Judith

Judith

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Railroad Park Date

Good Thursday morning!

And a lovely morning it is! I have some "nature" shots to share in the Gallery. I'm planning on getting a pick of Austin AND Josh in their Chick uniforms this evening. They are both working at the same time today which is SO unusual. We'll have to wait and see how it turns out.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay. It's almost time. Beginning TOMORROW, JULY 1, you may enter the Butt Naked Candle Contest. Just put your name and the word "candle" in the Comment Section, on my Facebook page OR e-mail me (mfaulkner1306@charter.net).

Your name will immediately be put into the "Drawing Bowl." You have until MIDNIGHT, JULY 5 to enter. I will pick a name out of the bowl first thing Wednesday morning (July 6). Get busy. You don't want to miss out on this fun, FREE gift!

Oh. And here is Dawn's testimonial. She was the winner of the first Butt Naked Candle Contest.

"LOVE LOVE LOVE my Butt Naked candle. The entire house smells wonderful. Thank you!!!"

And for your information, I did NOT add the "all cap" LOVEs or the three exclamation marks.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I may or may not have mentioned I went for my check-up yesterday. (Just so you know... I mentioned it four times yesterday. I'm just messing with you.)

I have mixed feelings when I go to the doctor for an annual check-up now. I feel pretty old with all the expectant mothers walking around. But I am so thrilled I had my babies when I did. I do not think I could have worn the maternity clothes women are wearing today.

There were two young things in the office wearing layered Spandex tank tops and leggings. They looked like they were about to pop! The other maternity outfits I saw were fitted as well, but not quite to that extent.

When I was expecting, the acceptable garb... maternity jeans AND flowy "don't-touch-any-part-of-the-body" shirts. The bigger and longer, the better. It never occurred to me to wear my "regular" clothes until the buttons popped off. NEVER!

But these expectant moms are a different breed, and I admire them. They are so proud of their baby bump, and once you get used to seeing the baby (and actually watching it move) under the two layers of Spandex, you get kind of used to it.

I miss that time in my life. (I know. You're shocked, aren't you?) I miss stepping on a scale and NOT being mortified I gained 3 pounds in three weeks. (I really miss that!)

But I was blessed to be in those shoes three different times, and I remember it well.

(Now I step on the scale, and the nurse says, "Gee, Ms. Faulkner! You've gained two pounds this year. You need to watch that.")

This year, I came back with, "For your information, I'm a weight lifter now and that is all muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat... or didn't you know that?"

And then she gently jiggled my arm fat (which is NOT muscle). Point made.

I decided to only order a small Caramel Frappe' when I left the doctor's office instead of the large I had planned on earlier in the day... before scales.

And I've decided to buy two Spandex tank tops and some leggings... and actually wear them in public. I want to see how many people tell me "Congratulations," and "You are just glowing."

Don't expect photos!

Blog Linkage - I have EXCELLENT Blog Linkage for you today. Enjoy! Enjoy!

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "You Gotta See This" dated June 24. They have given some really cute 4th of July decorating ideas. I'm really looking forward to Monday. I know of four things I'm going to try from this website alone.

2. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List. Click on Photography at the top of her page and enjoy the Funny Face Photo Contest entries. They are so, so good... especially the baby pics. I love them.

3. Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and scroll to the post entitled "For a Summer Monday" dated June 27. She has tons of decorating sites, and it is fun to just click on the link and soak in the prettiness. I loved this post.

Railroad Park Date

A new park has opened in Birmingham, and now is the time to take a picnic lunch or snack and enjoy a little one-on-one time with one of your kiddos.

"Railroad Park is a 19-acre green space in downtown Birmingham that celebrates the industrial and artistic heritage of our great city. Situated along 1st Avenue South, between 14th and 18th Streets, the Park is a joint effort between the City of Birmingham and the Railroad Park Foundation. Hailed as "Birmingham's Living Room," Railroad Park provides a historically rich venue for local recreation, family activities, concerts and cultural events, while connecting Birmingham's downtown area with Southside and UAB's campus."

And it's pretty, too. If you wanted to do a combination of things in the general area, you could plan a picnic at Railroad Park, let your child skateboard at the "very urban" concrete skate park across the street and finish the date off at The Peanut Depot with the tour and a bag of fresh peanuts. (I mentioned this date a few weeks ago.) Good date!

NOTE - The "very urban" concrete skate park is only for kids who know what they are doing. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, etc., etc. I wouldn't let this be my child's FIRST skateboard park experience.

Have a tremendous Thursday. I pray you and yours have a safe, relaxing summer day. I'll finish up the week with Weekend Happenings. There's a lot going on this holiday weekend!

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

10 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

Good Wednesday NIGHT!

WOW! This day totally turned out differently than planned. However, there was some good stuff in the mix, too. It wasn't a total loss!

There is NO new Gallery picture. It's all Josh's fault, and I'll explain in more detail below.

RANDOMNESS - Josh came home late last night. He had a wonderful, WONDERFUL time, and he came in telling us everything he did during the church trip in great detail.

When he stopped to take a breath, I asked the one and only question which had been plaguing me since he had left. "Did you take the ten GOOD pictures I told you to take?"

"Uh... Yeah. About that... ," his voice trailed off.

"Uh-oh. This doesn't sound good," Mikie added. (Mikie was right.)

"I kind of took two pictures on the bus, and then I kind of forgot about the camera," he said sheepishly.

I tried to remember how happy I was he was home. However, it was getting hard.

"You only took two bus pictures? That's it?"

"Yes, ma'am. But they are really good bus pictures," he assured me.

While he finished telling Mike and Austin a couple more stories, I started emptying his bag... piece by piece... dirty sock by dirty sock.

No camera.

I sat back and waited for the end of the story. "Uh, Josh. Do you have the camera in your pocket?" I asked this already knowing the answer.

"No, ma'am. It should be in that bag."

"Well, it isn't. Reckon where it could be?" I was trying so hard to be nice. I was failing so miserably.

"You know. I bet it is still at the hotel. I bet I forgot to pack it. I bet we'll never see it again."

"Ya think?" Arghhh!

I grabbed his shoulders, threw back my neck to look up at him, told him I was glad he had such a wonderful time, kissed his cheek and went to bed.

Mikie later told me he was pretty impressed I hadn't killed him.

The week isn't over yet.

Wednesday Wisdom - I'm sharing funny quotes about life situations. They are all over the place, but funny just the same.

"Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch it to be sure." Murphy's Law (Been there... done that.)

"The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one." Erma Bombeck (This was true before Wal-Mart existed.)

"If you wonder where your child left his roller skates, try walking around the house in the dark." Leopold Fechtner

"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else." Will Rogers (Amen!)

"Never do anything that you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics." Author Unknown (Again, been there... done that!)

"People who snore always fall asleep first." Author Unknown

10 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

I found this on a website, and while some of the ideas are no brainers, there were definitely a couple I could add to our own traditions.
1. Hang the Flag - First thing in the morning, hang the American flag as a family.

2. Go to a Parade - If you don't have one in your immeidate area, check nearby towns to see if they are holding a 4th of July Parade.

3. Make Some Homemade Ice Cream - You know what to do!

4. Hit the Fireworks Stands - Buy a family appropriate pack of fireworks. If you have young kids, it may be a couple of boxes of sparklers. The older the kids, the more advanced fireworks you can purchase (bottle rockets, firecrackers, etc.).

