Rhett

Rhett

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Today is going to be a special day, so rather than post a quick, thrown-together Mindless Monday Montage, I have decided to take a day off from A Simple Life and do a REALLY good job tomorrow morning!

I'll have a new recipe (so good), tons of pictures (and I mean TONS), RANDOMNESS, etc., etc. in the morning.

Take care, and have a safe holiday. I'll talk to you first thing Tuesday.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of Roxie and Kelci. They were able to dress up a little early this Halloween because they had their End-of-the-Season Volleyball Party last night... and it was mandatory to wear a costume. No problem! Dorothy and The Flapper!

RANDOMNESS #1 - As promised, here are a few more Stocking Stuffer ideas from Pinterest:

11. Sharpie pens

12. Chapstick

13. Small crossword puzzle book

14. Body wash

15. Personalized M & M candy that say Merry Christmas

16. Clip on book reading lamp

17. Measuring spoons or cups

18. Scarf

19. Stickers

20. Deck of playing cards

I'll have more Monday!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I think I owe someone an apology. I made Pumpkin Crescent Rolls (covered in sugar and cinnamon) the other night, and they were AWFUL! Really, really not good.

I removed the recipe off my "board" on Pinterest they were so bad.

Last night, I used the second can of Crescent Rolls I had bought for that recipe for dinner. I kept smelling something Italian. I couldn't figure out what it was since we were having leftover beef stew and plain ol' Crescent Rolls.

At dinner, I took a bite of the roll. I had no idea they made GARLIC Crescent Rolls, but they do.

GARLIC Crescent Rolls are actually pretty good with a little butter and a meal. Not so good with pumpkin/cream cheese spread and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. YUCK!

I'm going to give the Pumpkin Crescent Rolls a second chance, because that's the kind of person I am.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I went to Body Pump last night. Every few weeks, they change things up a bit. You still work the same muscles... you just work them in a different way with different music.

Let me just say the Ab Workout over the last few weeks has been my absolute favorite. It's more like a stretching exercise (and I love stretching), but I'm able to actually do the whole Ab Workout "thing." (For some reason, ab workouts are the hardest thing for me. It may have something to do with NOT having abs, but I usually hate that part of the workout.)

Well, they changed it. And not only is it a hard Ab Workout, it is the WORST Ab Workout I've ever had to do at Body Pump.

I absolutely hate it. HATE IT!

Oh. And my abs aren't sore this morning, but my neck is killing me... which means I did it wrong... and I need drugs.

I am boycotting the Ab Workout until they change it back to the stretching "thing." Or until the instructor fusses at me in front of everyone in class... and then I'll do the workout.

But I won't be happy about it!

RANDOMNESS #4 - I left Mikie a little Halloween surprise on the closet door this morning. Bats and candy and a little note which said, "Frankly, my Dear... I'm batty for you." (An idea from The Dating Divas. See My Blog List.)

He was very pleased. I thought he might be, so I have three more little surprises for him between now and Halloween. He's a good guy. He deserves it!

Weekend Happenings

Okay! It's going to be a more unified weekend. It's going to be a more unified weekend. (If I say it enough, it WILL happen!)

Or maybe not.

Tonight is scattered. One Faulkner in Jacksonville getting ready for the game. One Faulkner going to a bonfire. Three Faulkners going to a high school football game. However, the Four Faulkners in the same town are going to eat Chicken Cheese Casserole together before we part. (New recipe.)

Saturday is a little up in the air. Josh may have to work, but if he gets off in time, he's going with the rest of us to tailgate in Jacksonville. Roxie's taking a friend and we're meeting the Lovely Melia and her family at the game. It should be fun. (That means I'll be cooking some today. I'm working on my menu as soon as I finish the blog!)

Okay. It's getting a little less scattered now.

After church Sunday, we're going to be "here and there" again. Mike and Josh have something to do, Roxie has some plans and I haven't talked to Austin yet.

However, Sunday night at some point we are all coming together to watch the Halloween episode of Psych! Everyone likes this show, and I made everyone PROMISE not to watch Wednesday night's episode. As far as I know, they kept their promise.

A Psych Halloween is about as scary as I want to go. I'm not a big scary movie person... at all. (I like to sleep uninterrupted by terrifying nightmares at night. I'm funny that way.)

Once again, we'll see how the plans work out. At least we'll all be spending some time outside in this beautiful fall weather.

I hope you have a fun-filled weekend. Whether it's football, Halloween festivities or just hanging with the family and/or friends, make some good memories.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheap Out-to-Eat Dates (This Weekend Only)

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of Josh. He is a Senior this year. (Have I mentioned that lately?) I LOVE these photos!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I know it is a little early, but some people start Christmas shopping in October! I know! Unbelievable. I found a list of 150 Stocking Stuffers on Pinterest, and I thought I would share some of the ideas over the next few days. If you're like me, you're always looking for new ideas.

1. $5 gift cards (Starbucks, McDonald's, Amazon, Borders etc.)

2. A favorite candy

3. Decorative cupcake liners

4. A favorite magazine

5. Camera strap cover

6. Packets of flower or herb seeds for planting

7. Personalized stationery

8. Slipper socks

9. Silly putty

10. Nail polishes

NOTE - Over the last few years, I've made theme stockings for Mikie and the kids. Since we have a tradition of going to the movies together the day after Christmas, I make a "Movie Stocking." I buy each of them a $10 Rave Theater Gift Certificate, their favorite giant candy and maybe a little trinket to represent the movie we're seeing that year. (They also have an ornament and a couple of other little gifts in the stocking, too.)

RANDOMNESS #2 - Gardendale First Baptist Women's Ministry is hosting a Ladies' Night Out November 29. There will be beautiful Christmas tablescapes, Christmas music, delicious food and several speakers. The main speaker is Karen Spann, James Spann's wife.

It is called Tis the Season, and the speakers will talk about the different seasons of life they are currently living. I'll be talking for 15 minutes about being in the Fall Season of life. (I know! I was surprised, too. I thought I was still in the Indian Summer Season of life. I had no idea I had crossed over until I was asked to speak about Fall.)

After the shock wore off, I was able to admit that Fall may be my season after all... I guess.

Anyway, tickets cost $10 and they can be purchased in the lobby of the Worship Center on Sunday mornings.

I'll talk about it again a little closer to time, but go ahead and get your tickets sooner than later!

Blog Linkage - I have a lot of Linkage today, so I hope you have some free time on your hands.

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down to Previous Posts. Click on the post entitled "It's About That Time" dated October 24. It has some really good Halloween party tips.

When you are finished reading that post, read today's post entitled "Link Up Party Features" dated October 27. They have tons of Halloween ideas. Anything from decorating to kids' costumes!

2. Go to www.kellehampton.com and scroll down to her post entitled "Buddy Up" dated October 22. She has a Down's baby, and this post talks about their journey so far with their precious little one.

3. Go to Nitty.Gritty. under My Blog List and read the post entitled "My Little Superman" dated October 25. If you have a little boy, you can totally relate!

4. Go to www.annieblogs.com and read the post entitled "Day 23 - Queen Esther" dated October 23. (I found this link on BooMama's blog.) If you have little ones, watch the VeggieTales movie and then talk about Queen Esther with your kiddos. Annie makes some excellent points and it would be a GREAT devotion.

5. Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and click on Previous Posts. Read "Day 26: Wall Art" dated October 26. Love the wrapped shoe boxes on the wall. So easy, doable AND affordable.

6. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Frankly, My Dear..." dated October 26. I am so doing this for Mikie. Shhh. It is a surprise.

See what I mean? Get busy!

Cheap Out-to-Eat Dates (This Weekend Only)

Let's face it... Fall is a busy, busy time of year. Dating your kids and spouse one-on-one can be hard. Here are a couple of places you can go out-to-eat with one of your kids. It will not take up too much time during a busy weekend... and it will not cost a lot of money.

1. Go to al.com/halloween/ and scroll down until you find the Cici's Pizza promotion. Click on "Full Story" and you will be able to print a coupon good for a FREE Kids' Meal when your child wears a costume to Cici's Pizza this weekend.

It's good now through October 31 for kids 10 and under at participating locations WITH a printed coupon. See coupon for details.

2. IHOP also has a promotion this Friday, October 28. Kids 12 and under get a FREE scary face pancake. This offer is good from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Both of these ideas came from Birmingham Bargain Mom.

Take advantage of an hour or two of one-on-one time with one of your children, and enjoy pizza OR pancakes!

Have a fun Thursday. I'll be back in the morning with Weekend Happenings... and other stuff. If everything goes well, we're going to have a "family-oriented" weekend. I am thrilled, I tell you!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Annual Fall Activites at Oak Mountain State Park

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of Roxie's ever-changing room. She rearranged the furniture, and we hung the pictures AND "picture boards." I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, but it is getting there. Ever so slowly, it is getting there!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Josh has a friend at school who has a Basset Hound. The Basset Hound will soon be having puppies. The friend offered us a puppy.

I must talk to Mikie... right after I bake a Dutch Apple Crumb Pie!

RANDOMNESS #2 - The Beagles had the nerve to bring a dead rabbit carcass to me when I went on the deck yesterday. (I realize the words "dead" and "carcass" are a little redundant, but so are the words "gross" and "repugnant," and I'm probably going to use them in the same sentence in a few minutes.)

