Rhett

Rhett

Friday, September 30, 2011

LATE POST

Good Friday morning!

I have one word for you... HOMECOMING! HOMECOMING! HOMECOMING!

Okay... Three words.

I'll be posting this afternoon. Not this morning. I am having massive glitter issues.

Take care, and I'll talk to you around 3:00 p.m.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Extremely Glittery Belinda

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free Coffee Date

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pic is of Josh... going to the Chick... to work his last shift. That's right. Josh turned in his Johnny Cash clothes for work boots, leather gloves and layered camo. The Christmas Tree Farm is calling his name, and he'll start working at the farm in a few short days.

He's excited. He loved working there last year.

And if he's excited... I'm excited!

RANDOMNESS #1 - It has taken me a few days to recover from Roxie's 15th Birthday Celebration. However, it's time to get cranked up one more time for Josh's 18th Birthday Celebration. That's right! Eighteen years! How did that happen?

He doesn't have a weekend birthday. He has a middle-of-the-week birthday, so I'll be sharing A Josh Story each day next week to honor his special day.

I've got a few surprises up my sleeve for Josh. I think he is going to enjoy turning 18 years-old... even if his Mother is dreading it!

RANDOMNESS #2 - If you've known me five minutes, you know I don't like to complain. (If you've known me ten minutes, you know that last statement was a lie!)

However, it is September 29, and I have still not received TWO of my FALL MAGAZINES. I am beyond upset about this situation. I have made phone calls. I have sent e-mails. I have even hooked up several of my neighbors to a polygraph to see if they have any knowledge of the whereabouts of my TWO FALL MAGAZINES. Nothing. Nada.

I'm going to give it one more day, and then I'm going to get the CIA, FBI and the Paramedics involved.

I know. It has come to this.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I missed recording The Amazing Race Sunday night. I happened to be flipping through the television guide when I saw the listing. I felt horrible. (The show is never as good as it could be if you miss the very first episode.)

I called my sister. She knew all about it.

How could I have missed the 1.4 million commercials announcing the date The Amazing Race would begin?

RANDOMNESS #4 - Which brings us to RANDOMNESS #4. Last night, I happened to be flipping through the television guide when I saw the listing for Survivor! And I had NOT missed it. We could record it! Hallelujah!

Try to imagine my dismay and disappointment when Mikie and I sat down to watch the FIRST EPISODE of Survivor late last night... and discovered it was EPISODE THREE! That's right. We missed the FIRST TWO EPISODES.

"What is wrong with you?" Mike asked. "Have you not noticed the 1.4 million commercials announcing the date Survivor would begin?"

"I haven't seen anything," I responded. "To be perfectly honest, I thought they had cancelled both shows."

It was a mystery, that's for sure.

And then I started thinking. I don't think I've watched daytime TV in the last two or three weeks... at all. (The first hour of Today doesn't count. I have to watch that show to know what is going on in the world... and to see what Ann Curry is wearing.)

This is an unprecedented event, because I have the television on while I iron, and I usually eat lunch and watch for a few minutes.

And then it hit me. I haven't ironed in two or three weeks... or eaten lunch! (Just kidding! I ALWAYS eat lunch!)

But for whatever reason, it has been peacefully quiet at Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) for the last month. And I like it.

Quiet is good.

Missing the first episodes of Survivor and The Amazing Race... not so much.

Blog Linkage - Most of the links come from one website today. I am LOVING The Dating Divas. They have great, doable ideas, and I want you to be sure and read the following:

1. Go to Dating Divas under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Cast Away" dated September 26. This is a simple, fun theme date revolving around the Tom Hanks' movie, Cast Away. The invitation, the decorations, the food... so simple and so fun.

2. Now scroll UP to the post entitled "Box of Goodies" dated September 27. This is an idea for a fun little gift you can give your wife OR your husband OR your child.

3. Scroll UP again to the post entitled "Missed You a 'Hole' Lot" dated September 28. Just leaving your husband (or child) a little treat like this after they have been out of town on business or at an overnight sleepover says "I love you" in a sweet, sweet way.

4. Okay. We're finished with Dating Divas for today. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Today's Guest: Under the Sycamore" dated September 28. This post describes how to make a Cupcake Party Kit for a busy mom of little ones. What a special, fun gift. I'm looking for someone who might need a Cupcake Party Kit as we speak!

Enjoy all the good ideas!

Free Coffee Date

Today, September 29, is National Coffee Day.

I know. That one almost slipped by me!

If you have a little time tonight, take your hubby to Krispy Kreme for a FREE 12 ounce cup of House Blend Coffee.

While you are there, you might as well buy a doughnut, too. Chocolate cream filled. Just saying.

This is a once-a-year opportunity, and today's the day. Slip away and spend a little time with your honey on an inexpensive, sweet date.

Have a great Thursday. It's Nerd Day at the high school. (It's pretty much Nerd Day every day around here!) I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings, pictures, Randomness... you know the drill.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another Fall Harvest Party

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from some of this week's homecoming activities. It has been a busy week... and it is just going to get busier!

RANDOMNESS #1 - You are NOT going to believe this. Last week (after a volleyball game), someone mentioned going to Niki's West for dinner. I already had dinner ready and waiting at the house. So we headed home.

On the way, we passed the wonderful Niki's West. Mikie made mention of a really, really nice giant RV in the parking lot. (He points these out to me from time to time because it is my dream to own a really, really nice giant RV in the not-so-distant-future.)

I didn't think much about it until the next day. Some of the people from the volleyball game who DID go to Niki's West for dinner ran into... WAIT FOR IT... the Duggars! You know? The people from the show "19 Kids and Counting!" They were eating at Niki's West... without me! Heavy, heavy sigh.

This would have been a HUGE addition to my Famous People I've Met Scrapbook. HUGE. And I missed it.

I told Mikie I'm not cooking on volleyball game nights ever again. And I mean it!

RANDOMNESS #2 - As I mentioned above, this is Homecoming Week. In the past, Austin and Josh have participated in a little of this and a little of that during the week, so I wasn't exactly prepared when Freshman Roxie came in with a three-page memo of EVERYTHING there was to do during Homecoming Week.

Five different dress-up days... working on the homecoming float... bonfire... homecoming parade... pictures before the homecoming game... pictures during the homecoming game... pictures after the homecoming game. And that is just the official list.

The unofficial list includes homecoming dress and shoe shopping... homework (school doesn't stop for homecoming week)... volleyball practices... volleyball games... stress-related breakdowns (just a few).

It is just Wednesday morning, but so far, so good.

Wish me luck for the remainder of the week!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I have noticed the pumpkins are coming! However, I have not had time to photograph the incoming pumpkins because of... HOMECOMING!

I am dedicating next week to anything and everything pumpkin. Be ready for it!

RANDOMNESS #4 - My friend, Cam, and I have started going to Body Pump again. Believe it or not, when you stop going to Body Pump for three months to take a little break, it isn't easier starting up again. In fact, your body AND your mind totally rebel.

But we're going again today, because we are lean and mean Body Pump machines! And we love exercise! And we laugh in the face of severe muscle pain.

And all of the above is a big fat LIE... except for the part where we are going again!

Wednesday Wisdom - I've done it before... and I'll probably do it again! Here are MORE quotes about Autumn!

"Oh, how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin.... We anxiously anticipate it every year." Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer

"How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days." John Burroughs (I'm not sure why... But I LOVE this quote.)

Another Fall Harvest Party

I have posted Fall Party ideas in the past (see the October archives at www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com), but I found a party with some new and fun ideas if you want to host this party for you and yours!

Fall Harvest Party Invitations

Send out pumpkin or leaf pictures with the party information, or if you are going to hand deliver, paint (or use black permanent ink) the information on tiny pumpkins. You could have the party girl or boy find enough large, live leaves to write the info on and mail them!

Fall Harvest Party Game Ideas

Purchase small pumpkins and let each guest paint their own pumpkin (or use construction paper pumpkins for younger kids).

Make Fall beaded necklaces. You can buy bead kits from Oriental Trading at a great price that have enough beads for eight or more children to make a necklace, bracelet or key chain.

Make a Bean Bag Toss game. Draw a large pumpkin and glue onto a cardboard box. Cut out the mouth and have children toss bean bags trying to hit the hole.

Make a Ring the Pumpkin Game. Line up three large pumpkins WITH stems to form a ring toss. Use embroidery hoops or make hoops with rope and duct tape. Mark a throwing line on the floor and take turns trying to ring a pumpkin stem. Use stickers or small prizes for rewards whether they make it or not.

NOTE - You can have them try to ring an entire large pumpkin with a hula hoop.

Play Musical Bales of Hay. Instead of playing Musical Chairs, play Musical Bales of Hay. A scarecrow in the center makes a fun decoration for this game.

Make a Turkey in the Straw Game. Fill a small blowup pool with loose straw and hide a small plastic turkey. See who can find it first!

End the party sitting on blankets enjoying the nice, cool fall air. Have juice boxes, apples and pumpkin sugar cookies as a snack.

While the children are winding down from all the fun, don't forget to read aloud The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs.

End all of your parties with a prayer. ALWAYS, ALWAYS thank God for each and every child present at the party.

I love the last page of The Pumpkin Parable...

"All the neighbors knew that, once again, the Farmer had turned a simple pumpkin into a glorious sight.

"In the same way, God the Father offers His children the chance to be made new, full of joy and full of light, shining like stars in a dark world."

"If anyone belongs to Christ, then he is made new. The old things have gone; everything is made new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

A simple, easy Christ-centered fall party... What could be better?

