I can, with confidence, say we will not be taking any pre-Bat Mitzvah party photos at the lake this weekend. Because it will be 40 degrees. Sigh.

What are you doing this weekend?

Enough about you, let's talk about me ... I'm going to my very first Bat Mitzvah of my entire life this weekend! I am extremely excited. So excited you'd think this Bat Mitzvah was at a synagogue in Italy, or Israel, but it isn't. It's like a 5 mile drive from my house.

Let me give you a little Bar Mitzvah background. Between my two daughters, they've been to like like 40. Well, not quite that many ... more along the lines of 12 and counting, but for a bunch of Methodists I feel that's an impressive number.

I was super excited for my older daughter when she was invited to her first Bar Mitzvah when she was in 7th grade (which is when they turn 13, which is when they do their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.) She asked me "Mom, how many Bar Mitzvahs did you get invited to when you were my age?"

To which I was forced to reply "exactly zero. Not many opportunities to fraternize with the Jewish community when you attend Evangelical Christian School from kindergarten through 12th grade."

Which is why I am perhaps uncommonly excited about attending a religious ceremony of another religion this weekend.

Already instruction has been provided by our younger, yet Mitzvah-wiser daughters:

"They will walk around with the Torah for the congregation to kiss or touch or something. Dad, remember that you are not Jewish and should NOT touch the Torah."

Understood. Also, there's a kiddush luncheon afterwards, which apparently involves bagels.

Then there's the soiree that evening ... for which I still need to find something to wear.  Have I mentioned I'm excited?

I hope y'all all have something you are really excited about this weekend, too!


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Please Note the New Blog Header for 2015

Hello, and Happy New Year! Please note the new blog header for 2015 (subscribers, you'll have to click through to the actual website to see such.)

I want you to note the new header because it's the reason today is the first post of the new year.

It's the first post because I disciplined myself to design and post the new header prior to writing any new posts.

(Anyone who's thinking "well, how disciplined are you really if it took 14 full days to design and post a new header?" is clearly a cynic, and should probably work on that as a resolution.)

The picture above, while delightful, is from the reject pile.

I promise actually entertaining and/or helpful posts soon now that the header albatross is off my back. Man, I feel so much lighter! Albatrosses, particularly the digital kind, are super heavy ...


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