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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alabama Theater Party

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pic is of The Faulkner Five Christmas Puzzle Table. It is in place, and ready to go! Let the season begin!

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - I've decided to have a Christmas contest! Every time you leave a comment on Guestbooker (at the bottom of the page), your name will go into a drawing bowl. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER DAY!

I will draw the winner next Friday morning, December 9!

What is the prize? What is the prize?

I knew you would ask. I will be giving away a BEAUTIFUL, HOMEMADE Christmas Dishrag... PLUS, a bottle of Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap. (See picture below.)

The contest started yesterday, so go to Guestbooker, click on Leave a Response and follow the instructions. I promise it will work this time!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Last night, Karen Spann said it perfectly. "There is one event every year that marks the beginning of Christmas for me. And this year, it is Tis the Season." I felt the same way.

The tablescapes were beautiful. I had four favorites... and I didn't even get to see all of them.

The music was heavenly. Charlotte, Faith and The Gang sang my favorites.

The food was delicious. Potato soup in a bread bowl AND chicken salad. If you've known me five minutes, you know I am a bread bowl fan. Jane and Joni outdid themselves.

Amy, Miss Joyce and Karen were excellent speakers. And I had a good time, too.

It was just an altogether lovely evening.

My heart is ready for Christmas 2011. I think it's going to be a good one!

RANDOMNESS #2 - After Tis the Season, Sheila (who heads our Women's Ministry) handed me a lovely wrapped bag for participating.

Even at the ripe old age of 50, it is hard for me to NOT tear into a gift the moment it is handed to me. Very hard. But I waited until I was in the privacy of The Big Gold Van.

Guess what? Godiva Peppermint Bark. And guess what else? Godiva Holiday Truffles.

Sheila is an excellent gift giver... Just saying. (It would definitely be worth your time to get on her good side.)

RANDOMNESS #3 - Speaking of waiting a little while before opening gifts, I have a semi-funny, semi-pathetic story to share today.

I taught preschool music at the PLC for three or four years when the kids were small. One Christmas, one of the teachers brought me a very large gift bag. Inside was a cute stuffed dog... COVERED in folded money safety pinned all over the animal. I was THRILLED, and I could barely wait to get to the car to unpin all the money and start counting.

It took 20 minutes to unpin all of the bills, but only 20 seconds to count over $200. "Wow! They really like music at the PLC!" I thought to myself.

And then my cell phone rang. "Belinda. I am SO sorry. I gave you the wrong gift bag. You have Ms. Elaine's bag. Is there any way you could come by the school and exchange it in the next few minutes? We want to give it to her before she has to leave."

Uh-oh. Ms. Elaine was Kindergarten Teacher Extraordinaire. Of course, she would be the one receiving a stuffed dog pinned with cash.

Needless to say, the bills were NOT folded in tiny little fans and pinned as neatly to the dog as when I had first received it... but all the money was there. (And I think that says a lot for my excellent character. It would have been easy to keep a $20 for all my trouble.)

What was my gift, you may ask? Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

And I was THRILLED! (No kidding.)

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Aegis Christmas Home Tour is planned for this Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you haven't been before, I highly recommend spending a Sunday afternoon looking through other people's decorated houses.

It's inspiring, festive and there are TONS of photo ops.

If you need tickets, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right people.

So much fun.

Wednesday Wisdom - Christmas quotes...

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." Roy L. Smith

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." Andy Rooney (I agree with the late Mr. Rooney! My favorite Christmas picture is the one I take when every gift is unwrapped and paper and boxes are everywhere. I take it every year. It is the only mess I look forward to each year.)

"There has been only one Christmas. The rest are anniversaries." W. J. Cameron

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." Larry Wilde

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." Peg Bracken

Alabama Theater Party

This year, we will be having our second annual Alabama Theater Party for Roxie and friends.

We start at our house at 5:00 p.m. and have a festive, candlelight snack dinner for the girls.

By 5:45, we are ready to get in The Big Gold Van and head downtown.

No matter how many times you've seen a Christmas movie, it is totally different at this particular theater.

The girls saw Elf last year, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They sang Christmas carols with the organ, took pictures in front of the giant Christmas tree and ate tons of popcorn.

It is fun, easy, inexpensive and... did I say fun!

This year we are going to see Home Alone on the big screen. As far as I know, everyone is looking forward to it.

For a lovely Christmas get-together, try an Alabama Theater Party. I think everyone will have a really good time.

NOTE - Take a little extra time on the way home to drive through some neighborhoods and look at the lights while listening to Christmas music.

Chicks LOVE looking at lights and singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs. Love it, I tell you!

Have a wonderful Wednesday. I'll be decorating today... a lot. Everything has to be finished by Friday night. NO PRESSURE! I have tons of Blog Linkage to share tomorrow and a great date, so be sure to check in some time during your busy day.

Also, don't forget to enter the Christmas Dishrag Contest. (It really needs a better name, doesn't it?)

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hootenanny AND Chili Dip

Good Tuesday morning!

Baby, it's cold outside! I'm loving this winter weather... because I look so much better in winter-wear than summer-wear, you see. It's my time to shine!

The Gallery Pics are from the decorating process at Faulkner Farms (1842). Slowly, but surely, everything is getting done. My finishing goal is Friday, December 2, because my extended family is coming over for our Christmas Movie Night.

My name was picked out of the Movie Bowl Drawing this Thanksgiving, and my Christmas movie pick was The Preacher's Wife starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. It's a remake, but the music is wonderful, the story is sweet and the kid is adorable. And guess what? No one else in my family has ever seen it. Can't wait.

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - I've decided to have a Christmas contest! Every time you leave a comment on Guestbooker (at the bottom of the page), your name will go into a drawing bowl. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER DAY!

I will draw the winner next Friday morning, December 9!

What is the prize? What is the prize?

I knew you would ask. I will be giving away a BEAUTIFUL, HOMEMADE Christmas dishrag... PLUS, a bottle of Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap. (See picture below.)

The contest starts today, so go to Guestbooker, click on Leave a Response and follow the instructions. I promise it will work this time!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Well, I'm still not nervous about speaking tonight... which is probably not a very good sign. I'm prepared. My 15-minute talk is now lasting 19 minutes, but when I get in front of people I tend to speed it up a little... which means the entire talk will probably last about 4 minutes. (At least I won't be going over!)

It's going to be a good night. I'm getting there early to look at all the tablescapes. Fun fact for you... I LOVE tablescapes. They are very inspiring, I think.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I know you've been wondering if The 12 Days of Inflatables would make an appearance on the blog this year. The answer is YES!

I've already spotted some new inflatables around town (and at Lowe's), so The 12 Days will officially begin December 1. (I don't post new inflatables over the weekend, so we'll end The 12 Days a little before Christmas Eve. I hope you don't mind.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Faulkner Five 2011 Christmas Card is almost finished. It is VERY simple, but there are a lot of pictures... nine to be exact! Oh, and I chose to put "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" as our Christmas greeting because I don't particularly care about being politically correct if it means NOT mentioning Christ whenever I feel the urge to do so.

Yep. I'm a rebel that way! Feel free to be a rebel with me.

RANDOMNESS #4 - I wanted to share this little tidbit I read recently.

"I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays... let them overtake me unexpectedly... waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself, 'Why, this is Christmas Day!'" David Grayson

I love the phrase "I drift along into the holidays... let them overtake me unexpectedly." "Drifting" is a little foreign to me, but I like the sound of it, don't you?

Hootenanny (Oven Pancake)

This is a Pinterest recipe I tried last week. Very good... and easy.

You will need the following:

1 cup white flour
1 cup milk
6 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cube melted butter

1. Blend all of the ingredients together EXCEPT the butter.

2. Pour batter into greased 9" x 13" pan.

3. Pour butter over the top. DO NOT MIX.

4. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

5. Cut into pieces and drizzle with syrup. Serve.

Guys, it does NOT get easier, or more delicious.

Chili Dip

This recipe is also from Pinterest, and it is VERY good.

You will need the following:

1 can Hormel chili, with or without beans
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon
4 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. Heat over to 350 degrees.

2. Cook bacon. Crumble.

3. Mix everything together in large bowl.

4. Spread mixture into pie pan.

5. Cook for 20 minutes.

This dip is thick, so you need a substantial dippin' chip. Frito's Scoops work very well.

Have a warm Tuesday, if possible. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness, pictures and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from our trip to Pine Hill Tree Farm AND a few leftover Black Friday shots.

RANDOMNESS - Believe it or not, this Randomness is even more Random than most. Thus, the list...

1. Roxie actually got to go into the Iron Bowl game. She was supposed to tailgate, but at the last minute, they found tickets. She was thrilled. Not so much with the outcome, but definitely the experience.

2. Josh worked at the Tree Farm all weekend long, and had great weather except for yesterday. He loved it.

3. Josh told us at dinner they "lit" trees yesterday while it was raining. The following conversation ensued.

"When you say 'we lit trees,' does that mean you actually put lights on the trees?" I asked.

"Yes."

"I didn't know you could do that. I'm going to let you put the lights on our tree," I said gleefully.

"I don't do that here. I just do that there."

"But I want a flocked, lit tree... and you flock and light. You just said so."

"But I don't do that here. I just do that there."

Guess what Josh is doing tonight. He's lighting trees. And guess what else? He's putting my giant inflatables in the front yard. And guess what else? If I can find a "Can o' Flock," he's flocking my tree.

If you bump into Josh today, don't tell him you read this. He may not come home!

4. In Pinterest news, I baked bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes on parchment paper (covered in foil). No mess, and perfectly cooked crispy bacon.