Have a wonderful, wacky Wednesday. I'll be back Thursday with Blog Linkage (TONS), a date, Randomness, more pics, etc., etc.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Texas Caviar

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Roxie's Family Birthday Party Sunday afternoon. She had a very good birthday, I think. Fifteen is a good age... if I remember correctly.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Austin was asked by The Anniston Star (a REAL NEWSPAPER) to cover a local high school football game last Friday night... and he got PAID! That means he is a professional writer. (At least that is what it means to me... his unbiased Mother.) Oh... And he is like the best sports writer ever!

RANDOMNESS #2 - After Roxie's birthday party Sunday afternoon, she wanted to take her birthday money and head to the Polo Outlet in Leeds. She's been wanting a Polo shirt, and since she had the funds, I saw no reason to say "No." No reason at all.

Once she picked out her shirt, we found two really pretty shirts for The Brothers... on sale!

When we brought the shirts home, Austin tried his on, declared it to be soft (and therefore, wearable) and was happy.

Josh was another story. He didn't really want a Polo shirt. He didn't really want to try on a Polo shirt he didn't really want. He kind of kept walking past it instead of trying it on... until this morning.

Mikie and I heard Roxie yelling upstairs. A few minutes into the yelling, we heard Josh say, "Fine! I'll try it on!"

He then declared the shirt to be soft (and therefore, wearable) and was happy.

And Roxie was happy.

And all God's children were then happy.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I missed the Pioneer Woman's cooking show AGAIN! I have one more chance to catch it this Saturday morning. Someone please remind me!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Last night, we taped Terra Nova. The previews remind me of Jurassic Park... which I loved. Hopefully, it will be something we can watch as a family.

RANDOMNESS #5 - I read this yesterday, and wanted to share some of it with you today. It comes from Becky Higgins Blog (www.beckyhiggins.com), and it is definitely worth pondering.

"Please, please, please don’t compare yourself to others. Many of you are just too hard on yourself when you feel like you’re not measuring up. Your best friend is prettier. Your sister has the perfect marriage. Your co-worker is more skilled. Your neighbor is thinner. Your sister-in-law is more organized. That woman you see nearly every day in passing is just so put together and always looks amazing (and chances are, you’ve put off even saying hi or introducing yourself, just based on her looks).

"I lovingly say – Enough!

"Part of cultivating a good life is being grateful for your life. Celebrate your successes – especially the little, everyday successes. Certainly you can and should look to others for inspiration and ideas and ways that help you improve. That’s exactly how we can bless each others’ lives. But when you look at others in a way that make you feel like your life is sub-standard? Well, that’s just detrimental. You know what a lot of women do? We compare our weaknesses to someone else's strengths. I’ve done it. You’ve done it.

"Here’s the truth. We all have trials. We all have insecurities. We all have a million weaknesses. While it’s tempting to look at someone else and think “they’ve got it all” or “their life is so perfect,” you’re forgetting that they’re human. You’re forgetting that they have things going on in their life that you don’t have a clue about. Heartache, loss, pain, burdens, fears, health issues, emotional concerns, family struggles. I assure you, their life is not perfect.

"Be gentle with yourself. And be gentle with others. Do not be so quick to judge. Do be open-minded about what you can learn from other women. Do not be fooled into thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Do look at how blessed your life is, even with the challenges you’re facing.

"Take one weakness and work on it this week. Don’t complain about it. Don’t dwell on it. Just take action to MAKE A CHANGE. Today."

She's right, you know!

RANDOMNESS #6 - Can you tell I haven't talked to anyone in the last few days? I have lots and lots of Randomness. I'm not even going to share all of it with you today!

Texas Caviar

The lovely Melia brought Texas Caviar into our home last week. Her equally lovely mom, Lisa, made it... and it was good. I would like to share this with you today as a tailgating recipe. Try it... I bet you'll like it!

You will need the following:

2 cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 cans white corn, rinsed and drained
1 can mild Rotel
1 sweet yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 jar diced pimentos, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
1 bottle Wishbone Italian dressing
Chopped jalapeno peppers to taste

1. Mix everything in a large bowl.

2. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Serve with chips.

This has a sweet and spicy taste. It is NOT too hot. (Oh. And it is so pretty!)

Have a terrific Tuesday. I'll be back in the morning with a party, Wednesday Wisdom, MORE Randomness, pics, etc., etc.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday afternoon!

Once again, I will let the pictures tell the story of our weekend... And what a weekend it was.

1. Roxie turned 15.

2. Some of us went to Roxie's Volleyball Tournament.

3. Some of us went to Austin's JSU football game.

4. Some of us went to the Josh Turner concert.

5. And some of us passed out Sunday night from sheer exhaustion.

Great, great weekend.

Have a fun Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with a new tailgating recipe, Randomness and a few more pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from last night's volleyball game. We won! (You've probably noticed I don't post pictures when we lose. It's not quite as much fun... although I am assured it is character-building.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I still have not received my fall magazines. I still have not bought them at Wal-Mart. I don't know how much longer I can go without. (I am NOT kidding.)

RANDOMNESS #2 - My picture-of-the-day blog is current if you want to hop over there sometime this weekend. Just click on Fifty Is Nifty under My Blog List.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I no longer understand Facebook. From what I can tell, no one else understands it either. I am a simple chick with an equally simple brain. The fact I figured out how to register on Facebook is HUGE... but to try to keep up with their non-stop CHANGES FOR THE BETTER... Well, that is bigger than HUGE, and we all know I am not that person. I am beyond saddened by these developments.

I would put that status on Facebook, but I have no idea how to do so. Heavy, heavy sigh.

RANDOMNESS #4 - A Roxie Story - I cannot help myself. I have to post part of Roxie's Birth Story in honor of her 15th birthday. I just have to!

I was now going to the doctor weekly. A sure sign you are going to have the baby sooner than later. I was huge. And I don't mean huge from eating powdered doughnuts and Sneaky Pete's hotdogs thrice daily (see Austin's Birth Day Story). I mean huge as in Kate Gosselin! However, we knew because of multiple ultrasounds, there was only one little baby in there. Hmmm.

"You're measuring over 44 weeks," the doctor told me.

"I thought when you measured 40 weeks, it was pretty much time for the baby," I said.

"That is correct. Let's do another ultrasound and try to figure out what's going on," he said.

Now, I'm okay with ultrasounds. Except for a little cold jelly on the belly, it isn't painful, and because it is basically taking pictures of the baby, it's right up my alley.

"The baby is a normal size for 37 weeks. However, there is a very large amount of fluid," he told me. Fluid. That didn't sound bad. I could set a two-piece place setting of china and a pot roast on top of my belly and still have room for the dessert tray, but as long as it was just fluid causing my enormity, I could deal with that.

"What causes extra fluid? Am I drinking too much?" I asked.

"No. There is a 50-50 chance that the baby's esophagus is not attached to the stomach. That means instead of the fluid going completely through the baby, it is backing up." He let that sink in a little.

"That doesn't sound good," I finally said. "How do we get the esophagus to attach to the stomach?"

He then went on to explain that after Roxie was born, she would be whisked away to NICU for testing. They would have to give her a dye and X-ray her to make sure it went through her entire digestive tract. It would show if the esophagus wasn't attached.

I thought about that information for a little while. "What if it isn't attached?"

"We transport her to Children's and she'll have surgery that day to correct the problem. It's a pretty basic surgery," he reassured me.

"Can I go with her?" I asked.

"No. We won't transport you, because unless you go into labor before we schedule this birth, you'll have to stay put and recover from your C-Section."

Okay. This man was getting on my last nerve. He was nothing but a big fat Bad News Bearer from beginning to end.

"That's not acceptable. If one of my kids is having surgery, I will need to be there," I said stubbornly.

"You're not understanding," he said just as stubbornly. "This will have to be taken care of quickly. As soon as we see a blockage, she'll be transported immediately."

After asking a few more questions, I waddled out to the waiting room where Mike was waiting to drive me home. Everything had happened so fast in the doctor's office, I hadn't even had time to call him back. We talked about this latest development on the drive home.

"Okay. Here's the deal. I want you to stay with Roxie from the minute she's born until we know what's going on. I want you to ride in the ambulance with her, and be outside the operating room waiting for her, and I don't want you to leave her side until you know she's okay. Mom will go with you, too. And Daddy will stay with me until we hear something."

"I'm not going to like leaving you after you have surgery, but that's what we'll have to do," he agreed.

With a plan in place, we prepared ourselves for the birth of our third (and final) child. We were to wait two weeks for the scheduled C-Section. (The ultrasound indicated she was a little small, and if she was to have surgery, they wanted her to be a little heavier.) Needless to say, it was going to be a long two weeks.

The time finally arrived to schedule a C-Section. The table we called my stomach was now measuring around 50 weeks... and growing daily. Uncomfortable doesn't seem to be an adequate word to describe the way I felt. And trying not to be fearful was very, very difficult.

The day of the scheduled C-Section, September 25, 1996, we arrived at the hospital. Everything was in place. The plan had not changed. Mike and Mom were to stay with Roxie NO MATTER WHAT, and Daddy would stay with me.

At noon, we went to the operating room to get Roxie. In a matter of a few minutes, Mike and I heard crying. Crying with gusto, actually. And then we met Roxie. Fat, angry, red cheeks, a little auburn hair... she didn't look like her esophagus wasn't attached to her stomach.

The nurse cleaned her and right before they took her away for her tests, she gave her to me one more time to kiss. The nurse leaned down and whispered in my ear, "What did you name this baby?"

"Roxie," I replied.

"Perfect," the nurse said... and then after a quick kiss and an "I love you" from Mikie, they were gone.

I was later taken to a semi-dark room. No one was there. I looked at the clock on the wall. It had been an hour since I had went into the operating room. I picked up the phone, but it wasn't connected. Very, very strange.

Of all things, a workman came in to work on the thermostat. I asked him to turn on a light and to keep the door open. I then asked him if he could find a nurse. He kindly did so.