They wanted me to congratulate them and reward them for their barbaric behavior, but all I was able to do was get back in the house before they jumped up and touched me with the dead rabbit carcass. YUCK!

I guess that would have been a picture for the Gallery, but I do have my standards!

Wednesday Wisdom - My quote comes from Pinterest (SHOCK!) this morning. I hope you like it.

"To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today." Anonymous

Love it!

Annual Fall Activities at Oak Mountain State Park

I'm a big advocate of supporting our State Parks AND local fall festivals. (We went to the Fall Colorfest in Mentone last year. So fun.)

These are annual fall events at Oak Mountain. It is close by and you and your family could enjoy it each and every year!

Fall Festival at Oak Mountain State Park

On October 29, 2011, at the Dogwood and Lakeside Pavilions, enjoy the Oak Mountain Fall Festival. It is open from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

They will have all kinds of activities including hayrides, face painting, moonwalk, cake hop, corn cob toss, bobbing for apples, dunking booth and a pumpkin carving contest. Bring your own pumpkin to carve.

Food and drinks will be available to purchase.

Regular park admission is charged. (The cost is $3 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 to 11 and children 5 and under are FREE.)

The activities cost $1 each. You must buy the tickets for the activities under the Dogwood Pavilion.

While you are in the Park, you might as well enjoy Owl-o-Ween, too! It is held on the same day and during the same time as the Fall Festival. There are children's activities, wildlife presentations and educational programs. There is no additional charge for visiting the Owl-o-Ween!

For more information, e-mail oakmountain.naturalist@dcnr.alabama.gov or call 205-620-2520.

Enjoy a Fall Festival... any Fall Festival! Make it an annual tradition!

Have a fantastic Wednesday. I have much to do... especially since I now have to bake a "Can I PLEASE Have a Basset Hound Puppy Dutch Apple Crumb Pie?" from scratch. That's right. Scratch! I may even pick my own apples to show Mikie I'm serious. Or maybe not.

I'll be back tomorrow with TONS of Blog Linkage and a fun Date for you and yours. Check back in if you have a chance.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave any comments at mfaulkner1306@charter.net. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

Good Tuesday afternoon!

The Gallery Pics are from a Pinterest project I tried yesterday. There are a few more details below.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay. As my Pinterest boards grow, so do my "domestic goddess" skills. I'm hanging pictures in Roxie's room tonight using a Pinterest "toothpaste" trick. Wish me luck.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Someone "let the dog out," and Mikie nixed my baby Basset Hound named Earl. I am beyond sad.

RANDOMNESS #3 - No surprise here. I'm also not going to Ireland for a little jaunt. Something about passports, money, Christmas right around the corner... yada, yada, yada!

Mikie's really putting a damper on my Pinterest hobby.

RANDOMNESS #4 - I met a little guy at Starbucks today named Banks. (I know. He's either going to be an attorney or a butler with a name like Banks. I'm thinking attorney.) Cutest kid ever. Of course, I'm ever-so partial to the four and under crowd, but he was a doll.

"Are you drinking coffee?" he asked.

"Yes. I am," I replied, showing him my cup and settling down in a Starbucks overstuffed chair.

"I've just got milk," he said.

"Well, milk is good. Especially chocolate milk."

"Yeah. It is," he admitted, but he kept eyeing my coffee.

"How old are you?" I asked. He talked like a three or four year-old, but he was the size of a two year-old.

"I'm two," he confirmed.

"I bet you're almost three, aren't you?"

"I will be three June 4. My Mommy's birthday is June 4, too!"

"So you were a special birthday present, weren't you?" I asked.

He thought this was an extremely witty thing for me to say, and he threw back his head and laughed and laughed.

He then continued to talk to me and told me he was wearing his working boots, he was going to see an airplane and his Dad's birthday was April 28.

His proud Dad and I talked about his amazing verbal skills, and we both agreed he was a special little man... at which point he told his Dad, "I'm going to sit with her in the chair."

I would have been honored to share a chair with this little guy, but Dad was trying to teach him not to become too attached to strangers, and he didn't know of my obsession with all things toddler. It would not have ended well, I fear, so Banks sat with his Dad and talked and talked and talked some more.

It was one of the best 15 minutes of my day, and this little guy will never even know it.

Oh. And he wants a big truck for Christmas. He kind of whispered that little tidbit of info to me before he left, but I made sure Dad knew about the request. It would be a shame for Banks not to have at least a dozen big trucks under his Christmas tree.

I wish I had asked him for his address (and I'm sure he knew the whole thing, including the zipcode). I would have loved to deliver a couple of them myself... but that might have been overstepping the "nice stranger lady" boundaries.

Yeah. I think that might have taken it too far.

Pumpkin Muffins

I know. I know. More pumpkin stuff. But you're going to like this one. Really. You are. You could send your four year-old into the kitchen to bake these muffins. I am not exaggerating.

Thanks to Pinterest, behold... the two ingredient Pumpkin Muffin Recipe!

You will need the following:

1 yellow cake mix
1 can of pumpkin

1. Mix cake mix and pumpkin thoroughly.

2. Put batter in muffin tins.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Uh, excuse me. That is ALL!

They are very tasty and pretty. Pinterest suggested using powdered sugar OR cream cheese icing on the top. Both of those suggestions are excellent.

I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness and a couple of pics, I think.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave comments at my e-mail address: mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Fun Fall Ride #3. That's right. We did it again! However, Mikie and I were the only ones who participated in Fun Fall Ride #3... and it was good. We enjoyed our time together very much.

Austin was in Kentucky with the Marching Southerners.

Josh went to help a lady with some landscaping before choir and his church class.

Roxie was exhausted and opted for a three-hour nap.

It was meant to be... and it was lovely.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay. I am enjoying ALL of the ideas on Pinterest. So much fun. However, I realize it will be a HUGE waste of time for me if I don't implement some of the great ideas. So far, I have "done" the following:

1. I made the Pumpkin Crescent Rolls, and we didn't like them. I took that Pin off my board, BUT I used the rest of the "batter," and added a little of this and that to make a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie which Mikie and Joshua LOVED. (So it wasn't a waste!)

2. I cleaned Roxie's shower with a pink grapefruit and salt. It worked! And it smelled wonderful.

3. I made Halloween gourds look like people by simply adding eyes. (See pictures below.) Roxie HATES them, but they're staying. Too cute.

I know. It isn't a lot, but this is what I've got on the books for this week:

1. I am making Pumpkin Muffins using only two ingredients as soon as I get off the blog this morning.

2. I am hanging three pictures in Roxie's room using a toothpaste trick I learned from Pinterest.

3. I am making Scarecrow Trail Mix next weekend for our tailgating party at JSU.

4. I am making Crockpot Lemon Chicken for dinner one night this week.

5. I am getting a basset hound puppy... and I'm naming him Earl... and Mikie doesn't know about this yet, so don't spill the beans!

6. Oh. And I may book a quick overnight trip to Ireland... because the pictures I'm seeing on Pinterest are incredible... and I think I need to see it for myself. Also, Mikie doesn't know about this yet, so don't spill the beans... again!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Our weekend was kind of crazy. But only "kind of." If you don't mind, I'm going to do the "list thing" once again. (It's either that, or 25 rambling paragraphs. I know WE don't have time for that!)

1. Austin went to Kentucky with the Marching Southerners for the weekend. He left on a bus midnight, Friday, October 21. Or is it midnight, Saturday, October 22? Either way, he got on a bus.

We received a text at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

"I am sick. I threw up at 9:30 Friday night, and I just threw up again."

Of course, we were sleeping so heavily, we didn't get the text until 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning... when Mikie and Josh got up to get ready to go to Mississippi for the weekend.

I started calling.

"Are you okay?" I asked in my Extremely Worried Mother Voice.

"Yeah. Why?"

"Because you are throwing up on a bus going to Kentucky."

"Oh. Yeah. Well, I just throw up after I eat. I don't feel bad or anything."

"What did you eat at 3:30 this morning?"

"Two homemade coconut pies in those little tins at the gas station and an energy drink."

All right. That explains the 3:30 a.m. illness... but not the 9:30 p.m. illness the night before.

To end this long, long story, Austin was sick all weekend, but only after he ate. No fever. No aches. No pains. He didn't feel bad the rest of the time. We offered to come get him, but he stayed for the game, the Exhibition after the game and came home last night declaring it a "good trip."

He's going to the doctor this morning.

And he's never going to drink another energy drink... or eat another homemade coconut gas station pie.

Just saying.

2. Mike and Josh enjoyed Mississippi. Mikie watched the Auburn and Alabama game in the comfort of his hotel room. (This was a much-needed rest after a meeting/activity-filled Washington trip earlier in the week.)

Josh met up with his friend after the Mississippi College Homecoming Parade, watched the game, ate at the Cafe, walked around the quad, watched the Alabama game and joined Mike about 11:30 Saturday night.

They both declared it a good trip.

3. Roxie and I stayed home. After I couldn't persuade her to go to Clinton, Mississippi with Mike and Josh and change her original plans (a haunted house with friends), we did things around the house until it was time for her to leave. The plan was for one parent to drop her and her friends off at the haunted house... and I would do some shopping in the area and pick them up when they were done.