I made a Hootenanny pancake. I'll give you the recipe tomorrow, but you pour a few ingredients in a 9" x 13" pan and bake it for 25 minutes at 400 degrees (beside the bacon). It makes a giant pancake. You just cut and serve. (Pancakes and bacon... no mess!)

I made a dip from Pinterest. I'll share that recipe tomorrow, too. It was Roxie's favorite Thanksgiving dish this year, and it was SO easy to make. It's already on the Super Bowl Party 2012 menu.

5. Decorating officially begins today.

6. The Christmas Puzzle Table will be put up today.

7. If you pull up beside me at a traffic light today or tomorrow, and I appear to be talking to myself, I am. I'm practicing for my 15 minute talk/testimony/presentation for tomorrow night's Tis the Season program at our church.

Karen Spann is the main speaker, and I cannot wait to hear her!

8. The Faulkner Five's new favorite game is Mad Gab. ALL FIVE FAULKNERS like it. That is unheard of in these parts. For this, I am thankful.

9. I thought I would be able to wait until Christmas to hold my new great-niece, Lauren, (again) but I'm having massive withdrawals today. I don't know if I can wait until the 24th.

Have a great Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with two recipes from Pinterest that I have tried and enjoyed. I'll have pictures, Randomness and so much more. Everything will be Christmas-oriented over the next few weeks, so be prepared.

I'll talk to you in the morning.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Pinterest Queen... Belinda

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday afternoon!

The Gallery Pics are a few from our Black Friday adventure. Good times! Good times!

Oh... And the giant picture at the top of the page is the Scarecrow Cupcake Cake Roxie prepared for her Aunt Becky's birthday. Didn't she do an excellent job? (I love that Bev and I have trained Katie and Roxie to bake all of our birthday cakes. That's what good parenting is all about... teaching the kids to take over the "big" stuff!)

RANDOMNESS #1 - We spent Thanksgiving Day with Mikie's family, so we had two very Southern Thanksgiving celebrations this year. Turkey, ham, dressing and ALL the fixings... Sunday AND Thursday. (And yet, I'm still wondering what I want for dinner tonight. I should be full until this time next week.)

Matthew is the perfect age for "everything" holiday. At three, he gets it. Everything is so exciting. We had Otto, the Elf on the Shelf, watching over our Thanksgiving festivities. Matthew and I played several spirited hands of Go Fish and Memory... and he won every time.

Because I am truly a great-aunt, I didn't let it ruin my day, and I clapped for his victories... and I'm practicing for Christmas Eve when I will see him for a re-match.

Lauren, my new great-niece, is oh-so-precious. She is a tiny bundle of sweetness, and the rest of the family let the Faulkner Five hold her to our hearts' content... and that wasn't even enough!

At six weeks, she enjoys looking around and being told over and over how pretty she is. We were more than happy to do her bidding. Once again, Brandi and Jared done good.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Black Friday was a lot of fun. Roxie and I met Amy, Monica, Bev and Katie at the Wynfrey and the party began. There was lots of giggling and catching up... and the girls seemed to have a good time, too.

We decided not to shop until 6:00 a.m. this year. (Last year, we hit the 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. DOORBUSTERS. It almost killed us, and I didn't save as much last year as the year before... probably because I was walking around in a 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. fog.)

We obviously had the right idea this year. We didn't have huge crowds or long lines (except for Starbucks around 10:00 a.m.). When I asked salespeople if they thought there were less shoppers this year, they wearily shook their heads and said, "No. Everyone was here at 4:00 a.m." Ahhh. As a 6:00 a.m. shopper, I was thrilled, I tell you!

I haven't figured up my savings yet, but I do know I am FINISHED with Roxie's list and getting close to being finished with the OVERALL LIST! It feels GOOD!

I'll let you know my total Black Friday savings Monday morning. (I will make sure it is worth my sleep deprivation... which means it needs to be somewhere around the $200 mark. We'll see. We'll see.)

Weekend Happenings

In just an hour, I'll be tromping all over Pine Hill Tree Farms looking for the family tree with the Faulkner Five. Josh was called into work today, but he'll help us... if we give him a big tip!

Saturday will be a catch-up day for me. Catch-up with the laundry, the dusting, the vacuuming, etc., etc. Roxie may be tailgating with a friend at the Alabama/Auburn game. Josh will be working at the tree farm. (The day after the day after Thanksgiving may be one of the busiest days of the year for him!) Mikie and Austin will be watching the game from the comfort of our home... and I think I'm gonna be cookin' man food for them to eat during and after. Yeah. That's the ticket!

Sunday is a little up in the air for Roxie, but I think the rest of us have our plans and we're sticking to them. (It's supposed to rain Sunday, which means we're supposed to nap after church. It's some kind of Southern law, I think.)

Thanksgiving Day 2011 is in the books, and Christmas 2011 is just beginning. Let the festivities begin.

I'll be back Monday with Mindless Monday pics. Christmas traditions, parties, dates, recipes, etc. will be featured on A Simple Life during the next few weeks. Feel free to share any of your traditions and ideas via e-mail (mfaulkner1306@charter.net), and I'll be more than happy to share them on the blog!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve Breakfast Tradition

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are forthcoming. (That sounded very official, didn't it?)

Mikie is taking me to breakfast at Klingler's in a few minutes, so today's post will be in Parts. Part One will include Wednesday Wisdom and Randomness. Part Two will include the Seasonal Tradition, Randomness AND a couple of pics. Part Three will finish the post with whatever I left out in Parts One and Two.

PART ONE

RANDOMNESS #1 - Yes. You heard correctly. Mikie and I are headed to Klingler's for breakfast. It is one of my favorite pre-Thanksgiving traditions. I'm having the quiche, fresh fruit with poppy seed dressing and the thinnest piece of toast you can possibly imagine.

And I'm going to try to talk Mikie into buying one of the $45 cakes that look so pretty... but are WAY too expensive. (We do this every year.)

Wednesday Wisdom - Words to live by...

"What you DO speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Okay. That's Part One... short and ever-so-sweet. Check back early afternoon for PART TWO!

PART TWO

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mikie and I enjoyed our little breakfast/brunch date at Klingler's very much. It was very festive, and while I came VERY close to buying the $3.95 turkey cupcakes for my guys and Matthew for tomorrow, Mike and I agreed $16 for four cupcakes (no matter how cute) was a little much this close to Christmas.

Semi-Funny Story - I would meet my friend, Kelley, at Klingler's for a little Christmas get-together every year when our kids were in elementary school. On one such visit, I fell in love with their homemade giant gingerbread cookies. I had $6.50 left over from lunch, so I told Kelley I wanted to buy a gingerbread cookie for her boys and my three kiddos.

I didn't even look at the price... because even a really good cookie probably just costs about $1 each. Right?

I picked out five gingerbread cookies, went to the register and tried not to scream when she told me I owed her over $20. In the end, I bought one and a half cookies, Kelley bought four and a half cookies... but I made her tell the boys the cookies were from me. (And I told my kids the same thing.)

It worked out well, I thought.

Thanksgiving Eve Breakfast Tradition

Over the last few years, Mike has taken off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Since the kids were getting older (and older and older), we would slip out the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving and enjoy a leisurely breakfast together. Practically the last leisurely moment before the holiday season began.

We do it every year without fail, and we love it.

Believe me... The cooking, cleaning, laundry and other holiday prep will be waiting for you as soon as you get home. ALWAYS!

But I really look forward to our quiet little breakfast before the hustle and bustle begins. It's a lovely tradition.

DISCLAIMER - I realize many of you still have younger children, and you cannot just slip out before the kids wake up. I've been there, too. But if you're in the season/phase/time of your life when you have that little freedom, be sure to take advantage of it. It is precious, precious time!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spaghetti Casserole

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pic is of Sparkle and Copper... together again!

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - Since it is a holiday weekend, there will be a few scheduling changes. I'll announce them today through Wednesday.

Monday - Mindless Monday (Been there. Done that!)

Tuesday - Recipes

Wednesday - Seasonal Tradition and Wednesday Wisdom

Thursday - I am taking the day off to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mike's family and meet my sister, niece and cousins at The Wynfrey for our Black Friday Shopping Tradition.

Friday - I will be posting Blog Linkage and Weekend Happenings after 5:00 p.m. Friday evening. When I come home from Black Friday Shopping around noon, I tend to crawl into the bed and sleep for four hours. (That, too, is a tradition.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'm going to share a few Pinterest funnies with you today. Some of the quotes are hilarious.

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream... and that's kind of the same thing." (I dedicate this to my friend, Julie.)

"We'll be best friends forever, because you already know too much."

"I'm not evil. I'm good... with a twist."

"I child-proofed my house, but they still get in." (Been there!)

"I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning. Just not as it applies to me."

RANDOMNESS #2 - This Thursday evening will be our third annual Cousin/Sister/Niece/Daughter/Aunt Black Friday Wynfrey Extravaganza. Amy, Monica, Bev, Katie, Roxie and I will be checking in around 5:30 Thursday night... watching movies, playing games, drinking hot chocolate... sleeping a few hours... AND shopping and eating a few hours.

Tons of fun packed into less than 24 hours. We cannot wait!

RANDOMNESS #3 - A lot of people on Facebook have been naming one thing they are thankful for per day. I, of course, have decided to do the Top Ten List (David Letterman-style)!

10. Cameras - Taking pictures is a constant source of joy for me. I love it. I'm not very good at it, but I've been taking tons of pictures for 24 years now and it never gets old. (And every now and again, I get lucky and get a really, really good shot.)