When the nurse arrived, she asked if I needed pain meds which I refused. Although I knew the epidural was wearing off, when I take pain meds I am out for the count. I didn't want to be unconscious if they had to take Roxie to Children's. I asked her if she had seen my Dad. She said no, but she would watch for him. Again, very, very strange.

The clock kept ticking. I had now been in the room over 30 minutes by myself. Where was Daddy? Something was wrong. The only reason for him to not be with me would be because something was not right with Roxie. About that time, I saw him walking past the door. I yelled for him, and he came and sat down beside me... his assigned post for the day. He said he had been looking for me for over 30 minutes, but no one knew where I was. He had been going into rooms (containing new mothers) for the last half hour just looking. It was a wonder he hadn't been arrested!

We sat in a very comfortable silence, holding hands and waiting. He didn't know to ask about pain medication, and I didn't tell him what I was doing, but my epidural was wearing off pretty fast.

We received a couple of phone calls during the long day from my Mom and Mike giving us updates on the testing and we continued to wait.

My Aunt Connie and my mom's best friend, Mrs. Davis, came in to check on me. They knew pretty soon into the conversation I was not taking meds. If I remember correctly (and I probably don't), they really jumped Daddy about not taking care of that little issue. But again, being a man who had never given birth, he was totally oblivious.

Needless to say, the nurse and I had to come to an agreement on what I could take that would take the edge off the pain, but would allow me to stay awake enough to know what was going on with Miss Roxie. That taken care of, we waited some more.

When Mom came in several hours later, she gave us the news everything in Roxie was "connected." No surgery needed. They were going to move me into a room and then Mikie and Roxie were coming to see me. I held her again at 7:00 p.m. that night. Seven hours after she was born. And then I had the nurse bring me some really, really strong pain meds!

And that's Roxie's Birth Day Story. Again, not to compare or complain to other women who have been through so much more. It is simply her story... her beginning... our beginning as the Faulkner Five.

I wrote this in her baby book while I was in the hospital 15 years ago (on heavy, heavy pain meds), but it's still true today...

"September 25, 1996 - When Austin was born, I was amazed at how much I loved him. He was my total obsession. When Joshua was born, I was amazed I could love another child as much as my first. He was my heart. When Roxie was born, I was amazed God had blessed me yet again with a beautiful little girl. She was (and is) my heart's desire."

Roxie has been everything I could ever want in a daughter. She is feisty, hot-headed, independent and vocal. She is loving, compassionate and she stands up for the underdog. She knows which buttons to push and when to push them. She doesn't have time for chit-chat, but she LOVES long, meaningful conversations.

She is complex at best, but I have so enjoyed getting to know her these past 15 years... and look forward to the next 15 years.

It has been (and is going to continue to be) an interesting ride!

Weekend Happenings - I'm going to do the "Weekend List" thing again. For some reason, that works for me!

1. We are having a bonfire tonight after the ball game. This is one of three or four bonfires planned over the next few weekends. We aren't leaving anyone out... we're just having them at different times!

2. Josh and Brad are going to the Josh Turner concert tonight. They are pumped! (I wish I had a ticket!)

3. Saturday is a very complicated day. It starts out with Josh working at the Chick. Mikie, Roxie and I will be attending her volleyball tournament. I will be leaving her volleyball tournament early afternoon to head to Jacksonville with the lovely Melia, Grandmother, Aunt Bev, Katie and Zac. I want to see The Boy MARCH! (Dinner at Top of the River is somewhere in this mix, too.) It's gonna to be busy, but it's gonna be good!

4. SUNDAY IS ROXIE'S 15TH FAMILY BIRTHDAY PARTY! Oh... my... goodness! The fun we are going to have. As has become our custom, we are having a family party with cake (Strawberry Cake from Lucia's Italian), ice cream (Blue Bell Vanilla) and gifts and cards galore!

I guess it goes without saying Roxie will be getting her driving permit within the next few days. I don't think I want to talk about that today. Nope. I'm almost positive I do not!

Have a fantastic official first weekend of FALL! It is here! Pumpkins are everywhere... except my front porch. I intend to remedy that Monday morning!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sixty Minute Fun Date

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pic this morning is of my totally finished fall dining room table. I think it is "divine." Roxie thinks it is "too-too much." I'll let you decide. (But if you agree with Roxie, don't let me know. It might hurt my feelings.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am in a very sad place today. It is September 22 and my fall magazines have not arrived in my mailbox. Not one. I am used to receiving my monthly subscriptions by the 5th or 6th of the month. Not the 22nd or 23rd.

If I go to an empty mailbox one more time, I'm going to be forced to go to the store and buy my fall magazines... which means they will all be in my mailbox tomorrow... which means Mikie will be upset because we have not one, but two, of every fall magazine known to man.

So, I'm hoping for Mikie's sake the magazines are where they are supposed to be today. I hate it when his blood pressure goes up because of someone else's mistake!

RANDOMNESS #2 - In case you are wondering, Mikie nixed the "Arnie, the Basset Hound Adoption" scenario last night. He wouldn't even look at the picture. This makes me a little sad... especially since I have an appointment to meet Arnie this afternoon.

Not really. No sense starting World War Three at Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) this fine September day. I'll wait awhile and see if he warms up to the idea.

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Hospital Story - After over 18 months of not "having this problem," Monday night I had a massive panic attack. "Massive" since it came out of nowhere and it had new symptoms from my previous panic attacks. "Massive" because I forgot all of my "panic attack training" and completely let it get the best of me. "Massive" because Mikie wasn't home from work yet, and I knew we had to get to my favorite people in town pronto... the paramedics.

Once Mikie arrived home, I calmly told the kids where we were headed, and off we went. Within seconds, SIX of my town's finest were taking my blood pressure and hooking me up to a portable EKG machine. (I want one of these for Christmas.)

They also had a defibrillator. (Something else I want for Christmas.)

I heard the Head Paramedic ask Mikie my pertinent information, but when he got to the question "How old is she?" Mikie just said, "Fifty."

I'm sorry. That is not completely accurate. So I mumbled, "I'm just barely 50."

The paramedic hooking up my electrodes looked at me and asked, "I'm sorry. What did you say?"

"My husband told that man I was 50, but I've only been 50 for 24 days. It's not like I'm 'well into my 50s.' I mean, less than a month ago, I would have come in here and I would have been in my 40s. I just want it to be accurate."

And then, because I had depleted what little oxygen I had left in my hyperventilating body, I asked him if he had any oxygen on hand. He declined to give me any... I'm assuming because I was practically in my 40s and all.

To make a long story a little shorter, I looked up and they had a stretcher and an ambulance waiting for me in the parking lot.

Hmmm. I had never ridden in an ambulance before.

Hmmm, again. I had left my camera on the dining room table.

Hmmm, one more time. My house was on the way to the hospital. Would these fine gentlemen be willing to stop by for a minute and let Mikie grab the camera? It would be my first ambulance ride EVER. It would definitely be picture-worthy.

But even in my anxiety-riddled mind, I knew this would be most inappropriate. I also decided to let Mikie drive me to the hospital.

So after I was "unhooked," I said my good-byes to my favorite people in the world (the paramedics), and we headed downtown.

A few EKGs, blood tests and X-rays later, it was determined I had had a massive panic attack and not a heart attack.

I was told to rest (no problem), take it easy (gotcha) and not to stress about anything (yeah, right).

And Mikie took me home. Except for the lack of hot food, unflattering fluorescent lighting and the ugly hospital gown I had to wear, it was a pretty good middle-of-the-week date.

I like the Original Pancake House or movies or a picnic at Botanical Gardens SO MUCH BETTER, but when you're barely in your 50s, you kind of take what you can get!

RANDOMNESS #4 - A Roxie Story - No surprise here. I'm going to share another "sports" story.

Roxie and her friend, Kelci, played basketball on City League together before making the school team. Kelci was, and is, level-headed... a calming presence in the midst of game play... a force to be reckoned with at any given sport. Roxie is a firecracker. Quick... analytical... a spitfire.

During this particular game, the other team was a little, shall we say, hot-headed. It happens from time to time in sports. However, this attitude started at coach-level, quickly descended to parent-level and eventually found it's way on the court... player-level.

While the coaches and parents hashed their differences out, Mike and I watched the girls standing on the court. A player from the other team was all up in Roxie's face, pointing her finger, swinging her ponytail and saying things I am assuming should not have been said.

Roxie never blinked. With hands on hips, she waited until the other player had her say... and then she had hers.

In unison, The Brothers (who happened to be sitting together on the first row of bleachers) turned to look at me and Mikie. Their unspoken question, "Do you want us to take care of this?"

Our loudly spoken answer, "No! Sit!"

I whispered to Mikie, "What should we do? It's going to be a fight in just a minute?"

He whispered back, "Wait. Watch Kelci."

And I did. Kelci had been standing beside the two girls with her hands on her hips, not saying a word. At the appropriate time, Kelci took a step between the two angry players, held the palm of her hand out to the chick who had started the screaming match and shook her head. She didn't say a word.

The screaming chick's hands dropped to her side and she took a step backward. She was obviously deflated.

"Perfect," I thought. Kelci needs to be a diplomat somewhere when she grows up. She has the "gift."

However, I didn't take into account Roxie's "gifts." Within seconds of the END of the exchange, her bright red ponytail appeared from behind Kelci swinging and her finger came out pointing.

"This is not going to end well," I said to Mikie.

And he replied, "Wait."

Before the other little girl could replace her hands on her hips, Kelci swung around and held up her hand to Roxie. The two of them exchanged words. Kelci nodded. Roxie nodded. An agreement had been reached. The two of them turned their backs on the screamer and simply walked away.