5. Go See a Blockbuster Movie - There is ALWAYS one or two great movies coming out the 4th of July weekend. ALWAYS!

6. Make Some Root Beer - This one is a little different! You will need the following:

5 gallons cold water
5 pounds white sugar
1 2-ounce bottle root beer concentrate
5 pounds dry ice

Place 4 gallons of the cold water in a large container. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in root beer extract and mix. Add the dry ice and put the lid on loosely so the gas can escape. Let it “brew” for about 15 minutes. Add the last gallon of water and let brew for another 15 minutes.

(Hey! I'll try anything once!)

7. Have a Block Party - I have a friend who lives in a neighborhood with a 4th of July Block Party. The Dads grill. The Moms bring side dishes. Everyone makes a container of homemade ice cream. It's a great way to relax and enjoy the evening!

8. Light Up the Grill - People in Alabama are born knowing how to do this. Nuff said.

9. Blow Stuff Up - This is also something people in Alabama are very proficient doing.

10. Watch Some Fireworks - The perfect way to end a perfect ending. Check locally for a large firework display in your area. Get there in plenty of time to set up chairs and blankets so you can enjoy the show.

I'd love to hear about your traditions if you have a minute. Just leave them in the Comment Section, on Facebook or e-mail me. I will post the traditions and give you and your family the credit.

Take care, and I'll talk to you later.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lightened Squash Casserole

Good Tuesday morning!

I've added a couple more basketball pics to the Gallery today. I always hold a few out in case I have a slow picture-takin' day at the Farm. And yesterday was such a day.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay! I'm going to remind you about the Butt Naked Candle Contest which begins this FRIDAY, JULY 1 and ends WEDNESDAY, JULY 6! That's right. You have five FULL days to enter your name in the Comment Section, Facebook or you can e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net. Be sure and mention the word "Candle" at least once, and your name will be put in the bowl for the drawing on July 6!

REMEMBER - I don't mind shipping to out-of-towners. I don't mind a bit!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Josh is still gone. He was in Kentucky yesterday. He is in Ohio today. He needs to be in Alabama by tomorrow. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Grandmother introduced all the grandkids to the easy, breezy dice game called Farkle. Austin picked up some groceries for me yesterday, and I put a Farkle game on the list as well. As soon as he walked into the house, he taught me how to play... and I was hooked.

I LOVE Farkle. And not just the word "Farkle" (although that is one of the main reasons). I love that it costs only $5. I love that you don't have to be a "rocket surgeon" to understand the instructions. Please go to Wal-Mart and purchase a Farkle game today. I don't think you'll regret it!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Ready or not, I am in the throes of menopause. I don't mind saying it. I'm thinking of having a T-shirt made with the following printed on the front... "Menopause doesn't kill. WOMEN with Menopause kill." What do you think? I bet I could sell a million of them!

So far I have 17 out of the 34 symptoms... and if you've known me two minutes, you know my new goal is to have all 34 symptoms! I'm working on "Irritability and Irrational Thinking" today. (I'm pretty sure I've got that one in the bag!)

Lightened Squash Casserole

I have fresh squash thanks to Mikie's family, and a new recipe in my Southern Living magazine. I am good to go in the Ingredient Department!

You will need the following:

3 pounds yellow squash (GOT IT!)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (I USE ONION SALT! GOT IT!)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided (ALWAYS GOT IT!)
1 cup grated carrots (DARN! I'VE GOT TO MAKE A GROCERY STORE RUN!)
1 can reduced-fat Cream of Chicken soup (GOT IT!)
1 8-ounce container sour cream (GOT IT!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (BELIEVE IT OR NOT... GOT IT!)
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes cereal (I WONDER IF FROSTED FLAKES WOULD WORK?)
1/2 cup crushed French fried onions (I'M PUTTING IT ON THE LIST.)
2 tablespoons melted butter (I HAVE THE EVER POPULAR TUB O' BUTTER!)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (YES! GOT IT, TOO!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut squash in 1/4" thick slices. Place in Dutch oven. Add onion, 1 teaspoon salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 5 minutes. Drain well, and pat squash dry with paper towels.

3. Stir together grated carrots, next 3 ingredients and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

4. Fold in squash mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 2-quart oval baking dish. (I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I USED A 2-QUART SQUARE BAKING DISH INSTEAD? HMMM.)

5. Stir together cornflakes and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over squash mixture.

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown, shielding with aluminum foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning.

Mikie is going to be SO happy tonight. He loves his squash. And I'm going by a produce stand today to get some fresh tomatoes, so he is going to be twice blessed. It takes so little to make him content. (I wish the teenagers around here were like that!)

Have a fantastic Tuesday. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your time with family and friends today. We are going to be incredibly busy on A Simple Life tomorrow. We always are on Wednesdays! Be sure to visit if you get a moment.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Roxie's last day at the Birmingham Southern Basketball Camp. She had a good time, but she is very ready for a few days off before volleyball gets cranked up. Lots and lots of swimming and hanging out are in the plans for these precious free days.

I didn't take any pics at the Wedding Rehearsal Dinner (I served drinks), or the Wedding itself... although they were both picture-worthy events. I don't feel comfortable taking my camera to other families' special events. I wish I did. Maybe when I'm 80 or 90, and I don't care what people think of me any longer. Maybe I'll be bold enough to walk in with my VERY OLD ANTIQUE CAMERA and just click away.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

RANDOMNESS - As mentioned above, I went to a wedding. My friend's son married his high school sweetheart in a most beautiful ceremony Saturday evening. I loved so many things about this wedding, I decided to just mention them in list form.

1. I LOVED how the bride incorporated all the songs she loved in the ceremony. Everything from traditional to spiritual to Michael Buble' (my personal favorite) to a song from the Disney movie "Up" was smoothly integrated into the ceremony... and it made it so personal and wonderful.

2. I loved the bridesmaids' dresses. They were all the same color and length, but different styles to fit different body types and personalities. GENIUS!

3. I loved the Unity Cross. I've never seen anything like it before, and the message that Christ was the center of their wedding AND their marriage was such a sweet testimony of their faith.

4. I loved that her Dad performed the ceremony.

5. I loved that her brother and his sister sang a duet together of the MOST beautiful song.

6. I loved that the flower girl did her job so well.

7. I loved that the tiny ring bearer took a big ol' breath and walked bravely down the aisle to his "spot."

8. I loved the chocolate fountain. (I REALLY, REALLY loved the chocolate fountain.)

9. I loved the groom's LEGO cake... and the LEGO bride and groom in front of the cake.

10. I loved the bride and groom's first dance.

11. I LOVED the dip and the kiss at the end of the first dance. Very, very smooth.

12. I loved the father/daughter dance.

13. I loved how the groom cut in during the middle of the father/daughter dance.

14. I loved the chocolate dipped pretzels everyone received as a wedding favor. (Excellent, excellent choice!)

15. I loved the antique car which the bride and groom used for their getaway.

16. I loved how beautiful my friend looked in her mother-of-the-bride dress. (She rocked it.)

Now, to be fair and unbiased, I will list the things I didn't like about the wedding.