9. Movies - I LOVE going to movies. I always have, and I suppose I always will. I'm thankful for those "special" movies that make me think, make me smile, make me cry. It's a simple thing really, but it is one of those things I love.

8. Snow Days - I will never tire of waking up, watching the bottom of the television screen and seeing the words, "Jefferson County School closed today due to 1/2" of snow." It still makes me smile... even though I haven't attended school in almost 30 years!

7. Pedicures - I jumped on the "pedicure bandwagon" a little late in life, but it is one of those little luxuries that absolutely makes my day. (Keep in mind, I've only had four pedicures in 50 years... but I'm looking forward to many more. I'm getting one next week, as a matter of fact!)

6. Holidays - I am so thankful for reasons to celebrate special occasions with family and friends. Whether it is Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or the 4th of July, spending these special days with the people I love the most is without a doubt some of my favorite things to do.

5. Shelter, Clothing and Food - I am thankful to say I have never been without these three items... ever. I know many people in this world cannot say that. I pray I will have empathy and compassion for these people. I also pray I always keep my eyes open looking for ways to help and give.

4. Country - I am so proud to be an American. I am so thankful for our brilliant forefathers and the men and women who sacrifice each and every day to maintain our freedom. I never want to take America for granted.

3. Friends - I am thankful for friends, old and new. It took me a long time to understand the different roles friends play in our lives, but I think I'm finally "getting it." There are definitely different friends for different seasons, and I'm thoroughly enjoying this particular "season."

2. Family - Words cannot express how thankful I am for Mikie, Austin, Josh and Roxie. My life is so much richer and fuller because of them... I cannot even begin to describe. I am also thankful for extended family, as well. The Faulkner Five are extremely blessed in that department, too.

1. God - "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:4-9.

Spaghetti Casserole

This recipe comes straight from Paula Deen's boys. I just have to say... They done good!

You will need the following:

Salt
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
3 ounces Parmesan cheese - 3/4 cup
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese - 2 cups

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain.

2. In a large Dutch oven, brown the ground beef.

3. Add the salt, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

4. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, Parmesan and the cooked spaghetti. Transfer to baking dish. Top evenly with mozzarella.

5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

It was a big hit last night. There's a little bit of leftover, so tonight is hodge-podge night... ham, dressing, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, spaghetti casserole and muffin eggs. (I'll let you know how the muffin eggs turn out tomorrow. It's another Pinterest experiment!)

Have a totally wonderful Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with pics, Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness and a whole lot more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

The Gallery Pics are from our Thanksgiving celebration at my Mom's yesterday. (I also have some really good photos from the Auburn/Samford game, but they are on Mikie's phone, and he has to transfer them over.) We will not be low in the "people pics" department this week.

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - Since it is a holiday weekend, there will be a few scheduling changes. I'll announce them today through Wednesday.

Monday - Mindless Monday

Tuesday - Recipes

Wednesday - Seasonal Tradition and Wednesday Wisdom

Thursday - I am taking the day off to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mike's family and meet my sister, niece and cousins at The Wynfrey for our Black Friday Shopping Tradition.

Friday - I will be posting after 5:00 p.m. Friday evening. When I come home from Black Friday Shopping around noon, I tend to crawl into the bed and sleep for four hours. (That, too, is a tradition.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I may have gotten all the pictures I need for my Christmas Card Collage this past weekend. I will be working with the photos today and tomorrow, and hopefully, I have what I need... and my family can breathe a big sigh of relief.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Sparkle's surgery was a huge success. She was able to come home Friday afternoon, and Copper finally relaxed after she told him she had been stuck with many needles and woke up with stitches in her eyelid.

As long as she wasn't having fun with out him, I think he'll be okay.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Saturday turned out to be a good day for all. Roxie, Ally and Mike had a ball at Auburn... and Auburn won. Austin had a great time with the Southerners in Tennessee... and JSU won. Josh loved working all day at the Christmas Tree Farm... and I told him about everyone winning when he came home.

I got a lot of Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving cooking done, so I was pretty happy, too.

RANDOMNESS #4 - I HAD to take a million pictures yesterday of all the cousins at Grandmother's house. Grandmother doesn't know it, but Bev is making her a really neat gift using individual shots of the kids. I don't know how to explain it, but I'll show you a picture of the finished project Christmas Day.

RANDOMNESS #5 - Every year at Thanksgiving, my family draws a name out of a bowl. The person chosen has to pick a Christmas movie for the entire family to watch together. My name was drawn out of the bowl this year... and my movie pick was The Preacher's Wife starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington.

This isn't a huge Christmas hit like The Santa Clause or Elf or Home Alone, but I love it. Good music, cute kids and a sweet story. I'm so glad I rigged the drawing!

RANDOMNESS #6 - I have to share a link with you today, because Thursday or Friday will be too late.

Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and read their post entitled "Thanksgiving Prep." They have some EXCELLENT Thanksgiving Week ideas. I'm going to try a couple of them!

I apologize for the exceptionally long post on a Monday. There's a lot going on, and for some reason I feel a bit chatty today.

I'll be back in the morning with a really good Italian recipe. I especially love Italian dishes because they make great leftovers.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Chatty Belinda

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

I have a little of this and that in the Gallery this morning. I will go ahead and tell you... Roxie has her first basketball game tonight, so expect 1,000,000 or so basketball pics the next few months. Just saying.

RANDOMNESS - Cousins

Becky

When I was a little girl, my family would go down the street to my MamMa Smith's house for part of our Thanksgiving celebration. My grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins would come together in her little house to eat and visit. Some of them would play football in the front yard. Some of them would watch television. But I... Well, I would follow my cousin, Becky, around the house and do whatever she did.

I adored Becky.

Becky was a few years older than me, but we got along very well. (Did I mention Becky had three brothers? I think she put up with me because she had a little estrogen deficiency in her house. And I, a fellow female, fulfilled a need she had from time to time for "girl" time. That is my theory, at least.)

She was one of my first friends.

Do I still see Becky regularly? What is our relationship like now?

I do see Becky from time to time, but not on a regular or annual basis. She has two grown children and a bunch of little grandchildren (I am SO jealous), so we are at very different stages in life right now.

However, when I do see Becky, our conversation is natural and easy. Becky is a forever friend.

Amy

My cousin, Amy, was born when I was ten years old. Because of my love for all things "baby," I adored Amy from the beginning. She was a beautiful baby, a sweet toddler and just a pleasant child. When I was 20 and Amy was 10, I loved her, of course, but we weren't exactly "hanging out buddies." Ten years can be a big age gap, and we were off doing 20 year-old things and ten year-old things.

However, over the course of time we have developed an adult friendship. Amy is all the things she was as a child... pleasant, easy-going and fun to be around.

AND she gave birth to Monica 16 days after I gave birth to Roxie. Just 16 days! That's a ready-to-go "forever friend!"

Add a slightly older and wiser Cousin Katie to the mix, and you have the makings for some really good times.

This Thanksgiving season, I am so very thankful for Roxie, Katie and Monica's "cousin" relationship. It is natural and easy. I think they will always be friends, and that is such a good thing to have... a forever friend.

Weekend Happenings

As I type this, Sparkle, Beagle Extraordinaire, is have a little surgical procedure performed. Everything should be fine, but the pup IS almost 70 years old, so I am waiting anxiously to get the vet report.

Copper, Sweetest Beagle in the World, but also known as Beagle of Little Brain, is beside himself that Sparkle left with Mikie on a leash and left him ALL alone in the big backyard.

Copper thinks Mike took Sparkle camping. Even though the rest of us are still around, Mike is wearing a suit and tents, chairs, wood, etc., etc. aren't piled into the back of a truck. (Thus, the name Beagle of Little Brain.)

As I mentioned above, Roxie is playing in her first ever high school JV basketball game. We are a little excited, to say the least.

Mikie, Josh and I will in the stands chanting her name tonight, as we are prone to do.

Tomorrow, our Christmas lumberjack will be doing Christmas lumberjack-type things at the tree farm. He cannot wait. (My laundry room is beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!)

Mikie and Roxie may be going to the Auburn/Samford game. It's a little up in the air, but I hope it works out. It will be a great day for football on the Plains.

Austin will be playing with the Southerners at an out-of-town JSU football game, but he'll be heading home Sunday morning for Thanksgiving dinner at Grandmother's.

The plans for my Saturday involve cooking, Christmas shopping and some cleaning. I'm going to have a good movie on hand to watch Saturday night when everyone wanders in from their travels. But not a Christmas movie! Not yet!

Sunday, of course, we'll be having my family's Thanksgiving dinner with Grandmother... including my sister and her family. Can you say "photo op?" I LOVE Thanksgiving pictures. They are my favorite.

And I guess that means the holidays will have officially begun! Let the mayhem and madness begin. Actually, my job is to keep the mayhem and madness at a minimum for the family. I take my job very seriously.

While I cannot promise a stress-free holiday, I CAN try to not be the cause of the stress.

Yeah, right!

Have a glorious weekend. (I know. "Glorious" is kind of a Christmas word, and I should use a Thanksgiving word.)

Have a blessed weekend. ("Blessed" is definitely a Thanksgiving word, isn't it?) I'll be back Monday morning with Mindless Monday.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Ever-So-Grateful Belinda

"Grateful" is a Thanksgiving word, too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ride the Rails Date

Good Thursday morning!

My goodness! It's a little brisk out there this morning... and I love brisk!

The Gallery Pics are of family members trying to leave for school and/or work. "Wait!" I yelled. "I have to put some people pics in the Gallery. Everyone thinks you've all left the 'Crazy Tree Woman,' and that is why ALL of my photos are of leaves."

