Judith

Judith

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All About You Basket

Good Wednesday morning!

I'm breaking a promise. That's right. I admit it. There are more birthday pics in the Gallery. I am so sorry... and ashamed... and I'll do better next time. I promise!

LAST DAY! LAST DAY! LAST DAY!

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - Belinda's Project Life has been completed. Here are the Contest Rules and Regulations.

1. Pick your TEN FAVORITE PICTURES from Belinda's Project Life.

2. If one of your favorites matches one of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl.

3. If three of your favorites match three of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl THREE TIMES! Get it?

4. Since my Comment Section on A Simple Life doesn't work (arghhh), you can leave your favs on Facebook or e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

5. The Contest is OVER midnight, Wednesday, August 31.

6. The Winner will be announced Thursday morning (September 1).

7. The Winner will receive a $10 Gift Certificate from YOLO's!

My friend, Neisa, e-mailed answers to me. FIVE of her favorites matched FIVE of my favorites... so her name goes into the drawing bowl FIVE times. That's how it works, my friends.

RANDOMNESS - I'm really looking forward to our Awesome August service at church tonight. Rick from the Rick and Bubba Show will be there giving his testimony. He is a powerful speaker, and I cannot wait to hear what he has to say. (I have a feeling I'll probably be talking about this tomorrow, too!)

Wednesday Wisdom - Today's "wisdom" comes straight from The Hallmark Store... in the form of "supposedly" funny birthday cards.

Don't sweat turning 50! Nobody likes a sweaty senior citizen.

One hour of weightlifting per day helps minimize underarm jiggle. Then again, so does wearing long sleeves.

So you're 50. Hey, look on the bright side. Okay. There is not bright side. There's a bright light, but you're gonna want to stay away from that.

Good news! People are living longer than ever! Bad news! We don't get to choose which people.

Birthdays always remind me of the giant redwoods on the West Coast. The way they stand tall and proud, year after year, century after century. Their majestic beauty never fails to take my breath away... Thank you for planting them.

These are just a few of the cards that made turning 50 a little more pleasant.

All About You Basket

I was reading through www.thedatingdivas.com website (The Dating Divas), and came across this idea from a guest blogger named Lisa P.

She made this list and basket for her husband, but I thought it would make a great back-to-school tradition for the kiddos, too.

Read about the basket, and then we'll revise it a little for the kids. (This, in case you don't realize, is a two-fer!)

I recently created a list of "101 Reasons Why I Love You" for my husband. I thought back to when we were dating and how I had done the same thing, and thought it would be a great idea. I didn’t leave it at that. I decided I would create an “All About You” Basket which would include my love letter and some gifts as well. (You could create a list of any length. I chose 101 because I had done this before.)

I had to spend some time coming up with meaningful reasons. I didn’t do this in one sitting, but would write a few lines whenever I had a few spare minutes. It was easy and pretty quick to do once my brain got started.

Then I headed to the store with all of my reasons to pick out a few things to buy to put into my basket. I spent a total 0f $35 on my basket. You can be creative and include whatever you would like and spend whatever you want to spend. My basket cost only $3 from my grocery store.

I picked out specific things in my letter that I could buy something for. For example, I bought some light bulbs for the phrase, you “light” up my life! I bought some sponges because my man is so “handy.” Things like that were really easy and triggered my thoughts in the store.

I typed all of my phrases on the computer so that I could tape them onto the corresponding gift. I put the gifts and the love letter into the basket. I didn’t have a lot of room so I had to stack things to make them look cute. Once I was finished, I put cellophane around it and tied it with a ribbon. It looked so cute and I was excited to give it to my sweet husband. Not only was there great stuff in the basket, but it was totally meaningful which made it even better!

I got home and left it on the table as a present. When he got home, he was so surprised. He appreciated the gift and thought it was awesome!

The Enchanting Belinda says...

I love this idea for Mikie AND I think it would make a great back-to-school gift for the kiddos.

1. Make a list of "encouragement" for each of your children. ("You are a good listener." "You have a kind heart." "You make friends easily." "You are so much fun to be around." "You are my best movie buddy." "You are sweet.")

2. After you make the list, head to The Dollar Store and try to find small, inexpensive gifts to put into the child's basket to go with the things you put on the list.

"You are so much fun to be around." Depending on their age, buy them bubbles, a jump rope, a hula hoop, etc.

"You are sweet." Uh, candy!

"You are my best movie buddy." A DVD to watch together the evening after the first day of school.

"You make friends easily." A picture in a frame of their best friend.

3. When the kids come home after the first day of school, have the baskets wrapped and sitting on the kitchen table beside their snack. If they had a good day, the basket will only make it better. If they had a stressful day, the basket will make a hard day easier.

4. I like this idea because you can start any time and keep doing it from preschool through high school. (You just have to make the gifts age appropriate.)

Have a wonderful, wacky Wednesday. I'll be back in the morning with TWO dates, Blog Linkage AND the WINNER OF BELINDA'S PROJECT LIFE CONTEST! Be sure to enter today.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Conecuh Pork and Beans

Good Tuesday morning!

I've added a couple more birthday pics to the mix below. I'm going to STOP talking about turning 50 today. I promise. And we all know I keep my promises. Right?

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - Belinda's Project Life has been completed. Here are the Contest Rules and Regulations.

1. Pick your TEN FAVORITE PICTURES from Belinda's Project Life.

2. If one of your favorites matches one of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl.

3. If three of your favorites match three of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl THREE TIMES! Get it?

4. Since my Comment Section on A Simple Life doesn't work (arghhh), you can leave your favs on Facebook or e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

5. The Contest is OVER midnight, Wednesday, August 31.

6. The Winner will be announced Thursday morning (September 1).

7. The Winner will receive a $10 Gift Certificate from YOLO's!

My friend, Neisa, e-mailed answers to me. FIVE of her favorites matched FIVE of my favorites... so her name goes into the drawing bowl FIVE times. That's how it works, my friends.

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - My new picture-of-the-day blog is up and running. Go to www.otherurbanmyths.blogspot.com OR click on 50 is Nifty... And Other Urban Myths under My Blog List.

RANDOMNESS #1 - While I hit the highlights of my birthday weekend, there were some things which deserve an Honorable Mention.

1. Mikie took the day off and we went to Niki's for lunch (my pick).

2. Mikie took the day off and we went to the movies (The Help... also, my pick).

3. My gifts ranged from clothes to gift certificates to everything in between. I loved my gifts.

4. For whatever reason, turning 50 was much less traumatic than turning 40. Go figure?

Oh. And did you notice I kept my promise about not talking about my birthday again? NOT!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie and I are watching the final shows of Kate Plus 8. Last night and next Monday will mark the end of my obsession of women who have eight or more children.

I am sad that the family is going out on such a bad note. Kate's wonderful babysitter, Ashley, supposedly leaves in the middle of a two-week RV vacation because the drama is just too much.

And it is too much.

But I'm wondering. Who wouldn't think 14 days living in two RVs with 11 children driving across America seeing things like Old Faithful and Mt. Rushmore would not be too much. (That's right. They even took three extra kids and another mom on the trip.) I mean... Do the math!

That being said, I cannot wait until next Monday!

Conecuh Pork and Beans

Since tailgating season is upon us, I'm dedicating September to tailgating recipes. I make these baked beans ALL the time. They are easy and delicious... and you cannot mess them up.

You will need the following:

1 pound Conecuh Smoked Sausage (cut into 1/2" pieces)
1 large can pork and beans
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Garlic powder to taste
Chili powder to taste

1. Brown sausage in pan.

2. Remove sausage and brown onions and bell pepper.

3. Add in sausage and remaining ingredients, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

NOTE - While I copied this recipe from a Southern Lady magazine, I do things a little differently.

1. I cut the onion into halves and put it in a baking dish.

2. I cut the bell pepper into strips and add them to the pork and beans.

3. I bake the entire dish for 30 to 45 minutes to get the onion and bell pepper flavor in the beans without having little pieces of onion and peppers floating around.

But that's just me!

Have a wonderful Tuesday. I think I will. I'll be back in the morning with a Seasonal Tradition, Wednesday Wisdom, volleyball pics and more, more, more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics tell the story of SOME of my 50th birthday celebration. It lasted THREE days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), but it now officially over. I am 50 years-old... and three days.

Surprisingly, 50 hasn't bothered me a bit... yet. Maybe it won't. I hope not. I spent most of my 40th year "bothered" by the fact I was 40, and honestly, it was a waste of time and energy.

We'll see if I've learned anything this past decade.

RANDOMNESS - I cannot believe I missed The Pioneer Woman's new cooking show on Food Network. It aired Saturday morning at 10:30.

Hopefully, I can watch the one I missed when they have a marathon in a month or two. Food Network LOVES marathons, and so do I.

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - Belinda's Project Life has been completed. Here are the Contest Rules and Regulations.

1. Pick your TEN FAVORITE PICTURES from Belinda's Project Life.

2. If one of your favorites matches one of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl.

3. If three of your favorites match three of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl THREE TIMES! Get it?

4. Since my Comment Section on A Simple Life doesn't work (arghhh), you can leave your favs on Facebook or e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

5. The Contest is OVER midnight, Wednesday, August 31.

6. The Winner will be announced Thursday morning (September 1).

7. The Winner will receive a $10 Gift Certificate from YOLO's!

My friend, Neisa, e-mailed answers to me this morning. FIVE of her favorites matched FIVE of my favorites... so her name goes into the drawing bowl FIVE times. That's how it works, my friends.

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - My new picture-of-the-day blog is up and running. Go to www.otherurbanmyths.blogspot.com OR click on 50 is Nifty... And Other Urban Myths under My Blog List.