1. Hmmm... Can't seem to think of any. Nuff said.

Have a fantastic Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with a yummy recipe and more, more, more.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Bev's birthday party last night. Her actual birthday is today, and she is 46 years-old. Wow. I can't even remember 46. That seems like a very long time ago. We did something a little different last night. We all went to Cracker Barrel and celebrated. We then sat in the rockers outside the restaurant for about an hour like we owned the place. It was a very relaxing, cool (for Alabama) evening.

RANDOMNESS #1 - There are several REMINDERS at the bottom. I didn't want to clutter the beginning of the post, so read them if you must.

RANDOMNESS #2 - We watched Expedition Impossible last night. The Faulkner Five as a whole didn't commit to a whole season, but did decide to watch it one more time. It was pretty good, but the "expedition" part of the show is so grueling I was pretty tired by the time it was over... and I never want to go to Morocco... ever.

Also, I really miss Jeff Probst. The host of this show is handsome enough, but he lacks the sarcastic, eye-rolling qualities of Jeff Probst. I find Jeff Probst very endearing. This new guy... not so much.

Can you tell I take my Reality Television VERY seriously?

RANDOMNESS #3 - Roxie's basketball camp is really three days of 40-minute games. They don't do drills or practice plays. They play lots and lots of games with teams from all over the state. It's really helping them mesh as a team, and they are getting better and better.

However, Roxie is VERY tired. We had to be at the camp at 7:30 this morning, which meant we had to leave the house at 6:50 to pick up Kelci. I talked to Roxie on the way to the camp. "I'm staying for the first game, and then I have to head home. Miss Julie will be here for the 2:00 game, and she will bring you home after you play at 4:00."

And because I'm the kind of mother who annoyingly repeats things four or five times, I know I said it again and again and again.

I sat and watched the 8:00 a.m. game. We won. Roxie and teammates did GREAT! She looked at me. I waved and blew her a kiss. We had a plan. She knew about the plan. The plan was good.

Five minutes from home, I received a call from an irate 14 year-old. "Where are you?"

"Roxie. I told you I was going home after the first game. I waved good-bye. Is something wrong? Do you need something?"

"No. But it would have been nice to know you were leaving."

"Roxie. I told you FIVE times I was leaving."

"Well, I'll see you at the 10:00 a.m. game."

"No, Babe. I'm not going to be there the rest of the day. Miss Julie is coming at 2:00."

"Well, I'll be through a little before 5:00, so you can pick me up then."

"Miss Julie is going to bring you home."

"Gee, Mom. You could have told me some of this, you know."

Arghhh! I would say, "I give up," but we all know I have several more years of annoyingly repeating myself to teenagers... who don't listen... EVER.

It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it!

Weekend Happenings

Well, we all know what Roxie will be doing. Basketball, basketball, basketball! The camp ends tomorrow, and I'll be staying for both of those games. I told Roxie that, but I'm sure she'll be surprised when she sees me sitting in the stands.

This weekend has a couple of different and exciting events. Tonight, I am helping serve at a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner for my friend's son. I am very excited. I love everything about a wedding. I would take a bunch of pictures, but I think they've hired a professional photographer... instead of me... if you can imagine.

Tomorrow the Faulkner Five will attend the actual wedding. This is the second wedding I've attended in three months. I'm telling you, it's about to start getting crazy around here... and I cannot wait!

Mikie, Austin and Josh are going to work today and tomorrow. Mikie's deadline is almost here, so his weekends are going to be free very, very soon. I am counting the days.

Josh is heading to King's Island in Kentucky and the Creation Museum in Ohio with the Youth Group from our church this Sunday afternoon. He is so looking forward to this trip/camp, and I'm happy for him. I've never been to Kentucky OR Ohio, so I cannot give him any advice, pointers, etc. Not that he would hear me anyway!

I am sending a camera with him, and I've told him I want a total of TEN GOOD PICTURES. TEN! I don't think that is too much to ask, but I'm pretty sure Josh thinks it is WAY too much to ask. If he's a good son, I'll be able to post TEN pictures from his trip Wednesday morning. If he's a bad son... Well, you'll find out Wednesday.

As you can see, it will be a full weekend, but it should be fun.

Have an easy, breezy weekend. Enjoy family and friends... and maybe some "me" time. That's always special, too.

I'll be back Monday morning with new pics in the Gallery and maybe some stories to tell. Who knows!

Take care, and I'll talk to you Monday morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

REMINDER #1 - Things have changed on A Simple Life... and are still changing as I type this post. I am sorry for this. I am a person who does not particularly like change. I feel change is bad in many situations... my blog being one of them.

1. Last Monday, Blogger (my server) would not let me post on the original A Simple Life. I could not get a new password. I could not get any answers as to when this would change, if ever. I could not POST! My old address was www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com.

2. After working on the problem ALL day Tuesday, I set up A Simple Life at a different address (www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com) and continued posting on schedule.

3. Almost 700 posts are still located at my old address (www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com), and if you need to look up party ideas, recipes, etc. you can go there and find everything you need.

4. However, from now on, you must come to the www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com address to see the new posts.

5. I know I have lost some friends and readers in this transition, but I had no control over the situation. NO CONTROL AT ALL!

6. I have found someone who is computer-savvy and is going to help me move the old posts (almost 700) to the new address. Everything will be together once again. I hope to have this done by July 1. (Do not hold your breath.)

7. It has also been brought to my attention it is difficult to leave a comment. I am working on this problem, also. Until the time I have figured out how to leave a comment, feel free to e-mail me or Facebook me, and I will respond. You can reach me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

REMINDER #2 - I'll be posting a picture a day on Belinda's Project Life tonight, Saturday AND Sunday. Visit if you get a chance. (www.belindasprojectlife.blogspot.com)

REMINDER #3 - The Butt Naked Candle Contest begins JULY 1. A winner will be announced Wednesday, JULY 6. I'll have all the details beginning Monday of next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fun Summer Activities for Families

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery has a picture of Roxie's new tennis shoes. Aren't they pretty? Almost too pretty to wear. There is a story behind these shoes... and I'll tell it a little bit later in the post.

REMINDERS! REMINDERS! REMINDERS! - Things have changed on A Simple Life... and are still changing as I type this post. I am sorry for this. I am a person who does not particularly like change. I feel change is bad in many situations... my blog being one of them.

1. Last Monday, Blogger (my server) would not let me post on the original A Simple Life. I could not get a new password. I could not get any answers as to when this would change, if ever. I could not POST! My old address was www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com.

2. After working on the problem ALL day Tuesday, I set up A Simple Life at a different address (www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com) and continued posting on schedule.

3. Almost 700 posts are still located at my old address (www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com), and if you need to look up party ideas, recipes, etc. you can go there and find everything you need.

4. However, from now on, you must come to the www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com address to see the new posts.

5. I know I have lost some friends and readers in this transition, but I had no control over the situation. NO CONTROL AT ALL!

6. I have found someone who is computer-savvy and is going to help me move the old posts (almost 700) to the new address. Everything will be together once again. I hope to have this done by July 1. (Do not hold your breath.)

7. It has also been brought to my attention it is difficult to leave a comment. I am working on this problem, also. Until the time I have figured out how to leave a comment, feel free to e-mail me or Facebook me, and I will respond. You can reach me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

The good news is Belinda's Project Life (www.belindasprojectlife.blogspot) has never had a problem. I'm still adding pictures daily. NO CHANGE!

