Grocery Store Pumpkin Patches

Back in my childhood, I remember becoming really excited when a certain something happened in early October. I would feel some type of way when we would pull into the parking lot of our local Albertson’s and see scores of bright orange pumpkins lining the front middle of the store between the two entrances. It mattered to me because, one, it meant Halloween was near, and, two, it was just a welcome sight because it was out of the norm.

When I was a kid, it was always a welcome sight to see the pumpkins outside of the grocery store. On Sunday, my kids played in the Safeway pumpkin patch.

Although most years we were also privileged enough to visit a pumpkin patch at Green Bluff, we always purchased our carving pumpkins at the grocery store. The hunt was always on to find that perfect gourd that was among all the other pumpkins sprawled out on the pavement. Oh, how I loved it.

These days, grocery stores still sell pumpkins outside their front doors but a couple things are different. First, why would these places even consider waiting until the actual month of the holiday to roll out their pumpkins? Now, much like the irrational rush to push Christmas products months in advance, the supermarket pumpkin patches pop up weeks before October arrives.

Second, the variety of pumpkin has exploded from the orange ones to a cornucopia of all shapes, sizes, and colors. White pumpkins, green pumpkins, multi-colored pumpkins, wart-covered pumpkins, and everything else you can think of abound in these displays. To each their own, I guess?

Beau holds a white pumpkin at the Safeway pumpkin patch. They come in all different colors these days.

I let Sloan and Beau play in the Safeway “pumpkin patch” the other day. Except for them trying to pick up pumpkins way too big for them, it was innocent and cheap fun. In fact, it is the perfect way to allow one parent to run inside and do the shopping in peace while the other parent monitors the children frolicking among the squashes, cardboard boxes, and imported hay bales.

Nothing like some cheap entertainment at a makeshift grocery store pumpkin patch.

Grocery store pumpkin patches are pretty cool. Although I would be content with the displays opening in October and the selection being solely orange, I can deal with their evolving nature. Don’t Blink.

HomeGoods Lukewarm Top 5

As a kid living in north Spokane, our house was right next to a Shopko. We spent a lot of time there. Long story short: it shuttered several years ago and last week a new business finally opened its doors in the old space.

No, it wasn’t Spirit Halloween. 😂

Rather, it was a HomeGoods. The national chain arrived in north Spokane and immediately attracted countless shoppers…including me. Well, I don’t know if you could classify me as a shopper. You see, I was just really intrigued to go back inside the old Shopko building to see what it now looked like.

I visited this HomeGoods in north Spokane on Saturday.

Despite my lack of desire to buy a single item in the store, I did take some photos of items I would buy if a knife was held against my throat. To be completely honest, Hobby Lobby is 10X better than HomeGoods (but I digress)…

It was a family affair at HomeGoods as my brother, his wife, my sister, Sloan, and Sid (not pictured) all went together.

Pumpkin Spice Popcorn – You can find basically any food in pumpkin spice form so why not popcorn? Although I think it is a little weird, I would definitely still give it a try if I was willing to part with the $6.99.

If push came to shove, I would try this pumpkin spice popcorn.

Wifi Whiteboard – I have seen these at Airbnb and other places and actually appreciate them. But now is not the time for me to purchase one thanks to the eager hands of two young children who will mess with anything written in dry erase marker.

I think these whiteboards are pretty nifty.

Air Freshener – Coming from a guy who once ranked his top 5 favorite Glade air fresheners, I thought these boujee options were kind of interesting. I mean who doesn’t get excited about a “Snuggle Sweater” scent?

Some of these air freshener scents are pretty out there.

Pumpkin Pecan Hand Soap – Several years ago I offered a business plan that centered on some pretty wild hand soap scents. I think the “pumpkin pecan” scent gives my own ideas a run for their money.

What a combination!

Pint Glasses – I enjoy putting the few current pint glasses I own in the freezer to get them ice cold before pouring a beer into them. This set of four glasses was heavy duty, cost the same price as the popcorn, and could hold 20 ounces…wait, does that still make it a pint glass?

Raise your glass if you are in need of some new ones.


I apologize for my lack of enthusiasm for HomeGoods. If there is something about the store I am overlooking, please let me know. If you do, I might send some pumpkin spice popcorn your way. Don’t Blink.

