Pumpkin Train

Yes. I know it is December, which means that all of the hype over pumpkin-flavored food, desserts, and drinks is now over.

However, I just jumped on the pumpkin train only a few short weeks ago, and I’m not ready for this ride to be over quite yet. That’s right, until this year I never ate anything pumpkin. Not even the pie. But this year I have become just a little bit braver when it comes to food…I’ve eaten jalapenos (and loved them), onions (and loved them), mushrooms (and, oddly enough, loved them), and now pumpkin-y things and yes, I also fell in love with them. That picture of pumpkin pie…I ate it in December.

A couple of weeks ago I was assigned to bring the dessert for dinner club’s Thanksgiving gathering. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend (tear!), but I still wanted to make sure my family of friends had something sweet to eat after all their ham and casseroles.

Of course, I reached for my handy-dandy phone to open up my AllRecipes app for this recipe. It’s always my go-go cooking source. I know that all of you are over the pumpkin thing, so I’m not going to bore you with the recipe, but if you are interested in these pumpkin pie chocolate chip cookies, click here!)

I was baking away when the husband got home from basketball practice, and with a very concerned look on his face he asked me, “What are you doing, honey?” When I explained to him that I was baking cookies for dinner club he asked even more concerned now, “From scratch?”

Yes. I made these from scratch, and if I do say so myself they were pretty darn tasty. The term “myself” might actually be completely correct, because even though all my dinner club friends texted me telling me my cookies were delicious, I can’t be for sure they weren’t just trying to make me feel good. I did have to force my husband to eat one…and the word “force” is not an exaggeration…and I’m pretty sure my sister never ate one.

I can’t be for sure if anyone actually ate any at dinner club, but I guess I’ll take their word for it. They must not be too afraid of my dessert-making skills because I volunteered to make dessert for next weekend’s Christmas dinner club and nobody tried to stop me.

I promise, though, I’ll jump off this pumpkin train soon (probably when my pumpkin spice coffee creamer runs out) and I’ll be jumping on a new one soon. I’m expecting some very delicious peppermint and chocolate combinations in my very near future. Maybe this one from Miss Julie!

I mean, it is December after all.

ang

Thanksgiving Scrooge

Yesterday something awesome happened that put me in an instantly amazing mood.

I heard Christmas music.

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Then I remembered that I have dinner club coming up in a couple weekends, and that can only mean one thing in my mind. Christmas ornament exchange. Yes please.

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And, because of Pinterest, all my dinner club friends should be expecting a homemade Christmas ornament from the Mrs. side of this couple.

I know what some of you, er, most of you are thinking. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. And yes, at dinner club we are exchanging our Christmas ornaments, but we are having a Thanksgiving themed dinner (duh).

By the way…I’m pretty sure I brought bruschetta to this event last year. You can probably expect me to bring another italian (i.e. not Thanksgiving) themed dish.

I actually am aware of this, however, I’d rather skip right over Thanksgiving and sprint toward the Christmas season. You can call me the scrooge of Thanksgiving. I’m not a fan of turkey, or stuffing, or mashed potatoes, or casseroles that, because of their color, I’m sure are made with mayonnaise (even if they are not). In fact, on Thanksgiving you can find me carrying a plate heaping of green bean casserole (not to be confused with cheesy green beans that the in-laws make), three to four rolls, and a black olive stuck on each finger of my free hand.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the fact that we’re celebrating the pilgrims and the native americans and friendship and family and being thankful. I’m not an unthankful person, I promise. I am thankful for many things. Many. Many. Many. Things. I’m thankful for an unbelievably loving husband. I’m thankful for my princess Tia who puts a smile on my face seven thousand, three hundred and eleven times a day. I’m thankful for my family, most of which I don’t get to see enough, but all of whom I know love me dearly. I’m thankful for a second chance at a new degree. I’m thankful for all of my friends. I’m thankful for glue guns, colored markers (preferably Sharpies!), and coffee. I’m thankful for my health and my families’ health and my friends’ health. I’m thankful for Ali’s blog, which on Thursdays always reminds me of more things to be thankful for. I’m thankful for blog readers who motivate me to keep writing. I’m thankful for sweatpants, furry boots, jeans that fit well, and hot pink running apparel.