Of course, this was the plan for everyone else in the State of Alabama. They waited in line for FIVE hours and then went through the haunted house.

Roxie enjoyed it very much, but we have definitely tweaked next year's trip. Definitely.

She and her friends fell asleep on the way home, but they revved up again after Dr. Pepper and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

I did NOT rev up again. I headed to bed.

3. With Austin still sick in Kentucky, Roxie exhausted and coughing, Josh doing a little landscaping, etc., etc., Mikie and I decided to take Fun Fall Ride #3 ALONE.

I took him to the new campsite I told you about last week, and he liked it! I'm planning a November weekend camping trip as we speak... only 15 minutes from the house! Yes!

And that's it. I'm sorry. I did the "list thing" AND 25 rambling paragraphs. Consider it a "twofer."

Have a great Monday. Tomorrow's post will show up late afternoon. I have some things to take care of in the morning. Check after 3:00 p.m. if you get a chance.

Take care, and I'll talk to you tomorrow afternoon!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave comments at mfaulkner1306@charter.net. Thanks!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from my HIKE yesterday at a new campsite discovered by my friend, Julie. It is only 15 minutes from my house, and it is lovely. Oh... And there's a creek, too. And you can canoe! Now, all we need is a date. But since it is so close by, I think we might be able to go in November.

I'm taking Mikie and the two Faulkner kids who will be home this weekend to check it out Sunday afternoon. It will officially be Fun Fall Ride #3!

WINNER! WINNER! WINNER! - In case you missed the announcement yesterday, Karman won the Contest! That's right! She WON! And she chose the Gift Certificate for lunch at Whole Foods Market. (A very good choice, I might add!)

Congratulations, Karman... And I want to thank everyone who participated in the Contest!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am enjoying Pinterest very much. I've already tried one of the recipes I "pinned," and today I'm making one of the fall decorations I found. (I'll show you later. I promise.)

It's a very inspiring website!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I will tell you about an upcoming event next week. Tickets go on sale this weekend, so I'm going to wait until it's official before I say anything. (If I'm reading the information straight from the ticket, chances are better I won't give you the wrong date, time, etc., etc.)

I said chances are "better," not good!

Weekend Happenings

I'm going to do the "list thing" again because when I don't, things tend to get muddled. Five different people going five different places is confusing... for me.

Austin - I'm going to take Austin out of the "list thing" because he's leaving for Kentucky at midnight tonight for the JSU game tomorrow. He will not return to Jacksonville until Sunday, so he won't be coming home this weekend. (Don't worry. I think we're planning on having dinner with him Monday or Tuesday of next week to get our "Austin Fix." Not to mention our "Top of the River Fix.")

Now for the list!

Friday Night - Josh is visiting with friends. Mikie is playing catch-up at work. Roxie is feeling poorly right now, but if for any reason she is up and running around noon (Code for ABLE TO GO TO SCHOOL), she and I may go the high school football game tonight.

Saturday - Mike and Josh are heading to Mississippi College tomorrow. Josh is going to the Homecoming Game with a friend and then out-to-eat.

Saturday (Again) - Roxie and I may or may NOT be going to Clinton, Mississippi with the guys tomorrow. Some plans are up in the air, and we'll figure those out today.

If we DO go, Clinton has a Segway Tour in the historic district of town. (I'm checking into that today because I've always wanted to Segway, and Roxie is an old pro.)

We would also go to a couple of local restaurants for lunch and dinner in Jackson, maybe a movie, spend the night in a little hotel (which serves breakfast) and head home first thing Sunday morning.

It sounds fun, doesn't it?

If Roxie and I DO NOT go, Roxie will spend some time with friends Saturday evening, and I will bake pumpkin stuff and a huge Sunday dinner in honor of Mikie and Josh's return from the Mississippi trip.

Sunday - Church for me and Roxie Sunday morning. Josh will be home in time to attend Choir and his Sunday night class. And, of course, we are going to try to squeeze in Fun Fall Ride #3.

I don't really like it when The Faulkner Five are in three different states on any given weekend. I don't like it at all.

At least we will all be in the South!

Have a great weekend. I hope you get to spend a lot of time with family and friends. I'll be back Monday with all the usual stuff you've come to expect on A Simple Life.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tannehill Halloween Fairytale Festival

AND THE WINNER IS...

KARMAN!!! Give me a call and let me know which one of the FIVE prizes you have chosen! Congratulations... and thanks to everyone who played!

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of AUTUMN! I just rode around our little town yesterday and took a few photos of things that caught my eye.

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - You have a little more time to "like" my links to get your name in the Contest Bowl. I'll stop everything at 11:30 a.m. today and announce the winner by noon!

I made a mistake though. I kept saying "Thursday, October 19" was the last day of the Contest. Obviously, the last day of the Contest is today, Thursday, OCTOBER 20. My bad!

If you haven't been around in awhile, read the following to enter today...

Okay. This is a good one. After much thought, I decided to celebrate my third year of blogging (Thursday, October 20) by letting you enter the Contest via Facebook. Super easy.

All you have to do is "like" my link. I post A Simple Life link every day (Monday through Friday) on Facebook. If you hit the "like" button, you are automatically entered in the Contest!

NOTE - Every time you like my links (A Simple Life OR 50 is Nifty) over the next couple of days, your name will go into the bowl... again. I sometimes post two links a day. That is two chances a day! Not bad, huh?

And the prize is... to... die... for! If you win, you get to pick from the following items which will be purchased (by me) from Whole Foods Market:

1. Two beautiful bars of organic soap. (Just tell me your bathroom colors, and I will make sure the bars match. They come in many pretty colors and they smell divine!)

2. A $10 Gift Certificate to the Village Brasserie. (This is the little restaurant in the middle of Whole Foods. It is wonderful!)

3. An assortment of ten mini desserts delivered to your door.

4. A $10 Gift Certificate to Whole Foods Market!

5. A $10 Gift Certificate to Yogurt Mountain (which is conveniently located CLOSE to Whole Foods Market).

Remember... You can only choose one of the above!

What are you waiting for? Hit the "like" button under my link and your name will be put in the bowl for drawing Thursday, October 20 at NOON!

If we aren't friends on Facebook (or you are not on Facebook), feel free to contact me via e-mail, and I will put your name in the bowl. No problem!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Mikie's home! He enjoyed his time in Washington, D.C., but he was ready to be HOME... and we were ready for him to be HOME, too.

We had the traditional celebratory chili and cornbread dinner last night in his honor. I also tried a new dessert... which kind of bombed. There, I admitted it. I'll be doing the tried and true pecan pie today to make up for last nights "new pumpkin dessert debacle." No mistakes!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Speaking of chili, Mikie sent me a HILARIOUS e-mail the other day. It will make you LAUGH OUT LOUD! I promise! (I had to change a few words in order to maintain my G-rating. They weren't bad words. They just weren't "A Simple Life" words.)

New Mexico Chili Cook Off

This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in New Mexico.

Note - Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better.

For those of you who have lived in New Mexico, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-Off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the Santa Fe Plaza. Judge #3 was an inexperienced chili-taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, Illinois.

Frank - "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing at the judge's table asking for directions when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native New Mexicans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and they told me I could have free root beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge #3." (I changed the word "beer" to "root beer." Again, just maintaining that ever-important G-rating!)

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI #1 - MIKE'S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI

Judge #1 - A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge #2 - Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge #3 (Frank) - Holy crap, what is in this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two root beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These New Mexicans are crazy.

CHILI #2 - EL RANCHO'S AFTERBURNER CHILI

Judge #1 - Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge #2 - Exciting BBQ flavor. Needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge #3 - Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more root beer when they saw the look on my face.

CHILI #3 - ALFREDO'S FAMOUS BURN DOWN THE BARN CHILI

Judge #1 - Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge #2 - A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge #3 - Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more root beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back. Now my backbone is in the front part of my chest.

CHILI #4 - BUBBA'S BLACK MAGIC

Judge #1 - Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge #2 - Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods. Not much of a chili.
Judge #3 - I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. I am eating nuclear waste!

CHILI #5 - LISA'S LEGAL LIP REMOVER

Judge #1 - Meaty, strong chili. Jalapeno peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge #2 - Chili using shredded beef. Could use more tomato. Must admit the jalapeno peppers make a strong statement.
Judge #3 - My ears are ringing. Sweat is pouring off my forehead, and I can no longer focus my eyes. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring root beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

CHILI #6 - VARGA'S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY

Judge #1 - Thin, yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge #2 - The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
Judge #3 - My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. Can't feel my lips anymore.

CHILI #7 - SUSAN'S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI

Judge #1 - A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge #2 - Ho hum. Tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. (I should note that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.)
Judge #3 - You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing. It's too painful. I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4" hole in my stomach.

CHILI #8 - BIG TOM'S TOENAIL CURLING CHILI

Judge #1 - The perfect ending. This is a nice blend chili. Not too bold, but spicy enough to declare it's existence.
Judge #2 - This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild, nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor fella. Wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge #3 - No report.

The Enchanting Belinda says, "My chili was perfect, by the way!"

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm going on a hike today. That's right. A hike! My friend, Julie, has discovered a new and exciting campground only 15 minutes from our homes. FIFTEEN MINUTES!

