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Monday, April 30, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

And what a hot Monday it is! It does not feel very Spring-like today in Central Alabama. No, sir. We are going to hit 89 by this afternoon. (Don't tell Mikie, but the air is down to 65 in the house right now!)

RANDOMNESS #1 - I usually don't give you Blog Linkage on Mondays, but I really enjoyed the pictures of the Farmer's Market at www.kellehampton.com. Just beautiful. It ALMOST makes me want to drive to Finley Avenue in a little while. But it will be very, very hot in a little while. And I tend to be very, very hot all by myself these days. I'll probably just look at Kelle's pictures several times today.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Since I'm short on pics today, I'm going to post old Roxie photos. (She absolutely LOVES when I do this! It makes her day!)

This is Roxie last Spring...



Roxie last Summer...



Roxie last Fall...



And Roxie and Mikie this past Christmas!



RANDOMNESS #3 - MJ (My Josh) made it home from Orlando 4:30 Sunday morning. He loved Hogwarts (I knew he would), and I'm trying not to show my bitterness that he has experienced it... without me... before me... instead of me. As you can see, I'm having a difficult time.

He took no pictures although he was in several. (Can you even believe he's my kid?) Again, bitterness is trying to take over my being. Hopefully, some of the choir kids will post and tag pictures on Facebook allowing me to see the sights. I hope. I hope.

He did learn a useful trick. If you want to ride and skip the "standing in line for an hour" part, you can go up front as a "single" rider. You don't get to sit by your buddy, but you do get to enjoy the ride and totally avoid the wait. This worked well with the guys. I'm pretty sure Roxie and friends would stand in the line TOGETHER, ride the ride TOGETHER and leave the ride TOGETHER. Oh. And then go to the bathroom TOGETHER. Chicks are just wired a little differently.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Mikie and I enjoyed our time at the Live and Silent Auction benefiting Alzheimer's of Central Alabama Saturday night. I'm always very anxious at the auction.

Part of me wants to write down a bid on anything and everything that slightly interests me at the beginning of the auction. I want to play the odds of someone else outbidding me on 20 or more items. I restrain myself. Mainly because Mikie is at my elbow the entire time.

Part of me wants to raise my hand and wave wildly during the live auction when the fur coat and/or the tropical trips are up for bid. I restrain myself. Mainly because Mikie is at my elbow the entire time.

Part of me wants to stand at the dessert table in the front room and make myself at home. I restrain myself. Mainly because I have that diabetes thing going on, and I know there are barbecue sliders in the next room.

Attending the auction is a very hip and cool thing to do, and I look forward to it every year.

And one of these days, I'm leaving with a fur coat and tickets to an undisclosed tropical location. (It will have to be undisclosed because Mikie will be trying to hunt me down.)

RANDOMNESS #5 - My friend, Jennifer, is always at the auction, and I love talking to her. She and her husband recently went zip-lining at Red Mountain, and they had a blast. She made the suggestion to Mike (and I wholeheartedly agreed) that my Mother's Day gift this year should be a zip-lining adventure.

She told me I needed the guide named "Moose." Or "Goose." Or "Bob." I'll want to get the correct name before I start the zip-lining process. (I'm really hoping his name is "Moose." A guide named Moose just makes you feel a little safer than a "Goose" or a "Bob," if you know what I mean.)

Yep. That's right. I may be zip-lining in two or three weeks. I'll be able to mark that off my Things To Do Before I'm 90 List. If I zip-line for Mother's Day, I'll be able to concentrate on swimming with the dolphins next. (I know babies who are swimming with the dolphins. It is becoming so commonplace, and I am so behind.)

RANDOMNESS #6 - While pictures are few and far between in today's post, things will be picking up shortly. May is full of photography opportunities. Graduation, Mother's Day, zip-lining, a possible ambulance ride after the zip-lining, etc., etc. Just be patient!

RANDOMNESS #7 - I did want to redeem myself after last week's horrendous "Welcome Home" Mexican Chili Lime Chicken fiasco. I still shudder.

To make it up to Austin and the rest of my family, I made Chicken and Dumplings Sunday. I was missing a few items called for in the recipe, but I substituted a little of this and a little of that. (Good cooks can do that, you know. Me... not so much.)

However, this time it worked. The Mexican Chili Lime Chicken is slowly, but surely, becoming a thing of the past.

It's going to be a busy week. I have lots of ideas and blogs to share with you, so you'll need to visit at least once a day! I'll be back tomorrow with a great recipe.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - MJ (My Josh) is in Orlando performing with the High School Choir this morning. If all goes according to plan, he will be riding roller coasters this afternoon.

He is REQUIRED to text/call/FAX me twice a day to let me know he is among the living. It is not an option.

I'm a menopausal mom living on the edge. I have a plane ticket, and I'm not afraid to use it.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Austin moved home from college last night, and it was lovely.

In other news, his "Welcome Home" meal was perhaps the WORSE meal I've prepared since I was six and I experimented with different sandwich ingredients.

I'm a BOGO shopper at Winn-Dixie (Buy One, Get One Free). I NEVER, EVER buy something I wouldn't use just to get the free item. NEVER, EVER!

Except this once.

They had a bin marked BOGO with Teriyaki Marinade. I LOVE Teriyaki Marinade. I am familiar with Teriyaki Marinade. Excuse the improper grammar, but I cook good with Teriyaki Marinade.

But another bottle caught my eye. It was the same shape as the Teriyaki Marinade, but the label was slightly different. It read Mexican Chili Lime Marinade. Hmmmm. Mexican Chili Lime Marinade?

I like Mexican. I like chili. I LOVE lime. The rest of the Faulkner Five... not so much. However, if it was just a hint of lime, perhaps they would go for it. I held the rogue bottle in my hands for a good two or three minutes before I put it in my buggy. I had made a decision.

If I cook with it, they will come.

They might leave the dinner table gagging, but they will at least come.

I also decided to use another BOGO item. It is usually a breakfast item, but I decided to spruce it up with Cream of Chicken soup, sour cream and Velveeta cheese. Cheesy Hashbrowns. (Can you tell I was emptying out the pantry, freezer and refrigerator yesterday?)

Sounds good, right? Once again... not so much.

I had bought a fairly large fruit plate the day before, because what the Faulkner Five lack in vegetable consumption, they make up for in fruit consumption. The tray consisted of cantaloupe, pineapple, green apples, red apples and red grapes.

The chicken was, in a word, horrible. How much lime do you have to put in a bottle to completely overpower Mexican AND chili flavorings?

The cheesy hashbrowns were missing something, too. Perhaps shredded Cheddar cheese? Velveeta was NOT the correct cheese choice.

The fruit was fine, but fruit alone does not a "Welcome Home" meal make.

I did bake (warm up) apple dumplings which were in the freezer, and cover them with sauce (which was in the refrigerator door). They were very, very good, but by the time I offered the dumplings, the family was afraid. Very, very afraid. And they said they would eat them at a later date. And they didn't.

I know what you're thinking. "If The Enchanting Belinda had just said out loud the words 'Mexican Chili Lime Chicken, Cheesy Hashbrowns AND Fruit Tray,' she would have known this was going to be a culinary disaster. Nothing goes together. It doesn't flow. It's a disaster waiting to happen."

Yeah. Thanks for the warning.

Thank goodness I had 24 boxes of BOGO cereal in the pantry. It has been my experience, you cannot go wrong with 24 boxes of BOGO cereal. Ever.

Crisis averted!

And refrigerator/pantry/freezer cleaned out!

RANDOMNESS #3 - My exercise buddy, Cam, and I exercised five times this week. That is always the goal, and when we achieve our goal, we sing and dance and skip and run.

Not really.

We slowly walk to our respective vans and drive home... where I (I cannot/will not speak for Cam) walk/crouch/crawl to the living room couch and rest my endorphin-less, exercise-weary body.

Yesterday, my exercise instructor talked to me about pressing onward and upward. To focus on more than just maintaining my 50 year-old body, but setting new heights and weights and goals to IMPROVE my 50 year-old body.

I was too sore and too tired to laugh.

"I'm afraid you will get discouraged if you don't continue to see improvement over the next few months."

I love my instructor, but she doesn't know me very well.

My main goal in exercising is NOT to have a 20 or 30 year-old body at the age of 50. Nope.

That ship has sailed.

My main goal in exercising is to be in shape for my non-existent, future grandchildren.

I'm doing squats and lunges so I'll be able to keep up with non-existent, future toddlers and preschoolers.

I'm doing bicep and tricep curls so I'll be able to hold non-existent, future fat, wiggly babies.

I'm doing ab work so I'll be able to... Hmmm. I'm not really sure why I'm doing ab work. I'll have to think about that one. (My exercise routine may have just become a little easier!)

I walk two miles around the track at a fast clip so I'll be able to walk from parking lots to soccer fields, basketball courts and football stadiums to watch non-existent, future tweens, pre-teens and teens as they participate in their interests.

I've already had my 20 and 30 year-old body. I'm working on my Nanna B Body... and it's going to be FABULOUS!

RANDOMNESS #4 - I Can't Wait - From 41 to 50 Years - Since I'm only 50, this topic ends today. (I know you are thrilled.)



This is me... turning 50. I wanted to give you a visual.



This has nothing to do with today's post, but I just really loved the cake Katie made for my birthday last year.

I told you yesterday the "I Can't Waits" slow down considerably in your fourth decade of life. They do.

I imagine it is because before you can actually get the words "I can't wait" out of your mouth, the event you couldn't wait for has already happened and the next event is fast approaching.

That's right. Things speed up. They speed up to the point "I can't wait" is replaced with, "Whoa, Nelly. Let's slow things down a bit, shall we?"

But things don't slow down.

Holidays, seasons, birthdays and milestones come and go in a flash. Days which once seemed to hold 42 hours, now only have 12 hours. There simply isn't enough time to do anything... much less everything.