Have a magnificent Monday. I will be back first thing in the morning with a recipe, Randomness and more pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Seemingly-Ageless Belinda

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from our volleyball game last night. Guess what? We WON! It was a very good night!

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - Belinda's Project Life has been completed. Here are the Contest Rules and Regulations.

1. Pick your TEN FAVORITE PICTURES from Belinda's Project Life.

2. If one of your favorites matches one of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl.

3. If three of your favorites match three of my favorites, I will put your name in the drawing bowl THREE TIMES! Get it?

4. Since my Comment Section on A Simple Life doesn't work (arghhh), you can leave your favs on Facebook or e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

5. The Contest is OVER midnight, Wednesday, August 31.

6. The Winner will be announced Thursday morning (September 1).

7. The Winner will receive a $10 Gift Certificate from YOLO's!

Worth playing for? I thought so!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay. I guess since I've talked about it on a daily basis for over a week (year) now, it comes as no surprise to anyone that today I am 50. That's right. The big 5-0.

I was fortunate and blessed enough to have 50 CARDS AND LETTERS taped to the front of my house this morning. Opening them was the most fun EVER!

My yard was decorated with signs, giant bows, garland and police tape.

I had a pack of Diet Dr. Peppers on the porch.

The Big Gold Van even had a large shiny sign on the side.

Sigh. It was lovely.

Of course, I have taken 43 pictures of these decorations... but I'm going to save them for Mindless Monday. That's right. You'll have to wait!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I lied yesterday. I said I was going to have a Date for you in today's post. However, Mikie is home for the day, and as soon as I finish the blog and get dolled up, we're going on our own date.

I didn't mean to lie. It just kind of happened. Forgive me, please. (Two Dates next Thursday. I promise!)

Weekend Happenings

Well, after I apply the ointment and take all of my supplements, Mikie and I are heading OUT. I think Nikki's is on the agenda for lunch, and he's taking me to see The Help. I know it is a chick flick, but it's my choice today... and he's being a brave soldier and not complaining at all!

Saturday looks like a Family Celebration kind of day. The Boy will be home, and we'll be going out to eat with the extended fam.

Sunday we'll be at church... and who knows what else may happen!

This weekend is pretty much all about ME! That sounds very shallow, doesn't it? (I guess the secret is finally out. I am a little shallow!)

Have a fantastic weekend. Enjoy family and friends and TRY to stay cool! Remember, the Contest begins first thing Monday morning!

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Forever Young Belinda

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fifty is Nifty... And Other Urban Myths

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pic is of Josh and Roxie this morning. They are having their school pictures made today, and I think they look marvelous. A Freshman and a Senior... and a Junior in college. My goodness. I'm old enough to be 50. Wait a minute...

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have the last four pictures for Belinda's Project Life, and I will be posting them some time today. Four pictures and my second picture-of-the-day blog will be complete. Unbelievable (to me)!

Beginning bright and early tomorrow morning, I will be starting a NEW PICTURE-OF-THE-DAY BLOG entitled "50 is Nifty... and Other Urban Myths." You can visit there regularly by clicking on the title under My Blog List.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I am heading to JSU for a short visit in a few minutes. I'm going to help Austin sanitize his dorm room and hang a couple of pictures. He'll be moving his big stuff (chair, television, refrigerator, etc., etc.) Monday morning. I'm just bringing (and using) cleaning supplies and bedding.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm posting Thursday's Date on Friday. I'm in a little bit of a time crunch this morning! I know you understand.

RANDOMNESS #4- Today is the LAST DAY I will be in my 40s. The LAST DAY!

This was a difficult decade for me. Very difficult. But I learned a lot. I leaned on God more and more... not less and less. I lived one day at a time. Oh. And I made a list of things I observed along the way. (You know I made a list!)

1. When I turned 40, my kids were 4, 7 and 10. They were so little. When I turn 50 tomorrow they will be 14, 17 and 20. They are now SO big. Heavy, heavy sigh.

2. When I turned 40, we were planning our first ever trip to Disney. It... was... magical! This year, we spent several days in the middle of a lake on a houseboat. It... was... peaceful! (Who knew "peaceful" would one day win over "magical?")

3. When I turned 40, Mikie was healthy... I was healthy... and all three of my kiddos were healthy. Ten years later, one of my children has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, and I don't take the word "healthy" for granted any longer.

4. When I turned 40, I had never experienced the grief of losing someone unexpectedly who was extremely close to me. As I turn 50 tomorrow, I am still dealing and living with that grief on a daily basis.

5. When I turned 40, all of my family lived under the same roof. When I turn 50 tomorrow, one of my three kids has been living on campus nine months a year (not counting weekends)... and I am surviving and thriving. (And so is he!)

6. When I turned 40, my hair was a lovely shade of auburn. Tomorrow when I turn 50 (and forevermore), my hair will be a lovely shade of auburn.

7. When I turned 40, most of "me" was in the still in the vicinity of where it was supposed to be. When I turn 50 tomorrow, I will have to admit gravity has taken a toll, but thanks to Spanx, I will hoist everything back in place for the majority of the day!

8. When I turned 40, I mourned the fact I didn't have "just one more baby." When I turn 50 tomorrow, I will be so thankful for the three I have, and I will dedicate the next decade to "finishing what I started."

9. When I turned 40, I didn't think I could love Mikie any more than I did at that moment in time. On the threshold of turning 50 tomorrow, I realize I was wrong.

10. When I turned 40, Mikie and the kids took me out to eat and to a movie. My favorite thing in the whole wide world. Ten years later... Mikie is taking me out to eat and to a movie. My favorite thing in the whole wide world! (Oh. And I'm having a family party with the kids, etc. Saturday night! I didn't want you to think I was leaving them out!)

Ten years ago, I would have said, "I can't wait to see what the next decade brings." I am older and wiser now. Today I will simply say, "Thank you, Lord, for today." Yep. I'll say that... and I'll try to find all the joy "today" has to offer.

Blog Linkage - I just have three today, but they are good ones!

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Circle Punch Photo Collage" dated August 23. If you are a scrapbooker, you will love this idea. And if you are NOT a scrapbooker, but you have kids, you will love this idea.

2. Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and read the post entitled "DIY Wreath Linky Party" dated August 24. If you are crafty... and you like wreaths... and you have some plastic spoons around the house... you will LOVE this post!

3. Go to Big Mama under My Blog List and read the post entitled "The heat and crafts have made me cranky" dated August 25. If you think it is hot in Alabama, this post will make you feel cool and autumnal. This chick is roasting in Texas. We should give thanks!

Have a terrific Thursday. It is the best day of the week! I'll be back tomorrow with a short post about our Weekend Happenings, a Date and some pics from JSU.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Have a Ball Party

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are miscellaneous shots from this summer I haven't posted for one reason or another. It's always good to have a few extras on slow picture-takin' days.

RANDOMNESS - We came VERY close to winning last night (volleyball). So close, I feel very good about our upcoming games.

I also feel good knowing we get to play this team again before the season is over. Ahh. Sweet revenge! (Yes. I'm very mature regarding such matters. Can you tell?)

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Marriage)

49. Marrying your best friend isn't just a good idea... It should be a requirement!

50. Having a good marriage isn't something to ever be taken lightly or for granted. It is precious and should be celebrated and openly appreciated as often as humanly possible.

To be honest, I've learned a few more things over the past 50 years, but I'm afraid if I keep sharing, you'll come to realize how dumb I was the first 50 years! I'll make another list for you half a century from now. (I love making unobtainable goals!)

Wednesday Wisdom - Everything revolves around the number 50 this week, so why should Wednesday Wisdom be any different. As you can see below, I'm not the only one who has ever been thoughtful and contemplative about turning the big 5-0.

"I'm not 50, I'm 49.95, plus tax!" Anonymous

"Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life." Daniel Francois Esprit Auber

"By the time we hit fifty, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves." Marie Dressler

"She was a handsome woman of forty-five and would remain so for many years." Anita Brookner

“Looking fifty is great if you’re sixty.” Joan Rivers (Joan knows what she is talking about, doesn't she?)

Have a Ball Party

I am loving www.thedatingdivas.com website. Dates, parties, decorations, pictures, etc., etc. They have ideas galore for any occasion you may have coming up. Be sure to visit whenever you get a chance.

Themes always make parties more fun, even when they are silly. This theme is very easy. It can be used for anyone, no matter what their age or gender.

“Come Have a Ball with Us!” Send out invitations with this phrase and pertinent information.

Buy beach balls from the Dollar Store or Oriental Trading. We bought 75 balls from Oriental Trading for $20.00. It was great to have that many balls in our big backyard.

Think of all the games which can be played with balls. (Volleyball, croquet, golf, football toss, kickball, etc.)

Have a specific amount of time set to play each of the "ball" games you have chosen (30 minutes for volleyball, 30 minutes for kickball, 15 minutes for dodge ball, 15 minutes for water balloon war, etc.)

When guests start arriving, they can play with all the beach balls in the back yard. There will be so many no one has to wait for a ball.

Use your imagination when it comes to the food. Make Rice Krispie Treats in the shape of a ball and dye them different colors. You can also have any other food in the shape of a ball. (Use a melon baller to make a fruit bowl full of ball-shaped fruit.)

No one will be bored at a "Have a Ball Party."

NOTE - It doesn't have to be a birthday celebration. It can be a summer afternoon neighborhood party, a Little League team party, etc.

Make it your own!

Have a wacky Wednesday. I'll be back in the morning with Blog Linkage and a fun Date... and it will also be my last day ever as a 40-something year-old woman. Whoa! How did that happen?