There's a lot to be said about the importance of teamwork... especially when you see it at it's best.

I am happy to report that to this day, Roxie and Kelci have each other's back... on the court and off!

Blog Linkage - I have great reads for you today. Get busy.

1. Go to BigMama under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "I don't have a barn. Or any pottery." dated September 20. This post is pretty funny.

2. Go to www.kellehampton.com and scroll down to the post entitled "Fitting It All In" dated September 20. I love it, so I naturally assume you will, too.

3. When you finish reading that post, scroll UP to "66 Minutes to Save the World" dated September 21. I'm actually using this idea for our date today. It is an excellent date.

4. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Special Guest - Somewhat Simple" dated September 21. Back in the day, I would have done this in a heartbeat. Maybe you and yours can have a craft day and make this cute, cute decoration.

Why are you still here? You have some reading to do!

Sixty Minute Fun Date

As I said above, I read the post entitled "66 Minutes to Save the World" and thought about what a great date it would be. This is what Kelle (the writer) said...

"One hour. One hour that extended six minutes past. I took my girls and buckled them into their seats. And, in the span of sixty-six short minutes, I gave them my all. I was funny. I was attentive. I poured out motherly love from a gushing hose.

"We played I Spy in the car and I purposely didn't say "the sky" for my first guess on Lainey's "I spy something blue," even though I knew it was the sky. I wanted her to have the satisfaction of stumping me.

"We went to the beach. A short drive and a very short trip to the shore just to sink our feet in, grab a few shells, chase a few seagulls.

"Our pants got wet, and sand stuck to Nella's sticky palms, but that was okay.

"We didn't stay long. It didn't matter. Lainey can't tell time yet, and she only measures anything by how much fun she has anyway.

"We decided to cross off a quick swings and slides from our adventure scavenger hunt and mad-dashed through puddles to make it to a soggy playground while time was a-tickin'.

"Butts got wet, clothes got soaked, kids smiled.

"And then it got really fun. Lainey caught on to this how-much-fun-can-we-have-in-one-hour game, and we were flying. Laughing, running back to the car, checking the clock to see what else we could cram into our Hour of Power.

"Fifteen minutes to spare. We hit a Whole Foods on the way home. The juice bar was perfect for our grand finale smoothie treat.

"We pulled in as it was getting dark, and I snapped a picture of my dashboard clock to say we did it in an hour, even though we intended to take our time inside.

"And we did. We slowly rolled our cart through aisles, taking time to sniff sandalwood soaps, roll on essential oils, browse the colorful produce display. I forgot what time it was and brought two happy kids home ready for bed.

"Lainey asked if we could play our game again tomorrow. Because she had more fun in 66 minutes than she had in a while."

It goes without saying, "Make it your own!"

Favorite park, favorite snack, favorite picnic place, favorite picture-taking place, favorite knick-knack store, etc., etc.

Set your clock. Get ready, set, GO!

Have a joyous Thursday. I know I will... with it being my favorite day, and all. I'll be back in the morning with our Weekend Happenings. I have three words for you to think about... BIRTHDAY, VOLLEYBALL and FOOTBALL. Not necessarily in that order, but definitely those THREE words.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Colors Ride

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics? Three guesses! That's right. More Zoo. (I'm hoping they will give me a "Get In Free" ticket for all of the positive advertisement they are getting this week from A Simple Life. Don't worry. Not going to happen!)

RANDOMNESS #1 - For some reason, I looked on a "basset hound rescue" site yesterday. I have been interested in basset hounds for a while now... because of The Pioneer Woman, you see. Oh. And the fact I love the hound... beagles, basset, etc.

Guess what? There are several male basset hounds available for adoption right now. TODAY! And they are precious.

I particularly like one named Arnie. (Great basset hound name, by the way.)

Mikie doesn't know I've been browsing for hounds... again. It tends to make him nervous. Much like my chicken browsing and my alpaca browsing of 2010. Very nervous, indeed.

You'll be the first to know if I add an Arnie to the mix. You'll be able to hear Mikie's agonizing cries for miles and miles around. Heavy, heavy sigh.

RANDOMNESS #2 - A Roxie Story - When Roxie started playing sports, Mike and I were surprised at her determination and aggressiveness. It was like watching someone who had to fight for every bite of food or piece of clothing they had ever owned. Not a chick who was treated with the respect and total admiration of a princess.

If she was after a soccer ball, you could be sure she would kick and kick and kick until she was the last girl/boy standing.

If she was trying to get a basketball away from another player, it would be better for them to just hand it to her on a silver platter... because the ball was eventually going to be hers.

If she yelled "MINE" on the volleyball court, make no mistake... it was "HERS!"

While Mikie and I enjoy watching her play, we have never been quite sure where the aggressiveness came from. Neither one of us are confrontational people. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I was trying to take a ball away from someone, I would ask for it nicely, and then move along when they told me, "Forget it, Lady!" No hard feelings. It just wasn't meant to be my ball.

At one particular basketball game, Roxie's team was neck and neck with their opponent. At one point, Roxie wrestled the little girl she was covering to the ground and removed the ball from her limp, cold hands. Surprisingly (NOT), she received a foul, and the ref motioned for her to throw the ball to him.

She threw it with all her angry might... right at the ref's head. Thankfully, he was quick and caught it before it broke his nose. Also, thankfully, he was the dad of one of Roxie's friends and didn't throw her out of the game.

Mike and I were sitting silently with our mouths hanging open in the bleachers. A parent beside us (from the other team) asked, "Who is that little girl? She has some major anger issues?"

Mike and I quickly and quietly scooted down the bleachers... away from the other parents. We needed to be alone with our thoughts. Did Roxie have anger issues? Did we need to address them? The coaches seemed to like her feistiness. In fact, the coaches seemed to encourage the behavior.

But as quickly as our little lady changed when she was on the court, she just as quickly became the Roxie we knew and loved when we settled into the car after the game.

When it was all said and done, we decided if she did indeed have anger issues, at least she was getting them all out of her system on the field or court... and since we are the most non-confrontational parents EVER, that works for us!

Wednesday Wisdom - I have an anxiety-ridden story I'm going to share with you tomorrow, so I found quotes about the subject for today!

"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." Mark Twain

"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy." Leo Buscaglia (This is truer than true!)

"Troubles are a lot like people - they grow bigger if you nurse them." Author Unknown

"Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die." Attributed to Douglas MacArthur

"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is to small to be made into a burden." Corrie ten Boom

"I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. 'Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.'" E. B. White

"A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work." John Lubbock

"If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." Calvin Coolidge

"Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night." Author Unknown (Ahhh. My goal is to be this person... every day!)

"Rule number one is, don't sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it's all small stuff." Robert Eliot

"Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway." Mary C. Crowley (Love it!)

Fall Colors Ride

I found this tradition while blog-hopping the other day. I visited the site of a woman who was horribly burned in a plane accident a few years ago, and she has blogged about her life and her recovery since that time.

I like her because she is an Autumn Nut, much like myself.

"It began, just like that. Our annual Fall Colors Ride. It began today since I noticed that the tips of the mountains out my window were turning glorious colors.
Reds, oranges, browns and bright yellows. I am so happy!

"After church, I piled the children in the family gator, and we rode up beautiful Provo Canyon to Midway.

"The autumn colors do something to me. Something indescribable. It makes me happy, energized and competently content... even when I feel so awful.

"Every Sunday we will take the children to a new spot to show them what Autumn does to the trees, mountains and to my soul."

Doesn't that sound lovely? And doable? We're going to start the first Sunday in October. And I know the odds of all five of us going on a ride together EVERY Sunday for five or six Sundays in a row is almost impossible, but we'll take who we can... even if it is just me and Mikie.

Have a most wonderful Wednesday. I'll be back in the morning with Blog Linkage, Dates, A Roxie Story AND more Randomness.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies

Good Tuesday morning!

Did I hear someone say, "Oh, I hope she has more Zoo pictures." Did I? Well, you are in luck. There are MORE Zoo photos in the Gallery.

RANDOMNESS #1 - It has been two years since I visited the Birmingham Zoo, and I must say they are doing a fabulous job. Although it isn't 100 percent finished, the Trails of Africa section is really beautiful.

Surprisingly, one of my favorite parts of our visit was the Petting Barn. It is so well-kept and the animals (llamas, miniature horses, sheep, baby goats, etc.) are so up close and personal. I loved it.

I like the direction they are going, and even though it is a little pricey ($14 per person for people 13 and older), if you take your time and meander through, it is a very nice way to spend an afternoon.

If you have small children, there are even more fun opportunities. (The NEW playground in the Trails of Africa, the playground and splash pad in the Children's Zoo, the train, the carousel, the fossil digging section... good stuff!)

RANDOMNESS #2 - It was a hit or miss kind of weekend as far as movie rentals were concerned. A few of us watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Roderick Rules late Saturday night. I love the books. I love the movies. And even though it was a "kid" movie, at different parts, we all laughed out loud.

Austin and Melia rented Rio for our Sunday night flick. Melia and I had not seen it. I wish I had gone to the theater when it was out. Bright, vibrant colors. Great music. Singing birds. Hey. What can I say? I love a good fowl pic!

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Roxie Story - When Roxie was born, we were spending a lot of time with another family with "matching" kids. Well, the kids matched in age, but not in gender.

Roxie did everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) with five boys.

She rode bikes. She jumped off high dives. She camped. She rode scooters and skateboards. She fished. She played with action figures. She watched super hero movies.

If the boys did it... Roxie did it.

But she knew something was missing.

Once when we were in a restaurant, Roxie became very quiet. I watched her study a nearby table. There sat a daddy, a mother, a brother AND a sister. The little girl appeared to be about two or three years-old. Roxie was three at the time.