My fifth decade of life was dedicated to re-training my "I can't wait" mindset and body to become a "breathe, watch and enjoy the moment" mindset and body. (And it has literally taken me the entire decade to achieve this goal.)

Sometimes, I fall back into old habits, but not for long.

Someone asked me last week, "I bet you cannot wait until you have grandchildren," and I almost said, "Oh. You are right! I can't wait!"

But something stopped me. Am I willing to fly through the next few birthdays, graduations, holidays, milestones which are approaching fast and furious to focus on something that may or may not happen in the future.

Nope.

I don't think so.

Been there. Done that!

If I have to be (or get to be) 50 years-old, I at least want to have learned something from the past few decades.

I can wait for my date with Mikie tomorrow night. I can wait for Josh's High School Graduation next month. I can wait for Austin's College Graduation next year. I can wait for Roxie to turn 16 and get her driver's license.

I can wait for all those things floating out in the future, because I have today. In fact, today is all I have, and I don't want to waste a minute of it.

Not one precious, fleeting, tiny minute!

Weekend Happenings

Austin will be working and dating this weekend.



Josh will be doing Orlando-type things this weekend.



Roxie will be hanging with friends this weekend.



And Mikie and I will have not one, but TWO, dates this weekend. I'm not sure what we're going to do tonight, but tomorrow night is set in stone. We even have actual tickets.

We'll be attending the 16th Annual Garden & Art Party Live and Silent Auction benefiting Alzheimer's of Central Alabama Saturday evening.

I look forward to this night all year long! It is so much fun, and while we didn't "win" everything we bid on last year, we did receive/win two very nice "dates" to use some time during the year 2011. And we enjoyed them very much.

It's going to be held at the B & A Warehouse again this year. It is such a neat venue. It's all hip and twinkly lights and so not me, but I love it. And if we go early enough (which I plan to do), Mikie and I will be able to walk around Railroad Park which is located right across the street.

It will be a twofer for me since I have been trying to get someone/anyone/Roxie to go to Railroad Park with me ALL week long.

I'll let you know all the details Monday!

I hope you have a lovely Spring weekend. I'll be back next week with Mindless Monday, some pics and Randomness. May will be full of Mother's Day ideas and traditions, Graduation ideas and traditions and End-of-the-School-Year ideas and traditions. In other words, it's going to be a busy, busy month.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ideas for Date Your Mate Month

Good Thursday morning!

DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! - You can leave a comment in the Comment Section of the blog now. After you type your comment, click on "Anonymous" under "Comment As." Then click on "Publish." Easy, breezy!

RANDOMNESS #1 - MJ (My Josh) left this morning for a Choir trip to Universal in Orlando. Sadness.





Well, maybe a little more sadness for me than him.

RANDOMNESS #2 - The Boy is coming home after completing his third year of college today. He's a SENIOR! Euphoria!

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Chick wants to go shopping several times over the three-day weekend. We will eat pretzels and drink Diet Coke. Anticipation!

The revolving door, bed and breakfast establishment that IS Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) is experiencing a typical Thursday in April.

And I wouldn't trade it for any other Thursday I've ever known. (Except I wouldn't mind Josh being home with the rest of us. But that isn't going to happen.)

RANDOMNESS #4 - I Can't Wait - From 31 to 40 Years - The "I Can't Waits" keep a-coming. However, the theme has changed a little. Instead of thinking of "I Can't Wait" moments for me, during this decade I started thinking about "I Can't Wait" moments for the kids.

"I can't wait until he/she walks."

"I can't wait until he/she says their first word."

"I can't wait until he/she can go to their first movie."

"I can't wait until he/she can play their first sport."

"I can't wait until he/she accepts Christ as their Savior."

"I can't wait until he/she (fill in the blank)."

Of course, I started the decade with my leftover "I Can't Waits."

"I can't wait to have more children."





These two showed up during this decade!

"I can't wait to move into a bigger house."

"I can't wait until we have beagles."





"I can't wait until I meet Jon and Kate!"



Once you begin the "I Can't Wait" game, it will take over. And then it speeds up. And since it has been a part of your life for four decades, sometimes you don't even realize you're looking so far ahead, you're missing a rainy Tuesday afternoon with sleepy preschoolers wanting you to curl up on the couch and read one more story before naptime.

Or you mechanically fix lunch, and you zone out a bit while they chatter around you.

Or you sit on the deck and flip through the Family Fun magazine and plan parties and dinners and field trips for the future, and you forget to watch your kiddos just play on the swing set. And you don't hear their laughter. Well, you hear it, but it's background noise.

The good news is the "I Can't Waits" start to slow down during this decade. They are replaced with "I can wait" and "I can't believe how fast they've grown" and "Where did all the time go?"

I'll finish up this little tirade tomorrow, but I'll give you a little hint how it ends.

I RARELY say, "I Can't Wait" these days. And when it does slip out, it feels rushed and silly and unnecessary, because at 50 years of age, I finally know I can wait.

You may have guessed... I'm a slow learner!

Blog Linkage - Ahhh. I have some cool links for you to read today. Get to it!

1. Go to "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman" under My Blog List. Click on "Photography" at the top of her page and just take a few minutes to look at all the beautiful pictures which were entered in this week's contest... using a phone camera. Pretty impressive.

2. If you want to read a sweet love story, click on "the anderson crew" under My Blog List. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Older Posts." It will take you to a post entitled "Happy Anniversary, Mr. Anderson" dated April 25.

3. If you love scrapbooking, you'll find ideas and inspiration galore when you click on "a little bit of me" (any post). Susan is very, very talented. You'll feel your creative juices flowing after you read her blog for a few minutes.

4. Do you need a Teacher Appreciation Gift idea? Immediately go to my sidebar and click on "eighteen25." Scroll down to the post entitled "(past projects) teacher appreciation" and look at the many, many ideas.

5. As always, check out "Six Sisters' Stuff" under My Blog List... today and everyday!

Ideas for Date Your Mate Month

1. Watch the sunrise. Then make breakfast together.

2. Watch an entire season of your favorite TV show together.

3. Ride go-carts... without the kids!

4. Visit a planetarium.

5. Go to an ethnic festival.

And for a MILLION more date ideas and themes, go to my sidebar and look under My Blog List. Click on "The Dating Divas." Click on "All Dates" at the top of their page and find something that appeals to you and yours. (And you WILL find something. Believe me!)

Get busy planning your month of May Date Your Mate dates. May 1 will be here before you know it!

Have a fantastic Thursday. I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings, the last installment of "I Can't Wait," pictures of The Boy returning home from college and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Date Your Mate Month

Good Wednesday morning!

DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! - You can leave a Comment now!

1. Type your comment below.

2. Click on "Reply As," and then click on "Anonymous."

3. All you have to do now, is click on "Publish," and you're done!

4. The blog will now accept your comment! (Remember to type your name. "Anonymous" really and truly means anonymous.)

RANDOMNESS #1 - Yesterday, I again had the inexplicable longing to travel to Railroad Park and take pictures of Roxie. It wasn't as strong as Monday's longing, but I think that was because I was prepared for the upcoming rejection. And I'm glad I was prepared, because rejection is what I received... again.

Roxie decided to go running with Josh, which was a good brother/sister bonding activity, so I really couldn't say anything negative (out loud).

However, because I had been disappointed TWO days in a row, I did ask/whine/grovel for a couple of pics before she left for school this morning wearing her new, cute shirt, capris and flats. One day before I turn 60, I want to leave the house looking like this... only taller with shorter hair and (I'll just go ahead and say it) NOT wearing size 2 capris. One day!





Oh, yeah. I'm going to look JUST like this one day before I turn 60. NOT!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I made yesterday's featured recipe (Slow Cooker Cake Mix Apple Cobbler) last night for dessert. Josh loved it and Mikie liked it... a lot. It is easy, delicious and it takes exactly 3 minutes to prepare! (Be sure to remember it takes 4 hours to cook. I don't want you to think you can have company for dinner at 7:00 p.m. and sit down and eat this dessert at 7:30 p.m. Nope. It ain't gonna happen.)

It is a VERY sweet dessert, and it does need a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Believe it or not, the ice cream will cut some of the sweet taste. I know some people eat a slice of cheese with their apple pie, so if you are one of those, you could try that. Personally, I believe cheese belongs in cheesecake ONLY when you're talking about desserts, but as I've mentioned before, I don't know everything. (I have mentioned that before, haven't I?")

RANDOMNESS #3 - I am loving several of the "new-to-me" features of the new blog server. I LOVE having pictures in the middle of the blog. I LOVE having an accessible Comment Section once again. However, I am having trouble figuring out posting for 50 is Nifty, my picture-of-the-day blog.

I haven't given up, but it is taking me a little longer to figure things out than the normal bloggers who have the correct number of brain cells still floating around in their heads.

Be patient!

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Dating Divas have officially accepted my Thrift Store/Antique Store Date idea AND now have the photos to accompany the date when they post it sometime in the future.

I have no idea when the "future" is exactly, and if you've known me two minutes, you know it is killing me to wait and wonder.

But that is exactly what I'm doing. I'm being patient (see RANDOMNESS #3)... AGAIN!

RANDOMNESS #5 - I've decided Mike will now and forevermore be referred to as "Mikie," and Austin is officially "The Boy." Josh and Roxie NEED official nicknames.

From now until the end of time (or until he marries), Josh will be referred to as "My Josh." It was between that and "The Other Boy," and I thought "The Other Boy" might offend.

Roxie will hereafter be referred to as "The Chick." It fits her, and other than me ("The Enchanting Belinda") and Sparkle ("Beagle Extraordinaire"), she has been the only chick around here without a nickname.

I know they've been feeling left out. I can't wait to tell them when they come home from school today!