Getting So Old Thursday Rundown

It is the last Thursday Rundown of September so that means I have to make it extra special. Wait, how would I do that? Never mind. Let’s just get started with tonight’s five topics…

All About Beau – For our son’s Pre-K3 class, he was sent home a little bit of homework. “He” was tasked with filling in an “All About Me” sheet. Sidney and I worked together to get this done. When it came to his favorite animal he answered with “koala” but Sidney decided to do some additional prodding because he was watching a show on koalas at the time. He reversed course and replied with “dog,” an answer that made his mama very happy since she desperately wants one. You can see below for the other answers he gave.

This was Beau’s “All About Me” sheet.

The Big 3 – From time to time I like to share updated photos of the grown up Reser kids together. This latest image comes from last weekend’s wedding in La Grande. There is no stopping Father Time…we keep getting older 😱

A photo of the three of us siblings on Saturday, September 23, 2023 (happy birthday, Glen!).

Mass at Our Lady of the Valley – No matter where we might be on any given weekend, our family makes it a priority above all else to attend mass. Before we left Oregon last weekend, we worshiped at Our Lady of the Valley in La Grande. The current church was built in 1915 and the 108-year old building is beautiful. A soothing blue color is the background for a magnificent altar. Thanks to Fr. Noby Thomas for welcoming us.

We attended mass at Our Lady of the Valley on September 24, 2023.

John Sutherland – Yesterday evening after work finished up for me in Pullman, I had the honor of attending the retirement reception of longtime WSU marketing professional John Sutherland. He devoted more than 30 years to Washington State and served under five different university presidents during that time. It was a privilege to sit with John on our University Marketing and Communications leadership team over the past couple years and soak in his knowledge. Our colleague Jon Bickelhaupt designed this pretty rad baseball card to commemorate his career. Wishing John and his wife plenty of happiness in retirement!

John Sutherland had a long and distinguished career in higher education.

College Gameday Memory – This week marks the ninth anniversary of when Sidney and I attended ESPN College Gameday on the University of South Carolina campus. It was an awesome experience to see a show in-person that I had watched for so long. I had the opportunity to hear Lee Corso go nuts, watch my favorite country artist perform live, and even take a photo with the guy who was waving Ol’ Crimson that day. As I look back on that Saturday morning nine years ago, I am satisfied that College Gameday has expanded its horizons. Since that day in Columbia, Gameday has since done shows at Coastal Carolina University, Washington State University, and in Bozeman for Griz-Cat. I am happy that many of my friends and colleagues have also had the chance to experience the magic of Gameday.

Follow the arrow…that is me during the 9-27-14 College Gameday broadcast.


To be honest, I think I missed the mark when I said in the opening paragraph that I would make this post extra special. It seems like this Thursday Rundown was pretty much like all the others. But that is what you come for, right? Thanks for putting up with me. Don’t Blink.

Cookies and Cream

So I have a question for you to ponder on this Wednesday night: What comes to your mind when you think of the flavor cookies and cream?

For me, the answer is easy. I immediately think of cookies and cream ice cream. My mind zeroes in on chunks of Oreo cookies lodged into fresh vanilla ice cream. Growing up, cookies and cream was the one non-neapolitan flavor of ice cream that you could sometimes find in our freezer. Besides the ice cream flavor, the only other cookies and cream product I remember from early childhood was the cookies and cream Twix. But you can’t find that anymore.

Cookies and cream ice cream that Sid and I ate at Sub Zero Ice Cream in Charleston

Thus, my mental construct of the cookies and cream flavor basically boiled down to Oreo cookies mixed with vanilla. Cookies and cream was synonymous with Oreos or at least some type of chocolate sandwich cookies.

The other day I purchased a 4-pack of cookies and cream protein shakes. Before opening the first shake, I had in my mind that the first sip would taste similar to an Oreo cookie. Did it? Heck no. It would be generous to say that it even resembled the taste of chocolate milk.

The Premier Protein cookies and cream shake had the imagery I would expect out of a cookies and cream product but not the taste.

