fabulous friday #52

Hi friends, and happy Friday! Hope you’re up to something fun! I’m heading into the city as soon as I hit “publish” on this blog post to have lunch with my hubby {I still get a little giggly calling Allyn my husband :)} and then I’m going to have an afternoon “writing retreat” at a coffeeshop. I’m excited to delve into this new novel I’m working on, and also to get in some distraction-free commenting time on the wonderful batch of poems and stories I received from my creative writing students this past week. {News since I last posted an update on here: I’m teaching a weekly creative writing class for high school students in San Jose, and I’m LOVING it!} Speaking of things I’m loving…

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. One Teen Story! I love this little magazine for so many reasons. The issues come out every month, and each issue is a new story geared for teen audiences {but wise and wonderfully written — I think adults will love them, too!} Some of them are even written by teens, including “A Eulogy for Pretzel” and “Sunrise” in this batch below. I often slip a couple issues into my bag when I am taking public transport somewhere, so I can read without having to lug around a bulky book — I can fit these even into my small purse. I also like to use issues as “prizes” to motivate my writing students.

one teen story

2. Pumpkin Spice Cheerios — I nabbed these when I spotted them at the grocery store because I adore pretty much anything pumpkin spice. I have been eating them for breakfast or as a snack all week long, and I also made these delicious cereal bars from Eating Bird Food.

3. Last weekend, for Allyn’s birthday, I planned a birthday surprise outing for him. I absolutely love birthdays and I had so much fun planning out a fun adventure for us. We went to the pumpkin patch where we were able to conquer a corn maze for the second year in a row and picked out some stellar pumpkins for only $4 each! I have named them Fred & Ginger.

Allyn pumpkin patch

Then we went out to dinner at this neat restaurant called Old City Hall Restaurant that used to actually be the town City Hall — there is so much history in the building, and where the bathrooms are used to be the jail cells! They still have the iron gates and it was definitely the coolest bathroom I have ever seen. I would have taken a picture for you guys but I had left my purse/phone at the table!

I did however take lots of photos of our final stop of the surprise-filled day: the Lumination experience at Gilroy Gardens! This was so cool, you guys! If you live in the Bay Area, I highly recommend it. It is like the Rose Parade meets Christmas lights meets the Chinese lantern festival. We spent a couple hours walking all over the gardens and taking in all the amazing light sculptures. One of my favorites was a ginormous dragon that was entirely built out of china dishes–cups, bowls, plates, etc! It was incredible to behold.

dragon lumination

dragon china plates

4. Something about autumn always makes me bust out my James Taylor albums, especially October Road, and I love his new one Before This World as well. Lately I’ve also been rocking out to this Ben Rector song… impossible to be in a grumpy or tired mood when this song comes on, am I right??

5. I don’t usually get political in this space, but this election feels too perilous not to speak out against hatred, violence, misogyny, racism, homophobia, and a terrifying frenzy of fear. Too much is at stake to stay silent. In these times of uncertainty, I have been particularly inspired by this movement, #DedicateYourNoTrumpVote, started by writers Julianna Baggott and David Scott, who reached out to fellow writers, family, and friends, who reached out to more folks and word spread quickly. The response has been overwhelming — some pieces are heartbreaking and moving, others inspiring, others simply stunning. The line-up of writers include two Pulitzer-prizewinners, New York Times bestselling novelists, a National Book Award-winner, critically acclaimed poets, as well as social workers, teachers, even a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Special Forces. DedicateYourNoTrumpVote.com is looking for people from various walks of life, a diverse range of experience and points of view. Submit your own piece, or just read the words of others and consider what you want your vote to stand for — what legacy you want to leave to your future children and grandchildren.

Questions for the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What do you have on the agenda for this weekend?

election day pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Happy election day! Have you voted yet? If you haven’t, before you read any more of this or do anything else, please go out and vote! I think this picture one of my friends posted on Facebook says it well:

After a cold rainy weekend, we have been having beautiful sunshine here in Indiana yesterday and today, and I am trying to soak up every golden ray! It’s still cold enough to layer up with comfy sweaters, boots and scarves–my favorite fall fashion staples. I remember when I lived in California, I always wished it would get cold enough to layer up in autumn clothing. Now my cozy knitted goods are getting plenty of use, that’s for sure!

I’m loving Pumpkin Week so far and have a delicious recipe to share with you today: pumpkin oatmeal cookies! I tweaked these cookies to use up some leftover Halloween candy after I was inspired by this post on the Bon Appetit website that recommends topping oatmeal cookies with candy corn before baking. However, I think these cookies would be perfectly delicious without the candy corn, too, or with chocolate chips, nuts, or even dried cranberries. This is a good base recipe to experiment with!

pumpkin oatmeal cookies

– 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 cup pumpkin
– 3/4 cup oats
– 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
– butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, candy corn, or desired toppings!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Stir in the pumpkin.

3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Batter will be thick!

5. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet. If desired, add chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or candy corn toppings.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.

These are perfect served warm from the oven with a big glass of milk! 🙂 Do you know of any good recipes for using up leftover candy corn or other Halloween candy? I’d love if you would share them in the comments section.

Have a wonderful day! And please, get out to the polls and vote!!