RANDOMNESS #6 - I met MJ (My Josh) and his sweet prom date at the tux rental place yesterday. My main job was to supply the deposit money for said tux. Can I just say, they are going to look SO good next weekend?

And that is my totally unbiased opinion.

RANDOMNESS #7 - I Can't Wait - From 21 to 30 Years - Ahhh. The "I Can't Wait" list grows and grows. Instead of being "happy in the moment" during my next decade of life, believe it or not the "I Can't Waits" intensified.

"I can't wait until I fall in love." (This one carried over from the previous decade.)



"I can't wait until I get married."

"I can't wait until I have children."



The Boy was the first "I Can't Wait" child to be born during this particular decade.

"I can't wait until I have a career."

"I can't wait until I have an apartment of my own."

"I can't wait until I have a house of my own."

Again, you must add all of the "I Can't Waits" from the first two decades to this ever-growing list.

In all honesty, the above list is a big time consumer. Everything I wished for during this decade took a lot of thought and energy because not only could I not wait for those things to happen, I imagined them in my mind thousands... nay, millions of times before some of them became a reality.

With all of the things on my three-decade long "I Can't Wait" list to wish for and dream about, it's a wonder I was able to get out of bed in the morning to accomplish anything.

Will I ever learn?

Well, it took another decade (and a half), but I finally got there.

Tune in tomorrow for the "31 to 40 Years" list. (I'm only 50, so it HAS to end by this Friday. I promise.)

Wednesday Wisdom - It's Spring, and I'm seeing more and more little ones out and about. Toddlers and babies are everywhere, I tell you! Here are just a few kid quotes I enjoyed this morning.

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

"Never have more children than you have car windows." Erma Bombeck

"No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal." Bill Cosby

Ain't it the truth?

Date Your Mate Month

Did you know MAY is National Date Your Mate Month? Did you? What a great seasonal tradition to celebrate.

Each and every May (from now on), plan not one, not two, but multiple dates during the month. In fact, see how many dates you and your mate can take!

Let your children see you date. Let your children help plan the dates. Let your children know just how much you love their Dad.

Set some rules.

1. Both the husband AND wife have to plan the dates.

2. Be flexible. A date doesn't have to last for hours. It can be as simple as drinking coffee on the deck while the kids watch a movie in the house, or watching a movie and eating popcorn after you put the kids to bed.

3. A date is real quality one-on-one time with your mate. It is NOT sitting in a fog watching the 10:00 o'clock news before brushing your teeth and going to bed. No, it is not!

4. Keep up with how many dates you can squeeze into May, 2012. Next year, try to maintain (or even beat) your previous record.

Since Thursday is Date Day on A Simple Life, I'll have a list of some NEW and DIFFERENT dates for you and yours to try the month of May.

Happy Dating!

Have a wonderful Wednesday. I'll be getting MJ (My Josh) ready for his trip to Orlando for the weekend. He is going with the choir for a competition, but they're spending the rest of the weekend at Universal Studios. (He's going to see Hogwarts without me, and I'm a little/lot bitter.)

I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage and a ton of new dates.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Slow Cooker Cake Mix Apple Cobbler from The Six Sisters

Good Tuesday morning!

ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! ANNOUNCEMENT! - You can leave Comments in my Comment Section! It's been a while since this feature was unexpectedly taken away from me (and you)... but it's back, Baby!

1. Click on "Comments" at the bottom of the post.

2. Type your comment in the provided box.

3. When you are finished, click on "Select Profile." You'll have a list of things to choose from, but if you click on "Anonymous," the blog will accept your comment. No questions asked!

4. After you click on "Anonymous," just click on "Publish."

It's a small miracle, I tell you!

ANOTHER ANNOUNCEMENT! ANOTHER ANNOUNCEMENT! ANOTHER ANNOUNCEMENT! - Guess what? I've been trying to put pictures "within" my blog posts for almost four years, and NOW I can do it! So exciting!

From now on, all pics will be IN the blog post and there will probably not be many at the bottom. I don't know about you, but I love to look at pictures AS I am reading. It must be the "preschool mom" in me. Books are always so much better when there is a picture on the page. I believe the same is true of blogs.

The Gallery is gone, so as I ramble, I will insert appropriate pictures.

RANDOMNESS #1 - For some reason, I wanted desperately to go to Railroad Park late yesterday afternoon and take pictures of Roxie. It was just a glorious, cool, blue-sky Spring day, and I wanted to go somewhere different and have fun with the chick and my camera. Since Roxie had no homework, I thought it would be perfect.

Wrong.

Roxie may not have had any homework, but she did have Athletics at the end of the day, and my poor girl came home SO tired. (Kind of like me after Body Pump.)

I then tried calling Mikie to see if he would meet me at the Park before coming all the way home. He was wearing a light blue shirt yesterday, and his eyes POP in pictures when he wears light blue shirts.

His phone was dead, so he didn't get my messages and he came straight home. And then it was too late to go to Railroad Park. So I went to the deck and photographed my un-photogenic beagles. I took 128 pictures. Three made it to the blog.



Whenever I give a toy to the beagles, Copper IMMEDIATELY buries the toy. Immediately. He doesn't play with it. He doesn't let Sparkle play with it. A toy's sole purpose in life is to be buried. So imagine my delight when I walked outside to discover he had un-buried one of his 825 tennis balls. And he obviously wanted me to throw it for him to fetch.

Or, maybe not. After I took this one picture, he ran past me and buried it.



While Copper runs to and fro in front of me at 90 miles per hour, Sparkle waits quietly until he falls over from exhaustion. She then walks (not runs) to me for uninterrupted petting, belly scratching and baby talk.



After a few minutes of rest, Copper decides to play his second favorite game... Hunter. He crouches low and, making sure he has complete and total eye contact, he stalks his prey (me). And he is ALWAYS surprised when he doesn't "catch" me.

RANDOMNESS #2 - In other news, I hope to go to Railroad Park late this evening to take pictures of some of the humans in my family. Wish me luck.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I CAN'T WAIT - From 11 to 20 Years - The topic of the week (I Can't Wait) continues on A Simple Life. My list of things I couldn't wait for grew during this decade. A lot.

"I can't wait until I'm 13, and I'll be a teenager."

"I can't wait until I'm 15, and I'll be able to get my learner's permit."

"I can't wait until I'm 16, and I'll be able to DATE, DRIVE and the world will be a much better place."

"I can't wait until I am in high school."

"I can't wait until I graduate high school."

"I can't wait until I go to college."

"I can't wait until I graduate from college."

The following "I Can't Wait" moments carried over into the next decade. However, they were all worth the wait!

"I can't wait until I fall in love."



"I can't wait until I get married."

"I can't wait until I have kids."

Now, add all of the "I Can't Waits" from yesterday's list, and you've got a young lady missing special moments right and left because she was WAY too busy looking into the future. Sad, but true.

I wish I could say tomorrow's list is shorter, but it is not. In fact, it is much, much longer. Bear with me. There's a point to these little random thoughts. I promise!

Slow Cooker Cake Mix Apple Cobbler

I know I've mentioned this before, but you simply MUST go to Six Sisters' Stuff on my sidebar SEVERAL times a day. With six different sisters posting wonderful recipes and ideas ALL the time, you might miss something great if you skip a day... or half a day... or 15 minutes.

You will need the following:

1 yellow cake mix
1 20 ounce can of apple pie filling
6 tablespoons melted butter

1. Dump can of apple pie filling into bottom of slow cooker.

2. Spread yellow cake mix over apple pie filling.

3. Spoon butter onto cake mix. DO NOT MIX cake mix and butter.

4. Cook on high for 4 hours.

5. Serve immediately with ice cream.

I don't know about you, but this simple recipe uses TWO of my favorite things... a slow cooker and a cake mix! You can't beat that.

Y'all have a pleasant Tuesday. It is a beautiful day in Alabama! I'll be back tomorrow with a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness, more "I Can't Wait" (the 21 to 30 decade), pics and more, more, more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

I'm not sure, but I think I know how to post using my new server. We will see in just a few minutes!

I didn't take many pictures this weekend. Two, to be exact. However, I like them, and if I am able to post photos on this new format, I will be pleased.



I could take pictures of sleeping kids ALL day long... even giant sleeping kids.



However, when the chick gave me the "stink eye" during the second picture, I decided enough was enough. And I ran from the room before she could sit up.

I'm not sure how this is going to work, but if pictures actually show up in the middle of the blog (as I want them to), the format of A Simple Life may be a little different from now until September.

I won't know anything until I hit the "Publish" button, but it looks very promising!

RANDOMNESS #1 - This weekend was very unpredictable... just as I predicted. Guess what? It was totally enjoyable. Unpredictable AND enjoyable are two words which don't usually go well for me.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I have discovered a new jean. It is called the "Not Your Daughter's Jean," and it is perfection. It holds things in without causing pain, and it is pretty flattering. (I've worn them six times in the last seven days. I am not kidding.)

And if it wasn't for the the expense (they are quite pricey), I would have six pair and I would wear them everyday for the next seven years. (Graduations, weddings, funerals, ball games, out to eat, etc. I'm telling you, if I could afford five more pair, you would never see me in anything else... ever.)

I'm actually planning on being buried in these jeans.

As I was putting them on for the sixth time last night, I noticed a very lengthy tag in the front. I put on my "Not My Daughter's Glasses" and took a look. And then I wish I had not.

I had bought my jeans by my American size (and that's all I'll say about that). But these jeans are obviously an international fad because they had sizes for many European countries listed on this tag.

In the United Kingdom, I would wear a size 20 in these jeans.

In Europe and Germany, I would wear a size 46 in these jeans.

In France, I would wear a size 48 in these jeans.

IN ITALY, I WOULD WEAR A SIZE 52 IN THESE JEANS.