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from the new park I discovered on my back road travels last week. It wasn't around when my kids were small, and I mourn the fact a little. My guys would have loved these giant animals back in the day.

RANDOMNESS - We're doing the volleyball thing again today. We have two games this week. TWO! I've got a good feeling about these two. I know I said that last week... and we ALMOST won. But it's different this week. I can't explain it.

And I hope I don't have to tomorrow morning.

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Toddlers vs. Teens)

44. I've had both, and toddlers are by far the easier of the two.

45. Neither toddlers nor teenagers understand basic logic as expressed by an adult.

46. Toddlers AND teens are happy to spend every dime they possess on a new toy, are easily distracted and enjoy making a mess.

47. Teenagers are usually a lot bigger than toddlers. If a toddler lays on the ground screaming and kicking because they don't want to go where you want them to, you can pick them up and tuck them into the crook of your arm like a football. If a teenager lays on the ground, you might really hurt yourself trying to get them on their feet.

48. I was a much better mother BEFORE I had toddlers or teens. Just saying.

Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake

I think about this recipe from time to time. So imagine my surprise and delight when I checked The Pioneer Woman's Cooking Section this morning, and she had made this recipe.

Does it sound familiar to you? Does it? Remember Steel Magnolias? Remember Truvy (Dolly Parton's character)? She gave this recipe to one of the other women in her beauty shop in the movie.

I have always wondered if it was indeed a good recipe... And it appears it is!

You will need the following:

1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 can fruit cocktail with juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8" square baking dish with butter.

2. Stir together flour, sugar and fruit cocktail with juice until just combined.

3. Pour into buttered pan and bake until warm and bubbly.

4. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

How about that? Always, ALWAYS go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on her Cooking Section if you want to find some really good/different/delicious-sounding recipes.

Have a lovely Tuesday. I will try to do the same. I'll be back in the morning with a Seasonal Tradition, Wednesday Wisdom AND Contest Rules and Regulations for next week's Belinda's Project Life Contest. Remember! A YOLO Gift Certificate is at stake!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

And, Boy, is it Monday! As I've said before, I've never been a big fan of Monday. Thursday is my favorite day for some reason, and as far as I'm concerned, Monday is merely a stepping stone to get to Thursday. Go figure.

But Monday has it's pluses. For one thing, there is a very short post on A Simple Life, and lots of pictures. If you're not a big reader, this is probably your favorite day to visit.

Here's a short list of things I want to mention before you look at the photos (in no particular order).

1. The Boy left this morning... again. Heavy, heavy sigh.

2. I'll be having a contest beginning next Monday, August 29. The prize is a $10 YOLO Gift Certificate, so be watching for details.

3. I've decided to do another picture-a-day blog documenting my 50th year on earth (beginning next Saturday, August 27). I'm going to call it "Fifty is Nifty... and Other Urban Myths."

4. Our original plan was to go out to eat at Joe's Italian Restaurant Sunday night with friends. Sunday morning, we discovered Joe's is closed on Sundays. Our friends remembered one of Joe's relatives had opened a different Italian Restaurant. After a quick call or two, we were able to have lunch at Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Old Town Helena. Same family... same food... same awesomeness as Joe's Italian Restaurant. I highly recommend it!

5. There are only four Kate Plus Eight episodes left, and while I no longer consider myself a fan, I cannot help but tape and watch the last four episodes. It may be for no other reason than I love those three little boys, and I want to know they are going to be all right. Yeah. That's the only reason.

6. My other guilty pleasure this week is the new reality show called Dance Moms. It is SO confrontational. Since I am NOT confrontational, I am always amazed when I see two or more confrontational people in the same room together giving their opinions. It is fascinating television, I tell you.

Have a great day! I'll be back in the morning with a lovely recipe, more pics, randomness and other stuff.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, August 19, 2011

Alabama Theater Date (One More Time)

Good Friday morning!

I've added two more photos of things that are "older" than The Enchanting Belinda. I'm getting pretty desperate around here as you might have guessed.

I've also added some new volleyball pics from last night's game. We didn't win, but we were SO CLOSE. I predict we are going to have a very good year.

RANDOMNESS - In keeping with the ongoing theme of A Simple Life these last few days, I've copied a few "You Know You're Old If... " jokes for you to enjoy... or agree with.

You Know You're Old If...

You have to remind the kids Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings.

Work is a lot less fun... and fun is a lot more work.

It takes longer to rest than to get tired.

You realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.

You lean over to pick something up off the floor, and you ask yourself if there is anything else you need to do while you are down there. (I actually did this yesterday. Heavy, heavy sigh.)

Blog Linkage - The linkage is here, there and everywhere today.

1. Go to Big Mama under My Blog List and scroll down to the older post entitled "I'm Stocking Up on One-A-Day Plus Iron." This is a very humorous post about turning 40. I remember it well!

2. Go to www.andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com and read the post entitled "Featured Sponsor Guest Post" dated August 15. There are a lot of helpful (super easy) ideas about how to take better pictures. Believe me... I understood it all so it isn't anything too complicated!

3. Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Pillow Shams" dated August 17. I'm going to actually try this one between now and next Friday. I'll let you know if I have any luck!

4. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on Photography at the top of her page. You will be able to see the winner of the Black and White Photo contest. Beautiful, beautiful pictures.

Alabama Theater Date

I've mentioned this date on several occasions, but because this is the first week back to school for many of you, this is something simple, easy, inexpensive and stress-free for you and one of your kids to try.

This Saturday, August 20 (at 2:00 p.m.), The Alabama Theater is showing Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (rated PG).

Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $6.00 for children 11 and under. Parking is free on the street.

The theater is located at 1817 Third Avenue North.

I know. It isn't super creative, but get there a little early, buy some popcorn and a drink and talk about your child's first week of school in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

As they say, "Enjoy the show!"

Weekend Happenings

Well, grass will be cut, movies will be seen, friends and family will be visited AND THE BOY IS COMING HOME! Yes! It's going to be a good weekend!

Mikie and I have a date tonight (unless something unforeseen happens), and I think we're just going to grill and chill at home. Doesn't that sound awesome?

Also, we're going to try a new restaurant (for the Faulkner Five) Sunday night. Be sure to visit Monday morning to get a review. (I've heard it is FABULOUS!)

That's it for us. Nothing major. Nothing huge. Just your typical "school started back this week and we need to decompress" sort of weekend.

Have a fantastic Friday. I'll be back bright and early Monday morning with Mindless Monday and pictures galore!

Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Making Home a Haven

Good Thursday morning!

I used to watch The Cosby Show ALL the time. I loved that show. And one of my favorite episodes was the "Older Than..." show. Bill Cosby's character was having a milestone birthday, and the kids made a presentation of "Things Older Than Dad." I thought it was hilarious then... and it's a little comforting now.

I'm adding some "Older Than..." pics to the Gallery today and tomorrow.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Our first high school volleyball game is tonight, and boy, are we nervous. In fact, we've been nervous all week.

It would be a BIG confidence booster if we were able to win our game tonight. BIG.

I'll let you know.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Since I'm quickly coming to the end of Belinda's Project Life, I'll be having a contest the week of August 29.

I will pick my TEN favorite pics from that blog. All you will have to do is pick your TEN favorite pics. If one of your favorites matches one of my favorites, your name will be put in a bowl for a drawing.

When I draw a winner, that person will receive a $10 YOLO's Gift Certificate! That's right, Baby! You could win CUPCAKES!

I'll remind you about the contest during the next two weeks, because I know you want that Gift Certificate, don't you?

RANDOMNESS #3 - Ahhh, Elvis. I was so excited about going to his concert, I couldn't sleep two or three nights before the big event. Let me just say, I've been to a lot of concerts in my day, and I never looked forward to any of them like I did that one. (Believe it or not, that includes Mr. Manilow... and I've seen him five times... and I plan on seeing him a few more times before he retires, too.)

Keep in mind, this concert was 35 years ago. But in my memory, it was just like yesterday.

We arrived at the Civic Center an hour before the show. Our seats were not in the nosebleed section, but we were nowhere near the floor. We sat down and waited.

The anticipation and estrogen level in that arena was palpable. There were men here and there, but the majority of the audience was female. Very "hair fixed and accessorized" women.

Thirty minutes before the show, the band started playing C. C. Rider. Everyone stood up and started screaming... and that was the last time I sat in my seat for the next three hours. Fun fact for you... No one sat down during an Elvis concert. Another fun fact for you... No one ever stopped screaming during an Elvis concert. It was madness, I tell you. Pure madness.

When Elvis finally did appear (45 minutes later), it was impossible to hear the first three songs over the roar of the crowd... myself included. The frenzy had begun.

All during the show, women threw bras onto the stage. Even women behind me were heaving weighted down bras toward Elvis... and hitting defenseless women several rows below me in the head.

Elvis had dozens of colorful scarves around his neck, and during the concert, he would take one off and fling it out into the audience. The scarves had weights on the ends, so they flew a pretty good distance. But not to where we were sitting.

Elvis sang. Elvis talked. Elvis played with the audience. Elvis played the piano. Elvis threw scarves. Elvis sang my favorite song. Elvis was wonderful.

And then Elvis left the stage.

Amazingly, the roar escalated. I wouldn't have thought anyone would be able to scream any more, but we did. And five minutes later, Elvis hopped back on the stage and sang ONE MORE SONG. And then he left again.

More screaming. Minutes ticked by. Elvis appeared again. And again.

We, the audience, were powerful. As long as we screamed, Elvis would continue to come back on stage... over and over and over again.

Or not.