I’m thankful for pumpkin spice coffee creamer. I definitely jumped on that bandwagon. Why yes, and I’m thankful for it.

See, I’m thankful.

But I’m also thankful for Christmas songs, Christmas lights, the thought of a white Christmas, peppermint scented things, peppermint flavored things (bring on the peppermint mocha coffee creamer please!), red and green doggie sweaters (sorry Ti-Ti), wreaths, sparkly things, and of course, Barbara Streisand’s “Jingle Bells” and the memory of my cousin and I dancing to it when we were toddlers..

I mean, it’s only forty-seven days away. Definitely not too early for Christmas music.

ang

Weekend Recap

This weekend ended up being extremely successful, productive, and downright delightful!

I tried a new food (which I ended up loving!), I made a new food (smashing s’mores!), I got to see my family, I got to see all my friends, and I achieved one of my October goals! The only negative to the weekend is the fact the the Pretty Pretty Punters lost their first game to the Battling Bruisers, putting them in a tie for second place. I blame it on the Greenbay Packers. Catches by twelve different players…seriously? Why not just the three players I had? And Finley, why don’t you try not dropping so many passes.

Oh my goodness…where is this blog going?! When did My Pinky toes become a place to talk football and trash talk professional football players? I’m sorry Finley, but for real…try catching a few more, please…for me!

Now…back to where this post was supposed to be going…

Saturday morning I woke up nice and early to meet my running gals for a nice long run. I’m seriously in love with my running group right now…they helped my seven miles absolutely fly by! I really think a long run is the best way to start a weekend!

After my morning run I cleaned up and headed to town to make a visit to my mom and mamaw at their craft show, my sister, and then do some shopping! I have been dying to go shopping since my birthday back in August and I finally found some time to do so…and to make it even better, the shopping trip ended up being successful (more to come on that tomorrow!) After shopping it was time for some dinner club action!!!

(Left to right: Kellie, Heather, Casey-on top, Megan-on bottom, me, and Lauren)

The beautiful Lauren hosted Saturday’s dinner club and we had a bonfire! She made chili and chicken tortilla soup. I have never tried a tortilla soup before, but it smelled so good I knew I had to give it a try. After asking what all the ingredients were to make sure there’d be no surprises for me, I whipped myself up a bowl. It was delicious, and I’m pretty darn proud of myself for trying it! Thank you Lauren…I must get that recipe!

(Left to right: top row-Nate, Caleb, and Lance, bottom row-Brandon, JR, my hubs, and Seth)

As for my smashing s’mores (recipe from Jessica’s blog)…

…they were definitely a hit! I don’t have an after photo of them because they were all eaten!!! I managed to snag a couple for myself, and they were pretty darn good if I do say so myself! Make them…now!

We all had a great time catching up, meeting the new baby of the group, awing and googling over both babies of the group, eating, drinking, and of course, always laughing.

Oh, and for achieving one of my October goals…

…I tried something pumpkin flavored…pumpkin beer! Yummmm….!

How was your weekend?!

ang

Dinner Club

A little over two years ago my best friend came up with the greatest idea.

She’s an organizer and a planner. She always makes sure that there is time penciled in to see each other. We have dates set out months in advance. She always has to remind me to update my planner. Frequently.

She came up with this idea that once a month all of our friends would get together and have dinner together. One couple will host the party and provide the main course. Every other couple will bring an accompanying side dish…and of course, B.Y.O.B.

Hence, dinner club.

I, not being the greatest cook in the world, usually just bring chips and salsa since that is the one thing I’m pretty darn good at making, but for tonight’s dinner club I decided to step out of my box!