I may visit one or more of these places in my lifetime, but believe me when I say, I will NOT be purchasing clothes while visiting these countries.

Also, this is just one more reason I am proud to be an American!

RANDOMNESS #3 - As I put head to pillow last night, I started thinking about the phrase, "I can't wait!" Do not ask me why. I have no idea. Most things that run through my mind when I put head to pillow cannot be remembered the next morning, so when I woke up with almost total recall of the night before, I was pleased and surprised.

Pleased because it will be this week's topic. Surprised because I don't usually retain thoughts... mine OR other people's.

I CAN'T WAIT

I decided to write about the "I Can't Wait" topic in decade form. Don't worry. It sounds much lengthier than it will be, I assure you.

From Birth to 10 Years-Old

Basically, the first decade of life is FULL of "I can't wait" moments. These moments are very simplistic, and they revolve around gifts and celebrations.

"I can't wait until Christmas."

"I can't wait until Easter."

"I can't wait until MY BIRTHDAY."

"I can't wait until Halloween."

"I can't wait until Summer."

You will note, Thanksgiving is not in the mix of things I couldn't wait for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays now, but during that first decade of life, turkey, dressing and an afternoon with cousins I saw ALL the time didn't thrill me. Don't get me wrong. It was enjoyable, but it definitely did not make the "I can't wait" cut.

Nope. It did not.

Summer made the list because, even though I loved elementary school, I did enjoy the summertime activities. Going to the pool, sleeping late, no schedule, playing outside until after dark, homemade ice cream, reading TONS of teen mystery novels (my absolute favorite) and going to the library two or three times a week, etc., etc. There were no gifts involved in Summer, but it was still something I desired ALL year long.

Your Birth to 10 Year-Old "I Can't Wait" list may look very different from mine. I've come to realize very few people think exactly as I do, so if your list doesn't look like the above, that's okay. Just be sure NOT to tell me!

I'll have "From 11 to 20 Years-Old" tomorrow. (I can tell you now... That list is much, much longer.)

I hope you have a really, really good Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with an edible recipe, more "I Can't Wait" thoughts and hopefully pictures on the blog!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. "I Can't Wait" to see if my pictures published!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

Something is up with Blogger, and I'm having to re-learn some things about posting. It seems I am no longer supported by Blogger. I don't know what that means, or why I have lost their support. Hopefully, this will not affect you... but it definitely affects me. I am not happy. Nope. Not happy... at all!

I hope to have pictures of the beagles in the Gallery today. But to be perfectly honest, it isn't looking good!

Since I have much to learn this morning, the post will be unbelievably brief.

Weekend Happenings

You would think after two weeks of "not much happening" during the weekend, I would have planned a huge "something special," but not so much.

Since things are about to crank up with the volleyball tryouts, basketball tryouts, end of school, Josh's Graduation, summer, etc., I'm going to enjoy as many "not much happening" weekends as possible.

Actually, this may be the last one.

Austin is staying in Jacksonville until Saturday to work on a project. Then he will be working at the Chick and spending some time with Melia this weekend, I am sure.

Josh is going to be in and out this weekend. Right now, he only has one specific thing planned, but all that will change by 3:00 this afternoon, I am sure.

Roxie is doing something with friends Friday night and Sunday evening. She may be going fishing with Mikie Saturday evening depending on weather. If she does go fishing and catches another fish or two, I will have pictures Monday morning, I am sure.

I am NOT sure of anything Mikie and I are doing as of this moment. Except for one appointment on Saturday morning, we are "free as a breeze." Very, very free.
And I would plan "something special" for us, but we are of the age we have to conserve our energy for the upcoming hectic weekends.

I hope you and yours have a great weekend. If all goes well, I'll be back Monday with an understanding of how to post... again, how to put pictures on the blog... again, and how to NEVER lose the support of my blog publisher... again.

Wish me luck.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Befuddled Belinda

Thursday, April 19, 2012

State Park Date

Good Thursday morning!

Pictures of Baked Oatmeal (with bananas, strawberries and chocolate chips) are in the Gallery today. I made it last night, so it could just be heated up this morning. It's better straight out of the oven, but I enjoyed my oats this morning, as well!

RANDOMNESS #1 - We're in Graduation Mode around here. Josh is fast approaching his last day of high school, and we are all thrilled. It has been a long road, but he can see the light at the end of the tunnel now... and he is ready.

I'm meeting him and his prom date at the tuxedo rental place this afternoon. Another milestone. Another bittersweet moment in the life of a mom of teenagers.

Josh has always rocked a tux, but this one may have purple accessories. I have no doubt he'll rock the purple, too.

It's most definitely an exciting event... one of many to come over the next few days.

I'm already reminding myself to breathe... and enjoy the moment. "Don't think about tomorrow. Just 'take in' today."

It's good advice. I hope I pay attention.

RANDOMNESS #2 - You've seen the "Hugs" books, haven't you? Hugs for Moms... Hugs for Pet Lovers... Hugs for Women on the Go... Hugs for Coffee Lovers. There are many, many more.

I have a Hugs for Scrapbookers book, and I really like some of the things it says to me. I've been a scrapbooker for 19 years now, and I kept plain, ol' photo albums prior to that time.

Scrapbooking is one of the best ways I've ever spent my time... ever. I can especially say that now as my children are almost grown, and I have so many memories (the good, the bad and the ugly) recorded for me... and for them.

I always hear scrapbookers talk about being "behind," but I can honestly say I've never felt that way. To the contrary, I feel if I ever catch up, that will mean fewer and fewer memories are being made. The kids will be working, raising their own families and living their own lives, and while I'll still be recording any and everything I possibly can with my camera, it will not be the same as living with a family of five (and two beagles) on a day-to-day basis.

Nope. It will be different.

I hope I never catch up!

Remember your history and your heritage.
Reflect on the good things in your life.
Think about truth and goodness.
Contemplate things that are right, pure and lovely.
Have an attitude of gratitude for all I've done for you.
May faithfulness is your rock through all generations.

Taken from Deuteronomy 32:7; Philippians 4:8; Psalm 100:5.

Blog Linkage - I have some good stuff to share today.

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and scroll down, down, down the sidebar until you reach the Search Box. Type "Berry Basket Gift Idea" in the box and hit Search. It will pop up at the top of the page. Great idea for a Teacher Gift for the end of school.

2. Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "Anniversary Gifts." When you finish looking at all the good ideas, go to the Search Box on the sidebar and type "Anniversary Week." Several posts will pop up. Read them all. Tons of great ideas for upcoming anniversaries. Tons, I tell you!

3. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List. Click on "Photography" at the top of her page. Ree's having a Phone Photo Contest. I always like the contests.

Enjoy!

State Park Date

I've done the State Park thing several times, but they are always offering "new" stuff to do on beautiful Spring Saturdays... and I just couldn't resist giving you some ideas from their website.

Whether we are camping or not, I've always enjoyed visiting the State Parks for many different events and reasons.

1. Basket Making - DeSoto State Park

Join Arlene McGowan to learn the basics of basketry and create your own cracker basket.

Date - Saturday, April 21, 2012
Where - Little River Canyon Center in Fort Payne, Alabama
Time - 10:00 a..m. - 2:00 p.m.
Fee - $30* per person (*May be an additional supply fee.)
Pre-registration required.
Call (256)782-8010 or e-mail fieldschool@jsu.edu for more details.

2. Build a Bluebird House - DeSoto State Park

Bluebirds are lovely, social, mosquito-eating feathered friends. Learn to attract them to your yard or garden. Canyon Center Volunteer, Mickey Luck, will teach participants how to build their very own blue bird house. Hands-on fun!

Date - Saturday, April 21, 2012
Where - Meet at Little River Canyon Center in Fort Payne, Alabama
Time - 10 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Fee - $15 per bird house
Pre-registration required.
Call (256)782-8010 or e-mail fieldschool@jsu.edu for more details.

3. Rendezvous at the Rim - DeSoto State Park

Little River Canyon will celebrate Earth Day 2012 on Saturday, April 21 with a day of guided walks, activities, food and fun for everyone to enjoy. Rendezvous at the Rim will bring together nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and park rangers to honor one of Alabama’s natural wonders. This family-friendly event kicks off National Park Week which lasts through April 29.

Rendezvous at the Rim is a joint effort by the Little River Canyon National Preserve and the Friends of the Preserve. This first annual event is an opportunity to experience the scenery and to learn about native animals, geology and the skills needed to care for the Canyon and the more than 200,000 people that visit each year.

Learn how Park Rangers fight forest fires and prepare for rescues. Talk to Rangers that build trails and make the park a welcoming place to visit. Come along on guided history hikes ideal for children and adults.

Put your new knowledge to use by becoming a Junior Ranger while earning a special Junior Ranger Badge. The Junior Ranger Program was created by the National Park Service to provide kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years-old with hands-on, in-depth information about the resources that our parks protect.

Activities will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Little River Falls along Highway 35.

Call (256)845-9605 for more information.

4. Guided Hike - Lake Guntersville State Park

King's Chapel Trail is a short 1.6 mile hike from the park road to an old cemetery.

Date - Saturday, April 28, 2012
Where - Meet at the trailhead parking area.
Time - 9 a.m.
Call (256)571-5440 or e-mail patti.donnellan@dcnr.alabama.gov for more information.

5. Guided Hike - Lake Guntersville State Park

The Chalet and Loop Trail connects the campground with the chalets. You will be able to see beautiful limestone formations, large trees and ferns. Meet in the lobby on the Lodge.

Date - Saturday, May 5, 2012
Where - Meet in the lobby of the Lodge.
Time - 9 a.m.
Call (256)571-5440 or e-mail patti.donnellan@dcnr.alabama.gov for more information.

You'll get to spend tons of time with your little one on the drive to and from, during the activity and sharing a meal together before heading home.