After the third encore, we screamed for five more minutes. Then seven minutes. Then ten minutes. We were not stopping. We were not letting up. He would come back. Elvis always came back.

But then we heard the words which ended every Elvis concert. Words that dashed our encore-hoping hearts to the ground. "Elvis has left the building." (They really did say that!)

And when those words were spoken, it was as if the thousands of Elvis fans deflated. The screaming suddenly stopped. People quietly began leaving the arena. We were spent. We had no voices. We had no energy.

And many of us had no bras.

I had never seen anything like it before, and I've never experienced anything like it since.

A year later, Elvis died, and I was left with my collection of albums, an Elvis concert t-shirt and my memories from a night I'll never forget.

He was a "one and only."

Wednesday Wisdom... on Thursday - Two guesses who I'm quoting today. That's right. Elvis!

"Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it, you have it all over." (I may be related to Elvis because of the rhythm thing. I'm not sure.)

"I'll never make it, it will never happen, because they're never going to hear me 'cause they're screaming all the time." (Been there... done that!)

"Just because I managed to do a little something, I don't want anyone back home to think I got the big head."

"More than anything else, I want the folks back at home to think right of me."

"My movements, ma'am, are all leg movements. I don't do nothing with my body."

"The image is one thing and the human being is another. It's very hard to live up to an image, put it that way." (I have that trouble, too.)

Making Home a Haven

This is something I WISH I had done when the kids were little. Here are some simple ideas to make coming home more than just walking through the front door of a house. Make it a place where the kids feel loved. Make it a stress-free zone whenever possible. Make it a haven.

1. If nothing else, make sure the entryway to your home is picked up and clutter-free as the kids arrive home.

2. Have scented candles burning throughout the house.

3. Have music playing in the background. (Praise music, big band music, kid music... whatever strikes your fancy.)

4. Have the table already set for the kids to sit down for an afternoon snack. (It doesn't have to be homemade. It just has to be READY TO SERVE!)

5. Keep the questions to a minimum. Other than the obvious question (How was your day?), listen more than you talk. (And if the kids are quiet, that's okay, too.)

Of course, you can't do this everyday. Extracurricular activities, church activities, family obligations, etc. are also in the mix. But on the days when one or more of the kids are "just coming home," make sure you transform your house into a haven... "A place of refuge or rest."

Like I said, I WISH I had done this. But you still have time! You can do it today! (And so can I for that matter. Well, maybe not today, but definitely tomorrow!)

Have a grand Thursday. I can honestly say I am looking forward to today very, very much. Stop by tomorrow for Weekend Happenings AND Blog Linkage AND a Date!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hoppin John Beans

Good Wednesday morning!

Since everyone was talking about Elvis yesterday, I have added some pictures of Graceland from our Memphis trip a few years ago to the Gallery. I LOVED that trip.

RANDOMNESS #1 - As I told you last night, we are going to be on a different schedule this week.

Wednesday - Recipes
Thursday - Wednesday Wisdom and Seasonal Tradition
Friday - Blog Linkage, Dates AND Weekend Happenings

This change is for THIS WEEK ONLY. A Simple Life will be back to normal next Monday... whatever "normal" is.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Yesterday was Elvis' death anniversary. I was 16 years-old when Elvis passed away at age 42. Forty-two seemed ancient at the time, but I now know how incredibly young he was when he died.

I heard Rick and Bubba talking about their favorite Elvis song yesterday afternoon. I think they decided on The Trilogy. Don't get me wrong. The Trilogy is epic, but for me, without a doubt, the favorite is I Can't Help Falling in Love With You. Oh... my... goodness. How I love that song!

Well, that one and Girls! Girls! Girls! It wasn't one of his "big" hits, but for some reason, I still find myself singing it from time to time.

Have I told you the story about going to see Elvis in concert when I was 15? Have I? Do you mind if I tell you again? I didn't think so.

I have always been an Elvis fan. Always. My cousin, Becky, and I would spend the night with each other whenever an Elvis movie was on TV and watch it from start to finish. This, of course, was before video, DVD, DVR recording, etc., etc. No one or nothing was to disturb us during the two-hour movie event. Nada!

I don't think I had a favorite Elvis movie, but I remember not caring for the cowboy Elvis very much. It's hard to break out into an "Elvis diddy" when you are starring in a semi-serious cowboy movie. And breaking out into an "Elvis diddy" was what an Elvis movie was all about, wasn't it?

Well, back to the original story. When I was 15 years-old, I had a friend who was an extreme Elvis fan. Her mother was also an extreme Elvis fan. Put all of this together with an upcoming Elvis concert in our city in 1976, and you have ME receiving an invite to attend the concert with my friend and her mom. Can you say HAPPY?

I was beyond excited.

Not only was it my FIRST EVER CONCERT... It was Elvis!

I feel the need to make this a two-or three-parter. I want to do the story justice since it has now been categorized as one of the Top Ten Life-Altering Moments of MY LIFE! You may think I'm kidding. It almost knocked The Birth of Roxie off the list!

More Elvis tomorrow... and probably Friday, too.

Hoppin John Beans

My friend, Julie, told me about this recipe. She found it on www.amazingribs.com and tried it last week. Her entire family of five loved it... and I think I can see why.

You will need the following:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 smoked ham hocks
1 green bell pepper (coarsely chopped)
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (pressed or coarsely chopped)
2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
1 cup white rice
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

NOTE - About the ham hocks. Many grocers sell smoked ham hocks. They add flavor and a rich tactile sensation from the skin and connective tissue and the marrow which dissolve while it cooks. Some of them have very little meat. Select two with meat. If you can't find hocks, you can substitute half pound smoked ham, bacon or leftover pulled pork.

1. Get a large pot hot and add the oil. Add the ham hock, onion, green pepper, garlic, pepper flakes and the bay leaf. If you cannot find a ham hock, you can use bacon. Just skip the vegetable oil and start by cooking the bacon in the bottom of the pot and pour off all the bacon grease except 2 tablespoons.

2. When the onions are limp, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans, bring back to a boil and dial it back to a simmer quickly. Do not boil for more than a minute or two. Simmer for at least an hour.

3. Remove the bay leaf and if you use ham hocks, cut off the meat, add it to the pot, and discard the bones and skin.

4. Add the rice and simmer with the cover on for about 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve with salt and pepper at table.

Have a fantastic Wednesday. The weekend is in sight now, and the first week of school will soon be behind us. Make sure to enjoy at least some part of today... and I will try to do the same!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crazy Day

Good Tuesday evening!

The Gallery Pics are from our first day of school yesterday. These are not great pictures. These are not even very good pictures. But they are photos of my children nonetheless... taken the first day of school... as tradition dictates.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Since today's post is so late, I'm bumping everything over one day. Wednesday I will be posting a Recipe. Thursday I will be posting Wednesday Wisdom and a Seasonal Tradition. Friday I will be posting Blog Linkage and a Date.

So sorry for the inconvenience!

RANDOMNESS #2 - If you have tried to leave a comment under "Guestbooker" at the bottom of the blog, it does record your thoughts. To see all the comments, you have to click on the tiny, tiny numbers at the top. This is still not the best system, but it will have to do until I figure out something better!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I have a little story to tell you about the Roxie and Friends Back-to-School Brunch last week.

I took the chicks to the Original Pancake House on Southside. There are a lot of old buildings and funky restaurants in this little area of town. I would NOT take six 14 year-old girls to Southside during evening hours, but for a 10:00 a.m. brunch on a weekday... Well, I felt pretty comfortable.

Rookie Mistake Alert! Rookie Mistake Alert! - Never feel "comfortable" when escorting feisty and spirited 14 year-old chicks ANYWHERE!

After we ate brunch, we headed outside to take some really pretty pics around historic Southside. The fountain. The church steps. The Highlands Hotel lobby.

Finally, we were ready to call it a morning. As the girls successfully jaywalked/jayran across the busy city street (with me yelling at them as they did so), we arrived at the Big Gold Van.

I had parked next to a large, well-lit alley. In fact, it was a drive-through alley joining two of the streets. Not a dark, scary alley with dark, scary people waiting to mug us.

I noticed a HUGE bright pink and purple graffiti-type mural on the white painted brick wall. It was very well done... and so pretty.

"Girls. Everyone stand in front of that graffiti. Isn't it pretty?" I instructed.

The girls gladly struck a pose in front of the "thingie."

I was just about to snap a picture (the colors were marvelous), when a businessman carrying a sack lunch and a soda turned to cut across the alley to the next street. He stopped when he saw us. I thought he was being polite and waiting for me to snap the picture before walking through.

Instead, he started shaking his head... walked up to me and said, "I cannot BELIEVE you are taking the girls' picture in front of that sign."

I know. I know. He couldn't have known who I was. The Enchanting Belinda. Mother of three. Wife of one. Driver of the Big Gold Van. Middle School Director at church, no less!

"Why? Does it say something bad? I couldn't make it out." I continued to try to talk to him as he walked past me and the girls... still shaking his head.

Oh, I felt so bad.

"What did he say, Miss Belinda?" one of the girls asked.

"This graffiti must mean something bad because he said I shouldn't take your picture in front of it," I said staring hard at the mural.

All of the girls stood beside me and we stared at it. And then we stared at it some more. We even tilted our heads to the left... and to the right. We couldn't make out what it said. We couldn't make out what it was.

And then it occurred to me if it wasn't decent enough for me to take a picture of the girls standing in front of, it probably wasn't decent enough for them to be staring at trying to decipher. (I know. I'm brilliant that way.)

"Okay, girls. Load up." And with that, we jumped in the Big Gold Van (one picture short) and headed home to our lovely graffiti-less little town.