After a few more minutes of staring, she whispered in my ear, "Can I go talk to that little girl?"

The family wasn't eating yet, so I nodded, and watched Roxie make her way to the table. She touched the other mother's arm and asked if she could speak to her daughter. The mother caught my eye, smiled and nodded.

Roxie and the other little girl began an animated conversation. They touched. They laughed. They whispered. When the waiter brought the family's food to the table, I stood up to "bring Roxie back," but she was already saying good-bye. The two girls, hugged, kissed and waved to each other as they separated.

"Well. Was she nice?" I asked.

"Oh, yes. She is my very best friend," Roxie replied.

"What is her name?"

"I don't know." There was a very long pause as she thought hard about whether or not she had even asked the little girl her name. Hmmm. Must have skipped that little detail. "It doesn't matter. She's my very best friend," she repeated.

"That is wonderful," I replied. And then and there I decided to broaden Roxie's Female Friend Base. She was obviously missing something in the "girlfriend" department.

The other family finished their meal before us, so they were leaving the restaurant. The mother walked by carrying the little girl, and she leaned down to hug and kiss Roxie one more time.

"I love you," she yelled and waved as she and her mother walked out of the restaurant.

"I love you, too," Roxie yelled back. And then, reverting back to her male-dominated origins, she added, "Hey, Little Girl! What's your name?"

But it was too late. That was the last time Roxie ever saw her "very best friend."

I am happy to report that over the years, Roxie has made several more "very best friends." And I'm even happier to report, she actually knows their names!

Peanut Butter Brownies

I made these last night as a trial run for a tailgating dessert. They are good, but I have a couple of things I would do differently. (I'll give you more details toward the end.)

You will need the following:

1 yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together cake mix, oil and eggs. (Mixture should be stiff and all the powder should be mixed into the dough.)

3. Stir in peanut butter.

4. Bake 14 to 16 minutes until golden brown on top.

5. Mix together powdered sugar and milk.

6. Drizzle powdered-sugar glaze over top while still warm.

NOTE #1 - The recipe didn't give a pan size for the brownies. I baked them in an 8" x 8" baking dish. I had to add 26 minutes to the cooking time, and they were super thick and cake-like. (They still taste very good.) Next time, I will bake them in a 9" x 13" baking dish.

NOTE #2 - Some of the Faulkner Five do not like nuts. I used smooth peanut butter instead of chunky... and nothing bad happened!

NOTE #3 - MUST BE served with milk.

Have a delightful Tuesday. I will be back tomorrow with a Seasonal Tradition, Wednesday Wisdom, A Roxie Story, more pics and some Randomness. It is our VERY busy day on a Simple Life.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

And a wonderful Monday it is! I don't say that often, but during my walk today it was cool, breezy AND cloudy. PERFECTION!

COMMENTS! COMMENTS! COMMENTS! - I know since I started the new A Simple Life, it has been more difficult to leave comments. The Guestbooker hasn't really helped as much as I thought, so I did a little more research this morning.

If you really, really want to leave a comment, I think the easiest way is to open a Google Account. Below is a step-by-step tutorial (I hope)...

1. Go to www.google.com

2. Click on Google Account.

3. Start a Google Account by filling in the blanks (e-mail and password).

4. When you want to Post a Comment on A Simple Life, click on "Select Profile." Click "Google Account."

5. Type your comment.

6. Post your comment.

I think that will do it! If it does not help, let me know (via e-mail), and I will do what technically-challenged chicks do best. I will worry about it some more.

The Gallery Pics are from this weekend's Volleyball Tournament AND a trip to the Zoo with cousins, Amy and Monica. Monica and Roxie have birthdays which are close together, and they always share a "gift of time" to celebrate. This year they chose the Zoo, and I was thrilled. (To top it off, they also chose Yolo's cupcakes for dessert. I couldn't have planned it better myself.)

RANDOMNESS - I am going to be real with you today. (I don't do that very often. It's a bit of a strain.)

I've been having trouble finding joy in each and every day. In fact, there have been times when it has been downright impossible... for me. I tend to dwell on the sad things... the negatives of life.

The secret is out. I am a bottom-dweller.

However, I really, really want to be that "glass half-full" person everyone loves being around. The chick who finds the positive in every season of life. The woman who doesn't get totally bogged down with life's disappointments.

But I am someone who has to work just a little harder than the "average bear." For example...

The Enchanting Belinda's Natural Response - "I don't want to exercise today... or any day for that matter."

Unnatural "Finding Joy" Response - "What a glorious, breezy day to walk 16 miles! I think I'll celebrate by buying and drinking a giant milkshake as soon as I finish... AND I'll get all of my daily dairy requirements out of the way by 8:45 a.m."

The Enchanting Belinda's Natural Response - "I don't want to do six loads of laundry today... or any day for that matter."

Unnatural "Finding Joy" Response - "I just love the new Gain Laundry Detergent scents. I may never actually make it to Hawaii, but at least I smell like I've been on vacation on The Big Island!"

The Enchanting Belinda's Natural Response - "I don't like what gravity is doing to my body today... or any day for that matter."

Unnatural "Finding Joy" Response - "I am so thankful for all of the bright, flowy, maternity-like tops which are in the store right now. They hide a multitude of flaws. And I love gravity because deep down I know it keeps Earth from hurtling into the Sun on any given day... and that would be bad."

See. It's just a little harder for me.

My friend, Cam, gave me a wonderful canvas for my birthday. "God's mercies are new every morning." I NEED that... every morning. And God willingly gives it to me... every morning. How great is that?

I hope you have a fabulous Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe AND new mercies. It's going to be a good day, I think.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are miscellaneous photos from this summer. I know it isn't officially Fall until next week, but I've decided to go ahead and say good-bye to the incredibly hot, sticky, muggy Summer of 2011. These pictures help me remember the "good times" we had in the midst of the humidity!

REMINDER #1! REMINDER #1! REMINDER #1! - Remember to check out 50 is Nifty under My Blog List. It is current! Yea!

REMINDER #2! REMINDER #2! REMINDER #2! - The ORIGINAL A Simple Life is at the old web address (www.belindafaulkner.blogspot.com). Even though the original blog refused to "let me in," all of the old posts (over 600) are still sitting in that one spot!

RANDOMNESS - A Roxie Story - The following isn't really a story. I'm going to give you a few snippets about how The Brothers treated Roxie during the early years. These events are key because they helped shape Roxie into the chick she is today.

Austin insisted on taking Roxie to his kindergarten Show and Tell when she was only a few weeks old. He picked out her clothes and her accessories. As he sat in a chair, I handed him a sleeping Roxie and he proceeded to "show" his class her feet, hands, necklace, bracelet and cowlick. They were fascinated, I tell you.

Joshua insisted Roxie eat dinner with the family when she came home from the hospital... even though she initially took a nap during the dinner hour. For several weeks, Roxie sat snoozing in her pumpkin seat in the middle of our table and we whispered and ate together.

As Roxie got older, she automatically received the last of everything. (Cereal, pop tarts, juice, cookies, etc., etc.) This was The Brothers' rule... not mine.

When Austin and Roxie watched TV together, he would sit in the floor on his stomach... and Roxie would sit on the small of his back and drink her juice.

When it was bedtime, Austin and Josh would put Roxie (as a toddler) under the covers at the foot of their bed and "play dumb" when I started looking for their wayward sister at bedtime.

Roxie's beautiful Fisher Price Dollhouse was filled to capacity with large, plastic dinosaurs... and she liked it that way. (Me... not so much. It was a little traumatic pulling Baby Fisher Price Doll out of T-Rex's mouth every morning.)

Roxie loved cars, animals, dinosaurs and pirates... just like The Brothers. Barbie had no place in her heart.

When Roxie learned to talk, she referred collectively to Austin and Josh as "The Brothers." ("Where are The Brothers?" "Can I go outside with The Brothers?" "The Brothers want a snack.")

On Roxie's first day of preschool, I was concerned with how she would handle being treated "like any other kid." She was used to "her way or the highway." It was how The Brothers had raised her.

When she came home after her first day, her bow was still in her hair. Her socks were still white as snow. A big smile was on her face. I felt relief. She had survived a day without The Brothers fulfilling her every wish and whim.

"How was school?" I asked.

"It was good. A mean boy sat in my chair, but he had to move," she stated.

Hmmm. "Why did he sit in your chair? Didn't he have a chair with his name on it?"

"This wasn't my class chair. This was a circle chair. I got up to get a book, and he sat down in MY CHAIR."

"Oh. Well, if your name wasn't on the chair then anyone can sit in it when it is empty," I logically explained to her.

"No. It was my chair, and I told him to get out. And he wouldn't."

"What did you do?" I really didn't want to know because I was afraid it involved her knocking him down and sitting on the small of his back while she leisurely read a book.

"I told The Teacher, and she made him move. The Teacher was right, you know."

And that is how Roxie made it through preschool and kindergarten. I didn't need to worry about how Roxie would manage without her support system. The Teacher had replaced The Brothers.

Next week, these insights to Roxie's "early years" will help you understand the stories I will share during her birthday week. The Brothers played a huge role in Roxie's early development... and they are still paying for it today!

Weekend Happenings

Ahhh. A lovely, cool weekend. What to do? What to do?

This is what I WISH we could do...

1. I would serve a chili and cornbread dinner on the deck Friday night.

2. We would then move indoors to watch a great movie and eat popcorn in our pajamas.

3. The kids would sleep late, and Mikie and I would slip out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House Saturday morning.

4. After enjoying my strawberry crepes, Mikie and I would stop at the Farmer's Market to check out the pumpkin and gourd selection this year.

5. We would head to JSU to watch the band and tailgate with The Boy.

6. We would attend church Sunday morning and take a very long SUNDAY AFTERNOON NAP (the best kind, by the way).

Does that sound great, or what?