The cookies and cream flavor is thrust upon everything these days. From froyo to candle scents to Pop-Tarts, there is seemingly no product that doesn’t have a version of it. But if my expectation of what the cookies and cream flavor should taste like (Oreos) isn’t the standard of everyone else, then what is it? Well, judging from the myriad of cookies and cream foods that I have tasted, the standard is all across the board.

Although I didn’t do much research before this post, my guess is that the cookies and cream flavor did in fact originate with ice cream. Marketers then took the pleasant memories that many of us hold of cookies and cream ice cream and applied it to other flavors, taking broad creative/taste liberties along the way.

Thankfully, the cookies and cream name still gives people at least a general idea of what the flavor should taste like, unlike something as mysterious and undescriptive as Tigers Blood (which I have written about before). But to say that cookies and cream is synonymous with an Oreo cookie is simply no longer the case. Don’t Blink.

Odd Man Out

An unsettling and inexplicable moment occurred at work yesterday. A Zoom meeting that had been scheduled for a long time with various people from our department was to begin at 1:30 p.m. I logged in right before the start time to discover that I was the only one in the meeting. I thought it was a little strange because naturally you have some people who are always early. Oh well, I thought.

A couple moments passed and no one else had joined the meeting. It was now 1:32 p.m. I quickly logged in and logged out of the meeting but I was still the only one in the virtual room. Then the Slack messages started coming asking if I was going to join the meeting. I frantically started to log in/out several more times while double checking links, re-starting Zoom, and switching browsers. Nothing worked. It was now 1:35 p.m. In a last-ditch effort to come up with a solution, I tried to invite everyone to my meeting room. However, two people were logged into the meeting from inside a conference room and couldn’t access my link.

At 1:37 p.m. my boss made an entirely new Zoom invite, sent it out, and thankfully I was able to log in. I had absolutely no idea why this freak occurrence had transpired in that when I logged into a Zoom meeting with the same link as all attendees that I was separated from everyone else. I told my colleagues on the new call that it was better that it happen now instead of that day when I meet with our university president (which of course no future meeting exists 😂).

This experience touched on all the fears that a Type-A individual like me harbors, namely failing to be punctual and loss of all control. It wasn’t unlike the recurring theme that I chronicled four years ago of me wandering the halls of an unfamiliar high school, unable to find the classroom that I need to report to so I can take a test I am completely unprepared for. Only this instance was real.

Hopefully this Zoom anomaly doesn’t occur again. It is unnerving that I don’t know why it happened. Thankfully, despite my anxiety during the troubleshooting, I was able to attend the meeting and life did go on. Shout-out to my patient colleagues! Don’t Blink.

A Grand Time in La Grande

It was a special final full September weekend for my family. We traveled to a place that was new to us all—La Grande, Oregon. On Friday night, the four of us hopped in the car and drove to the northeastern Oregon community to attend my cousin’s wedding.

My family of four had a great weekend in Oregon that consisted of a special wedding and family time.

When we pulled into the hotel parking lot at 11 p.m. that evening, we had people waiting for us. My parents, my brother and wife, and my sister’s family had all arrived prior to our mini contingent crossing into Oregon territory. To make our family affair even sweeter was the fact that we stayed in four rooms clustered together on the second floor of our Best Western.

Sloan, her cousins, and her Uncle Jay have fun in the pool during our weekend in La Grande,, Oregon.

We enjoyed spending time together over the weekend. Whether it was eating in the breakfast hall, splashing in the pool/hot tub, watching football, or playing cards in the lobby it was nice to hang with my gang of four, my parents, my siblings, and their families in a unique setting.

It was nice to spend the weekend with my wife, kids, parents, siblings, and their families in La Grande.

But of course the main highlight of this weekend was my cousin’s wedding. Abby married her longtime boyfriend/fiancé of eight years, Nate. It brought me immense joy to see Abby and Nate tie the knot after such a dedicated courtship. Those who know the large Reser clan are aware that we are a very close and supportive extended family who love and support our own (and those who are brought into it). Needless to say, there was a large crowd of happy and rowdy Resers at the Barn at Tamarack Springs and Aspen Meadows on Saturday night.

