Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

I’m normally more of a tea drinker, but there are times I really enjoy coffee. And this is the time of year for Pumpkin Spice Lattes! One of many reasons to enjoy autumn. Starbucks and other coffee shops have offered a version of this yummy drink for years. Until recently I’d been, pretty much, oblivious to pumpkin spice flavored coffee creamers. I made some of my own pumpkin spice lattes at home by sprinkling pumpkin pie spice into my coffee along with some sweetener and milk. This works OK, but my proportions are inconsistent and the spices always leave a sludge at the bottom of my cup. I am not fond of sludge even if it’s tasty sludge. So while shopping last week, the Pumpkin Spice Nondairy coffee creamers caught my eye. And now I’ve tried both of the major offerings so I though I’d write a little review.

International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice, Seasonal Edition, Gourmet Coffee Creamer
This was yummy, but not as strongly spicy as I was expecting. I can taste a good bit of nutmeg which skews the flavor a bit into the eggnog range. I love eggnog, but it isn’t what I normally look for in a pumpkin pie spice. I wanted more cinnamon, ginger, and clove or allspice in the flavor combo to really live the pumpkin pie experience. This one contains palm oil which I generally prefer over anything hydrogenated, so that’s a plus. But to be fair, this creamer contains casein which is a dairy product. So while it’s found in the nondairy creamer section of the store, it isn’t truly nondairy. I’m ok with that part, but if you’re dairy free you might want something else.

Nestlé Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice
This had much more of a pumpkin spice flavor. Possibly a little heavy on the ginger. I could even see how it might have too much spice for a few folks to whom I’d say, “use less if it’s too strong.” But the pumpkin pie spice flavor is there along with the expected sweetness and creaminess of a flavored, nondairy creamer. It was pretty darn yummy. The downside is that it contains hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated oils, and I don’t like that part. I can get over it for the occasional once-in-a-while treat, but would pick something else for a year-round coffee creamer.

Both pumpkin options were basically yummy, added flavor, sweetness, and creaminess to my coffee. Neither one left a spicy sludge at the bottom of my cup. Yay! But both still reminded me of coffee creamer product — not bad, but it might get to me after a while. The consistency of
International Delight Pumpkin Spice was a bit more “natural” than the Coffe-mate if I had to choose. Yet the Coffee-mate had more of a pumpkin pie spice flavor. Both options cost way less per serving than venturing out to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Overall, will buy again.

Yay, 5K

My daughter and I ran/walked a 5K at a fundraiser today. We didn’t come even close to winning, which is no shocker, but we did it! It feels good! Next year we’ll do more training so we can improve our time. I think we did better than last year so that’s something. We’ve been getting more exercise than last year too so I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.

Holy Cow: Bras and the Cat

Yesterday I purchased two bras for my daughter — her very first bras. I think we’re both a little traumatized. It’s a big deal! But we’ll be fine. It was time. She’s wearing one of them today. So far, so good.

Also yesterday morning I accidentally locked one our cats in my daughter’s closet and he was stuck in there the entire day! I’m pretty sure he was a little traumatized, but not too badly since he mostly sleeps during the day. He seems fine. I’m just glad he didn’t leave any “aromatic gift packages” in the closet. And I’m glad I didn’t mess up even more and accidentally lock my daughter in her closet and buy bras for the cat. ‘Cause, I swear, there are some days that might be possible.

Laundromat

Went to the laundromat to wash our sleeping bags after a rainy, muddy trip. Love the laundromat washers as they are not only much larger than our home washer — which would probably tear a sleeping bag to shreds — laundromat washers are also kick *sz at getting stuff clean! Some days I feel like I should just take everything there including the cats.

Planned and Unplanned Challenges: A Camp Highroad chaperone’s journal

On Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 I joined my daughter’s 6th grade class to begin our journey to Camp Highroad in Middleburg, VA. Being one of the few elementary schools to continue the tradition of a 6th-grade, 3-night trip, it felt like a rare honor. And it is! Having heard about it for years, all of the kids were excited to go and so was I!

I would shapperone a cabin of ten girls including my daughter and co-supervise another group of 16 kids during their daytime activities. I was expecting rustic cabins much like the cabins I stayed in during Girl Scout adventures or like those I experienced as a kid staying at Silver Birch Ranch in Wisconsin. As I arrived earlier than the busses of 6th graders, I dashed off to our cabin to claim my bed and scope out the surroundings in general.

The cabin looked pleasing on the outside with brown siding and a bright red door. I liked that there were shutters on the windows — not just screens. The walk to the cabin door was a bit tricky as there were many exposed tree roots making the path more like a set of jagged fun-house stairs than an even path, and I wondered why they didn’t fill in some extra soil to make it a little smoother — some of the kids could twist an ankle. I reminded myself that camp isn’t supposed to be all smooth sidewalks. Wasn’t there some study about uneven surfaces helping develop strength and balance?

Inside, the cabin was more rustic than I expected with walls of bare particle board, open rafters and a total of 12 cots situated inside with scant little room between. There was a fire extinguisher, a light switch controling two lighting fixtures, one set of electrical sockets, plus a strange metal clip of some kind.

The cots weren’t in the best shape — some solid greens and some white with stripes, some with the stains of good clean dirt, some slightly cracked from age. I hoped the girls wouldn’t be too concerned with this. Nobody will be spending much time inside the cabins anyway. I chose a cot close to the door so I could be easy to find for middle-of-the-night bathroom runs if needed. I plopped a pillow onto a cot next to mine to reserve it for my daughter. She gets homesick and having her close by is usually helpful.

When the girls arrived they chose their cots relatively quickly. The rustic appearance didn’t seem to phase them. If they were bothered, none of them said a word. I had to point out that the cot next to me was reserved for my daughter, but when she saw, she decided instead to sleep several beds down next to the wall. OK with me, but I was worried about later … Each girl had packed a sheet and they put these down on the mattress of the cot before laying out their sleeping bags. It was amazing how these small personal touches transformed the cabin from cold, wooden box to a cozy space in the forest.

More soon.

Camp Highroad

I’m a parent chaperone at Camp Highroad with my daughter’s 6th Grade class.