This is what we actually WILL BE DOING...

1. Josh will be working at the Chick Friday and Saturday. Austin will be in Jacksonville Friday and Saturday. Mike, Roxie and I will be attending a volleyball tournament Friday and Saturday.

2. Okay. Skip ahead to Sunday... The Faulkner Five will be attending church Sunday morning.

3. The Faulkner Five will be eating a meal together some time during the day (breakfast, lunch or dinner... I don't care which one)!

4. Josh, Mike and Austin will be doing "guy stuff" Sunday afternoon.

5. Roxie and I will be meeting Amy and Monica for Roxie and Monica's birthday outing. (I'll let you know how we decide to celebrate first thing Monday morning! HINT - There should be some WONDERFUL pictures!)

This, too, sounds great to me.

You've heard the saying, "If Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy." Well, if the other Four Faulkners ARE happy, then Mama is pretty content, too.

It should be a good, good weekend.

Enjoy the weather this Saturday and Sunday. I'll be back Monday morning with the usual.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fun Run Date

Good Thursday morning! It's the BEST day of the week!

The Gallery Pics are of nature today... glorious autumn! I know it will get hot again, but today... Well, today is perfection!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Last night while I was sitting in church worshipping, meditating, praying and holding hands with Mikie, I received a text.

DISCLAIMER #1 - Mikie and I do not want the kids to hold hands with the opposite sex during church. It distracts from worshipping, meditating and praying. That being said, Mikie and I learned a long time ago church is sometimes the only place we get to sit side-by-side for any length of time. I think it is okay for 40-somethings (and now 50-somethings) to hold hands in church. We don't smooch or anything like that. We save that for the movies! (This is where Roxie would say, "Yuck! Old people love." She's rude that way.)

DISCLAIMER #2 - I also do not advocate answering text messages in a church service. However, with one man-child living in another city and two teenagers in different parts of the church, I will check to see if a text is "emergency-related."

Okay. All that being said, I received a text! I checked it and saw it was from a friend, so I glanced at the message. "Did u know that they have our fav drink for $1 right now at mcdonalds??"

Oh... my... goodness! "Mikie. We have to go NOW," I whispered loudly.

"Why? What's wrong?" he whispered back.

I showed him the urgent text. "What drink? Diet Dr. Pepper? They are always $1," he responded.

I rolled my eyes WAY back in my head (very Roxie-like) and said, "No... although I would love one right now. It's the Caramel Frappe. It's only $1. We have to leave."

"No. We need to stay until church is over." And since he is the spiritual leader of our family and all, I stayed... but I was not there in spirit, let me tell you.

As soon as we were dismissed, I found Roxie and we headed to one of the many vehicles we drive to church on any given Sunday or Wednesday. I texted my friend a response, "I am on my way!" and Mikie started driving.

My friend texted back. She did not go to the McDonald's closest to our church. She went to the McDonald's four miles down the road. No matter. If one McDonald's had the deal, I was sure ALL McDonald's had the deal. Wrong.

I looked at Mikie, and since he had not had dinner yet and Roxie had a ton of homework, I dropped them off at the house, and drove to the other McDonald's. I looked for a "special" sign. I looked for a "special" banner. I looked for a change on the drive-thru menu itself. Nothing. Nada.

I didn't have a coupon.

I didn't have a codeword.

So I just took a chance. "Are you having a special on Caramel Frappes?" I meekly asked. At this point, let it be known I would have bought a Caramel Frappe for $6... no questions asked. I had reached Caramel Frappe frenzy.

"Yes, we do."

I literally squealed. "I want one!" And they gave me one. It was lovely.

But I got so excited I didn't ask them the pertinent questions. Why? When (will the special be over)? And I apologize. I'm not that selfish on a regular day. Especially on a church day. (I find I try harder on church days.) Usually, I would have all the facts so you could have a $1 Caramel Frappe, too.

If you are near a McDonald's, I suggest you take a few minutes to go through the drive-thru and ask. The worse thing they can say is, "No. But we have them for $6!"

If that is the case, call me. Since I've failed to provide accurate Frappe Information, I'll send you the extra $5.

RANDOMNESS #2 - A Roxie Story - Roxie will be 15 in a few days. Fifteen. That is a HUGE number. It is a learning-to-drive number. It is an I-can-group-date number. It is a too-big-to-wrap-my-head-around number.

Instead of telling Roxie's Birth Story (again), I decided to do something a little different this year on A Simple Life. I am going to share a story a day for SEVEN blog days about Roxie. That's right. (If you are standing near Roxie right now, look to see if she is rolling her eyes into the back of her head. She is, isn't she? I thought so.)

When Roxie was a lap baby (between three and six months old), she went for a period of time without crying.

I mean NEVER crying. NEVER whimpering. NEVER whining. NOTHING.

She had always been a good baby, but after three or four days, I noticed the lack of crying in our home, and I mentioned it to Mikie. "Four days is a long time to go without crying for a baby. I mean, it's the only way they have to communicate."

"Well, you have her on a schedule. She doesn't have to cry for a bottle or a diaper change. She gets those things before she has to ask," Mike reasoned.

That was true. However, the boys were on schedules when they were babies, too, and they still cried from time to time.

"Hmmm. Oh, well. I'll just enjoy it while it lasts."

But being a "schedule" person, I knew I couldn't enjoy it unless I marked it on the Official Baby's First Year Calendar. So I did... in ink. Days seven, eight and nine... still no cry. Roxie cooed, giggled and smiled, but she did not cry.

As we entered into the double digits, the "goal-oriented nut" in me started to come out. "I wonder how long she can go without crying." I imagined me, Mikie and Roxie sitting on the Oprah Winfrey Show with our "no-cry" baby.

"Yes. It has been two years since she shed a tear," I would proudly say.

"Well, you must be a magnificent mother for her to be such a happy baby," Oprah would respond. And then there would be clapping. And perhaps a standing ovation. Yes. That would definitely be a good day.

I moved from being a "schedule" person to a "goal-oriented nut" to a "something-is-wrong-with-this-kid" idiot somewhere around Day 30. (That's right. Thirty days with no crying. I wouldn't even go on a date with Mikie, because I didn't want the adult watching Roxie to do something wrong... and perhaps break the record. I know. I'm not right.)

The night of Day 31, I told Mikie, "Maybe she has a hearing problem. Maybe it is so quiet and peaceful in her head... and her needs are met every hour on the hour... she doesn't know she is supposed to cry. Maybe we need to sneak up on her for a few days and see if she is responsive."

Mikie just shook his head, but the boys were all over this idea. They would belly crawl to her baby bed, jump up and say, "Boo!" She would jump and giggle. We did this so many times Days 31 through 37 I was able to write on the Official Baby's First Year Calendar, "Roxie's first word... BOO!"

On Day 38, I took Roxie to our pediatrician. "What seems to be the problem?" he asked.

"She doesn't cry. It's been 38 days and she has not cried. Not one time. Not even the seven days we tried scaring her to check her hearing. Nothing. Nada. Something must be wrong."

Thankfully, the doctor didn't address the Seven Days of Terror we had inflicted on Baby Roxie to scientifically test her hearing. But after a brief examination, he turned to me and said, "Do you know how many mothers would do anything to have a non-crying baby? I cannot believe you are complaining about this?"

"I am not complaining. I just know it isn't normal, and I want to make sure everything is okay."

"If you have a baby that hasn't cried in 38 days, I'm thinking everything is MORE than okay." He handed a smiling, cooing Roxie back to me.

"Boo!" she said.

"The kid even talks. I'll see you at her regular check-up in two months." And with that he left me with my content lap baby in Exam Room #3.

"All righty then," I said to Roxie. "Let's see if Oprah is interested in interviewing a non-crying baby!"

However, before I could contact the Oprah Winfrey Show, on Day 43, Roxie cried. It wasn't a deafening cry. Just an I-need-my-diaper-changed-now-instead-of-in-six-minutes cry.

And the record was broken.

And she never tried to set a new record.

And the pediatrician never spoke of our visit again...

And neither did I.

Blog Linkage - I have a new website for you to visit today. Plus, a couple of posts on my new favorite site. All three contain excellent, doable ideas.

1. Go to www.asouthernfairytale.com. Usually at this point I tell you to "scroll down" to a certain post. You don't have to today. Read everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. This website may be showing up under My Blog List in a few days.

2. Click on the Dating Divas under My Blog List. Scroll down to "7 Days of Love" dated September 14, and when you finish reading that post, scroll a little further to "A Creative Gift" dated September 13. (Actually, you can read everything this blog has to offer, too. I haven't seen a "bad" idea.)

Fun Run Date

I've mentioned this idea before, but if you have some free time this fall, check out these local "runs" for a cause.

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, Hoover is hosting a Head Over Teal 5K Run, 5K Walk and a 1M Fun Run. This event earns money for Ovarian Cancer Research.

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, there will be a 5K Run and a 1M Walk benefiting Great Prostate Cancer Challenge in Birmingham.

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, join the Saturday Step Out Walk/Run to STOP Diabetes 3M Run, 3M Walk and 1M Walk in Homewood, Alabama.

Google any of the above races for more specific times and details.

For a list of 67 more races scheduled between now and November 13 in Alabama (or any other state), go to www.runningintheusa.com.

Make it a very worthwhile date with matching t-shirts, pictures and a special meal after the race. You'll be spending time with your child, and teaching a valuable lesson at the same time.

Have a wonderful Thursday. I'll be back in the morning with Weekend Happenings, another Roxie Story and some more pics.

Take care, and I'll talk to you on Friday.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Make a Goal Together Tradition

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of some of the wonderful food I bought during my "field trip" to Whole Foods yesterday. We had a very eclectic dinner last night!