As you will soon see, the pictures are not "Christmas Card Contenders" in any way, shape or form.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am an emotional mess, I tell you. Regis' last show is tomorrow, and I am beside myself. I've been using the DVR the past two weeks to record the shows to watch while I iron, and today's show was almost too much.

Tears. I cried real tears this morning.

I am SO pathetic.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I tried Rachel Ray's Baked Parmesan Tilapia Tuesday night for dinner. Mikie liked it, but he was the only one. And as everyone knows, I must have three out of five Faulkners loving a dish before I prepare it again. I simply must.

DISCLAIMER - That's right. There is an exception to every rule, and I must admit my tilapia was incredibly "fishy" tasting. (I like fish that doesn't taste "fishy." I know. It doesn't make a lot of sense.)

DISCLAIMER CONTINUED - I bought the tilapia on sale at a local grocery store which offers Buy One, Get One Free deals. When I mentioned this at the dinner table that evening, Josh made a valid point.

"I'm all for saving money, but maybe the family meat isn't where we should try to save. Peanut butter and cereal are one thing. I think a little money should be invested in the meat products." That's paraphrased... a little bit.

Point taken. From now on, BOGO refers to anything and everything OTHER than meat... or dairy... or really, really good foundation garments.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm starting to have "bad" dreams about speaking at Tis the Season in a couple of weeks. Well, not actually bad dreams. It is more like bad little snippets that stay with me from the time I wake up until my head hits the pillow again the next night.

Bad Dream Snippet #1 - Only a handful of people showed up for the event, which was good for me... Not so good for the keynote speaker.

Bad Dream Snippet #2 - No one laughed during the entire 15 minutes I spoke... and they were supposed to laugh in certain spots. In my Bad Dream Snippet, I got nervous and got the hiccups. (Shoot me now!)

Bad Dream Snippet #3 - I sneezed into the microphone. And not a dainty, lady-like sneeze. A real, big lumberjack sneeze.

Bad Dream Snippet #4 - I forgot to go to the bathroom before it was my turn to speak. And then I told everyone in the audience I had forgotten to go to the bathroom before it was my turn to speak. So uncomfortable.

I have to admit, I am afraid to go to sleep tonight.

Blog Linkage - I have TWO very good links for you to check out today.

1. Go to The Nesting Place under My Blog List and read the post entitled "Imperfect, Flexible, Doable Meal Blueprint" dated November 15. I liked the title of the post, AND the meal plan. Doable, indeed.

2. Go to www.andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com and scroll down to the post entitled "Knit Together By Love" dated November 16. I love how the lady giving the gift said, "God gave me a little nudge." Sweet, sweet post.

Ride the Rails Date

Want to enjoy ONE more Fun Fall Ride this Saturday, November 19. I thought so.

Grab one of the kiddos, and take him or her on a Ride the Rails Date! The details are below:

The Calera and Shelby Train Ride begins at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum.

Turn back the clock as you ride the historic train consisting of passenger cars built between 1910 and 1955 pulled by first generation diesel electric locomotives. The Calera & Shelby Railroad runs on a portion of the former L & N Railroads (established in 1891), that transported the raw materials to Birmingham's steel industry. Board the train at our turn-of-the-century depot and experience a ride through the scenic forests of Shelby County.

The round trip between Calera and Springs Junction will take approximately one hour.

The ticket costs are as follows: Adult $11.11; Caboose $18.52; Child $7.41; Infants are free; Locomotive $27.78. Tickets may be purchased online.

For more information, go to www.hodrrm.org or call them at 205-668-3435.

The train leaves at 11:00 a.m., so don't be late!

All aboard!

Have a terrific Thursday. I'll be back in the morning with Weekend Happenings, more human pictures and Randomness.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Favorite Things Party

Good Wednesday morning!

I have more food pics in the Gallery this morning. And, of course, the recipe is from Pinterest. However, as opposed to the Parmesan Baked Asparagus, the Faulkner Five LOVED the Pepperoni Crescent Rolls. Loved them, I tell you.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I saw my friend, Cam, and her lovely daughter in Hobby Lobby the other day. (I'm just going to refer to the daughter as "P." I don't want to embarrass her... any more.)

We spoke for a few minutes, and then went on our way.

As is my custom at Hobby Lobby, I chose a horribly slow check-out line. Horribly, horribly slow.

However, I was patient, and I settled in for a long, long wait.

About that time, Cam and P came by and Cam poked me in the side and threw down the check-out line gauntlet. "I bet we get out of here before you do."

As you can imagine, my patience flew out the window... and my blood pressure rose as I watched the woman in front of me unload an entire buggy of individual pieces of card stock AND 1,000,000 pieces of felt. And, no. I am not exaggerating!

I glanced over at Cam and P. P was behaving. Cam... not so much.

I decided to wipe Cam's smug smile off her face. Yes, I did. And I'm not very proud of myself either. Especially since what I did turned out all wrong.

I was purchasing four small skeins of yarn. (Remember. I'm knitting to help sooth my ever-frazzled nerves. I told you about that, didn't it?)

Anyway, in my angst, I decided to throw a SMALL skein of yarn and hit Cam on top of her smug head. It wouldn't hurt. It would even be a little funny. Something to make the time go a little faster.

I guess when I turned 50 this past August, my throwing skills immediately deteriorated... because instead of bouncing the yarn off Cam's head, I hit P right in the face.

And since she wasn't expecting a grown woman to throw something in her face, it kind of "got away with her," and she turned really red.

And because I messed up, I tried to apologize to her (probably a little too loudly), and ALL the women in ALL the check-out lines turned and stared... at me. Not Cam. Me. The Enchanting Belinda.

Which made Cam smile all the more smugly. And because I apparently do NOT throw like a girl, but like a 50 year-old woman, I could not risk tossing another skein at Cam's head because I was pretty sure I would hit the 85 year-old grandmother in front of her... who I hadn't had the opportunity to meet yet.

Needless to say, some of the joy I felt when I DID indeed check-out before Cam and P was gone.

But the joy that was left... Well, I might not be able to throw any longer, but I skipped all the way to the Big Gold Van!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Loneliness - Just in case you are feeling a little lonely yourself these days, maybe some of these Seven Helpful Hints will come in handy.

Seven Sure-Fire Ways To Beat Loneliness

CONTACT OTHERS - Make a list of everyone you know... loved ones, friends and acquaintances. Make it a point to contact them regularly.

GET INVOLVED - No matter where you live or what your interests or skills may be, there are people who need your help. Show interest in their lives. It will bring joy to yours.

DEVELOP NEW DREAMS - Dreams give hope and spark to life. Find new things to achieve. An elderly triathlon runner once said, "No one is ever alone who has a dream."

EAT PROPERLY - Low blood sugar or improper diet can magnify negative feelings. Check your food intake.

REST - Recharge your body. Tired people tend to lean toward their problems and respond negatively to situations.

COUNT RIGHT - Focus on the good things that have happened and are happening in your life.

Last, but never least...

REMEMBER GOD - You are never really alone because God loves you, and He is as near as your prayers.

Wednesday Wisdom - I love this quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. (Can you believe that movie was made in 1986? I am older than old dirt.)

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it!" Ferris Bueller

I hate to admit it, but that is pretty wise advice from an inventive, yet sneaky, teenage boy! (And, yes. I realize adult writers wrote that line for Matthew Broderick. Humor me.)

Favorite Things Party

I love this Pinterest idea! Here's how it works.

1. Each guest brings their favorite thing. It can be ANYTHING at all. (Favorite lip gloss, favorite kitchen tool, favorite gift wrapping supply, a gift card for your favorite frozen yogurt, etc.).

2. The "favorite" cannot cost more than $5, and each person brings five of the same thing. (Total cost of this party per guest is $25. But, wait! It's worth it!)

3. When you arrive at the party, each guest writes their name on five slips of paper and throws them into a big bowl.

4. Pass the bowl around. Each person takes five names. (Make sure you don't pick your own name, OR two of the same name).

5. One at a time each person introduces their favorite thing and then reads the five names they picked from the bowl. Then they pass out their gifts to those five guests.

6. After everyone at the party has presented their favorite thing, each person should end up with five gifts to take home. It's always interesting to see what people choose, and some guests have started to bring a notepad and pen to jot down what people love.

Doesn't that sound fun. To make it interesting, I think you would need to invite at least 15 guests.

I also think serving coffee, tea and desserts would be fun, too.

It doesn't have to be elaborate or ornate. It can be a simple and fun way to spend a couple of hours with old and new friends.

(Remember what I said about inviting some new people to fellowship with you and your friends. This would be a great opportunity to reach out to others!)

Try to have a dry Wednesday. I know. It is hit or miss around here. I'll be back tomorrow with a Date and some really, really good Blog Linkage.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

World's Best Mac and Cheese

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from a Pinterest experiment gone horribly wrong. Live and learn!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Finally, the last of the Stocking Stuffer ideas. One hundred ideas! Get busy stuffing those stockings!

91. Binoculars

92. Barbies

93. Recipe cards

94. Swiss Army knife

95. Belt

96. Small lint roller

97. Key chain

98. Birthstone earrings

99. Throwback candy (Pez dispensers, Pop Rocks, Nerds, Fun Dip)

100. Scrapbooking supplies

Ta-Da!

I would love a stocking FULL of scrapbooking supplies. Just saying, Mikie!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Loneliness - I've picked a topic for the day. One that has been on my heart these last few years.

I've been lonely before. Everyone has been lonely. It is a part of life, and not a very pleasant part.