Get busy and plan your State Park Date... today!

Have a purposeful Thursday. Get a lot done. Call someone who is on your mind and your heart. Spend some time encouraging another. Make Thursday COUNT!

Wow! We've got a lot to do today. Let's get busy!

Weekend Happenings tomorrow. You don't want to miss that, do you? I didn't think so!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Book Shower

Good Wednesday morning!

I added a pic to the Gallery. I may walk outside today and put hats on the beagles for some new photos, but since today is a walking AND Body Pump day, I'm guessing that might not happen.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie and I did not care for Dance Moms - Miami. I think the moms in Miami are trying too hard to be as crazy as the moms in Pittsburgh (or wherever Abby Lee lives), and they just can't pull it off.

We've decided to wait until the REAL Dance Moms starts again this Summer, and not waste our precious time watching the Miami version.

(It is kind of like watching the OTHER NCIS. Without Mark Harmon, it really isn't worth the effort!)

RANDOMNESS #2 - I found this quote in one of my Becky Freeman books, so I thought I'd share today. It is about SLOWING DOWN!

"The best things in life move slowly. They can hardly overtake one who is in a hurry. We are making haste to ill purpose if we 'haven't time' to read good books, to think quietly, to visit our friend, to comfort the sick and sorrowing, to enjoy the beautiful creations of God and man, and to lend a hand to a struggling brother. Time is precious, but more precious than fleeting hours are truth, love, benevolence, friendship, service a serene mind and a happy heart, for these are the essence of life itself." Taken from Serenity Is...

Wednesday Wisdom - When I Googled "Quotes About Raising Teens," I was rewarded with several "Parents of Teenagers Support Group" sites. (I'll let you know what I find out!)

"Children are a great comfort in old age... and they help you reach it much faster, too!" Lionel M Kaufman

"Kids can be a pain in the neck when they're not a lump in your throat." Barbara Johnson

"If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance." Al Bernstein

"Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth." Erma Bombeck (And all the Moms I know said, "AMEN!")

"Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years." Author Unknown (True, true, true.)

A Book Shower

I found this website on Pinterest, and I would like for you to go there immediately (www.aestheticnest.com). We are not going to wait until Thursday's Blog Linkage. No, sir. We are not!

Look on the sidebar and click on "Party: Golden Books Shower."

Soak in all the baby shower goodness.

Doesn't this mom have some great ideas for a great party?

All I'm going to add to this are a few variations that come to mind...

VARIATION #1 - Dr. Seuss Book Shower

VARIATION #2 - Family, Toddler, Child and Teen Devotion Book Shower

VARIATION #3 - Disney Book and DVD Shower

VARIATION #4 - My Favorite Childhood Book Shower

I think of this as a small "friend" gathering, and not the big Baby Tea Celebration for the first child.

Helping create a Book Basket for a friend's new baby would be a most wonderful gift!

Have a glorious Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage, a Date, pictures of beagles wearing dresses and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

Good Tuesday morning!

The Gallery Pics are a little miscellaneous this morning. See for yourself.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I "kinda" made the Bacon Cheese Potatoes last night. I "kinda" didn't cook them in a slow cooker, but I layered bacon, THINLY sliced red potatoes and cheese (twice) in a casserole dish, and baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. And guess what? No leftovers!

I still intend to try the crock pot "thing," but this worked for me yesterday... and it was good.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Saturday morning, I spoke about "intentional" living. Specifically, Women Intentionally Living Daily for Christ.

I was VERY careful to point out I fail at "intentional living" a lot. A LOT! I even (painfully) admitted the following:

I am NOT a perfect wife.

I am NOT a perfect mother.

I am NOT a perfect housekeeper.

I am NOT a perfect cook.

I NEVER turn library books in on time.

I NEVER turn movies in on time.

I ALWAYS miss at least the first song (usually more) of every church service.

I am a flawed individual.

But I LOVE how God loves and uses flawed individuals... because no one is perfect. Even The Enchanting Belinda. ESPECIALLY The Enchanting Belinda!

But I am a STRIVER.

I strive to live intentionally each day for Christ... and some days are simply better than others. But at night, when I put head to pillow, I can rest knowing I can ask for forgiveness for the things I've done wrong, and I can wake up the next morning knowing, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23.

I need that. I need new mercies EVERY single morning... and I have a feeling I'm not alone.

It's 8:15 a.m. as I type this on a Tuesday morning, and I want to live intentionally for Christ today.

So far, so good!

We'll see how the rest of the day goes.

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

This recipe was given to me yesterday by my friend, Dee. I'm ALWAYS looking for one more way to cook chicken... and this week, Cheesy Chicken Lasagna fits the bill!

2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk (NOT fat-free)
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch dressing mix
3 cups cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (16 ounce) box lasagna noodles, cooked (Dee recommends reducing it to 8 or 12 ounces.)
1 1/2 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1. Cook the chicken and noodles at the same time. Once noodles are done, rinse in cold water and set aside. (This keeps them from sticking together.)

2. Combine evaporated milk and Ranch dressing in a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved.

3. Stir in chicken and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, exactly 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Layer half of lasagna noodles, poultry sauce and cheese in a greased 9" × 13" pan.

5. Repeat layers again.

6. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes (or until hot and bubbly). Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Is there such a thing as "too many" chicken recipes?

I think not!

Have a fun Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a fun party, Randomness, pics and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Wow! What an eclectic weekend it has been.

Friday Night - There were numerous teenagers all over the house. I made a box mix yellow cake (added homemade chocolate icing) and giant pancakes for breakfast the next morning. And I practiced my "talk" for Saturday morning's W.I.L.D. Woman Tablescapes sitting in the Big Gold Van while my house rocked! And I LOVED it! (The kids... not sitting in the Big Gold Van talking to myself.)

Saturday Morning - I picked up my friend, Julie, and she gave me directions to Oak Grove Baptist Church. I would have been lost 100 times if it had not been for her vast knowledge of that area. (I'm not kidding.)

The Tablescapes event was absolutely beautiful. The ladies decorated their tables using Bible verses for their theme, and they really outdid themselves. (Pictures below!)

I was seated at the W.I.L.D. Woman Table. It was a very good table. Not only was there cheetah print, but there were giant Hershey Chocolate Bars at every single place setting (tied with zebra ribbon). Even if I hadn't been assigned to this table, it would have called my name.

It was a sweet time with many warm, welcoming, kind-hearted sisters in Christ. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them Saturday morning.

Austin worked at the Chick all day.

Josh had a study session at UAB all morning.

At Faulkner Farms (circa 1842), Mikie held down the fort during the morning hours, straightened up after our guests left and was waiting to go fishing with Josh when I pulled into the driveway.

Saturday Evening - Roxie visited some friends. Austin and Melia went to the drive-in with Melia's family. Mike and Josh went fishing... and actually caught fish. (Pictures below!)

And I cooked Sunday lunch for the next day... and took a nap. Yes, I did!

Sunday Morning - We went to church. We had lunch. And then it got a little busy!

I rode with my friend, Cam, to attend a Baby Tea of a mutual friend. Oh... The baby goodness would take your breath away.

Did you know they now make specific nose wipes for babies and toddlers called Boogie Wipes? Just for boogies! How cool is that?

Of course, if those had been around when I was a new mother, I probably would have used them for make-up remover wipes, perspiration wipes and spot-remover wipes, too. The "Boogie" wouldn't have stopped me from trying to make them multi-dimensional wipes. But that's just me.

Sunday Afternoon - I met Austin and Melia at the Antique Mall in our fair city to take pictures of a "Thrift Store Date." The Dating Divas are going to feature this date on their blog some time in the future, and I needed some "how-to" pictures. (I'll let you know when and if they post the date!)

I have no idea what Mikie, Josh and Roxie did Sunday Afternoon. I absolutely lost track of more than half my family.

However, in my defense, they are 50, 18 and 15, respectively. It is not the same thing as walking out the door and leaving a 1, 2 and 3 year-old at home alone.

Or is it?

There are many important "things" happening the next few weeks. Prom! Volleyball and Basketball Tryouts! Mother's Day! Graduation! Austin coming home for the summer!

Let us all take a deep breath and hold on, shall we? Things are about to get a little hectic... which is the exact opposite of simple!

Have a great Monday. (I'm making the Slow Cooker Bacon and Cheese Potatoes tonight. I'll let you know how they turn out!) I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe, Randomness and pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, April 13, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

The Gallery pic is self-explanatory... if you read yesterday's post. And that's all I'm going to say about that!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I feel like I should be going warp speed today, but my mind and body are methodically and slowly performing one task at a time.

That's all fine and good for a regular, old Wednesday, but today is Uber-Friday and my list is two miles long, and it's 10:18 in the morning, and I'm not even the least bit nervous.

"Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might." Ecclesiastes 9:10 (I need to start the "do it with all your might" part soon. Very, very soon.)

I'll be nervous tonight... and even more so tomorrow before the W.I.L.D. Woman Tablescapes.

Nervous, but prepared. Which is a totally different thing than "nervous, but unprepared."

Totally, totally different.

I've been practicing my talk at home, in the shower AND any and every time I get into the Big Gold Van by myself. Many people have seen me talking to myself, moving my hands up and down, pointing, etc. while driving.

No. I am not crazy. Well, I'm a little bit crazy, but that's another story for another day.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I went to the drug store after the grocery store this morning to pick up one little thing.

On the way out, I noticed an Easter shelf with all kinds of Easter goodies for 50 percent off. Guess what caught my eye?

I'm going to go ahead and tell you, because I don't think you'll ever guess, and I've got a lot to do today.

A dinosaur head-shaped box filled with a dozen plastic dinosaur-shaped eggs to hide next year for dinosaur-lovin' little boys. Of which I have none. But I still held that dinosaur head-shaped box for a full seven minutes thinking how cool it was and how a little grandson would probably like hunting dinosaur eggs some time in the next ten years or so.