That means in the bathhouses are less than desirable (and let's face it, most bathhouses are), I can just scoot home for a nice hot shower!

There's a stream and everything.

I cannot wait!

RANDOMNESS #4 - I didn't have to (get to) take Roxie on her driving lesson yesterday. Since Mikie arrived home, she immediately hit him up for some driving time.

"Babe. I've been traveling all day. I would kind of just like to stay home and relax and spend some time with y'all."

I waited for the fireworks to commence.

"Okay, Daddy. Maybe tomorrow." And then she kissed him! What's that about?

If I had pulled the "relax and spend some time with y'all" line, it would not have been pretty... at all!

I'm not bitter... just incredibly angry. (There is a difference, you know.)

Blog Linkage - I have some good ones today.

1. Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List. Scroll down to the post entitled "Day 17: Mirrors, the Pixie Dust of Design" dated October 17. I love this idea.

2. Go to www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com. It's a food blog as you might imagine, and there are tons of good recipes on this blog. Plus, I really, really like the name. I can relate to this chick.

3. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List. Scroll down to the post entitled "(Past Projects) Halloween" dated October 19. They have some very cute and doable crafts for this time of year.

4. If you didn't read yesterday's post (and I can't imagine why you didn't), go to Nitty.Gritty. under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Happiness is Warm Laundry" dated October 18. I love, love, love this super simple idea. Everyone could do this TODAY... and make a little memory.

Enjoy!

Tannehill Halloween Fairytale Festival

This is an annual event held at Tannehill State Park the Saturday before Halloween each year. I have friends who attend with their kids, and they LOVE it!

The Tannehill Halloween Fairytale Festival is a non-scary, fun-filled holiday event focused on the campgrounds. It annually attracts over 6,000 visitors, most of them children.

Begun in 1992, the Halloween event features park-sponsored programs during the afternoon and traditional Halloween candy “trick or treat” stops at more than 200 campsites during the evening.

Park events include a moon walk, clowns, face painting, pony rides and sand art. Campground site decorations and lights are extensive, creative and surreal.

It's Saturday only from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., October 29, 2011.

The cost is $3.00 for adults (12 years and older); $2.00 for seniors (62 years and older); and $1.00 for children (6 to 11 years). Ages 5 and under are FREE.

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
12632 Confederate Parkway
McCalla, Alabama 35111
205-477-5711

If you're looking for something "different," but fun, this would make a great FAMILY DATE!

Have a fantastic Thursday. I'm about to start looking for my hiking boots! I'll be back at noon to let you know who won the Contest. I'll also be here in the morning with Weekend Happenings.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Warm Laundry

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Josh's Choir Concert last night. Even though he loves choir, his face doesn't show it. He's big on concentrating. It was a great musical evening, and Roxie and I enjoyed it very much.

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - Okay. This is a good one. After much thought, I decided to celebrate my third year of blogging (Thursday, October 19) by letting you enter the Contest via Facebook. Super easy.

All you have to do is "like" my link. I post A Simple Life link every day (Monday through Friday) on Facebook. If you hit the "like" button, you are automatically entered in the Contest!

NOTE - Every time you like my links (A Simple Life OR 50 is Nifty) over the next couple of days, your name will go in the bowl... again. I post two links a day. That is two chances a day! Not bad, huh?

And the prize is... to... die... for! If you win, you get to pick from the following items which will be purchased (by me) from Whole Foods Market:

1. Two beautiful bars of organic soap. (Just tell me your bathroom colors, and I will make sure the bars will match. They come in many pretty colors and they smell divine!)

2. A $10 Gift Certificate to the Village Brasserie. (This is the little restaurant in the middle of Whole Foods. It is wonderful!)

3. An assortment of ten mini desserts delivered to your door.

4. A $10 Gift Certificate to Whole Foods Market!

5. A $10 Gift Certificate to Yogurt Mountain (which is conveniently located CLOSE to Whole Foods Market).

Remember... You can only choose one of the above!

What are you waiting for? Hit the "like" button under my link and your name will be put in the bowl for drawing Thursday, October 19 at NOON!

If we aren't friends on Facebook (or you are not on Facebook), feel free to contact me via e-mail, and I will put your name in the bowl. No problem!

RANDOMNESS #1 - As I have told you in recent posts, Roxie is learning to drive. I am NOT a good driving teacher. I am NOT calm. I am NOT encouraging. During a driving lesson, I am simply trying to survive. Oh. And I am NOT proud of my lack of "teaching a mere child how to drive" skills. However, I have accepted this as a part of my personality work-up and continue to move on.

That being explained, on our Sunday driving lesson, we used Austin's truck. The Big Gold Van is not the best vehicle when it comes to teaching. It is big. It is cumbersome. And there is no way for me to get to the pedals from my comfortable co-captain's chair 20 feet away from the driver... in this case, Roxie.

Long story short... At some point during the driving lesson Sunday afternoon in Austin's truck, I must have thrown my cell phone into the air while cringing and covering my eyes.

When the truck finally stopped, I hopped out really, really fast.

I left my cell phone in Austin's truck.

Austin took my cell phone to Jacksonville... and he's going to Kentucky for the weekend.

I will NOT have a phone until the middle of next week... and I blame driving lessons. (You may have noticed in the past, I am not "big" on accepting responsibility. Another one of my little personality glitches.)

If you need me... call the house!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I wasn't a good mother today. I KNEW it was going to be cold. I KNEW my dryer was broken and needed replacing. I washed all of Josh's jeans at one time... except for a pair which was washed, ironed and hanging up. I thought I was prepared, but then Josh wore his good jeans to Christmas Tree Farm Orientation yesterday... and demonstrated to the newbies how to do something on the ground. Thus, making his only DRY, clean pair of jeans dirty and wet.

Josh had to wear shorts today. I am so, so ashamed. I tried to even it out by making him wear a really warm hoody, but in my heart of hearts, I know today will go down in history as the day The Enchanting Belinda was a bad, bad mother.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Josh, Roxie and I have started watching the new show Terra Nova together. It is a very good show, and unlike Lost and some other shows I've tried to watch with the kids as they've gotten older, I understand this one. So far, so good.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Mikie will be home by 4:00 this afternoon. I am thrilled. I am going to cook and bake, I think. Pecan pie and chili with cheesy cornbread comes to mind. Yes. That is what I'm going to do.

Wednesday Wisdom - I'm loving a little Eeyore today. I try not to be an Eeyore, but I really "get" him. He makes sense to me. (And Tigger tends to annoy me, so I know I'm not that uber-cheerful kind of person.) Yep. More often than not, I am an Eeyore... and proud of it!

"I'm not asking anybody," said Eeyore. "I'm just telling everybody. We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering nuts in May' with the end part of an ants' nest. It's all the same to me."

"I might have known," said Eeyore. "After all, one can't complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said 'Bother.' The Social Round. Always something going on."

"It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is."
"And freezing."
"Is it?"
"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately."

Talk about looking for the silver lining!

Warm Laundry

I had another little tradition to share today, but this one caught my eye. From Nitty.Gritty. under My Blog List enjoy Jody's take on the everyday task of doing laundry!

"So my little laundry fun is well-received on days like today. As soon as a load of clothes is ready to come out of the dryer, I fill the basket and whichever kid(s) happens to be nearby, they are treated to some warm laundry smothering. Today Teague was the lucky recipient. He got a blanket and Wyndham's dress wrapped around him and tossed on his head... which he promptly pulled off and laughed about.

"I love to do this... and my kids all love it too... when they are just going to bed or have been settled in for a few minutes already. I love it when it's a load of bath towels, all fluffy and fresh and piping hot. I grab the hot items out of the dryer and sometimes totally surprise them with a pile on their heads as they lay in their beds. Or sometimes I call them to come help me out for a quick minute. And when they show up I put Daddy's lounge pants and t-shirt on their heads. They laugh and scream and pull it off. And they always want more. It can get out of hand in a big hurry when one kid puts underwear on another one's head and the fun factor for that kid drops off suddenly. But the laughter and warmth and fun that comes from a dryer full of warm clothes is one I know they'll remember when they've grown, and one I hope they don't outgrow too soon.

"It's the little things."

Yes. Yes, it is!

Have a blustery Wednesday. It is the PERFECT FALL DAY! I am lovin' it! Be sure and enter the Contest today. I'll be back in the morning with Blog Linkage, a Date, Autumnal pics and Randomness. (The Contest winner will be announced at NOON!)

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

S'mores Cookies

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of the kids who live on the back deck... also known as Copper and Sparkle. They are loving the cooler weather, and boy, will they be surprised tomorrow when they wake up to temps in the 40s.

I know what you're thinking. "Why don't you let them come in and sleep in their basement room since it is going to be SOOO cold?"

We have tried, but to no avail. They come in for a minute and run around the house like crazy dogs, but then they want to go outside. They want to protect The Faulkner Five from bad guys, the occasional raccoon who wanders into our backyard and any and all other evil creatures... chipmunks, cats and squirrels.

They have a job to do and they take it very seriously, and I, for one, am thankful for their protection... so outside they will stay!

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - Okay. This is a good one. After much thought, I decided to celebrate my third year of blogging (Thursday, October 19) by letting you enter the Contest via Facebook. Super easy.