Just so you know, Mikie and I are heading to Southside this weekend... to try to figure out what on earth is on that wall!

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Balance and Muffin Tops)

42. Balance is probably the most IMPORTANT thing you can learn and try to achieve during your first 50 years on this earth.

Spiritual Balance - Daily Bible readings, prayer, faithful attendance at church, prayer, make sure God is first in your life, prayer. (Get the picture?)

Physical Balance - Eat (the proper amounts of the right foods daily). Sleep (the proper amount of hours needed each night). Exercise. (I can't help it. You HAVE to exercise.)

Emotional and Mental Balance - Maintaining the first two things (spiritual and physical), as well as regularly taking care of important relationships in your life (spouse, children, other family members, friends).

I know. I know. It's very daunting, isn't it? In fact, I'm pretty sure if I'm here another 50 years, I'll be able to say I SUCCESSFULLY OBTAINED BALANCE in all areas of my life.

Yeah. Right.

43. In my youth, muffin tops were good things. In fact, the muffin top was arguably the best part of the muffin.

As I push toward the half-century mark, I have learned muffin tops are best left on a muffin as opposed to spilling over the top of one's low-rise blue jeans. Just saying.

Have a great Tuesday (what is left of it)! I'll be back in the morning with a FANTASTIC recipe and some Elvis stories to share. (Yes. It's that time of year... again!)

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning. (No. Really. I will!)

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Ever-Elvis Lovin' Belinda

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Since it is Mindless Monday, the Gallery Pics tell the Faulkner Five weekend story. You can sum up our weekend with three little words... BACK TO SCHOOL!

RANDOMNESS - Yep. All over our state, kiddos are going back to school. Like it or not! Ready or not! School started TODAY!

Austin - Austin doesn't start classes for another two weeks, but Band Camp officially began yesterday. He sat with me and Mikie in church, and then headed to the house to finish packing. He said his good-byes to siblings and Mikie before church, but I left Sunday School a little early to give him a more personal send-off.

He called last night... happy and tired. He loves the Southerners.

Josh - Josh left this morning a Senior in high school. I already know how fast this year is going to fly by because of Austin, but I don't feel any more prepared than I did three years ago. Josh is a Senior. Josh is a Senior.

I keep saying it, but I don't think my mind is comprehending.

Roxie - Roxie walked into the high school with a group of girls this morning looking all grown-up and very Freshman-like. Wow! Roxie is a Freshman. Roxie is a Freshman.

I keep saying it, but it just sounds like "The Enchanting Belinda is old." "The Enchanting Belinda is old."

I cannot wait until this afternoon. I'm hoping I get a good report from all three... although the odds of that are not in my favor!

Have a great Monday. I'll be back in the morning with a new recipe... and lots and lots of other stuff.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from a Back-to-School Brunch Roxie and friends had yesterday. We went to the Original Pancake House downtown and the girls (most of them) discovered the goodness that is THE chocolate chip pancake. I myself ordered by old stand-by... the strawberry crepe. So, so good.

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Older posts of A Simple Life can be found at www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com. If you are new to the blog, my server (whatever that is) shut me out of my own blog after almost 700 posts! I'm still working on getting everything moved to one spot, but until that time, you can scoot over there to look at my Archives. (Yes! I have Archives!)

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Don't forget to visit Belinda's Project Life. I'm all caught up, and I only have a few more days to go to finish this year's "project." A picture a day of my 49th year of life.

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - I've found a way for you to leave a comment for the blog. You have to go ALL THE WAY DOWN (below the pictures) and click on the tiny phrase "Leave a Response." Fill in the required info (not hard), and leave your comment!

It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing until I figure out a better way. Bear with me. I am trying!

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (High School)

38. The perfect outfit is key to your first day of high school. Hair comes in second and accessories finish out "what's really important" before you walk through those big double doors. If you feel good about your outfit, hair and accessories, you can usually survive "being late to class because you got lost," "using the faculty bathroom because you can't remember where the student bathroom is," "worrying if you have lunch with anyone you know or will you have to eat by yourself," etc.

All those things are unimportant because you look good, you see.

Actually, the only thing that really helps the first day of high school is getting through it. It was rarely as awful as I thought it would be, and the second day was always, ALWAYS so much better.

39. Being a Freshman is never easy. It never has been. It never will be. It is "starting over" whether you like it or not.

40. Being a Senior is exhilerating. Experiencing the FIRST "last time I will ever..." is emotional and exciting at the same time. The Senior year is also the fastest year in high school. It's a fact. Ask anyone!

41. And the Freshman year is by far the slowest year. Sorry. That's a fact, too. Ask anyone! (In fact, ask a Senior!)

Weekend Happenings

Oh, dear. The last weekend before school starts. I'm finding it very hard to breathe.

I guess I'll just make a Faulkner Five list. That's how my mind is working these days... list, list, list.

Mikie - He'll be spending one-on-one time with Austin tonight... getting the low-down on this coming year. You know... plans, hopes, dreams, etc. He'll then be reporting back to me!

He'll also be working at home Saturday, but not on a "honey-do" list. He has his own list, thank you very much.

Austin - After working at the Chick this weekend and spending quality family time with the Faulkner Five, he'll be heading to Band Camp Sunday after church. He won't be moving into the dorm for a couple more weeks, but he'll be gone (except for weekends or Sundays until after football season). Heavy, heavy sigh.

Josh - Friends, work and family make up Josh's weekend. Oh, and finishing the Summer Reading assignments. Yeah. That's right. The dreaded Summer Reading assignment. (If everything goes according to plan, he should be finished by Saturday night. My fingers are officially crossed.)

Roxie - Volleyball practice, volleyball pictures, friends and family are what Roxie's weekend is all about. That... and finding the perfect first-day-of-high-school top. We're still looking, but we are most definitely going to find it (or die trying).

The Enchanting Belinda - Making sure everyone gets where they are supposed to be, wearing what they are supposed to wear, packing what they need for a week, etc., etc. It doesn't sounds very exciting does it? However, I have THREE things I am really looking forward to during all the hustle and bustle of this hectic weekend:

1. I am attending my niece's baby shower. I LOVE showers... especially when a baby girl is going to be making an appearance in the near future.

2. Saturday night the Faulkner Five are going out for our traditional Back-to-School Dinner at an undisclosed restaurant. (I accidentally told Josh, but everyone else will be surprised.)

3. Church Sunday morning. A time to breathe, reflect, worship and in general, just get it together!

Have a fun weekend. I'll be back first thing Monday morning a few days closer to turning 50 AND I'll post some photos for you to peruse as you drink your back-to-school coffee!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back-to-School Date

Good Thursday morning!

I have put a few oldies in the Gallery (again) today. I am feeling rather nostalgic this week as we get ready to go back to school, so anything and everything that makes me feel weepy and/or sad and/or bitter (pics, movies, Facebook comments, etc.) will probably make it on the blog this week and next. Beware!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have never read The Help, but I'm hearing some good buzz about the movie. Let me know if you have seen it, and your thoughts, please.

RANDOMNESS #2 - In keeping with my nostalgic mood, I am going to post an old story about how well I react in an emergency situation. Just so you know, I haven't gotten better with age.

I had met my sister, niece and nephews at the ice skating rink at Oak Mountain. While most of the kids were enjoying the ice, my nephew, Zac, was not. He tried, but ice skating was not his thing at the time. He preferred playing at the top of the stadium with a little girl he had met there who was around his age (6 or 7). Beverly and I sat below watching the other kids skate and looked up to see Zac and his little friend standing on the bottom rung of the railing. It was a perfectly normal thing for kids to do, but in this situation it was dangerous because of the height and the cement floor beneath them. Beverly told both of the children to get down, which they immediately did.

Seconds later, we heard the awful thud or pop or thud-pop of a child's head hitting cement. (You've probably heard it before at Wal-Mart. I know I have.) It is a sickening sound. Whirling around, we immediately saw Zac standing looking down. By process of elimination, we knew it was the little girl he had been playing with who had fallen.

We took the steps two at a time and we found her face down on the cement crying. When we lifted her to her feet, blood started pouring from her mouth... pouring, gushing. You get the picture. "Oooh, oooh. That looks bad," I said.

Beverly put her hand under the little girl's chin catching the majority of blood. "Zac, what is her name?" we asked him.

"I don't know. We were just playing together. She got back up on the railing after you told her to get down," he told us... but we had already figured that one out.

We started walking to the entrance of the ice skating rink, Beverly holding her hand under the little girl's chin, Zac walking a few steps behind us, and me trying to think of the best way to help.

That's when my extensive CPR training came into play once again. "MOTHER OF A LITTLE GIRL WEARING A PINK SHIRT AND BLEEDING! MOTHER OF A LITTLE GIRL WEARING A PINK SHIRT AND BLEEDING!" I started yelling at the top of my lungs.

"What are you doing?" my sister asked.

"We have to find her mother so she can take her to the hospital," I replied.

"Am I going to have to go to the hospital?" the little girl asked.

"No, no. You're going to be just fine. It's just a little cut," my sister replied.

"Are you kidding me? She's going to need stitches and from the looks of things, a blood transfusion, too," I said, stating what I thought was the obvious.

Beverly glared at me. Since I wasn't getting a good response from my first announcement, I quickly fell back to my old tried and true way of getting help quickly.

"PARAMEDIC! PARAMEDIC!" I started bellowing.

"Now what are you doing?" Beverly asked. She was getting a little exasperated by now.

"This really works. I've had to do this before in a CPR situation," I told her.

"What's a paramedic?" the little girl asked.

"It's like a doctor," Beverly replied.