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

RANDOMNESS - Roxie has started Boot Camp this week with the volleyball team. She has volleyball shoes (too little), and basketball shoes (not made for Boot Camp), so it was decided she needed a new pair of tennis shoes. Let it be known, I hate buying tennis shoes. They are so expensive, and I always think about the cute clothes, cute shoes and cute accessories you could buy for what it costs to purchase ONE pair of tennis shoes.

I don't feel bad buying the boys tennis shoes. Since they wear giant shoes, it always feels like a pretty good deal. I mean $60 to $80 for an item that takes two people to carry to the car... Well, that's a substantial amount of product for a substantial amount of cash.

Roxie's shoes are cute AND little AND light. You can carry them to the car holding the bag with one finger. It's a little frustrating, and I suggested she become a tennis shoe designer when she grows up, because they obviously make mega bucks and when it comes right down to it... a tennis shoe IS just a tennis shoes. Am I right?

Recently in my Body Pump class, one of the instructors noticed my old tennis shoes. I have had them for YEARS, and I have walked hundreds (nay, thousands) of miles in these shoes. They still have tread, but I will admit they have seen better days.

This particular instructor, who I like very much, mentioned IN class OVER the microphone DURING our workout, "Belinda needs to get some new shoes before the next class."

I'll be honest with you. Twenty years ago, I would have been mortified. Today, 64 days from turning 50... not so much. I just smiled, nodded and pumped weights.

During our next class, I saw her look at my tennis shoes. Class began. I pumped iron. I sucked in my abs. I felt the burn. But I knew it was bothering her I had not bought new tennis shoes. And I was right.

In the middle of our class, OVER the microphone, this instructor (who I still like very much), asked me if I had collapsible arches (Code for FLAT FEET). I answered with an affirmative nod. She then mentioned IN class OVER the microphone DURING our workout, "Belinda needs to get some new shoes before the next class BECAUSE she has collapsible arches."

I'll be honest with you again. Ten years ago, I would have been mortified. Today, 64 days from turning 50... NOT AT ALL! I just smiled, nodded and pumped weights.

When class was over, she followed me out of the classroom and talked to me face-to-face. "You really, really need to get some new shoes."

"I know. It's a budget thing. We have summer camps, vacation, etc., etc. and my shoes are on the list, but it's not time yet. These are fine for a few more weeks, and my feet are not hurting."

"I know what you're saying, but for only $230 you can have the pair of tennis shoes you need."

Let me just say, for $230 I could have two new outfits, matching sandals, enormous earrings and a pedi/mani... and be looking fine!

We agreed to disagree, and I'll be buying my new tennis shoes toward the end of July as planned.

But I'm very worried about my instructor. My tennis shoe situation is obviously causing her great stress. (I may have to give her one of my "Austin is in College, Josh is Driving and Roxie is a Teenager" pills to help her get over the hump. Like I always say, I'm a giver!)

Blog Linkage - My Blog List is on the right sidebar, AND it is functioning properly. YEA!

1. Go to My Blog List and click on Coal Creek Farm. Read ALL of the Birthday Saga posts. Each and every one! They are great. Mikie is going to sit down and read all of these ideas, too. He just doesn't know it yet.

2. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Storms" dated June 21. I love the pictures and the way she talks about faith.

3. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled Past Projects, 4th of July. There are some very cute 4th of July ideas in this post. I'm planning on using a couple of them myself at our family gathering in a few days.

4. Go to Nitty.Gritty under My Blog List and read the post entitled "Her Fragrance in Life" dated June 22. Jody talks about her grandmother's life, and it is just a walk down memory lane. I thoroughly enjoyed every word. It made me think!

You've got a lot of reading to do today. Better get busy!

Fun Summer Activities for Families

I found these ideas on a website entitled Coolest Dates. We've actually done a few of these "back in the day." Lots of fun, but NOT lots of money!

1. Have a "war!" You could have a pinecone war, a peanut war or even a pudding war! Be creative. It could be girls against the guys, kids against mom and dad, everyone on their own, etc. Afterwards sit down and have a picnic.

2. Have a sidewalk decoration contest with colored chalk. (We've done this one. It's fun, and it takes more time than you would think.)

3. Play backwards hide-and-go-seek. The person who is "IT" hides and everyone else has to find him/her, then they have to hide with the person until the last person finds the whole group. The last person to find the whole group is "IT."

4. Put on your oldest clothes and head to a nearby mud hole. These mud holes can be found after rainstorms at baseball diamonds, parks, fields and land that has been previously used for a garden. A long hose will also do the trick. First have a tug-of-war across the mud. Afterwards, have races where each person drags their partner through the mud. (The kids have had fun with this one. Mikie and I didn't participate, but maybe we should have. Nah!)

5. Collect a variety of flat rocks and go to a lake for a rock-skipping contest. When you are finished, enjoy a picnic dinner beside the water.

6. Using a box of Legos, Kinex, building blocks, etc., divide them evenly among the family. Each family member has 15 minutes to make a project. The winning project (as determined by applause) receives a certificate or ribbon.

7. Get a can of foamy shaving cream for each person. Find somewhere that you can make a mess, pass out cans, then ATTACK! Have a fun shaving cream fight. Make sure your family has clothes on they don't mind getting dirty.

8. List all the city parks in your area which have playgrounds. Allow space next to each park to fill in a time and date. Over several dates, visit each park and swing together, then record the date and time until you have visited each playground. (When the kids were small, we visited several parks each summer. It's fun, and at the end of the summer we would always go back to the "favorite.")

9. Catch frogs and have a frog-jumping contest.

Simple, fun, inexpensive. What are you waiting for?

Have a thrilling Thursday! I will be back in the morning to discuss Weekend Happenings and such. You know... Friday stuff!

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spend Your Birthday Enjoying the Word "FREE" Tradition

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are left over from Monday's trip to Bass Pro Shop. (I REALLY need to go to the Zoo. However, I will not go until the temps drop into the 70s. Been there. Done that. Big sweaty, smelly mistake!) On the other hand, the Bass Pro Shop is cool AND smells like fudge and saltwater taffy. It reminds me of the mountains.

DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! - If you want to look at posts from the original A Simple Life, go to www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com. I found someone who can help me move my older posts to my new website. I hope to have everything TOGETHER again by July 1.

RANDOMNESS #1 - This Thursday night (TOMORROW), a new reality show is beginning. Expedition Impossible! The guy who created Survivor made this show, too. The previews look like "Amazing Race Meets Survivor Meets Adrenaline Junkies." I think it's going to be good!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Do y'all ever "name" your summers? Am I the only one who does this? For a few years when the kids were smaller, our summers were named "Summer of the Pool - 2000," "Summer of the Pool - 2001," etc. One summer we spent an unusual amount of time at Froggie's. Thus, the name "Summer of Froggie's." Another summer, my kids attended TWO Vacation Bible Schools (because they wanted to), and that summer was called "Summer of VBS."

Last year, we vacationed at Amelia Island during the Heat Wave of 2010 (and almost DIED from heat exhaustion, fire sand and dehydration). We named the season "Summer of Hellfire and Brimstone." A little dramatic perhaps, but unfortunately accurate.