Abby and Nathan were married on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 (photo courtesy of Diana Price)

Although I would have always described my dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins as an emotional group, Saturday’s wedding packed even more feelings than usual. Abby’s mother passed away in late January 2022, ripping a huge void in our proud family. After my Aunt Nancy’s sudden and unexpected death, I made an attempt to convey what an extremely special woman she was. So, as you can imagine, there were a lot of tears before, during, and after the ceremony—with many coming from the gorgeous brown eyes of Abby. But leave no doubt about it, the memory of my Aunt Nancy was honored throughout the whole day and despite her not being physically there, her presence was felt.

Abby and I during her reception.

As Nate and Abby marked their first couple hours as husband and wife with the backdrop of the Blue Mountains behind them, I felt content. My cousin was now married and staring at a life full of potential in front of her. I wish Mr. and Mrs. Sumerlin nothing but the best. Don’t Blink.

High Dive Thursday Rundown

Have you walked outside in the early morning this week and felt it? By it, I mean the crispness in the air that is reminding us that autumn is on its way. Let’s take a look at tonight’s five topics…

House Blessing – Last night we had a special visitor as Fr. Jeff Lewis, our pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley, came over for dinner. Well, the evening was about much more than just eating chicken bog with us. His primary reason for dropping by was to bless our house. He went to each room in our home and sprinkled it with holy water and applied sacramental oils. The house blessing is a way to protect our home from both internal and external forces while inviting the Holy Spirit into our residence to promote family life. You are the best, Fr. Jeff!

Fr. Jeff takes a photo with our family after he blessed our house.

Bishop Fleming With Pope Francis – This photo is everything. When I attended the University of Montana, the priest in charge of the Newman Center and pastor of the parish in the University District was Fr. Jeff Fleming. Since the many years after I graduated, we have kept touch via social media. I was ecstatic when Pope Francis appointed him as the Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings last year. Recently, Bishop Fleming visited Rome for Bishops School and met with Pope Francis. I love how authentic and joyful this photo is. Please pray for Bishop Fleming as he continues his very important vocation.

Bishop Jeff Fleming greets Pope Francis in Rome. When I was in college, then-Fr. Jeff was the priest of the University of Montana Newman Center.

Diving Act – Our family visited the Spokane Interstate Fair last Friday and besides all the rides and food we enjoyed, something else stood out. We watched an extraordinary diving act presented by Milord Entertainment. The show was delivered via a police academy theme and we couldn’t believe some of the dives these performers were making. The most memorable moment was the grand finale when the emcee climbed up 80 feet and gracefully dove into the water tank below. We were amazed!

The Top Cop high dive show by Milord Entertainment at the Spokane Interstate Fair was awesome!

Donut vs. Doughnut Explanation – On Tuesday I wrote about the great “donut” vs. “doughnut” debate. I expressed my support for the former spelling and later that night I received some major firepower to back up my preference. Jon Fine is the owner of Retro Donuts in north Spokane, my favorite donut shop in the whole world. He gave a very technical and logical response about why our favorite morning treats should mostly be spelled as “donuts.”

I mean, how do you argue with this response?

Bad Lobster Chowder – Earlier this year, I mentioned I have only seen three movies more than once in the theater. “Jurassic Park” and “Rise of the Guardians” happen to be two of them. The third? Well, “Titanic” of course. Last night I learned an interesting tidbit from the filming of the movie. One evening the crew ordered some late-night lobster chowder but it didn’t exactly hit the spot. Someone had spiked it with PCP! Numerous people were hospitalized including director James Cameron. Those working on the movie didn’t allow the sabotage to sink their film—we all know that “Titanic” went on to become a box office smash.

James Cameron speaks with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Look how young Leo is! (photo courtesy of @historyinmemes)


That puts another Thursday Rundown in the books. A wedding weekend in Oregon awaits our family and perhaps I will have an experience or two to write about when I return. Take care, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Donut or Doughnut?

In ninth grade, I had a math teacher who one day wrote something that wasn’t an equation on the whiteboard. Instead, he jotted down perhaps the most perplexing question facing humanity.

“Donuts or Doughnuts?”


Raise your hands if you know how to spell “donut.”

For what it’s worth, the AP Stylebook cites “doughnut” as its preferred spelling of the word but do you really think I am going to defer to a stuffy and archaic grammar guide as my authority on such an important manner? Please!