RANDOMNESS - I finally went to Whole Foods Market yesterday with my friend, Julie. I've made a little list of the many, many things I loved about Whole Foods... and a couple of the things I didn't care for.

I loved...

1. Walking in and seeing beautiful bouquets and orchids... and wood floors.

2. My buggy with FOUR (count 'em, FOUR) working wheels!

3. The produce section. Oh... my... goodness! I could have spent tons of money buying food from ALL OVER THE WORLD. I kept picking up a papaya from Belize, but I finally put it down. I have no idea how to pick out a fresh LOCAL papaya. Much less one from Belize.

4. The seafood section. They had tuna steaks as big as Mikie's head.

5. The olive oil and French bread section. Oh... my... goodness! You can stand in one place and eat soft, chewy French bread and choose over 100 (NO exaggeration) different types of olive oil to pour on top of it.

6. The meat section. The Whole Foods people know how to display raw meat. It was beautiful to behold, I tell you.

7. The barbecue section. Oh... my... goodness! They let you try EIGHT different kinds of barbecue before you make your own sandwich OR take home a container.

8. The exotic meat section. I came SO close to buying a pound of ground bison... just for the heck of it.

9. The chips and spinach dip section.

10. The gelato section. You can try as many different flavors as you like, and no one gets mad! I had peanut butter and jelly gelato, and can I say a finer gelato has never been in my mouth! Oh... my... goodness!

11. The bacon, lettuce and FRIED GREEN TOMATO SANDWICH I had for lunch at the grill in the middle of the store. Go ahead and "slap your Mama." It was that good!

12. The mini-dessert sampler box I bought for my family. (Fruit tarts, cannoli, cinnamon buns, vanilla cupcakes, chocolate ganache. Ahhh.)

13. The homemade soap section. You take a huge chunk o' soap to the "soap guy," and ask him to cut off one ounce, two ounces, one pound, etc. Then you buy the soap by weight. (Fun fact for you... A Whole Foods bar of lavender/mint soap costs $5.49. But it smells divine! I want this for a Christmas gift, Mikie.)

There is so much more, but I don't want to bore you. (And just so you won't call me Pollyanna, there were a few things I didn't care for at all!)

I disliked...

1. The cheese section. Guess what? I don't care for a large variety of cheeses. Everything I tasted was strong or bitter or had an unpleasant aftertaste. The cheese lady asked me, "Describe what you're looking for."

I almost said, "Have you ever tried Philadelphia Cream Cheese? I like that." But I stopped myself. Let's face it. I am NOT a cheese connoisseur.

2. The olive section. There were not a lot of people gathered in this section, let me tell you!

3. The antipasto section. Another empty section!

4. The Zanzibar bath salts. I still cannot get the smell out of my nose. If someone ever asks you to smell the Zanzibar, quickly and decisively say, "NO!"

Mikie and I are going on a Whole Foods Market date in the near future, and we're eating at the grill... and we will NOT be visiting the cheese section of the store!

Wednesday Wisdom - Since we had a diverse dinner last night, I decided to do the same thing with Wednesday Wisdom. Diverse... but funny.

"Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves." Abraham Lincoln

"If God wanted us to bend over he'd put diamonds on the floor." Joan Rivers

"Wrinkles are hereditary. Parents get them from their children." Doris Day

Make a Goal Together Tradition

When Josh was about 14 years-old, he told Mike he wanted to go to an Auburn game at EVERY SEC stadium... before he graduated high school. Mike liked the idea... except the "before he graduated high school" part. He talked to Josh about the deadline for reaching this goal, and once Josh changed it to "before I graduate college" Mike was all over it.

For the past several years, Mikie and Josh have gone to a different SEC stadium each fall. And they have had a great time doing so. It's a goal both of them are trying to reach... together.

This year, they are heading to South Carolina. Tickets are being bought. Travel plans are being made. (And Roxie and I are planning a BIG Girls' Weekend since all three of our guys will be out of town. I feel a mani/pedi will be necessary!)

It doesn't have to be football, you know. And it doesn't have to be a parent/child goal. It can be a family goal.

Here are some ideas for you to ponder. (Please add "each year" to the end of each sentence. It will help me typing-wise!)

1. Go to a different fall festival.

2. Visit a different National Park.

3. Camp in a different campground.

4. Pick a different ethnic restaurant to try around the same time.

5. Go fishing in a different lake/river.

6. Cook a different fall "feast" using a favorite Food Network stars' recipes. (Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Emeril, etc.)

7. Visit a different zoo/aquarium.

8. Take a day hike on a different marked trail.

The list can go on and on and on. Make a goal together... and start today.

Have a wild and wacky Wednesday. That's right. I said WILD! I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage AND a Date.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Twinkie Pie

Good Tuesday morning!

Mikie finally showed me how to get my Mindless Monday pics on the blog. I apologize for the delay, but nothing about the computer is "easy" for me. I am (and have always been) "technically" challenged... to say the least.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I was able to watch the final two episodes of Kate Plus Eight last night, and now I finally feel some closure.

Because I was so terribly close to Jon and Kate and the kids, it was difficult for me to let go of all the good memories.

(You'll remember I went to the Southern Women's Show several years ago and took pictures of Jon and Kate during a Question and Answer forum. I was also asked by a Security Guard to "keep moving, Ma'am" when I stopped in the autograph line to take 14 quick pics. Our relationship was complicated at best. Heavy, heavy sigh.)

I'll miss the babies, but I have a feeling I'll be seeing them in TLC specials from now until graduation. And to be perfectly honest, I have no desire to watch a show entitled Kate Plus Eight... The Teenage Years. I am living those years in my own home, and it is not always a pretty sight. Nope. Not a pretty sight at all!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I found this on Lisa Bearnson's blog, and I liked it. I liked it a lot.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator. and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities even when you didn’t feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, “Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.”

This was an excellent reminder for me that the kids are always watching!

Twinkie Pie

I was looking for the perfect dessert for a tailgating party, and I went straight to Paula Deen for inspiration. See what you think about this one!

You will need the following:

1 and 1/2 box of Twinkies
1 large can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
1 large box of vanilla instant pudding, prepared
1 container whipped topping
4 bananas
Chopped pecans, optional
Maraschino cherries, optional

1. Line a 13" x 9" pan with Twinkies. (Don't get too excited. I know that sounds like enough for a really fine dessert, but there is MORE!)

2. Mix sugar and pineapple together in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour over Twinkies. Cool slightly.

3. Spread pudding over pineapple mixture.

4. Slice bananas and place over pudding.

5. Top with whipped topping.

6. Optional - Top with cherries and chopped pecans. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

I plan on refrigerating this overnight, and packing it on the top layer of the cooler in a disposable pan. It doesn't sound like there would be any leftovers to bring home, so why bother with a heavy glass serving dish. Just saying!

Have the best Tuesday ever. (Fun fact for you... Tuesday is my SECOND favorite day of the week. I know! The weekend is just wasted on me!) I'll be back in the morning with a Seasonal Tradition, Wednesday Wisdom and a little bit more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

REVISION! REVISION! REVISION! - Mikie e-mailed the JSU pics to me, but I can't copy them to the right folder. That means I cannot post them on the blog at this time. And Mikie has a meeting or something, so I will be posting the NEW photos later this afternoon. Bear with me!

The Gallery Pics are from the JSU game in Chattanooga this past Saturday. Mikie, Roxie and Monica enjoyed the late evening football weather in the Great State of Tennessee, and although JSU lost the game, they had a very good time. If you ask Austin, he will say he did NOT have a very good time. Winning is kind of everything to The Boy.

Our weekend was disjointed (as I imagined it would be), but the Faulkner Five came together for a Sunday lunch, and that was lovely.

We welcomed guests Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and although I had the house/kitchen/bathrooms/foyer picked up and ready to go three different times, this morning it looks like I didn't even try.

But that's okay. That is why there are Mondays... to undo the damage done over the weekend.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am happy to report we have found the ever-elusive homecoming dress for Roxie's upcoming FIRST EVER High School Homecoming! That's right. It is a dark teal dress with ruffles. Beautiful.

I took Roxie and friends to the mall yesterday afternoon and turned them loose. Another mom and I walked around The Galleria browsing, eating our FREE September Godiva chocolate (strawberry cheesecake truffle) and sipping Starbucks (so, so nice) until the chicks called. We then made our way to them and approved the dresses they had chosen. Shopping with 14 and almost 15 year-olds is SO much fun. It is almost no work at all!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I had ordered an old Doris Day/Brian Keith movie from Netflix and it came just in time for Sunday night. Have you ever seen With Six You Get Eggrolls? It's been awhile, but I vaguely remembered the movie, and while my kids grew up in an era of fantastic super hero and fantasy flicks, I do like to expose them to the finer things in life.

Like Doris Day and Brian Keith.

Roxie sat down and finished the last two pages of her homework, and looked up occasionally. When the homework was finished, the Friday spend-the-night company, Saturday night out-of-town football game and Sunday shopping trip took their toll. She could not keep her eyes open. She headed for bed.

Josh watched for five minutes and asked the obvious questions, "Is this an OLD romantic comedy?"

"Yes," I replied, truthfully.

"I don't even like NEW romantic comedies."

"Well, there's a war and several people get shot in the head toward the middle," I lied.

Five more minutes, and he asked if he could be excused. I let him go.

I still had Melia and Austin... and Melia loves old movies. She liked this old movie. Austin was stuck.

I'm going to try one more Doris Day movie in the next week or so. I want to see if Roxie really doesn't like old romantic comedies... or if she was just too exhausted for any movie. (I'm hoping she can appreciate Doris Day... but it may be too late.)