I know. I'm not quite right.

This summer has been hard to name. If Roxie worked at Chick-Fil-A, I could call it "Summer of the Chick." However, she does NOT work at the Chick... yet. If the boys were working out once or twice a day for volleyball or basketball, I could call it "Summer of Muscles."

As it stands now, when Roxie comes in from workouts, one of the guys leaves for their Chick shift. When one guy comes back, the other one leaves for his Chick shift. Roxie then makes plans with chick friends. Hmmm. The nest isn't exactly emptying, but it is needing a revolving door installed.

I'll come up with something soon. I'll keep you apprised! (That's a term I used in my legal secretary days over two decades ago. I am so incredibly OLD.)

RANDOMNESS #3 - I tried to walk with Mikie last night. I thought it would be good since my exercise schedule is sporadic at best the last few weeks. I imagined us talking, laughing and planning the rest of our summer after his "busy" time at work ends in the next few days. I was so wrong.

I can't describe it, but Mikie doesn't really walk. However, it isn't a run either. But it is extremely fast, and after 12 years of non-stop walking with all kinds of walking buddies, it was HARD.

At first I thought he was trying to impress me, but it soon became apparent I was being out-walked by a novice. He does seven-minute miles (or less). As it turns out, I am quite comfortable with 12-minute miles (or more).

He tried to slow down to accommodate my wheezing and whining, but he just couldn't do it, so at the one-mile mark, I bid him a fond farewell and headed to the house to finish putting dinner on the table.

I haven't decided if I'm going to walk with him again. (Right now, I'm thinking NOT!)

Wednesday Wisdom - I have chosen former First Lady, Barbara Bush, as the "giver" of today's wisdom. I've always liked her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense way of talking. She makes sense to me.

"At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent." (Love, love, love this one.)

"I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up."

"I may be the only mother in America who knows exactly what their child is up to all the time." (Very, very funny.)

"I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life." (Yes. I totally agree.)

"It seems to me I spent my life in car pools, but you know, that's how I kept track of what was going on." (Yes. I totally agree... again.)

I heard a story about President George Bush and his Mother. When George Bush was President, he was spending time at their home in Texas. He came in from running and was dripping with sweat. In front of his Mother and Father, he sat down on a couch and put his feet on an ottoman.

"What do you think you're doing? Get OFF the furniture, and go take a shower... NOW," his Mother demanded.

He got up, left and headed for the shower.

"Barbara. You cannot talk to him like that. He's the President of the United States," her husband admonished her.

"Well, as President of the United States, he should know better," she replied.

I loved that. He might have been President, but he was still her son.

Spend Your Birthday Enjoying the Word "FREE" Tradition

I found most of these FREEBIES from a website called The Fabulous Life of a Coupon Addict (www.thefabulouslifeofacouponaddict.blogspot.com). Always be sure to pre-register or call before your birthday to make sure this is offered in your area or has not been discontinued.

Applebee's - Sign up for Applebee’s e-mails, and you’ll score a FREE dessert on your birthday.

Auntie Anne’s - Sign up for Pretzel Perks and score monthly coupons, and a FREE pretzel coupon on your birthday.

Ben and Jerry’s - Sign up for Chunk Mail to receive a FREE Ice Cream Treat on your birthday, plus a discount coupon for an ice cream cake.

Blue Bell - Join the Blue Bell Country Club and score a FREE half gallon of ice cream during your birthday month.

California Pizza Kitchen - Register your kiddos (ages 10 and under) for the CPKids Birthday Club so that they can receive a FREE CPKids meal during their birthday month.

Chuck E Cheese’s - Join the e-mail club and receive coupon offers, free tokens for your kiddo’s birthday and much more.

Cold Stone Creamery - Join their birthday club and receive a free ice cream dessert coupon to be used during your birthday month. (We've done this for years. It's good stuff, and you don't have to actually go on your birthday. You can spread the celebration out a little.)

Dairy Queen - Join the Blizzard FanClub and score a coupon for a FREE 16-ounce Blizzard Treat with the purchase of another 16-ounce Blizzard Treat on your birthday/

Firehouse Subs - Receive a FREE medium celebratory sub on your birthday when you come with a valid I.D. that has your birthdate. (We have a new Firehouse Subs in our town. I'm checking it out today!)

Godiva Chocolates - Sign up for the Godiva Chocolate Club and receive a FREE piece of candy each month. (Whenever Roxie and I go to the Galleria, we head straight to the Godiva Chocolate store and start our shopping trip with a truffle.)

IHOP - Sign up for the Pancake Revolution, receive a free meal upon signing up and a free meal on your birthday.

Justice - Sign up your kiddo for Justice e-mails, and you’ll receive discounts via e-mail and a special discount/coupon on your birthday.

K-mart - Sign up your kiddos for the K-mart Birthday Club, and they’ll receive $5.00 in Birthday bucks, a birthday crown, a Happy Birthday certificate AND a birthday fun pack!

Planet Smoothie - Sign up for the newsletter and get free birthday goodies.

Red Lobster - Join the Fresh Catch Club and get a special birthday surprise.

Ruby Tuesday - Join the So Connected E-mail Club and receive a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" entree coupon upon sign-up, plus get a coupon for a free burger on your birthday.

Sephora - Become a Beauty Insider and get a free birthday gift (i.e. Sephora Collection Beautiful Eyes Kit).

Toys R Us - Sign up your kids (10 and under) for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club and you’ll receive a free party planner with a special offer, a birthday greeting card and gift, an in-store celebration (including a birthday crown, a balloon, and an in-store announcement) and even a birthday call from Geoffrey.

You could do this each and every year on your birthday. Pick and choose breakfast, lunch and dinner (collecting your FREE things along the way). Go to the stores which offer birthday deals and see how much STUFF you can get for FREE on your special day. (Or your child's special day. What a great birthday date!)

If you know of any other fun, FREE birthday offers, be sure to post them in the Comment Section, on Facebook or e-mail me. I'll add them as I get them... and I'll give you the credit.

Have a blessed Wednesday. Don't forget to encourage someone today. It can be someone you know, or the stranger who hands you a Caramel Frappe' through the McDonald's drive-thru window. (Now you know one of my "errands" I have planned for this day.) Be especially kind to someone this Encouraging Wednesday.

I'll be here bright and early Thursday morning with Blog Linkage AND a date. (I have some very good linkage.)

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Egg Cream

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Roxie's basketball Play Day in Pell City. She, Kelci and some other Junior Varsity friends had a really good day, and we made the most of our time there.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I didn't take pictures of Mikie's Father's Day gift. In the past, I have been known to take my camera into the movie theater and take a "flash-free" photo of the movie title as it begins. I have NEVER noticed the sign at the beginning of the movie which reads, "No Cameras or Videos." Never! Thus, it must be totally new.

Since it was a Sunday (and I try very hard not to sin on a Sunday), I put my camera down and tried to remember if there was a photo-op poster for Green Lantern in the lobby. I kept telling myself I had seen one, but I lied. There was nothing... nada.

Sadly, there is no picture of Mikie and the kids sitting in a dark theater watching Green Lantern. All we have is our memory of a very good time had by all, and a pretty decent superhero movie.