And then I heard Mikie's voice in my head. "Walk away from the Easter shelf! If you buy the dinosaur head-shaped box filled with plastic dinosaur-shaped eggs, you will ensure our fate of having only granddaughters... no grandsons. Those eggs will never be used. Again, I repeat! WALK AWAY FROM THE EASTER SHELF!"

And so I did. (And now I'm a little sad.)

RANDOMNESS #3 - Another day has gone by without The Pioneer Woman mentioning our life-changing meeting ten days ago.

I'm beginning to think it may have meant more to me than her. Hmmm. Could that even be possible?

Weekend Happenings

Such good weekend plans.

Friday - Austin will be working at the Chick. Josh and Roxie will be with friends. I will be practicing, practicing, practicing my talk. Mikie is on his own! (Unless he wants to take me out to dinner, and then I'll rearrange my busy, busy schedule.)

Saturday - Austin will be working at the Chick. Josh will be attending a school event in the morning and fishing with Mikie all afternoon. Roxie will be with friends. I will be attending the W.I.L.D. Woman Tablescapes in the morning and shopping for a baby gift in the afternoon.

Sunday - Austin will NOT be working at the Chick! We'll go to church. We'll have a nice lunch. Everyone will be on their own! I'll be attending a baby tea (so much fun), and then Melia and Austin are going to let me photograph them while they are on their Thrift Store Date. (How sweet are they to let me tag along? Don't worry. I'm buying them Star Bucks afterward.)

And that's it. Whirlwind... but fun.

I hope you have a fun "whirlwind" kind of weekend, too. I'll be back next week with tons of pics and stories galore... even if I have to "borrow" them from someone else's life.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Not the Least Bit Nervous Belinda

P.S. I'll have an update on The Boy coming up Monday. Radio stuff, you know.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Dating Divas Spring Olympics Date

Good Thursday morning!

I have food pictures in the Gallery this morning. Nothing spectacular, but I did make it myself!

RANDOMNESS - I'm not perfect. I know. I can almost hear the gasps and see the heads shaking. "No. No. Say it isn't so!"

Nope. I'm not even particularly close. And this makes me sad sometimes.

Like when I miss lunch with a friend... because I remember we're supposed to have lunch this week, but I don't remember we have actually picked a day AND a time.

My imperfection looks something like this on e-mail...

My Friend... Belinda. Sorry for the late notice. Tomorrow is not going to work. Can we do Monday or another day next week?

The Enchanting Belinda... That's fine. Can you go Tuesday or Thursday next week?

My Friend... Tuesday should work. Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

The Enchanting Belinda... You, too! I'll see you Tuesday!

THE FOLLOWING E-MAILS ARE DATED APRIL 10... TUESDAY EVENING!

My Friend... I looked so alone standing there lookin' around for my dear friend, Belinda! :o)

The Enchanting Belinda... OH, NO! Something has been bothering me ALL DAY. I FORGOT! Can you please, please forgive me? If not, I totally understand.

Here are my excuses...

1. I'm in the throes of menopause.

2. I live with two teenagers... and Mikie.

3. I thought I had three living brain cells left... but maybe I was wrong and now there are only two.

4. Did I mention I'm in the throes of menopause?

I am SO sorry.

My Sweet Friend... Easily FORGIVEN. I can SO relate to Nos. 1 and 4. How long do these throes last... like forever? Reschedule anytime. :o)

The Enchanting Belinda... Thursday??? I have a Sharpie and I'm going to write it on my arm. (I would write it on my forehead, but I don't really look in mirrors these days.)

I bought you an "I'm sorry" present!

My Sweet Friend... Thursday is good. :o)

The Enchanting Belinda... I WILL be there!

Last night, my friend sent me another e-mail. She bought us tickets to see Menopause - The Musical. It's playing one night only September 20.

She told me to write it on my arm... with a Sharpie! (And I did.)

Blog Linkage - I have two links to share with you today. (I had hoped to have THREE, but alas, The Pioneer Woman still hasn't mentioned our meeting from over a week ago. And until then... Well, I do have two good ones.)

1. Go to Nitty.Gritty. under My Blog list and read the post entitled "I'm not sure why I am sharing this letter to me with all of you..." dated April 10. Jody wrote a letter to her 16 year-old self from her 36 year-old self. It really makes you think about the advice you wish you could have given yourself those many years ago. I liked it.

2. Go to Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and read ALL of the posts you possibly can. As always, good, good stuff.

Spring Olympics Date

The Dating Divas (look under My Blog List) have SO many great date ideas, you could spend days and days reading their past posts telling you exactly how to create fun, inexpensive, marriage-building dates. I looked up "Spring Dates" in the Search box, and this date popped up from April of 2010.

I like this date because you can do it with your spouse, OR you can have a Spring Olympic Date with one of your kiddos. Either way, it would be a lot of fun.

Read on...

I decided to call the hubby and ask him to participate in this year's Spring Olympics! He wasn't sure if I was serious, but quickly went along with it!

We started our morning out with a "champion's breakfast." Meat and eggs! You need protein to have lots of energy for the Olympics!

Here were the scheduled events...

Rowing
Kayaking
Swimming
Javelin
Frisbee Bowling

You can find the details of each event and items needed by clicking on The Dating Divas under My Blog List. Type "Spring Olympics" in the Search box on the right, and it will take you directly to the post. There are pictures and descriptions for each event.

You can find gold and silver medals, along with gold trophies, at Wal-Mart! Go ahead and sport them all day.

Start planning your own Spring Olympic Date today. (The weather couldn't be any better!)

Have a gorgeous Thursday. It is beautiful outside... pollen and all. I'll be back in the morning with Weekend Happenings, pics and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and Slightly Imperfect (But Always Endearing) Belinda

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Run, Baby, Run!

Good Wednesday morning!

That's right! It's already Wednesday morning. How did that happen?

I have the last of the Easter pics in the Gallery today. I know you'll be happy. I tend to hold onto a holiday a little longer than most, but after today's post, I'll be ready for Mother's Day!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I'll be speaking this Saturday at Oak Grove First Baptist W.I.L.D. Women Tablescapes (Women Intentionally Living Daily for Christ). I'm very excited, and I've been busy getting my many wayward thoughts together in one cohesive, non-rambling talk. Not an easy task.

Especially when I need a new outfit. The speaking part will take care of itself if only I have a new outfit. (NOT!)

I'e been shopping several times to no avail. I absolutely, positively did not want another black outfit. I wanted something colorful, springy and fun... like me!

That must explain why yesterday I went shopping one last time and picked out a beautiful pair of black trousers and a longish, three-quarter length sleeve, flowy jacket/over top. It is white with tan and black markings all over it.

It is lovely and slenderizing and not unlike 50 percent of everything else in my closet right now.

But I'm wearing it... because I'm a W.I.L.D. Woman! Yes, I am!

No. No, I am not.

I may look exactly the same as I always look, but the talk is coming along nicely. I think I'm going to put all my energy into perfecting "the talk." Today, I'm going to work on breathing and NOT saying "uh."

I lead an exciting life.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I promised my brother-in-law, Tommy, he could have an easy Easter this year. Most years, he is running around a mall chasing and photographing teenagers (Amazing Race - Easter Style), driving around Trussville in search of the elusive inflatable purple Easter Bunny (Easter Video Scavenger Hunt) or starting fires with a piece of flint and some straw (Survivor - Easter Island).

He was tired.

He wanted an Easter nap.

He deserved an Easter nap.

So this year (and this year only), I caved.

I decided to make Easter bags for all the cousins. I then bought a TON of Dollar Store Candy, and we played a series of games.

The first game was Spoons. Of the six kids playing, whoever lost and didn't get a spoon that round DID NOT get a piece of candy put into their bag. (We played six rounds of Spoons.)

Next, we played Farkle. When you roll the dice and have no points, that is called a Farkle, and the next player gets to take a turn. Whenever someone had a Farkle, everyone else got candy except for the "Farkler."

After playing Farkle awhile, the bags were getting pretty full.

To end the competition, every kid had to roll the five dice three times. For every "five" they rolled, they received a piece of candy in their bag.

Then it was time to count the candy.

The three top winners each won a $10 Regal Gift Certificate... and everyone won a bag of candy.

The only "Easter-y" thing about this year's competition was the colorful Easter bags filled with candy.

That, and the happy teens with movie cards!

Next year, Tommy... Easter - Whose Line Is It?

RANDOMNESS #3 - I know it's a month away, but just in case you're interested, I wanted to put the information out there.

My friend, Tonya (a TWO-time cancer survivor), is heading up this year's Pink Ribbon Run - 5K Fun Run/Walk, Friday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m. at Gardendale Soccer Field (on Fieldstown Road). This will be the third Run Tonya has organized... and she does a fantastic job.

Roxie and I will be walking in this Run, and we'd like for you to join us if you possibly can. Let me know if you are interested, and I will get the information, forms, etc. you need to sign up.

Also, on May 12 at 9:00, my family, Bev's family and my Mom will be walking in the 9th Annual MotherWalk which supports the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The race will be held in Crestline Village across from the Emmett O’Neal Library. Our team name is Team Tootsie in honor of my Mom who has fought Ovarian Cancer this past year.

Not only will we be wearing cute shirts and hats, but the family is planning on eating at La Paz after the walk (Tommy's idea... and everyone seconded it).

On Sunday, May 13 (Mother's Day), we will DRIVE to visit the Mothers. We will NOT walk/jog/run. We will DRIVE!

Again, if you're interested, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right people, forms, etc.

Wednesday Wisdom - In honor of all those fighting cancer today, and for all the survivors who have fought and moved on, I would like to dedicate Wednesday Wisdom to you. (Jill, Dee, Tonya and Mom.)