My preference is “donut” and that is the spelling I would choose if I could only use one version for the rest of my life. However, I do understand that exceptions are sometimes necessary so I can excuse and sometimes even use “doughnut.” Here is my quick breakdown:

Sloan holding her “worms in dirt” donut from Casual Friday Donuts.

The pastry treats topped with sprinkles and filled with jelly in the bakery section of your supermarket are donuts. The homemade maple bars served with chili at the elementary school I attended are donuts. Those mini bites from Hostess that come in powdered and chocolate form are donuts. In my mind, the word “donut” describes a mouth-watering, calorie-rich, blue collar treat that is a staple of morning meetings and Saturday family breakfasts.

On the other hand, I equate a “doughnut” as the gourmet and prettier version of its “donut” brother. You might order a doughnut in a bougie café and eat it with a fork.

But if this question doesn’t weigh as heavily on your mind as it does for me and you don’t have a preferred spelling in the donut/doughnut debate, I would offer this advice: just be consistent. In your written communications choose one and stick with it.

I don’t always heed my advice when it comes to staying consistent with my donut/doughnut spelling

Funny enough, the above advice isn’t necessarily heeded by this blogger. A quick search of Don’t Blink will reveal that I have used both terms over the years, although the usage of “donut” is much more prevalent. I hope to make it the exclusive spelling of my blog from this point forward.

Donut or doughnut? Although I have a preference, if you are giving me one (make it an apple fritter, please), you can spell it however you want. Don’t Blink.

Summer 2023

We are more than halfway through September and Labor Day seems like a distant memory so please forgive me if I bring up an outdated word: Summer.

Ah yes, Summer 😎. Because things have been rather busy around the Reser household I neglected to recap Summer 2023 in a more timely manner. I hope you can forgive me. If I do have your pardon, I figured I would rewind the awesome summer the four of us had by listing 10 themes/events from the season. In no particular order (except maybe the first item), here we go…

New Home – At the very beginning of August, we moved into our new house. This major development was felt the entire summer as we packed up our old house during both June and July. After we moved all our belongings into our new abode, it took the rest of August (and beyond) to unpack.

This is our new home by D.R. Horton.

Godparents! – In the middle of June, Sidney and I became Godparents for the first time. We were honored and blessed when our good friends, Ryan and Allyson Andrade, asked us to be the godmother and godfather of their sweet little boy, Noble.

Sidney and I became godparents to Noble Andrade. Fr. Jeff Lewis of St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley performed the baptism. Noble is the son of Ryan and Allyson Andrade (photo courtesy of Rachael and Josh Photography).

Hoopfest – A highlight of the summer was definitely competing in Hoopfest! I played on a St. Mary team that under the guidance of Fr. Jeff Lewis managed to make it to the championship game. It was a wonderful bonding experience with my teammates and we all appreciated the chance our children had to be part of it.

I felt like our team overachieved in a pretty competitive bracket. People in this photo include (from l-r) JJ Nazzaro, Amy Martin, Fr. Jeff Lewis, me, and Ryan Andrade.

Weddings – It was such a blessing to attend three weddings at St. Mary this summer. Two of the weddings were for couples that Sidney and I mentored through Pre-Cana. The other couple, Dylan and Fidela, are our friends and former neighbors from our Young Adult Catholic group.

We had the blessing of attending three beautiful weddings this summer.

Extended Fourth of July Weekend – With the Fourth of July on a Tuesday, it set up the opportunity to take a nice four-day weekend. During that time we had a picnic in Riverfront Park, went to the aquatic center, watched the debut of a friend’s band, saw big cats up close at Cat Tales, and more. Independence Day itself was a treat as we sipped gourmet sodas, enjoyed a cookout at my parents, and then watched fireworks with friends at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake.

Sidney watches the fireworks at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake on the Fourth of July.

Vacation – For vacation we headed to the west side of the state. We spent one night in Seattle where we watched a Mariners game and then spent several days in beautiful Seabrook. It was great to get up close and personal with the Pacific Ocean.

What a fantastic vacation it was. We took our photo at Seabrook’s signature oversized chair.

Summer Reading – All the fun we had outdoors didn’t stop us from hitting the books. Sloan and Beau participated in the Spokane County Library’s summer reading program. They logged nearly 20 hours of reading over the summer and although they didn’t win any of the drawings we sure read some memorable stories.