All you have to do is "like" my link. I post A Simple Life link every day (Monday through Friday) on Facebook. If you hit the "like" button, you are automatically entered in the Contest!

And the prize... is... to... die... for! If you win, you get to pick from the following items which will be purchased (by me) from Whole Foods Market:

1. Two beautiful bars of organic soap. (Just tell me your bathroom colors, and I will make sure the bars will match. They come in many pretty colors and they smell divine!)

2. A $10 Gift Certificate to the Village Brasserie. (This is the little restaurant in the middle of Whole Foods. It is wonderful!)

3. An assortment of ten mini desserts delivered to your door.

4. A $10 Gift Certificate to Whole Foods Market!

5. A $10 Gift Certificate to Yogurt Mountain (which is conveniently located CLOSE to Whole Foods Market).

Remember... You can only choose one of the above!

What are waiting for? Hit the "like" button under my link and your name will be put in the bowl for drawing Thursday, October 19 at NOON!

If we aren't friends on Facebook (or you are not on Facebook), feel free to contact me via e-mail, and I will put your name in the bowl. No problem!

RANDOMNESS - Roxie's daily driving lessons are coming along. She doesn't want to wait until Mikie returns from Washington, D.C. She feels missing five days of instruction would be detrimental to her hopping in the car and driving all over the world solo the day she turns 16. (I've told her it wasn't going to happen that way, but as we all know, Roxie has that "mind of her own" thing going for her.)

All three of the kids have driven differently. Austin was very cautious. Josh was very comfortable behind the wheel. Roxie is NOT cautious and very comfortable. (Just in case you're wondering, that is NOT a good combo.)

She knows where the gas pedal is, and she's not afraid to use it!

Her main goal while driving in the neighborhood is to make it to the main road. "Today, Mom? Can I get on the main road today?"

"No. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not until your Dad is sitting in the passenger seat next to you. Do not ask me again!"

"Okay. But if things go well, I can go on the main road tomorrow, right?"

Roxie likes the "wear the Mother down to a nub by asking the same question again and again and again" tactic. I had hoped she would employ the "I'm never speaking to you again, and one day you'll be sorry we went five years without talking" tactic. I've seen that one used by other teenage girls in the mall and other public places, and I must say, that one looks delightful.

But, alas... Roxie knows me too well.

"No. I said you will NOT go on the main road until Dad comes home. You will NOT go on the main road to drive until at least Thursday or Friday. You will NOT go on the main road Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. This is non-negotiable!"

"Okay. But if I'm better by tomorrow, you'll let me drive a little on the main road, right?"

That was when I started the "I'm never speaking to you again, and one day you'll be sorry we went five years without talking" tactic. I'm not proud. After all, I'm a semi-mature 50 year-old wife and mother of three. I should know better.

But I am tired... and Roxie senses that!

All in all, Roxie is a pretty good first-time driver. She turns corners very well, and she is very good when it comes to putting on the turn signal, stopping at stop signs and looking both ways twice before pulling out into traffic.

I think she is going to be a very good driver... but not by tomorrow!

S'mores Cookies

In case you hadn't heard, I am a Pinterest Expert now... thanks to the Lovely Melia! So it is no surprise that today's recipe comes from that wonderful new Internet source of everything divine! I "pinned" this recipe from www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com. It's a great blog, and I urge you to visit... after you leave A Simple Life, of course.

You will need the following:

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
1 to 2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper.

2. Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible. (They should be touching.)

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

4. In a different bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine on low speed.

6. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

7. Place tablespoons of dough on top of graham crackers. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square. Press down slightly with fingertips.

8. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

9. Bake for 5 to 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

10. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

I cannot wait to make these. In fact, I think a grocery store run is in order! (Maybe Roxie can drive me?)

Have a fantastic Tuesday. DON'T FORGET to LIKE THE LINK so you can enter the Whole Foods Market Contest. It's a good one! I'll be back in the morning with a Seasonal Tradition, Wednesday Wisdom, pics and Randomness.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics will show you some of the things we did this past weekend. As you will see, we were a little low on the "photo-worthy" activities. It happens.

ANNOUNCEMENT #1! ANNOUNCEMENT #1! ANNOUNCEMENT #1 - My picture-of-the-day blog, 50 is Nifty, will be current by 10:00 a.m. this morning. Visit if you have a chance.

ANNOUNCEMENT #2! ANNOUNCEMENT #2! ANNOUNCEMENT #2 - This Friday, October 19, will be my THIRD anniversary on A Simple Life. You know what that means. CONTEST! I'll be announcing the rules, etc. tomorrow morning. I hope everyone will play to win!

RANDOMNESS - I'm going to do the Weekend Round-Up List Thing, so I can be as succinct as possible.

1. I DID post a special blog "article" on behalf of the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence Blog-a-Thon this past Saturday morning. You'll be able to find it by looking for the October 15 entry under Previous Posts at the bottom of the page. (But only if you're interested!) It was an honor to be asked to participate!

2. Mikie DID go to Washington, D.C. He is still in Washington, D.C. We still miss him.

3. Roxie DID spend the night with cousins and Grandmother Friday night.

4. Josh DID spend time with friends Friday and Saturday nights.

5. Roxie, Josh and I met up with Aunt Bev and the cousins to go to the Dollar Theater to see Captain America. Can I say... I LOVE Captain America! Very good movie. Cute new superhero.

6. We DID head over to Krispy Kreme after the Dollar Movie... and it did not disappoint! (Does it ever?)

7. Roxie, Josh, Austin and I DID go on Fun Fall Ride #2 after church Sunday.

8. I'm going to have to change the name of the "Fun Fall Ride" to "Slightly Tolerable Time Spent With Teenagers in The Big Gold Van." You can see the pictures for yourself.

9. I took Roxie for a driving lesson when we returned home from the Fall Ride. It was hard. It was very hard. Did I mention I miss Mikie?

10. Melia taught me how to "do" Pinterest last night. She tried to teach me "everything," but I had to stop her at a certain point. I need to practice for a week or so before moving on to the next step. She was patient and kind, and she only laughed at me ten or so times. That's pretty good.

It's Monday. I don't know what that means for you and yours, but for me it's pretty much a "laundry" kind of day. I'm thrilled, I tell you.

I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe I "borrowed" from my Pinterest travels AND Contest info.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Good Saturday morning!

I DON'T say that very often, do I? But today is special. Why? Read on!

I was recently contacted by a representative from the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence to participate in ACADV’s Blog-a-Thon. After visiting the website (www.acadv.org), speaking with Tori , the Communications Coordinator at ACADV, and giving some thought on exactly what I would write, I agreed to accept this honor.

Tori’s initial e-mail explained what they were looking for in terms of content of the post. “The idea is, each participant will devote one blog post in October to write about what it means to participate in and enjoy a healthy relationship - be it with a friend, a family member or a romantic partner.”

I always use subtitles in my blog posts. I like to be “wordy,” but I understand not everyone likes to read paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of my ramblings. I will do the same today. Read what interests you… or move on to the next highlighted section! This is my little gift to you!

Date your best friend…

Of course, the first “healthy” relationship that comes to my mind is the one I share with Mikie… my husband of almost 24 years.

Our relationship began 27 years ago when I joined Shades Mountain Baptist and became active in their Singles Department.

I met Mikie at Shades Mountain Baptist Church when I was 22. I was visiting with a friend, and she had gone out with Mike the night before. "There he is," she said as we sat in the balcony looking down.

"He's cute," I approved. "Are you going to go out with him again?"

"No. It's just to soon after the break-up," was the reply. She had just broken up with someone after a long-term relationship.

"Well, it's a shame. He is cute," and then I settled back into my seat and enjoyed the service. As God would have it, Shades was the church He wanted me to join, and I began many new and wonderful friendships within the Singles Department. Mike was one of my friends. Mike was one of my BEST friends. When he wasn't dating (and he dated A LOT), we were together or on the phone or hanging out with a bunch of mutual friends. It was an easy, natural and enjoyable friendship.

Three years into our friendship, it became apparent to me that Mikie and I were supposed to be together. As he continued to date every girl in the entire Singles Department (I think it must have been a goal or something), I began to think of a way to tell him the obvious... I was the one he was supposed to be a-courting.

It was a Sunday afternoon in March, and I asked him over for lunch after church. Since he didn't have a date until after church that night, he was agreeable. As I finished getting things ready in the kitchen, I sent him into my living room.

"Why can't I stay in the kitchen?" he asked.

"Because I have to talk to you," I replied.

He rolled his eyes and went into the living room. From the kitchen, I yelled, "Why don't you ask ME out?"

"What!" and I could tell he had gotten off the sofa and was coming toward the kitchen.

"No, no, no! Back in the living room... and answer my question!"

"Well, I guess I thought it might mess up our friendship," he yelled back.

"We're supposed to be dating," I again yelled.

About this time, he popped his head around the corner grinning, and said, "So would you like to go out sometime?"

"Yes, I would. Thank you for asking."

Then he started thinking again... always a sign of trouble. "What if something happens and the dating thing doesn't go well and everything is awkward?"

"I've already thought of that. You'll have to change churches immediately. Dawson has a very good Singles Department. I think you'll be happy there."

"You've already thought about this?" He was incredulous.

"Yes, and I'm not kidding. It will be easier for you to change churches. You meet people much easier than I do. Plus, I'm not leaving Shades."