Ryan Reynolds makes a very cute Green Lantern. It really bothers Austin when I call the Green Lantern "cute." I really like bothering Austin.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Only a few more days until we begin the second Butt Naked Candle Contest on A Simple Life. I know the anticipation is killing you! It's going to be epic!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Josh is finally well. FINALLY! Whatever it was (stomach bug, food poisoning, etc.) has finally "left the building," and he is feeling fine! He left for work this morning. Cha-ching!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Roxie started volleyball Boot Camp this morning. She has to go twice a week for a few weeks. I'm worried about her. I have never tried Boot Camp... for several reasons.

1. I don't like the name Boot Camp and all it implies. I am not a Marine and I have no desire to become Marine-like at this stage of my life.

2. I don't run. Notice I didn't say, "I can't run." I said, "I don't run." It is a "choice." I believe this choice has served me well.

3. I can do a normal number of women's push-ups. I cannot do an abnormal number of women's push-ups. (An abnormal number would be anything greater than 8.)

4. Boot Camp makes me think of someone in very good shape yelling at me until the veins pop out of his/her neck. (Think Sergeant Carter and Gomer Pyle.) I make it a point not to even talk socially with hard bodies, much less put myself in a position where they can yell at me in front of others. (NOTE - The instructor probably never yells. It's just what I envision.)

5. I have become quite happy with my Walking/Body Pump body. It suits me.

I hope Roxie is okay.

Egg Cream

Thanks to my new Family Fun Magazine, I have several new food ideas for the 4th of July Celebration I host at my home. This one isn't necessarily a 4th of July drink, but it sounds like a cool and refreshing drink for these hot Summer days.

You will need the following (per egg cream):

1/3 cup cold milk
3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
Cold seltzer

1. Stir together milk and chocolate syrup in a tall glass.

2. Hold a spoon so that the bowl touches the bottom of the glass, then quickly pour cold seltzer against it to create foam.

3. Stop pouring as the foam approaches the top of the glass. Serve immediately.

I don't know how this drink got the name "Egg Cream" because there are no eggs or cream anywhere. It has fewer calories than a milkshake, but is "similarly sweet, cool and refreshing." Sounds easy AND delicious... my two favorite ingredients!

Have a super Tuesday. Believe it or not, it is officially the first day of SUMMER. Today will be the longest day of the year. If I make it through this long, hot day, I can rest happy knowing every day from now until some time in December will become shorter and shorter and shorter. We're working our way toward Fall!

I'll be back Wednesday with a Seasonal Tradition, Wednesday Wisdom, Randomness and a couple more pics for the Gallery.

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday NIGHT!

I don't think I've ever posted this late before! I spent the day in Pell City, arrived back in town around 6:00 and immediately met a friend for dinner. It is now 8:38 p.m., and I am officially "tired."

The Gallery Pics are from this past Father's Day weekend. The explanations are below.

Have a nice evening, and I'll be posting a new recipe first thing in the morning, along with Randomness and more pics from today.

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting (and Very, Very Weary) Belinda

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

I've added some old, miscellaneous pics in the Gallery today. But I'll have a bunch of NEW pictures on Monday... because it's Father's Day weekend, you see. Tons of photo ops coming up. TONS!

RANDOMNESS - My friend, Julie, gave me a little jumpstart this morning. I took Roxie to basketball practice, and slowly rolled down my window to say "Good Morning."

"The girls have to have their physical TODAY, or they cannot go to Boot Camp for volleyball next Tuesday. It has to be TODAY!"

I handled it as calmly as I always do. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN... TODAY? We don't have a free minute between now and Saturday at 4:00 p.m. What are we going to do?" I was a rock, I tell you.

You're probably wondering what was wrong with getting a physical on Monday. Well, we are scheduled to leave at 7:30 Monday morning for a basketball Play Day in Pell City. We'll be back around 6:00 that evening. Do the math!

After coming home and checking the calendar, I called Julie. "The calendar says June 28. We have another week."

"The calendar is wrong. Didn't you get the e-mail correcting the calendar?"

"Arghhh! NO!" (Can you tell I saw a pirate movie this past week?)

Then we decided upon a plan, because yelling at each other and whining didn't seem to be helping solve the problem... although it was extremely cathartic.

I called a local "doc-in-the-box," and begged them for an appointment right after practice today. They informed me they would only take walk-ins... which translates into four hours in the local "doc-in-the-box" waiting room. "Arghhh!" I wailed again.

The nurse/receptionist took pity on me, and instead of hanging up informed me they were now open seven days a week. They would be open until 6:00 p.m. Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Oh, joy! I could breathe again.

I quickly called Julie so she could "breathe" again, too. (I am a great friend!)

And hopefully, that is the last "drama" I'll have this weekend! (Who am I kidding? I have a 14 year-old daughter! This is only the beginning of my weekend drama!)

I promised a Top Ten List for Father's Day Gifts, and I delivered!

Ideas for Father's Day - These ten ideas came from a blog called Mommy Savers.

1. When my daughter was four, we decided to do Messages in a Bottle for Dads and Grandpas for Father’s Day. We bought small bottles with corks at Wal-Mart in the Craft Department, and then I had her write a love note. We rolled it up and put it inside with some confetti and beads. Then we corked it, and put a ribbon around the neck. Her Daddy loved it, and so did the Grandpas. Cute idea and not very expensive. (From Lisa, 41, New York) (You could also hide the bottle and give Dad some clues for a little treasure hunt.)

2. Two years ago for Father’s Day, I gathered my three kids together and made a collage picture frame for their dad. I took an inexpensive clear 5" × 7" frame, cut a piece of colored construction paper to fit and assembled various pictures on the paper. The pictures included the kids, his model of car and his various hobbies and interests. He loved it! (From Pattie, 45, Pennsylvania)

3. Last year we took left over glass spaghetti sauce jars and cleaned them up. I cut slots into the lid, and I let the kids paint away. Afterward, I glued on a print out I made on the computer saying, “I wouldn’t CHANGE my Dad for anything!” It made a useful and thoughtful Change Jar gift. (From Amber, 24, Wisconsin)

4. For Father’s Day last year, my three children and I made homemade pizza and a giant cookie for my husband. He loves pizza and chocolate chip cookies so we made homemade pizza dough and put all the items he loves on top. Then we took our second pizza pan and made a giant pizza cookie and decorated the top with frosting that said Happy Father’s Day. I packed all the food into a basket with some drinks and fruit, and we went to a local park. It was a nice, relaxing Father’s Day and didn’t cost a whole lot of money. Plus, the kids got to be involved, which made it special for them, too. (From Laenie, 48, Michigan)

5. For Father’s Day this year, I am having the kids wash, dry and vacuum his car in the morning as a surprise to him! He loves his car to be shiny and clean. (Kelli, 35, from Minnesota)

6. If your Dad is a sports fan, this idea might work for you. This is great Father’s Day fun, and it doesn’t matter if the weather cooperates or not. It seems there is usually a baseball game on Father's Day on TV. We spread out a big blanket in the living room in front of the TV, have hot dogs with all the fixings, nachos and cheese dip. {I bought some of the plastic trays they use at the ballpark. You can buy them at Sam’s Club really cheap.} We have popcorn, peanuts in the shell and frosty malts, all for a small percent of what tickets, food and parking would cost at the actual game. When we are done with our “ballgame,” everything is disposable, and we just take the blanket outside and shake off the crumbs. One year I even made baseball tickets on the computer, and put them in his Father's Day card. They looked so real, he thought we were going to the actual game, but he liked staying at home where it was cool inside and the food was all you could eat without the cost. (Vinnie from Montana)