"Do I need a doctor?" she asked, sounding a little panicky.

"No. You're going to be fine," Beverly again reassured her.

"She needs an ambulance driver," I mumbled. Again, glaring from Beverly. And again, I used my CPR training until finally her mother appeared.

Surprisingly, her mother was much like Beverly... although unlike Beverly who was just trying to keep the child calm, the mother really didn't think she needed to go to the hospital, or the doctor, or the plastic surgeon, or the dentist or the blood bank.

I disagreed, so I went up to someone who worked at the rink and pointed out the little bloody girl, and guess what? They called the paramedics... but they used the phone. And I was right. They said she needed a stitch. And guess what else? You bleed more with a head or mouth injury than other places on your body, so she didn't end up needing that blood transfusion after all.

Yep. I was a hero, all right. I think I missed my calling. I definitely should have gone into the medical field doing something. My "bedside manner" is second to none!

Blog Linkage - I only have a couple, but they are good ones.

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List. Read today's post entitled "(Past Projects) Back-to-School" for some really cute ideas for your child AND teacher.

2. STAY at eighteen25 and click on the box (at the bottom) entitled "Back-to-School Printables" dated August 8 for even MORE great ideas.

3. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on Photography at the top of her page. She is having another contest for Black and White Photos. Beautiful... and nostalgic.

Back-to-School Date

I found this idea on a blog called The Dating Divas (www.thedatingdivas.com). This blog is written by 11 beautiful friends. Each week one of the 11 posts an inexpensive, fun, imaginative date to have with your spouse. I LOVE this website.

This date isn't for you and child, but for you and your hubby. Check it out!

It’s the time of year that most kids dread... time to go back to school from summer break! Aaaahhhh! So, when planning my date I decided to focus on all the FUN parts of school (lunch, recess, and PE)!

Remember when you used to write notes to friends and fold them in a cute way? Well, the morning of my date I gave my husband a note. I had so much fun remembering all the cool ways my friends and I used to fold our notes.

So, my poem/note was the actual invite to the date. It was really cute.

Here’s the poem:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I have something special for you.
The Fates have decided that you’re the one for me,
So, will you come on the date I planned for free?

When? You may ask... tonight at seven.
You’ll have so much fun, you’ll be in heaven.

When 7:00 p.m. came around, we left for our date with our backpacks filled and our bikes ready to ride to school. I had previously packed our packs with sack lunches (which included Lunchables and pudding snacks), a big bouncy ball (so we could play 4 square), a jump rope, a soccer ball (for base soccer) and I knew the school already had swings and playground equipment to play on. I was SO excited!

My sister (who came with her fiance) decided it would be fun to dress up like we were in the 6th grade. We did our best, and had so much fun!

When we left, it was a blast from the past! My sister and I used to ride our bikes to school all the time, so we were laughing so hard the whole way there! After arriving at the school, we sat on the grass and ate our delicious sack lunches. Our lunches included a bagel sandwich, Lunchables, pudding snack, Capri Sun, chips and fruit snacks. Pretty much all the good stuff! While eating we decided to tell stories/memories of things we remembered about elementary school. We talked about our favorite teachers, crushes, snow ball fights (and subsequent suspensions), classes, tests, etc. It was hilarious! I couldn’t believe how one story would remind someone else of a similar story and go on and on.

After dinner the competition began. Four square followed and it was a tough competition. Yeah, right! We were all laughing so hard we had a hard time keeping the ball in the squares.

We ended up playing on the jungle gym and swings from the playground. It was a ton of fun climbing around and swinging next to my hubby. I kept singing, “Cami and Joseph sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes baby in the baby carriage!” Oh, the good times from elementary school.

After riding home, we decided to watch a movie. We picked Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It was a perfect way to end the night. I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a LONG time.

I totally thought of some alternatives to the date:

ALTERNATIVE #1 - Make it a 2-person date. Instead of playing 4 square, you could have a jump rope contest (jump ropes are at the Dollar store), play hopscotch, have a swinging competition, a monkey bar contest (see who can go the fastest across or skip the most bars), etc. It would be a fun, laid back competition.

ALTERNATIVE #2 - Finish the night off with a run to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone.

Have an unbelievably lovely Thursday! I'll be back tomorrow with more Randomness, pics (old and new) and Weekend Happenings for this, our last weekend BEFORE school starts back. Heavy, heavy sigh.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Day of School Letters... Again

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pic is an oldie. It shows how much kids (even teenagers) can change in just two or three years' time. (I won't post the picture of me three years ago. I look exactly the same... only better. Trust me!)

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - I've found a way for you to leave a comment for the blog. You have to go ALL THE WAY DOWN (below the pictures) and click on the tiny phrase "Leave a Response." Fill in the required info (not hard), and leave your comment!

It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing until I figure out a better way. Bear with me. I am trying!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Faulkner Family Frat House is closed for the summer as of this morning. Brad and Tyler are heading home.

They were delightful Frat House guests, and I hope they will visit many more times.

If you ever feel the need to add two extra men to your household for a few days, I highly recommend these two. They are clean, polite and they make Austin jump when I call his name. Loved it!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I am behind posting the Picture of the Day in Belinda's Project Life. I have the photos. I just have to take a few minutes and put them where they belong.

Here's hoping I get that one little thing accomplished today!

I'm considering doing one more Picture of the Day blog beginning this August 26. I think I might name it "Fifty is Nifty... and Other Urban Myths." What do you think?

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (From Movies)

34. Steve Martin, who has no "real" children that I know of, is the BEST MOVIE DAD IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Feel free to watch Father of the Bride (1 and 2) and Cheaper by the Dozen (1 and 2). And now that I've been a parental unit for over 20 years, I am positive he is the BEST MOVIE DAD IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD because he DOESN'T have "real" children.

I was a much better parent prior to actually having kiddos.

35. I will never be truly happy and complete until I experience autumn in New York City... as evidenced by the beauty in You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. I am an Alabama girl through and through, but those two movies make me want to spend October and November walking through Central Park.

36. Astronaut movies leave me feel unbelievably patriotic. I do not know why, but a good astronaut movie makes me want to stand up and sing the National Anthem. (Did I tell you about the time I saw John Glenn... and took a picture of him... against his wishes? Did I? Good story. Oh. And good picture, too.)

37. Movie going has been a favorite activity of mine for almost 50 years. A good movie, a bucket of popcorn and a giant (now diet) soda, and I'm one happy chick. I know. I am beyond simple.

Wednesday Wisdom - It only seems right (or should I say "correct") to share quotes about "Education." I don't know who all the people are that have been quoted, but they appear to be quite intelligent.

"When a subject becomes totally obsolete we make it a required course." Peter F. Drucker

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." Theodore Roosevelt

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." Alvin Toffler (Can someone say, "Technology!")

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Benjamin Franklin

"Education is too important to be left solely to the educators." Francis Keppel (I totally agree. Parents, grandparents, life experience, etc., etc. are fantastic teachers, too!)

First Day of School Letters... Again

I borrowed a tradition from two years ago. I know the odds of someone remembering this post is pretty slim... especially since I wrote it and have no recollection at all! But it is a good idea for what is fast approaching... The First Day of School.

This is more than just a note on a napkin in their lunchbox (although I LOVE those, too).

This is a full-blown letter of love, encouragement and scripture. This letter should include everything you want and pray for your child this coming school year. It should begin and end with declarations of love, and everything in the middle should be uplifting and confidence building. This letter should be the most wonderful thing they read all year long! And it should come from Mom and/or Dad.

Leave it on their pillow, taped to the mirror in the bathroom, or under their place mat at breakfast. Keep things simple. Do not put it in an elaborate scrapbook to save. You can use a plain manila envelope or a pocket folder. They can keep it in their room to read any time they want (or need), and you can add another letter each year.

It's a great way for your child to start the school year... knowing they are precious and special and loved.

Have a MOST wonderful Wednesday. Today is officially "Laundry Day" around here, and I plan on catching up with ALL my dirty clothes since all my washing/drying apparatus is now working correctly. I wish today was officially "Go Get a Pedicure and Forget About the Laundry Day," but that is not the case.

I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage AND a date... and a few things more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Butterfinger Crumb Cake

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pic is of some of my "hang out to dry" laundry. I did four loads yesterday, but since my dryer is broken, I put everything outside to dry. This is Load No. 4. The first three loads are nice and dry and stiff. (I love clothes that have dried outside.) But Load No. 4 didn't quite make it before a thunderstorm re-soaked it.

Judd, my trusty dryer repairman, is coming today. I will be rewashing Load No. 4 and drying it in the DRYER! No more stiff clothes for me.

NOTE - I didn't bring them inside the house because we had company arriving and there was NO WHERE TO PUT the sopping wet laundry. Thus, everything stayed neatly stacked on the back deck until this morning. I'm sure my neighbors are very worried about what is going on at Faulkner Farms (circa 1842). (I know I am!)

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - I've found a way for you to leave a comment for the blog. You have to go ALL THE WAY DOWN (below the pictures) and click on the tiny phrase "Leave a Response." Fill in the required info (not hard), and leave your comment!

It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing until I figure out a better way. Bear with me. I am trying!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The boys are back in town! Brad and Tyler have come for a visit this week. Let the cooking begin!

Feeding (and filling) five men is a major undertaking, but I went for a "meat" run this morning, and I think I'm good to go.

Depending on the weather, Mikie, Austin and his college friends are going tubing this afternoon. Except for the fact it will only make them hungrier, I hope they get to go.