"Okay. Okay. I have a few commitments to take care of the next couple of weeks. Can we go out in three weeks?"

"By commitments do you mean other dates?"

"Uh, yes."

Long story short, I told him to go ahead and finish his "commitments," knowing in my heart of hearts those would be the last girls other than me he would ever get to go out with. (Don't worry. I told him he couldn't kiss his "commitments" good night at the door!)

Three weeks later we had our first date. He took me to Milo's (his favorite hamburger place) and we went to a movie (my favorite thing to do), and we talked about things like how many kids we wanted, and where we wanted to live and things like that. You know, first date kinds of things.

Date your mate for at least four seasons…

At three weeks, there was no doubt in our minds we were supposed to be together. We waited three months and met with Dr. Carter, our pastor at the time. Dr. Carter gave us very good advice. Because we were so sure we were to be married after only three months of dating, he told us he usually advised couples to date for at least four seasons. That translated into a year. A year was an eternity to two 26 year-olds who knew they were supposed to marry.

So we explained our relationship to Dr. Carter. We emphasized our three-year friendship. We talked about how we had encouraged each other during those three years. We had seen each other in bad moments and in good moments. We had shared hopes, dreams, secrets. We could actually finish each other’s sentences.

Technically, we had been together 12 SEASONS. (That’s a lot of seasons, Folks!)

Dr. Carter was satisfied with our response, but told us to give our families time to adjust to what our relationship had become… and we agreed.

We waited three more months and became engaged in August. We waited five more months and married January 23, 1988. As Martha Stewart would say... "It was a good thing."

We've had ups, downs and all-arounds, but all in all it has been a good 23 years. I have never thought I was supposed to be with anyone else. To the contrary, the longer we're together the more convinced I am he's the only person I could call my husband.

Marry your best friend…

I constantly tell Austin, Josh and Roxie, “Marry your best friend. Marry the person you know inside and out. Marry the person God has chosen just for you.” It is sound advice. Mikie is that person to me.

Yes, I could have married a different person at a younger age, but it would never have been the marriage I have today.

Is my marriage perfect? No. No, it is not. The longer we’ve been married, the more difficult life has become. We have dealt with the crippling grief of losing loved ones, the chronic (never ending) illness of a child, mental illness of more than one close family member, etc., etc. We are like every other married couple in the world. There is no “perfect marriage.”

But there are two constants that remain almost 24 years later…

We both believe (KNOW) God chose us for each other.

And to this day, we remain the best of friends.

Oh… And be sure he’s the right “one,” because no matter how many “seasons” you date before marriage, there will always be something new around the corner!

The “Plaque Reader” Story…

I always tease Mike about this, mainly because it was something I didn't know about him until after we were married. Is anyone else out there married or associated with someone who is a "Plaque Reader?" If you know someone like this, the term is not odd at all. If not, you're probably wondering what I'm talking about, so I will explain.

When we married, we went to Washington, D.C. for our honeymoon. I know it sounds like a strange place to go, but it was really quite wonderful. Mike loves history. I love snow. Mike loves ALL museums. I love snow. Mike loved the fact we were going to a place neither of us had ever been. I love snow. Well, I got my snow... 4" the day before we landed, and it stayed with us the entire seven days of our trip. Beautiful. And Mike's dream came true. We were honeymooning in the "Land of Plaques." There are probably more plaques per square inch in that city than anywhere else in the world.

I am a skimmer. I read the title on the plaque. I look at what the plaque is standing beside. I skim a couple more sentences and then I'm off to the next plaque. Mikie "absorbs" the plaque. He reads it carefully. He looks at the object carefully... and then re-reads the plaque again in case he missed something the first time. Can you say, "ARGHHH!"

We actually have a picture from our honeymoon of me sitting on a bench in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (my favorite kind of museum)... asleep. I just couldn't take it anymore. What takes most people one, two or three hours at the most to go through was taking us six to seven hours... and we still weren't finished.

Almost five years ago, Mike and I had the opportunity to drive down the Natchez Trace. If you've ever been, it is a beautiful ride and along the way, there are places "of interest" to stop. Well, you know what that means. Plaques in the middle of nowhere. After pulling over to our fifth (AND FINAL) Indian mound and reading the accompanying plaque, I had to put my foot down. (Have you ever seen an Indian mound? It's just a grassy hill in the middle of a grassy field. But the plaques are huge and probably have two-pages worth of information regarding the grassy mound.)

We had the opportunity to visit the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. A relatively small area in which plaques live and prosper. "Mikie, it would be different if we didn't know this story or if we had never heard of Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie or the Alamo. We watched the John Wayne movie before we came. We know what these plaques are going to say. Heck, we could have written some of these plaques."

And, deep in thought and concentration, he continued to read and learn... and I found a nice shady bench in the garden to wait.

This past summer, we went to Graceland with the kids. We had a great time, but not surprisingly, Graceland has almost as many plaques as Washington, D.C. The boys and I breezed through the tour in about 90 minutes... and we enjoyed it. However, Roxie and Mike hung back... reading plaques. As you can imagine, this was very disturbing to me because I had no idea Roxie had inherited Mikie's "Plaque Reader" gene. As the boys and I waited at the end of the tour for Mike and Roxie to catch up (60 minutes later and complaining we had RUSHED them), they were content to listen to their I-pods. I don't have an I-pod. I was not content.

When we rode the bus back to the main complex across the street, everyone wanted to see the airplanes... more plaques. And the new military uniform museum... more plaques. And the costume museum... more plaques than grains of sand on a beach! "They" tell you to plan on spending three or four hours at Graceland. Well, we closed it down... and we still weren't finished.

I'm thinking about getting him a plaque for Christmas next year to put on an attractive stand near our front door. It will read, "In this house lives a wonderful husband and a terrific dad. He is funny, generous and loving. He is a Christian man, a fisherman, a camper, a racing fanatic, an Auburn alum. He is a good listener and great partner... but most of all, he is (and will always be) a 'Plaque Reader.'"

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Are you or someone you know being abused? Please call the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence for help 24/7 at 1-800-650-6522 or visit them online at www.acadv.org.

Have a grand Saturday! I'll be back Monday with pics from the past weekend, Randomness and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery Pic is of Roxie and her new Driver's Permit. See Roxie. See Roxie smile. See Roxie crawl behind the wheel of The Big Gold Van. Uh... no! I've been having nightmares ALL week long. (But she does look happy, doesn't she?)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'll be posting in honor of Alabama's Coalition Against Domestic Violence Blog-a-Thon tomorrow morning. Stop by if you have a chance.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Believe it or not, the first nine weeks of high school is FINISHED! The last of the nine weeks' exams will be taken today, and I'm really hoping that means a "Homework Free" weekend. Josh and Roxie NEED it. I NEED it. All God's children NEED it!

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Importance of GNO - I'll just say one more thing about the GNO and be done with the topic.

It took me years and years to realize there are all kinds of different friends in the world. There are "work" friends, "church" friends, "we have kids the same age" friends, "movie" friends, "shopping" friends, "exercising" friends, "out-to-eat" friends, "younger" friends, "older" friends... the list goes on and on.

Recognizing and appreciating all of these different types of friends is one of life's sweet blessings.

I have also realized the importance of saying, "Let's go eat together and watch a chick flick. I've asked 27 other women, and I've told them to bring a friend if they want. It will be fun!"

It is fun. It is relaxing. It is a way to meet new women and fellowship with other people who understand and relate to all the "chick stuff" going on in your life.

And who knows. Maybe, just maybe, you'll meet a kindred spirit!

"I've dreamed of meeting her all my life... a bosom friend - an intimate friend, you know - a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul." Anne of Green Gables.

Hey. It can happen!

And when it does... Well, that's just icing on the Friendship Cupcake!

Weekend Happenings

Things are getting "hecticer and hecticer" it seems. (Yes. I know there is no such word as "hecticer," but it fits my mood.)

Since we are scattered this weekend, I'm going to list The Faulkner Five's plans one family member at a time.

Mikie - He's leaving on a jet plane in the morning for an annual fall meeting. This year, he'll be in Washington, D.C. for a few days. It will be a good trip, but I'm going to miss him.

Austin - He's doing the Marching Southerners' Exhibition thing in Georgia Saturday. That means, he'll be heading home bright and early Sunday morning for church, visiting and laundry. Tis the season for really, really short and quick visits. I'm looking forward to seeing The Boy.

Josh - He's hanging with friends tonight, helping someone move Saturday morning and doing the movie thing with cousins Saturday night. He is ready to start working at the Christmas Tree Farm, but alas, there is not a huge demand for Christmas trees in October. Things will be cranking up in a few more weeks... and he is more than ready.

Roxie - She's spending time with her Grandmother and cousins tonight, shopping tomorrow and doing the movie thing with Josh and cousins Saturday evening. (I do hope there are some Krispy Kreme doughnuts in our future between now and Sunday! They do tend to make a weekend sweeter.)

The Enchanting Belinda - Mikie and I are going on a date tonight before he leaves on his jet plane Saturday morning. I'm not sure what we're going to do... but we are definitely going to spend some time together.