7. For Father’s Day, I took a picture of my kids holding a sign that read, “WE LOVE YOU TO PIECES," and had it developed. I bought a wooden picture frame, and the kids glued old puzzle pieces on the sides of the frame and inserted their picture inside. It was a quick, easy and inexpensive Father’s Day gift. (Sue from Connecticut)

8. Since my husband often kids with us that he is “The King,” we crowned him “King Daddy” last year! He LOVED it! We made a crown out of construction paper and decorated it with jewels. We made a cape out of a blanket. We served him a royal breakfast... all of his favorites. It was a Father’s Day none of us will ever forget. (Erika from Rhode Island)

9. This is my husband’s favorite gift. I make him a goody bag for every day of the week before Father's Day (Monday through Saturday). Six bags. In each day's bag, I put coffee and lunch money, a favorite snack for the day and a nice note from me and/or the kids. You could put anything you know he likes in the bag. His favorite gum, favorite CD to listen to while he drives, etc. My husband looks forward to his “bag” every morning. Also, he loves getting a picture of the kids in some of his "bags." (Joy from Maryland) (You could also tell him WHERE to go for lunch one day, and you and the kids could meet him there!)

10. When my husband wanted a fishing boat and we didn’t have the money, I thought of a gift he would love. I used an old glass canning jar, and bought some puffy paints (the same ones you use on material). I drew a fisherman and his boat and painted the words “Boat Fund” on the top of the jar. My girls donated some of their piggy bank money to the cause, and I added some money I had been saving. (Stephenie from Minnesota) (This idea could be used for anything Dad is saving money to buy... a special fishing pole, a hunting trip, power tool, etc., etc.)

NOTE - Feel free to share any unique, inexpensive or fun ideas you have used in Father's Days past. What worked for you might work for another!

Weekend Happenings

Tonight, we will be Roxie-less... without Roxie... one down, two to go! (Kidding. Really, I'm only kidding!) Roxie is spending time with cousins and looking forward to being with Monica. "Spending the night" and "14 year-old girls" go together like peanut butter and jelly. Will Roxie be a little grumpy Saturday night because of having so much fun and NOT sleeping? Oh, yes! Will it have been worth it? Oh, yes!

Josh is still in recovery mode from his stomach bug/food poisoning illness. He wasn't "well" yesterday, and we're hoping for a much-needed reprieve from whatever this is that has made him so sick these last few days. As far as the other Faulkners are concerned... so far, so good. That is why I keep thinking it is food poisoning. If it was a true stomach bug, I would have caught it by now.

Austin is doing his Chick thing today and tomorrow. Since Josh has missed three days of work, we're hoping he'll be clear today so he can go in for his shift tomorrow. Just like school, we're looking for 24 hours with no symptoms.

Mikie will be at work tomorrow, too. This is our June. Work, work, work. However, because it is summer, we are fortunate to be able to eat together on these late evenings when Mikie (and sometimes Roxie) get in after 8:00 p.m. (And, yes. There is a legitimate reason people tell you NOT to eat dinner late in the evening. Mike and I feel like we're going to bed each night totally bloated and beyond full. But an end to our late-night meals is definitely in the foreseeable future. Now if we can just lose the extra five pounds we have each put on!)

Sunday will be spent celebrating our fathers. We'll be eating lunch and visiting with Mike's family after church. (Yes! Matthew, Great-Nephew Extraordinaire, will be in attendance!)

As for Mikie's celebration, the last few years, we have been taking him to Dreamland for a special Father's Day dinner. However, since we're having a big lunch, the kids and I have decided to tweak this tradition a bit. We're planning on taking him to see The Green Lantern. After the movie, we are going somewhere fun for a light supper and/or snack. The gift isn't Dreamland barbecue. It is time well spent with the man the kids call "Dad," "Pop" and sometimes "Daddy." I'm looking forward to it!

Have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Don't take it for granted. I'll be back Monday morning with a Mindless Monday post, and I would love for you to stop by if you get a chance.

Take care, and I'll talk to you Monday.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Car Washing Date

Good Thursday morning!

I'm going to keep the following two or three paragraphs here for a few days. If you have read it before, skip down to the new stuff, please.

Welcome to the NEW "A Simple Life." Hopefully, I will be able to transfer all of the OLD "A Simple Life" to this blog in a day or so making it easier to access old posts, etc. (For now, you can still access old posts at www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com.)

I have a new website address, too. You can find A Simple Life at www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but as I've stated before, it's a little miracle I'm able to figure out how to blog at all... much less keep it up for almost three years. (If you've known me two minutes, you know I am a severely computer/tech-challenged chick. SEVERELY!

The Gallery Pic is of a new place Mikie and I visited recently. Well, it was new to us. The review is below the photo.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Except for the fact I have to move My Blog List and two and a half years' worth of posts to my new location (www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com), I think the transition went pretty smoothly.

Well, I guess it did. I'm pretty sure I lost more than half of the readers I once had, but I tried to leave a website trail of where to find me in the Comment Section of my old location, Facebook and on Belinda's Project Life. As soon as I set up a new Sitemeter, I'll be able to see the damage. (A Sitemeter lets you know how many visits you receive daily, weekly and monthly to see if your blog is growing at a healthy pace. No, I am not kidding. Being a "number" nut, it is one of my favorite parts of blogging.)

RANDOMNESS #2 - I'm still having the Butt Naked Candle Contest in July to celebrate my 700th post. I will be leaving more details with you as the time draws nigh. I would like to mention all out-of-towners are welcome to enter the Contest, because I will be more than happy to ship your candle to you anywhere in the United States and/or Canada. Take note!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Josh has been sick since Monday night of this week with food poisoning (not because of me) or a stomach bug. The only reason we think it might be food poisoning is because he and another guy ate the same thing (not here), got sick at the exact same time (not here) and each had to go home.

I'm not the best cook in the world, but so far I haven't HAD food poisoning or given anyone food poisoning... that I know of... or that I will admit.

I'm hoping today is a much better day for Josh. This has not been a good way to spend summer vacation.

Blog Linkage - Since My Blog List isn't set up yet, you will not be able to "click on" the name of the blog on my sidebar until next week. Today, you will have to type in the entire website address to visit the links. Thankfully, there are only two.

1. Go to www.coalcreekfarm.com. Read the post entitled "The Long Overdue Birthday Saga - Part I" dated June 15. It is a pretty lengthy post (without pics), but highly entertaining. It is also a cliffhanger so you can be watching for Part II sometime soon.

2. Go to www.eighteen25.blogspot.com and scroll down to the post entitled "Pen Pal Kit" dated June 13. I always wanted to have a pen pal when I was a kid. I have loved getting "snail mail" since I was a little girl. If you can find someone to do this with your child, I think it would be such a fun summer activity.

Car Washing Date

I promised a cool, refreshing date this week. If you have a child around nine or ten years of age, plan a Saturday morning car wash. Ask a couple of family members or neighbors ahead of time if they will let you wash their car. (Family members could pay $5, and I feel like the neighbors would probably offer... especially with an adult helping with the wash.)