"My cancer scare changed my life. I'm grateful for every new, healthy day I have. It has helped me prioritize my life." Olivia Newton-John

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." Winston Churchill

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible." Christopher Reeve

"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left." Hubert Humphrey

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude." Scott Hamilton

Run, Baby, Run

I've used this one before, but it bears repeating. Pick a 5K Run/Walk each year and participate as a family. Make sure it is for a great cause, and enjoy that time with your family doing something wonderful together.

To choose your Walk/Run, just Google "5K Walks in Alabama." A HUGE list will appear with the name of the walk, date, time and what (if anything) it sponsors.

The following two races are just a tiny sampling of what is coming up in our area...

1. The 5K Trot for Tots 2012

This Run will be held at Fort McClellan Duck Pond, Saturday, April 14, 2012.

Race Begins - 8:00 a.m.

Autism affects 1 in every 110 children! Most aren't diagnosed until age 3 and more are without therapy until school age! Since first opening in 2008, The Little Tree Preschool proudly provides specialized services and individualized support to children struggling with Autism. We hope that you will come out to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month AND support The Little Tree Preschool and the incredible children we serve!

The 5K Trot for Tots 2012 will do your HEART good in more than one way!

2. The 2012 Run for Kids Challenge

Entrants in the Trail Run Festival may select the distance they want to run, from a 5K all the way up to 12 hours.

ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of Proceeds go directly to Camp Smile-A-Mile, Alabama’s program for children with cancer.

The Run is scheduled for Saturday, May 5 at Oak Mountain State Park.

Races Begin - 7:00 a.m.

This is the perfect run for a “First-Ultra” or anyone who just wants to see what a trail race is like.

If you have been wanting to try a 50K or longer run, this is the event for you. The race will be held on the new Lake Trail around Double Oak Lake, the swimming and canoeing lake. The trail circles the lake with gently rolling hills and beautiful views of the lake. There are a few roots, but not technical terrain and the trail is easy to run. (No trail shoes needed.) The three-plus mile loop is about 75 percent in shade and runners will pass by the aid station every three miles, so supplies and water are never far away.

There will be a cookout following the 50K and 12-Hour run.

Come out and give it a try. Your entry fee goes to a great cause, and it will be a lot of fun.

Have a lovely Wednesday. I hope your "To Do" List is three pages long... and you complete each and every thing on that list! I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage and a fun Date or two.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crowd-Pleasing Taco Salad

Good Tuesday morning!

Katie and I had a mini-photo shoot Easter afternoon. Those pics are in the Gallery this morning.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay. It's official, so I can tell you about it now. One of my "dates" is going to be featured on The Dating Divas blog! How about that? I don't know when, but as soon as I know, you will know. Because we're BFFs, and all.

And guess what else? Austin and Melia's pictures (taken by me while they are on the date) are going to be featured. How about that?

It's very exciting (to me), and thus, in my "me, me, me" way of thinking, it must be exciting to you, too.

Or maybe not. Maybe you're all caught up in that "I have a life, too" mentality.

Don't worry. I love you anyway!

And you'll be the first to know when it is featured. (Probably in the year 2016!)

RANDOMNESS #2 - Things I've Learned While Raising Teens... A Humbling Experience

Too Matchy - When I was growing up, matching was very, very hip. When you had a new outfit, you wanted matching shoes, earrings, lipstick, purse, etc. It was an all-important part of grooming.

Girls and women desired to look "put together."

The other day, Roxie wore a very pretty ecru lace t-shirt with denim capris. It just so happened, she had a pair of ecru flats with LACE on the toes of the shoes. To the average observer, it appeared she bought the shoes because they were the perfect match to the top.

Not so.

The shoes were on sale and she liked them, so they were purchased. We had no idea they matched the ecru lace top... until Sunday afternoon.

Roxie came downstairs in the outfit wearing her gray Toms. Cute, but not a PERFECT MATCH.

"Why don't you wear your ecru lace flats? They look like they were made to go with that outfit," I innocently suggested.

"I can't," she replied.

"Why not? Have your feet grown?"

"It's just too, too matchy," she said.

Too, too matchy? What did that mean?

But in my heart of hearts, I already knew.

Matching is not important to this generation of teens.

And it breaks my heart.

Roxie wears Nike shorts to Athletics in the afternoon. Every time we have bought a pair of Nike shorts, I have picked up a matching t-shirt to purchase with the shorts.

"That's okay, Mom. I'll wear my light blue t-shirt... or my olive green t-shirt... or my red t-shirt. I just need the shorts."

"But the shorts are neon orange with gray stripes. Your blue, olive green and red t-shirts do not go with neon orange and gray stripes. Plus, you have gray and teal tennis shoes. PLUS, you have on one black sock and one gray/purple sock. I'm afraid the other teenagers will point and laugh at you," I counter.

"Mom. No one matches. They would laugh and point if I DID match."

It goes against every fiber of my being, but I purchase the neon orange and gray striped shorts.

She wears them the next day with the light blue t-shirt, the black sock and the gray/purple sock and her gray and teal tennis shoes.

Then, just to push me over the edge, she adds her yellow Polo cap.

"Roxie. You are wearing 32 different colors for your Athletic class. Surely there's a school rule or something about wearing 32 different colors at one time."

"Mom. I look fabulous. You worry too much."

And with a swish of her bright auburn ponytail (yet another color that doesn't match anything she is wearing), she is off.

I do want you to know, her school clothes and church clothes match. And her earrings and shoes match her school and church outfits. For some reason, that is important.

But the purse... Well, the purse matches nothing. Never has. Never will.

What do I know. I'm a 50 year-old mother who still buys earrings to match my bathing suit cover up... which matches my bathing suit... which matches my flip flops.

I bet teenagers all over Alabama are laughing at me!

Crowd-Pleasing Taco Salad

We're having this for dinner tonight. I have every single ingredient in my house (except for a head of lettuce and corn chips). I will spend a total of $4 this Tuesday... which will make Mikie very happy! Being an accountant, he loves $4 days!

You will need the following:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup taco sauce
1 package (10-1/2 ounces) corn chips

1. In a large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain.

2. Stir in the ketchup, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and beef mixture.

4. Combine mayonnaise and taco sauce. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

5. Sprinkle with corn chips. Serve immediately.

We are a taco salad "eating" people. We love it. This recipe sounds great because I will place one huge bowl in the center of the table, and I will be done!

I don't know about the other Faulkner Family members, but I'm looking forward to tonight!

Have a great Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with more Easter pics, Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness and more, more, more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

I have enough Easter pictures to last THREE days on A Simple Life... and that makes me HAPPY!

The original purpose of Mindless Monday was to have an extremely SHORT post (word-wise), but tons of pictures. In recent weeks, I have forgotten that "promise." I think you're going to be pleased with today's SHORT post!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have big news to share in a few days. Well, big for me. Not so much for you. But I know you'll be interested. Actually, not so much interested because you have your own lives, but I'll share anyway... because that's how I roll.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I'll be sharing this year's Easter Game with you Wednesday when I post the pics. It wasn't anything too elaborate, but it was fun.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I had planned on "doing" three Pinterest projects/recipes for Easter this year. THREE!

As it turned out, I only completed two... before Easter.

I made deviled eggs for one of the dishes I took to Grandmother's for Easter lunch. I BAKED the eggs in muffin tins in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (You don't have to boil eggs any longer!) And it works. It really, really works! That was Pinterest Project Number 1.

I peeled and sliced the eggs in half. I removed the yolks and then dropped the white halves into three different cups containing water and blue food coloring, green food coloring and yellow food coloring. I let the whites soak for 30 minutes.

I then mixed the yolks with mayo, dill pickle juice, salt and pepper before scooping the mixture into a Ziploc bag and cutting a little hole in the corner. I piped the egg mixture into the BEAUTIFULLY colored halves for a festive and delicious Easter Deviled Egg! That was Pinterest Project Number 2.

We're having the Peep S'mores tonight for dessert. I'm baking a graham cracker with a piece of Hershey's chocolate and a Peep in the oven at 200 degrees for about 4 or 5 minutes. (Until the Peep is melty.) I'm then removing the Peep S'mores and topping them with another graham cracker before serving them as our dessert this evening. That WILL BE Pinterest Project Number 3.

It is my official opinion that it is socially acceptable to eat Peeps after Easter... as long as you're wearing white shoes.

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Pioneer Woman has still not mentioned meeting me at the Birmingham Book Signing this past Wednesday, even though she has posted twice since that time.

I'm beginning to think it wasn't as important to her as it was to me... which saddens me deeply. Heavy, heavy sigh.

Have a lovely Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe, Randomness and more, more, more Easter pics.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Traditions... Old and New, Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

Did I tell y'all I met The Pioneer Woman? I couldn't recall if I mentioned it or not. Hmmm...

The Gallery pics are from the end of a thunderstorm in our area last night. Beautiful.

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! - This is an EXTREMELY LONG POST. However, everything is labeled, so you should be able to read what interests you and skip the rest.

I'll be more succinct next week.

Or maybe not!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Yesterday, I opened the door to the Big Gold Van and found a Doctor's Appointment Reminder in my seat. Since I haven't been to that particular doctor in the last few months, and my appointment isn't until the end of June, this was very puzzling to me.

Where did the Reminder come from?

Who put it in the middle of my seat in the Big Gold Van?

Was my doctor hiding in the bushes to see my reaction?

Did turning around in a circle three times looking to see if anyone was around constitute "crazy" behavior on my part?

Did yelling "Dr. S! Are you in my bushes?" at the top of my lungs confirm that I was, indeed, crazy?

Can anyone answer any of the above questions? Today? Before lunch?

It would be greatly appreciated.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I wanted to share a little story from our "Survivor - Easter Island" celebration last year. There were FIVE Survivor-type challenges and two teams... Martins vs. Faulkners. Needless to say, things don't always turn out the way you plan.