Homemade Smashing S’mores, recipe via Jessica, a recipe-maker of all things ridiculously delicious looking! Mine don’t look quite as nice as hers, and when I was finished I had chocolate just about everywhere…even on the kitchen walls…don’t ask me how! I’m hoping they’re a hit tonight!

Back to dinner club…

I think that everyone should be a part of someone’s dinner club. It is a great way to learn new recipes, eat good food, but best of all, it is the best way to stay in touch with all your good friends (and even make new ones!) It is also a time when it is okay to act like a teenager again (at our very first dinner club get-together we ended up going and tee-peeing another friend’s house…true story!)

We have had so many different dinner clubs over the past two years and each one is as exciting as the last. We have had italian themed and mexican themed dinner clubs, we’ve had barbecues, I hosted a pizza bar dinner club, we have had tailgating dinner clubs, and we even brought dinner club to Mexico this summer!

The truth is, it is easy to put your friends on the back burner when you have so much going on in your life. I know that I’m guilty of that a lot. I love my friends, and I know that they love me, but when you have so much going on it can be hard. Dinner club gives us an excuse to forget everything else that is going on and see each other. It gives us something to look forward to every single month. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve counted down the days until a dinner club!

…and now in just nine more hours I’ll be in some good company! 🙂

ang

 

My Pinky Toes in the Sand – Part Dos

When the sun goes down…

Goodnight ocean. I'll see you tomorrow.

JR and Heather

Me (in heels, mind you) and the hubs


I think he's had enough of these pictures!

At the bar

Hey waiter, will you tell those girls we think they're pretty?

Aww...thanks!

Yummy!

The whole gang

Adios 🙂

ang


My Pinky Toes in the Sand – Part Uno

Las chicas:

Megan (and Mac!), Heather, Kellie, Casey, Me, and Amber

Los chicos:

JR, Matt B., my Matt, Nate, Lance, and Seth...ooh lah lah!

The hubs and me on the most ridiculous “50 best dance songs sung by other artists to techno music” bus ride to the resort:

So excited!

Hello ocean. I love you.

The Riviera Maya

The hubby and I before our first day of sand volleyball:

This was the first of about one hundred pictures like this!

The group playing some beach volleyball:

Nice spike Matt B.!

Friends, you really impressed me during our games! I’m so proud of you all!

Good dig Casey!

Not only did we play beach volleyball…

My Matt playing some mean defense!

…but we played some water polo, too!

Go yellow team!

The cheerleaders:

Casey, Heather, and Megan

The whole gang!

Dinner Club in Mexico!

The hubs and me and our creeper friends:

Well hello Nate and JR!

Palm Tree

Palm Tree!

The bests with our three hundred pesos bottle of sunscreen:

Lovely Ladies.

Wait! I want in!

🙂

Dear ocean, did I mention that I love you?

Beautiful!

And I couldn’t leave out the best bartender in Mexico:

Irving!

Mexico, I miss you already.

ang

So, You’re Telling Me I’m Going To Live ‘Til I’m 103

But those with the most friends outlived those with the least friends by 22 percent.” The Girls From Ames, page 97

I’m not trying to brag, by any means, but I just feel so lucky to be in the position that I am in today. Somehow, by the amazing grace of God, I have been so privileged to gain the friendships of some pretty amazing girls.

I grew up in a household with my mom and sister. These two ladies have been my best friends for my entire life. We have memories stored for decades!

Then there are my girlfriends today. Heather, Casey, Kellie, Megan, Lauren, Candice. I have never felt so close to a group of girls before. I think a big part of that is due to the fact that I am sure of who I am now. I can be me. Completely. While our friendships do not go all the way back to our childhoods like the Girls From Ames’ friendships, there is still great meaning, many memories, and a feeling of longevity. To be truthful, our friendship is only about two or three years old, but most of us seem to feel like we’ve known each other forever. Everything I foresee in my own future, I see happening with my girlfriends.

