Savoring a large cup or two in the quiet morning hours has become a necessary and important part of my daily routine. There are mornings I even wake up early to make sure I have this coffee time before we have places to be, including Sunday mornings before worship.
I’m also quite fond of pumpkin spice season at Starbucks. That first sip of pumpkin cream cold brew is the highlight of September 1 each year and I relish each cup throughout the fall. Living just outside Atlanta I don’t go out for just coffee though, unless I have plans. With the kiddos grown there isn’t as much running around going on. Besides paying $5 for coffee every time I go out the door definitely adds up.
But, I still want to enjoy pumpkin spice during this fall season.
So I’ve come up with my own “copycat” recipe to enjoy at home or on the go.
It’s super easy to make and fits in our budget much better. The best part of all is it is delicious on hot as well as iced coffee!
The ingredients for the cream topping are simple: You’ll need heavy whipping cream, pumpkin purée (homemade is best so that you are getting actual pumpkin & not a “squash mixture”), brown sugar and of course pumpkin spice.
This works best made in small batches; in other words, coffee for one.
For one cup of 8 ounce coffee, using a frother whisk a 1/4 cup cream, 1 heaping tablespoon of pumpkin purée, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, a one pinch pumpkin spice. This should be slightly thickened and easily pourable. This is how your coffee is sweetened and needs to drift to the bottom some.
Pour your hot coffee into a mug. Then top with the cream. Garnish with pumpkin pie spice and enjoy alone or with a friend if you must.
BTW, this is really delicious when made with vanilla coffee.
The iced coffee is similarly assembled; add ice and 8 ounces of coffee, then pour the pumpkin cream over the top. Give it a quick stir to help the cream drop.
Just a couple of quick notes:
First, don’t over spice the top. It should be very subtle & when drinking you DO NOT want to inhale or sip pure pumpkin pie spice! Second, there is a reason Starbucks doesn’t give you a straw for your ICED pumpkin cream coffee … if you sip through a straw you only get a mouthful of Cold. Black coffee. If you drink from the top, you will relish the rich pumpkin cream with each sip.
In the last five years we’ve been able to visit Disney in several forms from a Cruise, parks, resorts to just stopping and shopping at Disney Springs while passing through. One thing is for certain, the wonderful world of Disney loves its sweet treats and puts so much effort into every confection no matter where you are!
Recently while in Orlando visiting Hollywood Studios I couldn’t help but capture some of these delights to share with you!
“This much I know. If you are what you eat, then I only wanna eat the good stuff.” —Ratatouille
From marshmallows to apples dipped in chocolate the Mickey theme is everywhere you turn!
And Mickey tastes delicious!
Of course many of your other classic characters make an appearance in sweet shops as well. Goofy’s Candy Company in Disney Springs is one of my favorite stops.
I’m a firm believer that calories don’t count at a Disney, so while I did enjoy some of these treats, I brought home the rest for Audley to enjoy!
As Winnie the Pooh says, “I wasn’t going to eat it, I was just gonna taste it.”
Sweet treats in the parks are often themed to match where you are. While in Galaxy’s Edge I stopped by the Milk Stand and shared blue and green milk with ” The Child “.
In case you’ve wondered (and the Instagram poll I conducted proved it), blue milk is the best!
Regardless of your preference for blue or green milk, it’s a very refreshing treat on a humid Florida afternoon.
Fantastic confections were also found at the new Riviera Resort. Made fresh daily you could grab a cupcake to eat while savoring your coffee or a delectable cheesecake to enjoy for dessert after a Tuna Niçoise salad.
And while the sugary treats are mouth-watering and hip expanding, you can’t visit Disney without enjoying Mickey Mouse shaped waffles. They are my most favorite treat of all!
A happy way to begin the day indeed!
“You know the thing about good food? It brings folks together from all walks of life. It warms them right up and it puts little smiles on their faces.” — The Princess and the Frog
This year has been anything but normal, so when my girlfriend Tami reached out to me for a little road trip to Orlando I had a bag packed in a snap! The idea of doing something “normal” was extremely exciting!
Walt Disney World arranged park entry to Hollywood Studios (I’ve only visited Magic Kingdom and Epcot so this was exciting) and a stay at the new and gorgeous Riviera Resort. We were able to check out the newest rides and spaces, as well as all the health and safety measures they are taking so you can still enjoy the parks!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios was Walt Disney’s third park which opened in 1989. Its undergone several transformations over the years, but continues the premise as an ode to the “Golden Age of Hollywood” with details and architecture that will send your imagination into overdrive as you step back in time.
Hollywood Studios is an opportunity to emerge yourself in the movies you love through interactive rides, shows, parades, and experiences.
When you first enter the park you’ll stroll down the main street of the park; Hollywood Blvd. it is homage to the beautiful Art Deco style of the 30’s and 40’s. Neon, chrome, architecture with personality surround you as you meander towards the park’s iconic Chinese Theater.
While waiting in line for Micky & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, check out all the handprints in front of the Chinese Theater & see who you recognize!