However, having been lonely before, I can make a choice to NOT remember how it felt, or I can make a choice to have compassion and empathy for others I know are feeling loneliness right now. Today.

I'm posting a little article tomorrow entitled "Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Beat Loneliness." While I believe this list has very constructive things a person can do to prevent or become less lonely, I also know sometimes a person is SO lonely, they cannot reach out for help.

If you know someone having trouble with loneliness, read the following verses and pray about reaching out and helping them overcome this horrible, horrible "condition."

It might take time.

It might take effort.

It might be one of the most important things you do for another person... ever.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (FELLOWSHIP! So important. Include people you normally wouldn't invite in fellowship situations!)

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15 (Be prepared to be more than a "fair-weather" friend. Even if it makes you uncomfortable, stick with someone during the bad times, too.)

“After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 18:1-3 (Oh, to have a friend like Jonathan.)

Remember, loneliness doesn't affect adults only. Teenagers and children go through lonely times, too. It is dangerous for young people to be lonely for a period of time. Loneliness can lead to desperation. And desperation can lead to very poor choices.

I'm praying God will open my eyes to the loneliness around me. I'm also going to pray Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up.”

Help someone up... today!

World's Best Mac and Cheese

This recipe is from Kurt Beecher Dammeier's Pure Flavor Cookbook... and I found it on Pinterest.

I am making this dish for my Mother's Thanksgiving celebration this Sunday, and Mikie's family Thanksgiving celebration next Thursday. (As you can see, my family will be the "guinea pig" this year. Next year, it will be the Faulkners. I rotate the new recipes every year... just to be fair!)

You will need the following:

Vegetable oil for baking dish
6 ounces penne (I LOVE penne!)
2 cups Beecher's Flagship Cheese Sauce (I don't know what this is... yet.)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (I also don't know what this is... yet.)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (I love the word "chipotle.")

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8" baking dish, and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook penne for 2 minutes less than recommended on the package. Rinse pasta in cold water, and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together cooked pasta and sauce (gently, but thoroughly).

4. Pour pasta into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses and chili powder.

5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Not only could this BE the World's Best Mac and Cheese, but it ain't too hard to make! I have high hopes for this one, Chicks!

Have a very gray Tuesday. Beautiful gray. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Traditions, Randomness, pics and 52 reasons why I love String Cheese! I know what you're thinking. I thought I would be able to think of more than 52, too!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Fun Fall Ride #7. Mikie and I enjoyed a two hour drive up the road to Rickwood Caverns late Sunday afternoon... and then we stopped at a McDonald's and had a Peppermint Mocha and watched a very colorful sunset. Very, very nice Sunday afternoon.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have two more days of Stocking Stuffer ideas. There should be no excuse. Everyone in your family should have a MARVELOUS stocking this year!

81. iTunes gift card

82. Digital measuring tape

83. Bubbles

84. Silly String

85. Watch

86. Tickets to the zoo

87. Speciality coffee or tea

88. Bath toys

89. Monogrammed burp rags

90. Makeup brush set

RANDOMNESS #2 - Okay. So what did I "do" with Pinterest this weekend. I will tell you!

I made Baked Parmesan Asparagus. I do not care for asparagus. I never have. However, this recipe looked simple and edible. I was only half right. It was simple. Not so much edible.

It is not the recipe's fault. I simply do not like asparagus... or brussel sprouts. Does that make me a bad person?

I also made Pizza Crescent Rolls. You roll string cheese and three pieces of pepperoni in a crescent roll and bake according to roll instructions. Can I say it? These were MUCH, MUCH better than the asparagus. The men in the family declared the Pizza Crescent Rolls "football food," and thus, they will be served during Auburn games, Jacksonville tailgating and the Super Bowl party INSTEAD of Pigs-in-a-Blanket.

I did NOT install a rainforest shower head OR build an in-ground fire pit... even though those are Pinterest "activities," also.

I did NOT make Christmas wrapping paper out of hickory tree bark.

I did NOT churn butter or build a greenhouse out of antique doors and windows from a 16th century Catholic Church from England.

I did NOT photograph newborns in all sorts of precious positions and costumes. (I could not find anyone willing to loan me a newborn. Go figure.)

Nor did I travel to Bora Bora or watch the Northern Lights in Alaska.

Maybe next weekend... if I'm not too busy trying to make asparagus taste good.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I watched the Duggar family travel to Ireland and Scotland last night. I was totally and completely exhausted. The packing, the counting of children, the jet lag... I am totally over wanting to go on a trip ANYWHERE in the near future.

The Duggars make me tired.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Two words... Blackberry Grits. That's right. I caught up with two of my chick friends this weekend at Another Broken Egg. It has been forever since I had Blackberry Grits. I missed them.

If you get a chance, try some this week. I don't think you'll be sorry.

Have a great Monday. I hope you get a ton done. (I hope I get a ton done, too.)

I'll be back in the morning with a recipe, Randomness, more pics... you know the drill.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Merry 11-11-11!

WOW! What a day!

The Gallery Pics are my Mom, sister and me making dressing yesterday... step-by-step! Unfortunately, since we freeze the dressing in lovely Ziplock bags, the beautiful end product won't be photographed until Thanksgiving.

It's kind of like a culinary cliffhanger.

I'm going to be lazy today (blog-wise) because I have a lot to do (house-wise). I'm re-posting a post I wrote November 11, 2008! That's right. I believed it then... and I really believe it now.

TODAY!

I went for a walk yesterday afternoon, and I took pics of some of my favorite things in the whole world. No, not Mikie and the kids... trees. Beautiful, colorful, autumnal trees. In the next few days there will be a rainstorm, or an incredibly blustery day, and all of the leaves will be on the ground. The trees will be bare... people will blow and bag and mulch all the leaves... the yards will be full of gray, leafless trees and very non-green lawns and fall will be over. The shortest season of the four. I know technically winter doesn't start until sometime in December, but let's face it... it's winter weeks before the actual "Official Winter Date." (I'm a little depressed if you couldn't already tell.)

I've enjoyed 47 falls. That's really not that many, is it? Compared to the 47 summers I've ENDURED, it's not many at all.

As I took the above pictures yesterday, instead of it making me happy, it made me sad. I didn't live in the moment. I looked ahead to the future when all the beauty around me would be gone, and I forgot to enjoy "my today." The only November 11, 2008 I'll ever have. I talk to the kids about it all the time, and look what I did. Shame on me! I guess living day by day is one of the hardest lessons I've ever had to learn... and I'm still learning it. I've met people who live in the moment... who are spontaneous... who will try anything once and think about what they've done later. I don't care for them very much. They make me uncomfortable.

I had a friend when I was a younger adult who would call me on a Saturday morning and say, "Let's do something. Do you want to see a movie in an hour or so?"

"Today?" I would ask incredulously. "I've kind of had my Saturday planned for five months now. I can't just go to a movie in an hour or so? What movie were you talking about?"

"Oh, I don't know. We can just pick one when we get there," she replied.

"What do you mean we'll just pick one when we get there? What if there isn't a movie showing we want to see, or what if we miss the starting time and have to wait for the next show, or what if I want to see one you've already seen twice before? You can't just show up at a movie theater and pick any ol' movie." By this time, I was having a hard time breathing.

"Well, we can do something else. Do you want to go hiking at Oak Mountain for a couple of hours?"

"What?!? Now you want to go hiking... an outside activity that needs major preparation on my part." Now my head had started hurting, too.

"Just throw on some old jeans and a pair of tennis shoes. It'll be fun," she declared.

"Have you lost your mind? Do you even know who you're talking to? Have you ever even met me?" I had broken out in severe flop sweat.

"Well, what did you have going on today?" she finally asked.

"I was going out to eat at 5:22 in the food court at the mall with some friends, and then we were going to shop for 2 hours and 12 minutes. Would you like to do that?" I asked weakly.

"That sounds fun. I love meeting new people. But would you mind if we ate at 5:30 instead of 5:22? I like round numbers."

What a weirdo!

I have a friend in the year 2008 that I call three or four months ahead of time to see if she and her family can come over to cook out... weather permitting, of course. She laughs at me, writes the date and time down and for some strange reason, they are usually available for the date we pick! This works for me.

But I know deep down, I'm missing something. TODAY! I'm missing TODAY!

I took Roxie and my niece and nephew to see Kung Fu Panda not too long ago, and there was something very wise in that little animated film. One of the characters said, "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift... that is why it is called the Present." I think I'm going to have this tattooed somewhere. Not where anyone can see it, of course. But I think I really need the daily reminder. (Or maybe I could just cross-stitch it on a pillow!)

Weekend Happenings

I am looking forward to a lovely weekend. Lovely, I say!

Friday

Mikie and I have a date tonight! Yes! And we're going to a wonderful restaurant... Lovoy's. (We have a Gift Certificate! Food tastes so much better when bought with a Gift Certificate, don't you think?)

Austin and Josh are hanging out this afternoon and tonight.

Roxie is spending the night at Grandmother's.

Saturday

Saturday is going to be nice, too. I am going with two friends to Another Broken Egg to play catch-up.

Josh is starting his job as a Christmas Lumberjack at the Christmas Tree Farm. (He is very excited.)

Austin is sleeping late.

Mikie is doing stuff around the house.

I am sure Roxie will want to do some Saturday afternoon shopping and driving... and I'm going to be happy to oblige.

And Saturday night, we're all attending the Gardendale High School play.

Sunday

Sunday will be church attendance, a Faulkner Five lunch and maybe, just maybe, NAPS!

I'm telling you. It's going to be a great weekend.