Maybe he'll take me to Whole Foods Market and buy Herman, the $69.99 pumpkin, for me. Herman needs a home... bad. And I need a hernia-inducing pumpkin. How does the average family move a GIANT pumpkin from car to front porch? We have no official "pumpkin-moving equipment," and we're pretty old. (Fifty, you know.) Herman could land both of us in the hospital if we're not careful.

I'll have to think about it today.

Saturday, I'll be playing catch-up at the house... doing all the things I didn't get a chance to do during the week. (Code for LAUNDRY!) I'll also begin baking two batches of Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. One for the house, and one for The Boy to take to school with him Monday morning.

Sunday, we'll be going to church, and then I'm planning a Fun Fall Ride Picnic. That's right. We are going to be eating our Sunday Wal-Mart chicken OUTSIDE in all of the beautiful autumnal glory! I haven't decided if we're going to Railroad Park, Botanical Gardens, Aldridge Gardens, etc., but I really want us to go somewhere!

As of this moment, none of the kids know about the plan. I'm thinking I will spring it on them Sunday morning, and see if we have a better turn-out. (Also, I'm using food as bait. I know. I'm shameless that way.)

That's it for us. Nothing spectacular, but hopefully, we can all enjoy some of this cooler weather in some way or another.

Have a great weekend. Enjoy the weather, your family, your friends. I'll have a post in the morning which is unusual to say the least. And I'll be back Monday morning with tons of pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guided Hike Date

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from our trip to Cullman this morning. Roxie went to the Cullman County Courthouse to get her Driver's Permit... and she did it! Be still my heart!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Top Ten Things I Love About Whole Foods Market (Fall Edition) - My friend, Julie, and I went to Whole Foods Market yesterday. I love this place, and I plan on going at least once every season... maybe twice in the Fall. And the following Top Ten list will explain my current love affair with a grocery store!

10. We had meat samples. Did you know there are dozens of different kinds of salami? I discovered I like salami. I like it very much.

9. The $15 Meal Deal was excellent yesterday. For only $15, I bought herb-roasted chickens, roasted red potatoes and green beans for four! Oh. and a big garden salad with dressing... for four! Perfect!

8. I almost bought an orange from South Africa, but I refrained.

7. I almost bought a Horned Melon from Costa Rica, but it stuck me when I picked it up, and I don't usually buy fruit that can injure me.

6. I turned a knob at the Fresh Peanut Butter Station, and freshly squeezed/ground/smashed peanut butter came out of the nozzle... similar to the yogurt at Yogurt Mountain. It is divine.

5. I bought a mini-dessert tray for the family with tiny pumpkin tarts, pecan tarts and cheesecake fruit tarts.

4. They had a sample bowl full of green Frankenstein cookie fingers (dipped in chocolate with almond fingernails). I almost ate a whole hand's worth of fingers!

3. I tasted Pumpkin Spice Gelato and it was very, very good. (Not as good as the Peanut Butter and Jelly Gelato I had last time, but still wonderful.)

2. I bought just enough Organic Roasted Chicken Salad with Grapes and Cranberries for my lunch today... and I am happily waiting until 11:30 a.m. to make my sandwich!

1. They have a GIANT pumpkin on display for only $69.99. It called my name as I walked by, not once, but three times. But I knew Mikie would not understand spending $69.99 for a GIANT orange pumpkin... no matter how happy it made me. So I named it Herman, and I plan to visit him again very soon.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie now has the State of Alabama's permission to drive a motorized vehicle with an adult present. (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.)

We had a fun trip to Cullman, but it was definitely more relaxed and happy on the way home. Good memories!

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Importance of GNO - I found an article about Fellowship, and I liked several of the writer's observations.

"Is it important for believers to gather together regularly? Absolutely! Hebrews 10:25 tells us that we should never get out of the habit of gathering together with other followers of Christ. Why? So we can encourage each other as the days pass waiting for Jesus to return. 'And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.'

"What does this 'meeting together' look like? I would say for most Christians they naturally assume this is referring to the weekly Sunday morning assembly at a church building where a preacher preaches and where songs are sung to God. But is this really what the Hebrew writer was talking about?

"The Hebrew writer was saying that it is incredibly important for Christians not to live in isolation. We need one another. We are a 'body.'"

The Enchanting Belinda says... Yes, there is definitely fellowship on Sundays and Wednesday nights at church. Definitely. However, in this busy, busy world, taking the time to fellowship with other women (in all seasons of life) can be refreshing, rewarding and uplifting.

In other words, time well-spent!

Blog Linkage - I have a "purposeful" post, a "yummy" post and an "inventive" post to share with you today.

1. Go to www.andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com and scroll down to the post entitled "Time With the Kids" dated October 10. This chick has five little ones (one of which was recently adopted) and a baby on the way. Her "date" chart is brilliant.

2. Go to www.cookiesandcups.com and scroll down to the post entitled "Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate" dated October 10. I know. I know. The combination of something fall with something winter is almost too good to be true.

3. Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and scroll down to the post entitled "Day 11 - Sticker Wallpaper" dated October 11. For all of the scrapbookers out there, this is an unbelievably clever way of using those extra stickers which have been in your collection for years and years and years.

Enjoy!

Guided Hike Date

If you have three kids, then you can plan three fun, outdoor dates. Check out the following Guided Hiking Information from Lake Guntersville!

Guided Nature Hikes Saturdays at Lake Guntersville (October 13 through December 30, 2011) - At 9:00 a.m. each Saturday, enjoy guided nature hikes with the Park's Naturalist each Saturday morning (weather permitting). These hikes follow along some of the most scenic countryside in the state! There are 31 miles of nature trails which lead to forested streams, hidden waterfalls, historic structures such as old home places and cemeteries, along the banks of the pristine Guntersville Reservoir teaming with waterfowl. Not to mention the dozens of deer and other wildlife that roam the 6,000-acre park.

Information about our trails can be found on this website... http://www.alapark.com/LakeGuntersville/Trails/Lake Guntersville State Park. You can also e-mail patti.donnellan@dcnr.alabama.gov or call 256-571-5445.

When you finish your hike, take your date to the top of the mountain and enjoy a great meal at the Lodge.

Weekend Buffets at Lake Guntersville State Park (October 13, 2011 through December 30, 2011) - Join us each weekend for delightful buffets and fantastic views! The Pinecrest Dining Room is open all three meals every day of the year. We kick each weekend off with our Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and culminate throughout the weekend into our popular Sunday Brunch. Make plans and enjoy great food and fellowship in this paradise of nature. Call 256-571-5440 for more information.

Oh. And be sure to take your camera. You are going to have some fantastic photo ops on this date!

Have an autumnal Thursday. It feels marvelous outside. I should know. I've been out there! I'll be back tomorrow morning with Weekend Happenings, Randomness AND pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carving the Jack-o-Lantern Tradition

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of the mini TACO BOWLS I made all by myself. So cute. (Roxie and Josh didn't see the need. They like their tacos soft and hand-held. But they aren't as sophisticated as The Enchanting Belinda.)

On the other hand, I think they are going to LOVE the cookie bowls I make later this week... filled with ice cream. You don't have to be sophisticated to like ice cream bowls.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I was recently asked by the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV) to write a special post this Saturday, October 15, about the importance of a "healthy" relationship. It can be a post about a husband, a child, a friend. I hesitated accepting the request until I realized "healthy" isn't another word for "perfect."

I'm not writing A SINGLE WORD about "perfect." Nope. But I might can pen a paragraph or two about "healthy." Especially if I use other sources!

All this to say, I will be posting this Saturday which is totally unheard of in Blog World.

Stop by if you get a chance on your busy weekend!

RANDOMNESS #2 - You may be wondering why there were no photos from Fun Fall Ride #2 Monday morning. Well, that would fall in the "we're not perfect" category.

After Josh's birthday celebration, Mikie had to run to the office for a little while. Josh had church choir practice. Austin needed to spend time with Melia. Roxie felt the urgent need to buy a scarf, jeans and a purse with her birthday money. Since Roxie cannot drive, I had to take her.

Fun Fall Ride #2 totally and completely fell apart.

I was going to go ahead and take Fun Fall Ride #2 with Roxie on the way back from The Galleria. I thought to myself, "We'll leave the mall and go to Railroad Park for a few minutes and enjoy the changing leaves, the sunflowers, etc., etc. Two Faulkners out of five isn't that terrible."

Well, guess what? It's starting to get dark around 6:30. When we left The Galleria at 6:00, it was getting dusky. It was very pretty.

However, by the time we would have arrived at Railroad Park, it would have been DARK... and we would have been downtown... alone. Two good-lookin' chicks roaming a big, empty park on a lonely Sunday night in downtown Birmingham.

And, thus, Fun Fall Ride #2 did not happen this past Sunday.

I still have hopes and dreams for this coming Sunday. Right after church. Maybe a picnic. Maybe at Railroad Park. Maybe some chicken!

I may be eating an apple on a park bench by myself. We'll see.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Importance of GNO - I'LL BE ADDING THIS AFTER 3:00 THIS AFTERNOON!

Wednesday Wisdom - Today's wisdom comes from Dee Brestin, author of The Friendships of Women. (A great book, by the way).

"I cannot count the number of times I have been strengthened by another (person's) hug, appreciative note, surprise gift, or caring questions. My friends are an oasis to me, encouraging me to go on. They are essential to my well-being."