But if not, that's okay, too. They are surprisingly content at the house, and they are very good company. I've been looking forward to this visit all summer long.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I am in "Summer is Ending - School is Starting" Withdrawal. I don't want to buy school supplies. I don't want to start the grind. I am totally not ready.

However, as Roxie likes to point out, it doesn't really matter how I feel. She needs some blue jeans... by Monday. Arghhh! (That's Pirate Speak for "It's too soon! It's too soon!")

If you put my "Summer is Ending - School is Starting" Withdrawal with "The Boy is Leaving This Sunday to go to College Again" and "I'm going to be 50 Years-Old in 15 Days," you have all the ingredients for a Major Mama Breakdown.

I need some new meds.

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Fashion Fads)

29. While I know it is "against the law" to wear pantyhose now, I have to admit I miss them. Pantyhose never really bothered me. My lily-white legs bother me. Shaving my lily-white legs EVERY SINGLE DAY bothers me. Having little or no tummy control bothers me. Not being able to say "Ahhh" after church on Sunday mornings when I take the pantyhose off bothers me. (It was such a good feeling.) I won't go against society, but I wouldn't mind pantyhose making a comeback in the near future.

30. Shoulder pads get a bad rap nowadays. Roxie is always laughing and pointing at 80s pictures of women wearing huge shoulder pads. I have one thing to say about shoulder pads. They gave millions of women a tinier waist without ever having to exercise. When you have linebacker shoulder pads holding up your dress, EVERYTHING else looks smaller in comparison.

31. I miss big hair. The bigger the hair, the better. Again, big hair made your face appear thinner, your eyes less puffy and your ears were a non-issue.

32. When I was growing up, no one had a pedicure unless they were rich and famous. Normal women painted their own toenails. Whoever thought of making pedicures a part of normal grooming was a genius. (It was probably the same person who said, "Throw away the pantyhose," but all is forgiven when I have a good foot soakin' and massage.)

33. Putting Spandex in every garment worn by women (including maternity wear) was a huge mistake. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes ever made by mankind. If I live another 50 years, I don't think I'll change my mind about this one.

Butterfinger Crumb Cake

I made this dessert for the boys last night, and it turned out to be good AND easy. My two favorite prerequisites for any type of food prep.

You will need the following:

1 chocolate cake mix (eggs and oil)
2 small boxes vanilla instant pudding
4 cups milk
3 large Butterfinger candy bars (crushed)
1 container Cool Whip

1. Prepare and bake the cake according to instructions on box in a greased 9" x 13" pan.

2. Allow cake to cool, then crumble into bowl.

3. Mix instant pudding with milk until set.

4. Pour 1/2 of the pudding in the bottom of a large glass bowl.

5. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cake crumbs over pudding. Pat cake into pudding.

6. Sprinkle 1 crushed Butterfinger candy bar over pudding and cake crumbs.

7. Repeat 4 through 6.

8. Spread Cool Whip over cake.

9. Sprinkle last Butterfinger candy bar crumbs over Cool Whip.

Can you say, "Yum!" I copied this recipe from my 101 Things To Do With a Cake Mix cookbook.

Don't expect a ton of leftovers!

Have a wonderful Tuesday. I'll be back in the morning with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, pics and more, more, more. Come back if you get a chance.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from a Faulkner Five Drive-In Movie Night this weekend. I decided it might be fun to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes... at night... outside... during a thunderstorm. (And I was right!)

RANDOMNESS - Someone stop me! I think I'm going to have to start taping AND watching Hillbilly Hand Fishin'. I know. My reality television addiction has reached a new low. That being said... I'll let you know how great this new show is sometime this week! Whoever thought of this concept is a genius, I tell you. Pure genius.

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Exercise)

25. I have been doing some sort of exercise for 12 years now. I started when Roxie was two. Prior to Roxie's second birthday, I considered running after three small children excessive exercise. (I was right, by the way.)

26. Walking, biking, exercise classes, etc. (NOT all in the same day) have all had a place in my exercise regimen over the years... and I dislike or hate them all.

27. The ONE thing I do love about exercise... I have made some of my sweetest friends by walking and talking with them over these past few years. (I "learned" early on in the exercise process I was totally unable to exercise by myself. I know. I need MAJOR accountability and guilt to maintain this bod!)

28. The most important thing I have learned about exercise... Exercise is not my friend. Chocolate cake is my friend. (Feel free to quote me!)

Like all Mindless Mondays, enjoy the short post and new pics. Have a great day. I'll be back tomorrow with a lovely recipe, more "Things I've Learned" and a few more photos.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

Can you believe it? Another week of summer has come and gone... and I'm still posting old vacation photos in the Gallery. I always keep a few "up my sleeve" for just such an occasion!

RANDOMNESS #1 - We're going to be the Faulkner Frat House for a few days next week. A couple of Austin's college buddies will be visiting, so I will be going to Sam's this weekend to do some "bulk" shopping. I need lots of meat, bread, drinks, desserts, veggies and snacks. And eggs. I need about five dozen eggs. At least.

RANDOMNESS #2 - The Boy will be leaving for Marching Southerners' Band Camp next Sunday, August 14. I'm beginning to prepare myself for another sad goodbye... except it isn't so sad this summer. Austin's happy. He loves school. He loves football season. We get to see him often. It's a good thing.

Oh. And he gets to "go and visit the Queen" for a week in January. Very exciting!

See how I've grown into a mature 1/3 Empty Nester? See? I even amaze myself.

Of course, Josh and Roxie have both signed legally binding contracts which state they will not leave Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) until Mikie and I give them permission to do so.

I wasn't a legal secretary for almost ten years for nothing!

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Some Things Never Change... Or Do They?)

17. Height-wise, I am the same... which means I haven't begun shrinking yet... which is good.

18. Width-wise, I am a little different... which means I haven't begun shrinking there yet either... which isn't quite as good as the above.

19. Personality-wise, I think I've changed a little. However, I am still incredibly witty and personable... when you REALLY, REALLY get to know me.

20. I still enjoy planning for the future, but I've learned that day-to-day living is much more practical and doable. Living "one day at a time" is becoming easier for me to do the older I become.

21. Mikie is still the best friend I've ever had, and being married to him is the "rightest" thing I've ever done.

22. I always knew I would enter the Empty Nest phase of life kicking and screaming, and I was VERY correct. I have fought it and fought it hard, but to no avail.

23. I always knew being a Wife and Mom would be the best jobs I could ever have, and I was right.

24. As long as I can remember, I wanted three children... and nine grandchildren. (I still want nine grandchildren. Or one. Or ten. Whatever the Good Lord gives me!)

I've learned more in almost 50 years than I thought. I'll finish this list next week.

Weekend Happenings

I'm in panic mode about school starting back AND the tax-free weekend. I KNOW it saves a ton of money, but it also causes a ton of stress for simple folk like me. The pushing, the shoving, the screaming... and then when you factor in people other than The Enchanting Belinda being in the store... Well, it's just a little too, too much.

I am planning on going around 10:00 p.m. Friday or Saturday night. Hopefully, I won't see you there.

The Faulkner Men are on Chick/Yard/Car Duty. The Faulkner Women will be in the house getting ready for the college visitors. Everyone is going to be working (and they are beyond thrilled, I tell you).

I have a couple of things up my sleeve for a fun Sunday evening. I'll let you know if it works out. A stray thunderstorm could wash away all of my plans.

Have a lovely tax-free weekend! Enjoy time with family and friends. Visit Belinda's Project Life Saturday and Sunday for MORE daily pics. And don't forget to return to A Simple Life first thing Monday morning. I'll be here... waiting.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kids Eat Free Dates

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pics are a couple of leftovers from the Houseboating Adventure. (It was that or photos of more neighborhood dogs, and I didn't feel like crawling over the fence to get a picture of Biscuit, our sweet Basset Hound friend. I'm not in a fence-crawling-over kind of mood today.)

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Teenagers)

DISCLAIMER - The following list includes things I, The Enchanting Belinda, have learned over the past 50 years. Your experience may be totally different. In fact, I hope it has been!

8. Never show fear. Always "appear" uber confident in front of teenagers. Never let them see you sweat!

9. Food is key with male teenagers. And not just a few Little Debbie snack cakes. Platters and platters of hot food. If male teenagers are nearby, you never leave the kitchen. NEVER!

10. It's almost impossible to embarrass a male teenager as long as you ARE holding a platter of food.

11. Food doesn't work on teenage girls.

12. If and when a Mother breathes, it will embarrass a female teenager.

13. If and when a Mother walks through a room, it will embarrass a female teenager.

14. If and when a Mother asks a teenage girl's friend a question, it will embarrass a female teenager.

15. I have learned in 50 years... I like embarrassing female teenagers!

16. When a teenager (male or female) becomes sick with a cold, fever or stomach virus, they revert back to their younger years and allow you to feel their foreheads, rub their feet, kiss their cheeks, etc., etc. Good times. Good times.

Blog Linkage - I have three NEW blogs for you to check out today. THREE!

1. My friend, Julie, shared this website with me. If you love to eat food... and you love to cook food... this is the blog for you. Go to www.amazingribs.com. I think the name says it all!

2. I saw this link on Big Mama's blog (under My Blog List). She got the link from the Pioneer Woman. (There! I've made sure everyone got credit.) I LOVE this link, and I think you will, too. Go to www.dearphotograph.com.

3. Go to www.howdoesshe.com. Click on "About Us" at the top of the page to get the history of the blog. Next, click on "Top Post" and you will get a feel for what this blog offers. EVERYTHING!

Enjoy!

Kids Eat Free Date

Do you want to date your kids during the month of August, but with school starting and school supplies being bought the budget is a little tight? Here is a list of Kids Eat Free restaurants in our immediate area.