I hope you and yours enjoy the next three days. Make wonderful memories. Spend time in the moment. (That's what I ALWAYS have to tell myself.)

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day Parade Date

Good Thursday evening!

The Gallery Pics are of my sister, Bev. We had a few moments today (after we finished some holiday cooking), and I made her change her shirt and we headed outdoors. Pretty, pretty chick.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Will the Stocking Stuffer ideas never end? (I hope not. I need as many ideas as I can get.)

71. Cell phone car charger

72. Harmonica

73. Travel alarm clock

74. Speciality chocolates

75. Cute umbrella

76. Flower bulbs

77. Passport holder

78. Small digital picture frame

79. Webkinz

80. Chalk

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mom, Bev and I made dressing today. Our houses, cars and clothes smell like sauteed onion and seasoning and broth.

We are mouth watering, I tell you.

During the cooking process, I looked at Bev and noticed she was having a good hair day. A really good hair day.

"Did you bring your lipstick?" I asked.

"Yeah. Why?"

"Let's take some pictures when we finish cooking."

"Okay." Beverly was very agreeable today.

"That's a bad shirt though. Good hair, but bad shirt."

No worries. Mom picked that moment to call Bev from the other room and asked her to try on a couple of shirts she was giving away. We found a soft green one we liked, and we were ready.

I thought the pics turned out very well. And so you don't think I'm an uber-bossy big sister, Bev and I ALWAYS take advantage of "good hair days," "good make-up days" and "that top makes you look WAY skinny days" when it comes to taking pictures.

I ALWAYS have the camera, so when the opportunity arises... we both go for it!

After making two double batches and four single batches of holiday dressing, we decided to reward our savory-smellin' selves by eating at Cracker Barrel.

Guess what the special was today? That's right. Turkey and dressing. (Pass!)

We ate BLTs on sourdough and beef stew... and talked... and watched leaves fall off the trees outside our Cracker Barrel window. It was lovely November day.

Blog Linkage - Since the post is so late today, you don't have a lot of time. Get BLOG HOPPIN'!

1. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and read the post entitled "I Love You Because" dated November 10. Great idea.

2. Go to BooMama under My Blog List. Read any and all posts dated November 7 through November 11 (tomorrow). Keep reading below for details.

3. Go to Big Mama under My Blog List. Read any and all posts dated November 7 through November 11 (tomorrow). BooMama and Big Mama have gone to Ecuador on a mission trip... together. Their blog posts are different, but you'll get a great idea of what they are both doing, as well as tons of pictures.

Enjoy.

Veteran's Day Parade Date

I've mentioned it before, but it is worth mentioning again! Birmingham has the oldest and largest Veteran's Day Parade EVER!

The Parade begins tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Plan on taking one of your guys or gals to a parade tomorrow... and enjoy. Be sure to bring an American Flag to wave, and be ready to talk about the meaning of Veteran's Day with your date.

When the parade has passed you by, make your way to a local McDonald's for apple pie and a soda. (What is more American than apple pie?)

Below find the parade route. Get there early enough to find a good spot to watch the parade! (PERSONAL NOTE - I always like to watch a parade closer to the beginning. No need making a little one wait any longer than necessary!)

Begin:
8th Avenue North and 19th Street
South on 19th Street to 5th Avenue North
East on 5th Avenue to 22nd Street
South on 22nd Street to 2nd Avenue North
West on 2nd Avenue to 18th Street
North on 18th Street to 6th Avenue North

Have a delightful Thursday evening! No school tomorrow! Be sure to remember the Veterans not only tomorrow, but every day. Heroes walk among us.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Countdown to Christmas GIFTS

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics include a few leftovers from the weekend. (I should have some new STUFF to add tomorrow.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I forgot about posting more Stocking Stuffers the beginning of the week. I'll make up for it today, tomorrow and Friday. I promise.

51. Travel sized games (Connect Four, Uno, etc.)

52. Gourmet spice mixes

53. Tickets for a concert

54. Kid paint set

55. Freezable teethers

56. Money clip

57. Gourmet hot chocolate packets

58. Ring holder

59. Pedometer

60. DVD

RANDOMNESS #2 - I forgot to tell you I tried another Pinterest tip Monday night. You may already do this, but if not, it works.

I hate to cook bacon in a skillet. I love the end result, but I don't like the lingering smell and the mess. Try this little tip. I did!

1. Place a sheet of wax paper OR parchment paper on the bottom of a large cookie sheet.

2. Place the bacon side by side.

3. Cover with foil.

4. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Place "baked" bacon on a paper towel to soak up the extra grease, and throw away the foil and parchment paper.

NO smell. NO mess. And light, crispy bacon. This is the only way I'll be cooking bacon from this day forward. Amen and amen!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm a big fan of John Croyle's devotions on building strong families. They always make sense to me. They aren't complicated. It is just common sense. I wanted to share one of them with you today.

Family Builders

Whether building a home, business, relationship or family, you have to have a sound footing and a solid foundation. For there to be a solid foundation in a business deal, there has to be a mutual feeling of trust between you and your client. Normally, where there is no solid and sound foundation, there is no successful outcome and one or both parties can suffer.

If we find ourselves in a shaky situation in our business, home building project, or client relationship, we usually sit down with our staff or associates and strategize to fix the problem or problems. We put in long, hard hours to repair what is wrong and get back on a sure footing.

Does our family get this same consideration? Do we have the same strategic planning meetings with them when things are not working between us and our mate, children or parents? Do we share with our family how special they are to us and how we need them? It is more important to work out whatever problems may arise in our family than it is to fix something wrong with our business.

We need to make our children and mate feel so important that they will never doubt they come first in our lives. They should never be in second place behind our business or anything else. This is the way to have a great family foundation.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Karman, the winner of the Whole Foods Gift Certificate from my last contest, is claiming her prize today. We are headed to Whole Foods to eat at the lovely little restaurant in the middle of the grocery store. I cannot wait.

And I think I'm finally going to buy that horned melon from Borneo today. I just can't help myself. (I'll post a pic tomorrow!)

RANDOMNESS #5 - Speaking of Whole Foods Market, I made the Lovely Melia a Whole Foods Market Bag for her birthday gift. (She has said she loves Whole Foods, too.)

Included in the gift bag were the following items:

1. Freshly squeezed... or crushed... or smashed organic chocolate peanut butter.

2. A fresh bar of citrus-mint soap straight off the slab. It was yellow and blue... Melia's favorite colors.

3. Organic milk chocolate and dark chocolate squares. (For some reason, these squares have pictures and fun facts about different kinds of bugs when you unwrap your chocolate. You know. Like a baseball card. Very interesting.)

4. A container of organic chocolate chip cookies from the bakery.

5. A perfume solid from India. My friend, Julie, and I are crazy about the "Love" scent, so that is what I bought for Melia. It is light and musky and so good.

6. And last, but not least, a Gift Certificate for the restaurant in the middle of the store.

Roxie told me she would not like this gift. Roxie told me a gift from a grocery store, no matter how "fun" a 50 year-old woman thought it might be, was not a good gift for a 20 year-old.

Melia said she liked it... a lot.

Roxie doesn't know it yet, but I'm making her a Whole Foods Market Christmas stocking. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Wednesday Wisdom - I love this. Easier said, than done... but I still love it.

Before you act, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.

Ernest Hemingway

I would be a much better wife, mother, sister, friend, etc., etc. if I followed this wise advice.

Countdown to Christmas GIFTS

I like this idea (seen in a magazine), but I have to admit, I wouldn't try it unless I had one or two children. The Duggars could probably swing it somehow, but it would be WAY too mind boggling for me. (In case you haven't noticed, the Duggars have replaced Kate Plus Eight in my "Extremely Large Family Reality Show" slot. I know. I'm pathetic.)

Instead of the traditional Countdown to Christmas Paper Chain or Countdown to Christmas Peppermints on a Ribbon, wrap and stack 24 small gifts for the child to open each day of December.

It doesn't have to be an expensive gift. It can be a favorite candy bar, a rented movie to watch that night together as a family, a new pack of crayons, etc., but each and every morning let the child take a box from the stack and open it to mark one day closer to Christmas.

The kids LOVE this. One Mother said when she didn't plan on doing the Countdown to Christmas GIFTS tradition one year, her son told her he didn't need anything Christmas morning. He loved the Countdown.

ALTERNATIVE - I also think you could do this with a nativity set. Wrap each piece of the nativity set (the stable, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the animals, Shepherds, Wise Men, etc.). If you have less than 24 pieces, you can add extra animals, wrap the three gifts separately, etc. until you have all 24.

If you have more than one child, let them take turns each morning opening a part of the Nativity and placing it in the proper place.

After they open the first day's gift (the stable), you can let them open the other gifts in any order they want, and they can place the pieces where they belong.

Have a lovely Wednesday. Encourage someone today... by word or deed. Be kind to someone today... family, friend and stranger. Call (or text) someone you haven't spoken to in awhile today... and just catch up. (And I will do the same!)

I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the page under Guestbooker. Click on "Leave a Response" and it will take your comment. You can also e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

Good Tuesday morning!

And it is. It really is, isn't it?

The Gallery Pics are a couple of leftover Christmas Village photos of Roxie and Katie breaking all the rules. Not the least bit unusual.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Michelle Duggar is expecting her 20th child. I cannot add anything to that announcement. I cannot comprehend giving birth to 20 children.

And that's all I have to say about that!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I had a lovely walk with my Body Pump Pal, Cam, this morning. The ski was beautiful. The trees were beautiful. The temperature was just right. It doesn't get much better.