Once you reach the Chinese Theater you can experience the fun of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway adventure! This brand new ride actually opened just a few days before the coronapocalypse shut the world down. It is the first ride to actually feature the iconic Mickey Mouse! It’s a super cute ride no matter your age.
Hollywood Studios is so much fun to walk through as you check out each themed area.
One of my favorite rides was the famous Tower of Terror that has been a hit in the park since 1994! I could’ve ridden it several times!
Galaxy’s Edge opened in 2019 to delight of Star War’s fans of all ages. It is by far the most popular attraction in the park! In Galaxy’s Edge I enjoyed blue and green milk with baby Yoda aka “The Child” and guided the Millennium Falcon on a Smuggler’s Run. Tami & I also took a 3-D Star Tour with C3PO. It was so much fun!
Toy Story Land is so colorful and enticing we had to check out a few rides there as well! The Slinky Dog Roller Coaster through Andy’s Backyard is so cute and if you’re not a fan of coasters you can twirl with the Aliens!
As you can imagine, with this virus going around there are changes to the parks and how things are done. Here are a few things you should be aware of if you are planning a trip in the next few months.
*Masks are required on all Disney properties, at all times, unless you are sitting and actively eating and drinking. This includes parks, resorts and Disney Springs. Take extra masks… it’s hotter than the devils kitchen in Florida this time of year and a mask soaked with sweat is highly uncomfortable.
*When you purchase your tickets to the parks, you must make a reservation for the days will will use the ticket. They’re limiting park attendance, so you must have a reservation to enter.
*Before entering the park your temperature will be taken. If you have a fever, don’t go.
*Each ride is set up so that you are socially distanced as you wait. There are limits on how many can ride and only every other car/row is used.
*There are hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer stations everywhere in the park. I do mean everywhere.
*As for experiences in the park, they are different. There are a limited number of character experiences, generally found in the form of parades, and very few shows. You can feel a difference in the level of “magic”. The Disney Parks app is essential as you order and pay for your food and sign-up for times for certain rides. The Advantage of park policies right now are short lines for most of the rides.
Overall visiting a Disney Park has definite pros and cons right now. I am not a fan of masks so it was a policy that dampened some of my enthusiasm (and my mood once the sweaty thing rubbed a blister on my jaw). I did love limiting guest attendance to the park; shorter lines, not stepping on heels of people in front of you and not feeling like the whole world is crammed in around you. Smaller crowds is a definite plus and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they kept that policy! Ordering food through the app is super convenient, but I am not a fan of my payment info being saved on the app. Overall it was a fun trip and i would go back if given the opportunity. If you decide to make the trip, just remember to make a reservation and plan out all the details of your trip before venturing down to Orlando!
Nothing makes you look at your home in a whole new light than being “stuck” inside.
During these few months of shelter-in-place and minimal going out I’ve had plenty of time to take a close look and analyze my decorating style. I realized that after raising four kids and keeping an open door policy I really don’t have a style, except teenage friendly!
Outside a few mirrors, a monogram and one canvas print, my walls are covered in nothing but family pictures! Upstairs and down you’ll find vacation, kindergarten, senior, military, and lots of wedding pictures. A collection of Christmas pictures, and pictures of my nieces and nephews.
So many pictures.
Homey and Cozy?
What fits mine and Audley’s taste as we enter the empty nest years?
I’m not so sure!
I love having my kids and their accomplishments plastered on the wall, but at the same time as we enter this new phase of life it would be nice to not feel so confined by my wall decor. For the first time in 25 years we are kid-free and I would like to create more of a grownup ambiance throughout the house.
This is actually easier said than done.
When Photowall reached out and asked me to check out their collections, I was quite excited to add something different to our walls.
Photowall is a Swedish wall-art company passionate about creating inspiring living spaces with personality. Photowall has a carefully selected and diverse range of products. This includes posters, canvas prints, framed prints, wall murals and wallpaper.
Digitally printed and framed, all Photowall products are made in Sweden and shipped worldwide; very quickly I might add. Even with COVID-19 affecting shipping I had my order in 3 weeks.
Art is a great way to really dress up a space. Digital art makes it more affordable for all of us. While I don’t want to “erase my kids”, I do want to transform our space so there is more of a balance between their growing up years and an empty nest. I had fun looking at all the different options Photowall showcases on their site.
While checking out all the options available from Photowall I decided the place to start updating our decor was the dining room.
A 55 year old dining room suite is lovely in itself, as is a full china cabinet, but an accent piece on the bare walls really began to add a touch of cozy.
I’m not a huge fan of abstracts, but I love true to life prints and botanicals, so I chose a simple and lovely one that fit my favorite color scheme; blue and white!
Playing with a few accessories which included a huge banana leaf plant, and few ginger jars began changing the whole look of our small dining room in a matter of minutes!
This is not the only sprucing up of the dining room that I plan to do, but it was a great place to start. As you can tell from the pictures We still have a pretty empty space needing attention. I will definitely continue to browse the Photowall catalog to find a coordinating piece for the blue and white botanicals.
Photowall has a massive catalogue to browse for photos and artwork. Once you select the piece you would like to use, you will choose a frame and they do all the work, quickly shipping it out to you!