Sloan posing with a couple of the books we read this summer.

Fun in the Water – We didn’t meet a pool we didn’t like this summer. Scorching temperatures made the decision easy to cool off at both public and private swimming pools. Sloan is a little fish while Beau is still pretty anxious.

Just some of the pools that the kids swam in this summer.

Labor Day Getaway – We spent the traditional end-of-summer Labor Day weekend in Missoula. The kids enjoyed their first taste of Montana as they attended a Griz football game, ate Big Dipper ice cream, spent time downtown, and hiked The M.

Our family inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium prior to the University of Montana vs. Butler football game on September 2, 2023.

Pickleball – We picked up a new sport/activity this summer. Our new neighborhood has a pickleball court so we naturally purchased some paddles and balls. It has been fun to compete against Sidney while also watching Sloan pick up the game.

Sloan loves pickleball already!


It was a memorable summer for sure! Thanks to everyone who played a role in making it so much fun, especially my wife and children. Although it is always sad to see summer go, it is hard to dwell on it when your autumn is already off to a busy and exciting start. Don’t Blink.

Ring Thursday Rundown

We are smack-dab in the middle of September and I hope everyone is easing into their back-to-school routines and whatnot. If I am not mistaken today is Thursday and that mean’s I have five topics coming your way…

Soccer Girl – Sloan is playing soccer this fall! She is “playing up” because team spots for girls born in 2017 were full. It’s okay, after two practices with her 2016 team it looks like she will be just fine. The Icky Squids (team name chosen by the athletes 😂) will play their first game on Saturday. As a parent, I am encouraged to see Sloan try new things and I hope this turns out to be an overall excellent experience for her.

Sloan at her soccer practice last week,

Ring – What do you do when the doorbell rings and the camera shows these two hooligans at the door? Call the police, right?! Our new house came equipped with Ring technology, the first time I have had such capabilities. So far in the five weeks since we moved in, I think our doorbell has been pressed around 50 times. Of course, 49 of those times came via our two children while the remaining ring came courtesy of a maintenance person. Yep, it is being put to great use.

What are you gonna do when these two come to your door?

Peanuts – On a back page of yesterday’s paper was the below information. I love peanuts so I took interest in the facts. I appreciated that boiled peanuts were called out (so good!) and I didn’t know about all the towns/cities in our country named “Peanut.” But the fact that I found fascinating was the quantity of peanuts in peanut butter. Supposedly 500 peanuts are ground up into a jar of peanut butter. Although the size of the jar isn’t specified, I will assume it is an average-sized jar and when I have that image in my mind, I can’t help but mentally stack 500 peanuts into an empty jar for a true visual.

This peanut back page was published in the Spokesman-Review on September 13, 2023.

Eucharistic Revival – Last Sunday, Sloan and I had the blessing of attending the Spokane Diocese’s Eucharistic Revival at the Podium in downtown Spokane. The event, which was put on by my home diocese, was part of an overall National Eucharistic Revival spearheaded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The point of the revival is to inspire people to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. Sloan and I watched the beautiful and holy procession enter the Podium and then we followed inside to grab our seats. Dr. Mary Healy and Bishop Thomas Daly both spoke and then we spent time in holy adoration. After the event everyone converged outside in the park for a picnic dinner. It was powerful to see thousands of Catholics from our diocese and BEYOND gather for such a sacred event. Thanks be to God.

Photo I took of Catholic faithful walking into the Podium for the Eucharistic Revival sponsored by the Diocese of Spokane on Sept. 10, 2023.

Disney World! – On this date five years ago, we took Sloan to Disney World (sorry Beau, a little before your time). The reason the opportunity presented itself was because of Hurricane Florence. We had evacuated Myrtle Beach and went to stay in Jacksonville at Sidney’s aunt’s house. The three of us stayed there for a few days and decided to drive to Orlando for one of them to see Mickey. It was a lot of fun but also very HOT.

Five years ago on this date, we made a trip to Disney World. The impromptu visit resulted from our Hurricane Florence evacuation.


Time to wrap things up. It is supposed to be a gorgeous weekend and we will be busy. Wishing you the best and will catch up next week. Don’t Blink.