And that's all I have to say about that!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I know you are probably wondering if I'm doing anything "Pinterest" this week. Actually, you probably are NOT wondering about that at all, but I will tell you anyway.

I am making Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Thursday night. And it's going to be good, Baby! (I hope.)

I am also planning on painting our wheelbarrow a pretty evergreen color. And I'm going to carefully place the evergreen wheelbarrow in our snowy front yard. And I'm going to place a small snow-covered Christmas tree in the evergreen wheelbarrow. And it will be lovely.

I am aware there are some flaws in the above "Pinterest" project, but it is the plan.

RANDOMNESS #4 - As of this moment, I am still not progressing very well with my new "progressive" lenses. I know to take them off when going down stairs and knitting.

I know NOT to turn my head quickly because it gives me a dizzying sensation.

I know I have to buy more Excedrin Migraine medication TODAY... not tomorrow (because I have new glasses, you see).

Today's going to be a better day... sight-wise. I just know it.

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

Straight from Pinterest... and it was so good!

You will need the following:

4 to 6 chicken breasts
Hawaiian-style barbeque sauce
1 large can of crushed pineapple

1. Combine everything in the crock pot.

2. Cook for 6 hours on low.

3. Serve on a bed of rice!

It was really, really delicious! Easy, breezy.

I hope you have an amazing Tuesday. I really do. I'll be back tomorrow with a very fun Christmas tradition. (I'll have Thanksgiving stuff the next two weeks, too, but if you want to incorporate THIS Christmas tradition, you have to get started a little early.)

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave comments by clicking on "Leave a Response" on Guestbooker at the bottom of the page or via e-mail (mfaulkner1306@charter.net).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from the JSU game Saturday and Christmas Village Sunday afternoon. (You probably didn't even realize there was a game at JSU Saturday, did you? I didn't think so.)

Short and sweet...

RANDOMNESS #1 - I picked up my new "progressive" glasses today. The "eye guy" told me it would take me one or two hours to get used to them. I have already taken an Excedrin Migraine and I've run into two walls... in my own home.

I may be a "special" case.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I've been taping the last episodes of Regis and Kelly last week and this week. Back in the day, I was a HUGE Regis and Kathie Lee fan... and I like Kelly very much, too.

I hate to see him go, but I love all the shows leading up to the "departure."

RANDOMNESS #3 - I may have gone a little overboard on the "dips, soups and cheese spreads" yesterday at Christmas Village. I am now at the point of saying, "I don't care if I EVER eat another pretzel covered in Creamy Ranch Dill Chipotle Cucumber Dip again."

However, if anyone wants to bring me a five gallon bucket of the Raspberry Vanilla Cream Cheese Spread, I think I could live off of that heavenly concoction for the next year or so. Just saying.

RANDOMNESS #4 - First Baptist Gardendale is hosting Tis the Season November 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Karen Spann (James' wife) will be the featured speaker, and I cannot wait to hear her. The food will be great. The tables will be beautiful. The music will be glorious.

And I have a 15-minute part in the program.

Since I cannot see anything in my new "progressive" glasses, I will probably be wearing them. I'm working with the theory of what I DON'T see, won't terrify me!

Be sure to purchase a ticket and enjoy two hours of great food, sweet Christian fellowship and an awesome guest speaker... Karen Spann!

Have a merry Monday. (That's a little leftover from Christmas Village.) I'll be here in the morning with a fantastic crock pot recipe I tried last week.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting (and Not-Very-Progressive) Belinda

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday evening!

I added the photo of Austin doing his "thing" on the radio sports show in Jacksonville... finally. He said it was his best show this year, so I'm glad we have it well-documented.

RANDOMNESS #1 - "How can there possibly be MORE Stocking Stuffer ideas?" you ask. (I'm starting to ask that question myself.)

41. An orange to shape out the toe of the stocking

42. Ice scraper

43. Small digital camera

44. Cookie cutters

45. Makeup bag

46. Nice wooden spoons

47. Wallet

48. Speciality teas

49. Scented antibacterial kitchen hand soap

50. Pumice stones

And that's not even half the list!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I'm so late posting today because I had a little yard sale this morning. And when I say little, I mean "not a lot of little stuff, but several big pieces." And all the big pieces are now OUT OF THE HOUSE! Love to get rid of old stuff. Love it!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Austin spent the afternoon with MY great-nephew and great-niece, Matthew and Lauren. I'm not the least bit jealous. Nope. Not even a little bit. (I'm not speaking to The Boy at this time though, but it is totally unrelated to jealousy. Yeah, right.)

RANDOMNESS #4 - This is an interesting idea straight from this month's Martha Stewart Magazine. What do you think?

It happens once a year. You wake up on the last day of daylight saving time and realize you have an extra hour. Instead of letting it blend into the day, circle Sunday, November 6, on the calandar and consciously decide how you'd like to spend it. "The fact that we normally let it pass us by suggests that the common excuse 'If only I had another hour in the day' has some holes in it," says Laura Vanderkam.

Plan a phone date with a friend, or ask yourself, "What would I do if I was tourist in my town? Or if I had the house to myself?" Chances are, the answer won't be "Hit the snooze button."

Something to ponder this weekend.

To be honest, I'll probably hit the snooze button... several times.

Weekend Happenings

If you live in Alabama, this entire weekend is centered around one game, and one game only. Alabama v. LSU. Even die hard Auburn fans (like my family) will be watching the game tomorrow night. Everyone in Alabama will be watching the game tomorrow night. It must be done!

But before THE game, Mikie, Roxie and I are going to Jacksonville to cheer the Gamecocks to a victory, and to watch Austin march one more time his Junior year. (This will also be Fun Fall Ride #7. The new tradition continues... until every autumn leaf is on the ground!)

Josh will be doing some "school" stuff most of the day, but he'll be home in time to watch the game with the rest of the family.

Sunday is the Lovely Melia's birthday. That's right. She has a great day planned, and she and Austin will be celebrating. NOTE - She is absolutely going to LOVE my birthday gift. Roxie is adamant she will not like it... because Roxie would not like it. But I think she's wrong.

I hope she's wrong.

Roxie, Katie, Bev and I will be making our annual pilgrimage to Christmas Village for tons of "dip and hot chocolate sampling." I cannot wait. After spending one afternoon at Christmas Village, I do not have a craving for dip OR hot chocolate for months and months.

It is a very satisfying tradition.

Unless someone has forgotten to tell me something, that about says it all.

I hope you and yours have a great fall weekend. I'll be back Monday morning with Mindless Monday pics and Randomness.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, November 3, 2011

10 Ways to Give Thanks (Specifically For Your Spouse)

Good Thursday morning!

The Gallery Pics are a couple of leftover photos from Halloween, as well as a few pics of an unexpected visitor we had yesterday afternoon.

Mikie didn't have time to post the sports radio show pics last night, but I have a feeling I'll have those up and running by tomorrow.

RANDOMNESS #1 - As promised, a few more Stocking Stuffer ideas...

31. Knitting needles

32. Lotion

33. Golf tees or balls

34. Matchbox cars

35. Memory card

36. Specialty olive oils (Whole Foods Market)

37. Eyeshadow

38. Gardening gloves

39. Tickets to the anything special

40. Address book and roll of stamps

RANDOMNESS #2 - Yesterday afternoon, Roxie was in the backyard playing with the beagles. As usual, our neighbor dog, Tank, came to the back of our fence and stood on his hind legs for a little head scratch.

Roxie walked over to the fence to oblige and within seconds, Tank had put his front paws around her neck and using the leverage, climbed over the fence... and kind of over Roxie's head.

We had a little company!

Sparkle was totally unprepared for the giant playmate who came bounding up to her... and knocking her over.

Copper was thrilled... for all of ten minutes. A 63 year-old beagle cannot keep up with a seven year-old retriever for a long period of time. Poor Copper was limping before the first ten minutes was over.

However, Tank was thrilled to be in a new yard. Thrilled, I tell you.

Josh put one of our deck chairs against the fence, and tried to get Tank to jump into the chair and over the fence into his own yard, but he would have none of it.

Within a minute of touching Tank's collar, Josh's hands started itching... and then his arms. Josh is VERY allergic to three trees, but has never had a reaction to an animal. Ever.

I fired him from Tank Removal Duty and he ran inside to get a Benadryl before finishing his yard work.

I then tried to talk to Tank, face-to-face. Upon talking to him, my lips started itching. I don't know what it is about Tank, but Josh and I are definitely allergic to his big dog smell.

Mike called about this time, and we decided to let Tank stay and play, and he would walk him home before church.

As it turned out, his owners noticed him running around on the other side of his fence, and came over to remedy the situation.

Copper and Sparkle were beyond exhausted and did not get up the rest of the afternoon or evening. They are moving a little more slowly this morning, too.

I think it will be awhile before they ask another dog over for a visit. A long, long while.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I have a little Pinterest update for you. I am going to try several different ideas from Pinterest each and every week.

Today, I am making crock pot Hawaiian chicken for dinner. I'll let you know how it turns out next Tuesday, because if it is as good I think it will be, it will be the featured recipe.

Oh. And it only has three ingredients!

Blog Linkage - I only have one link today, but it is excellent. Go to Nitty.Gritty. under My Blog List and read Jody's post entitled "Remembering scars as we face an unknown future..." dated November 2.

That's all I need to say.

Ten Ways to Give Thanks (Specifically For Your Spouse)

If you've known me for ten minutes, you know I LOVE The Dating Divas. I urge you to visit their website daily for great, easy, inexpensive, imaginative ways to date your spouse no matter how long you've been married. (Look under My Blog List for easy access.)