Take your kiddo to a familiar go-to restaurant or try something different. Enjoy the time TOGETHER!

1. Chappy's Deli
2737 Highway 280
Mountain Brook, Alabama 35223
205-871-0887

Children 6 and under eat free from the Kids' Menu everyday. Children 12 and under eat for $2.50.

2. O'Charley's - Multiple Locations

Kids under 10 eat free everyday from the Kids' Menu with the purchase of an adult entree.

3. Dave's Deli
1615 Montgomery Highway, Suite 132
Hoover, Alabama

On Sundays and Wednesdays, 1 kid eats free per adult entree. (The kid's meal includes sandwich or pizza, cookie and drink.)

4. Golden Rule Barbecue
3100 Pelham Parkway
Pelham, Alabama 35124

Monday through Saturday, get one kid's meal free (per adult meal purchase). The drinks are $.99. The Kids' Menu includes grilled cheese, corn dog/hot dog, chicken tenders or pork plate with fries.

5. La Dama Pizzeria
Liberty Park
8000 Liberty Parkway, Suite 102
Birmingham, Alabama 35242
205-967-7729

On Sundays, kids eat free from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. (2 kids' meals per adult entree).
La Dama is a wonderfully casual, family-friendly restaurant located in Liberty Park. The Kids' Menu is mostly priced around $3.99 per entree and offers several good selections beyond the chicken fingers standard.

6. La Dolce Vita
1851 Montgomery Highway
Hoover, Alabama
205-985-2909

On Tuesdays, 1 child under 12 eats free with the purchase of an adult entree. The Kids' Menu includes wonderful dishes, including several ravioli and pasta dishes for your young "foodie."

7. Lonestar Steak House - Homewood Location

On Tuesdays, kids eat free off of the Kids' Menu for lunch or dinner.

8. Maria's Mexican Restaurant
Highway 31
Vestavia, Alabama

On Sundays only, kids under 10 eat free with adult purchase all day.

9. Moe's Original Barbecue - Lakeview, Rocky Ridge and Hoover Locations

On Tuesdays, up to 3 children eat free with adult entree purchase. (This is for dine-in only, and ribs are not included.)

10. Moe's Southwest Grill

On Mondays (Mountain Brook, Lee Branch and Patton Creek locations), kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree and kid's drink.

On Tuesdays (Vestavia Location), kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree and purchase of a kid's drink.

11. Pizza Express
5749 Highway 280
Arbor Place Shopping Center
Birmingham, Alabama 35242
205-637-7997

Kids eat free on Thursdays and Sundays. You will receive 2 free kids' meals with drinks with the purchase of one large pizza and 2 adult drinks.

12. Pizza Hut - Multiple Locations

On Tuesdays, kids eat free from buffet with an adult buffet purchase from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

13. Quiznos Subs - Multiple Locations

Everyday, all day long, kids eat free at all Quiznos locations.

Uh... excuse me! What are you waiting for? Plan affordable August dates with the kids!

Have a fantastic Thursday. I'll be back in the morning with Weekend Happenings, pics and more, more, more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Back-to-School Traditions

Good Wednesday morning!

I have a special visitor in the Gallery this morning... as well as another nature shot. If you can't tell, I'm starting to replace people with animals and flowers. It's easier, I think.

RANDOMNESS - I'm ordering Josh's Senior portraits today. It appears I have "blinked" again, and another child has grown up. He looks incredibly handsome in his tux AND his casual shots. I'll be sharing some of those in the coming days. I'm afraid it is going to be one of those years that flies by.

I'm just praying I can remember to live it one day at a time. Hopefully, that will slow it down just a bit.

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years (Amusement Parks)

3. Some things should not be tampered with or changed over time. The original should be left alone. (School starting AFTER Labor Day, milk delivered to your door by the milkman, watching movies without hideous 3D glasses, etc.). However, the wooden roller coaster of my childhood should be destroyed... blown up... annihilated. The steel roller coasters of today are "smooth sailing" compared to their wooden cousins from yesteryear. I actually have to take pain meds after I ride one now.

4. I can still ride any ride in the park. Things that go up, down, backwards, around and around, etc. However, after my fifth ride of the day, I tend to walk to the left... for the remainder of my day in the park AND six days after. I'm sure it has something to do with age, and the inner ear and the fact "almost" 50 year-olds aren't built to withstand 3 Gs... but it hasn't stopped me yet.

5. I have found when a ride "takes my stomach," I don't usually get it back for a week or so.

6. Never ride the "wet" rides until the end of the day. I spent years walking around in soggy clothes and tennis shoes in steamy amusement parks before finally figuring that one out as a young adult.

7. Oh. And if you're in your 30s or 40s, NEVER ride a water ride wearing light colored clothing... unless you're wearing dark colored granny panties. Just saying!

Wednesday Wisdom - As someone always trying to learn something new in the Parenting Department, today I give you some humorous "Tips on Raising Children."

"If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle. Especially the part that says, 'Keep away from children.'" Susan Savannah (Genius. Pure genius.)

"Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest." Karen Savage and Patricia Adams (And all the parents said, "Hmmm.")

"A two year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it." Jerry Seinfeld (Not unlike a 14 year-old!)

"The truth is that parents are not really interested in justice. They just want quiet." Bill Cosby

Amen... and amen!

More Back-to-School Traditions

I found a great new website today, and I'll share it with you tomorrow on Blog Linkage. These three ideas came straight from this fun blog.

1. When your child starts Kindergarten OR First Grade, have a giant cookie waiting for him/her when he/she returns home the first day. Write on the giant cookie with icing "1st Day of 1st Grade." This Mom's own Mother did this for her and her siblings when they were growing up.

You only RECEIVE the giant cookie the year you officially start school. And you have to share it with brothers and sisters AFTER you cut the first piece for the honoree.

2. When the kids step off the bus after the first day of school, have several bags of water balloons ready. As soon as the bus door closes, the bus pulls away and the kids start walking toward you... let them have it!

3. Have a specific "measuring" place somewhere in your home. A great time to measure kids is the FIRST day of school and the LAST day of school each year.

NOTE - Have this Bible verse written somewhere nearby the "measuring" place, and read it or recite to your children EVERY time you measure them.

"Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

Have a lovely Wednesday. Take time to encourage someone today. Be kind to the people you come in contact with (fast food workers, grocery store clerks, phone solicitors, etc.) because you don't know what is going on in their lives. They may need some extra kindness bestowed upon them today.

I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage and a Date... or two. You never know.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mini Meatball Sandwiches

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery contains a wildlife pic this morning. On my walk, not only did I see the giant turtle from yesterday's stroll, but also this little heron. The turtle was uncooperative as far as surfacing was concerned, and I hope to get a better picture of him later in the week. I know. A new meaningless goal.

CORRECTIONS! CORRECTIONS! CORRECTIONS! - From time to time, I make a mistake on A Simple Life. And, from time to time, I will try to correct them. I made two (that I know of) yesterday.

1. The name of the "noodle" restaurant I want to visit is NOT Oodles of Noodles. It is called Nothing But Noodles. Personally, I like my name better, but I was not asked to name the restaurant. Go figure.

2. The new name of the Butt Naked Candle is Naked as a Jaybird. "Jaybird" is one word... not two.

There. I hope I'm done with making mistakes for the day!

RANDOMNESS - In 24 days I will be 50 years-old. Even as I type this post, something seems terribly, terribly wrong. I mean, I get it. I am aging. I have aged. Time passes. Gravity takes hold. Things change.

I thought I would be so much wiser when I reached the half-century mark. I don't feel wiser. I still have to read "How-To" articles. I still say, "I don't know," more than twice a day. I still have self-doubt from time to time. (So far, four times this morning.)

I've been thinking of how I could commemorate turning 50 on the blog, and I've come up with an idea or two. I'm going to make a list of 50 things I have learned in 50 years. I wanted to make sure I actually had learned 50 things before I committed to such a large task, and it appears I have. (I didn't say the 50 things were "useful" or "deep." But there are 50 of them... and I am proud.)

I'll just post a few each day until the Big Day finally arrives.

50 Things I've Learned in 50 Years

1. Gravity is not our friend. Yes. It keeps our feet firmly planted on the ground, but it also pulls what was once on the top part of our bodies down to our ankles. I could do with a little less gravity in my life, thank you very much!

2. In my younger days, I always hated waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. At almost 50 years of age, I am now thrilled because it is proof positive my kidneys (a major organ, thank you very much) are still functioning!

Yep. I've got 48 more of 'em!

Mini Meatball Sandwiches

This idea came straight from The Pioneer Woman. While she makes her own homemade meatballs (and they look wonderful), I thought about a way to make these a little more "simple" for today's featured recipe.

You will need the following:

Frozen prepared meatballs
Jar of favorite spaghetti sauce (Ragu)
Provolone cheese slices
Sara Lee Dinner Rolls

1. Cover frozen meatballs with spaghetti sauce in slow cooker. Cook on low 2 to 3 hours.

2. Slice dinner rolls and add a meatball and 1/2 piece of Provolone cheese.

3. Serve with salad, sweet tea and fresh fruit.

The only thing easier would be for me to bring it to your house and put it on your plate!

We're having these TONIGHT!

If you want to check out the original meatball recipe, go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on Cooking at the top of her page. You can click on Mini Meatball Sandwiches on her sidebar for the recipe. It looks amazing.

Have a cool Tuesday. Man, it is hot out there! I'll be back in the morning with a Seasonal Tradition OR a Party, Wednesday Wisdom and hopefully, a really good turtle picture. I know. It's almost too much good stuff, isn't it?

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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