I remember Megan’s wedding, Lauren’s wedding, Heather’s wedding, and Kellie’s wedding. I remember when Heather asked me to be in her wedding…she had already had her bridesmaids picked out for the past few months, but she felt like she had to add a tenth (yes, ten!) because we had become such good friends in a short amount of time. I remember meeting Casey at Heather’s bachelorette party. We talked to each other like we were already friends. Even other people at the party assumed we had known each other a long time. I remember dancing the night away at Heather’s wedding on the sticky dance floor from all the spilled drinks. I think it’s funny now…Heather told me that right before she met me, her boyfriend (now husband) warned her that I was very quiet and shy. I guess she took it with a grain of salt and the rest is history. I remember how beautiful Lauren looked on her wedding day. Well, I remember how beautiful everyone looked on their wedding day (Candice only by the photos.) I remember when Megan told us she was pregnant, and how we all felt so happy for her new and long-awaited pregnancy. I remember kissing Kellie in the bathroom on her wedding day. In only three years time, it’s funny all the fun/crazy/sad/happy memories I can recall.

Heather, Casey, Me, Lauren, Megan

What I find somewhat interesting, is that, according to the studies, it is hardest to maintain friendships between the ages of 25 and 40. We have all “discovered” our friendships between these ages. I think it is because the thing that makes it hard to sustain a friendship during these times, marriage, careers, and children, are what binds us together. Many of us became friends because of our marriages. I never would have met Heather or Lauren or Megan if it weren’t for my husband already being friends with their husbands. Most of our friends are ready to start their own families, so that is making their bonds even tighter (I’m sort of lagging behind on that one…sorry mom, not yet.)

I do have a little bit of a fear that something, somewhere will pull us apart…there is always a fear of losing the people you love. However, I think we all kind of know that maintaining our friendships will be a little bit harder once there are little babies running around our lives or in my case, when nursing school will be consuming my life…but I think because we know this, we will try harder to make it work. The phone calls, e-mails, get-togethers may not be as frequent, but the times together will be more meaningful!

I also find it necessary to speak to the friendships I have made through blogging! I am truly beyond humbled to see that people who I have never even met before take the time come to my blog, read what I have to say, and leave meaningful, beautiful comments. I never thought what I had to say really mattered all that much. I am grateful for you girls who stop by and leave a piece of yourself here. I am truly thankful!

In this chapter, The Things They Remember, there were so many studies talked about on how womens’ friendships are beneficial…longer lives, better health, better marriages, more oxytocin, less stress. I find it interesting that a study from the Harvard Medical School found that isolation, or too much time away from friends, has the same effect as smoking, overeating, or drinking too much. In conclusion, putting all the scientific data together, I do think I will probably live until I’m 103. 🙂

ang

Book Club!

Hi everyone! This post is going to be super quick because I don’t have very much time. I had an amazing weekend with wonderful people, but I will write more about that later. However, when I was with my girlfriends this weekend, we decided that we needed to read a book together, and then discuss it…just like a book club! Then they suggested that I “host” this book club on my blog as an easy way to have discussions.

The book we are going to read is The Girls From Ames, by Jeffrey Zaslow.All I know is that it is a book about womens’ relationships, and how these women remained friends their whole lives!

I feel so lucky to  have such amazing friends in my life. I feel like I have people that I can tell me deepest secrets to without being judged. Also, through my blog, I feel like I can truly express my feelings and thoughts, and that has given people who don’t know me as well to get to know me better. And to readers who have never met me before, nor I them, I still feel like I have made a friend in you! I feel blessed when I get to read your comments here on my blog! AMAZING!

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I would love to have you join the book club and join the discussion about our friendships with other women. If you have any suggestions about how this book club should work, just let me know, as I have never done anything like this before!!! Invite your friends to join in on the discussion as well! The more the merrier!

I won’t start it right away, so I will give you time to go get the book! (I have not gotten it myself yet!) Please leave a comment if you plan on joining in or if you have suggestions…I can’t wait to hear from you!I can’t wait to get our read on!

ang