I found this post in their archives, and to make it easy for you, I copied it. Diva Lisa P. came up with these great Thanksgiving ideas to give thanks for your hubby.

1. Make a Pumpkin Pie for your husband with a sweet note in the middle. You can put the note in as you put the pie in the oven. He will be impressed no matter how it comes out!

2. Make a card for your husband to give him thanks for all he does in the house, and then display it in the kitchen or living room.

3. Prepare an extra special dinner made before Thanksgiving with a small turkey and some of the fixings. He will be surprised when he comes home to a special meal.

4. Make a meal or part of a meal for someone in your area and then deliver the meal by “ding dong ditching!" {That means ringing the doorbell and running.}

5. Spend time with a family member or friend that you haven’t seen in a while as a couple. Take them something homemade!

6. While eating dinner, take turns listing things for which you are thankful.

7. For each letter in Thanksgiving, come up with something your spouse does you appreciate.

8. Figure out a place where you can give service to others. Then go there for your date night. (LOVE this one!)

9. Set a goal to do random acts of kindness around town. Whoever reaches 5 first will get a massage from their spouse.

10. Make a coupon book for your husband including what you are thankful for. Then tell him his reward for each great thing he does.

Thanksgiving is a great time of year. We spend time with our family and tend to think about giving back to others. We challenge you to try to include one of the acts of service listed above this season.

Great ideas. Pick one, two or more and get busy! Time well spent.

Have a dry Thursday (if you can). I'll be back tomorrow AFTERNOON with Weekend Happenings, pics and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave a comment on Guestbooker at the bottom of the page. Just click on "Leave a Response."

You can also send me an e-mail at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outdoor Fall Feast

Good Wednesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from Fun Fall Ride #6. Mikie and I took a little time for ourselves and went on a drive up Highway 31 to Cullman. On the way we meandered through the Village at Blount Springs (beautiful) and the old neighborhoods in Cullman. Things have really changed in Cullman in the 18 years we've been living in Gardendale. It is now a booming metropolis.

But All Steak is (and will always be) the same... excellent!

(I'm going on another field trip to Cullman soon with a buddy. She's a shopper! Mikie... not so much.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I skipped a couple of days with Pinterest Stocking Stuffer ideas, but I'll post them the rest of the week. There are some great ideas.

21. Rubik's cube

22. Loofah

23. Hair clips

24. Cuticle set

25. Jewelry

26. Batteries

27. Cooking extracts (vanilla, mint, orange etc.)

28. Mittens

29. Scented candles

30. Fishing lures

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mikie took Roxie and Kelci to Jacksonville last night for a Ladies' Basketball Girls' Night Out. They were going to meet the coaches, players, eat pizza, enter and win shooting contests, etc., etc., etc.

This is how it really went down. (Yet another list.)

1. They had a bigger turnout than expected, so they ran out of the obligatory free t-shirt. (Roxie and Kelci LIVE for the obligatory free t-shirt.)

2. They didn't have quite enough pizza. Roxie got one piece and Kelci snagged two.

3. Roxie and Kelci air balled the shooting contests. (I am assuming it is because of nerves, hunger or general disappointment about the above-mentioned t-shirt. The girls generally do not air ball.)

4. They had a good time because together they can have a good time doing just about anything!

Mikie visited The Boy at his sports radio show during this time, and he had a very enjoyable evening. He even took sports radio show pictures which I will gladly post tomorrow. Very impressive.

Wednesday Wisdom - I saw this quote last week, and I think there is probably a lot of truth in the words. Something to ponder this week.

"Those who are hardest to love need it the most." Anonymous

Outdoor Fall Feast

Okay. I haven't done this, but I've always wanted to host an Outdoor Fall Feast. Always. Ever since I saw the Martha Stewart Magazine cover that showed her having Thanksgiving in her stables... with her all-black thoroughbred horses... and lanterns... and fresh hay... with exactly 8" of snow on the ground... and for some reason the big double stable doors standing wide open... etc., etc.

I know. I know. I live in a fantasy world.

However, I do think this would be a fun, wonderful annual tradition for the fall. This is how my mind's eye pictures this tradition. (Surprise! It is in list form!)

1. I want to use old doors laid across old saw horses as the table tops.

2. I want to use mismatched wooden chairs with peeling paint.

3. I want to spread quilts on the top of the tables for tablecloths.

4. I want to use all white china on brown or rust chargers.

5. I want pumpkins and gourds and colorful fall leaves used as the centerpiece.

6. I want tons and tons of candles.

7. I want to serve soups, fresh breads, salads, casseroles and pumpkin pies and pumpkin snickerdoodles for dessert.

8. I want a brass fire pit to be ablaze at either end of the table for warmth and ambiance.

9. I want over a dozen family and friends sitting around the table.

10. I want everyone to wear a solid-colored shirt for pictures (preferably autumnal solid-colored shirts).

11. Oh! And I want everything to be set up under a magnificent old tree with vibrant yellow leaves fluttering down during the meal.

12. Oh! Oh! And I want three or four well-behaved golden retrievers nearby for petting and photo op purposes. (I know what you're thinking. "She's a beagle person." I am a beagle person, but my beagles are not really well-behaved... and sometimes they don't smell very good... and one of them is not photogenic (Copper)... and they don't understand about waiting until the humans eat before getting a few of the table scraps. They don't understand that concept AT ALL.)

The above is my "dream" fall tradition. And I am DETERMINED to begin this tradition in the near future... as soon as I find two old doors and a dozen or so "peeling paint" wooden chairs... and three or four well-behaved golden retrievers.

Heavy, heavy sigh. Maybe next year.

Have a wonderful Wednesday. Take a little time to encourage someone today... by word or deed. I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage and a Date.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page on Guestbooker. Just click on "Leave a Response" and it should work now. Also, you can comment via e-mail at mfaulkner1306@charter.net. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ooey, Gooey Butter Cake

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are from our Fun Fall Ride #5, which was also our trip to Jacksonville this past weekend to tailgate with friends and family. It was a cold, crisp football kind of day. The colors were vibrant, and it was a really pretty drive.

Mike and I took Fun Fall Ride #6 this past weekend, too, but I'll add those pictures (along with some Halloween pics) as the week goes on. There are just too many for one day.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I will have to say October 2011 was one of the prettiest months ever. I tried to get out and enjoy something each and every day. November looks like it is going to carry the torch, and I'll be out and about today, too... just soaking in the fall colors.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mike and I were able to take Fun Fall Ride #6 as a date this past weekend. We drove up Highway 31 all the way to Cullman and spent a few hours finding the three houses we lived in during our five-year stay in that fair city, eating at All Steak (a Cullman tradition) and walking through the very familiar German store (A Touch of German).

I love their nutcrackers, and since Roxie is a collector, I want to take her to this particular store. She is going to love some of the more unusual German nutcrackers.

We came very close to buying Cranberry Stollen. Well, I came very close. Mikie didn't seem to have a problem saying, "No, thank you." It looked delicious... and when Roxie and I go back to check out the nutcrackers, we'll be leaving with a $12.49 loaf of Cranberry Stollen in a bag, I assure you.

RANDOMNESS #3 - In case you haven't heard the story about the Cullman housing situation (and you probably haven't, because it is still not pleasant to talk about), it goes something like this.

Mike and I married in January of 1988.

In June of 1988, we moved to Cullman for Mikie's job. We rented a nice, little brick home since we weren't quite ready for home ownership yet.

Four months later in October of 1988, our landlord came to the house, knocked on the door and told us someone had offered him CASH for the house he was then living. He accepted the offer even though his house wasn't even for sale. AND he needed somewhere to live so we had until October 31, 1988 to move. Lovely, lovely landlord.

November 1, 1988 we moved into the Shack by the Tracks. It was a little rental home beside the very busy railroad tracks in Cullman. There was no front porch or stairs. You had to be something of an athlete (or have very long legs) to get in the front door. (I had the long legs going for me.)

We quickly found and bought a little starter house and moved in February of 1989.

If you are having trouble keeping up with the math, we moved FOUR times our first year of marriage (counting Mike's move to my little Hoover apartment after we married).

That's kind of a lot. That's kind of why I still don't talk about it much.

We thought we would be laughing about it now (almost 24 years later), but not so much.

Little Houses #1, #2 and #3 are pictured below. Let it be known Little House #3 had lots of trees, azalea bushes and a big fenced-in backyard when we lived there. I have to have trees in the yard when I live somewhere. I just HAVE TO!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Mikie is heading to Jacksonville again tonight. The boy's been on the road lately, but this was totally his idea.

There is going to be a Girls' Night Out held by the women's basketball team. Roxie and Kelci are going to get to meet the coach and the players, get some pointers, eat some pizza and win some door prizes. Oh, yeah. They are definitely going to win some door prizes.

While the girls are playing basketball, Mikie is going to head to the radio station. Austin gave him permission to "Come on in and sit on the couch," during his Tuesday evening sports radio show... and Mikie is pretty excited.

This could be interesting.

Ooey, Gooey Butter Cake

They had a bake sale at Mike's office, and he very wisely bought the above-mentioned cake. Oh... my... goodness!

You will need the following:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick melted butter (real butter)
1 egg slightly beaten

1. Mix together and press into a 9" x 13" pan.

Next, you will need:

8 ounce cream cheese
1 box confectioner's sugar
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter (real butter)

2. Cream together and pour over cake dough.

3. Bake 30 or 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Do not deviate from this recipe. If she says use real butter, use it!

If you have a sweet tooth, this cake is the cure.

Have a terrific Tuesday. I'll be back in the morning with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition or Party (I cannot decide) and more pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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