This story picks up during the second challenge... the dreaded Food Challenge!

Well, the Martins were down one challenge with the Obstacle Course victory, but we all knew the Food Challenge was going to be tough for the Faulkners. One person from each team had to sit out because there were only three dishes. Austin immediately offered to remove himself from this particular challenge. He was fast, and called it before the other three had a chance.

Josh found himself pitted against Brad and sat down to a covered plate. "I'm not eating eyeballs," he said.

"Josh. I don't even know where to buy eyeballs, much less how to prepare them," I assured him.

"I'm not eating fish guts either." You can tell we've been watching Survivor for a very long time.

"Well, that's good to know. I'll feel so much better about sending you off to college in a couple of years knowing you won't succumb to those temptations."

Beverly counted to three and Brad and Josh removed the covering from the plates. Brad didn't even hesitate. He started shoveling bright orange "stuff" into his mouth. "What is this? What is this?" Josh began to yell.

"Carrots from a blender, Josh. That's all." I told him. Brad was halfway finished.

Josh put a spoonful in his mouth... and immediately began to gag. "Oh, my gosh. This is horrible. What did you put in this?"

"Nothing. It is a clean carrot I put in a blender and chopped up. That's all."

Josh put his spoon on the table. "I'm done. No one should be expected to eat this. It's not possible."

"IT'S... JUST... A... CARROT!"

By this time, Brad had two more spoonfuls left on his plate. "Could I have some salt, please?"

"No! This is a Survivor Food Challenge. You're lucky I couldn't find the eyeballs!"

Brad finished his blended carrots, and it was time for the second round. (Did I mention this challenge was the best two out of three?)

Tommy sat down, and to be honest, I don't want to even mention the name of the Faulkner who bailed on this one. Beverly counted to three and Tommy and the unnamed Faulkner uncovered the dish... one baked parsnip (salted AND peppered).

"What is that? Is it a rotten carrot? How do you expect me to put this in my mouth? Are you trying to poison us." You can guess who was speaking at this point in the story. I'm still too ashamed to tell you.

Tommy shoved the whole parsnip in his mouth, and was done in a matter of seconds. We never got to the third dish. (By the way, the third dish consisted of half a chocolate Easter bunny, two peeps and 15 jelly beans. Back in the day, I could have inhaled that plate in 10.5 seconds.)

Will we ever have Survivor - Easter Island again? No. I don't think so. But it was kinda fun, very interesting and worth trying at least once!

RANDOMNESS #3 - This is from an old post, too, but I liked it then and I like it now!

Rules of Chocolate Easter Eggs

1. If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly.

2. Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

3. If you can't eat all your Easter chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can't eat all your Easter chocolate, what is wrong with you?

4. If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights, and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves. (I had never heard this before. It made me happy.)

5. Money talks. Chocolate sings.

6. Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger. (Again, another scientific fact I did not know. Why don't reporters talk about this on The Today Show EVERY DAY? It should be the number one story.)

7. The problem... How to get two pounds of chocolate eggs home from the store in a hot car. The solution... Eat the eggs in the parking lot.

8. Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous? Because no one wants to quit.

OLD EASTER TRADITION

Amazing Race - Easter Style!

This falls under "transition traditions" for teenagers who once hid Easter eggs in your family. If your family sets aside a day for traditional egg hunts, this is something new and fun to try with the now older kids in your family.

1. Plan a trip to The Galleria after school on Friday or the Saturday before Easter.

2. Divide your family into two teams.

3. The clues are on a piece of paper in a large manila envelope. There are two places during the Race the teams will receive envelopes from other people in the mall.

The following is a copy of the instructions, clues and envelopes:

Each team will have the following when the Race begins... 1 manila envelope; 1 instruction sheet; 1 pen; 1 digital camera; $15.

When the Race ends, each team should have all of the above, but also two envelopes (one from Auntie Annie's Pretzels and one from their Grandmother), and a signed Easter card for their Grandmother.

Each team will start together in the same place. I will hand a large manila envelope to each team. Of the eight clues I am about to show you, Team One will be racing in order (1 - 7), and Team Two will be racing backward (7 - 1). They will not know the difference. They have the same clues, just in a different order so they won't arrive at the same destinations at the same time. The following is the information on the instruction sheet.

WELCOME TO THE AMAZING RACE - EASTER STYLE!

YOU MUST COMPLETE EACH TASK IN ORDER. NO RUNNING IS ALLOWED. THE FIRST TEAM TO REACH THE PIT STOP OF THE RACE WILL BE DECLARED THE WINNER. HOWEVER, YOU MUST HAVE ALL THE ENVELOPES YOU HAVE COLLECTED WITH YOU WHEN YOU CHECK IN OR YOU WILL SUFFER A FIVE MINUTE TIME PENALTY.

YOU WILL HAVE $15 FOR THIS LEG OF THE RACE. COUNT YOUR MONEY, AND BEGIN!

1. Find the elevators in the middle of the Food Court. Ride to the 2nd floor and back down again a total of three times. You should exit on the 1st floor. NOTE - YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE SECOND FLOOR THREE TIMES BEFORE YOU GET OFF THE ELEVATOR ON THE 1ST FLOOR.

2. Make your way to the Book Store in the mall. Find an Easter book. Take one member's picture with the book.

3. Go to where children are having their picture made with the Easter Bunny. Take one member's picture with the Easter Bunny behind them. NOTE: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE AND HAVE YOUR PICTURE MADE WITH THE EASTER BUNNY. HE JUST HAS TO BE IN THE BACKGROUND OF YOUR PICTURE.

4. Go to Auntie Annie's Pretzel stand. Order one order of cinnamon pretzel sticks with one cup of icing and one large Coke. Don't forget napkins and three straws. Ask the clerk for your next clue after you place your order. (THE PERSON BEHIND THE COUNTER WILL HAND THEM AN ENVELOPE WHEN THEY ASK. THE ENVELOPE HAS TO BE OPENED, AND IT WILL TELL THEM TO GO TO THE FOOD COURT AND FIND THEIR GRANDMOTHER WHO IS SITTING AT ONE OF THE TABLES. THEY ARE TO SIT DOWN AND EAT THEIR PRETZEL STICKS, DRINK THEIR COKE, AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER WILL HAND THEM THEIR NEXT ENVELOPE WHEN THEY FINISH.)

THE ENVELOPE HANDED TO THEM BY THEIR GRANDMOTHER WILL TELL THEM TO GO TO THE CAROUSEL. ONE PERSON HAS TO RIDE THE CAROUSEL... OR THEY CAN DO THE ROADBLOCK.

ROADBLOCK - IF ONE PERSON IS NOT WILLING TO RIDE THE CAROUSEL, THEN THE GROUP HAS TO STAND BESIDE THE ENTRANCE TO THE CAROUSEL AND WAIT UNTIL IT MAKES TWO COMPLETE RIDES. (NOW THEY LOOK BACK AT THEIR SHEET OF PAPER.)

5. Find the Gourmet Bubble Gum machines in the mall. Each person on the team must find and buy their favorite flavor. Before you move on to the next clue, EACH person must blow a bubble with their bubble gum.

6. Go to BumperNets. EACH person must play one game before moving to the next clue. It can be air hockey, pinball, pool, etc. You do not have a lot of time. REMEMBER... PLAY ONLY ONE GAME PER PERSON. (It is acceptable for air hockey to count for two members of the team. The third member of the team would need to play another game. The games can all be played at the same time.)

7. Go to the Hallmark Store and pick out an Easter card for Grandmother. Watch your money. (BE CHEAP!!!) Purchase the card. ALL three team members must sign the card with the pen in the manila envelope. Seal the card and put it in the manila envelope to give to Grandmother at the end of the race.

8. Make your way to the entrance of J. C. Penney's and look for Grandmother. This is the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. Remember, the last team to arrive may be eliminated.

Now remember, this is Team One's list. Team Two's list will begin as follows and go from 7 to 1.

1. Go to the Hallmark store and pick out an Easter card for Grandmother. Etc., etc., etc.

Each Team's number 8 on the list will be the same.

I arrived at The Galleria early to talk to the clerk at Auntie Annie's Pretzels, and left the envelopes. (The clerks LOVED helping me out. They couldn't wait until the two teams arrived and asked for their clues.)

I know some of the stores have changed since we did this, but make it your own and have a wonderful time!

NEW EASTER TRADITION

Easter Jars

For today's NEW Easter tradition, go to the anderson crew under My Blog List and read her post entitled "Easter Jars." The perfect way to keep Christ the center of this holiday for your little ones. Excellent!

Weekend Happenings

Tonight, Mikie and I are going to do something very grown-up. We're going out to eat with another couple. That's right. A grown-up double date. And we're looking forward to it, too.

Saturday is going to be a semi-busy, semi-fun day. Mike's taking one or two of the Faulkner Five fishing Saturday evening. Roxie is going to a movie with a friend. I'll be cooking a few dishes ahead of time for Easter Sunday lunch and finishing a little Easter shopping. Nothing major, but a fine way to spend a Saturday.

Sunday, the Faulkner Five will be attending church and heading over to Grandmother's for Sunday lunch with Bev's family.

I have a little Easter fun up my sleeve for our now "grown" cousins, but I'm going to wait and tell you all about that on Monday. (Since everyone can now read the blog, I don't want to give anything away!)

I'm hoping Sunday night can be a movie night before another busy Spring week begins. I'm renting We Bought a Zoo, and hoping for the best!

Have a lovely Easter worshipping with family and friends. And remember...

"When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, 'Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?'

"But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

"'Don't be alarmed,' he said. 'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter.'" Mark 16:1-7

I will be back with Mindless Monday next week and more Spring Stuff.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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