Short post today... as promised. Have a great Monday. I'll be back with another good tailgating recipe for tomorrow's post, volleyball pics and more, more, more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flea Market Date

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from last night's volleyball game... which we won! YEA, US! I know I'm a little short on Austin/Josh/Mikie photos lately, and I'm going to spend the weekend trying to remedy this situation. (Austin/Josh/Mikie are going to be thrilled! NOT!)

Blog Linkage - Are you ready? I have some good reads today.

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Today's Guest - Lisa Storm" dated September 2. She has some cute and easy Halloween projects for you to check out.

2. 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 remainder of the photos from the Silly Shots Contest. Good stuff.

3. Go to The Nesting Place under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "You Made a Wreath Out of What?" dated September 4. You'll be able to click on any of the pictured wreaths and receive a complete tutorial on how to "make it yourself."

4. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "The Road Trip Date" dated September 5. If you have an upcoming road trip planned, this site will give you a lot of ideas and printables for road trip games. These are great for a couple OR a family.

Get busy. You have a lot of blog jumping ahead of you!

Flea Market Date

A flea market is different from a yard sale. There's something for everyone and plenty of things you never knew existed.

Plan a date with one of your kids (or your spouse) to spend a couple of hours (or more) walking through aisle after aisle of "treasures."

Here are few local flea markets you might want to check out!

BIRMINGHAM - Open daily. Farmers & Flea Market. Hours - 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Located at 344 Finley Ave West. This is an indoor/outdoor market with approximately 50 dealers. You will find lots of produce, used merchandise, some new items and locally made crafts. They also have restrooms and a snack bar.

For more information, call 205-251-8737.

TANNEHILL STATE PARK - Open the third weekend of every month. Tannehill Trade Day. Hours - 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is charged. There is ample parking. There are approximately 450 dealers. This is one of the South's larger and better flea markets with a little bit of everything. This is an all day or entire weekend stop. They have good food and restrooms. Expect to walk... a lot!

For more information, call Helen Riggins at 205-477-5711.

CULLMAN - Open Saturday and Sunday. This flea market is located off of I-65, Exit 308 on Highway 278. Hours - 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is an indoor/outdoor market with approximately 300 dealers. You will find crafts, fine art, jewelry, coins, new and used merchandise, antiques, books, collectibles, etc. There are two food concessions on the property.

For more information, call 256-739-0910.

MOODY - Open Friday and Sunday. Smith Trade Days. This flea market is located on Highway 441 North. There is a wide range of merchandise here... lots of secondhand items, tools, housewares, collectibles, country and farm items. They have a snack bar and restrooms, too.

For more information, call 205-640-6444.

Go with an open mind... and have FUN!

Weekend Happenings

We have a very simple weekend ahead of us. I know saying that out loud automatically makes it a very BUSY weekend, but I feel like living on the edge.

I'm going to do the "list" thing.

Mikie - He'll be eating dinner at home tonight with me and Roxie... and relaxing. Tomorrow is grass cutting day... AND maybe a trip to Chattanooga with his daughter to watch Austin march in the JSU game.

The Enchanting Belinda - I'll be fixing the delicious dinner Mikie, Roxie and I will be eating tonight... and relaxing. Tomorrow I'll be working in the house, and maybe doing a little raking in the yard. (We're a little shorthanded this weekend in the grass cutting department.) I'll be hanging around Saturday evening visiting family and feeding Josh after his very LONG day.

Austin - The Boy will be spending the night at JSU, and waking up to travel to Chattanooga first thing Saturday morning. He cannot wait! He'll march Saturday night, go back to JSU very late and arrive home around lunchtime Sunday. I expect date plans are in the works for him and the lovely Melia, so I know he'll have a good weekend. Melia, football and a big crock pot of something for Sunday lunch. That all equals "happy" as far as The Boy is concerned.

Josh - I'm sad for Josh this weekend. He pulled BOTH weekend shifts at the Chick... PLUS, he is taking the ACT in the morning. This will not be his most fun weekend. No, sir. But I intend on cooking a lot the next two days to make up for it when he comes home. (A little comfort food will hit the spot.)

Roxie - She hasn't let me in on all of her plans, but I'm betting she'll be going to Chattanooga with her Dad. It will be a fun date for the two of them. (And I'm sure the weather will feel quite "footballish.")

Sunday we will be attending a special 9/11 service at our church. I know it is going to be a moving tribute to the men and women who lost their lives that day.

I cannot believe it has been ten years since the attack. My kids have grown up using the words "terrorist," "Bin Laden," "suicide bombers," "Homeland Security," "first responders" and "Al Qaeda." Words at the young ages of 4, 7 and 10 I never knew existed.

As much as I wish it had never happened, I know how important it is we (as Americans) stop and remember.

"May we never forget."

Have a fabulous Friday. I'll be back Monday with another edition of Mindless Monday... and pictures of my guys. (They are going to be thrilled, I tell you!)

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Importance of Fall Traditions

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of some fall "stuff" I purchased recently to help get me through the rest of this terribly hot summer. I know it has been cool and breezy since Tropical Storm Lee came through. However, I also know temps will climb back up into the 90s before it is said and done... dashing my hopes and dreams of an early autumn. Heavy, heavy sigh.

It may be "equator" hot on the outside, but inside Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) it is a brisk, fall day! Come by for hot chocolate and apple cider if you get the chance!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am happy to report that Sparkle has decided to get up and play... again. I never know from summer to fall if she is going to make the transition. After all, she IS 63 years-old. But as the cooler air has entered our area, she is regularly running to the fence to greet the Big Gold Van, chasing wayward cats that come into our yard... and barking at some strange, invisible animal at 1:00 a.m. each and every morning.

It's good to see a little spring in her step!

NOTE - When I am 63 years-old, I will not be "running" anywhere... much less to the fence when a car drives in the driveway. Cats will not be chased, but merely "shooed," and strange, invisible animals will have their run of my yard at 1:00 a.m. each and every morning... because I will be SOUND ASLEEP, you see.

I admire Sparkle very, very much.

RANDOMNESS #2 - With the cooler air, I started looking forward to some of the things I love about fall.

1. Turnip green soup with cheesy cornbread. (Oh... my... goodness. Remind me to re-post this recipe from my friend, Julie. Delicious!)

2. My fall Zoo trip. I cannot wait. (Going in the fall is key, because the animals do not smell as badly in the fall as they do in the summer... much like teenage boys.)

3. The Southern Women's Show. I DO love those "pretzel and dip" tables scattered throughout. (And I may splurge and have my eyebrows waxed. I always want to leave looking a little better than when I arrived.)

4. Christmas Village. Nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas more than booth after booth after booth of Christmas decorations and gifts I CANNOT make myself. (If not for the Egg Nog Booth and the "pretzel and dip" tables at Christmas Village, I might leave there a little depressed each year.)

5. Reality TV. Survivor, Amazing Race and Celebrity Apprentice begin in the fall. Need I say more?

6. Our fall camping trip. The fire never goes out, and crawling into a huge, warm sleeping bag on a cool, frosty night is one of the little pleasures of life. (Taking a shower in the community bathhouse... not so much!)

Wednesday Wisdom - "Into each life some rain must fall." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Hmmm. I wonder if RAIN is the topic for today's Wisdom? (Oh, it is, my friend. It is!)

"It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent." Dave Barry (Dave Barry must have been a tent camper. As a tent camper, I will have to say he is 100 percent correct!)

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." Dolly Parton

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." John Ruskin (This guy is an optimist... but I like him anyway.)

"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet." Roger Miller (True, so true.)

The Importance of Fall Traditions

I found the following on a website entitled www.lifeasmom.com. I'm going to read more of her posts as the days go by, but I think we may be sisters separated at birth.

Traditions are the things that we cling to when life bounces us around. Traditions are stability for our kids when their minds and their bodies are growing too fast for them (and us). Traditions are what we use to create beautiful memories with our families.

Can we be deliberate in tradition building? I think so. What is a tradition? It’s a practice that is repeated over time.

Hopefully, we repeat only the traditions we love and ditch the ones that don’t work for our families. And we can always create new ones.

1. Take long hikes in the mountains, woods or fields.

2. Visit a local farm. Pick apples, roam the pumpkin patch, ride a hay wagon.

3. Find a corn or hay maze. No matter where we’ve lived, there has always been a corn or hay maze to wander through. Find one and meander through it with your children.

4. Establish a regular family night. Perhaps homemade pizza, popcorn and games once a week can be a regular gig.

5. Gather a stash of firewood and make the hearth a little more homey. Lay in fire starters, matches and the makings of s’mores. If you don’t have a fireplace, consider a fire pit out back.

6. Corral all the lap blankets and throws in one central location. Add a stack of good reads and make a comfy reading nook for the family to gather together.

7. Find some read alouds to enjoy together as a family.

8. Invest in a good soup cookbook and make it a family affair to work your way through the book. Older kids may even want to take turns or offer input, so make sure to include them. Add special touches like cornbread or popovers.

The Enchanting Belinda says...

1. One of my favorite fall day memories happened several years ago at Tannehill State Park. The Faulkner Five left after church on Sunday and bundled up in scarves and heavy coats. We walked on the trails which were covered with crunchy, colorful fall leaves, took pictures galore and headed home after a couple of hours to cups of hot chocolate. It was lovely. I would love to make this an annual fall tradition.

2. We love our fire pit. It has been a great addition to our fall and spring nights.

3. I think cooking through a soup cookbook as a family would be fun. It might be something you could do one-on-one with each child in your family once a week. Soup Night sounds like a tradition I could add even at this stage in the game.

Have a fun Thursday. Tomorrow, I'll finish up the week with Blog Linkage, Dates, Randomness, volleyball pics and Weekend Happenings. Be ready to stay awhile if you decide to visit!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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