The Enchanting Belinda says... I love the phrase "essential to my well-being." I "must" have these things to be balanced and healthy. I "must" give these things in return to others. Living alone and for myself is not a healthy, balanced option.

Carving the Jack-o-Lantern Tradition

My friend, Susan Peacock, sent these "carving" traditions to me... and I loved them both. See if you could use these ideas while carving your pumpkin with the kids this year.

Originally the Jack-o-Lantern was used to scare away evil spirits. Just like Jesus can change you and make you new we can change the traditions of the Jack-o-lantern for our homes. Carve a pumpkin this fall with your kids and enjoy these TWO new traditions.

Jack-o-Lantern Prayer
By Liz Curtis Higgs

(Cut off top of pumpkin)
Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.

(Remove innards)
Remove the things in my life that don’t please you.
Forgive the wrong things I do and help me to forgive others.

(Cut open eyes)
Open my eyes to see the beauty you’ve made in the world around me.

(Cut out nose)
I’m sorry for the times I’ve turned my nose at the good food you provide.

(Cut out mouth)
Let everything I say please You.

(Light the candle)
Lord, help me show your light to others by the things I do.
Amen

After carving the pumpkin, tell the children The Peter Pumpkin Story. Save carved pieces to use in story. Think of recent issues your family has dealt with and personalize the story with those issues. No name calling. Take turns telling the story again and again. Once you read it you’ll understand.

Meet Peter Pumpkin. Peter woke up one morning bright and happy and ready for the day. His light was shining and he felt good.

"Oh, Peter!" cried his mother. "Did you remember to brush your teeth this morning?"

"Yes, Mother," Peter lied. He really hadn’t brushed his teeth, but if he stopped to do it now, he’d be late for school! So Peter lied. Peter’s mouth wasn’t shining quite so brightly any more. (Put the mouth piece from the pumpkin back in the mouth hole.)

Peter went on his way to school. He felt kind of bad lying to his mother, but he wasn’t going to let it spoil his day. When he got to school, some of his friends were talking. Peter went over to them and heard about Tina’s new car. Peter wanted to feel important, too, so when Tina walked away Peter told his friends her new car was a clunker. Oops, there goes part of Peter’s happy face. (Insert eye piece.)

Continue with similar stories for the remaining parts of the pumpkin face, each time, inserting another piece until the whole face is back in place.

Watch what happens to the light.

"Peter’s light has gone out. His face is all dark and sad now." (Relate this to sin in our lives.)

Two new ways to turn an old tradition into a meaningful devotion for you and your family. Good stuff!

Have a sweet Wednesday. I'll be back in the morning with Blog Linkage and a Date, plus, more reasons the GNO is SO important!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Brownies

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are of the featured recipe... Pumpkin Patch Brownies. Fun, easy and cute. I'm going to be making these with a couple of little guys Thursday... and I'm going to read The Pumpkin Patch Parable when we are done. (I LOVE Moms who let me "borrow" their preschoolers for crafts, parties, snuggling, etc. I'm so looking forward to my favorite day!)

ANNOUNCEMENT #1! ANNOUNCEMENT #1! ANNOUNCEMENT #1 - You can leave a comment for A Simple Life on Guestkeeper... and you'll be able to see it as soon as you post.

This continues to be a huge thorn in my side. I need to hire a Personal Computer Tech Assistant who specializes in "dumb blog problems," but I'm guessing Mikie would veto that request. Am I right?

ANNOUNCEMENT #2! ANNOUNCEMENT #2! ANNOUNCEMENT #2 - My picture-of-the-day blog (50 is Nifty) is current. You can get there by clicking on 50 is Nifty under My Blog List or going to www.otherurbanmyths.blogspot.com.

It is easier to just click on it under My Blog List. Believe me.

RANDOMNESS #1 - My great-niece, Lauren, arrived yesterday, and can I just say, she is adorable. So tiny. So pretty. So alert. Her little eyes were open during our entire visit.

Brandi looked wonderful, but was understandably tired. Talk about putting in a full day!

She told me Matthew welcomed his baby sister with open arms... which was no surprise. He is a loving little man, and I can't imagine a better big brother. I predict Brandi and Jared are going to have a lot of fun with those two kiddos over the years. Sweet, sweet family.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I got up at 3:32 this morning, and after doing a little "necessary" research on the computer, I played for a few minutes... on Pinterest.

I blame The Lovely Melia.

We had an in-depth conversation Sunday night. It went something like this...

"Miss Belinda. You would LOVE Pinterest. I'm on it, and I know you would like it, too."

"Okay."

It takes little or NOTHING to convince me to try something. I have the willpower of a... a... Hmmm. I have no willpower.

I am now "on" Pinterest, but I have no idea how to pin anything to a board. Also, the sidebar shows that I am following people I have never met. I would reassure them I am not a stalker, but I don't know how to "get" to their boards to let them know I am a semi-respectable 50 year-old woman who has no idea what she is doing on the computer.

I said it before, and I'll say it again... I blame The Lovely Melia.

Melia... You might want to give me a call this week to answer a few questions I have about Pinterest. It would go a long way in restoring our relationship! Love you... but not as much as I did Saturday (pre-Pinterest)!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I can honestly say I made the worst vegetable soup in the history of the world last night. I tried a new recipe, and it was a bad, bad recipe. But not as bad as the soup itself.

Thankfully, I had two cans of Lite Spam in the pantry. I know. I had visions of serving a warm, hearty, healthy meal to my family... and I ended up frying Spam in a pan.

I am not proud, believe me.

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Importance of GNO - I'm going to be writing about the importance of Girls' Night Out over the next few days.

Our Youth Minister, Jamin, taught a lesson this past summer about the importance of fellowship... and I loved it. It is important. It is necessary. It is Biblical.

Every now and again, I attend a GNO. It never fails... Several of the women will say, "I NEEDED this!" And they aren't kidding. It is a very real "need."

Having friends can make life easier.

In the sidebar of my Bible, there is a devotion called "Iron Sharpens Iron."

"Those who isolate themselves or become too self-reliant only make life harder and put themselves in danger. On top of that, they miss out on the incalculable commodity of other people's wisdom and experience. Humans are not meant to figure everything out for themselves, but to put their collective heads together and help each other deal with whatever life presents. In the process of discussion and problem-solving, valuable constructive criticism and differences of opinions can sometimes make the sparks fly, even among close friends. But the results of "sharpening" each other through this process are greater wisdom, better decisions and encouraging camaraderie."

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Luci Swindoll said, "Connect with a friend, a companion of your heart. You might be amazed at what you'll discover and enjoy together."

She's right. In our busy, hectic world, finding and making time to fellowship and connect is more important than ever.

The occasional GNO can help you do that!

I'll have a few more thoughts about the importance of fellowship (and the GNO) tomorrow! Feel free to chime in!

Pumpkin Patch Brownies

I found this recipe on the back of the PUMPKIN-SHAPED MARSHMALLOW package. That's right. They make orange, pumpkin-shaped marshmallows. And they taste like regular marshmallows. Genius!

You will need the following:

Favorite Brownie Mix
Whipped Topping
Oreos
Coconut
Green Food Coloring
Pumpkin-Shaped Marshmallows

1. Bake the brownie mix according to the package instructions. Let cool.

2. Let the kids decorate.

3. First, let them spread a thin layer of whipped topping over the cooled brownies.

4. Let kids crush 8 to 10 Oreos in a zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. Sprinkle on top of whipped topping.

5. Put 1 cup of coconut in a Tupperware container. Add 3 or 4 drops of green food coloring. Close container and allow the children to shake the coconut until it turns green. Sprinkle green coconut on top of the Oreos.

6. Have the children put a toothpick in the bottom of a marshmallow, and place it in the pumpkin patch. (These are BIG pumpkins, so 5 or 6 marshmallows will do the trick.)

Don't forget to snuggle up and read The Pumpkin Patch Parable with your helpers after you finish your family's dessert for the evening!

Have a wonderful Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition and some pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Since it is Mindless Monday, I've put a bunch of weekend pics in the Gallery telling the tale of our weekend. It was very much a "Josh-centered" weekend... because of his birthday and all. (Roxie is still trying to recover from the fact it wasn't the normal "Roxie-centered" weekend. It has been hard on her.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am becoming a Great-Aunt again as I type this. Very, very exciting. Lauren could make her appearance any time now, and I will not only be a Great-Aunt to Matthew, but his new baby sister, as well.

I cannot wait to hold her! My Monday just got considerably sweeter!

RANDOMNESS #2 - The Boy has written not one, but TWO, articles for The Anniston Star covering high school football games on Friday nights.

I was very excited to read the first article a couple of weeks ago for three reasons.

1. Austin's by-line reads "By Austin Faulkner, Star Sports Correspondent." As a mother, that is EXACTLY how I would describe him... "Star Sports Correspondent." However, someone quickly pointed out that the word "Star" refers to the name of the paper (The Anniston Star), and not The Boy. I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that little tidbit!

2. Austin is having the time of his life covering a REAL sporting event for a REAL newspaper. He's happy, and thus, I am happy.

3. He's being paid actual money for these articles... which in my eyes means he is a professional journalist. (I refuse to be corrected about this one. He IS a professional journalist!)

Have a beautiful Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe and other stuff. Always, always other stuff.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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