Gather your car washing supplies, turn on a boom box and enjoy your time working, getting wet, listening to tunes and spending one-on-one time... together.

After you finish the two or three cars (make sure you wash your car, too), have your child pick a place for lunch (or dinner). Get cleaned up and use your earnings to pay for the meal and dessert.

Not only will you be able to teach your kiddo the proper way to wash a car, earn his/her keep and the satisfaction of receiving pay for a job well done, but it will be time well spent and simple fun had by all.

And you don't have to get hot!

Have a terrific Thursday. I'll be back tomorrow with a Top Ten List of Father's Day ideas (old and new) and Weekend Happenings.

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanted Belinda

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Importance of Creating Summertime Family Traditions

Good Wednesday morning!

Welcome to the NEW "A Simple Life." Hopefully, I will be able to transfer all of the OLD "A Simple Life" to this blog in a day or so making it easier to access old posts, etc. (For now, you can still access old posts at www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com.)

I have a new website address, too. You can find A Simple Life at www.belinda-asimplelife.blogspot.com.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but as I've stated before, it's a little miracle I'm able to figure out how to blog at all... much less keep it up for almost three years. (If you've known me two minutes, you know I am a severely computer/tech-challenged chick. SEVERELY!

The Gallery Pics are a few leftovers from Mikie's birthday.

Wednesday Wisdom - I've wasted a lot of time over the last 24 hours trying to figure out what is probably a very simple "fix" for some people. Thus, today's wisdom is about spending time wisely. (Something I did NOT do yesterday!)

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." William Penn (Amen, and AMEN!)

"Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week." Charles Richards (Oh, I want to be the guy who "gets a year's value out of a week.")

"The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." Stephen R. Covey (I really LOVE this one.)

"Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing." Thomas Jefferson (I'm thinking Mr. Jefferson wasn't a "nap-taking" kind of guy.)

The Importance of Creating Summertime Family Traditions

I found this explanation of the importance of TRADITIONS, and I liked it. It makes you think.

"Traditions are special ways of doing things that we repeat over and over again," explains Milly Kaiser, Family Life Educator with University of Illinois Extension. "When you use a muscle in your body over and over again in a certain way, it makes the muscle stronger. Sharing experiences over and over again in a certain way strengthens a family."

"Family rituals or traditions can be something that you do nightly, weekly, monthly or yearly. The only condition is that you choose something that everyone is interested in doing."

"Most importantly, traditions give the family stability and a feeling of belonging. It's an opportunity for parents to share and demonstrate their values and beliefs with their children through their traditions."

"Togetherness does not have to cost extra money. Togetherness is simply giving your time to each other. With a positive attitude and a little creative flare, your family can make these simple activities a fun way to be together, and learn together."

Plant a flower or vegetable garden together... together.

Visit the local humane shelter and ask how you can help... together.

Call a homeless shelter and ask how you can help... together.

Train for a 5-K charity walk or run... together.

Go blueberry picking and make blueberry pancakes... together.

Check out summer concerts or festivals... together.

"Plan some special family time this summer," suggests Kaiser. "Who knows? Maybe some of the summer activities you do this year will become a tradition. Summertime living with family traditions can be some of the best memories for years to come."

Have a wonderful Wednesday. Plan something with your family for this weekend. Spend your time wisely. (And let it be known, I'll be taking my own advice!) I'll be here in the morning with Blog Linkage and a fun summer date (that will keep you cool)!

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

AND TODAY YOU GET A TWOFER... You will find yesterday's post below:

Banana Boats and Ice Cream in a Bag

Good Tuesday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I had a lot of Randomness earlier in the day when I thought everything was going to be normal, but it has all left me now. The fact that A Simple Life is floating out in cyberspace with no one to watch over it is very unsettling for me... the Mother Unit!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I will say that the Summer of 2011 has been a very different summer for our family. With Josh AND Austin working different shifts at the Chick, Roxie going to practices for basketball AND volleyball and Mikie finishing his June deadlines (his busiest time of the year), I am feeling more than a little discombobulated (good word).

Throw in the question, "Where, oh where, is my BLOG?" and you have a perfect description of my summer thus far.

I am adjusting. We usually eat around 8:15 or 8:30 so whoever is present can be here when Roxie and Mikie are available. I know it is unhealthy to eat so late, but when the kids are eating breakfast around 10:00 a.m. or later, I think it evens out.

I will tell you about something that HAS worked out and something that HAS NOT worked out in my Epic Summer of 2011 plan. You can feel free to learn from my mistakes.

Almost every night (even as late as 10:30 or 11:00), we all gather in the den and watch an old episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun. It is on our X-Box Netflix package... something else I do not understand. There are 129 episodes, and depending on the time and sleepiness of everyone (mainly me and Mikie), we will watch one or two episodes together. It has been fun and doable with teenagers.

I told you we were going to play Monopoly a little every other night or so as a family. What I didn't tell you (because I was not aware of this fact) is once all the property is bought, most of the Faulkner Five want to stop playing. They do not want to purchase hotels or homes or barter or trade. It's over. It's done. Let's move on, shall we? Tonight, I'm setting up an ongoing Scrabble game. Wish me luck.

RANDOMNESS #3 - My new Family Fun magazine came in, and it is getting harder and harder to use ideas from this publication for my "ever-growing-older" family. However, I keep on a-tryin'... because I never want to give up my subscription, you see.

I was interested to see out of the Top 20 Years of Summer Fun, I have tried SIX of the different activities and/or recipes.

The favorite would have to be the pinaqua. You fill a plastic trash bag with two gallons of water and knot the top. Tie a roper tightly beneath the knot. Toss the free end of the rope over a tree branch and either tie it securely or have an adult stand by to raise and lower the pinaqua. After being blindfolded and spun around three times, each player takes three whacks at the pinaqua with a broom. The winner is the one who manages to break the bag and unleash the wave.

We had a ball when we did this many years ago!

And I had tried two of the summer recipes. These have both appeared in A Simple Life, but in case you never read them or have forgotten about them, they are the featured recipes again today!

Banana Boats

1. To make one, cut a lengthwise slit in a peeled banana and place it on a sheet of aluminum foil.

2. Stuff as many chocolate chips and mini marshmallows as you can fit.

3. Wrap the foil around the banana and place it on a grill for about 5 minutes (or in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes at 200 degrees).

4. Once cooled, this is best eaten with a spoon (and lots of napkins).

I usually let the kids and their friends make these before a backyard camp out. Fun and delicious.

Ice Cream in a Bag

1. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup half and half and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a pint-size ziplock bag.

2. Seal it tightly.

3. Place 1/2 cup coarse salt (table salt is also fine) in a gallon-size bag, then fill it halfway with ice cubes.

4. Place the sealed smaller bag inside as well, and seal the larger bag.

5. Shake the bags until the ice cream mixture hardens, about 5 minutes. (Feel the small bag to determine when it is done.) Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, and eat the ice cream right out of the bag.

6. Each bag serves 1.

This is not only a cool treat, but it works up an appetite.

Have a great Tuesday... what is left of it. Remember, Wednesday is our busy day on A Simple Life!

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Slightly Lost Belinda
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